Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I admit, I’ve never been a huge Hulk fan- but I am, of course, a fan of the complexity of the character, even if I’m a little under-read in this area. I guess, for a long time, I just had trouble with the basic premise of the comic- the hero is sort of the villain. Well, okay, that isn’t quite it. The hero isn’t actually a hero. Hulk is just…Hulk. He isn’t really good or bad, most of the time. He just is. So even when Hulk started pounding on the bad guys, screaming things like “HULK IS STRONGEST THERE IS” it never struck me as a particularly victorious or heroic moment. It always seemed to me that Hulk’s allies or the other heroes would have to practically trick Hulk into raging against an intended target, as opposed to leveling a small city. So Hulk could stomp almost everyone in the Marvel U - flat. But he had the mind of a two-year-old. What was heroic about that? Slowly, slowly- it dawned on me. Bruce Banner is the hero. Nobody could handle what Banner has had to handle. No one should have to. He’s got to weigh everything- should he keep Hulk in check? Should he let it go? When’s the right moment? Should he turn himself in, so that nobody else gets hurt- or would that be like giving the US Military and S.H.I.E.L.D. an atom bomb to play with? He’s got to be close to people to stay human- but if he gets too close, he might Hulk-out and hurt them. It’s hell. Whether or not the world is better or poorer because of the Hulk is a point of debate the Avengers have been having since they first got together. Ultimately, though, you can be damn sure that Hulk would have wrecked most of human civilization if Banner wasn’t in the drivers seat. Nobody else in the Marvel U could balance that kind of power. Okay, if you really want to get into it, Banner’s Hulk persona is kind of a product of his own repressed thoughts, feelings, etc. But who doesn’t have $*&% to work out? Is Banner really so much more messed up than anybody else? Don’t you think if you got hit up with gamma radiation, you’d probably have some deep, dark secrets that might emerge as some radiation-fueled persona? So that’s the other bit, in a nutshell- Banner has to work out his personal issues. The thing is- as anyone who has ever been to therapy can tell you- that’s hard. Really hard. Maybe the hardest thing you ever have to do is look at the parts of yourself you don’t like and need to change. The only difference between Banner and everybody else is that he really HAS to figure &(*$ out, or he’s endangering the entire world. All right, I also understand that I’m really just talking about one interpretation of Hulk (although it’s probably my favorite). Over the years, various combinations of Hulk and Banner’s personae have emerged. In fact, I could be wrong, but I think during the whole Planet Hulk thing Hulk was really just Hulk. Like, not Banner walking and talking in the Hulk’s body (which happened for a while in the 80s), but an intelligent talking Hulk who thought of himself AS Hulk, separate from Banner. This wouldn’t be the first time ‘Hulk’ became a character in his own right, either. For example, I totally love ‘Joe Fixit’- that is, the Grey Hulk. This persona wasn’t exactly heroic, but he was cool. I mean, he could get angry, but it was sort of like Hulk was calm, calculating, and in-control. He would flex and scare opponents away before a fight even had to happen. And I even thought the outfit was slick. It was like Hulk meets Goodfellas or something. It was a nice compromise, I think: maybe this Hulk’s methods ran a little too close to racketeering and organized crime to make the Avengers comfortable, but he wasn’t about to go let the Leader or the Abomination destroy the world. So Hulk wasn’t quite good and he wasn’t quite bad- but he also wasn’t just Banner in a really strong body and he wasn’t just a big, mindless rampaging monster. I thought it sort of worked, in this weird way. Speaking of that now famous storyline- I think seeing Fixit in a movie would be frickin’ awesome. I really love Edward Norton as Banner. I couldn’t ask for a better actor to play that part. In fact, I really loved the relaunch. But now, no sequel until after the Avengers’ movie? I was so psyched to see more of the Leader too- remember that creepy scientist that Norton and Liv Tyler have a run in with? And his head starts to grow and pulsate in one of the last scene’s in the movie? That was long-time Hulk villain Samuel Sterns, in case you missed it. The Leader has got to be the most bizarre nemesis of any character ever, and I have a tough time wrapping my head around a film that would involve him but it would fascinate me nonetheless. He’s basically the anti-Hulk- instead of developing an inhuman body, the Leader develops an inhuman brain. I may have exaggerated last week when I mentioned Reed Richards’ as the smartest character in the Marvel U- technically, I suppose, it would be Sterns after his Hulk-like mutation. Not surprisingly, Sterns ends up spending most of his time trying to place his consciousness into Hulk’s form. If Sterns ever accomplished this goal, his super-human intelligence and problem-solving combined with the raw power of Hulk’s body…well, it wouldn’t be a pretty picture.


  1. if you watched that hulk vs movie that cam eout back in Janurary basically that happens in Hulk Vs. Thor Loki pulls bruce banner into asgard and then makes him become the hulk. then he uses his powers to effectively rip banner out of the hulk and then talk control of the hulk himselfs. eventually hulk is able to over throw lokis mind control and then becomes the hulk everyone fears with no banner in control. he just goes to destroy asgard until banner decides that he must go back into the hulk to control him. this shows teh destructive power of the hulk with no control.

  2. Eh technically speaking whatever Mr. Fantastic is by far the smartest, come on man don't go back on your word just because someone gets hit with gamma rays. I could hit the boy band Hanson with gamma rays and make them a better band but that doesn't mean the people will like them relatively speaking. You have the Jonas Brothers now!


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