Amadeus Cho, also known as Mastermind Excello, is a fictional comic book character appearing in books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Greg Pak and artist Takeshi Miyazawa, the character first appeared in Amazing Fantasy vol. 2 #15 (January 2006). He usually appears as a supporting character in books featuring The Avengers, or individual members of that group, such as Hulk or Hercules.
Amadeus Cho was created by Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa, and first appeared in Amazing Fantasy (volume 2) #15, in one of an anthology of stories. Pak brought Cho back as a major character in the World War Hulk storyline, and then as one of the primary characters in The Incredible Hercules. He subsequently starred in his own miniseries, Heroic Age: Prince of Power.
In December 2015, Cho began headlining the new series The Totally Awesome Hulk, written by Pak and drawn by Frank Cho.
Fictional character biography
Amadeus Cho took part in the Excello soap company's "young genius" contest, winning easily. After his abilities were discovered, Pythagoras Dupree, the man behind the contest, had Amadeus' house blown up, killing his parents, Philip and Helen Cho, and leaving Amadeus on the run for his life, distrusting almost everyone he meets. Shortly after going on the run on his characteristic Vespa scooter, he adopted an orphaned coyote pup, whom he sometimes uses to gain sympathy. After once being saved from his pursuers by the Hulk, he considers the latter as a friend and strictly views him as heroic and reactive to the aggression of others.
Amadeus Cho has stated to Hercules, just before he first encountered Athena at her house, that he is Korean American, and mentions to Athena later at an Olympian dinner when questioned about his namesake that, due to his parents' love for Mozart's music and Methodist beliefs, they named him this.
The character is next seen during the events of the crossover event, World War Hulk, where he first comes across a de-powered Jen Walters. He then gathers a team of the Hulk's former colleagues of the super-group Champions, Hercules and Archangel, both of whom considered themselves in debt to the Hulk for mistakenly attacking him on a previous occasion. With the assistance of Namora they attempt and fail to stop the Hulk.
The Incredible Hercules
The Incredible Hulk series is then retitled Incredible Hercules from #112, and the character's adventures as the sidekick of Hercules are detailed. Due to them helping the Hulk they go on the run, but are chased by Hercules' half-brother Ares. The character then participates in a number of adventures, including helping Hercules and other Earthly gods defeat the pantheon of Skrull gods during the Secret Invasion storyline. During this, Nightmare finds out Cho's greatest fears at the time is finding out all the bad events in his life are his fault. It is revealed that Cho reminds Hercules of Hylas, a young companion who he lost during the Argonaut's voyage.
Following this storyline the pair battle Amazons, led by Princess Artume, who need him to decipher an Atlantean tablet that will lead to the Omphalos. Amadeus is attracted to the Amazon warrior Delphyne Gorgon, but upon her becoming queen she is obliged to end any flirtation, to his sadness.
Together with Athena, Amadeus and Hercules next confront the new head of the Olympians, Hera, and travel to the underworld to rescue Zeus from Hades. There it is revealed that Cho's sister is still alive and missing. Upon learning this, and realizing that Athena had to have known this all along, he tearfully leaves Hercules, determined to find out what happened to his sister.
Venturing to the town of Excello, Utah, he encounters former FBI Agent Sexton, who had contacted him shortly after the death of his parents, and does battle with Pythagoras Dupree, who claims to be the sixth-smartest man in the world. Cho realizes the incredible potential of his brain to serve as a 'hypercomputer', and figures out that Sexton is in fact Athena in disguise.
Amadeus finally confronts Dupree in person, and learns that Dupree was not aware of Amadeus' sister being missing, meaning she is still missing. Amadeus also learns that his destiny is to be the new hero of the modern era of reason, and to stop the "Primordial darkness" (this is revealed to the reader to be the return of Amatsu-Mikaboshi). Dupree then challenges Amadeus to a specialized version of Russian Roulette, which Amadeus refuses to do, leaving Dupree to simply shoot himself. After grieving about the situation, he then discovers the truth about Hera's mysterious "Continuum" project, which makes Athena and Amadeus both say in unison, "We need to get Hercules."
Parallel to those stories, in the aftermath of the "Secret Invasion" storyline, the character is used by writer Dan Slott in his run on the Mighty Avengers title.
Athena reveals to Cho that he is her choice to be the next Prince of Power, the "Hero of the mind", as opposed to the hero of strength that Hercules represented. Furthermore, there cannot be more than one Prince of Power at any one time; this means that Hercules will soon meet his death. Cho vows to prevent this. Delphyne then uses a weapon forged by Hephaestus to turn Athena to stone, seemingly killing her. Hercules and Cho aim to retrieve her body and Delphyne changes sides in the process, though it is ultimately the arrival of the divine thunderbolt after Zeus and Hera are killed by Typhon that restores Athena to life. Hercules successfully defeats Typhon, but Athena reveals to Hercules that he must now die and seemingly allows him to perish by destroying the Continuum, causing the Universe Hercules is in to be destroyed. She claims he must die so Cho can take over the group, and that he rid the world of monsters so that intelligence could take over.
A funeral service is held at the Parthenon in Athens, where a tearful Amadeus demands Athena show herself and pay her respects. In her place appear a collection of Earth's heroes including Thor and the Warriors Three, Bruce Banner, Skaar, Namor, Namora, the Black Widow, Wolverine, Angel, and Snowbird. They share memories of their adventures with Hercules until Athena finally arrives. She reveals to Amadeus that he is the new leader of the Olympus Group. Some of the other gods object and each chooses a mortal proxy to do battle for them. Amadeus is chosen by Athena and he is joined by Namor and Bruce Banner, representing Poseidon and Hebe. They are pitted against Skaar and Phobos representing Artemis and Apollo. Nyx, goddess of night also arrives and chooses Nightmare as her mortal champion. Poseidon gives Namor his trident which greatly increases his power, and helps him in his fight against Skaar. Cho and Banner manage to get rid of Nightmare and convince Phobos not to fight them. The combatants turn against the gods and Phobos uses his power over fear to manipulate Hades into opening a portal to the underworld. Amadeus travels into the land of the dead to look for Hercules and meets Persephone, wife of Hades. She tells him that Hades would not have allowed him in if Hercules' soul had been there. The following Monday Athena arrives at Olympus Group headquarters to find that Amadeus has accepted her offer and is now acting as CEO. He tells her that he is not her champion, he's Hercules' champion, and that he will be using all the powers given to him to find Hercules.
Prince of Power
Athena is shown meeting with the Council of Godheads to discuss the new Heroic Age, and who should be selected to confront the coming darkness of Mikaboshi. Other Skyfathers suggest Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America, but Athena states that Cho will save the world. Cho, now in charge of the Olympus Group, with Hebe working as his assistant, spends half a trillion dollars in order to have Bruce Banner build a device capable of scanning the multiverse to find Hercules. However, it is determined that this will take over a billion years to work. After a battle with the Griffin, Cho is visited by Vali Halfling, the leader of the Pantheon, who proposes an alliance in order to gather the necessary ingredients to become as powerful as the Skyfathers: Hebe's ambrosia, the golden apples of Idunn, the spells of the Book of Thoth, and the amrita cup of Dhanavantari. Cho steals the list from Vali and goes to Asgard himself, only to find that Vali had already stolen the apples, framing him for the theft. Cho convinces Thor that he is innocent, and Thor then joins his quest to both stop Halfling and resurrect Hercules. With some additional assistance from Delphyne, who is now his girlfriend, Cho succeeds in thwarting Halfling and using the elixir to assume true godhood. However, he realizes that he is inadequate to wield this power permanently, and he instead transfers it to the returned Hercules, as Hercules warns that the Chaos King is coming.
Amadeus Cho is among the characters present when Hercules warns the heroes of the coming of Amatsu-Mikaboshi. After what happened to Nightmare, Amadeus Cho helps Hercules and Thor gather Sersi, Venus, Daimon Hellstrom, Silver Surfer, and Galactus together as the second incarnation of the God Squad. Amadeus Cho calculates that Amatsu-Mikaboshi by now has consumed most of the Multiverse. Amadeus Cho urges humanity to escape to an unpopulated and sealed-off continuum of which he knows. While Hulk and his allies, the God Squad, Alpha Flight, and the surviving Dead Avengers fight Amatsu-Mikaboshi's forces, Amadaeus Cho and Galactus work on a machine that will transfer Earth to the sealed-off continuum, but Amatsu-Mikaboshi is eventually defeated when he is thrown into the continuum in question himself.
During the Fear Itself storyline, Amadeus Cho ends up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with X-23, Spider-Girl, Power Man, and Thunderstrike. During the battle, they are attacked by samurai sharks. It's revealed that Amadeus assembled them in the hopes that they would join him as a new super team. The others get angry because he was manipulating them and they turn down his offer.
As part of the Marvel NOW! event in the pages of Savage Wolverine, Amadeus Cho appeared on an island in the Savage Land where he stops the fight between Wolverine and a tribe of Neanderthals after one of them had killed Shanna the She-Devil. He convinces them that he is their god and to help save Shanna's life. Using the lifeblood of a Man-Thing that was native to the Savage Land, the Neanderthal tribe resurrected Shanna. Amadeus Cho told Shanna what the Neanderthal natives had explained to him. The machine powering the damping field was also powering a prison, one holding an ancient hostile alien presence. Realizing that Wolverine would be releasing this creature, Shanna raced to stop him. She arrived in time with Amadeus Cho right behind her and was able to stop Wolverine. Suddenly, Hulk appeared before them, however, and quickly entered a scuffle with Wolverine in which the machine was damaged anyway.
Following an eight-month time skip as seen in the Time Runs Out storyline, Cho is seen as a member of the Illuminati. He is captured by a joint S.H.I.E.L.D./Avengers task force led by Susan Storm.
Becoming the Hulk
In 2015, Amadeus Cho was announced as the new Hulk in the series The Totally Awesome Hulk as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel event. Eight months after the Secret Wars storyline, following an incident where the original Hulk absorbed a lethal amount of radiation, Cho used special nanites to remove the Hulk from Bruce Banner and place it into his body, allowing him to become his own version of Hulk. With the help of his sister Maddy, he starts hunting down dangerous monsters that are loose on Earth, but is criticized for his irresponsible approach. During this time, he encounters She-Hulk and the second Spider-Man who aid him in the battle against the various monsters and Lady Hellbender, a humanoid female alien whose strength almost matches that of the Hulk's. Cho is eventually captured by Lady Hellbender. With the help of Maddy, She-Hulk breaches Lady Hellbender's ship, releasing the horde of monsters. Cho and She-Hulk defeat the monsters. He also battled Fin Fang Foom in the course of the event. Later, Amadeus begins to experience strange dreams about his parents' death just at the same time when he starts to have some "blackouts" (don't have memories of what he did as Hulk). After an argument with Maddy, he wanders through the desert until he encounters the Enchantress, who manipulates him into helping her take over the Ten Realms. When he wakes up, he's found by Maddy when Thor arrives. After a brief battle, Maddy convinces Thor that Amadeus is innocent. They go to Iceland where Thor reveals that Hulk had stolen a supply of uru and gave it to the Enchantress and her partner Malekith the Accursed. Upon finding her, Thor and Hulk battle her army, who had the upper hand because of their uru-made weapons. At first, Amadeus tries to keep himself out of the fight, fearing he might lose control again, until Maddy gives him a pep talk that allows him to take control of himself. He transforms into Hulk and defeats Enchantress by using the giant axe she gave him to destroy the uru weapons. Thor then defeats her army and gives the uru back to the dwarves.
While in Manhattan, Amadeus meets Old Man Logan who thought that Hulk was Bruce Banner. As Old Man Logan was too weak to fight him due to his age, he learned that the Hulk was Cho and not Bruce Banner. Old Man Logan then fled from the police.
During the Civil War II storyline, Amadeus Cho rescues Bruce Banner from a bar fight and reveals to him that he is gamma free. Later, he found Bruce on a beach in California, sick with influenza, and takes him to his secret base in Arizona. He and Maddy also bring Rick Jones and She-Hulk to help heal him. Meanwhile, Amadeus begins to worry over the fact that the gamma radiation is affecting him emotionally, which causes him to black out. After a conversation with the others, he talks to Bruce about it who in turn tells him that he's not a monster but a hero. Amadeus then finds out about Bruce Banner's death through the news. He gets angry towards Carol Danvers, for following the prediction of Ulysses leading to Bruce Banner's death, while claiming that Bruce was cured. He then teases Carol by jumping through the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia and smashing the ground, leaving a writing saying "Made you look". Cho then heads towards the East Coast, where he plans to confront Banner's murderer, Hawkeye, despite the objections of Maddy and the other heroes. He finds a cabin where he supposedly comes across Clint but it was actually Black Panther, who fights Cho with his own version of the Hulkbuster as he believes Cho's emotional distraught makes him a threat. Just when he's defeating Black Panther, Amadeus receives a distress call from Maddy, who located a giant humanoid insect monster in Austin, Texas. During the battle, Hulk discovers that the monster feeds off people's emotions, which makes him bigger, stronger and faster. Though Hulk is able to knock him down, the monster rises and defeats him. The monster then kidnaps a baby, leaving the mother devastated and Hulk shocked, while Black Panther arrives to arrest Hulk. After Maddy convinces Black Panther to stand down, they work together to track the monster, finding him underground with the baby. Amadeus tries to reason with the monster, who transformed back into a human named Christian Sung. After refusing to talk, Sung throws the baby, who's saved by Black Panther. Amadeus transforms into Hulk and fights Sung, who's teleported to the Negative Zone by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jake Oh. Maddy then yells at Amadeus, saying she's done with helping him, and leaves. A week later, in Topeka, Kansas, Amadeus finds Hawkeye in a diner, where he expresses a desire to kill him out of revenge until he calms down, leading both of them to cry over Bruce Banner's death.
Weeks later, Amadeus, while attempting to contact Maddy, meets NBA basketball player Jeremy Lin, who invites him to a charity game. The next day, during the game, the stadium is attacked by robot dragons. Amadeus manages to destroy one of them but the others escape, taking Jeremy Lin and Arch-E hostage. Amadeus is able to rescue Jeremy Lin, but the robot dragon escapes with Arch-E. When attempting to call for reinforcements, Amadeus is approached by Maddy, who injects him with a temporary gamma inhibitor and tells him to stand down. Amadeus and Jeremy then encounter a robot car, who reveals that it's controlled by QUASI/MO/DO, an A.I. created by the Mad Thinker who was planning to assimilate all technology. After rescuing Arch-E from a robot octopus, Amadeus reveals an auto-scan that exposes a weakness in the robot. The four of them manage to defeat the robot octopus by placing a small robot within the weak point that downloads a virus. He later appears alongside Ms. Marvel, Shang-Chi, Silk, Jake Oh and Jimmy Woo, performing in a charity event and then hanging out in New York, until an alien army arrives.
Following the "Civil War II" storyline, Cho, in his Hulk form, had finished some rescuing in Kentucky when he is approached by Ms. Marvel, Nova, and Spider-Man II into joining the Champions so that they can "put the world back together". Cho suggests that they also recruit Vision's daughter Viv, which they managed to do. Later, during a camping trip, the team is visited by the teenage version of Cyclops, who wants to join them. After the others agree to recruit him, Hulk is later seen kissing Viv in the forest. They later head to Lasibad, Sharzad to help a group of women and girls that are being gunned down by terrorists. After rescuing a small group, they form a plan to drive the oppressors away. After their victory, the team argues over who should be the leader when their ship gets hit by a bazooka. Upon surviving the crash, Hulk and Cyclops propel the vehicle forward because Viv saw land. Unfortunately, the 'land' they saw turned out to be an Atlantean ship and they were kidnapped. They manage brake free of their captors, escape the ship and fly away. But somewhere else, the Champions also inspired another well-known, but troublesome hero: Gwenpool.
Powers and abilities
Amadeus is a teenager gifted with a super-genius mind, bearing the "natural ability to identify the variables and quantum possibilities in any situation". He is described by Reed Richards as being the seventh most intelligent person in the world, though Hank Pym claims that, with his return to Earth from Skrull captivity, Amadeus is actually the eighth. Meanwhile, Bruce Banner claims he is actually the tenth, but later says to the Leader that Cho is one of the eight smartest. The Eternal Ajak believes that Cho is actually more intelligent than some immortals, and he has claimed to Athena, who says that intelligence is essentially "pattern recognition", that he sees patterns better than 99.999999993% of people on Earth. Hercules has claimed twice, the first instance to Athena herself, that Amadeus is smarter than even she, and the super-genius Olympian god of fire and invention Hephaestus himself admits that Cho is more intelligent than he is.
Amadeus is able to rapidly and without mechanical aid perform mental calculations of almost unimaginable complexity enabling him to, with minimal stimuli on his part, set multiple physical reactions into motion in his vicinity, forestalling technological and human activity with equal ease. This intelligence is portrayed in the comics as various numbers and other details labeled on everything he sees as relevant, shown from his point of view. He has shown himself capable of doing anything from redirecting a laser-guided missile with a wing mirror or tracking the Hulk based on his trajectory and jump height. However, performing mental calculations in rapid succession costs him immense amounts of energy, requiring him to consume large amounts of food thereafter. He previously rode a Vespa scooter and carried a phone/radio, Walkman, or other device altered to control nearby electrical signals.
In Incredible Hulk #610, Amadeus, along with hundreds of others, is zapped with the Cathexis Ray, which further enhances his intelligence. It also allows him to alter the laws of physics within a ten-foot radius of himself. He uses this power to shut down the Leader's equipment and revert MODOK to his original human form. He loses this power when Bruce Banner uses a recalibrated Cathexis Ray to remove the powers of the newly created Hulks.
When the helmet of Scott Lang, also known as the second Ant-Man, fell into Amadeus' possession, he, with Cassie Lang's blessing, chose to use it as a telepathic enhancer, downplaying the size changing aspect of the Ant-Man power to focus on the mind-controlling abilities on the insect mind instead.
Also, he has inherited Hercules' adamantine mace. He also uses Bannertech to augment himself with devices including scanners and forcefields.
After the "death" of Hercules, Amadeus is made the new Prince of Power and head of the Olympus Group by Athena. This status somehow protected him from certain effects of the Chaos King. He also has access to all of the Olympus Group's wealth and resources.[volume & issue needed]
Using a special device in his left arm, Amadeus Cho can turn into a Hulk and has the same powers as the original Hulk.
Kerberos ("Kirby") the Coyote
Amadeus was once usually accompanied by a coyote pup who peered out the front of Cho's jacket. He picked him up along the side of the road, near a roadside diner where he met the Hulk for the first time. The coyote's mother had been hit and killed by a car, but the pup had remained with her body. Cho, not failing to see the similarity, took him in. Cho has since trained him to distract opponents and perform simple search operations.
Kerberos' name was chosen in a contest held by the writers of the comic; the winner was a reader from Montevideo, Uruguay, Martín "MaGnUs" Pérez. The name was chosen by the reader both because of the mythological connotations and the computer network authentication protocol of the same name.
During the Secret Invasion, it was revealed that Kirby was abducted immediately following World War Hulk by Skrulls posing as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents after they knocked out Amadeus with gas; Kirby was then replaced with a Skrull agent. The infiltrator was able to destroy the ship by driving it off course after disguising himself as Cho. He is slain by Cho's ally, Aton, who sees him transform back to Kirby and bites his head off. Using a tracking system he had implanted in the pup beforehand, Amadeus manages to track Kirby down, finding him in the Mojave desert. Once there, he discovers that the now full-grown Kirby has adapted to the wild, even gaining a mate. Amadeus decides to leave Kirby where he is, reasoning that his life had become too dangerous for him.