The Incredible Hulk (comic book)

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Doctor Banner when he's angry. If you made him angry, there's a fair chance you won't like him at the moment.

The Incredible Hulk is a comic book character. He first appeared in "Incredible Hulk" vol. 1 #1 (May, 1962), created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. His original series was rather unsuccessful, cancelled with issue #6 (March, 1963). He was used as a guest star in various series for the next few years. He got his second chance at stardom as one of the two features of "Tales of Astonish". He was regularly featured there for issues #60-101 (October, 1964-March, 1968). The title was then renamed to "Incredible Hulk" vol. 2. He appeared in issues #102-474 (April, 1968-March, 1999). He has starred in several relatively short-lived titles ever since. The Hulk has become one of the publisher's better known characters and is unlikely to be forgotten about.

Marvel Comics' poster child for Super Strength, and the embodiment of Unstoppable Rage and, of course, You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry, the Hulk stars in his own comic book, The Incredible Hulk (not to be confused with the TV adaptation, or the second movie adaptation.) The main premise behind the Hulk is that he is an emotionally repressed man, Bruce Banner, who due to gamma radiation, changes into a gigantic green muscle bound humanoid whenever he loses his cool. The main gimmick behind the Hulk is that he is super strong, and his strength and durability increase the angrier he gets, often to ridiculous levels (somehow handling the core of a black hole, holding apart spheres of matter and anti-matter, holding together a collapsing planet, punching through barriers of spatial or temporal dimensions, occasionally overpowering cosmic entities, etc.)

Needless to say, the Hulk gets into a lot of very violent fights, and runs up the biggest Hero Insurance bill in the whole Marvel Universe, but most of the people he beats up had it coming or otherwise made the mistake of provoking him. He doesn't actively seek out trouble, but the Marvel Universe being the Crapsack World that it is, trouble often finds him, for which he is inevitably mis-blamed. This doesn't do much to improve his disposition, as you might expect.

Notable for both heavily subverting the idea of the Superhero and playing it straight all at once. The Hulk doesn't typically go out of his way to defend the innocent, but he does stick up for those who've befriended him and otherwise ends up doing good with his powers.

As probably the most physically powerful hero in the Marvel universe, the Hulk is normally matched up against Superman in Marvel/DC Crossover events as he's pretty much the only Marvel character who can go toe to toe with him on a even footing.

Other powers include:

  • Healing Factor
  • Resistance to telepathy--like his physical strength, corresponding roughly to his level of rage
  • Ability to see ghosts, astral forms, etc.
  • The ability to sense the exact spot where he was irradiated, and unerringly find his way back to the area. This was later revealed to be the Hulk sensing the corpse of his evil future self, the Maestro, who, in a clash between modern-day Hulk and Maestro, was sent back through time to the instant of the original gamma bomb detonation in a last-ditch effort to kill him.
  • Bruce Banner is the premier human expert on radiation - specifically, gamma radiation - in the entire Marvel U, with Reed Richards and even Doctor freaking Doom admitting his superiority in that field. Not a power, as such but still pretty impressive, given that the former discovers new universes regularly and the latter invented time travel. Bruce actually invented a time machine by accident, back when he was still employed as a weapons designer. One of the places his intelligence is taken advantage of is in the Lighter and Softer Marvel Adventures continuity, where he and Tony Stark are the scientific minds of the Avengers. It has also been emphasized in recent issues of The Incredible Hulk where Banner (temporarily) lost the ability to transform and made up for it with a bag full of gadgets.
    • This is often pointed out at a time where Banner is not available. "We need Banner" "Banner not home, Can Hulk Take Message?"

The Hulk has a multiple personality disorder due to repressing his emotions and many traumatic memories from the constant childhood beatings and hatred from his father, which combined with the uncontrolled mutation of his biology. Because of the nature of his powers, when he switches his personalities, his physical form also changes with his mental state. The five core personalities are:

  • Bruce Banner: The "main" personality, Bruce is an extremely intelligent, and emotionally repressed, man with no superpowers, though he keeps himself in shape these days.
  • Joe Fixit: The "Grey Hulk", and supposedly the first Hulk to ever appear (officially; originally, this was the result of a coloring error and inconsistent characterization), but really quite different in displayed personality. Unlike the Savage Hulk, Joe transforms at night, or more rarely when Bruce "lets him out". He has an average intellect, and is particularly known to enjoy luxury, rich food, tailor-made clothes, pleasurable company etc. He is also the most amoral of the main personalities, having worked as a mob enforcer. Thought to represent the typical teenager that Bruce never let himself become. His portrayal is generally somewhere between a Boisterous Bruiser and a truly amoral being. Not to be confused with Mr. Fixit. Joe is pretty much the opposite.
  • The Merged Hulk: Originally thought to be a merger of the above three personalities, creating a whole and sane Banner, it turned out this personality was created by Banner's psychologist, Doc Sampson, after failing to treat Banner's MPD. This Hulk represents Banner's ideal version of himself, what he wishes he could be. As a result, he has Bruce's intellect, the Savage Hulk's power, and the Grey Hulk's craftiness. Unlike other Hulks though, he loses his strength as he grows angrier. Too angry, and his body reverts back to Banner, while his mind regresses into the Savage Hulk. This is due to a self-imposed psychic fail-safe to ensure that he won't cause damage like he did when he lost control and killed the Leader. He's typically relegated to the role of the Genius Bruiser. He is also perhaps the most human-looking of all the Hulks, since he shares Banner's face. Some fans have called this persona "The Professor", but Peter David (who wrote the comic when this characterization first appeared) has asked them to stop using the name.
  • The Green Scar: A personality developed during Planet Hulk and World War Hulk (see below). Intelligent (although not to Banner levels), rational and unquestionably the Hulk's strongest physical form. He barely won against the Sentry at full power during World War Hulk. During the Heart Of The Monster storyline, he was somewhere between this personality and Savage, and became so enraged that he could barely move without causing entire continents to undergo tectonic shifts. The same storyline also posits that Banner, Savage Hulk and the Green Scar are all simply extreme corners of the same persona (which is very closely in line with Real Life clinical theories about how Dissociative Personality Disorder develops).

Usually, Betty Ross, Rick Jones, or his cousin Jennifer can pull off a Cooldown Hug to calm him down. However, it's more often the case that General Ross attacks before he returns to his human form. This is so common, it has a trope of its own on this wiki that was previously named Hulk's Cooldown Hug Corollary.

The Hulk rarely teams up, but whenever he does he always plays the role of The Big Guy as he did on both the Avengers and the Defenders, though later with the Pantheon and his Warbound, Hulk got promoted to The Hero, with Ajax and living stone alien Korg taking over the roles of the big guy in their respective teams.

Much of the modern characteristics of the Hulk were created by writer Peter David during his ten-year-long stint on the title. For instance, Banner's abusive father and multiple-personality disorder were explored in greater depth during PAD's run (elements that were originally introduced in a Bill Mantlo story), which also elevated Rick Jones from perpetual sidekick to a Crazy Prepared Genre Savvy Badass Normal.

The Hulk was recently featured in a two-year-long epic, where a group of superheroes calling themselves The Illuminati (all of them white, male, powerful, and wealthy except for Black Panther who decided not to join as it was wrong) decide to send the Hulk away, to a planet with no sentient life but plenty of plant and animal life, tricking him into boarding a spaceship which they reprogram. However, they failed to take into account a few astral phenomena, and the planet he lands on is most decidedly not devoid of sentient life. It is a savage world, where slavery is common, and he is made a gladiator. With this as his jumping-off point, he soon ends up ruling the world, with a group of fellow freaks and exiles at his side and a beautiful warrior woman as his queen, but as this is both Marvel and the Hulk, happiness is elusive. Soon after his victory, the ship that brought him to the world self-destructs, killing the Hulk's wife and causing widespread ecological damage that will destroy the planet's ecosystem. Unknown to the Hulk, his unborn son survives (and his wife manages to come back from the dead for a while). Hulk blames the Illuminati, and enraged, he and his surviving allies prepare another spaceship... to take back to Earth. This part of the story is called Planet Hulk, and took place during the Civil War (as trying to convince Hulk to either register or actively fight registration probably would have overshadowed most of the other stuff in the series).

This leads into World War Hulk, where the Hulk arrives on Earth with a mind to punish the Illuminati for not only sending him away, not only miscalculating and screwing up their own plan, but through their incompetence, ruining him even after he'd found some peace and done so much good. He learned a lot while on his world, and his rage was possibly the most perfect it's ever been, with even the mightiest telepaths unable to affect him. The promise of this setup lead to an internet meme, taken from one for Civil War where fans could declare which side they were on: "Civil War: You're all fucked when Hulk gets back." In the end, however, Hulk's destruction was largely confined to New York City, and he didn't end up killing anyone, "just" causing a few billion in property damage and beating up some of the more prominent superheroes in the area. Which is hardly a "World War Hulk"; for the Hulk, that's... Tuesday.

This eventually leads to Banner Taking a level in Badass and the next event Fall of the Hulks.

The Incredible Hulk (comic book) is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in The Incredible Hulk (comic book) include:
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Just ask Caiera and Thundra. And Umar.
  • Animated Adaptation: The first came in 1966, as part of The Marvel Superheroes. He's had two TV series dedicated to him (one in the 80's and one in the 90's) both Cut Short, though both series retain small but faithful fanbases. Since then, he has had multiple appearances in DTVs and other Marvel TV series since then, most prominently Hulk Vs, Planet Hulk, and the new Avengers cartoon, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
  • Anti-Hero: Considering that the Hulk has a very "Hollywood version" of Multiple Personality Disorder, with a heavy dose of Depending on the Writer on top, it shifts wildly from incarnation to incarnation, individual interpretations thereof, and even deliberate Character Development. However, roughly speaking, the incarnations go as follow:
    • Original Hulk: In-between type III and IV. A grumpy outsider looking for a fight and responding violently when attacked, but staying out of people's way beyond that, and never going to the murderous vigilante excesses characterizing even most current type III's.
    • Savage Hulk: Type II, with a dash of III solely due to his temper. Extremely noble, well-intended, loyal, heroic, constantly persecuted without understanding why, only wants to be loved and have friends, but cannot understand the society around him, protector of all oppressed peoples around the universe, will be inconsolable after watching Bambi or seeing a dead bunny, and strictly a force for good as long as somebody (like his former father figure Doctor Strange, or own, as opposed to Banner's, "greatest love of his life" queen Jarella) gives him a comprehensible direction. Basically the most pure-hearted and genuinely heroic version, and currently seen in The Superhero Squad Show, but non-constructively constantly hunted like an animal due to his sheer scale of power without the maturity to handle it properly. Nowadays, tends to usually be treated more kindly by other heroes when he shows up (due to seeming very tame by current standards, and inherent extremely Unfortunate Implications).
    • Mindless Hulk in the crossroads: Type IV. A wild animal, but not inherently malevolent, and capable of instinctive loyalty or empathy.
    • Joe Fixit: Type V. A largely amoral and hedonistic mob enforcer Villain Protagonist who mainly fought other villains, much like plenty of others within this trope. He also grew some conscience, such as grudgingly helping some children celebrate Christmas, turned loyal and protective of his friends, and towards the end apparently avoided using excessive force against army officers or similar attackers.
    • Merged Hulk: Type II to III. Possibly the most well-adjusted incarnation, and genuinely proactively well-intended, actively dedicating himself to helping the world, without going to murderous extremes, and playing reasonably well with others. However, he had a What the Hell, Hero? Wolverine-style psychotic rage episode in issue 400, wherein he accidentally killed the Leader, supposedly the leftover "truly mindless Hulk", which briefly bumped him to type IV.
    • Bannerless Hulk: Type IV. Part of his mind was split from his body, and he started to largely act as the first Hulk did, although to a greater extreme, such as taking over an island for no particular purpose, although without harming anybody. Still, the army colonel pursuing him got wise on that this particular Hulk was different from the previous versions, was actually simply looking for attention, and actually caused less damage if the army stopped attacking him, so she told him off to his face "left him alone" as he didn't really wish, and it actually worked out pretty well.
    • Green Scar: Roughly a type III on Sakaar/basically a more responsible version of the original. Views are split about whether he was provoked into type IV or V during World War Hulk (compare a sovereign nation being annihilated, and then strictly retaliating by going after those responsible, without any Hiroshima or civilian casualties involved), although due to extremes of very inconsiderate property damage, and still less bloodthirsty than the majority of type III's. Currently type III/largely similar to a "less touchy-feely" "merged Hulk" in viewpoint and approach due to a symbiosis with the Banner persona, but seems to be heading for the worse going by the previews.
  • Asshole Victim: Practically all of the people the Hulk beats up typically brought their fates on themselves.
  • Ass Pull: At one point the Hulk was stated to have "super math" powers, even when in Savage Hulk form, that allowed him to knock over buildings and devastate cities without causing a single fatality. Supposedly Banner was in there doing impossibly intricate calculations to make sure people only got mostly killed. Subsequent authors have had varying opinions on the idea.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: He's been the king of a surprising number of worlds.
  • At the Crossroads: The Incredible Hulk was banished to "The Crossroads" by Dr. Strange when he was "mindless" to a) get him away from Earth and b) let him choose where he wanted to live; but he never found a place he liked and eventually he was brought back to Earth.
  • Badass Bookworm: Although the High Evolutionary, Thanos, M.O.D.O.K., Leader, Valeria, Reed Richards, Alyssa Moy, Mad Thinker, Hank Pym, Doctor Doom, Maelstrom, and Brainchild (in roughly that order), are all at least somewhat smarter than he is (and even considerably so in the first four cases), Banner is one of the most brilliant known people on the planet; roughly comparable to Tony Stark, Amadeus Cho, Deadly Nightshade, Arnim Zola, and Apocalypse; likely more advanced than Wizard, Fixer, Madison Jeffries, T'Challa, Monica Rappacini, Tinkerer, or Henry Mccoy; and when he sets his mind to it very little can get in his way. (Tyrannus is an odd duck, as Bruce Banner in one story considered him considerably above himself, and has been listed as an "extraordinary genius", but generally isn't handled as such, whereas Banner himself has been amplified lately.) Banner is THE expert on radiation on Marvel Earth, even Dr. Doom admitting that he doesn't know as much as Banner does on the topic.
  • Badass Family: Hulk, his cousin/stand-in sister She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters; wife Red She-Hulk/Betty Ross Banner; children Skaar, Hiro-Kala, Lyra, and Scorpion; and father-in-law Red Hulk/Thunderbolt Ross.
    • It was just announced that several of them will officially become a team. Plus his friends Rick Jones (aka A-bomb) and Korg.
    • In addition his past serious committed relationships Jarella and Caiera were warrior-women (as was Thundra, but that was not even an affair). Umar the Unrelenting, queen of the Dark Dimension, made him her consort on two occasions. He also had a college fling with the AIM Scientist Supreme Monica Rappacini, which means that he and M.O.D.O.K. were romantic rivals...
    • And as we are including extended family members, Betty also has a daughter, the benevolent mystical entity Daydream, due to being raped by Nightmare, but although the demon keeps up his creepy "children fathered through rape" tendency with Trauma and Dreamqueen, nobody has had an interest in reintroducing her yet.
  • Barbarian Hero: Most especially the Green Scar incarnation, but most versions of Hulk have shades of this at least.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: The Hulk is so big and strong that his fists are pretty much all the weapons he needs.
  • Battle Aura: Introduced with the Worldbreaker level of Hulk's strength.
  • Battle Couple: Hulk and Caeira. Occasionally Hulk and Red She-Hulk (Betty Ross).
  • Battle Strip
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: ...especially if you wish to die, because if you do, Mercy is never far! Fortunately, The Hulk never truly wished to die...
    • This trope is used in a few Hulk stories, most notably Hulk: The End, which shows the Hulk finally getting what he always wished for; to be left alone. Completely, totally alone, not even Banner nagging in the back of his mind.
    • The "Heart of the Monster" arc played this for all it was worth. It also pointed out that an enemy's wishes would rebound to Hulk's advantage.
  • Berserk Button: The big one is that due to the issues with his dad, both Hulk and Banner really don't like abusive parents, or bullies in general. The Joe Fixit Hulk also hates when someone compares him to the Savage Hulk, as the Blob found out to his sorrow.
  • Betty and Veronica: Bruce and Talbot.
    • Chaos War would have Jarella and Red She-Hulk.
  • The Big Guy: The 1990s Animated Adaptation sometimes portrayed him as a type 2; Joe Fixit was a type 3, while in some of his more intelligent incarnations he qualifies as a type 5.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family/Dysfunction Junction: As badass as they may be, most of the core family members featured of late still have some serious psychological issues. Especially Betty.
  • Bigger Bad: The true source of gamma radiation and its effects on humans is the One Below All, a likely candidate for The Devil in the Marvel Universe. While this could make this being the Bigger Bad for the entire franchise, it certainly is such for the Hulk.
  • Bill Mantlo: Had a lengthy run as writer in the early 80's which included the Crossroads Saga, as well as the first mention of Banner's abusive father.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Umar turned the Hulk into her personal sex slave in a Defenders miniseries. She was too much for him at the time, and the encounter left Banner without the necessary... enthusiasm... to Hulk Out. When they met again, he was in full Worldbreaker mode and equal to the challenge.
  • Blood Knight: An increasingly commonly applied character trait, the Hulk was actually originally an aversion. Originally he held pretty true to the "just wants to be left alone" claim, not caring about the fights he got into. Later writers play the "left alone" as more of a hollow statement, with Hulk enjoying company, and extremely enjoying combat.
    • Highlighted in Heart of the Monster, where, confronted by Fin Fang Foom, giant dragon(who also happens to be green with purple pants...) who crushes the giant fish monster that Hulk, She-Hulk, and A-Bomb were struggling with moments before, the following exchange occurs;

Fin Fang Foom: Who Dares? disturb the slumber of Him whose limbs shatter the mountains and whose back scrapes the sun?
Hulk: Hah! Is it my birthday?

  • Book Dumb: Even though he lacks Banner's intelligence, the Hulk can show a lot of cunning when he needs to. And for a supposedly mindless berserker, the Hulk can still come up with some fairly creative tactics when he's in a tight spot.
  • Brains Evil, Brawn Good: Among his most persistent foes is the super-smart super-villain (and fellow gamma radiation powers recipient) the Leader.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Are the people who pick on Banner or Hulk tired of living?
  • Bully Hunter: As mentioned elsewhere, he really doesn't like them for obvious reasons... except for Joe Fixit who is one himself.
  • Cartwright Curse
  • Catch Phrase: Hulk will smash puny catchphrase thing!
  • Character Development
  • The Chessmaster: The Leader and Greg Pak's Hulkless Banner.
  • Clothing Damage: Basically, if you are a Hulk, you will suffer this indignity. Though depending on your fanbase, it may not be that much of an indignity.
  • Color Contrast: The Hulk, in his most iconic form, is green with purple pants.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Hulk is sometimes portrayed as this.
  • Cooldown Hug: Rick Jones, Jim Wilson, Jarella and Betty Ross can do this when the Hulk is especially irate.
  • Crapsack World: And how...
    • Noticeably the Hulk was living in a Crapsack World version of the MU long before it became that for everyone else.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: During the Planet Hulk story arc, many of the natives of Sakaar believed that the Hulk was their Crystal Dragon Jesus, the Sakaarson. Then again, just as many thought he was their Crystal Dragon Antichrist, the Worldbreaker. After the Hulk left the planet, both of his sons were subject to the same debate.
    • Considering that in Fear Itself Hulk becomes Nul; the Breaker of Worlds it seems there is truth in both.
    • Also, Adam Warlock's crucifixion and resurrection on Counter-Earth actually took place in a Hulk title.
  • Deadly Dodging: The Hulk's pulled this trick a couple of times, most notably against the Constrictor and the Absorbing Man. The first one was electrocuted when his metal whips struck an electric streetlight, and the second one shorted out when he was charged with electricity and the Hulk goaded him into hitting a large pool of water.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: It happens every now and then. Some examples:
    • Hulk overpowered and punched Crisis Crossover Big Bad Onslaught (at the time on a level with a Cosmic Entity) so hard that it destroyed his physical body and caused a dimensional rift.
    • During World War Hulk, he also managed to beat Zom, arguably the most powerful known demon in the Marvel Universe, although later issues somewhat retconned this by stating that Doctor Strange was holding it back. He also matched the full power of the God Mode Sue The Sentry.
    • Hulk also ripped the galactic threat the Galaxy Master into pieces from within; and on another occasion handled the infinite power from the singularity of the core of a black hole; and on yet another ripped apart a weapon designed to withstand and kill the Celestials.
    • The there is the time he blew out the mystical flames composing Dormammu's head by smacking his palms together. Dormammu wasn't out for the count though.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Bruce Banner inadvertently created the She-Hulk when he provided a blood transfusion for his cousin Jennifer. She actually handles the transition much better than he did.
    • That's because she doesn't have to deal with multiple personalities.
    • There's also his daughter Lyra.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Bruce Banner smoked a pipe in his first appearance, in The Incredible Hulk #1. In The Nineties when Hulk had Bruce Banner's brain he also smoked a normal sized pipe, which for him was very tiny.
    • A one-shot character in the Hulk series was a brainy college student based very loosely on Richard Loeb; he smoked a pipe as part of his "smartest guy in the room" persona.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Umar capturing the using a giant, magic tongue to wrap around him, pulling him into a portal that looks like an open pair of lips. See for yourself.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": The Hulk hates being called Bruce. Though, it's justified in that they actually are separate entities inhabiting the same body.
    • This seems to be a recurring theme with Gamma mutates. The Leader also hates it when people call him Samuel Sterns.
  • Double Standard Rape (Female on Male): Averted. In Future Imperfect, one of the Maestro's slave girls has sex with the temporarily paralyzed (and unwilling) Merged Hulk. It's not made a big deal, and the word "rape" is never used, but Banner regards it very seriously, and mentions how helpless and out of control it made him feel.
  • Dumb Is Good: Depending on the story somewhat subverted, usually. Many of the times Hulk clashes with the heroes is due to some misunderstanding or someone fooling him into thinking one of the good guys did him wrong.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Abomination recently received an upgrade, and turned into one of these.
  • Epiphany Therapy / Split Personality Merge: Doc Samson uses this with Bruce to create The Merged Hulk.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Abomination is another gamma-mutated monstrosity, whose baseline strength was originally greater than the Hulk's (not true anymore for a long time). He was recently replaced by the much more dangerous Red Hulk. There are also Madman, The Maestro, possibly the Leader, and tangentially on rare occasion Mister Hyde.
  • Executive Meddling: After a dark first season for the 90's Animated Adaptation, UPN fired the producers and ordered a light-hearted action cartoon that appealed more to female viewers. The end result ruined the resulting second season for many, though some say the season is filled with Narm Charm.
  • Expository Theme Tune: from the 1960s cartoon, "Doc-tor Banner, belted by gam-ma rays, turns into the Hulk..."
  • The Fettered: Hulks full power is as good as always greatly restrained by Banner, as othervise his slightest movement would destroy the world around him. This nearly happened at the end of WWH, and he is constantly trying to manage the destructive potential within him, so nobody comes to harm.
    • In contrast, the Ultimate Marvel version of the Hulk is a down right scary version of The Unfettered. In every way that Ultimate Banner restrains or represses himself(which is pretty much every way), the Hulk cuts loose. For instance, Ultimate Banner is a vegetarian. Ultimate Hulk is a humanitarian.
  • Friend to All Living Things: The Savage Hulk.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Occassionally his Magic Pants fail him and he's forced to battle in the nude; this is generally reserved for the more savage incarnations of the hulk, especially when he's the threat, not one of the protagonists.
  • Future Me Scares Me: The Maestro.
  • Galactic Conqueror: Arm'Chedon, also known as Armageddon, leader of the Troyjan Empire and foe of the Hulk during his days with the Pantheon. Arm'Chedon was so busy conquering planets that he literally did not notice that he had two sons until one of them died on earth(the other was later killed in combat with the Hulk). Interestingly, his relative obscureness might have worked in his favor, as there's no sign that his empire suffered the massive amounts of destruction that Marvel's other galactic empires(The Kree, Skrulls, and Shi'ar) have in recent years.
  • Genius Bruiser: The amount of genius varies on which personality is in control, although they have been known to borrow one another's skills if necessary.
  • Genre Savvy: After so many failed cures, when the Red Hulk storyline results in him losing the ability to turn into the Hulk, Banner outright states that he's not expecting his current Hulk-less state to last, and is just doing what he can while he waits for the inevitable.
  • Gentle Giant: Sorta. In the regular comic stories, he's shown to (at times) be at least a Bruiser with a Soft Center. However, in many of the cartoons, especially the ones aimed toward the pre-teen or younger demographic, he's usually this.
  • God Guise: In Incredible Hulk #384, the Hulk has been turned into an inch tall. He secretly perches on The Abomination's shoulder and pretends to be God to stop him from kidnapping his wife.
  • The Good King: During his time as the ruler of Sakaar.
    • Also during his time as King of Australia during the House of M storyline, where he overthrew the mutant government and turned it into one of the last bastions of human freedom.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: While he's not exactly a bad guy, this is the reason he tends to get into so many battles with other superheroes. It takes very little to piss him off, so you're basically walking on eggshells when he's in your presence for the entire time.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Skaar and Hiro-Kala.
  • Healing Factor: As mentioned above. Oh, and his healing factor is another power that increases in intensity with his rage.
  • Hero Insurance: The Hulk causes more property damage per capita than any other hero in the Marvel Universe, bar none.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: In fact, due to the damage he's caused in his career, it would be very hard to find someone in the Marvel Universe with worse publicity who could still be considered a hero. But you really can't blame anyone.
  • Hoist Hero Over Head: In Incredible Hulk #142, Valkyrie holds the Hulk over her head.

Every Male Chauvinist Pig in the world will Tremble...when he sees the Hulk hurled to his Death -- by a Woman!

  • Hot-Blooded: The Hulk pretty much defines this trope.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Hulk and any human-sized love interest.
  • Hulk Speak: Hulk Trope Namer for Hulk Speak!
  • Hulking Out: Trope Namer again, any time Bruce's stress level gets too high. Hulk Smash!
  • I Love Nuclear Power: This is how Banner became the Hulk in the first place.
  • Immortality: According to "Future Imperfect" and "The Last Titan" in combination he only ages up to a point, and according to issue #460 he will eventually reassemble even from atomisation.
  • Improbable Weapon User: While his fists serve him perfectly well, the Hulk can and will use any number of handy tools to help him in a fight, like construction girders, tree trunks and really big rocks.
  • In a Single Bound: The Hulk's primary method of getting from place to place is using his immense strength to leap miles at at time through the air.
  • Insult of Endearment: As The Nicknamer, Hulk tends to do this with his enemies-who-become-friends when in his Hulk Speak mode. Examples:
  • Interrupted Suicide: Banner's tried to kill himself a few times in the past; Hulk will always force a transformation to prevent it, however.
  • It's Personal: The Hulk is usually one of the Marvel heroes most averse to actually killing anybody. The demon Nightmare, however, is an exception. What did the villain do you ask? Well, in order, he drove Hulk mad and exiled him from humanity after finally being accepted; later killed his unborn child and raped his wife; later still turned his existence into nightmarish reality-distortions for years. The last time they met Hulk ripped off his head and stuck it on a spear.
  • Jack Kirby: Co-creator with Stan Lee.
  • Jekyll and Hyde: Hulk has this trope all over, but the relationship between Joe and Bruce has much more in common with the original tale.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Again, this varies from personality to personality, but at the least the Savage Hulk is usually gentle, helpful, and compassionate when not provoked, and won't bother you if you don't bother him. Joe Fixit is the exception, being a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: This is really highlighted in his Chaos War tie in, when Doctor Strange tells him that the world needs his help;

Hulk: The world'll get it. Like it always does. But you can go to hell.

  • Knockout Gas: One of the most consistent ways of defeating the Hulk, at least on those occasions when he doesn't remember that he can hold his breath for hours. As the Hulk isn't all that bright, this is not infrequent.
  • Last-Name Basis: With more intelligent versions of the Hulk, he tends to be on this with people he doesn't nickname. This is especially common with the Thing, who he calls Grimm, and General Ross, his own father-in-law. In World War Hulk, he was on Last-Name Basis with everybody except the Sentry. He also generally calls Wolverine "Logan".
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Various heroes have been unlucky enough to cross the Hulk's path, including Spider-Man, Daredevil, Iron Man and the heroes who make up part of his regular rogues' gallery (see below). It's not an experience any of the other guys would care to repeat.
  • Lighter and Softer: For roughly half of the 90s.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Hulk's not just huge, he's fast. This is the first mistake most new enemies of his make when they meet him.
  • Like Brother and Sister: With She Hulk. They're cousins, but they treat each other as siblings. They're pretty protective of each other.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Played straight and subverted with both Bruce and the Hulk. Both personalities are loners who feel they're best left to their own devices, but for different reasons. While they do have friends in the Marvel-verse, many characters consider them both freaks of nature and ostracize them.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Being in love with the emotionally withdrawn Bruce Banner is tough enough already, but his onetime wife Betty Ross was often driven away by his Hulk alter ego.
  • Love Transcends Spacetime: Jarella
  • The Mafia: Joe Fixit worked for a mafioso casino owner at one point, serving as his bouncer and all-around enforcer.
  • Magic Pants: Quite possibly the Trope Codifier.
  • Merry Christmas in Gotham: An issue dealt with Rhino and Hulk teaming up to be Mall Santa and Helper.
  • Misblamed: In-Universe, the Hulk is frequently blamed for the damage his fights cause, even though he's rarely the one who started it.
  • Monster Modesty: Hulk is the main offender but many of his enemies (Abomination) or his allies (Skaar) utilize this trope.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Joe Fixit enjoys fine clothes, fine food, and even fine women.
  • Mugging the Monster: Sometimes the Asshole Victims don't recognize Bruce Banner until it's too late...
  • Neighborhood Friendly Gangsters: Michael Bertinelli, the Mafia-tied casino owner who employed the Hulk as a bouncer, wasn't particularly amoral for being a gangster. In discussions with a rival gangster who wanted to muscle in on his territory, Bertinelli alluded to the "friendly understanding" with the local police, wherein they agreed to leave him alone in exchange for his not stepping beyond an accepted limit of behavior. Bertinelli even prevented the Hulk from killing the rival gangster after he'd been kidnapped, drawing the line at murder.
  • The Nicknamer: Hulk's generally not good with names, depending on the incarnation. Sometimes it's out of lack of intelligence, others out of lack of respect, and others its a sign of affection. Iron Man is usually Metal Man or Tin Man(or Tin Head), Thor is usually Blondie or Goldielocks, Sentry is Golden Man.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Shrugs off ground zero nuclear explosions, planet-splitting impacts, or solar temperatures, and swiftly heals virtually any damage beyond that point. This even extends to extremely resistance to mind-control or molecular manipulation of his body, and some adaptive evolution to build greater immunity or adapt to hostile environments.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Zeus vs. the Hulk. The god wins, enough so that only Hulk's Healing Factor keeps him alive long enough to be rescued.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The threat of the Hulk can be more terrifying than his actual presence. Issue #34 (from 2002, despite the low number), written by Bruce Jones, does a masterful job of this. We see Banner, but never the Hulk, other than Banner's eyes turning green as he's about to change. The results of the Hulk's actions, seen afterwards, have far more impact than seeing him in action.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Originally, Banner's Hulk condition was a secret and all the US Military suspected was that Banner was somehow a compatriot of the monster. Unfortunately, Rick Jones later mistakenly thought Banner was dead and told Col. Glenn Talbot everything. With that, Banner's life really goes to hell with him becoming a fugitive.
    • Jason Aaron's current run on the book decided it had to one up all earlier status quo changes by separating the Hulk and Banner into two separate entities, driving Banner to do anything he can to be one with the Hulk again to the point that he basically becomes a mad scientist figure and makes a Face Heel Turn.
  • Offing the Offspring: The Green Scar persona is initially extremely angry with his son Skaar, for causing the death of his mother Caiera. In contrast, Skaar's initial motivation was to become a Self-Made Orphan. They both mellowed out eventually.
  • Oh Crap: Is Hulk coming your way? Is he angry? This is the only sane reaction.
  • Papa Wolf: May there be mercy upon you if you injure or threaten anyone the Hulk actually considers a friend. This also goes for anyone who harms his son.
    • To the point where Bruce; not the Hulk, but Bruce, promised to kill Steve Rogers if he killed his son Hiro-Kala, who for the record was trying to crash a Mars-sized planet into earth at the time.
  • Parental Substitute: Doctor Strange
  • Perma-Shave: Hulk no grow puny facial hair! Hulk punch scruff and beard!
    • Averted in Peace in our Time, right before Planet Hulk. Living in wilderness Banner sports a long beard so Hulk has one as well.
    • Indeed, Hulk sported stubble throughout Planet Hulk, and has had a fair bit on and off since then. The merged Hulk would occasionally go unshaven during the nineties, and the Maestro had a full on badass Beard of Evil.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: So very, very much.
  • Peter David: Had a hugely influential run as writer in the 80's and 90's.
  • Post-Mortem Comeback After the Leader died (circa #345) and before he came Back from the Dead, he implanted his memories into a loyal follower who had a similar gamma-induced mutation as he did.
  • Power Limiter: Almost always strongly on, except against certain high-level Cosmic Entity characters, as othervise he could accidentally ignite reality-spanning destruction.
  • The Power of Love: It turns out that since Hulk's power is emotion+based and quasi-mystical in nature, the love he felt for Jarella makes her even more powerful after dying than his father's spirit turned from his rage. His mother also said that she by far prefered his Pillars of Moral Character wife Jarella to his other wife, the Blood Knight Red She-Hulk.
  • Really Gets Around: Although far less than his cousin, Hulk does get more affairs than expected for a giant, hulking ball of pain. From Betty, Jarella, Bereet, Kate Waynesboro, Marlo, Caiera, and the college girlfriend that he saved from being unlawfully contained in an Amnesty International condemned US prison; to being desired by Thundra, the other college fling Monica Rappacini and Umar (TWICE)... Not to mention Joe Fixit who probably had ten times as much sex as all the other incarnations put together. Lampshaded by Red She-Hulk, in those Exact Words.
  • Resist the Beast: Banner, especially in cases where Hulk is portrayed the most destructively and as a huge detriment on his life, does so regularly.
  • The Rival: Thor will always be the big one, as they are Marvel's two heaviest "Big Name" hitters, and sometimes one of them wins, sometimes the other, but usually it somehow ends up as a draw. Basically Hulk has a lot more raw power and durability, so he should have the edge in pure close combat, despite a considerable skill disadvantage, but if Thor ever started to use all of his myriad powers in ways Hulk couldn't counter (hit him with multiple planet-shattering blasts from the other side of the solar system, teleport his brain into a black hole etc) then there wouldn't be much that Hulk could do about it. Still, the thing is that Thor and Hulk actually get along swell with each other when not fighting, or when watching each other's back, starting back in the first Secret Wars.
    • Namor has a personally perceived rivalry with the Hulk, but isn't really powerful enough to be a match for even She Hulk nowadays. Wolverine and the Thing also have a bit of this going on, but both of them are technically vastly overpowered. The Thing's durability and sheer tenacity mean he's still commonly used for slugfests with the Hulk, though. If you count villains, then Red Hulk and The Juggernaut also fit this role.
  • Rogues Gallery: The Hulk has a really big one, including the Leader, the U-Foes, the Abomination, the Glob, the Rhino, Speedfreek, the Bi-Beast, Rock, Redeemer, the Gamma Corps, Constrictor, Boomerang, Madman, the Wendigo, Piecemeal, Absorbing Man, the Juggernaut, Mercy, Mister Hyde, Red Hulk, and ZZZAX. The Hulk also stands out in that he regularly clashes with a number of other heroes, including Thor, Wolverine, and the Thing.
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant:
    • Some of the Hulk's recurring enemies, like the Juggernaut, and Absorbing Man, originally started out fighting other foes (and those two still do on a regular basis). The Big Green Machine also tangles with other heroes' enemies every now and again, even if they don't become permanent fixtures.
    • Ever since The Defenders introduced Umar (a Doctor Strange villain) as a Stalker with a Crush for the Hulk, she's been added to his list of foes and romantic interests.
  • Shockwave Clap
  • Shooting Superman: Hulk gets this even more than Superman does, most often from General Ross.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: According to one source, Hulk's ideal relationship is a hillbilly Masochism Tango with a woman so strong that he wont hurt her from beating her up, and vice versa...
  • Sliding Scale of Antagonist Vileness: The Maestro: Social Darwinist: "How did you get to be in charge Maestro? By talking your opponents to death?" "No, by beating them to death, and it all went so quickly that I'm sorry I didn't prolong it." "You're fighting the inevitable, Hulk. I'm simply the final product of natural selection. The strong survive. I'm the strongest. I survived. When you go against me, you go against the laws of nature."
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: The Leader's time machine.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Madman, in an Ax Crazy Foe Yay fashion, which is why he isn't seen much.
  • Stan Lee: Co-creator with Jack Kirby.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Hulk basically has this ability as an actual power. In one moment he's punching out a cosmic entity, and the next he has trouble with Captain America or Wolverine.
    • Memorably displayed during Marvel's Secret Wars limited series, when the heroes are trapped under a mountain range with the Hulk (barely) keeping them from being crushed. As the Hulk starts to weaken, Reed Richards begins insulting him for being useless Dumb Muscle, which irritates the Hulk to become stronger. Of course, considering that he nowadays (somehow... look he can punch through reality, just go with it) holds together collapsing planets even when calm.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: According to his profile on, the Hulk has a gland in his lungs that requires very little oxygen to function. This is not only why he can hold his breath for a long time in space (in fact, he can TALK in space when he needs to), but he can also extract enough oxygen from water to breathe under the water's surface!.
  • Super Prototype: In a way, the Hulk is this for the other gamma mutants. Hulk is the first, even though he was created by accident. The others (Leader, Abomination, Madman, Ravage, Red Hulk) were created either by recreating that accident or copying his dna. Some, such as Abomination and Ravage, have higher base-line strength than the Hulk, and most other gamma beings retain their intelligence(though not necessarily their full personality) while transformed, which could be considered improvements, but the Hulk's potential strength and secondary powers, as well as a somewhat intangible quality that makes the Hulk seemingly impossible to permanently cure, has shown that the Hulk, while flawed, is the most powerful gamma being created.
  • Super Strength: The only time his upper limit was actually measured, by the Beyonder, it literally rated as having "no finite limit" by 3-dimensional standards, after which the entity stated that he considered Hulk as a fellow infinite being.
  • Super Weight: Type 3, but in much the same manner that Dragonball Z was type 3 towards the end. In terms of upper limits of raw power only he is in-between types 4 and 5.
  • Superhuman Transfusion: How Jennifer Walters got her powers, from a transfusion of Bruce's blood.
  • Tanks for Nothing: Tanks are nothing more than a convenient projectile to Hulk.
  • Tame His Anger: He tries. But it doesn't work.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Not an absolute version, and he makes exceptions for any thoroughly malevolent Eldritch Abomination, Omnicidal Maniac, and such, or as a very last option if too many other lives depend on it, but contrary to popular belief (due to that he loves to rumble and smashing inanimate objects), and similarly to Spider-Man, the most heroic Hulk incarnations (including Banner, Savage Hulk, the merged version, and likely the current one), are pretty much as close as the Marvel Universe gets, or at the very least far more so than the majority of the heroes. He really, really hates to kill, and has repeatedly gone into a panic or been brought to tears at times when he hasn't been able to save bystanders. It takes ridiculous extremes to get him to that point. Lampshaded by his son Skaar who considers him extremely "weak" in this respect. Of course, Joe Fixit was the very odd one out in not having that problem, although he seemed to avoid using lethal force during the Dale Keown run/towards the end.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Bruce Banner, following his loss of the Hulk, in Greg Pak's run.
  • True Love Is Boring: Bruce and any of his wives.
  • Undying Loyalty: To his friends.
  • Unskilled but Strong: The iconic Dumb Muscle Green hulk, to the point he's the page image
  • Unstoppable Rage: The poster boy. "The longer Hulk fight, the madder Hulk get! The madder Hulk get, the stronger Hulk get!" Subverted in that, again partially due to the issues with his dad, both Hulk and Banner are constantly terrified of accidentally hurting any innocent or defenseless "little people", especially children. Being put in a situation wherein he has to, or does so unintentionally, as with Hiro-Kala, is one of the worst things that can happen to him. Inanimate objects and seriously evil people who can take the punishment, on the other hand, are perfectly fair go.
    • His daughter Lyra, on the other hand, is an inversion. The angrier she gets, the weaker she gets. This issue is later resolved with a nanomachine treatment that Bruce gives her.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: As has been mentioned elsewhere on this page, Umar considers the Hulk extremely attractive to the degree that the Hulk got exhausted from the effort... although at least that sort of thing has happened more frequently to Thor.
  • Villain Protagonist: Truly Mindless Byrne Hulk, physically separated from Banner: An unconsciously mass-murdering force of destruction, with only the body remaining, and the Hulk himself literally not responsible for its actions.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: At one point Banner had taken complete control of the Hulk's powers, and was able to shift between his basic human form and that of the Hulk at will. There is also his "Joe Fixit" personality, where he would be Bruce Banner by day, and "Mr. Fixit" Hulk by night.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist. The "merged Hulk" was an extremely light version, with the best of dedicated altruistic aims, kept relatively very clean and non-extreme in his methods, and having much greater positive than negative effects, to the degree that it is highly arguable whether he was in the right or not. A major story arc during the era involved him joining (and eventually leading) the Pantheon, an organization of good-will that spent their time researching cancer cures and invading countries to depose cruel dictators. During this period, the Hulk got into conflict with other heroes not just because of his anger issues, but also because of conflicting moral outlooks.
    • The Leader also falls under this; his goals are usually to take over the world and use his genius to create a utopia. At the expense of a hell of a lot of lives, that is.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Your gender doesn't matter to the Hulk. If you're posing yourself as an opponent or if you piss him off, you'll get what's coming to you. Just ask Vapor, Moonstone, Mercy, or Animus! There are times when even She Hulk has found out the hard way.
  • Writer on Board: Peter David's divorce led to him killing off Betty Banner. This however, led to one of the best depictions of grief ever seen in comics, the issue following her death encompassed an entire year-and-change of Bruce's depression as told to Peter Parker by a forty-year-old Rick Jones.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: The Trope Namer.