The Incredible Hulk: Who is the Jade Giant?

Hulk is the strongest one there is

Janitor: “So, which one is it? Are you a big guy that gets all little, or a little guy that, uh, sometimes blows up large?”
Bruce: “You know – I’m not even sure.”  

The Avengers

An army unit is closing in on their target that has led them on a worldwide chase, but they’ve finally tracked him down. The target suddenly notices them. “$#&*, he’s seen us!” The squad leader screams at his troops to stop the target, but it’s too late. The target undergoes a startling metamorphosis, his muscles bulging, and his skin turning a vibrant green. As the unit opens fire, the creature roars “LEAVE HULK ALONE!

You may have seen him in the Avengers movies, but there’s a lot more to the Hulk than meets the eye. So how did this not-so-jolly green giant come to be? How did he help found the Avengers? And what do you mean there are multiple Hulks?! Let’s find out.

If I Could Save Rage in a Bottle: Hulk’s Backstory

[a young Bruce Banner is cowering in bed]
Hulk: Hey, big guy. I hear you, kid. I love you. I’ll always be here for you. He’s not your dad. Not a good dad. A dad can’t hurt you and be a good dad. Just let me out, okay? Let me out and I’ll kill him.
Bruce: Don’t wanna.

Immortal Hulk #37

Hulk first debuted in The Incredible Hulk #1 in 1962. His creation was inspired by Frankenstein, Quasimodo, and The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Bruce Banner is a genius who was born in an abusive home. Bruce’s father beat him and his mother for years until one day he killed Mrs. Banner in a rage. This caused Bruce to develop psychological issues around anger and fear. In spite of this, Bruce became a brilliant physicist who specialized in gamma radiation.

Bruce was recruited to develop a ‘gamma bomb’ for use by the U.S. Army. While working on the bomb, he became enamored with Betty Ross (Liv Tyler in The Incredible Hulk), the daughter of his boss General “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt in the MCU). During a test of the gamma bomb, Bruce noticed a teenager had snuck into the test site and rushed to save him. Bruce saved the teen, but was caught in the blast himself.

He was taken to a military hospital and introduced to Rick Jones (Luke Perry in the animated show The Incredible Hulk), the teenager he had saved. When night fell, Bruce transformed into an unstoppable creature that was soon named The Hulk.

The Worldbreaker: Hulk’s History

Hulk: [New York] will fall. You have 24 hours to evacuate. When I return, I want to see Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, and Doctor Strange. And if they’re not here… [holds up a bloodied Black Bolt] I’ll do this to your whole stinking planet.

World War Hulk

Bruce Banner struggled nightly to control his transformation. He eventually managed to create a device that could transform Hulk into Banner and vice versa. Unfortunately, using this machine mutated him again, causing him to transform when he grew angry. At one point, he helped a group of superheroes battle the Norse god Loki and decided to join this group called The Avengers.

Throughout the decades, Hulk would encounter countless heroes and villains. Sometimes he helped heroes fight evil, and others he would face heroes trying to stop his latest rampage. The creature was eventually deemed too dangerous to remain on Earth. A group called The Illuminati subdued him and used a spaceship to send him to a peaceful world. unfortunantly, he woke up and damaged the navigation, landing instead on the planet Sakaar.

Bruce was enslaved and forced to fight as a gladiator. Realizing his human form would never survive in such a world, Bruce gave complete control to the Hulk, who led several other slaves in a rebellion and ousted the planet’s evil king. He became the king, finally finding peace and even a lover! So naturally, an explosion killed countless people, including his new Queen, just so he could get pissed off again.

Blaming the Illuminati for his lover’s death, Hulk returned to Earth with his Warbound soldiers to seek revenge. Earth’s superheroes launched an all-out counter-assault, desperately trying to stop him from killing the Illuminati (not so bad) and destroying New York (kinda bad). After a fight with the hero Sentry, the king calmed down enough to listen to reason.

It was revealed that the ship was sabotaged by the evil king’s army, and one of Hulk’s Warbound had allowed it to happen. Hulk grew so furious that his ambient energy started tearing the Earth apart. To prevent the Earth’s destruction, Hulk allowed himself to be knocked unconscious and taken into custody.

Green Scar: The Hulk’s Powers and (Split) Personality

[Hulk has saved the Avengers from certain death by catching a mountain]
War Machine: “There must be two miles of rock above us! How can even you hold that, Hulk!?
Hulk:I’m just bracing it… I’ve still got leverage! Still… I don’t know how long… seconds… a minute, maybe…

Secret Wars

Everyone knows that The Hulk is super strong, but few realize just how powerful he is. The Jade Giant grows exponentially stronger the angrier he gets and has no upper limit. During the event comic Secret Wars, the villain Molecule Man used his powers to throw a mountain at a group of heroes. He not only caught the mountain, but managed to hold it up for several minutes while the other heroes came up with an escape plan.

Because of his super strength, Hulk is insanely durable and has a healing factor that puts Wolverine’s to shame. In the crossover comic “DC vs. Marvel Comics“, he battled Superman and only lost because the victor was decided by the fans.  During his time on Sakaar, the green gargantuan learned how use various weapons and fight strategically. The result? “Hulk Slash!

Due to the cornucopia of mental problems Bruce Banner suffers from, he developed Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) that manifests through the Hulk. His Savage incarnation is the one most people are familiar with. It represents the anger and rage that Banner bottled up beginning as an abused child. His original transformation turned him into a super strong gangster called Joe Fixit. This form releases Banner’s inhibitions and is comparable to Mr. Hyde.

Banner at one point created a Merged form that let him stay in control while transformed. This form was only strong when he was calm and weakened him if he grew angry. During his stay on Sakaar, Banner gave Hulk full control, resulting in the Green Scar. This was basically a gamma-powered Conan the Barbarian and one of the strongest forms. His ultimate transformation is The Worldbreaker, a form that radiates enough gamma energy to potentially destroy a world.

The Actors Who Played The Hulk

Max Ferguson and Paul Soles – The Marvel Super Heroes
Bob Holt and Michael Bell – The Incredible Hulk
Peter Cullen – Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends
Ron Perlman – Iron Man, Fantastic Four
Lou Ferigno and Bill Bixby – The Incredible Hulk (1977)
Michael Donavan and Neal Mcdougnah – The Incredible Hulk
Fred Tatiscoire – Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Phineas and Ferb
Eric Bana – Hulk
Edward Norton – The Incredible Hulk
Mark Ruffalo – The Avengers, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok, What If?, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

Didya Get All That?

Readers, make him angry. You’ll like him when he’s angry.

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