The first of the final stories of Marvel heroes hits
stands today. If it’s representative of the rest of
the series, then we’re in for a real treat.

General Information

Title: The End: Hulk

Author: Peter
David


Illustrator(s): Dale Keown

Original Publication Date: June 26 2002

Cover Price: $5.95 US, $9.50 Can

Format: 48 ad free pages

Premise

This is the first in a series that will tell the final
stories of
Marvel characters. This one is the Hulk’s last story.

High Point

The truly funny source of the vidbot. This is a good
story, but not
very funny. It was great to see the mood lightened a
bit around the
half-way mark like that.

Low Point

The artwork on the other heros. Bruce Banner, Hulk,
and other
characters look great, but the other heroes are
lacking, Thor in
particular.

The Scores

In terms of originality, this is a very
worthy addition to a
comic collection. This isn’t some guy in tights
fighting off a
nutcase in tights. In this book, the hero is the
villain. It’s
extremely introspective, but still compelling. This
is also a great
way to start off a series with an excellent concept;
books in The
End
series will show how the heroes come to and
end. No
additional books have appeared on the Marvel
release schedule

yet, but the descriptions and press releases around
this one would
strongly imply that we’ll see how Spider-Man and the
X-Men and, as
well. I give it 5 out of 6.

Dale Keown’s artwork is, with the small
exception noted
above, excellent. In fact, the rest is so good, I
find myself
wondering if the poor depictions of the other heroes
was intentional,
as though it were designed to show the state of
Bruce’s memory.
Instead, I found those few panels jarring. However,
the other 46
pages in this volume look fantastic. The rear cover
artwork was taken
directly from the interior art, so what you see is
exactly what you
get. (The front cover does not appear in the
interior, but it would
easily fit in.) The portion of the art on the back
cover is
incredible in the original context. I give it 5 out
of 6.

The story is, well, bland. Not because it’s
badly written,
but because there is very little plot. The point of
this story is the
characterization, which is evaluated separately. The
story itself
constitutes exposition describing how this setting
came to be. Even
then, that exposition is driven by the
characterization. I give the
story 3 out of 6, but this is only clear in
retrospect. The lack of
plot was not apparent when I was reading it. In fact,
had the story
and plot been more complex, it would have either
detracted from the
characterization, or packed too much into this,
turning it more into a
graphic novel than a long one-shot story. It’s very
accessible to new
readers, so the lack of plot is probably a good thing
in the overall
scheme.



The characterization is fantastic. When the
Hulk first
appeared
in
1962, he was the villain of the book, and a
one-dimensional brainless
brute with a one-dimensional human counterpart. This
story succinctly
recaps the Hulk’s life, and ties it all up in an
excellent manner,
adding depths to the character and the metaphors that
didn’t seem to
exist in the early stories. Bruce Banner and the Hulk
become
multi-dimensional interesting beings in this story. I
give it 6 out
of 6.

This was enthralling. I can’t think of a higher
compliment I can give
when rating the emotional response. I was
interested from
page one, and when it was over, I had to go back and
count the pages
because it seemed to have gone by too fast to be a 48
page book. The
pages were all there, and they were all well used. I
even checked the
clock, and I’d spent over an hour reading the book. I
still plan to
go back and take a closer look at some of the art,
because I didn’t
want to slow down too much when I read it the first
time. If they can
maintain this kind of quality through the rest of the
The
End
series, I will definitely buy every one. I
give it 6 out of 6.

The flow of the story from panel to panel was
pretty good.
Most of the dialogue is internal dialogue, so there’s
no real limit on
how fast it can go by. The only part that seemed odd
was at the
beginning. The first transformation from Banner into
the Hulk takes
place between the last panel on page 5 and the first
panel on page 6.
There’s no indication of why he transformed or of any
elapsed time in
the script, so my first impression was that I’d
skipped a page. That
was a little odd, but the rest is well done. Still,
there were only a
couple of moments when it was important. I give the
flow 4 out of
6.

Overall, this was an excellent read, and I
expect it to be a
rewarding re-read. The artwork and script mesh
beautifully. I give
it 5 out of 6.

In total, Hulk: The End receives 34 out of
42.