There's a good reason Marvel Comic's Hulk character remains one of my favourites in popular narrative fiction - subtextually, Bruce Banner and the struggle with his big green alter ego are some of the most fascinating representations of dangerous, oft-undirected masculine rage and the subsequent fallout in the zeitgeist today, be it purely psychological exploration within Bruce and the Hulk himself,
or looking at the relationships with other characters, or alternatively exploring various other related themes using the character's major condition as allegory or metaphor. A good example is the story of the Maestro, which features a particularly intriguing possible future for Banner as a superpower without maturity or responsibility, subsequently becoming a dictator over everything weaker than himself.
"The Last Titan" is another intriguing exploration of the possible outcome of Banner's condition. Published as part of Marvel's semi-ongoing The End series of one-shots and specials, the story concerns Bruce and the Hulk in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust that only they could have survived.
Last survivor of a wasted world, the Hulk wanders.
He is plagued by memories, and by the constant presence of puny Banner, locked within. His only companions on an Earth destroyed by human arrogance are the mutant cockroaches that feed on his indestructible body. As he rages across the face of his empty world, he can feel the aged Banner inside, growing weaker and weaker, but the Hulk isn't ready to give up. Even as Banner's strength fails and the man within passes on, the Hulk persists, for with Banner gone he is finally, truly alone.
The character's final destination
as The End Hulk emerges in plastic as part of Hasbro's Hulk Legends line, and is really pretty damn awesome to behold. Over 7" tall, he's sculpted with fury, bulging and torn muscles all over, with ghastly veins and tears in the flesh, he looks brilliant. Dale Keown may be the best artist to ever render the Hulk, and this figure is a pure example of his artwork in three dimensions. Beautiful!
The paint is complimentary but, as with Skaar, not perfect - the veins are not highlighted whereas the flesh tears are, leaving him looking slightly unfinished. Likewise, there's some splatter and overspray in the detail, particularly the hair, and some elements (check his loincloth [which should be purple, not brown]) are just one bland single colour.
The overall effect is still nice, and the astonishing articulation boosts the playability and total joy of the figure.
End Hulk has balljoints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hipss, knees and feet, and also features articulation at the torso. There's some notable points missing here - the fact that there's no finger articulation or midsection movement is a little frustrating, but it's forgiveable in the scheme of things. You're still getting sixteen balljoints, which allows for some manly posing. Weird, though, that the interior bits of the joints have such prominent ridges running all the way around them.
There's no accessories with The End Hulk except for his BAF pieces - the left arm and wing of gigantic dragon Fin Fang Foom, which you are going to want to collect: he's awesome. A wing and an arm? It's like ordering some kind of mutant chicken dinner! I wonder what other accessories End Hulk might have included, though: a dying radioactively infected Banner, perhaps? Some of his terrifying cockroaches?
Overall, there's no denying how awesome End Hulk looks, even if you know nothing of the figure and have no intellectual interest in the underlying themes and issues represented in the comicbook. I mean, he still smashes things, and that's awesome. So, you're going to want this figure. Because it's sweet.