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Hulk: The End s/c

Hulk: The End s/c Hulk: The End s/c Hulk: The End s/c Hulk: The End s/c Hulk: The End s/c

Hulk: The End s/c back

Peter David & George Perez, Dale Keown, Dale Keown


Page 45 Review by Stephen

Future stories of your favourite Marvel characters have met with varying degrees of acclaim and indifference. Quite how the 2099 line lasted as long as it did 25 years or so ago is beyond me. On the other hand, Byrne and Claremont's DAYS OF FUTURE PAST which capped their collaboration on UNCANNY X-MEN - and in which most mutants have finally fallen victim to man's love affair with genocide and concentration camps - is single-handedly responsible for so many homages and follow-ups that it's easy to forget what a neat little self-contained number it originally was.

Similarly, Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's OLD MAN LOGAN, which wasn't meant to spawn subsequent series at all, and remains my single favourite Wolverine story of all time. In it we discover that something so atrocious has befallen the crested Canadian that he's sworn to the cause of pacificism, no matter the provocation. And it's quite provoking having the inbred, redneck offspring of Bruce Banner as your landlords. Actually they're just collecting the rent because Daddy dearest is very much alive and well and so many people have evidently made him so very angry over the years that nobody likes him at all anymore.

This brings us to Peter David's future counterpart of the Hulk as seen in this collection of FUTURE IMPERFECT from 1992 drawn by George Perez, and THE END as envisaged by Dale Keown in 2002. There we discover that the Hulk has finally got what he said he always wanted: to be left alone. By necessity, then, that's a somewhat bleak and ruminative affair which has its origins in a short prose story called 'The Last Titan'.

But back in FUTURE IMPERFECT there were still plenty of people to give the giant grief because he hasn't aged well. He's outlived almost everyone whom he could ever have considered his friend and, in their absence, succumbed to his own worst aspects. As the bearded Maestro he's ruler of all he surveys. There's only one real relic from his past remaining. That man sits in a trophy room of broken helmets, shredded capes, abandoned armour, fractured shields, and a poster of the X-Men's Phoenix which reads "Dead… Again!" He's lived far too long - it's over ninety years since we last saw him - but he's determined to be reunited with the much younger Hulk he once knew, even if it means bringing him forward through time so that Banner can look himself in the eye and see what he's become.

Originally written with a specific but unidentified European artist in mind, you could not have found a more apposite replacement back then than George Perez, an American master of ligne claire, so distinctly European-looking this remains, complete with futuristic citadels surrounded by desert. That trophy room is full of tiny details to spot ("Needs a giant penny. Pretty complete otherwise."), some of which may prove useful later on.