Bruce Banner was a jellyfish with the brain of a nuclear physicist, until the day he grew enough backbone to save a stranger from a bomb he'd made. For his courage, he was rewarded with a lifetime of hatred and self-loathing, and the inability to speak in the first person whenever he got crabby. Over the years, the Incredible Hulk has had a few skin color changes and a range of smarts to complement his rage, but generally Hulk storylines followed a pretty basic formula: Banner was smart, then he was angry, then he was Hulk and you didn't like him anymore. Standard Jekyll and Hyde stuff. Cue sad, Hulk-walking-away music and call it a night.
How It Got Ludicrous:
Or, hey, how about we make him a backward hillbilly raising a brood of inbred, cannibalistic mini-hulks?
What a fun sentence that was to type.
That's right! This version of Hulk comes from Old Man Logan, an eight-issue series set in the apocalyptic wasteland of the future that centers on an old and tired Wolverine who vowed never to use his claws again. Old Wolverine just wants to spend the rest of his days in quiet, peaceful solitude, but a number of ridiculous comic-book-related shenanigans force him on a cross-country road trip that finds him coming up against a variety of enemies, including a whole clan of inbred, redneck mini-hulks born of the Hulk's unholy pillaging of his cousin She-Hulk.
I've thrown a lot at you just now, so I'll break it down a bit simpler: Hulk's cousin got Hulk horny (and you won't like Hulk when he's horny), and their incestuous union yielded a crop of backward-ass Hulk cannibals.
Science may never know if they're messed up from the radiation, the incest, or the bad parenting, but lord, it ain't good any which way. When Logan stalks out into the wasteland to scratch up rent money, the Hulk brood up and murders his whole family, leaving the corpses lying around like sun-bloated Pick Up Stix. That's enough for the low-key Logan's claws to finally come out, and he gives it back to every last green abomination.
After Wolverine wipes out all of the hulklings, Bruce Banner, the OG Hulk, EATS Wolverine.
And then Logan bursts back out of him like a goddamn Alien, because of course he did, and then he rides off into the sunset with the last remaining Hulk, a baby called Bruce Banner Jr.
So, a guy who just wants to live a peaceful life is thrown back into a life of violence when his family gets murdered and then he ends up with a green inbred monster baby and ... what's the moral of this comic? Who the hell knows? Just pray that it doesn't end up being the plot of Avengers 2.
There's an Earth where Weapon X made Deadpool out of a dog instead of a Canadian hit man.
He got out of that mask two seconds after this picture was taken.
And everything about that idea is goddamn beautiful. I won't hear a word against it.
Brendan McGinley apprehended the Five Supervillains Too Lame to Be in a Man of Steel Movie. He also tweets news headlines from alternate futures at Twitter @Newsin20years.
For more comic characters ripped out of their time, see the 7 Comic Characters Who Outlasted the Trends That Made Them, or see Brendan's explanation of How Comics Work.