I think this one popped up on my Amazon feed, otherwise I have no idea where I saw it. When I found it and read the description I was super pumped. In case you don’t know I have always liked the Hulk and the premise of the book sounded really awesome so I knew I had to check it out.
Peter David is the writer on this trade, and believe it or not think is the first time he and I have crossed paths. I say that because I consider myself pretty well read and have never read anything else he has written, and goodness it is a lot. I don’t think I have ever seen a bibliography with that many works, not to mention that many different types of works. From television series, to novels, to comics, to Peter David has done it all. Not only that but he has also won some awards along the way for his work including an Eisner Award, A Wizard Fan Award, Haxtur Award, Julie Award, and a GLADD Media Award. I was going to ask this dude for an interview but for some reason I think he would decline.
This book is actually a collection of two different Hulk stories that deal with the same premise. Basically the Hulk has outlived every other hero on the planet. In one story, Hulk Future Imperfect, we see a very dystopian future where all the heroes have been killed and the Hulk of that time line rules a people with an iron fist. He is the judge, jury, and executioner of his people, and they live in fear of their lives. This story was first published in the early 90’s so it is a little dated. The other story in the book is called Hulk The End and was released in 2002. This story has the premise of a Hulk that has outlived all the other heroes on Earth, but in this timeline he has also outlived every other person as well. So he is cursed to walk the desolate Earth by himself.
When I first saw this book out there I thought I sounded pretty cool. The premise was something that got me thinking about how or what would happen to some of the heroes hundreds if not thousands of years from now. I thought this book could be a cool window into what could happen. With that being said, I was not totally sure what I expected when I bought the book. I had an idea of what I thought might occur, but still not sure what was going to happen. When I finished this book I have to say that I was a little disappointed with it.
First, I want to say that I think that it is a little silly, or what have you, that Marvel would republish a story that was released well over 10 years ago, put it with a story that has a similar premise that was published in 2002, and then sell it in a new trade. I mean I know Marvel is trying to make some money, but come on. I will say that I did not do my research on this, and if I had known that this trade consisted of a story from the 90’s along with a one shot form 2002 I doubt I would have bought it. This really seems like a marketing gimmick to me. But I will say that when reading the 2002 story there was one line in that story that references the 1992 story. Has I not just read Future Imperfect, I would have had no idea what the mention was talking about. Honestly, I seriously doubt that anyone that read that story when it was published would have picked up on that reference. The writer of the Future Imperfect was also the writer of The End, so of course he would have remembered.
With that being said I think the Future Imperfect story was somewhat interesting. It was certainly a very strange future that was portrayed. What else was cool was watching two hulks battle it out. The reader certainly gets to see a very different side of the Hulk, one that is much different that the character now. This is one thing that is neat but also frustrating at time, is how much these characters change over time. While I know that is just the way things are, everyone changes, but man sometimes these characters almost do a complete 180. It is hard to fathom at times.
The End story is, well it is very depressing, and honestly I thought it was pretty boring as well. I get what the writer was David was trying to accomplish and show, but still thought the story was boring. It is basically the Hulk and Banner talking to themselves for 40+ pages about how they are alone and how Banner wants to die, but the Hulk wants to live. I get the struggle, and it would certainly suck to be in that situation, but I am very surprised that this story got the green light. I like the idea of watching one of my favorite characters having an internal struggle of life and death, but I think it went on for way too long. There is no real protagonist in the story, and it really drags out this theme way too long in my opinion.
Because of different decades the two stories were published in, there are two distinct styles of art. Future Imperfect is a typical early 90’s style, although I think it somewhat reminds of an 80’s style. I think the real 90’s artwork, or the artwork I grew up with did not really come into play until about 94-95 ish. Still I did not think the artwork was bad, but it has to be taken with a grain of salt I suppose. Colors are again typical 90’s and nothing over the top. Same goes for the page layouts, nothing overly exciting here. The artwork for The End is pretty solid. It is a more traditional style with the detail that I like. The colors are very deep and rich, especially the greens in this book. The page layouts are again nothing over the top. I did think the cover art was spectacular. If the whole book had been done like this, it would have been something very special.
Overall I was kind of disappointed with this book, and I think I was given the run around a little. But I will blame myself for that one a little, always do your research on what you are buying. (I have heard that one before.) Honestly, I think I am going to have to say skip this one. The only reason I would say to check this one out would be if you are a diehard Hulk fan. But if you are a huge fan then I am sure you have already read Future Imperfect so all you will need to do is track down the single one shot of The End, there I just saved you like $15. Speaking of money, if you do buy this trade in hardcover they are priced at well over $100. I guess there were not many printed. However, the paperback is only about $15 or so. Somehow I got lucky and got a hard cover for right around $25, althoug as you can see my copy was missing the dust jacke. I am not sure how that will affect the value, o well. Also you may want to check Ebay. Lucky me I suppose.