Let's be honest: the Incredible Hulk is more popular now than ever. The character was always near the top, just trying to break into the mainstream, but it wasn't until Marvel's The Avengers that Bruce Banner became a household name. It's easy to see why: Mark Ruffalo's portrayal of Bruce Banner is spot-on, and the Hulk stole the show when he joined the on-screen Avengers back in 2012.
That's why it may surprise some newer fans to learn that the Hulk hasn't always been a mindless rage machine, or that the Hulk was once the ruler of a post-apocalyptic Earth, or that the Hulk wasn't even green for a long time. Yes, the Jade Giant has taken quite a few different forms over the years, but this latest one may end up being the strangest.
After its current Secret Wars storyline wraps up, Marvel will debut The Totally Awesome Hulk, and it's unlike anything else in the character's history. For starters, this new Hulk isn't angry - more important, Marvel has confirmed that it is not Bruce Banner.
In an interview with ComicBook.com, Totally Awesome Hulk writer Greg Pak and artist Frank Cho gave some insight on what fans should expect from their new series. First and foremost, this is not the Bruce Banner that you're familiar with. It's an entirely new Jade Giant, but don't worry - you won't have to wait long to find out who this new Hulk is. Pak and Cho confirmed that the character's identity will be revealed on page one of Issue #1, so don't expect another Red Hulk scenario.
What's curious is that the Hulk's face isn't the only think that's blanked out on the preview cover - his left arm is also covered up ... another potential clue?
Secondly, this new Hulk absolutely loves being the Hulk. Bruce Banner always viewed his power as a curse, but that's simply not the case for whoever the new Hulk is. That being said, loving super-strength and wanton destruction probably isn't the best thing when the rest of Marvel's super-heroes are trying to stop said destruction from happening.
Speaking of other heroes, a few cameos are already scheduled: both Spider-Man and She-Hulk will make appearances once the series is under way.
Finally, while there will still be plenty of action (this is a Hulk book, after all), there will also be a noticeable focus on comedy. There were moments of levity in The Incredible Hulk, but Banner's brooding didn't exactly lend itself to comedy - but with this new Hulk, comedy will be a big part of the story.
Some fans may have a tough time adjusting to a newer, happier Hulk, and for good reason: The Totally Awesome Hulk is a complete departure from everything the series has ever been. Then again, as long as there's plenty of destruction and the story is good, does it really matter?
The first issue of The Totally Awesome Hulk is set to hit newsstands this fall.