Ever since Generations was announced last year with a brilliant Alex Ross painting depicting the past and present incarnations of several Marvel superheroes, fans have been wondering and waiting to see what it is all about.

Well, the wait is over with the release last Wednesday of Generations: The Strongest.

Generations is a limited 10-issue anthology series that will feature team-ups of classic Marvel superheroes with their modern day counterparts. For instance, The Strongest puts the focus on the two Hulks – Bruce Banner (the original Hulk) and Amadeus Cho (the Totally Awesome Hulk).

The other Generations books are The Iron (Iron Man: Tony Stark and Riri Williams aka Ironheart), The Spiders (Spider-Man: Peter Parker and Miles Morales), The Marvels (Ms Marvel: Carol Danvers and Kamala Khan), The Americas (Captain America: Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson), The Thunder (Thor: Odinson and Jane Foster), The Archers (Hawkeye: Clint Barton and Kate Bishop), The Best (Wolverine: Logan and X-23), The Bravest (Captain Marvel: Mar-Vell and Carol Danvers), and The Phoenix (featuring the older and younger Jean Grey).

Wait a minute. Aren’t some of these characters – including Mar-Vell, Logan, and the older Jean Grey – dead? Is Generations just a one-off “What if” story that will have no bearing on the main continuity?

Well, apparently not. Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso has reportedly said that what happens in these stories will actually affect the characters in the mainstream continuity.

Cho confronts an awful truth about being the Hulk.

“These stories do happen, they really count. They really matter. This isn’t some alternate reality story or some time-travel story,” Alonso said in a TV interview on ABC News.

If that is the case, then it should be interesting to see where Amadeus Cho’s Totally Awesome Hulk goes after what happens in The Strongest.

The story here is simple. Cho’s Hulk somehow goes back in time, where he crosses paths with Bruce Banner’s Hulk battling General Thunderbolt Ross’s armies. Since this is set way before Banner even meets Cho, there is some confusion and the two end up fighting each other – but also team up when the army unwittingly awakens some random sea monster.

The story is significant for two things. One, Cho gets to see how his predecessor lived with being the Hulk – hunted by the army, hated by the public, and forced to search through garbage for his next meal.

Two, Cho finally comes to realise that despite the immense power he wields as the Hulk, being the giant green Goliath isn’t a gift – it’s a curse.

It’s a realisation that will probably affect Cho further down the road; as of now, he has been overconfident in his ability to “control” the Hulk and stay in the driving seat despite having a “monster in the trunk”. What will he do when something happens that triggers the monster and he loses control?

Since this is a Hulk book, there’s lots of action in The Strongest. But the real draw of the story is when the two Hulks and their alter-egos discuss their various conditions. Since Cho’s Hulk has never really interacted with Banner’s Hulk before, it’s an eye-opening exchange that goes to show that they aren’t really that different after all. It also serves to give Cho’s Hulk a lot more depth, beyond being just a substitute for Banner’s Hulk.

As Generations’ opening salvo, The Strongest definitely gets the series off to a strong start.

Generations: The Strongest

Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Matteo Buffagni
Publisher: Marvel Comics