There’s a lot to most of the big Marvel characters we know and love in the comics. We know the depths of who Iron Man is, who Thor is, what the brilliance of Black Panther and Black Widow means. The one that seems to go underplayed? The Hulk.
See, the lot of us assume that Hulk’s bulked out angry strength and power is really what he’s all about. He’s big, green and furious – but is that really all he is? Is it just a Bruce Banner getting into road rage and everyone better watch out kind of drama? No. There’s so much more to it and Hulk’s power is actually one of the majorly understated moments in the MCU, that’s for sure. “But, Candice! They DID talk about it and they had the Hulkbuster, remember?” and to that I’d say “Tutut, dear friend, there’s more to how that went down and they left quite a few things out.” so let me help.
The Original Origin:
Our beloved Bruce Banner took on the full brunt of gamma rays when trying to save a teenager who was in the way of a blast that should’ve killed both Banner and the teen. See, this was back when they weren’t really able to make Hulk green, like we know him, and he was gray because of issues with inking green. The purpose for this was Stan Lee didn’t want a single living soul to feel they were being targeted by utilizing a skin color that was too closely resembling a human. So, with the inking issues eventually sorted out, he became green again. Now, it’s important to understand that not everyone ends up with the exact same reaction that Banner would have. Bruce has a rather abusive history with his Father and it’s stated that his childhood trauma, mixed with the gamma rays, brought out the intense anger that Banner had buried deep down. Talk about deep, right?
The thing most people don’t tend to remember, since it’s not majorly spoken about in the MCU films is that, well, Hulk could possibly destroy everyone and everything if he had the chance. The reason that Bruce Banner is such a perfect host for Hulk is because he keeps that beast soothed. If not for Banner’s intervention, Hulk has speed abilities, leaps and strength that could have him tear a world in half. It’s quite literally Banner that keeps him subdued and powered down to a reasonable point that helps protect everyone else from Hulk. In comics, you can see him stomping through worlds and creating continents and it’s that kind of power that Banner needs to keep tucked down real deep for the safety of the people. Hey, at least he’s on our side, right?
The Escalation of Hulk:
As the years go by and more people do their take on Hulk, things shift and change and suddenly Hulk is a villain or he’s a confused and misshapen genius who needs help. At one point, through many different iterations of Hulk and his alliances, they counter back around to the good guy Bruce Banner turned green. I think my favorite is Maestro Hulk from the Secret Wars: Future Imperfect series, who is well into the future of what the current arcs are. He is stronger than even our MCU Hulk by thousands times over and had a trophy room after he killed every hero we love and live for. He was no joke. Second to that was Infernal Hulk, who rose from Hell in order to take down Bruce Banner (who became Sorcerer Supreme and separated himself successfully from Hulk) and he was TERRIFYING. Sure, we could talk Old Man Logan Hulk who actually devoured Wolverine in a gruesome way, looking like a Lord of the Rings ogre. Don’t worry though, Wolverine sliced himself right out of that tum-tum and killed Hulk in the process.
Back when Hulk fascination was at its apex, a series called Hulked Out Heroes came out and introduced us to Hulk versions and such of our favorite superheroes, even going so far as to give us Hulkpool — where Deadpool and Hulk were combined. Riding a rocket into chaos, Hulkpool brought the silliness of Deadpool to the severity of Hulk and made something rather fun to read. The point is, gentle readers, there is so much more to the Hulk than just what we see when it comes to our precious Marvel Cinematic Universe. And sure, we can point out the other movies but why should we? If you want a great Hulk story, watch Thor Ragnarok and get a taste of the Planet Hulk run from the comics. Humanizing that big green fella with a touch of humor in a buddy-cop style movie with Thor was a delightful bit of business that washed the taste of those lesser Hulk films right out of our mouths. Now, to dive back in and read more about Hulkpool because I’m obsessed with figuring out who keeps making these oversized suits for him to bust out of!