Hulk: The End is a 2002 Marvel comic book written by Peter David and illustrated by Dale Keown. It tells the story of an old Bruce Banner as the last surviving human on an Earth devastated by nuclear war, his only companion being a "Vidbot" left by alien races to document the demise of humanity. Although Banner wants nothing more than to die, the Hulk refuses to allow this, emerging whenever Banner is in danger. To make things worse, the pair are constantly pursued by swarms of giant evolved cockroaches which feed on the Hulk's constantly regenerating body...
Hulk: The End was the first in a series of titles in which creators imagined the "last story" of certain Marvel characters.
This comic has examples of:
- 0% Approval Rating: All of humanity, apparently, at least according to the Recorder. Some other members of the galaxy were even preparing a celebration when the last human (Banner/Hulk) died.
- After the End: Hulk has spent quite a while surviving after a nuclear apocalypse.
- Apocalypse How: Class 4. Humans nuked themselves off the planet.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: All the Hulk wanted was to be left alone. He finally gets his wish, only to discover an even more miserable existence.
- Body Horror: Banner watches a playback on the Vidbot of a bug attack on the Hulk, and we get to see what's left of the Hulk after the bugs have eaten most of his flesh and internal organs. It's really not pretty.
- Call-Back: A few to Peter David's 12-year run on Incredible Hulk. At one point Banner wanders through the ruins of Las Vegas, where the Grey Hulk worked as a legbreaker at a casino under the name "Joe Fixit". He also mentions the reason he still bothers with shaving is so he doesn't see the Maestro's face looking back at him out of any reflections.
- Cockroaches Will Rule the Earth: Since humanity wiped itself out, the dominant life-forms on Earth are giant mutated/evolved cockroaches... with an appetite for Hulk-flesh.
- Death Seeker: All Banner wants is to end his tormented existence, but the Hulk won't allow it.
- Devoured by the Horde: What happens to the Hulk whenever he runs into the bugs. Since he can't die and regenerates whatever parts are eaten, this happens regularly, which leads Banner to the conclusion that the Hulk is the spiritual heir to Prometheus.
- Downer Ending: Hulk frees himself from Banner, only to realize that he's doomed to a lonely fate.
- Driven to Suicide: Banner throws himself off a cliff... only for the Hulk to emerge before he's even halfway down.
- Hover Bot: After the End, Banner only has the floating head of a Rigellian Recorder as a companion.
- I'm Cold... So Cold...: A variation. Hulk notes how cold he feels after "Banner" is symbolically killed.
- Interrupted Suicide: Hulk will not let Banner die, be it through suicide or outside causes or even a heart attack.
- Reality Ensues: While walking through Las Vegas Banner is chased by a huge swarm of cockroaches. When the Hulk refuses to come out Banner is forced to run — although he wants to die, he notes he can't completely ignore his survival instinct when faced with an army of bugs that want to eat him alive. Also, given how old and frail he is, he doesn't get far before a minor muscle spasm causes him to fall and break bones on impact with the ground.
- Really 700 Years Old: Banner thinks he might be over 200 years old (and he looks every day of it).
- Split-Personality Takeover: Hulk eventually permanently takes over Banner's body, knowing that if he ever transformed back, that he would die.