During the experimental detonation of a gamma bomb, scientist Bruce Banner rushes to save a teenager who has driven onto the testing field. Pushing the teen, Rick Jones, into a trench, Banner himself is caught in the blast, absorbing massive amounts of radiation. He awakens later in an infirmary, seeming relatively unscathed, but that night transforms into a lumbering grey form that breaks through the wall and escapes. A soldier in the ensuing search party dubs the otherwise unidentified creature a “hulk”.
The original version of the Hulk was often shown as simple and quick to anger. His first transformations were triggered by sundown, and his return to Banner by dawn. However, in Incredible Hulk #4, Banner started using a gamma-ray device to transform at will. In more recent Hulk stories, emotions trigger the change. Although grey in his debut, difficulties for the printer led to a change in his color to green. In the original tale, the Hulk divorces his identity from Banner’s, decrying Banner as “that puny weakling in the picture.” From his earliest stories, the Hulk has been concerned with finding sanctuary and quiet, and often is shown reacting emotionally to situations quickly. Grest and Weinberg call Hulk the “dark, primordial side of [Banner's] psyche.” Even in the earliest appearances, Hulk spoke in the third person. The Hulk retains a modest intelligence, thinking and talking in full sentences, and Lee even gives the Hulk expository dialogue in issue six, allowing readers to learn just what capabilities the 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 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 may cost us.” Daniels continues, “The Hulk became Marvel’s most disturbing embodiment of the perils inherent in the atomic age.”
Though usually a loner, the Hulk helped to form both the Avengers and the Defenders. He was able to determine that the changes were now triggered by emotional stress.
The Fantastic Four #12 (March 1963), featured the Hulk’s first battle with the Thing. Although many early Hulk stories involve General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross trying to capture or destroy the Hulk, the main villain is often, like Hulk, 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 the Hulk and trying to gain Betty’s love more honorably. Rick Jones serves as the Hulk’s friend and sidekick in these early tales.
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.
Hulk stories began to involve other dimensions, and in one, Hulk met the empress Jarella. Jarella used magic to bring Banner’s intelligence to Hulk, and came to love him, asking him to become her mate. Though Hulk returned to Earth before he could become her king, he would return to Jarella’s kingdom of K’ai again.
When Bill Mantlo took on writing duties, he led the character into the arena of political commentary when Hulk traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel, encountering both the violence of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and the Jewish Israeli heroine Sabra. Soon after, Hulk encountered the Arabian Knight, a Bedouin superhero.
Under Mantlo’s writing, a mindless Hulk was sent to the “Crossroads of Eternity”, where Banner was revealed to have suffered childhood traumas which engendered Bruce’s repressed rage.
Having come to terms with his issues, at least for a time, Hulk and Banner physically separated under John Byrne’s writing. Separated from the Hulk by Doc Samson, Banner was recruited by the U.S. government to create the Hulkbusters, a government team dedicated to catching Hulk. Banner and Ross married, but Byrne’s change in the character was reversed by Al Milgrom, who reunited the two personas, and with issue #324, returned the Hulk to his grey coloration, with the changes occurring at night, regardless of Banner’s emotional state. The Hulk appeared to perish in a gamma bomb explosion, but was instead sent to Jarella’s home dimension of K’ai.
Shortly after returning to Earth, Hulk took on the identity of “Joe Fixit,” a shadowy behind the scenes figure, working in Las Vegas on behalf of a casino owner, Michael Berengetti. For months, Banner was repressed in Hulk’s mind, but slowly began to reappear. Hulk and Banner began to change back and forth again at dusk and dawn, as the character initially had, but this time, they worked together to advance both their goals, using written notes as communication as well as meeting on a mental plane to have conversations. In The Incredible Hulk #333, the Leader describes the grey Hulk persona as strongest during the night of the new moon and weakest during the full moon. Eventually, the Green Hulk began to reemerge.
In issue #377, David revamped the Hulk again; Doctor Leonard Samson engages the Ringmaster’s services to hypnotize Bruce Banner and force him, the Savage Hulk (Green Hulk) and Mr. Fixit (grey Hulk) to confront Banner’s past abuse at the hands of his father Brian Banner. During the session, the three identities confront a “Guilt Hulk,” which sadistically torments the three with the abuse of Banner’s father. Facing down this abuse, a new larger and smarter Hulk emerges and completely replaces the “human” Bruce Banner and Hulk personae. This Hulk is a culmination of the three aspects of Banner. He has the vast power of the Savage Hulk, the cunning of the grey Hulk, and the intelligence of Bruce Banner.
Hulk: Future Imperfect #2 (Jan. 1993) depicting the Maestro. Cover art by George Pérez.
Peter David then introduces the Hulk to the Pantheon, a secretive organization built around an extended family of superpowered people. The family members, mostly distant cousins to each other, had codenames based in the mythos of the Trojan War, and were descendants of the founder of the group, Agamemnon. When Agamemnon leaves, he puts the Hulk in charge of the organization. The storyline ends when it is revealed Agamemnon has traded his offspring to an alien race to gain power. The Hulk leads the Pantheon against the aliens, and then moves on. During his leadership of the Pantheon, Hulk encounters a depraved version of himself from the future called Maestro, who Delphi saw in a vision back in The Incredible Hulk vol. 2, #401 with part of the events occurring concurrently in The Incredible Hulk vol. 2, #415.
Thrown into the future, Hulk finds himself allied with Rick Jones, now an old man, in an effort to destroy the tyrant Maestro. Unable to stop him in any other manner, Hulk uses the time machine that brought him to the future to send the Maestro back into the heart of the very Gamma Bomb test that spawned the Hulk.
Artistically, the character has been depicted as progressively more muscular in the years since his debut.
Source: Marvel Universe
Robert Bruce Banner was the son of an alcoholic who deeply hated him. Banner’s mother showed much affection for her child, who returned her love, but this only served to fuel his father’s rage. Dr. Brian Banner was an atomic physicist who worked on producing clean nuclear power as an energy source, but he was afraid his exposure to it mutated his son’s genes. Bruce showed signs of high intelligence at an early age which strengthened his father’s belief. Brian became abusive to Bruce and when his mother intervened, Brian murdered her. He frightened Bruce to keep quiet, but his own bragging landed him in a psychiatric institute.
As a child Bruce was withdrawn, possibly developing a split personality to help deal with his pain and rage. His only happiness came from spending time with his cousin Jennifer Walters. Bruce found it hard to develop friendships and often found himself on the receiving end of physical abuse at the hands of school bullies. One such incident sparked him to build and plant a bomb in the basement of his school. The bomb was a dud, and Bruce was expelled, but the military took notice of his genius. Eventually, Bruce earned a doctorate in nuclear physics and started a career with them.
Man or Monster
File:Acotilletta2–Hulk beginning 2.jpgSupervising the trial of an experimental gamma bomb that he designed for the U.S. Defense Department at a nuclear research facility in New Mexico, Bruce selflessly rushed to the rescue of an ignorant teenager who had wandered onto the testing field as the countdown ticked inexorably toward zero. After shoving young Rick Jones to safety in a nearby ditch, Bruce was struck full-force by the bomb blast. He survived, but was irradiated by the deadly gamma energy.
At first, Banner would transform into the brutish gray Hulk only at sunset, and revert to human form at dawn. Eventually, his changes into the childlike green Hulk came to be triggered by the release of adrenaline when he was intensely excited, no matter what time of day. The green Hulk possesses little of Banner’s memory and intelligence, and is easily enraged; making him a menace to society.
Since Banner’s initial transformation into the Hulk, military forces commanded by the implacable General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross – Bruce’s one-time benefactor – have hunted him continually. Hulk continued to make more enemies within the military such as Major Glenn Talbot as he and Bruce constantly competed for the affections of Ross’ daughter, Betty.
For a short time, Banner successfully treated his condition with radiation and was able to maintain enough of his own personality when he became the Hulk to control himself in that form. Subsequently, he earned the government’s favor by destroying the alien Metal Master and received a presidential pardon.
Friends and Foes
A founding member of the Avengers
Not long after Hulk was baited into a trap by the Asgardian trickster, Loki, into destroying a train trestle. This would lead to the first instance where Hulk became a team player. Beside the occasional group endeavors, Hulk has teamed-up with many others that didn’t think he was so bad. Spider-Man, Power Man and Iron Fist have partnered with Hulk on several occasions. Even brutes like the Thing and scrappers like Wolverine identified with Hulk and have allied with him almost as many times as they’ve fought against him. Not only has Hulk befriended those in the super-hero community, but he has managed to form bonds with regular people such as “Crackajack” Jackson and Jim Wilson.
Unfortunately for the Hulk, there are many who used his limited intelligence against him and attempted to manipulate him for their own selfish means. Vile menaces like the Leader, Tyrannus, and Captain Omen. When Hulk proved to be too hard to control, they sent their minions like Aquon and Mogol to confront him physically. Enemies came in all shapes and sizes, ranging in power levels. From mere humans like Devastator, to evolved beings like the Inheritor, to monstrous powerhouses like Glob, Hulk always found a way to prevail – even against those who masqueraded as friends such as his old physics professor, Geoffrey Crawford – later known as Ravage.
Multiple Personality Disorder
Gamma-powered psychiatrist Leonard “Doc” Samson captured the Hulk and successfully separated Banner and his alter ego. Without Banner’s psyche to restrain him, the Hulk became a greater danger than ever before. Realizing there was only one way to reign in the Hulk, Banner agreed to merge with the monster. But the stress of the re-integration fractured Banner’s subconscious, creating the street-smart gray Hulk. During this time, he spent several years in Las Vegas, sometimes operating as an enforcer calling himself Mr. Fixit (or “Joe Fixit.”) The smart-mouth Fixit was an ill-tempered, wise-cracking, thuggish brute whose personality resembled that of his father and the fraternity boys who surrounded him in college. It was also at this time that Joe Fixit began his a short-lived relationship with the future wife of Rick Jones, Marlo Chandler. In this state of the Hulk, Banner again found himself changing into the Hulk at night and into his human form in the light of the day.
Soon after, the swirling mess of persona and mentalities took their toll on the ever-flustered mind of Dr. Banner, and a battle for supremacy and control took place in Banner’s subconscious. With assistance by the Ringmaster and his hypnotic abilities, Doc Samson tapped into the subconscious of Banner and reached his separate incarnations. Through this hypnosis, Banner, the green Hulk, and the grey Fixit all aligned to face their true inner demons– Banner’s unresolved issues with his abusive father and the murderer of his mother. With this realization, Banner was able to fuse these mentalities together, finding peace of mind. However, a green but intelligent version of the Hulk emerged. He had the mentality of Dr. Banner but the body and abilities of the Hulk – later nicknamed the Professor. Although Banner had his dominant personalities merged together, there were a number of other personas running through his mind including that of a “Devil-Hulk.”
Trial of Agamemnon
It was during this time the Professor was recruited into the Pantheon, a group determined to end war, famine and pestilence on the Earth. His exploits with the team ranged from posing as gangsters in Las Vegas, taking down individuals like the enigmatic Mr. Frost, to renewing old grudges with powerful foes such as Madman while forming new enemies as the amphibious android, Piecemeal, to battling enemies from beyond the stars. During this time, Hulk also traveled forward in time and met his future self, the Maestro. However, once it was discovered Agamemnon, immortal founder of the Pantheon, betrayed them to an alien race called the Troyjans, Hulk quit the group. Sometime later, the Pantheon was hired by Henry Gyrich to capture the Hulk, but they secretly wanted him to join their ranks again. They faked the Hulk’s death as a show of good faith, but he still declined their invitation.
Harmless to Horseman
When Dr. Banner realized he must once again keep his temper in check, he triggered a fail-safe within his subconscious. Any time he let his rage loose, the mentality of the savage green Hulk would soon take over, albeit in the form of Banner’s human body. Without the strength of the Hulk and filled with the Green Goliath’s rage and belief of his old abilities, he proved to be a great danger only to himself. This was, however, not to last. During the assault of the being known as Onslaught, the Hulk asked Jean Grey to let the green Hulk loose from its mental prison in order to use his maximum potential and abilities to defeat the menace. In a strange twist, Banner became divided. Half physically went away to a parallel world created upon Onslaught’s defeat, where he once again became the savage green Hulk. The other half that remained on Earth was a cold, somewhat unfeeling but intelligible version of the jade monster. This version of the Hulk also found himself allied with Apocalypse (En Sabah Nur), who made Hulk into War – one of his Four Horsemen. This only lasted until War injured Rick Jones, and Hulk’s guilt rejected Apocalypse’s programming.
The surly version of the Hulk remained in this state, never changing until much later when the two Hulk fragments re-merged, and Banner and Hulk split their time and existence. The Maestro returned after absorbing enough radiation to re-form his body after suffering a previous defeat from Hulk, but was beaten again. He reestablished a connection to his wife, Betty, but was left a broken man after her death due to radiation poisoning. Banner blamed himself, believing it was Betty’s prolonged exposure to him that caused her death, but he discovered the Abomination had injected her with his radioactive blood. Hulk would later bludgeon his archenemy into a bloody pulp, nearly killing him.
After the events of the M-Day, Banner sought refuge and peace in Alaska, where he lived as a hermit loosely connected to the town community. He was eventually tracked down by Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D., who required his help in defeating the Hydra space weapon called the Godseye which could detonate all the nuclear bombs in the world. Sent up as the Hulk, he discovered that the Godseye was actually a rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. weapon that could match the strength of any enemy. In the ensuing battle, the Godseye found that though it could try, it could not match the increasing power of the Hulk, and it exploded.
A S.H.I.E.L.D. commissioned space shuttle was sent to retrieve the Hulk, or so he believed. Seizing the opportunity to be rid of the Hulk, a group of superheroes known as the Illuminati decided to jettison the shuttle into space, to a planet with no intelligent life forms. Unfortunately, there was a navigation error, and the Hulk landed on Sakaar, a place full of barbarian tribes, gladiator battles and ruled over by a corrupt empire. The planet was situated near a portal, which gave it access to several different cultures and technologies. The trip made him vulnerable, and it wasn’t long before he was subjugated by the Red King. Hulk was forced to fight, but he eventually brought peace to the savage planet.File:Acotilletta2–WWHulk.jpg Hulk was proclaimed the Green King, and all those on Sakaar worshiped him and his Queen, Caiera. She told her king that she would bear him a child, and it seemed that the Hulk’s life of running and fighting was over. However, the Hulk was not destined for a happy ending as the ship that brought him to that world soon exploded, seemingly killing both his wife and unborn child sending Banner into a rage like no other. He and his Warbound journeyed to Earth seeking revenge on the planet’s heroes for their part in Sakaar’s destruction.
World War Hulk
Once they arrived, the Hulk crushed Black Bolt on Attilan and took the city of New York as his battleground. Iron Man, Mister Fantastic and Doctor Strange all fell before the Hulk and his Warbound too. Even old sparring partners such as the X-Men as well as new threats like the Gamma Corps couldn’t even slow the Hulk’s rampage. Iron Man called upon the combined power of various satellites to finally put an end to Hulk’s war. Banner was taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and was placed three miles below the Mojave Desert. The Warbound was also placed in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, but they escaped after saving New York from being split in half by an expanding chasm the Hulk created.
The Coming of the Red Hulk
While Banner was incarcerated at Gamma Base, a new mystery revealed itself when long-time Hulk foe, the Abomination, was found murdered in his homeland of Russia. A team comprised of Iron Man, General Ross, Samson, She-Hulk and Commander Maria Hill went to investigate only to determine the only suspect that could have done this was the Hulk. The perpetrator soon revealed himself on a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, and it was indeed a massive creature referring to itself as the Red Hulk. This new incarnation of the Hulk decimated the likes of She-Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and even Rick Jones in his new powered up identity named A-Bomb. Banner was set free when the conflict between the Red Hulk and A-Bomb caused a big enough earthquake to damage his prison. The potential threat to Banner’s life triggered his transformation into the Green Goliath, and the Hulk wasted no time in confronting his new nemesis. The Hulk was caught unprepared for the Red Hulk’s fighting style. He was defeated in their first meeting – suffering a broken arm in the process – but the outcome was much different during their second clash. The Hulk found a potential weakness in the Red Hulk and exploited it. Once the Red Hulk was beaten, the Hulk left before he could find out the Red Hulk’s true identity. However, Banner had been spending his time trying to track down the Red Hulk before he can do anymore damage. On his journey, Banner ended up in Las Vegas where the Hulk had to team up with Sentry, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight and even Brother Voodoo to quell a pack of Wendigos from devouring everyone inside a casino.
Defenders / Offenders War
The Grandmaster came to Hulk with a proposition: if Hulk chose to participate in a game and won, Grandmaster would bring his love, Jarella, back to life. Hulk agreed and was told he could pick a group of allies to aid him in the game. Hulk chose his former teammates in the Defenders: Namor, Doctor Strange, and Silver Surfer. When the time came to meet their opponents, the Collector appeared with the Red Hulk, and his team: Baron Mordo, Terrax and Tiger Shark – now known as the Offenders. With the game underway, a member of each team was paired up on separate battlefields, but each couple was too evenly matched. In an unexpected turn of events, the Red Hulk impaled the Hulk on a trident, killing him. Grandmaster would eventually resurrect the Hulk to attend to an out of control Red Hulk, but he would still be left broken-hearted over the loss of his beloved Jarella – much to the satisfaction of his red nemesis.
Fall of the Hulks
Banner became a captive of M.O.D.O.K. and the Intelligencia, and quartet of heroes attempted to infiltrate the underground base to free him. They uncovered that at the end of Hulk’s war with the heroes of Earth, the satellites Stark used to end the Hulk’s rampage were hacked into by M.O.D.O.K. for the sole purpose of interfacing with Banner’s irradiated cells. With this information, and the help of a seemingly traitorous General Ross, M.O.D.O.K. intended to create an army of gamma-powered soldiers. They already caused Doc Samson to develop an evil split personality, transformed Rick Jones into the monstrous A-Bomb, and created the Red Hulk. When Samson turned on his group and attacked She-Hulk, leaving Ben Urich and Peter Parker to fend for themselves against the Red Hulk, an enraged Banner released his alter-ego to save them. The battle between the Hulks left the base in ruins, but it appeared it would be the last time these behemoths would ever clash again. The Red Hulk used his power to absorb radiation to drain Hulk dry, leaving Banner unable to ever transform into the Green Goliath again. Taking Hulk out of the equation so soon wasn’t initially part of the plan, but that was only the start of the Intelligencia’s master stroke.
World War Hulks
Hulks strike back
Unable to summon his incredible strength to combat his foes, Banner had to rely mainly on his son, Skaar, to do as he was told. Skaar had come to Earth to kill his father but without Hulk around, he wound up aiding Banner. Amadeus Cho, She-Hulk, A-Bomb, his recently discovered daughter, Lyra, and a bevy of other heroes were also working with Banner to defeat the Intelligencia. An unforeseeable event occurred when the Intelligencia put their plan in motion and transformed an army of A.I.M. soldiers into Hulks and marched them into the nation’s capitol – the ray used to transform the soldiers also created “Hulked-Out Heroes.” Following a chaotic battle, Banner and the rest of the world’s smartest men managed to revert the all of the Hulks and M.O.D.O.K. back to normal humans, but the cost was too high. The radiation taken from the soldiers’ bodies was brought back to the Intelligencia’s ship, the Hellcarrier, but its machinery couldn’t contain it for long. The only thing on the planet able to absorb it all was Banner. Samson attempted to help undo some of the damage he caused and sacrificed himself in the process. Immediately following the absorption process, Banner became the Hulk once again, and Skaar was finally going to get the fight he’d been longing for. During the brawl Skaar accidentally placed several innocents at risk. Hulk saved their lives, proving he wasn’t the monster Skaar or Banner made him out to be. Father and son finally reconciled and decided to act as a family.
With the threat of the Intelligencia behind him Banner began to make amends with his makeshift family, but Betty wanted no part of it. The more Bruce pushed the more she spurned his advances and eventually transformed into her Red She-Hulk persona and vaulted away. Banner followed suit and pursued as the Hulk which only led to a clash titanic enough to grab the attention of Steve Rogers and his Avengers. It was at this time Hulk discovered he had another son – Skaar’s twin brother, Hiro-Kala, who was racing toward Earth with the planet K’ai in tow. The Hulk took his family into space to stop Hiro-Kala before the planets collided, killing everyone on both. While Hulk’s allies dealt with Hiro-Kala’s forces, Hulk confronted his son with the hope he could reason with him. He soon found out his second son was evil and cruel, and the only thing he understood was violence. Still, Hulk could not bring himself to kill his own flesh and blood, so Skaar sealed Hiro-Kala in a rock tomb, leaving him imprisoned on K’ai for the foreseeable future. K’ai was brought back to its point of origin, the Microverse, by Arcturus Rann and the Enigma Force.
As Hulk was dealing with his errant son the Chaos King was busy trying to plunge the universe back to the nothing before time and space began. Only Hercules and a select few had the power to oppose him, but they were rapidly losing ground. Dr. Strange appeared before Hulk and requested aid. The Hulk returned to Earth and was immediately assaulted by an enemy long-thought dead – the Abomination, now a servant of the Chaos King. To make matters worse Dr. Strange fought at Abomination’s side, possessed by Zom, and the two were seeking Marlo Chandler, A-Bomb’s ex-wife and the only person on Earth to have been touched by death and live. The dead had returned as servants of the Chaos King to fight the Hulk, but fallen allies rose to help him. Samson, Jarella and even Banner’s mother stood by his side, but one parent’s return signaled the resurrection of his father. Hulk had to face his personal demons alone as his new family contended with an army of undead enemies, but before long they were all united in defending Marlo. It almost seemed as if the Chaos King’s forces would overwhelm the heroes until Marlo tapped into the power within her and returned all of the Chaos King’s allies to the grave, and Hercules restored the universe to the way it was before the assault. After seeing how some of the heroes were rewarded for their assistance, Hulk was angered his family did not receive anything for their service. He journeyed to the new Mount Olympus where the Greek gods were restored to power and challenged Zeus, demanding his family be given the opportunity to live normal lives as their reward for their part in saving existence. Zeus gladly accepted the challenge but once he realized Hulk was only looking to sacrifice his own life for the lives of others, Zeus stopped fighting and decided to teach hulk a lesson through torture. Hulk was saved by Hercules and his family, but having to live with his own tortured soul proved to be punishment enough.
More on Marvel.com: http://marvel.com/universe/Hulk_(Bruce_Banner)#ixzz1ir2cArpq