Real Name: Robert Bruce Banner

Occupation: Nuclear physicist

Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with a pardoned criminal record

Identity: Publicly known

Other Aliases: The Professor, Mechano, Joe Fixit, Mechano among numerous aliases 

Place of Birth: Dayton, Ohio

Marital Status: Married

Known Relatives: Brian (father, apparently deceased), Rebecca Walters (mother, deceased), Morris Walters (uncle), Elaine Walters (aunt, deceased), Jennifer Walters (cousin, alias She Hulk), Elizabeth "Betty" Ross-Talbot (wife), Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt" Ross (father-in-law, deceased), Mrs. Drake (aunt, possibly deceased)

Group Affiliation: Former member of the Avengers, the Defenders and the Pantheon, former leader of the Hulkbusters

Base of Operations: Mobile, frequently Hulkbuster Base (formerly Desert Base), New Mexico

First Appearance: Hulk #1

Origin: Hulk #1, Incredible Hulk #12

History: Robert Bruce Banner was the son of Dr. Brian Banner, an atomic scientist, and his wife Rebecca. Although Rebecca deeply loved Bruce, who returned her affection, Brian hated the child. Possibly an alcoholic, Brian Banner was driven by an insane jealousy of Bruce for being an object of Rebecca's love. Brian Banner finally murdered Rebecca and was placed in a mental hospital. Bruce, a highly withdrawn, intellectual youth, was raised by his aunt, Mrs. Drake, and internalized his great pain and rage over his childhood sufferings.

Eventually, as an adult and a genius in nuclear physics, Banner went to work at a United States Defense Department nuclear research facility at Desert Base, New Mexico. There, Banner met General Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt" Ross, the Air Force officer in command of the base, and his daughter Betty. Banner and Betty Ross eventually fell in love with each other. Banner designed and oversaw construction of the “gamma bomb” or "G-bomb," a nuclear weapon that had a high gamma radiation output.

Banner was present in the instrumentation bunker at the test site for the first underground test detonation of the gamma bomb. Observing that a civilian had breached security and entered the restricted test area, Banner told his colleague, Igor Starsky, to delay the countdown while he tried to get the civilian to safety, Starsky, secretly a Soviet agent, did no such thing, confident that Banner would die in the explosion, bringing the project to a halt. Reaching the civilian, a teenager named Rick Jones, Banner threw him into a protective trench. Before Banner could get himself to safety, the gamma-bomb detonated, and intense waves of radiation reached the surface. Banner was irradiated with highly charged, radioactive particles. Banner and Jones were taken to the base hospital for examination. Due to an unknown genetic factor in his body, Banner was not killed by the radiation, which instead caused him to transform before Jones's eyes into a vastly powerful but monstrous humanoid creature that began rampaging through the base. One of the soldiers seeing the creature referred to him as a "hulk," the name the military then adopted for him.

Banner reverted back to human form, but from then on he would spend his life transforming into the Hulk and back again to human form, usually completely involuntary. At first, Banner kept the affliction secret from everyone but Rick Jones, who was grateful to Banner for saving his life and has remained his friend and companion ever since.

On Banner's initial transformations, the Hulk was gray in color. (Many subsequent accounts have incorrectly depicted the Hulk as gray from the very beginning.) At first Banner changed into the Hulk at sunset and reverted to human form at dawn. Soon, the Hulk's color turned to green. For a time, Banner could control the transformations using gamma radiation projectors in his secret desert laboratory. During this period, the Hulk possessed Banner's intelligence, but had a more brutish, violent temperament. He was still regarded as a menace by the military which constantly hunted him. However, the Hulk redeemed himself in the government's eyes by defeating the alien conqueror known as the Metal Master. Soon after, the Hulk became a founding member of the Avengers. However, the other Avengers distrusted the Hulk due to his dangerous temper, and the other-dimensional shape-changer known as the Space Phantom exploited this trust by impersonating the Hulk and turning the other Avengers against him. The Space Phantom's imposture was exposed, but the Hulk, feeling he was hated by the Avengers, quit the group. Soon, afterwards, the Hulk joined with Namor the Submariner in battling the Avengers, but the Hulk was beginning to lose control over his transformations, and one of his battles with the Avengers ended when he suddenly turned back into Banner and fled.

Banner's body eventually changed so that his transformations into the Hulk were triggered by the release of adrenaline when he became intensely excited, no matter what time of day or night it was. Usually the Hulk possessed little of Banner's memory and intelligence and was easily enraged. Hence, the Hulk was a menace, continually hunted by military forces commanded by the implacable General Ross. It was during this time that the Hulk first encountered his greatest enemy, the Leader, another human being mutated by gamma radiation.

For a surprisingly long time, Banner managed to conceal the fact that he was the Hulk from virtually everyone but Rick Jones, who continued as his friend and confidant, but during a time the Hulk was missing and believed to be dead, Jones told General Ross's aide, Major Glenn Talbot, and Banner's secret became public knowledge soon afterward. For years, Banner wandered the world as a hunted fugitive, cursed by his recurring transformations into the bestial Hulk. The Hulk had become far more massive and powerful over the years, and his personality was childlike, reflecting his level of intelligence. Along with his terrible capacity for rage, the Hulk was characterized by his deep loneliness and his longing for friendship and love.

For years, Betty Ross continued to love Banner, despite her knowledge of his double identity. However, Banner's feelings were divided after the Hulk fell in love with Jarella, the green-skinned warrior queen of the other-dimensional realm of K'ai. Eventually, Betty Ross married Glenn Talbot, and Jarella was accidentally killed. However, Betty continued to love Banner.

The Hulk found friends and allies as a member of the Defenders, a loosely knit band of superhuman champions. However, the general public was unaware of the existence of the Defenders during the time the Hulk was a member, and hence, the Hulk continued to be hunted as a menace.

One day Banner went to visit his beloved cousin, Jennifer Walters, a Los Angeles-based lawyer. At that time Walters had been defending a hood named Lou Monkton, whom gangster Nicholas Trask had framed for murder. While Walters drove Banner to her home, one of Trask's henchmen shot her. To save his cousin's life, Banner improvised an emergency blood transfusion. The transfusion of Banner's mutated blood mutated Walters herself, causing her to become the She-Hulk.

Finally, scientist Leonard "Doc" Samson captured the Hulk and succeeded through unknown means in separating Banner's psyche and atomic structure from the larger atomic structure of the Hulk. Hence, Banner and the Hulk were now two separate beings. The Hulk escaped, and no longer having Banner's buried personality to restrain him in the least, became a greater menace than ever before. Banner briefly became leader of a new government task force to capture the Hulk, called the new Hulkbusters. Banner also finally married Betty Ross, believing himself free of the curse of turning into the Hulk.

Banner's health sharply declined as a result of having been divided into two separate physical entities. As a result, Banner and the Hulk were reintegrated by the Vision into a single physical being once more. General Ross interfered with Doc Samson's subsequent attempt to cure the Hulk in a nutrient bath, causing the Hulk to revert to his original state. The Hulk that Banner now became was virtually the same as the Hulk had been after Banner's initial transformations years ago; he was gray in color, smaller than the recent Banner Hulk, and retained Banner's level of intelligence. As before, Banner would transform into the Hulk and back on a frequent basis. Banner managed to keep the fact that he was once more transforming into the Hulk secret for a time, but inevitably his condition once again became a matter of public transformation.

Once again Banner would transform into the Hulk at dawn. Apparently he could not trigger a transformation to the Hulk by growing intensely excited or a reversion to Banner by becoming relaxed.

The Hulk soon seemingly perished in a nuclear explosion. In fact, however, the Hulk survived, and thanks to a mystical spell cast upon him by the wizards of the other-dimensional realm of K'ai was able to remain the Hulk for several months without reverting to Banner. During this time, the Hulk found employment in Las Vegas as an enforcer for casino owner Michael Berenghetti and adopted the alias "Joe Fixit." Eventually, however, the Hulk once again began to revert to Banner at dawn, becoming the Hulk at nightfall. When news of his identity reached Berenghetti, he terminated the employment due to the unwanted attention the Hulk would bring to his business.

Subsequently, the Hulk's transformations destabilized and Banner was again reverting into both the green Hulk, and the gray Hulk. Doc Samson working with the Ringmaster used hypnosis to help Banner gain control of his transformation by merging his personalities, retaining the best aspects of each personality, but this situation only returned buried memories of Banner's father. Once he regained stability as the Hulk, Banner joined the covert disaster-prevention group known as the Pantheon, but the Red Skull and Mentallo manipulated these memories to get the Hulk to work with the Juggernaut by thinking he was Brian Banner. The Hulk and the Juggernaut then attacked the Avengers, but the Juggernaut made a mistake by praising the Hulk, a characteristic uncommon for Brian Banner. Realizing the deception, the Hulk broke Mentallo's control over him and defeated the Juggernaut.

Banner eventually left the Pantheon and found temporary employment as a mechanic. During this time, he received a piece of shrapnel to his brain. In order to save his life, Banner stayed the Hulk for a while, but the shrapnel started causing him to become darker and more violent, a process that would have lead to him becoming the Maestro, a dark version of himself who dominated one alternate future. Meanwhile, the Hulk fought Onslaught, a malevolent psychic energy force, and a portion of Banner was sent to a pocket universe created by Franklin Richards, the son of Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four. In this world, Banner became the Hulk again but his prior memories remained buried. Meanwhile, the mainstream Hulk retreated to the Savage Land where he was revered as a god by the native Locot tribe who adopted him. Unstable from his separation from Banner, the Hulk once again experienced visions of the ghost of Brian Banner and fell under the influence of Apocalypse, who used a laser to remove the shrapnel from his brain and named him War as one of his horsemen. The Hulk eventually broke free of Apocalypse's control after he injured Rick Jones and was soon reunited with Banner freed from the pocket universe and returned to splitting his existence as Banner and the Hulk. 

The Hulk soon encountered and faced the Maestro who had ended up back in time at the gamma bomb explosion which had created the Hulk, absorbing enough radiation to return to life and face the Hulk, but he was defeated once more. Bruce tried to renew his relationship with Betty, but she eventually died from radiation poisoning from the Abomination. General Ross blamed the Hulk for Betty's death, and the Hulk in his grief fell under the control of Tyrannus who sent him on senseless destructive rampage which he failed to recall later. Tyrannus eventually took Banner hostage and created his own Hulk from one of his subjects, but the Hulk eventually exposed Tyrannus's plot and cleared his name.

Banner eventually discovered he was suffering from Amyothropic Lateral Sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig's Disease) and started working on a cure to remedy the effects. He was soon reunited with the Defenders as per a spell  created by Yandroth that drew them together whenever evil threatened the Earth. Banner was treated for his ALS by Dr. Angela Lipscombe, a former colleague, who repaired Banner's nervous system by implanting him with DNA from his father's body. In doing so, Bruce made peace with his father's memory. Yandroth's spell meanwhile caused the four Defenders to become self-righteous and violent, seeking to establish themselves as the Order to take over the Earth, but they eventually discovered his plans and ceased hostilities, dissipating Yandroth's power over them. 

Through his existence, the Hulk has fought several menaces to others and himself, but his most dangerous foe other than General Thunderbolt Ross has remained the Leader who is driven by a desire to gain control over the Hulk or at least add his incredible strength to himself. In one of his most complex plots to date, he created and recruited an organization known as the Team and had Betty restored to life to lure the Hulk under his control, but Betty under the alias of Mr. Blue and Rick Jones managed to stay ahead of the Leader to keep his plans from ever meeting fruition. A rogue division of SHIELD also tried several attempts to get samples of banner's blood to create an army of super soldiers but failed. In recent years, Doctor Strange and the Hulk faced off against Dormammu who turned the Hulk to stone. He was restored to life by Umar shortly afterward.

In recent years, the Scarlet Witch used her powers to recreate the time-line into the "House of M" reality where mutants dominated and Magneto ruled over the Royal Family of Genosha. In this reality, Banner and the Hulk were friends and guests of a tribe of Australian aborigines unaware of any manipulations of the time stream. When reality was restored, the Hulk acquired the friendship and loyalty of Amadeus Cho. The Hulk reverted to gray form a second time after the terrorist organization HYDRA exposed him to a second gamma bomb explosion. In his delusion, he rampaged across Las Vegas until encounter the Thing and the Human Torch whose flames restored his sanity.

Over the years, the Hulk's reputation as a hero and a threat continued to switch back and forth. His rampage in Las Vegas gained the attention of the Illuminati, a secret cabal of heroes who kept their affairs in order. This group included Dr. Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Namor, Black Bolt and others who had all been the Hulk's friends at one point or another. Fearing another Hulk rampage on Earth, they discovered Banner living a solitary lifestyle as a fisherman in Alaska, but instead of slaying him to end his tortured existence as the Hulk, they launched him into outer space on the pretense of destroying a reputed HYDRA super weapon known as Godseye. This ploy seeming worked, but not before the Hulk realized Godseye was actually a SHIELD creation and not a HYDRA creation. His craft was also designed without any control ability and left him hopelessly lost in outer space.

Height: (Hulk) 7’ 0” (Banner) 5’ 9”
Weight: (Hulk) 1,040 lbs., (Banner) 128 lbs.
Eyes: (Hulk) Green, (Banner) Brown
Hair: (Hulk) Green, (Banner) Brown

Unusual Physical Features: The Hulk has green skin which is evident by his mutation from gamma radiation.

Strength Level: The Hulk possesses Class 100 level strength, enabling him to lift (press) well over 100 tons under optimal conditions. The Hulk only attains this strength level when he is enraged. In a totally calm state his functional strength is significantly less, in the Class 70 range.

In human form, Bruce Banner possesses the normal human strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engages in no regular exercise.

Known Superhuman Powers: The Hulk possesses the capacity for superhuman strength ranging beyond the limits of virtually any other humanoid being. The gamma radiation that mutated the Hulk's body fortified his cellular structure and added, from some as yet unknown source, over 800 pounds of bone marrow and tissue to his body. 

Previously, the mutation was not a stable one. The Hulk will periodically revert to the human form of Bruce Banner, losing the extra mass and energy to the same as yet unknown source from which he derived it. The Hulk differs from other known human beings known to have been mutated by gamma radiation in that Banner was out-doors and exposed to sunlight when he was first exposed to gamma radiation. It is for this reason that the Hulk's color was at first gray, not green as other beings mutated by gamma radiation, such as the Abomination and the Leader. For a short time, the Hulk reverted to his original gray color, but has since reverted to green. Moreover, the exposure to intense gamma radiation under sunlight is the reason why Banner first turned into the Hulk at nightfall and then reverted to human at the coming of dawn. His transformation no longer follow this pattern, having since adapted and altered with Banner's efforts to control his transformations, although he briefly reverted to this pattern for a short time.

Banner's transformations into the Hulk are caused by a chemical catalyst known as adrenaline. As in normal humans, Banner's adrenal medulla secrets large amounts of adrenaline in times of fear, rage or stress, which hormonally stimulates the heartbeat rate, raises blood-sugar levels and inhibits sensations of fatigue. Whereas this secretion simply heightens normal physical abilities in normal human beings, in Banner's case, it triggers a complex chemical/extra-physical process that transformed him into the Hulk. The total transformation took from 25 seconds to as long as 5 minutes, depending on the initial adrenaline surge which is determined by the original, external stimulus. Soon after the transformation, the amount of adrenaline in the Hulk would return to more normal, reduced levels. 

In times of stress, the Hulk's adrenaline level escalates, causing a corresponding escalation in strength. This is not accompanied by an additional gain in mass, but does appear to promote increased levels of energy efficiency. To date the Hulk has never apparently been provoked into demonstrating a maximum output of strength; hence, its upper limit remains a mystery.

In addition to great strength, the Hulk's body possesses a high degree of resistance to injury, pain and disease. The Hulk's skin is capable of withstanding great heat without blistering (up to 3,000° Fahrenheit), great cold without freezing (down to -190° F), and great impacts (he can survive direct hits by field artillery cannon shells). It is possible to injure him: he could not, for example, survive a near-hit with a nuclear warhead. The Hulk's highly efficient physiology renders him immune to all terrestrial disease.

The Hulk can use his superhumanly strong leg muscles to leap great distances. The Hulk has been known to cover 3 miles in a single bound.

The Hulk has two powers apparently not related to his physical attributes, he can see astral forms, and he as a seemingly mystical homing ability that enables him to locate the area in New Mexico where he first became the Hulk. The nature of these abilities is not yet known.

Abilities: Dr. Bruce Banner is a genius in nuclear physics. On the other hand, the Hulk has low intelligence, comparable to that of a small child, although he has an undeniable cunning that aids him in battle. When Banner and the Hulk were the same being, and Banner was in the Hulk's form, Banner's consciousness was buried within the Hulk's, and could influence the Hulk's behavior only to a very limited extent.

Comments: Bruce Banner and the Hulk were originally played by David Bixby and Lou Ferrigno in the successful 1978 to 1982 TV Series, “The Incredible Hulk.” Eric Bana picked up the role of Banner in the movie, “The Hulk” (2003), and Edward Norton picked up the role in "Hulk" (2008). Mark Ruffalo is planned to continue the role in "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" (2012).

Last updated: 07/31/11

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