Get your gamma rated sunscreen on everyone, it’s time to take a look at a Hulk story.
I recently got my hands on a graphic novel called Hulk: The Last Titan and was rather intrigued. I really enjoy the ‘far into the future’ stories (see Old Man Logan review) and figured that while I’ve never been a particularly large Hulk fan, I’d check this one out.
I’m rather glad I did. The Last Titan is a wonderful story that encapsulates the struggle between Hulk and Banner like nothing else I have ever seen. Set in the distant future, Banner and Hulk are the only intelligent life left on the planet Earth after a massive nuclear war. The story follows Banners last days, old, half crippled and wandering endlessly in the wasteland the world has become. Following him is a little observation drone that records his wanderings and his thoughts. He often talks to the drone and even re-watches what it records from time to time, like observing how long it takes for the Hulk to heal after being eaten to almost nothing by a swarm of cockroaches.
He wanders around, half dead but utterly unable to die. This is because of the Hulk. Every time Banner is about to die, whether by attempted suicide, being attacked by the local wildlife or just succumbing to the ravages of the environment/dehydration the Hulk takes over and keeps them both alive; his healing factor keeping him going until he can find something to eat (just about anything) and to fight off anything attacking them. After a while he turns back into Banner and the cycle continues.
The art style is exceptionally well done as are Banner’s monologues and the narrative never feels overly drawn out on any particular point. Breaking up Banner’s wanderings is the flashback as to how he became the only person left alive, speaking with a galactic observer about how various races are viewing the extinction of his race (the Kree and Skrulls celebrating the event) and attacks on the Hulk by the new dominant species: cockroach swarms.
We get both Banner’s and Hulk’s perspectives here. While Banner laments what has happened and feels Hulk as a burden on him for not letting him die Hulk hates Banner just as much for not leaving him alone. Hulk is actually quite pleased since the death of everyone else is a sort of vindication for him. For Hulk, being hunted all of his life only to find himself having outlived everyone else is the ultimate victory which is why he refuses to let Banner die, since without him, Hulk would also perish. So long as Hulk lives, he continues to win.
The comic is rather bland on emotion however. We’ve seen stories such as this, where one character is all alone with nothing but the weight of their plight to think about and on that note the comic doesn’t do too well to keep your interest. The afore mentioned breaks give you bits of entertainment but you just go right back to the standard fare once they end.
This changes in the last few pages however and makes the comic worth reading. The level of emotion from both Hulk and Banner displayed here is simply stunning. It’s one of those moments where it’s not meant to be entertaining but must be read and is so superbly well done that I can’t spoil it here.
Seriously, go and check out Hulk the Last Titan, you’ll be grateful you did.