Rewind back to Amadeus Cho's pre-Totally Awesome Hulk debut!
Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.
GENERATIONS: THE STRONGEST brought two jade giants together thanks to writer Greg Pak and Matteo Buffagni. Of course, it’s far from the first time Bruce Banner and Amadeus Cho encountered one another, so let’s look back at their actual initial meeting!
Back in 2004, Marvel re-launched AMAZING FANTASY, the series that introduced Spider-Man. In an attempt to bring even more new characters into the House of Ideas, issue #15 debuted a group of new characters including a plucky genius kid named Amadeus Cho who happened to be the seventh smartest person on the planet.
As we learned in the 2005 tale by Pak and artist Takeshi Miyazawa, his house got blown up not long after his breaking records and being crowned “Mastermind Excello” in the Excello Soap Company’s “Brain Fight” Internet game show. From there he went on the run, which not only introduced him to his new coyote pup Kirby, but also a fellow diner patron in Jackalope, New Mexico.
After displaying his amazing abilities to calculate how to use simple objects like a straw, a lemon seed, and a pepper shaker as efficient and effective weapons, Cho rushed outside to find a helicopter shooting missiles at him! One deflected piece of ordinance rocketed towards Amadeus’ compatriot, exploding to reveal Bruce Banner as the near-victim. The Hulk emerged from the smoke, made short work of the helicopter and gave Cho a vote of confidence.
Pak dusted the character off a few years later after launching the green behemoth into space for the “Planet Hulk” storyline. Back on Earth, Cho figured out what the Illuminati did and revealed to Mister Fantastic that Bruce didn’t actually land on the planet they intended him to arrive on.
As World War Hulk raged on, Cho put together a version of the Champions to help their old friend out in the pages of INCREDIBLE HULK. In that series, Amadeus became pals with another big bruiser: Hercules. The two went on to adventure through INCREDIBLE HERCULES, facing everyone from Ares and Athena to Amatsu-Mikabshi and Super Skrulls. Cho even took on the role of the Prince of Power for a time.
Later on, eight months after Secret Wars, Cho transferred the power of The Hulk to himself thanks to the use of nanobots and went off to stop monsters in his somewhat reckless style. Since then, he’s honed his Hulk skills and even joined up with a team as seen in CHAMPIONS. He, Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel and Nova continue to try and fix the world, going so far as to join up with Black Widow in her mission to take Steve Rogers out as we’re seeing in Secret Empire.
After splitting from his Greek god pal, Amadeus decided to look further into his parents’ deaths. In INCREDIBLE HERCULES #133, #135, and #137 he traveled to Excello, Utah, a town built around the Excello Soap Company, whose contest he won, leading to the destruction of his house. Once there he not only met Agent Sexton, but also realized that the town actually blew up decades ago and yet geniuses still found themselves drawn to the place after winning various competitions. He soon found the cause behind all this: the supposed sixth smartest person in the world, Pythagoras Dupree.
After Amadeus escaped from Dupree’s bubble universes and unmasked Sexton really Athena, the eccentric villain explained that the Greek goddess of wisdom had taken an interest in him as a boy, but he didn’t like the idea of being controlled so he tried to blow her up. He also set up the tests as a way to prove his own vast intelligence. Dupree eventually shot himself and Athena explained that she asked Zeus to send Hercules to Earth, knowing that he’d eventually find Cho, her next choice as the Prince of Power.