“For years, I’ve been treating the Hulk like he’s some kind of disease… something to get rid of. But then, I start looking at him as the cure. Eighteen months in a gamma lab, I put the brains and the brawn together. And now, look at me. Best of both worlds”
Bio science genius Dr. Bruce Banner focused his major studies on the effects of gamma radiation on humans, working alongside Dr. Betty Ross at a Virginia University lab. Dr. Ross’ father, General “Thunderbolt” Ross of the U.S. Army, channeled Banner’s work into a program to develop weapons for the military, unbeknownst to both doctors. Banner decided to test what he learned on himself, he triggered a fantastic transformation in himself. It resulted in an immense, hulking figure fueled by his own rage.
BOOM BOOM CIAO!
Having destroyed his lab as the creature, and inadvertently harming Ross in the process, Banner slipped away to avoid capture and study by the Army and began a desperate quest for a cure to his bizarre affliction.
As intelligent and cerebral as Bruce Banner is, his alter-ego the Hulk is a completely physical phenomenon. The green behemoth possesses the greatest raw strength of any natural being on Earth, with an upper limit that has yet to be fully tested. His leg muscles allow him to leap great distances and land without harm, and his skin can resist damage from heavy weaponry, as well as the natural elements and even unnatural ones.
The Hulk has grown somewhat more intelligent over the years. His speech has increased from growls and roars, to one or two words at a time, to full sentences. Banner recognizes the Hulk as himself, but often refers to him as “the other guy. However, his alter-ego seems to have little love or respect for the mild scientist and may not even be cognizant that Banner is himself.
The doctor transforms into the Hulk during moments of stress, anxiety, and most of all anger. The change can reverse itself if the Hulk reaches a state of calm, either by himself or through a special mantra utilized by his fellow Avengers.
Since his battle with the Abomination on the streets of Harlem, New York, the Hulk has tested his mettle against a crop of powerful opponents while as an Avenger and on his own. These include the alien Chitauri forces and their flying leviathans, the Asgardian trickster Loki, the high-tech soldiers of Hydra, Iron Man’s powerful “Hulkbuster” armor, the robotic despot Ultron, and Thor himself in the Sakaarian arenas of the Grandmaster.
While no physical match for the green giant, one might view General “Thunderbolt” Ross as the Hulk’s strongest and most persistent foe, in the sense of the man’s dogged pursuit of Banner and his alter-ego and his casual willingness to subvert the doctor’s life’s work into weaponry for the U. S. military. In terms of sheer power, the tyrant Thanos has given the Hulk a run for his money and bested him in direct combat.
While the Hulk has faced strong foes before, none so definitively beat him in combat as Thanos, who was able to quickly subdue the jade giant when they fought. Hulk’s subsequent refusal to physical manifest himself may be due to that encounter, even as Bruce Banner continues the fight against Thanos and his followers.
Bruce Banner spent five years hiding from Ross and the army. However. he finally settled in Brazil to focus his search for a cure in plant research and mind-relaxing techniques. During this time, he communicated with cellular biologist Doctor Samuel Sterns back in the United states. However, the unintended transportation of Banner’s irradiated blood to a man in Milwaukee exposed his whereabouts to “Thunderbolt” Ross and his operative, Emil Blonsky. Banner reentered the country to try and recover his original research data from Culver University, but that meant the Hulk came with him and not even a reunion with Betty Ross could quell the angered beast.
After making his way first to Smoky Mountains National Forest and then the steel canyons of New York, Bruce Banner was forced to pit his alter-ego against a gamma-transformed Blonsky, the duplicity of Dr. Sterns, and the ever-looming “Thunderbolt” Ross. The Hulk defeated Blonsky and moved in for the kill, but Betty Ross stopped him from crossing this line and he fled once again. Soon after, in seclusion, Banner began to try and gain more control over the Hulk.
S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Nick Fury dispatched his operative Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow. Her task was to approach Banner in India and convince him to join the so-called Avengers Initiative. The team’s first mission was to prevent Loki’s despoiling of the planet with the mystical Tesseract device. Unfortunately, it brought the Hulk and his other potential teammates into the trickster’s crosshatch It resulted in a furious battle onboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier between Hulk and Thor. During that fight, the Hulk crashed down to Earth and transformed back into Banne.
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