When you think of The Hulk, what do you think of? We would guess that most people think of the new Avengers movies or the comics, but how much do we really know about the big green behemoth? Bruce Banner is often forgotten as being somewhat of a reluctant hero. When you see The Hulk do his thing it is easy to think, wow if only I had powers like that.
But remember Banner is not really in control of himself, The Hulk is almost a separate character to Banner in every way. Losing all control of yourself can be scary not to mention if when you did you were literally a monster capable of destroying the entire city you lived in. So people may love that you saved them, but at what cost to the city and even to human life?
There is much more to these characters that make their futures a little bleaker than you once thought. For example, Bruce had a terrible childhood that most people do not even know about; his father was very cruel to him. So Bruce turned his life around; he used his smarts to become a scientist, only for all of that intelligence to be taken from him in his moments of glory. Not to mention that he could never just be a normal person again.
Continuing on with this theme, what are some other dark secrets that Banner tries to hide away? Here are some of the best example that we could find.
20 Sad Beginnings
Dr. Bruce Banner was able to turn his sad childhood around by becoming a nuclear physicist and working at a great job for the United States Military. Being a physicist, he was invited to watch the testing of an experimental Gamma Radiation Bomb in New Mexico. Just before the test, he noticed that there was a young man within the blast zone of the bomb.
He rushed heroically to save the child saving his life and limiting the teen's exposure to the gamma radiation, but in doing so he was hit with the full force of the blast.
Though he was spared, he had a side effect and reluctantly became The Hulk. For a while, he was even hunted after destroying most of the forces sent after him. Ashamed of what he had become, he mostly tried to lay low and control this new force within himself.
19 Embarrassing Defeats
In his career, The Hulk has defeated a lot of characters of the Marvel universe; friend and foe. But some of his most embarrassing defeats are from other heroes either trying to calm him down or fight him due to him being brainwashed. Spiderman is one of the best examples of this.
If Hulk could have hit Spiderman, it would be over.
But due to Spiderman having quick reflexes and being imbued with the "Power Cosmic", he was able to punch Hulk into Space. Now Spidey is no pushover, but to have him punch someone like The Hulk into space... That's one fight you would want to forget. Others include Wolverine, Thor, and Ironman. But Hulk's main weakness would be being brainwashed, anyone that can do that has been able to control Hulk almost every time.
18 He Really Isn’t Much Of A Hero
When you think of a hero, you probably think of an individual that limits the destruction of the area he fights in; who saves the innocents around him and does as little damage as possible to bring the culprit to heel. Not The Hulk, he will tackle his foes through buildings, punch people into craters, and even clap his hands so hard that it levels city blocks.
The Hulk is no doubt effective, but at what cost?
We have seen that even in full-blown invasions of his city that he can certainly defeat his fair share of baddies, but you can not tell us that in doing so he didn't cause billions of dollars worth of damage. Not to mention the possible loss of life for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Effective but messy, like an atom bomb.
17 Sheer Destructive Power
It is hard to be sure just how much Hulk might pull his punches against certain less god-like foes. But imagine if Hulk did to you what he did to Loki in The Avengers. Needless to say, I don't think you would be recognizable as a human being. So if Bruce was walking down the street to get some fresh air, saw a man get robbed and transformed out of anger what would happen to the thief?
Hopefully, when gods are not involved, he doesn't obliterate small-time crooks.
Maybe he just grabs them and marches them to the police, who knows. He falls into the domain of possibly being too powerful to do anything but fight the biggest of dangers to the world. So does he just not leave his confinement? That would be annoying.
16 Too Strong To Be Safe?
Piggybacking off the last idea: what happens when he gets annoyed at other heroes he works with? If you have seen The Avengers you might remember when Hulk punches Thor after a big fight. Imagine if he did this to Hawkeye instead of Thor, that quick victory sucker punch would, without a doubt, knock Hawkeye out if not worse.
Hawkeye wouldn't even be able to safely fist bump The Hulk.
The Hulk is just too strong to be safe, even towards his allies. Being that strong is awesome and yet, also kind of terrifying at the same time. Even a hug from this guy could lead to some serious injury. If you still count the early comics as canon, even being breathed on too hard could send you flying.
15 Kissing Cousins
Now, this is a weird one so buckle up. As a child, he was very close to his cousin Jennifer Walters who he could spend time with away from his father and school bullies. She eventually became the She-Hulk and they remained pretty close into adulthood. Multiple times through the comics Hulk has attempted to... well seduce her.
Much to our surprise, she eventually gave in and they had children together.
They have genetically mutated The Hills Have Eyes-like children, but none-the-less it happened. In the comic series Old Man Logan, his children even take over a portion of the United States. It is hard to think which is weirder, Banner and Walters getting together or the fact that their kids are permanently hulked out psychos.
Art by Protokitty.
14 He Never Wanted To Have Power
As previously stated, Bruce Banner had a bright future ahead of him before his accident in New Mexico. He had left most of his pain and anger behind, becoming a prominent figure in his scientific field. Of course, his life is much more exciting now but it was not where he saw himself in the coming years.
This was quite a shock to him, there was no going back to being a regular person, no chance of returning to his normal work. Poor Bruce, so much anger, pain, and sadness would drive nearly anyone crazy. It is easy to see why he sometimes just wanders off to get his thoughts together. Sure he can work for The Avengers doing some research, but Banner has often been pushed aside for his alter-ego.
13 Living With Bipolar Disorder
Banner has often mentioned that he can feel the pull of The Hulk even when he is perfectly calm, just waiting to come out. His story is very similar to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, often fighting his dangerous side while his smarter and calmer side tries to control the other. For Banner this is much more than just a story, it is his life.
It is a common symptom of people with anxiety to feel like they are about to lose control, possibly harming those around them.
Banner is just this side of being a mental patient when you think of everything he deals with on a minute to minute basis. He does a good job bottling all this up, but it is no surprise that sometimes he seemingly randomly turns into Hulk and goes on a rampage.
Art by Dawn.
12 Sad Upbringing
Bruce Banner had a very poor relationship with his father, his father was a very angry man and would often take out this anger on his son. His mother, however, would often protect him from his father's wrath, until one day his father took his mother out of the picture. He forced Bruce to keep quiet about what transpired but was eventually caught and locked away for insanity.
This did little to help him with his bully problems, however.
Now without his parents, his only real friend was his cousin Jennifer and we know how that ended up. Sadly, Bruce's whole life is full of tragedy so it is really no surprise that he is such a tortured soul. It is really no surprise that he wants such an isolated life after all this childhood trauma.
11 When Anger Doesn’t Even Describe it
Ever been so angry that you broke something? Well, Hulk was once so angry that he literally destroyed most of the Marvel Universe. He often defeats his foes but in a way, this is the ultimate victory against all other heroes.
Just how mad would you have to be to destroy them all?
This transpired because the Illuminati (including Tony Stark, Reed Richards, and Professor X) decided to banish The Hulk and his pregnant wife from earth. The ship blew up as it was traveling and Banner was the only survivor. With the loss of his wife and son, he returned to earth to wage war upon it, blaming the Illuminati for the accident. He defeated most of the X-Men, Iron Man, Ghost Rider and all of the Fantastic 4.
10 Last Man Standing
What happens when nuclear war destroys then entire Earth? Well, that isn't even enough to finish off The Hulk. In the comic series Hulk: The End he is shown wandering the earth as its only humanoid survivor. He reflects on his loneliness, fights mutated creatures, and even Hulk refuses to allow Banner to have control at times in order to survive.
And you thought it could not get any bleaker...
If you read this story, prepare for a heartbreaking tale of Bruce and Hulk fighting each other in their mind as they wonder for years remembering the good and bad times. The Hulk refused to give up while Banner wants to do just that: lay down and give up. Even at the end they just cannot agree.
9 He Just Wants To Be Left Alone
When you think of all the pain in Banner's life, you cannot blame him for wanting to be alone sometimes. He really is the definition of an emotional wreck and if any of us were in his shoes we would be as well. The constant struggle to be a good person and also help humanity has only become more difficult, as a destructive alter ego has cemented itself within him.
Think about it, what other choice does he really have?
This angry form must remind him of his father, an out of control monster who can destroy anything in his path. Yet among all the new friends he has gained he still just wants to be left alone whether to study, meditate or just battle his demons.
8 Out Living Loved Ones
Another excerpt from Hulk: The End shows us just how callous Hulk really is. He does not care about friends the same way Banner does. If he outlives them: so be it. He is the strongest; why wouldn't he? But even if the world did not end, this still would have happened.
Hulk would outlive all his friends, even Bruce himself.
The transformed body does not age the same as Banner's does and their mental states do not change in the same ways. As Banner gets old and nostalgic, Hulk gets even angrier that there are fewer and fewer things to prove dominance to. An entire planet to wander but nothing to fight, pretty sad when the only thing he wants is a fight, with anyone.
7 Always Angry
Mark Ruffalo really ended up being much better for the role of Bruce Banner then we had ever thought. His calm demeanor shows us just how withdrawn Bruce would have to be to contain the Hulk. In this scene depicted in The Avengers, he reveals that there isn't a moment that goes by that he is not angry.
The Hulk is constantly fighting to get out no matter what.
All Bruce has to do is let down these defenses and he is the Hulk. These mental walls have made him so withdrawn in fact that he only seems calm. Inside the is exploding with emotion, but showing any of it could cause massive destruction. Imagine your friend told you this, you might think it to be funny but it would actually be disheartening.
6 From Genius To Troglodyte
You can only imagine that a Doctor in Nuclear Physics would be very upset to have moments of stupidity. So it is no shock that it upsets Bruce to lose all control of his mind trading it for merely watching through his own eyes as he turns into an unintelligent brute.
They are at very opposing ends of the spectrum, with almost nothing in common.
Banner can only whisper amongst the screaming fury that is The Hulk, trying so hard to give advice where he can. Sadly Hulk believes that the only way to solve anything is with his fists and rarely listens. Eventually, you can see Bruce just giving up when he is not in control leaving Hulk to his own devices. It must be weird to regain control and be congratulated for just existing, doing very little to actually help besides being there.
5 What Happens When The Hulk Gets Bored
As was mentioned before, sometimes throwing a fit or even crying can get a lot off your chest when you have a lot bottled up. An explosion of emotion if you will, only in Banner's case actually explosive. There has been more than one time where he just allows himself to change into The Hulk because he is bored.
Anger is his only true release which gives way to The Hulk.
Many of us play video games in order to cause a little fake destruction, a sense of power or acknowledgment of skill. This breaks the stress of a hard day and helps us unwind. In Hulk's case why pretend when you can just throw that honking car outside, or headbutt that annoying helicopter? Just do not try to do those things in real life.
4 It Isn’t Easy Being Green
Imagine living your day to day life without getting angry at anything controlling your emotions at your school or workplace. Putting up with that annoying coworker or having someone cut you off in traffic. Even with Banner's master control over his emotions, I am sure he would snap at something in public, making his life impossible without the help of his friends in the Avengers.
He would not be able to make money to support himself beyond saying "pay me or I will change." Banner really does seem appreciative towards his friends, especially Tony Stark. But knowing he could never go back to a normal life must take a toll on him. On the other hand who wouldn't want to destroy the car of the guy who drives like a manic then yells at you.
3 Raging Jealousy
There is a story about Bruce Banner where his girlfriend decided to go on a date with someone Banner did not like. Well, what is someone to do in this situation? Break up with them, argue, or get mad turn into The Hulk and run down to the restaurant and wreck the place?
When love is on the line.... you can guess what he did.
For anyone that had had a messy end to a relationship, it can make you angry! Maybe even angry enough to do something drastic until we cool down and move on. Lucky for us we get to see the full force wrecking ball named Hulk climb the building and crash the occasion. Maybe this is why he ended up with his cousin, she is the only woman who understands him.
2 Hulk Leaves Banner Behind
There is more than one occasion where Hulk defeats Banner, but none so heartbreaking as at the end of Hulk: The End. Without giving too much away, Hulk realizes that he does not need Banner, all he needs is himself and his brute strength. Once Banner is gone however, he realizes that he is truly alone and immediately starts to miss having him around.
You can be the strongest guy around but without someone else, you win by default.
We do not get to see what happens after that, but we assume that Hulk keeps living long after that, completely alone wishing that voice he always ignored would come back and keep him company. Another example is The Incredible Hulk by Jason Aaron, where they are separate beings and fight... but this is not nearly as emotional.
1 Hulk’s Steamy Adventure
Last but not least did you know that Hulk was once head of a Harem of women? Apparently, he moved to India, found Zen and was able to live a happy, anger-free life among tons of women. Before you ask, yes they did. I suppose that becoming a Buddhist and having tons of loving would calm a creature down who wants to be the strongest thing around.
Being more or less worshiped by women is Hulk's version of Zen.
Funny enough when Wolverine comes to see what happened to Hulk, Hulk offers him a cup of hot cocoa, much to Wolverine's annoyance and confusion about the situation. This is the last place you would think that Hulk or Banner would be but I guess he could have been with his cousin making spawn to take over the US with.