A Heavy Send-Up To The Hulk’s Past : The Incredible Hulk: Last Call #1

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

Once upon a time, Bruce Banner was able to control his Hulk transformations. During that time, he married the love of his life, Betty Ross. However, Emil Blonsky, aka the Abomination, poisoned her with gamma radiation, killing her. This story takes place shortly after that tragedy; Bruce has called a suicide hotline. He’s hired a hitman to shoot him in the head on his signal. The woman on the suicide hotline, Veronica, has to talk Bruce out of having the hitman end his life…if such a thing is even possible.

The Incredible Hulk: Last Call #1 cover by Dale Keown and Peter Steigerwald
The Incredible Hulk: Last Call #1 cover by Dale Keown and Peter Steigerwald

The Incredible Hulk: Last Call #1 is a weighty return to Peter David’s tenure on the Hulk from David himself along with the return of artist Dale Keown.

Last Call is a rather sad tale; it finds Bruce at one of his lowest moments going to new extremes to end his own life. Veronica tries everything to get Bruce to call off the hit, but he has a rhetorical counter for everything.

Consequently, the story shows us flashbacks to various points in the relationship of Bruce and Betty, from the night they first met to the brief time Betty became the creature known as the Harpy.

It takes something neither Bruce or Veronica expect to get through to Bruce–even if it only pick Bruce up for a little while.

The Incredible Hulk: Last Call #1 art by Dale Keown, Mark Farmer, Marc Deering, Walden Wong, Scott Hanna, Peter Steigerwald, John Starr, and letterer VC's Cory Petit
The Incredible Hulk: Last Call #1 art by Dale Keown, Mark Farmer, Marc Deering, Walden Wong, Scott Hanna, Peter Steigerwald, John Starr, and letterer VC’s Cory Petit

Dale Keown draws as powerful a Hulk as ever here. The Jade Giant looks imposing, angry, yet still very human. Bruce is the seemingly-fragile shell that must hold himself together lest the beast escape. It all looks wonderful under Keown’s pencil, and color artists Peter Steigerwald and John Starr give the comic a vibrant and explosive color palette.

The Incredible Hulk: Last Call #1 is an emotional and powerful return to the Peter David era of the Hulk. It shows the tortured man Bruce Banner was and the mixture of blessing and curse that is the Hulk. It’s a wonderful read with incredible art, and it’s easily worth a recommendation. Feel free to give this one a read.

That said, there really is no escaping from Deadpool is there?

The Incredible Hulk: Last Call #1 comes to us from writer Peter David, artist Dale Keown, inkers Mark Farmer, Marc Deering, Walden Wong, and Scott Hanna, color artists Peter Steigerwald and John Starr, letterer VC’s Cory Petit, cover artist Dale Keown with Peter Steigerwald, and variant cover artists Adam Kubert with David Curiel; and Junggeun Yoon.

Final Score: 9/10

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