May 22, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #447: Hulk 2099

Yeah, there was a Hulk in the future too...

Look, I’ve been doing these 2099 write-ups, and I think I’ve hit all the big ones.  Spider-Man is too well know for this column.  The others that had their own titles, save the X-Men 2099, have been covered, and that’s mostly because the X-Men were a team and I don’t know that any individual member was all that memorable in the grand scheme of things.

But there was a Hulk 2099…

The Hulk, in the present day, is supposed to be a monster.  While many Hulk runs have played up the more horrific aspects of the character, the Hulk himself looks mostly like a muscular Neanderthal of some kind.  Whether green or grey, he still looks pretty human in shape.  The future Hulk, no, he looked a hell of a lot more monstrous.  First appearing in the quarterly anthology series 2099 Unlimited, this Hulk was originally a Hollywood studio executive named John Eisenhart.

By the by, that series basically had two stories per issue.  One had the future Spider-Man.  The other had the Hulk.  From the looks of things, Marvel Unlimited does not have the Hulk stories in their online versions.  And, well, I think I know why.  This Hulk was the product of artist Dwayne Turner and writer Gerard Jones, and Jones…yeah, there’s a good reason he’s not writing comics anymore anywhere as far as I know.  That guy got arrested for…well, something really awful.  I won’t say more than that.

Anyway, Eisenhart heard of a group called the Knights of Banner, Medieval wannabes that were gathering gamma weapons out in the desert.  He tried to get them to sell their story to his studio, Lotusland, but they weren’t interested, so instead he called the cops.  But he’d befriended one member of the gang, a fellow named Gawain, and that guy saw violence between the Knights and the cops going down and decided to do something about it by detonating a gamma device.  Yes, that would have killed everyone, but Eisenhart was caught in the blast, and he survived.

You know, as a brand new Hulk.

But as I said, this Hulk was a hell of a lot more monstrous.  Yeah, he was green and strong, and he did get stronger the angrier he got, but there was more to his general appearance.  If the original Hulk looked maybe a bit simian in appearance, Eisenhart’s Hulk looked more reptilian.  He had clawed hands and feet, a forked tail, his spine popped out of his back to look like armored plates, and he even had a prehensile tail.  Yeah, he had a big hairy mane coming out of his back, but he still looked more like a dinosaur.  In fact, in one story, he grew so large as he grew angrier, he was a giant on top of everything else.  With those back plates, he looked like Godzilla or something.  Heck, he even got the Hulk split personality, with the monster being heroic while the human Eisenhart was the aggressive one.

Hulk managed to graduate from his Unlimited series and got his own book that ran for ten issues.  He would eventually be killed around the time Doom 2099 took over the United States.

So, was that the end of the guy?  Well, like a lot of the 2099 heroes, no.  Marvel’s been revisiting the future setting on what looks like an alternate Earth at the moment, but trips to that time seem to demonstrate that the characters from 2099 most likely to reappear are Spider-Man, Doom, Punisher, and the Hulk.  As of the current work, it appears he’s part of a future Avengers team alongside a lot of other future versions of current heroes, like a Moon Knight mummy, space faring Black Panther, and a female Captain America.  Will he be back?

Eh, probably.

So, should I do Blade 2099?  Um, no.  He’s basically like modern Blade, only he’s a zombie instead of a vampire.  Next time, I’ll try some character who isn’t in the 2099 era.