Hulk

In this article, we are going to explore the fascinating world of Hulk and discover its impact on different aspects of everyday life. Whether we are talking about Hulk's influence on today's society, its importance in history, its relevance in today's world, or its impact on the future, it is undeniable that Hulk plays a fundamental role in our lives. Throughout these pages, we will examine different perspectives and analyze how Hulk has shaped and will continue to shape our world. So get ready to embark on an exciting journey in which we will explore the multiple facets of Hulk and its implications in our reality.

Bruce Banner
Hulk
Cover art for the comic book issue The Immortal Hulk #20 (July 2019)
Art by Dale Keown and Peter Steigerwald
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962)
Created byStan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Full name
  • Robert Bruce Banner
SpeciesHuman mutate
Team affiliationsAvengers
Defenders
Horsemen of Apocalypse
Fantastic Four
Pantheon
Warbound
S.M.A.S.H.
Secret Avengers
PartnershipsShe-Hulk
Notable aliasesJoe Fixit, World-Breaker, Immortal Hulk/Devil Hulk, Jade Giant, Jade Jaws, Doc Green, Guilt Hulk/Guilt, War
AbilitiesAs Bruce Banner/Doc Green:
  • Genius level intellect
  • Proficient scientist and engineer

As Hulk/Joe Fixit:

  • Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and durability
  • Anger empowerment
  • Regeneration
  • Shockwave generation
  • Gamma ray emission and manipulation

The Hulk is a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in the debut issue of The Incredible Hulk (May 1962). In his comic book appearances, the character, who has dissociative identity disorder (DID), is primarily represented by the alter ego Hulk, a green-skinned, hulking and muscular humanoid possessing a limitless degree of physical strength, and the alter ego Dr. Robert Bruce Banner, a physically weak, socially withdrawn, and emotionally reserved physicist, both of whom typically resent each other.

Following his accidental exposure to gamma rays while saving the life of Rick Jones during the detonation of an experimental bomb, Banner is physically transformed into the Hulk when subjected to emotional stress, at or against his will. This transformation often leads to destructive rampages and to conflicts that complicate Banner's civilian life. The Hulk's level of strength is normally conveyed as proportionate to his level of anger. Commonly portrayed as a raging savage, the Hulk has been represented with other alter egos, from a mindless, destructive force (War), to a brilliant warrior (World-Breaker), a self-hating protector (the Devil/Immortal), a genius scientist in his own right (Doc Green), and a gangster (Joe Fixit).

Despite both Hulk and Banner's desire for solitude, the character has a large supporting cast. This includes Banner's love interest Betty Ross, his best friend Rick Jones, his cousin She-Hulk, and therapist and ally Doc Samson. In addition, the Hulk alter ego has many key supporting characters, like his co-founders of the superhero team the Avengers, his queen Caiera, fellow warriors Korg and Miek, and sons Skaar and Hiro-Kala. However, his uncontrollable power has brought him into conflict with his fellow heroes and others. Despite this, he tries his best to do what's right while battling villains such as the Leader, the Abomination, the Absorbing Man, and more.

Lee stated that the Hulk's creation was inspired by a combination of Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Although the Hulk's coloration has varied throughout the character's publication history, the most usual color is green.

One of the most iconic characters in popular culture, the character has appeared on a variety of merchandise, such as clothing and collectable items, inspired real-world structures (such as theme park attractions), and been referenced in a number of media. Banner and the Hulk have been adapted in live-action, animated, and video game incarnations. The character was first played in live-action by Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno in the 1978 television series The Incredible Hulk and its subsequent television films The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988), The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989), and The Death of the Incredible Hulk (1990). In film, the character was played by Eric Bana in Hulk (2003). In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the character was first portrayed by Edward Norton in the film The Incredible Hulk (2008) and then by Mark Ruffalo in later appearances in the franchise.

Publication history

Concept and creation

The Hulk first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #1 (cover dated May 1962), written by writer-editor Stan Lee, penciled and co-plotted by Jack Kirby, and inked by Paul Reinman. Lee cites influence from Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the Hulk's creation:

It was patently apparent that Thing was the most popular character in Fantastic Four. ... For a long time, I'd been aware of the fact that people were more likely to favor someone who was less than perfect. ... It's a safe bet that you remember Quasimodo, but how easily can you name any of the heroic, handsomer, more glamorous characters in The Hunchback of Notre Dame? And then there's Frankenstein ... I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Frankenstein monster. No one could ever convince me that he was the bad guy. ... He never wanted to hurt anyone; he merely groped his torturous way through a second life trying to defend himself, trying to come to terms with those who sought to destroy him. ... I decided I might as well borrow from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as well—our protagonist would constantly change from his normal identity to his superhuman alter ego and back again.

Hulk comic logo

Kirby also stated the Frankenstein inspiration stating, "I did a story called "The Hulk"– a small feature, and it was quite different from the Hulk that we know. But I felt that the Hulk had possibilities, and I took this little character from the small feature and I transformed it into the Hulk that we know today. Of course, I was experimenting with it. I thought the Hulk might be a good-looking Frankenstein. I felt there's a Frankenstein in all of us; I’ve seen it demonstrated. And I felt that the Hulk had the element of truth in it, and anything to me with the element of truth is valid and the reader relates to that. And if you dramatize it, the reader will enjoy it." Kirby also commented upon his influences in drawing the character, and recalled the inspiration of witnessing the hysterical strength of a mother lifting a car off her trapped child.

Lee has also compared Hulk to the Golem of Jewish mythology. In The Science of Superheroes, Gresh and Weinberg see the Hulk as a reaction to the Cold War and the threat of nuclear attack, an interpretation shared by Weinstein in Up, Up and Oy Vey. This interpretation corresponds with other popularized fictional media created during this time period, which took advantage of the prevailing sense among Americans that nuclear power could produce monsters and mutants.

In the debut, Lee chose grey for the Hulk because he wanted a color that did not suggest any particular ethnic group. Colorist Stan Goldberg, however, had problems with the grey coloring, resulting in different shades of grey, and even green, in the issue. After seeing the first published issue, Lee chose to change the skin color to green. Green was used in retellings of the origin, with even reprints of the original story being recolored for the next two decades, until The Incredible Hulk vol. 2, #302 (December 1984) reintroduced the grey Hulk in flashbacks set close to the origin story. An exception is the early trade paperback, Origins of Marvel Comics, from 1974, which explains the difficulties in keeping the grey color consistent in a Stan Lee-written prologue, and reprints the origin story keeping the grey coloration. Since December 1984, reprints of the first issue have displayed the original grey coloring, with the fictional canon specifying that the Hulk's skin had initially been grey.

Lee gave the Hulk's alter ego the alliterative name "Bruce Banner" because he found he had less difficulty remembering alliterative names. Despite this, in later stories he misremembered the character's name and referred to him as "Bob Banner", an error which readers quickly picked up on. The discrepancy was resolved by giving the character the official full name "Robert Bruce Banner."

The Hulk got his name from a comic book character named The Heap who was a large green swamp monster.

Series history

The Hulk's original series was canceled with issue #6 (March 1963). Lee had written each story, with Kirby penciling the first five issues and Steve Ditko penciling and inking the sixth. The character immediately guest-starred in The Fantastic Four #12 (March 1963), and months later became a founding member of the superhero team the Avengers, appearing in the first two issues of the team's eponymous series (Sept. and Nov. 1963), and returning as an antagonist in issue #3 and as an ally in #5 (Jan.–May 1964). He then guest-starred in Fantastic Four #25–26 (April–May 1964), which revealed Banner's full name as Robert Bruce Banner, and The Amazing Spider-Man #14 (July 1964).

The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962). Cover art by Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman.

Around this time, co-creator Kirby received a letter from a college dormitory stating the Hulk had been chosen as its official mascot. Kirby and Lee realized their character had found an audience in college-age readers.

A year and a half after The Incredible Hulk was canceled, the Hulk became one of two features in Tales to Astonish, beginning in issue #60 (Oct. 1964).

This new Hulk feature was initially scripted by Lee, with pencils by Steve Ditko and inks by George Roussos. Other artists later in this run included Jack Kirby (#68–87, June 1965 – Oct. 1966); Gil Kane (credited as "Scott Edwards", #76, (Feb. 1966)); Bill Everett (#78–84, April–Oct. 1966); John Buscema (#85–87); and Marie Severin. The Tales to Astonish run introduced the super-villains the Leader, who would become the Hulk's nemesis, and the Abomination, another gamma-irradiated being. Marie Severin finished out the Hulk's run in Tales to Astonish. Beginning with issue #102 (April 1968) the book was retitled The Incredible Hulk vol. 2, and ran until 1999, when Marvel canceled the series and launched Hulk #1. Marvel filed for a trademark for "The Incredible Hulk" in 1967, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued the registration in 1970.

Len Wein wrote the series from 1974 through 1978, working first with Herb Trimpe, then, as of issue #194 (December 1975), with Sal Buscema, who was the regular artist for ten years. Issues #180–181 (Oct.–Nov. 1974) introduced Wolverine as an antagonist, who would go on to become one of Marvel Comics' most popular characters. In 1977, Marvel launched a second title, The Rampaging Hulk, a black-and-white comics magazine. This was originally conceived as a flashback series, set between the end of his original, short-lived solo title and the beginning of his feature in Tales to Astonish. After nine issues, the magazine was retitled The Hulk! and printed in color.

In 1977, two Hulk television films were aired to strong ratings, leading to an Incredible Hulk TV series that aired from 1978 to 1982. A huge ratings success, the series introduced the popular Hulk catchphrase "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry", and broadened the character's popularity from a niche comic book readership into the mainstream consciousness.

Bill Mantlo became the series' writer for five years beginning with issue #245 (March 1980). Mantlo's "Crossroads of Eternity" stories (#300–313 (Oct. 1984 – Nov. 1985)) explored the idea that Banner had suffered child abuse. Later Hulk writers Peter David and Greg Pak have called these stories an influence on their approaches to the character. Mantlo left the series for Alpha Flight and that series' writer John Byrne took over The Incredible Hulk. The final issue of Byrne's six issue run featured the wedding of Bruce Banner and Betty Ross. Writer Peter David began a 12-year run with issue #331 (May 1987). He returned to the Roger Stern and Mantlo abuse storylines, expanding the damage caused, and depicting Banner as suffering dissociative identity disorder (DID).

In 1998, David killed off Banner's long-time love Betty Ross. Marvel executives used Ross' death as an opportunity to pursue the return of the Savage Hulk. David disagreed, leading to his parting ways with Marvel. Also in 1998, Marvel relaunched The Rampaging Hulk as a standard comic book rather than as a comics magazine. The Incredible Hulk was again cancelled with issue #474 of its second volume in March 1999 and was replaced with a new series, Hulk the following month, with returning writer Byrne and art by Ron Garney. New series writer Paul Jenkins developed the Hulk's multiple dissociative identities, and his run was followed by Bruce Jones with his run featuring Banner being pursued by a secret conspiracy and aided by the mysterious Mr. Blue. Jones appended his 43-issue Incredible Hulk run with the limited series Hulk/Thing: Hard Knocks #1–4 (Nov. 2004 – Feb. 2005), which Marvel published after putting the ongoing series on hiatus. Peter David, who had initially signed a contract for the six-issue Tempest Fugit limited series, returned as writer when it was decided to make that story the first five parts of the revived (vol. 3). After a four-part tie-in to the "House of M" storyline and a one-issue epilogue, David left the series once more, citing the need to do non-Hulk work for the sake of his career.

Writer Greg Pak took over the series in 2006, leading the Hulk through several crossover storylines including "Planet Hulk" and "World War Hulk", which left the Hulk temporarily incapacitated and replaced as the series' title character by the demigod Hercules in the retitled The Incredible Hercules (Feb. 2008). The Hulk returned periodically in Hulk, which then starred the new Red Hulk. In September 2009, The Incredible Hulk was relaunched as The Incredible Hulk (vol. 2) #600. The series was retitled The Incredible Hulks with issue #612 (Nov. 2010) to encompass the Hulk's expanded family, and ran until issue #635 (Oct. 2011) when it was replaced with The Incredible Hulk (vol. 3) (15 issues, Dec. 2011 – Dec. 2012) written by Jason Aaron with art by Marc Silvestri. As part of Marvel's 2012 Marvel NOW! relaunch, a series called Indestructible Hulk (Nov. 2012) debuted under the creative team of Mark Waid and Leinil Yu. This series was replaced in 2014 with The Hulk by Waid and artist Mark Bagley.

A new series titled The Immortal Hulk, written by Al Ewing and drawn by Joe Bennett, was launched in 2018 and ran for 50 issues. The series had a spin-off one-shot Immortal She-Hulk and a spin-off series about Gamma Flight in June 2021.

In November 2021, Donny Cates became the new writer of Hulk, with Ryan Ottley joining as artist. In May 2022, the series did a crossover with the Thor series, also written by Cates, entitled Hulk vs Thor: Banner of War. The series ran for 14 issues, with Ottley taking over as writer for the last 4 issues afters Cates left the book.

In March 2023, it was announced that a new volume of The Incredible Hulk would launch in June 2023, written by Philip Kennedy Johnson and drawn by Nic Klein.

Characterization

Fictional character biography

Hulk, as he appeared on a pin-up from the comic book issue Fantastic Four Annual #1 (July 1963). Art by the character's co-creator Jack Kirby.

Robert Bruce Banner's psyche was profoundly affected by his troubled childhood, in which his father, Brian Banner, regarded him as a monster due to his seemingly unnatural intellect from a young age. These experiences caused Bruce to develop a dissociative identity disorder and repress his negative emotions as a coping mechanism. After Brian killed Bruce's mother in a fit of rage, Bruce lived with several relatives up until his high school years, when his intelligence caught the attention of the United States Army. Banner was recruited to develop nuclear weapons under the authority of General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, and soon developed a relationship with the General's daughter Betty Ross.

During the experimental detonation of a gamma bomb, Banner saves teenager Rick Jones, who was dared onto the testing field; Banner pushes Jones into a trench to save him, but is hit with the blast, absorbing massive amounts of gamma radiation. He awakens later seemingly unscathed, but he begins transforming into a powerful and destructive creature upon nightfall, which a pursuing soldier describes as a "hulk". Banner's attempts to cure himself of these transformations alter their conditions, causing Banner to transform as a response to rage or fear. The Hulk is a founding member of the Avengers, but quickly leaves the group due to their distrust of him. Banner maintains the secret of his dual identity with Rick's aid, but Rick reveals his secret following his assumed death, forcing Banner to become a fugitive.

Psychiatrist Doc Samson captures the Hulk and manages to physically separate Banner and the Hulk, allowing Banner to marry Betty. However, Banner and the Hulk's molecular structure destabilized and threatened to kill them, requiring Samson to reunite them with the aid of Vision. Samson is later able to merge elements of Banner's fractured psyche to create Professor Hulk, an intelligent but egocentric variation of the Hulk. Professor Hulk soon becomes a key member of the Pantheon, a secretive organization of superpowered individuals. His tenure with the organization brings him into conflict with a tyrannical alternate future version of himself called the Maestro, who rules over a world where many heroes are dead. The Professor Hulk construct ultimately proves unstable, and Banner's psyche eventually splinters once more.

In "Planet Hulk", the Illuminati decide the Hulk is too dangerous to remain on Earth and send him away by rocket ship which crashes on Planet Sakaar. The Hulk finds allies in the Warbound and marries alien queen Caiera, a relationship that bears him two sons: Skaar and Hiro-Kala. After the Illuminati's ship explodes and kills Caiera, the Hulk returns to Earth with his superhero group Warbound and declares war on the planet in "World War Hulk". However, after learning that Miek, one of the Warbound, had actually been responsible for the destruction, the Hulk allows himself to be defeated, with Banner subsequently redeeming himself as a hero as he works with and against the new Red Hulk to defeat the new supervillain team the Intelligencia.

Later, the Hulk turns to Doctor Doom to physically separate himself and Banner, with Doom surgically extracting the elements of the Hulk's brain uniquely belonging to Banner and inserting them into a clone body. Banner eventually re-combines with the Hulk when his cloned body is destroyed in an attempt to recreate his original transformation. Following this, Bruce willingly joins the spy organization S.H.I.E.L.D., allowing them to use the Hulk as a weapon in exchange for providing him with the means and funding to create a lasting legacy for himself. When Banner is shot in the head by an assassin, Tony Stark saves him with a variant of the Extremis virus. This procedure creates a new intelligent persona named Doc Green, who concludes that the world is in danger by Gamma Mutates and thus need to be depowered. He creates a cure and depowers A-Bomb, Skaar and Red Hulk. Eventually, Doc Green's intellect fades and his normal Hulk form is restored.

When the vision of the Inhuman Ulysses shows a rampaging Hulk standing over the corpses of many superheroes, Banner gives Hawkeye special arrows capable of killing him during a transformation, which Hawkeye accomplishes. The Hulk was first revived by the Hand, then by Hydra, and finally by the Challenger for a contest against the Grandmaster.

Personality

Like other long-lived characters, the Hulk's character and cultural interpretations have changed with time, adding or modifying character traits. The Hulk is typically seen as a hulking man with green skin, hair, and eyes, wearing only a pair of torn purple pants that survive his physical transformation as the character progressed. As Bruce Banner, the character is about 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) tall and weighs 128 lbs (58.05 kg), but when transformed into the Hulk, the character stands between 7 and 8 ft (2.13 - 2.43 m) tall and weighs between 1,040 and 1,400 lbs (471.73 - 635.02 kg). The Gray Hulk stands 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) tall and weighs 900 lbs (408.23 kg); the Merged Hulk stands 7 ft 6 in (2.28 m) tall and weighs 1,150 lbs (521.63 kg); the Green Scar stands 8 ft 8 in (2.64 m) tall and weighs 2,400 lbs (1.08 ton). The Immortal Hulk is roughly the same size as Sasquatch, standing around 9 or 10 ft (2.74 / 3.04 m) tall and weighing roughly 2,000 lbs (907.18 kg). Following his debut, Banner's transformations were triggered at nightfall, turning him into a grey-skinned Hulk. In Incredible Hulk #2, the Hulk started to appear with green skin, and in Avengers #3 (1963) Banner realized that his transformations were now triggered by surges of adrenaline in response to feelings of fear, pain or anger. Incredible Hulk #227 (1978) established that the Hulk's separate identity was not due to the mutation affecting his brain, but because Banner was suffering from dissociative identity disorder, with the savage Green Hulk representing Banner's repressed childhood rage and aggression, and the Grey Hulk representing Banner's repressed selfish desires and urges.

Identities

Bruce Banner

During his decades of publication, Banner has been portrayed differently, but common themes persist. Banner, a physicist who earned his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), is sarcastic and seemingly very self-assured when he first appears in Incredible Hulk #1, but is also emotionally withdrawn. Banner designed the gamma bomb that caused his affliction, and the ironic twist of his self-inflicted fate has been one of the most persistent common themes. Arie Kaplan describes the character thus: "Robert Bruce Banner lives in a constant state of panic, always wary that the monster inside him will erupt, and therefore he cannot form meaningful bonds with anyone." As a child, Banner's father Brian often got mad and physically abused both Banner and his mother, creating the psychological complex of fear, anger, and the fear of anger and the destruction it can cause that underlies the character. Banner has been shown to be emotionally repressed, but capable of deep love for Betty Ross, and for solving problems posed to him. Under the writing of Paul Jenkins, Banner was shown to be a capable fugitive, applying deductive reasoning and observation to figure out the events transpiring around him. On the occasions that Banner controlled the Hulk's body, he applied principles of physics to problems and challenges and used deductive reasoning. It was shown after his ability to turn into the Hulk was taken away by the red Hulk that Banner has been extremely versatile as well as cunning when dealing with the many situations that followed. When he was briefly separated from the Hulk by Doom, Banner became criminally insane, driven by his desire to regain the power of the Hulk, but once the two recombined he came to accept that he was a better person with the Hulk to provide something for him to focus on controlling rather than allowing his intellect to run without restraint against the world.

Hulk

The traditional Hulk, often called "Savage Hulk", was originally shown as grey and average in intelligence. He roamed aimlessly and became annoyed at "puny" humans who took him for a dangerous monster. Shortly after becoming the Hulk, his transformation continued turning him green, coinciding with him beginning to display primitive speech. By Incredible Hulk #4, radiation treatments gave Banner's mind complete control of the Hulk's body. While Banner relished his indestructibility and power, he was quick to anger and more aggressive in his Hulk form. He became known as a hero alongside the Avengers, but his increasing paranoia caused him to leave the group. He was convinced that he would never be trusted.

Originally, the Hulk was shown as simple-minded and quick to anger. The Hulk generally divorces his identity from Banner's, decrying Banner as "puny Banner." From his earliest stories, the Hulk has been concerned with finding sanctuary and quiet. He is often shown to quickly react emotionally to situations. Grest and Weinberg call Hulk the "dark, primordial side of Banner's psyche." Even in the earliest appearances, Hulk spoke in the third person. Hulk retains a modest intelligence, thinking and talking in full sentences. Lee even gives the Hulk expository dialogue in issue #6, allowing readers to learn just what capabilities Hulk has, when the Hulk says, "But these muscles ain't just for show! All I gotta do is spring up and just keep goin'!" In the 1970s, Hulk was shown as more prone to anger and rage, and less talkative. Writers played with the nature of his transformations, briefly giving Banner control over the change, and the ability to maintain control of his Hulk form. Artistically and conceptually, the character has become progressively more muscular and powerful in the years since his debut.

Joe Fixit

Originally, Stan Lee wanted the Hulk to be grey. Due to ink problems, Hulk's color was changed to green. This was later changed in the story to indicate that the Grey Hulk and the Savage Hulk are separate dissociative identities or entities fighting for control in Bruce's subconscious. The Grey Hulk incarnation can do the more unscrupulous things that Banner could not bring himself to do, with many sources comparing the Grey Hulk to the moody teenager that Banner never allowed himself to be. While the grey Hulk still had the-madder-he-gets, the-stronger-he-gets part that is similar to the Savage Hulk, it is on a much slower rate. It is said by the Leader that the Grey Hulk is stronger on nights of the new moon and weaker on nights of the full moon. Originally, the night is when Bruce Banner became the Grey Hulk and changed back by dawn. In later comics, willpower or stress would have Banner turn into the Grey Hulk. During one storyline where he was placed under a spell to prevent him turning back into Bruce Banner and publicly presumed dead when he was teleported away from a gamma bomb explosion that destroyed an entire town, the grey Hulk adopted a specific name as Joe Fixit, a security expert for Las Vegas casino owner Michael Berengetti, with the grey Hulk often being referred to as Joe after these events. Joe Fixit later gained the ability to transform into his version of Red Hulk form when in the Below-Place.

Merged Hulk

Convinced that unaided, the Banner, Green Hulk, and Grey Hulk identities would eventually destroy each other, Doc Samson uses hypnosis to merge the three to create a new single identity combining Banner's intelligence with the Grey Hulk's and Banner's attitudes and the Green Hulk's body. This new Merged Hulk, Professor Hulk, or simply The Professor, considered himself cured and began a new life, but the merger was not perfect, and the Hulk sometimes still considered Banner a separate person, and when overcome with rage the Merged Hulk would transform back into Banner's human body while still thinking himself the Hulk. The Merged Hulk is the largest of the three primary Hulk incarnations. While in a calm emotional state, the Merged Hulk is stronger than Savage Hulk when he is calm. Unlike the Savage Hulk and the Grey Hulk, Banner subconsciously installed a type of safeguard within this incarnation. The safeguard is that when the Merged Hulk gets angry, he regresses back to Banner with the mind of the Savage Hulk.

Doc Green

A variation of the Merged Hulk identity takes on the name Doc Green as the result of Extremis fixing Hulk's brain, becoming powerful enough to destroy Tony Stark's mansion with one thunderclap. This form was also known as Omega Hulk. It was theorized by Doc Green that this form was an earlier incarnation of his possible future form Maestro.

The Devil/Immortal

The Devil Hulk or Immortal Hulk, or simply the Devil or Immortal, is the result of the Hulk needing a father figure. While the character's physical appearance varies, he is always depicted as having glowing red eyes and reptilian traits. The new form of the Devil Hulk is the result of Banner and Hulk having been through different deaths and rebirths. This incarnation is articulate, smart, and cunning, and does merciless attacks on those who do harm. Unlike the other Hulk incarnations, the Devil Hulk is content with waiting inside Bruce. If Bruce is injured by sunset, the Devil Hulk will emerge with his transformation being limited to night-time. Thanks to the Devil Hulk side and Banner working together, the Devil Hulk can maintain his form in sunlight.

Other identities

The Gravage Hulk is the result of Banner using the Gamma Projector on himself which merged his Savage Hulk and Grey Hulk identities. This form possesses the raw power of the Savage Hulk and the cunning intellect of the Grey Hulk. While he does not draw on anger to empower him, the Gravage Hulk identity draws on dimensional nexus energies to increase his strength.

The Dark Hulk identity is the result of Hulk being possessed by Shanzar. This form has black skin and is viciously strong.

The Guilt Hulk is a malevolent representation of Banner's abusive father, Brian Banner, that manifests itself in Banner's childhood memories.

The Green Scar identity is unleashed on Sakaar and is an enraged version of the Gravage Hulk. In addition, he is an expert in armed combat like the use of swords and shields. Green Scar is also a capable leader and an expert strategist.

Kluh is a personality of Hulk who is described as the "Hulk's Hulk". This form sports a white mohawk, black skin, and red lines on him.

Titan is a more monstrous and malicious form of Hulk who stands at 30 ft., has black skin, rock-like spikes on his shoulders, and possesses the ability to shoot lasers from his eyes. This personality was born when it was planted in Hulk by D'Spayre.

Powers and abilities

Bruce Banner

Considered to be one of the greatest scientific minds on Earth, Banner possesses "a mind so brilliant it cannot be measured on any known intelligence test." Norman Osborn estimates that he is the fourth most-intelligent person on Earth. Banner holds expertise in biology, chemistry, engineering, medicine, physiology, and nuclear physics. Using this knowledge, he creates advanced technology dubbed "Bannertech", which is on par with technological development from Tony Stark or Doctor Doom. These technologies include a teleporter and a force field that can protect him from the attacks of Hulk-level entities.

After becoming a fugitive from the law, Banner is forced to go on the run and over the years learns various skills in order to both survive and remain under radar of those who are hunting him. Banner's most frequent method of travel includes hitchhiking, train hopping or simply just walking as he is unable to travel legally via planes, passenger ships or buses due to being in several travel watchlists. Banner is generally on the move and rarely ever stays in one place for very long and only does so if there's a possibility of curing himself. He will only ever stay in one place for an extended period of time if it provides him with complete solitude and privacy where the Hulk can do little to no harm.

To avoid being tracked, Banner does not use cell phones, debit or credit cards and will only use payphones or cash. He will often use fake identities when staying at motels or working jobs that require identification. Having been on the run for years, Banner can normally tell when he is being followed and will generally make a run for it when he is discovered. Having traveled across the globe, Banner is able to sneak over borders without being detected and can get by, by either knowing or learning the local language. Often traveling light, Banner has little to no possessions that he carries in either a satchel or backpack. Often losing everything he owns after transforming into the Hulk, Banner avoids keeping anything of personal value to him so that he can easily replace the items and clothes that were lost or destroyed.

To support himself financially, Banner will work quick part-time jobs and will only accept payments in cash. These jobs have varied from simply working in low pay diners to working as local doctor. Banner's work ethic as well as his vast knowledge and skillset in science, medicine and engineering often help him get hired rather quickly. Unless desperate, Banner will generally avoid jobs that are high stress due to the potential danger of transforming into the Hulk.

Banner has little to no memories of the Hulk's actions aside from his initial transformation which he described as being extremely painful. Banner's lack of memories often terrifies him as he has often transformed back to witness the devastating aftermath of the Hulk's battles which both saddens and encourages him to find a way to understand his condition so that he won't cause anymore destruction or harm. During his travels, Banner has developed several different techniques to help suppress or control his transformations when he becomes a little angry or upset. Among the techniques he has learned over the years include meditation and hypnotherapy. While they have helped him to better understand and suppress his transformations, none of techniques Banner has learned have helped him to gain full control over the Hulk.

The Hulk

The Hulk possesses the potential for seemingly limitless physical strength that is influenced by his emotional state, particularly his anger. This has been reflected in the repeated comment "The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets." The cosmically powerful entity known as the Beyonder once analyzed the Hulk's physiology, and claimed that the Hulk's potential strength had "no finite element inside." Hulk's strength has been depicted as sometimes limited by Banner's subconscious influence; when Jean Grey psionically "shut Banner off", Hulk became strong enough to overpower and destroy the physical form of the villain Onslaught. Writer Greg Pak described the Worldbreaker Hulk shown during World War Hulk as having a level of physical power where "Hulk was stronger than any mortal—and most immortals—who ever walked the Earth" and depicted the character as powerful enough to completely destroy entire planets. His strength allows him to leap into lower Earth orbit or across continents, and he has displayed superhuman speed. Exposure to radiation has also been shown to make the Hulk stronger. It is unknown how he gains biomass during transformation but it may be linked to the One-Below-All.

His durability, regeneration, and endurance also increase in proportion to his temper. Hulk is resistant to injury or damage, though the degree to which varies between interpretations, but he has withstood the equivalent of solar temperatures, nuclear explosions, and planet-shattering impacts. Despite his remarkable resiliency, continuous barrages of high-caliber gunfire can hinder his movement to some degree while he can be temporarily subdued by intense attacks with chemical weapons such as anesthetic gases, although any interruption of such dosages will allow him to quickly recover. He has been shown to have both regenerative and adaptive healing abilities, including growing tissues to allow him to breathe underwater, surviving unprotected in space for extended periods, and when injured, healing from most wounds within seconds, including, on one occasion, the complete destruction of most of his body mass. His future self, the "Maestro", was even eventually able to recover from being blown to pieces. As an effect, he has an extremely prolonged lifespan.

He also possesses less commonly described powers, including abilities allowing him to "home in" to his place of origin in New Mexico; resist psychic control, or unwilling transformation; grow stronger from radiation or dark magic; punch his way between separate temporal or spatial dimensions; and to see and interact with astral forms. Some of these abilities were in later years explained as being related; his ability to home in on the New Mexico bomb site was due to his latent ability to sense astral forms and spirits, since the bomb site was also the place where the Maestro's skeleton was and the Maestro's spirit was calling out to him in order to absorb his radiation. He is also shown to have a separate memory to Bruce Banner - when Spider-Man has the knowledge of his secret identity erased during Spider-Man: One More Day, the Hulk later asks how Peter is doing, not Spider-Man; upon questioning, he enigmatically states "Banner forgot. But I don't forget."

In the first Hulk comic series, "massive" doses of gamma rays would cause the Hulk to transform back to Banner, although this ability was written out of the character by the 1970s.[citation needed]

Supporting characters

Over the long publication history of the Hulk's adventures, many recurring characters have featured prominently, including his best friend and sidekick Rick Jones, love interest and wife Betty Ross and her father, the often adversarial General "Thunderbolt" Ross. Both Banner and Hulk have families created in their respective personas. Banner is son to Brian, an abusive father who killed Banner's mother while she tried to protect her son from his father's delusional attacks, and cousin to Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk, who serves as his frequent ally. Banner had a stillborn child with Betty, while the Hulk has two sons with his deceased second wife Caiera Oldstrong, Skaar and Hiro-Kala, and his DNA was used to create a daughter named Lyra with Thundra the warrior woman.

The Fantastic Four #12 (March 1963), featured the Hulk's first battle with the Thing. Although many early Hulk stories involve Ross trying to capture or destroy the Hulk, the main villain is often a radiation-based character, like the Gargoyle or the Leader, along with other foes such as the Toad Men, or Asian warlord General Fang. Ross' daughter Betty loves Banner and criticizes her father for pursuing the Hulk. General Ross' right-hand man, Major Glenn Talbot, also loves Betty and is torn between pursuing Hulk and trying to gain Betty's love more honorably. Rick Jones serves as the Hulk's friend and sidekick in these early tales. The Hulk's archenemies are the Abomination and the Leader. The Abomination is more monstrous-looking, twice as strong as the Hulk at normal levels (however, the Abomination's strength levels do not increase when he gets angry) and wreaks havoc for fun and pleasure. The Leader is a gamma-irradiated super-genius who has tried plan after plan to take over the world.

Cultural impact

Hulk-figure at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas

The Hulk character and the concepts behind it have been raised to the level of iconic status by many within and outside the comic book industry. In 2003, Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine claimed the character had "stood the test of time as a genuine icon of American pop culture." In 2008, the Hulk was listed as the 19th greatest comic book character by Wizard magazine. Empire magazine named him as the 14th-greatest comic-book character and the fifth-greatest Marvel character. In 2011, the Hulk placed No. 9 on IGN's list of "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes", and fourth on their list of "The Top 50 Avengers" in 2012.

Analysis

The Hulk is often viewed as a reaction to war. As well as being a reaction to the Cold War, the character has been a cipher for the frustrations the Vietnam War raised, and Ang Lee said that the Iraq War influenced his direction. In the Michael Nyman edited edition of The Guardian, Stefanie Diekmann explored Marvel Comics' reaction to the September 11 attacks. Diekmann discussed The Hulk's appearance in the 9/11 tribute comic Heroes, claiming that his greater prominence, alongside Captain America, aided in "stressing the connection between anger and justified violence without having to depict anything more than a well-known and well-respected protagonist." In Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics, Les Daniels addresses the Hulk as an embodiment of cultural fears of radiation and nuclear science. He quotes Jack Kirby thus: "As long as we're experimenting with radioactivity, there's no telling what may happen, or how much our advancements in science may cost us." Daniels continues, "The Hulk became Marvel's most disturbing embodiment of the perils inherent in the atomic age."

In Comic Book Nation, Bradford Wright alludes to Hulk's counterculture status, referring to a 1965 Esquire magazine poll amongst college students which "revealed that student radicals ranked Spider-Man and the Hulk alongside the likes of Bob Dylan and Che Guevara as their favorite revolutionary icons." Wright goes on to cite examples of his anti-authority symbol status. Two of these are "The Ballad of the Hulk" by Jerry Jeff Walker, and the Rolling Stone cover for September 30, 1971, a full color Herb Trimpe piece commissioned for the magazine. The Hulk has been caricatured in such animated television series as The Simpsons, Robot Chicken, and Family Guy, and such comedy TV series as The Young Ones. The character is also used as a cultural reference point for someone displaying anger or agitation. For example, in a 2008 Daily Mirror review of an EastEnders episode, a character is described as going "into Incredible Hulk mode, smashing up his flat." In September 2019, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson likened himself to The Hulk in an interview with the Mail On Sunday, as political pressure built on him to request an extension to the date of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

The Hulk, especially his alter ego Bruce Banner, is also a common reference in hip hop music. The term was represented as an analogue to marijuana in Dr. Dre's 2001, while more conventional references are made in Ludacris and Jermaine Dupri's popular single "Welcome to Atlanta".[citation needed]

The 2003 Ang Lee-directed Hulk film saw discussion of the character's appeal to Asian Americans. The Taiwanese-born Ang Lee commented on the "subcurrent of repression" that underscored the character of The Hulk, and how that mirrored his own experience: "Growing up, my artistic leanings were always repressed—there was always pressure to do something 'useful,' like being a doctor." Jeff Yang, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, extended this self-identification to Asian American culture, arguing that "the passive-aggressive streak runs deep among Asian Americans—especially those who have entered creative careers, often against their parents' wishes."

There have been explorations about the real-world possibility of Hulk's gamma-radiation-based origin. In The Science of Superheroes, Lois Grest and Robert Weinberg examined Hulk's powers, explaining the scientific flaws in them. Most notably, they point out that the level of gamma radiation Banner is exposed to at the initial blast would induce radiation sickness and kill him, or if not, create significant cancer risks for Banner, because hard radiation strips cells of their ability to function. They go on to offer up an alternate origin, in which a Hulk might be created by biological experimentation with adrenal glands and GFP. Charles Q. Choi from LiveScience.com further explains that, unlike the Hulk, gamma rays are not green; existing as they do beyond the visible spectrum, gamma rays have no color at all that we can describe. He also explains that gamma rays are so powerful (the most powerful form of electromagnetic radiation and 10,000 times more powerful than visible light) that they can even convert energy into matter – a possible explanation for the increased mass that Bruce Banner takes on during transformations. "Just as the Incredible Hulk 'is the strongest one there is,' as he says himself, so too are gamma-ray bursts the most powerful explosions known."

Other Marvel Comics characters called the Hulk

Prior to the debut of the Hulk in May 1962, Marvel had earlier monster characters that used the name the "Hulk", but had no direct relation.

  • In Strange Tales #75 (June 1960), Albert Poole built an armor he called the Hulk. In modern-day reprints, the character's name was changed to Grutan.
  • In Journey into Mystery #62 (Nov. 1960) was Xemnu the Living Hulk, a huge, furry alien monster who went by the name of the Hulk. Coincidentally, the character's debut story was also illustrated by Jack Kirby. The character reappeared in issue #66 (March 1961). Since then the character has been a mainstay in the Marvel Universe, and was renamed Xemnu the Living Titan.
  • A huge, orange, slimy monster called the Hulk was featured in a movie titled The Hulk in Tales to Astonish #21 (July 1961). In modern-day reprints, the character's name was changed to the Glop.

Alternative versions of Hulk

A number of alternate universes and alternate timelines in Marvel Comics publications allow writers to introduce variations on the Hulk, in which the character's origins, behavior, and morality differ from the mainstream setting. In some stories, someone other than Bruce Banner is the Hulk.

In some versions, the Hulk succumbs to the darker side of his nature: in "Future Imperfect" (December 1992), a future version of the Hulk has become the Maestro, the tyrannical and ruthless ruler of a nuclear war-irradiated Earth, and in "Old Man Logan" (2008), an insane Hulk rules over a post-apocalyptic California and leads a gang of his inbred Hulk children created with his first cousin She-Hulk.

Age of Apocalypse

In the Age of Apocalypse alternative setting, Bruce Banner was never exposed to gamma radiation. Therefore, he did not become the Hulk. Instead he became a member of the Human High Council, where he was a scientist and became a weapons designer. However he also yearns to gain knowledge and power, something Apocalypse was willing to help with, and so Bruce sold himself to Mikhail Rasputin, one of the Horsemen of Apocalypse, to give him mutants as test subjects. He succeeds in his experiments and can now transform into a creature resembling the Grey Hulk. He was used as a mole in the council, but was discovered by Susan Storm and Ben Grimm because the patterns of Bruce's injuries were identical to those sustained by the Hulk.

Later, Banner attempted to redeem himself by jumping out of the Human High Council ship in an effort to prevent it from getting struck by a gamma missile of his own creation. The missile detonated, allowing the Human High Council to escape Earth. He fell back to Earth, landed in the Colosseum, and emerged as the Green Hulk. There were no further mentions of the Hulk in the Age of Apocalypse material.

Age of X

In the "Age of X" reality, Bruce Banner was a scientist who was under contract from the United States government to build a device that would depower any mutant. However, during the testing phase one of the mutant volunteers began to panic. Her powers caused the machine to go off prematurely while still in the gamma spectrum. The mutants were killed and Banner was bombarded by gamma radiation. The combination of the radiation and the fact that some of the mutants' genes were imprinted on him as well, caused Banner to transform into the Hulk. Because of his exposure to mutant genes, Banner holds a deep murderous resentment for all mutants to the point that he volunteered for a suicide mission to detonate a chemical bomb that would destroy the entire mutant stronghold, forcing his former teammates to sacrifice their lives to detonate the bomb early. He was incinerated by his own bomb when one of his former teammates named Redback (this reality's Spider-Woman) uses Steel Corpse's (this reality's Iron Man) severed glove to destroy the bomb.

Amalgam Comics

The Skulk is a hero of the Amalgam Universe. He is amalgamation of the Hulk and DC Comics' Solomon Grundy.

Bruce Banner was a scientist working with gamma rays. He was testing his gamma bomb out in the desert, but a tall figure walked out into the testing area. When Banner went out to see who it was, the man turned out to be Solomon Grundy. The bomb went off fusing Grundy and Banner together. When Banner gets angry he becomes Grundy, but the creature made a name for itself, calling itself Skulk.

Breaker-Apart

In a potential future, the One Below All is able to destroy Bruce Banner's soul and possesses the body of the Hulk. After which, it went on to kill Franklin Richards, Galactus, Mister Immortal, and many others until it was the only being left in the universe. Taking on Bruce's appearance, the One Below All encounters the Sentience of the Eighth Cosmos/Metatron and is able to trick and devour him, absorbing his powers. In the newly formed Ninth Cosmos, the One Below All used its newly acquired powers to transform Hulk into a Galactus-like being named the 'Breaker-Apart'. 10 billion years later, the Breaker-Apart has destroyed all light, all life, and all planets in the Multiverse. When Par%l tried to make contact and reason with it, the alien instead meets the abstract form of the One Below All which told hir it wanted to "Make all hollow as I, dark and dead as I" and killed Par%l and hir's planet, O%los.

Bullet Points

In the Bullet Points mini-series, Peter Parker finds himself on the test site for a Gamma bomb and absorbs a large dose of gamma radiation, becoming the Hulk. In a further twist, later in the series, in an attempt to find a cure for Peter, Dr. Bruce Banner examines specimens taken from the test site and is bitten by a radioactive spider, becoming Spider-Man. Parker is killed by Galactus and Banner is killed by an Inheritor during the Spider-Verse event.

Earth-6160

During the "Ultimate Invasion" storyline, Maker visits Earth-6160 and remakes it into his own image. One of the things he could not succeed in was prevent the origin of Hulk who would later find enlightenment. He and his fellow monks would later attend an event held by Maker at the City in Latveria. Hulk and the Children of the Light are revealed to rule India. While giving condolences to Howard Stark over the death of Obadiah Stane, Hulk tells Howard that each of the leaders takes turns being the "enemy". Hulk and the other leaders later discuss about The City closing up for two months with Maker inside. With Howard Stark being inside The City, Hulk and the other leaders plan to divide up Howard's territories among themselves. Hulk and the other leaders are informed of Iron Lad's raid on the repositories and also mentions that Iron Lad's injured him in the left eye. While giving his condolences to Henri, Hulk states that Tony Stark "gave them America". As Maker's allies take control of an orbiting satellite, they use it on an area of Manhattan that Tony and his allies are in as Hulk states that they will list them as terrorists as it was Stark Industries that built the orbiting satellite.

Earth X

The Earth X series featured a vastly different take on the character, one in which the Hulk and Bruce Banner have finally achieved separation. However, they still rely on each other with Banner becoming a blind child who sees through the Hulk's eyes. In an interview in Comicology Volume I: The Kingdom Come Companion, Alex Ross said that the design of Earth-X Banner and Hulk was based on the appearance of Moon-Boy and Devil Dinosaur.[volume & issue needed]

Exiles

Numerous alternate versions of the Hulk have been present in the Exiles series.

  • A crazy version of the Hulk was seen attacking Canada. He was stopped by the Exiles and Alpha Flight. This battle featured the first appearance of the rogue reality jumpers known as Weapon X. The crazy Hulk was presumed dead after this encounter.
  • Another visually different Hulk appeared in this universe. This version had a long ponytail and wore a "Peace Out" costume, but he still retained his gamma-irradiated appearance, strength and his famous smashing abilities. He teamed up with an evil Firestar and was recruited by the Timebroker to stop an evil Hyperion. The plan succeeded and they both joined Weapon X. When Hyperion had gone even crazier than before, Hulk attacked and Weapon X began to fight with each other. This version of The Hulk was killed when Hyperion brutally fought him until he was in a weakened state, Hyperion then used his heat vision on The Hulk, melting and destroying him. His body is sent back to his reality, where his funeral is held. Some time after Hulk's death, Firestar committed suicide when she incinerates herself and a teammate.
  • A conqueror version of the Hulk, in his gladiator outfit, killed Annihilus, most of the superhumans, took full control of the Annihilation Wave, and decimated Earth. He has been apparently knocked unconscious by the Exiles. It is unknown if he survived this incident. This version is even more insane than the other alternate versions of the Hulk. While the Exiles had been dealing with Proteus, Hulk's Annihilation Wave killed many of the superhumans which should not have happened if not for Proteus. A new version of the Exiles have been present showing the surviving superhumans and they all have one goal: to stop Hulk and his Annihilation Wave, in which they apparently succeeded.

Hulk: Chapter One

In the Hulk 1999 Annual, writer John Byrne revised the Hulk's origin, much like his Spider-Man: Chapter One. In the revised origin, the Gamma Bomb that was being tested is now a gamma laser, and a Skrull was responsible for Rick Jones' presence on the base during the gamma test. The Skrull also disguised himself as Igor Rasminsky (Drenkov in the original stories), a fellow scientist working on the project. The contemporary setting removes the Cold War context of the original story, and serves as a tie-in to the Marvel: The Lost Generation maxi-series created by Roger Stern and Byrne, which also brought the origins of many Marvel characters out of the 1960s and into contemporary times. The storyline is currently designated as set on Earth-9992, and is not part of mainstream Marvel continuity (Earth-616).

The Last Avengers Story

In the 1995 Two Issues mini series The Last Avengers Story, Hulk was amongst those who joined Thor, The Thing and Hercules in a mysterious conflict known as the "Great Cataclysm" which threatened Olympus and Asgard. The event ended with Hulk holding Hercules's golden mace and his skin temporarily turned grey, suggesting that the Hulk was the only survivor of this conflict. After the Event Hulk was recruited alongside Mockingbird, Tigra, Wonder Man and Hawkeye to fight Ultron However Hulk had been seemingly corrupted by the events of the Great Cataclysm, Hulk turned on his allies, ripping Tigra in half and puncturing Wonder Man, Wonder Man unleashed his energy against the Hulk, seemingly killing them both and accidentally blinding Hawkeye. Hulk is finally defeated by Thor, which ends the chaos.

House of M

In the House of M reality, Bruce Banner disappears in Australia, where he befriends an Aborigine tribe, and attempts to control his dark side. When the mutant rulers of the Earth attack his tribe he retaliates, and eventually conquers Australia with the aid of Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.).[volume & issue needed]

Infernal Hulk

In one alternative reality, Bruce Banner and the Hulk were magically separated. Bruce became the new Sorcerer Supreme, and the Hulk was cast into hell. However, while in hell, the Hulk became corrupted by the demonic beings he encountered, transforming him into a demon himself. Now completely evil, he escaped from hell and attempted to kill Banner. With help from the mainstream Hulk, Banner tricked the "infernal" Hulk into shattering the Eye of Agamotto, causing him to be thrown back into hell.

Maestro

Set in a post apocalyptic future, the Hulk has mutated into the dictator Maestro ruling the remains of humanity with an iron fist. Ruthless, sadistic, violent, and tyrannical, the Maestro was shown to be an example of what would happen if the Hulk ever embraced his darker roots. Maestro was known to be an enemy of the Hulk, as the two alternate versions fought each other on Maestro's world.

Marvel 2099

For the Marvel 2099 imprint, Gerard Jones and Dwayne Turner created a new version of the character. First appearing in 2099 Unlimited #1, John Eisenhart, a selfish film producer in "LotusLand" (future Hollywood) is inadvertently exposed to gamma radiation by the Knights of the Banner (a cult worshipping the original Hulk) who intend to create a Hulk of their own. As the Hulk, Eisenhart finds himself representing freedom to a closed-off society. A Hulk 2099 series was published for 10 issues.[volume & issue needed]

The unified Marvel Noir reality of Earth-2099 featured a version of Hulk 2009. In addition, there was a 2099 version of Grey Hulk who was a member of the 2099 version of the Avengers until he was among those who were killed by the 2099 version of the Masters of Evil. The 2099 version of Moon Knight survived the massacre and formed the 2099 version of the New Avengers with Hulk 2099 as one of its members as they avenged Grey Hulk 2099 and the fallen Avengers by defeating the Masters of Evil and having them remanded to a prison on the planet Wakanda.

Marvel Comics 2

In another take, The Hulk is shown to still be active in the alternative future of the MC2 universe. There, he is shown as an amalgamation of his three main transformations; He has the strength of the Savage Hulk, the attitude of the Grey Hulk, and the intelligence of the Professor Hulk.[volume & issue needed]

He's also shown to have fathered a son named David by an unknown spouse.[volume & issue needed]

He was later seen within the pages of Last Hero Standing, where Loki manipulated him into attacking the heroes. When he was freed of his manipulation he was critical in punishing Loki by forcing him into the voided dimension that Thor had opened a rift into, Hulk informing Loki that he was ruined on Earth because of Loki's actions and he therefore had nothing to lose by ensuring that Loki would be punished for eternity.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Zombies

Marvel Zombies: Dead Days

In the series Marvel Zombies, the Hulk has been infected with a virus which makes him into an undead zombie (he is actually infected by the zombie Fantastic Four). Although he still retains his strength and invulnerability, he no longer heals, is losing weight because of his now-deteriorating tissue, does not feel pain and now craves human flesh. The zombie Hulk's transformations are physically controlled purely by his appetite — after feeding, he transforms back into Banner, who is also a zombie, until the hunger returns. When Hulk first transforms back into Banner, his stomach starts to burst. He is directly responsible for killing the Silver Surfer by biting off his head. Later he joins Spider-Man, Iron-Man, Giant-Man, Wolverine and Luke Cage as the Galacti after killing and consuming Galactus.

Marvel Zombies 2

Forty years later, the zombie Hulk, along with the other zombies, had eaten or converted most of the universe, prompting them to return to Earth to try to recover the dimensional transporter. Although the other zombies managed to beat their hunger by going without food for a time, the Hulk's raw hunger was too great for him to be convinced to stop, resulting in him killing the zombified but "cured" Iron Man, Jean Grey, Hawkeye, and Firelord. Once he feeds and returns to Bruce Banner, he is finally killed by Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Giant-Man, recognizing that there is no other way to stop the Hulk from feeding again.

Marvel Zombies 3

Hulk makes a cameo appearance in Marvel Zombies 3' when Machine Man, Ultron, and Jocasta travel to Earth 2149, killing winged zombies (zombie Beak, Angel, Vulture, and Falcon altogether). He also makes another cameo appearance when Vanessa Fisk explains to the 3 androids how the Silver Surfer died, and how the zombie Kingpin, who is, surprisingly, her husband, created a zombie empire forming a huge alliance.

Marvel Zombies Return

A second Hulk appears in the reality the Marvel Zombies of the original series are teleported to, known as Earth-Z. This version's life appears identical to his core counterpart up until the events of World War Hulk. When he reaches the Moon to attack the Inhumans, he is infected by the zombie Giant-Man, and his allies killed. Oddly hungry, he heads back to Earth and begins eating people, and ultimately infecting the Sentry, who sets about forming a team of Zombie Avengers to eat humanity and wipe out any competition or resistance from other heroes, infected or otherwise dead. After the Sentry tries to kill Hulk to eliminate the competition as the two are the only creatures capable of challenging each other, Hulk is later cured of his hunger by the Zombie Spider-Man and joins his New Avengers. The team succeeds in killing the Zombie Avengers and ending their plan to eat the multiverse, sacrificing themselves in the process. Ultimately, the nanite infused Sandman killed Hulk.

Old Man Logan

Old Man Logan is set 50 years into an apocalyptic future. The world is in ruin and shadow following a massive conflict. A large coordinated force of super villains has killed a majority of the heroes and seized control of the United States splitting it into sections. Bruce Banner is said to have gone mad from radiation sickness, possibly from nuclear weapons that may have been used during the conflict or this and other changes may be the long-term result of his famous gamma radiation accident. Bruce's personality and powers seem altered, in human form he now has little empathy and possesses superhuman strength. Banner and his cousin Jennifer Walters have mated and produced offspring that possess their green skin and a little of their strength. They form the hillbilly-like "Hulk Gang" that rule the entire west coast of the country dubbed "Hulkland", a domain formerly held by the Abomination until Banner killed him. Banner, along with his children and grandchildren, live in a collection of caves and trailers, forcing those that live on the west coast to pay them rent in order to be allowed to live.

There were two versions of the Hulk that appear:

Earth-807128

"Pappy" Bruce Banner's family threaten Logan's family over rent due to the Banners. Logan accompanies Clint Barton on a cross country delivery to source the rent money. When Logan returns and finds the bodies of his family, killed by the Banners, he kills the Hulk Gang and attacks Pappy Banner who admits that he set all of this into motion because he missed their old brawls. Banner gets angry when Wolverine calls him a redneck SOB and drives his claws through his chest. He transforms into The Hulk. Hulk overpowers Logan and eats him. Logan's mutant healing factor then allows him to recover and slash his way out of Hulk's stomach, killing him. Logan spots Banner's son, Bruce, Jr. and spares him. Logan takes the boy to raise in an effort to someday help combat the various villains that still rule the country.

Old Man Logan found that Pappy Banner's head was placed on a gamma-powered robot made from Adamantium by Tinkerer. He used it in his revenge on Old Man Logan. Before Old Man Logan can be finished off by Pappy Banner, he is suddenly attacked by Bruce Banner Jr. who separated Pappy Banner's head from the Adamantium armor. Rather than kill his head, Old Man Logan buried it and planted a tree over him so that its roots can slowly dig into his skull.

Earth-21923

Pappy Banner's history on Earth-21923's history was still intact up to his death at the hands of Old Man Logan. When Old Man Logan uses Asmodeus' help to return to this future to rescue Bruce Banner Jr., he finds that the time has been altered in which Maestro appears in the place of Pappy Banner. This unidentified version of Maestro has rounded up the remaining members of the Hulk Gang as he makes plans to help them build a paradise for all Hulks on Earth-616. With help from the Cambria Banner, Logan and Hawkeye of Earth-616 were able to defeat Maestro and the surviving members of the Hulk Gang went their separate ways.

Otto Banner

During the "Devil's Reign" storyline, Doctor Octopus started forming his Superior Four that includes a Hulk that has four extra arms growing from his back. His real name is Otto Banner of Earth-8816 and he was also abused by his Earth's version of Brian Banner.

Ruins

In the Warren Ellis series Ruins, a dark flip to the Kurt Busiek tale Marvels, the accidents, experiments and mutations that led to the creation of Super Heroes and super humans, instead led to terrible deformations and painful deaths. Here, Bruce Banner's story goes exactly the same as his 616 counterpart, but when he is caught in the middle of the gamma bomb explosion, instead of transforming into the Incredible Hulk, his whole body opens up from the gigantic tumors that appear inside it, pushing most of his organs and skull outside his body and giving Rick Jones cancer. He did not die, and was put in an underground vault by the CIA, codenamed "the Hulk".

Secret Wars (2015)

During the Secret Wars storyline, different versions of Hulk reside in each Battleworld domain.

  • The Battleworld domain of Greenland is filled with an assortment of Hulks ranging from Tribal Hulks (a group of Hulks that live like a tribe), Bull Hulks (a group of gamma-irradiated cattle), Sand Hulks (who evoke the traits of Hulk and Sandman), and a Sea Hulk. This land is a recreation of Earth-71612 where it was rendered into a Hulk-filled land by a gamma bomb strike by A.I.M. It was stated that Bruce Banner had started Bannertech Industries and his fate has not been mentioned since A.I.M.'s gamma bomb strike. In addition to the various type of Hulks and a variation of a Red Hulk that rules Greenland as the Red King", a variation of Steve Rogers that was sent into Greenland by God Emperor Doom and Sheriff Strange encountered another variation of Steve Rogers that operated as Doc Green.
  • The Battleworld domain of Spider-Island that was based from the remnants of Earth-19919 told an alternate version of the Spider-Island storyline where Hulk was mutated into Spider-Hulk and served as one of Spider-Queen's minions. However, Agent Venom uses Curt Connors' Lizard Formula to mutate Hulk into a giant lizard monster, which broke him free from the Spider Queen's control.
  • The Battleworld domain of Marville that was based from the remnants of Earth-71912 featured a child version of Hulk that is a member of the Avengers.
  • The Battleworld domain of the Kingdom of Manhattan is based from the remnants of Earth-61610 where variations of characters from Earth-616 and Earth-1610 co-exist on the combined version of both reality's Manhattan. In this case, a variation of Hulk's Doc Green form co-exists with a variation of Earth-1610's Hulk.
  • The Battleworld domain of Bug World that was based from the remnants of Earth-22312 features an anthropomorphic insect version of Hulk called Roly-Poly Hulk.
  • The Battleworld domain of the Walled City of New York that was based from the remnants of Earth-21722 features a version of Hulk that is a member of the Avengers where they are allied with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s side of the Walled City of New York.

Spider-Geddon

During the "Spider-Geddon" storyline, a sequel to "Spider-Verse", Robbie Banner is a punk on Earth-138 who is allied with Spider-Punk and can turn into the Hulk while listening to "Atomic Bomb" music. He helped Spider-Punk and Captain Anarchy fight the U-Foes at the Hellfire Club, assisted Spider-Punk and M.C. Strange push the Universal Church of Truth out of Queens, and fought Hydra on the streets. After obtaining the "Atomic Bomb" tape from Captain Anarchy, Spider-Punk visited Robbie to get his help, but the latter was reluctant to listen to the tape. When Kang the Conglomerator went on the attack, Robbie reluctantly listened to the tape and transformed into the Hulk to help Spider-Punk fight Kang.

The End

In other tales, possible futures for the character have been shown. Using a post apocalyptic wasteland as a backdrop, the Peter David written Incredible Hulk: The End one-shot features an elderly Bruce Banner as the last surviving inhabitant of Earth, the Hulk having hidden in a cave during a nuclear war until he was released by the Recorder sent to confirm humanity's demise. After Bruce has spent time traveling Earth, transforming into the Hulk at night and when attacked by the mutated cockroaches that are the only other surviving lifeforms on Earth, the story concludes with Banner dying of a heart attack, thus leaving the Hulk as the last living being on the planet, Hulk musing that he is now "the only one there is", having achieved his wish to be left alone, but aware that he will die if he turns back into Banner.

Ultimate Marvel

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, the Hulk first appears in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #2 (2001), written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Phil Hester. In the Ultimates series, Bruce Banner works for S.H.I.E.L.D., attempting to re-create the super-soldier formula that created Captain America.

Dr. Robert Bruce Banner was one of the leading scientists in the United States. He had a scientist named Leonard Williams as his teacher.

He was later among the scientists that are used to recreate the Super-Soldier Formula that created Captain America. Bruce Banner is shown to have been hired by the U.S. Government and General Nick Fury as part of a project to secretly recreate the Super Soldier Serum. At a covert lab in Dover, New Jersey, Bruce works alongside fellow scientists, Hank Pym, Franklin Storm, father of Sue and Johnny Storm, and Richard Parker, father of Peter Parker. Bruce believes that he has come up with the correct formula for the serum, but needs to test it out. Eager to try his results on a human subject, Banner synthesizes his serum and injects himself with it. The serum turns him into the Hulk for the first time. Banner goes on a rampage inside the laboratory and eventually destroys the entire complex, nearly killing Richard Parker, along with his wife Mary, who had brought an infant Peter along with her to visit Richard. Years later, Hulk laid waste to Chelsea Piers before he could be subdued by Spider-Man and taken into custody.

Banner and Henry Pym were both hired by S.H.I.E.L.D. to create post-human soldiers for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Ultimates, with Banner focusing on the Super-Soldier formula responsible for Captain America, and Henry Pym experimenting with his Giant-Man formula. Whereas Pym found success and celebrity with "Giant-Man", Banner found himself unable to crack the Super-Soldier formula. Classifying himself a failure and suffering ridicule at the hands of Pym, Banner took some of the recently rediscovered Captain America's blood, combined it with his Hulk formula, and injected it. Banner rationalized his decision by saying that turning himself into a monster gave the Ultimates a villain to fight, thereby justifying their existence at a time when they were accused of being an enormous multi-billion dollar waste of government resources. Before lapsing into unconsciousness however, Banner confessed that "honest-to-God truth of the matter" is that he simply "just missed being big".

Shortly afterwards, Banner transformed into a sociopathic grey-skinned Hulk that channeled and amplified Banner's hidden emotions, unleashing the darkest depths of his id. The Hulk proceeded to track down and pursue Betty Ross, the object of Bruce Banner's affection who, because of relationship problems with Banner, was courting the favor of Hollywood film star Freddie Prinze, Jr. that night, and inadvertently boasted about it to Banner over the phone shortly before his transformation. During his rampage and cross-town pursuit of the fleeing Betty Ross, The Hulk informed Betty that he was "horny as Hell" and destroyed everything in his path, indiscriminately killing hundreds of people in the process. After rendering Giant-Man unconscious and overpowering Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, who were all dispatched to stop his rampage, The Hulk changed back into Banner after the Wasp entered his skull through the ear canal and fired her bio-electric sting directly into his brain. Upon regaining consciousness, Banner was promptly knocked unconscious, restrained and shuttled away to S.H.I.E.L.D., the connection between him and the Ultimate Hulk covered up. Later, after being subdued by the Ultimates, an examination on Banner's blood revealed that the latest Super-Soldier Formula he took has placed a more permanent effect on Banner. The "Hulk cells" were not disappearing like they did after the first time Banner transformed, showing that the new Super-Soldier Formula Banner took would forever keep the Hulk within him.

After his rampage, Banner spent a number of months in a cell specifically designed to withstand the Hulk's fury, with Anti-Hulk serum administered to him on a continuous basis. Amidst the Chitauri's assault on Earth and their takeover of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the United States Armed Forces, General Fury quickly mobilized an army and attacked the alien base in Arizona. During his battle with Herr Kleiser, a Chitauri agent capable of absorbing and administering enormous physical damage, Captain America, with all other tactical options exhausted, gave the order for "the Weapon of Last Resort" and gave "Permission to traumatize Banner", who was in a helicopter with a military escort hovering over the S.H.I.E.L.D. battlefield. The delicate procedure of traumatizing a 90-pound scientist simply amounted to throwing him out of the chopper in hopes that his anger would overcome the effects of the anti-Hulk serum coursing through his veins. The Hulk's first course of action was to bodyslam Captain America into the concrete to pay him back for breaking Banner's jaw after the first Hulk transformation in Manhattan. Captain America immediately pointed out Herr Kleiser, declaring that he had been "all over Betty" while Banner was in his solitary cell. Not one to be overshadowed by a skinny German Nazi, the Hulk promptly pounded Kleiser to a pulp and even ate him. While Hulk was dining on Kleiser, Captain America manipulated him once more by calling down to him, telling Hulk that the Chitauri alien fleet had called him a "sissy-boy" and asked if the Hulk intended to let the aliens get away with such an insult. In a most vigorous defense of his heterosexuality, Hulk leaped a mile into the air, ripping apart the entire airborne alien fleet that clouded the sky, all the while proclaiming that "Hulk no Sissy Boy...HULK STRAIGHT!" Even after destroying the entire fleet and saving what remained of the day, the Hulk was full of adrenaline and rage, and needed to be sedated. Hawkeye, the marksman, was called in to take him down with an adamantium-tipped syringe full of anti-Hulk serum. Hawkeye did, but barely succeeded since Hulk seemed to be impervious to the antidote Hawkeye shot into Hulk before he finally passed out. While Banner returned to normal while in containment in S.H.I.E.L.D., his caretakers monitored him closely. Because of Herr Kleiser's shapeshifting abilities, Banner's stool were collected and properly disposed of after the battle, to rule out the possibility of Kleiser reconstituting himself in a cunning, if disgusting, way.

When Magneto attacked the Triskelion's lockup during the "Ultimate War" series, power went down for the entire facility. The Hulk was said to have eaten six members of the nursing staff in the chaos.

During the "Ultimate Six" miniseries, the Triskelion was attacked by Electro and Green Goblin, but Banner was later reported by Iron Man to have "fallen asleep reading a magazine" and was promptly sedated for a week just in case.

Banner remained in his cell for a year, with very few Hulk episodes; during one such transformation, he sat on the couch and watched Curb Your Enthusiasm until he changed back. The few visitors he received included Hank Pym, demonstrating his new "Ant Man" technology. Shortly thereafter, he learned from the national news that somebody had leaked top-secret information to the press regarding the Hulk/Banner connection. S.H.I.E.L.D. hired lawyer Matt Murdock to try to avoid the death penalty for 800-plus murder counts by bringing up the important things Banner had done in the interests of national security, and his work for the Ultimates. During jury deliberation, Banner received a visit from General Nick Fury, who told him that the case had been dismissed, and presented him with a bottle of champagne. Eagerly drinking his first drink as a free man, Banner passed out – the bottle had been drugged by Hank Pym at Fury's request – and awakened much later on the deck of an aircraft carrier, with a one-megaton nuclear weapon nearby. Fortunately for his well-being, he transformed into the Hulk right before the nuclear device was detonated. Later, Banner anonymously calls Pym from a public telephone to thank him for deliberately botching the dose before Banner decided to go into hiding. It is not clear if Pym deliberately botched the dose, or was merely incompetent in his research.

Bruce Banner later appears in Washington D.C. before one of the Crimson Dynamo's giant duplicates, letting it step on him, all the while muttering to himself about being "in touch with his inner sociopath". The Hulk appears in the next panel, lifting the robot with both hands and then ripping it in two, finishing the issue with a declaration of "NOW BRING IT ON!" He then continues to aid the Ultimates against the Liberators by defeating, dismembering, and finally eating Abomination.

Some time after Banner's disappearance in the pages of "Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk", strange occurrences across Europe and Asia reported. General Fury started piecing together the evidence and concluded that despite their distance from one another, they were all related. The discovery of feces in Tibet belonging to Banner confirmed that he had survived his execution. Since S.H.I.E.L.D. was in charge of executing Banner in a very public way, they acted to cover up their error by contracting James "Logan" Howlett (Wolverine) to track Banner down and eliminate him. Logan arrives at a rural village in Tibet and discovers that all the women have been kidnapped. He eventually makes his way to a beautiful but derelict palace. The Hulk (decked in Tibetan robes and beads) has taken up residence here with the kidnapped women as his concubines. The Hulk is annoyed at being interrupted and he and Wolverine fight. After an intense struggle, the Hulk physically rips Wolverine's body in half and hurls his legs four miles up a mountain, leaving Logan's torso to freeze in the snow.

Issue #2 reveals, in flashback, that Bruce Banner, after travelling through France, Ireland and India, finally treks to Tibet, to seek the wisdom of the Panchen Lama who he hopes can reveal the true relationship behind Banner and the Hulk. It is here that the Hulk resides prior to Logan's intrusion.

He then appeared together with Iron Man in their own mini-series titled Ultimate Human, focusing on Bruce Banner approaching Tony Stark about the possibility of using the Iron Man nanites to control the Hulk transformations. The Leader is introduced as Pete Wisdom, a scientist after the blood of both men, for use in the creation of a superhuman. This series depicts the Hulk's physiology as almost infinitely adaptive to adverse conditions, including simulations of hostile extraterrestrial environments such as the surface of the planet Venus. It also described him as generating carbon Fullerenes in his skin structure, adding to his durability.

A naked Hulk comes into a restaurant demanding food. Princess Zarda who is already at the restaurant fights and defeats the Hulk. After the fight, the two form a bond and go to another restaurant before renting a motel room and having sex.

During the "Ultimatum" storyline, the Hulk appears in New York and is convinced by Spider-Man to help him rescue people. When demons start appearing they go to the home of Doctor Strange, only to learn that his body had been possessed by Nightmare. He then starts to torture them. Hulk in response heats the Orb of Acmantata, which causes an explosion. He survives and is recruited by the remaining Ultimates and X-Men to stop Magneto. In Magneto's Citadel, he and Colossus are tasked with destroying some of the citadel's machinery. They try to stop Mystique and Sabretooth from escaping, but fail. Hulk survives Ultimatum and is later seen in Ultimate Comics: X in a soup kitchen as Bruce Banner in New York. He is convinced by Karen Grant to be their "enforcer" in a new team sponsored by former Director Nick Fury.

During the European crisis involving the Children of Tomorrow, Hulk was convinced by S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Flumm to attack the Children of Tomorrow in exchange for the safety of Betty Ross, currently in custody. Hulk was unleashed in Children's base called The City, but the Maker managed to calm him down and convince him that he was being used. In that moment, the US Government launched an ineffective nuclear attack on the City, and the Children detonate an anti-matter bomb in Washington, D.C. in retaliation. When the Ultimates finally turned the tide, the Maker injected the Hulk with the Giant-Man serum, turning him into a giant juggernaut, although he was defeated and put into sedated custody beneath the Triskelion once more.

Bruce was freed by the mysterious woman called Kang, and convinced him to steal the Infinity Gems with which he battled the Ultimates. After the arrival of escapee Reed Richards, the heroes escaped, but Captain America decided to be left behind in order to stop the villains, although he was defeated by Thor.

When Maker merged all realities in order to help Eternity to fight the First Firmament, Hulk is among the Ultimates members that are revived. It was shown that Hulk did not retain his intelligence and referred to himself in the third person. When the Ultimates of Earth-616 arrived on Counter-Earth to confront Maker for his actions, he had the Earth-1610 Ultimates fight the Earth-616 Ultimates where Hulk was thrown out of the building by Blue Marvel. Eventually, Hulk and the rest of the Earth-1610 Ultimates decided that there was no reason to fight the Earth-616 Ultimates which resulted in Maker killing the Earth-1610 Captain America. After aiding the Earth-616 Ultimates into giving Eternity the power to defeat the First Firmament, Hulk and the rest of the Earth-1610 Ultimates left to pursue Maker.

After Earth-1610 was restored, Hulk was seen with the Avengers where they help Spider-Man fight Green Goblin.

In other media

The character has been played in live-action and animation by a variety of actors. The character was first played in live-action by Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno in the 1978 television series The Incredible Hulk and its subsequent television films The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988), The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989), and The Death of the Incredible Hulk (1990), and Eric Bana in the film Hulk (2003). In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the character was first portrayed by Edward Norton in the film The Incredible Hulk (2008), and then by Mark Ruffalo in later appearances, including the films The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Captain Marvel (2019), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), and the television series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022) and What If...? (2021).

Reception

The Hulk was ranked #1 on a listing of Marvel Comics' monster characters in 2015.

In 2018, CBR.com ranked The Thing (Bruce Banner) 2nd in their "Age Of Apocalypse: The 30 Strongest Characters In Marvel's Coolest Alternate World" list.

In 2022, Screen Rant included Hulk in their "10 Most Powerful Hercules Villains In Marvel Comics" list.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b In Marvel comics, the term "mutate" is used as a noun to designate characters that received superpowers from an external source, as opposed to Marvel's mutants.

References

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External links