Hulk: The End

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When I reviewed Marvel: The End in the Thanos marathon, I mentioned today’s comic as one of many in the “The End” line. Hulk: The End takes place, of course, at the end of the Earth. The world has been destroyed by nuclear warfare so Bruce Banner/Hulk wander around the planet. The only other things in the world are monster cockroaches which tear into the Hulk daily and a small video recording robot. With almost nothing left, what kind of story can be told here?

Cutting to the chase here, this is one of my favorite comics. I’ve never been a huge Hulk fan but I gave this a read one day and was blown away. Peter David and Dale Keown’s work here really sold me on the Hulk concept and they took it to it’s conclusion. There’s a lot of clever metaphors and parallels of the current situation to classic myths. A lot of the story is about just showing off how depressing this situation is for Banner. He sees visions of his former friends and family, his multiple suicide attempts are foiled by the Hulk, and record keeping aliens arrive just to wait for him to die. Things aren’t good for the Hulk either as he is constantly torn apart by the cockroaches. Thanks to his healing factor he recovers from the mauling and this also explains why he’s lived so long.

Because there’s only the two characters they have to carry all of the comic. Hulk is his usual angry self but you can really understand it this time. As Banner tries to convince Hulk that things would be better if they died, Hulk’s arguments are pretty reasonable for a rage monster. It’s that understanding that makes the ultimate end of the story just that much more crushing. I’ve never seen a comic by Dale Keown before but this is some of the best I’ve ever seen. It’s bright and uses nice shading when it’s needed for scenes in the past while using very dark shadows and well drawn gore for the current day scenes. Keown conveys emotion so well and you can see all the rage on the Hulk while Banner can be seen in his eyes. The two being seen in each other’s eyes is a very interesting way to show them talking to each other.

This comic is amazing and I recommend it to anyone, especially for Hulk fans and people who like their stories dark.

Writer: Peter David

Artist: Dale Keown

Rating: Vintage

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Marvel: The End

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“The End” were a bunch of Marvel comics that told stories about the last days of their heroes like Hulk: The End or today’s comic, Marvel: The End. The story begins with Thanos narrating to an unseen character about how he destroyed the universe. The next few issues are Thanos telling this story about an ancient Egyptian pharaoh named Akhenaten who had gained the power of the Heart of the Universe and went crazy with it. He killed almost all of the world’s heroes so the only ones who were left to stop him were Doctor Doom, the Defenders, and Thanos. After the battle the whole universe was eventually destroyed so now Thanos is left with only one person because they were outside of the universe when it was destroyed.

Was surprisingly difficult to write a short plot summary because the plot of this six issue miniseries is wafer thin. The beginning sets the story up to be about Thanos fighting Akhenaten but it switches towards the end to be an Infinity Gauntlet retread. Thanos gains omnipotent power and fights against the cosmic forces of the universe and easily defeats them again. Akhenaten is another lame villain from Starlin that has no personality and just wants to take over and destroy stuff. He’s taken out pretty easily after the first half and then completely forgotten. Once again the main heroes are useless here and are just pawns for Thanos to use.

There are some positives here though. Again, Jim Starlin did the art here and I’m a fan of his style. There’s a lot of impressive splash pages with all the heroes and some of the cosmic beings. While most of the issues of this comic I thought were just ok, the last issue is actually very good. Starlin injects in this criticism of Marvel and their constant deaths and revivals. Thanos sees a flaw in the universe and it traces all the way back to the first revival of Wonder Man. It then has a very good ending for the Thanos character and I think it should have been the canon ending for him as this comic is just a What If style story.

So while the last issue and art are good the rest is just not that great and the fact that the story isn’t canon means it’s not that important even. I’d just recommend the final issue and think of that as Thanos’s last appearance.

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artists: Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom

Rating: Borrow from a Mate

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