- "Hulk. Hulk, I know you like making your entrance at the last second, well, this is it, man. This is the last last second. Hulk! HULK!"
- ―Bruce Banner to Hulk
Robert Bruce Banner, M.D., Ph.D. is a renowned scientist who was highly respected for all his work in the fields of Biochemistry, Nuclear Physics, and Gamma Radiation. As part of a program commissioned by General Thaddeus Ross to recreate the Super Soldier Serum which created Captain America, Banner conducted an experiment with Gamma Radiation. However, when an exposure to high levels of Gamma Radiation instead of Vita Radiation went awry, the mild-mannered scientist had found that when angered or provoked, he would transform into the huge, rage-fueled, nearly mindless and green-skinned monster known as Hulk.
Fearful of the damage that Hulk could inflict upon innocent lives, Banner chose to live a discreet life in remote parts of the world, working to cure the sick and help the poor while trying to elude those who would try and take advantage of his ability, while also communicating with Samuel Sterns to cure himself. However, when General Ross had sent a team led by Emil Blonsky to apprehend Banner, he was then forced to return to New York City where he recruited the help of Betty Ross and Sterns to cure him of his own curse. However, not long after this test was concluded, Blonsky himself had overdosed on Gamma Radiation and transformed into the Abomination, forcing Ross to allow Banner to turn into Hulk and battle him before then allowing Hulk to escape.
When a mounting threat called for Banner's specialized scientific expertise, S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury recruited him, knowing full well that the incredible strength of Banner's alter ego, Hulk, would be an additional asset to the Avengers. Banner was tasked with tracking down Loki using the Scepter and tracing down the radiation, working alongside Tony Stark to achieve this. Despite almost causing a disaster when he was forcibly transformed into Hulk by Loki, Banner rejoined the team during the Battle of New York and assisted them in defeating Loki and his entire army. Once the Avengers split up in the wake of the battle, Banner had become good friends with Stark and was also given the freedom to live in the world without being hunted by General Ross.
In the wake of the HYDRA Uprising, the Avengers regrouped once more to battle the ever growing threat of HYDRA, successfully capturing Baron Wolfgang von Strucker and retaking the Scepter. In order to make it so that the Earth could always be safe without constantly needing all the Avengers to protect it, Banner assisted Stark with creating Ultron, an artificial intelligence. The AI quickly turned against them, trying to cause the extinction of humanity. Hulk helped in the fight against Ultron and decided to go off the grid after the team successfully defeated him. In his exile, Hulk somehow left Earth and crash landed on the planet Sakaar, where the stressful environment prevented him from regressing back into Banner, causing him to remain in Hulk form for two years.
On Sakaar, he became a gladiator for Grandmaster and was soon revered as a beloved champion, choosing to turn his back on the Earth and enjoy the life of a warrior. However, when Thor arrived on the planet, Hulk fought against his old friend in the arena. In the wake of their fight, Hulk learned that Asgard was under threat due to Hela's return and helped Thor and the other Revengers escape the planet, reverting to Banner in the process. In order to defeat Hela, Asgard was destroyed during Ragnarök, so Banner joined the surviving Asgardians, including the redeemed Loki, under the rule of their new king, Thor, on their quest back to Earth.
On their way back to Earth, the Statesman was attacked by the Black Order, who killed most of the Asgardians. Hulk challenged their leader, Thanos, who soundly defeated him, and was teleported to Earth by Heimdall, where Banner warned the planet of Thanos's arrival, taking part of the Battle of Wakanda in the Hulkbuster armor, due to Hulk refusing to fight. However, although Banner and the other Avengers and their allies managed to kill off Thanos's forces, when Thanos came to Wakanda personally, he effortlessly subdued Bruce and the other heroes and completed the Gauntlet and defeated them, with Banner being one of the few survivors of Thanos's plan to kill half the universe.
Meeting Betty Ross
- "Remember those experiments we volunteered for at Harvard? Those induced hallucinations? It's a lot like that, just a thousand times amplified. It's like someone's poured a litre of acid into my brain."
- ―Bruce Banner to Betty Ross
Robert Bruce Banner was born on Thursday, December 18, 1969. As he grew up, he started going by his middle name. During his youth, Banner had an estranged relationship with his own father, believing that he was never able to impress him. Bruce met Betty Ross while in college, where they fell in love. At Harvard University, the couple participated in an experiment involving hallucinogens.
They soon graduated and moved on to Willowdale, Virginia, while working together at Culver University as instructors, where Bruce specialized in Nuclear Physics, Biochemistry, and was a member of the Bio-science Department. Banner met Erik Selvig, one of the university's instructors. During that time, Banner was involved in a praised work on anti-electron collisions and Gamma Radiation, becoming one of the foremost geniuses of his entire generation. While working on his gamma ray experiments, Banner was unable to visit his father, and ultimately missed his passing. Throughout his career, Banner obtained seven PhDs.
- "We were tryin' to make you better. Banner's work was very early phase. It wasn't even weapons application. He thought he was working on radiation resistance. I would never have told him what the project really was. But he was so sure of what he was onto, that he tested it on himself. And something went very wrong. Or it went very right."
- ―Thaddeus Ross to Emil Blonsky
Banner and Betty Ross were recruited by the United States Armed Forces to work on a top-secret research project under the guise of brand new research of radiation resistance, called the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project, a subprogram within Infantry Weapons Development. However, the project's true intention was to duplicate the results of Project Rebirth by making Super Soldiers. The project was run under the watch of Thaddeus Ross, the father of Betty.
A while into their experiments later, Banner had become so confident that, in order to prove his work's worth, he decided to test it upon himself, injecting a promising version of what was really a replication of the Super Soldier Serum, made along with military scientists using his radiation-resistance formula. Using their combination of Bio-engineering and Gamma Radiation, replacing Abraham Erskine's own original formula of Vita Radiation, however, wanting to impress Ross, Banner upped the dosage of the radiation. The combination of the serum and an above lethal amount of the Gamma Radiation caused Banner to then undergo a sudden violent transformation.
The effects of the procedure provoked Banner to transform into a giant, green-skinned, muscle-bound titan with incredible strength, but who posed little intelligence and was driven by fits of extreme rage; however, his transformations were brief, being sporadically triggered by the release of adrenaline. An enraged, nearly mindless Hulk then destroyed the lab, hospitalizing Betty, killing two scientists and an army officer, and also crushing General Ross' arm.
In the wake of the accident, the military closed the entire lab building for a year and shut down the entire Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project. Banner tried to visit Betty while she was in the hospital, but her father made him leave. Ross admitted to Banner that the project was being developed as a weapon, not just defense, also telling him that if he refused to let the Army use Hulk for military purposes, then his troops would come after him to obtain the secrets.
Three days after the accident, Ross met Banner in the destroyed lab, offering him to take him to another workplace in Maryland. Banner refused and blamed himself for all the people he hurt, including Betty Ross. Banner ran off, hiding inside the janitor's room and using the clothes available for disguise, while prompting Ross to order his own troops to chase after him, only to find that Banner was gone. Now a fugitive of the United States Army, Banner went on the run.
Failed Suicide Attempt
- "You can't. I know! I tried! I got low. I didn't see an end so I put a bullet in my mouth, and the other guy spit it out. So I moved on, I focused on helping other people."
- ―Bruce Banner to Nick Fury
Banner, attempted to escape to Canada, but upon being discovered by border patrol officers, Banner transformed into Hulk and tore up the freeway, before making his way to Canada. Eventually making his way to South America, Banner helped a lost boy named Miguel when they were attacked by the criminal leader Espinoza. After being brutally beaten down by the criminal, Banner then transformed into Hulk and destroyed their entire terrorist hideout.
In 2006, Banner had tried to contact Betty Ross one last time, but the email was intercepted by the military and she never received it. During his run, Banner travelled through the Dakotas and towards Idaho, where an encounter with some State Troopers led to violence. Some time later, the scientist was spotted via satellite recon photo in Canada and Hulk was seen by locals by the United States/Canada border, who had mistaken him for a “green Sasquatch.”
Seeing no end to his run from Thaddeus Ross, Banner went up to the top of a mountain in the Arctic region of Greenland to shoot himself. He fired with his gun in his mouth but transformed into Hulk, who spat out the bullet. The enraged monster caused a quake followed by an avalanche and fell on the ice. Hulk then walked along the bottom of the ocean until he had reached land. This incident was detected by satellite, the last sighting of Banner in five months.
Continuing to go on the run, Banner visited a bar where he met Nick Fury, who had agent Peterson started to fight Banner. This turned Banner into Hulk and he went on a rampage before Hulk then ran out. Banner eventually returned to South America, where he would look for vascular plants that could inhibit radiation and therefore, find the key to cure his condition. Banner also learned about a cellular biologist using the pseudonym "Mr. Blue", who could aid him.
Life within Brazil
Banner eventually settled in the Brazilian slums of the Rocinha favela, Rio de Janeiro, working as a handyman in a soft drink bottling factory that produced Pingo Doce while still attempting to find a cure for his condition, with the aid of his Internet friend, "Mr. Blue". To keep himself sane while living in his exile, Banner had adopted a dog named Ricky and taught himself Portuguese by watching children's programmes on television.
He also studied martial arts and meditative breathing techniques with an Brazilian Jiu-jitsu expert to help control his emotions and heart rate, and because of this, had not suffered a transformation for 158 days. During some of his training, Banner would learn new breathing exercises and would allow his sensei to slap him across the face to ensure he maintained control even in harsh environments, although he would stop the lesson if his heart rate went up too far.
Although avoiding the daily stress, he was constantly victimized by xenophobia of his coworkers, being supported by the friendship of his colleague and neighbor Martina. While working at the factory one day, the Plant Manager called Banner upstairs in order to fix some broken machinery, offering Banner full time work which he continued to refuse, fearing his name and face being put on the system would then allow General Thaddeus Ross to find and capture him.
While finishing all his repairs on the machinery, Banner accidentally sliced open his finger, causing a large drop of his Gamma infected blood to floor down onto the bottles below. Horrified, Banner then demanded that the Manager stop the machines while he searched for the blood and cleaned it up. However, Banner was unaware that more of his blood had dripped into a soda bottle where it was drunk by an ill-fated consumer back in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Once he was done for the day, Banner prepared to go home, only to witness Martina being harassed by the Tough Guy Leader and all his friends. Although Banner initally tried to walk away, fearful of turning into Hulk, he eventually intervened and asked Martina to join him for dinner. When the Tough Guy tried to push him away, Banner tried to warn him but got his language wrong and claimed he would not like him when he was hungry, not angry before then leaving.
Search for a Cure
- "I found it."
"At long last. It's a lovely flower, isn't it. Be sure to use a high dose. Good luck."
- ―Bruce Banner and Mr. Blue
The search for a cure for his condition drove Banner to study a flower described inside of the book "Inventory of Rare and Endangered Tracheophyta of Amazônia," and he finally received it from a man he had hired to search for it. Returning to his house, Banner put up a picture of Betty Ross before he contacted Mr. Blue, to inform him of the discovery, as Mr. Blue commented on what a beautiful flower it was and then advised Banner to use a high dose of it.
As Mr. Blue had advised him to try a high dose of the component extracted from the plant and wished him good luck, Banner was able to produce a serum using homemade laboratory equipment, using every bit of the flower to ensure he had enough to likely cure himself. Banner tried the serum on a drop of his own damaged blood to undo all the effects of the Gamma Radiation given to him by the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project, and while it seemed to be successful at first as all the green Gamma infected blood was reduced, after just a few seconds it triggered a reaction that made all of the cells explode, meaning this latest experiment had proven to be a failure.
Informing "Mr. Blue" of the failure, noting that he had used all of the flower and therefore the could not try it again. The scientist insisted on meeting Banner in person in the United States of America, as he noted that living with Gamma poisoning could be more dangerous than the eventual risks of their meeting. Banner still refused, fearing that General Thaddeus Ross could find him, however Mr. Blue then convinced him to send a blood sample for more testing.
A few days later, Banner finally received some more news from "Mr. Blue," that preliminary blood tests showed some significant gamma reduction, but that in order to develop an appropriate antidote for Banner he would need more data and requested and details behind the original experiment which caused his own curse in the first place. Banner realized he should return to Culver University to retrieve it all and told Mr. Blue that it would be impossible to get it.
- "Leave me alone..."
While Banner attempted to sleep that night, he became alerted upon hearing one of the nearby Dogs yelping out in pain. As it turned out, General Thaddeus Ross had tracked Banner's location due to his infected blood falling into a Pingo Doce bottle, and sent his team to capture him. Led by Russian-born British special operations expert Emil Blonsky, they attempted to break into his home and take Banner back into custody by force.
Realising the danger that had arrived, Banner quietly escaped through his window as Blonsky and his unit located Banner's house and burst in to shoot him with tranquilizer ammo. But Banner had already fled through the window and momentarily hid with Martina in her house. As Blonsky and the other soldiers looked for Banner, they assumed he had run into the streets of Rocinha, allowing Banner a moment of relief.
However, despite Banner attempting to hide his face with his hood, before long Blonsky had caught sight of him and chased him down. As Banner desperately ran for his life, Blonsky and the other soldiers pursued Banner through the streets and rooftops of Rocinha, with Banner using his knowledge of the escape routes to ensure he could keep an advantage. Hiding round a corner, Banner tried to slow his heart rate to prevent his transformation before continuing to run.
Continuing to flee from the United States Armed Forces unit, Banner at one point came across General Ross himself, realizing that he was the man behind the chase. Once the two enemies had locked eyes for a brief moment, Banner continued to desperately run for his life, only to accidentally crash into the Tough Guy Leader who attempted to start a fight with him. Banner used his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to throw the men away before running from both them and the army.
As Banner ran away for safety, the Tough Guy Leader and his friends followed Banner inside the Pingo Doce factory in order to beat him, with Blonsky and his men not far behind. Attempting to hide from all those chasing him, Banner had attempted to control his heart-rate to ensure that he did not transform again, only for the Tough Guy and his friends to locate Banner and throw him against the wall. Banner attempted to defend himself but the Tough Guy wanted revenge for Banner defending Martina from him and ignored Banner's warnings that something really bad was about to happen, with the Tough Guy punching Banner in the stomach and raising his heart rate.
Blonksy located Banner in the factory and approached to witness the appearance of Hulk, as the transformation was triggered by the men beating him. Banner transformed into Hulk in the shadows, with the Tough Guy Leader unaware of exactly what was happening, so when he attempted to kick Banner, Hulk grabbed the Tough Guy Leader's leg and threw him across the factory, killing him before Hulk proceeded to subdue another thug while the third escaped.
With all the thugs taken out of the picture, the SOCC soldiers began firing their tranquilliser darts, which merely bounced off Hulk's skin. As the soldiers continued firing as throwing flash grenades at Hulk, from the dark shadows Hulk asked them to leave him alone before furiously fighting back against the soldiers, using his own incredible strength to his advantage. Following their ferocious battle in the soft drink bottling plant, Hulk incapacitated almost all the soldiers.
With only Emil Blonsky remaining, who had watched the green titan in astonishment, Blonsky loaded his weapon and fired bullets at Hulk, which continued to have no effect on him. Enraged, Hulk picked up a forklift truck and launched it at Blonsky, who had barely avoided the attack. Hulk then proceeded the smash through the factory wall and escaped from Brazil and fled into the jungle, much to General Ross' considerable annoyance at the failure.
Going Back Home
- "I could use a bed for a few nights."
"You can have the spare room upstairs."
"That'd be so great. There is one other thing."
- ―Bruce Banner to Stanley Lieber
Having escaped from the Pingo Doce factory and fled into the jungle, Banner awoke in the jungle the morning after the incident, soaking and freezing cold. Spotting an oncoming car, Banner ran for help, speaking Portuguese only to learn he was no longer in Brazil but had made it all the way to Guatemala, however the car driver still agreed to take Banner to a nearby town, which he thanked him for as the driver wrapped the freezing cold Banner up in a blanket.
Taking the advice of "Mr. Blue" to gather more information on the incident that started his transformations, in order to research a more effective cure, Banner traveled back to the United States after 17 days of losing sight of the soldiers, while passing through Chiapas, Mexico, where he lived as a beggar and received alms to help pay for his journey. Banner managed to buy himself stretchy clothes but suffered nightmares about Emil Blonsky shooting at him.
Eventually, Banner made enough money and managed to make it all the way back to the United States of America where, upon returning home, he traveled to Culver University where he knew his research was being kept. While he was still keeping a low profile and hiding behind his newspaper, Banner saw that Betty Ross had continued working inside Culver University and was dating psychiatrist Leonard Samson, so Banner quietly left there without being seen.
Banner also met with his old friend Stanley Lieber, a pizzeria owner, who agreed to let him stay for the night there. As they sat down for a catch-up, Banner insisted that everything Thaddeus Ross and the government had said about him since his disappearance was untrue, which Lieber insisted that he understood. They then briefly discussed Betty Ross and her relationship with Samson before Lieber agreed to give Banner a job as a delivery man while he was there.
Using Lieber's pizza delivery man job as a cover, Banner returned to the university and attempted to sneak past a Security Guard to recover his research, claiming that there was somebody upstairs who had ordered a pizza. When the Security Guard refused to let him pass, Banner claimed he risked being fired and offered him a free pizza, which the Security Guard gladly took and allowed Banner to go upstairs.
Having made it upstairs, Banner looked inside a room and recalled it once being the same space where they had created Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project before everything had gone terribly wrong. Entering the room, Banner bribed Amadeus Cho with another pizza and logged on to the computer using Betty Ross' password. Discovering the data from his Gamma Radiation project was deleted, Banner continued to contact "Mr. Blue" and inform him of this.
Reunion with Betty Ross
- "Listen, I should leave early, as early as I can."
"Really? You can't stay at all?"
"I want to, but it's just not safe for me to be here. If I could borrow some cash? I need to take a bus."
- ―Bruce Banner and Betty Ross
In the wake of his failure to reclaim his research, Banner prepared to go on the run again, however, he was unaware that Betty Ross had just arrived to visit Stanley Lieber's pizzeria for a meal. As Banner headed downstairs, he came into the dining room where Ross caught a glimpse of him.
This forced Banner to quickly run outside and hide behind the skip, desperate to not be seen by Ross, as he still believed that bringing her into his situation would put her in grave danger. Convinced about what she had seen, however, Ross came out searching for him. Banner remained hidden as Leonard Samson followed to learn what Ross was looking for. Eventually, they both went back inside to question Lieber, allowing Banner to slip away into the night.
As it began to rain, Banner made his way out of the city, attempting to get away before anybody else he cared about discovered that he was back in the United States of America. However, just as Banner attempted to hitch a ride in the pouring rain, he heard a car pull up behind him and discovered that Betty had successfully tracked him down. The two former lovers then ran into each other's arms and embraced, with Ross then desperately telling Banner not to leave. Banner eventually relented and got in Ross' car as she drove him back to her home to rest so they could discuss everything that had happened since he had gone on the run.
Back at Ross' home, she had revealed to Banner that she had stolen missing pieces of their research on the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project before the lab had been raided, which she secretly held after the first ever transformation of Hulk. Ross questioned why they could not go to Thaddeus Ross and explain everything, but Banner told her that the General had made all his intentions for Hulk clear. Ross gave Banner a bed and agreed to take him to the train station.
- "They're here. Betty, look at me, look at me! You have to go far away from me as you can! Don't argue with me, just go. Go!"
- ―Bruce Banner to Betty Ross
Intending to leave the area to avoid being detected, Banner met up with Betty Ross on his way to the bus station to get away. As they stood together, Ross took a moment to remove Banner's hat and untuck his shirt, commenting that she liked this look better. However as Banner and Ross were having a moment of looking at each other, Banner saw the United States Armed Forces soldiers were charging into the area.
As the worried Leonard Samson had chosen to inform the military of the scientist’s whereabouts, Banner saw the full scale assault had begun at Culver University, forcing Banner to demand that Ross get as far away from him as she could before he ran away as quickly as possible, with the Strategic Operations Command Center soldiers had come charging after him in jeeps and on foot, armed with every weapon available to them to take him back into custody.
As the soldiers chased Banner into the library, he managed to hide for a brief moment and, fearing he would soon either be captured or transform into Hulk, chose to swallow the flash drive Ross had given him, containing all the information of the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project. Having swallowed the flash drive, Banner continued to run. But it wasn't long before the soldiers had caught up and cornered him, locking him in a walkway with seemingly no escape.
With no escape in sight as soldiers blocked both doorways, Banner watched as General Thaddeus Ross revealed himself to once again be behind the ambush as Ross then ordered tear gas fired through the window. As the gas filled the walkway, Banner removed his shirt and tried to cover his mouth, but became distracted when he witnessed one of the SOCC soldiers knocking Betty to the ground as she tried to run to his aid.
As the walkway filled up, Banner was consumed by the gas. This caused the Gamma Radiation inside to transform Banner into Hulk. His monstrous persona then furiously smashed the glass walls of the walkway, launching out into the lawn and roaring at the soldiers who stood in horror and the beast before them. As Hulk stepped towards them all, he was attacked by all the SOCC soldiers under the direct orders of General Ross who was still determined to capture him by any means.
Hulk attempted to reach Betty, but the gunfire from the army angered him. Despite his near impregnable skin allowing the bullets to merely bounce off him, the constant attacks caused Hulk to furiously fight back and destroy several Humvees, knocking over one before moving towards a nearby statue, picking up the second Humvee and smashing it apart against the statue, forcing all the nearby soldiers to run for their lives as Hulk reduced the vehicle to pieces.
The ensuing battle outside the university proved to be futile for Ross' forces and they eventually retreat, though Emil Blonsky, whose sanity was starting to falter after just injecting a new version of the Super Soldier Serum, boldly attacked and mocked Hulk. Blonsky then fired multiple tear gas grenades at Hulk before leaping over his head and shooting him in the face. While Hulk brushed off all the gunshots fired at him, he still furiously attempted to kill Blonsky.
Blonsky managed to avoid all of his attacks before being ordered by General Ross to run, causing Hulk to chase him down, although he struggled to keep up with the now enhanced Blonsky. Hulk, however, was unaware that he was being led to a trap as the soldiers activated the Stark Sonic Cannon made by Stark Industries which hurt Hulk as he fell to his knees due to all the pressure caused by the condensed sounds waves fired directly at his head.
Despite Hulk being caused incredible pain, he was still able to look up and witness General Ross ordering his soldiers to take Betty away as she begged him to stop hurting Hulk. Seeing this, Hulk managed to gather all of his strength as he lifted up the pieces of the sculpture he was still holding to block the sound waves to give him enough time to destroy one piece of the equipment before then launching into the air and destroying the other Sonic Cannon.
As Hulk walked through the battlefield, still armed with the piece of the sculpture he had acquired, he was once again fired upon by Blonsky with his machine gun, until the vastly overconfident Blonsky decided to ignore all of General Ross' orders and stepped right up in front of Hulk without any weapons, believing that he could stand toe to toe with Hulk due to the power he had recently been given. Standing defenseless against Hulk, Blonsky questioned if he had shown everything he had, to which Hulk furiously responded by kicking Blonsky into a tree, which crushed most of his bones.
While Hulk explored the now burning battlefield, still in a state of rage, Betty approached Hulk, unafraid of him as she attempted to calm him down and turn him back into Bruce Banner. However just as Hulk was looking at Betty and calming down, General Ross ordered that an Apache Helicopter come to their location and began firing on them. Seeing this, Hulk blocked all the gunfire and threw a piece of debris at the helicopter, knocking it to the ground.
As the helicopter fell to the ground, Hulk shielded Ross from the explosion while General Ross looked on in horror as Hulk pulled her out of the burning wreck. Hulk then proceeded to escape with her to the Smoky Mountain National Forest. After the battle, the nickname "Hulk" is reported in the media for the first time, during an interview to WHiH World News with the students Jack McGee and Jim Wilson, who were present during the conflict and had filmed most of it.
Hulk took the unconscious Ross to the National Forest where he laid her inside a cave until she woke up. Upon waking up, Ross screamed in surprise as she looked at Hulk, causing him to hit his head before roaring at the lightning he had heard. Ross soon calmed down and managed to convince Hulk that there was nobody attacking him. As the pair sat side by side, ignoring the rain and thunder, they relaxed in each other's arms.
Hunting a Cure
Heading to New York
- "We just can't use the credit cards, the ID or the phone. Don't even turn that on. And we'll take the cash, obviously."
"How will we get where we need to go on forty dollars and no credit cards?"
- ―Bruce Banner and Betty Ross
Hulk had eventually reverted back into his original human form as Banner and Betty Ross awoke while still hiding out in the Smoky Mountain National Forest. With Banner struggling to even stand due to the trauma of his latest Hulk transformation during the Battle at Culver University, Ross helped him walk as they made their way out of the mountains and chose to hide out in a motel outside of Ashwood, North Carolina in the foothills of the Smokies. Once there, Banner took a shower to relax but was haunted by visions of Emil Blonsky and the helicopter fired at him during the last battle.
While Ross went out to buy him more clothes, since his were torn during his transformation, Banner went to the bathroom and vomited up the memory stick he had swallowed containing all their research on the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project. Eventually Ross then returned and expressed her surprise at his decision to swallow the memory stick before handing Banner the clothes she had bought for him, with Banner rejecting a pair of stretchy purple trousers.
While they hid out inside the motel room, Ross spent time cutting Banner's hair, teasing him as he appeared concerned she would not do it right. Once she had finished, Ross held Banner in her arms, leading to the pair kissing and falling on the bed. However, Banner noticed that being with Ross was raising his heart rate so, fearing it would cause him to transform into Hulk if they were to have sex, Banner stopped them, much to both of their disappointment.
As they prepared to go on the run once again, Banner explained to Ross how they would avoid detection from the United States Armed Forces, noting that she could no longer use her phone or her credit cards due to them being tracked. When Ross questioned how they would be able to get to New York City with only forty dollars, she suggested selling her mother's necklace. Despite Banner refusing to let her, Ross insisted and used the money to buy a truck.
As they prepared to leave, Banner emailed "Mr. Blue" before Ross took a quick photograph of Banner as they got inside the truck and began the long drive. Along the way, Ross asked Banner what his own experience of turning into Hulk was like, with Banner comparing it to experiments they volunteered for at Culver University only more intense. Banner explained that Thaddeus Ross wanted to turn Hulk into a weapon and therefore, Banner now wanted to destroy it.
Having spent several hours asleep while still on the road, Banner was eventually awoken by Ross as she had just seen the New York City Police Department were currently searching all the vehicles which were attempting to get into New York City, clearly searching for the fugitives. Fearing this would mean that the SOCC would be able to locate them, Banner and Ross got out of their truck and got off the bridge, instead using their remaining cash to hire a boat.
Having made it onto the mainland, Banner and Ross discussed what would be the best way to get across the city in order to finally meet with "Mr. Blue". Ross at first suggested that they take the subway, but fearing Banner turning into Hulk underground, they decided to take a taxi. However when the taxi driver drove like a maniac, they got out as Ross screamed at the driver. Seeing how angry she was, Banner suggested Ross use some of his calming techniques.
Meeting Mister Blue
- "There is a flip side to this too. If we miss on the low side, if we induce me and it fails, this will be very dangerous for you."
"Look, I've always been more curious than cautious and that's served me pretty well, so are we gonna do this?"
- ―Bruce Banner and Samuel Sterns
While they continued to avoid detection, Betty Ross and Banner then arrived at the Grayburn College in Manhattan, where they planned to finally meet with the mysterious "Mr. Blue", a resident scientist at the College who was in fact named Samuel Sterns. Ross at first greeted Sterns, who was surprised to meet her before Banner made himself known, with Sterns amazed to finally meet Mr. Green.
Accompanying Sterns to his lab, Banner and Ross listened as Sterns expressed his amazement at meeting Banner, noting he was shocked that such an unassuming man had so much Gamma Radiation inside of him. They learned that Sterns had completed the possible antidote that could potentially cure Banner's condition, or merely reverse each individual transformation, although Sterns warned that the procedure did hold the risk of killing Banner if anything went wrong.
In order to test the antidote's effectiveness, Stern would be forced to trigger a Hulk transformation, and an underdose would prove futile and make Hulk wreak havoc again, while an overdose could kill him. Despite the risks, Banner agreed to test Stern's antidote and was restrained, becoming quite nervous when Stern had begun kicking the machinery to get it all working. With Ross still stood close by him, Banner attempted to relax as Stern began the experiment.
Sterns then gave Banner an electric shock directly to his head, which caused him to undergo his transformation into Hulk, with Sterns looking on in amazement at the power Banner was showing. When Hulk inadvertently knocked Sterns over due to attempting to break free of his restraints, Ross was forced to then jump onto his chest and attempted to keep Hulk as calm as possible. Using this brief distraction, Sterns was able to transfuse with the cure during mid-transformation, allowing Hulk to return to his human state.
Exhilarated by the success of the antidote, Sterns began ranting about his theories on why it had worked before he revealed that he had been using test subjects for several years, beginning with rats and mice before moving onto human subjects. When Banner then questioned what he meant, Sterns revealed that he had synthesized Banner's blood sample into a larger supply with the intention of using it to enhance the human condition to the next evolutionary level, believing they could cure hundreds of future diseases.
Appalled by what Sterns had done and fearful of Hulk's power falling into the wrong hands, Banner then attempted to convince Sterns to immediately destroy the blood supply, claiming it was too powerful it was was to fall into the wrong hands. However just as Banner was making his argument, he was shot in the back by a tranquilizer from one of General Thaddeus Ross' snipers. As Banner dropped onto the floor, Emil Blonsky charged into the room and captured him.
- "Not control it, but, I don't know, maybe aim it."
"And what if you can't?"
"We made this thing. All of us. Please."
- ―Bruce Banner and Thaddeus Ross
As both Banner and Betty Ross were taken into custody, Banner was strapped down on a stretcher while the SOCC kept a close watch over him. Banner was then brought to General Thaddeus Ross who, upon seeing that Banner had seemingly had no reaction to the ordeal, warned that if he had been successful in curing himself of Hulk, then General Ross would ensure that Banner spent the rest of his life in a prison without any hope of regaining his freedom.
While Banner was handcuffed, they were moved inside a helicopter with General Ross as Betty, who would be granted freedom by her father, while Samuel Sterns was left to be interrogated by Kathleen Sparr back at Grayburn College about what he knew about Banner's condition. While in the air, Banner and Betty made eye contact and smiled at one each other to reassure themselves. However strangely, General Ross suddenly ordered the helicopter to turn around.
As it turned out, Emil Blonsky had forced Sterns to inject him with the Gamma Radiation and Banner's infected blood. This caused Blonsky to transform into the Abomination, a monster who in a state of rage, had begun furiously attacking Harlem, putting innocent lives at risk. Banner, realizing that he was the only one who could stop the Abomination, tried to convince General Ross to release him, arguing that this was all of their responsibility to solve this situation.
General Ross ordered the soldiers to land the helicopter, but Banner insisted that they remain above New York City so that he could jump out and keep everyone else safe. Betty attempted to stop Banner, warning that he was unsure if he had been cured or not, but Banner insisted that he had to try regardless in order to save all of the United States Armed Forces soldiers and the many innocent civilians from the Abomination's rampage. Having kissed Betty goodbye, Banner then jumped from Ross' helicopter as it hovered over the city, hoping the fall would cause enough adrenalin to trigger his transformation. Banner's plan succeeded as he crashed on the streets.
- "Any last words?"
- ―Abomination and Hulk
Having survived the fall out from General Thaddeus Ross' helicopter, Banner transformed into Hulk and punched his way back to the surface, while many of the people of Harlem ran in terror. Getting to his feet, Hulk roared as loud as he could, getting the attention of the Abomination, who stopped killing all of the people as he clearly delighted at the chance to fight Hulk and try to prove himself the superior monster.
Ripping off the remains of Banner's shirt, Hulk furiously charged towards his enemy, as the Abomination did the same. Both roaring as loud as the could, Hulk and the Abomination launched at one another, only for the larger and more powerful Abomination to win the attack as Hulk got speared completely off his feet and thrown across the street. The impact of the hit shocked Hulk as he had struggled to get back onto his feet, while the Abomination laughed at his suffering before challenging Hulk to get up and continue their fight to the death as Hulk regained his composure.
Seeking a woman, Hulk saw a New York City Police Department car parked just beside him and proceeded to then smash the police car in half and used the pieces as boxing gloves. As the Abomination came closer to him, Hulk furiously smashed the two ends of the car together before striking his enemy as he repeatedly punched the Abomination into the pavement so hard that it caused a deep crater and had completely destroyed the remains of the car.
Having seemingly beaten the Abomination into submission, Hulk prepared to unleash one more punch to finish off his enemy, only for the Abomination to question if that was all Hulk had in him, as Emil Blonsky had done during the Battle at Culver University. Getting his revenge for what happened to him during that previous encounter, Abomination proceeded to kick Hulk across Harlem and through a wall into a nearby building, giving chase in order to continue their battle, while Hulk recovered while inside a nearby skip.
As the Abomination climbed up the wall and searched for Hulk, General Thaddeus Ross then ordered the his Gunman inside of the helicopter to open fire on him, with the soldiers of the United States Armed Forces briefly unsure about which monster to target. As the Abomination ran after the helicopter across the rooftops, Hulk recovered from the last hit and chased after the Abomination, who was now targeting General Ross' military helicopter itself.
Before Hulk could reach him, the Abomination lunged and grabbed the helicopter just as Hulk arrived and grasped him. Desperate to do whatever he could to protect Betty Ross and everyone else onboard the helicopter, Hulk began punching and pulling at the Abomination, even trying to crack his exposed spine. However, despite all of Hulk's efforts, the helicopter still lost control and crashed down onto the ground, with Hulk and Abomination being briefly separated.
While Hulk recovered from the crash and went to see if Betty and the General had all survived, the Abomination then reappeared and challenged Hulk to continue fighting. The two furiously faced off once again and the Abomination pinned Hulk against a wall and stabbed him in the chest with his exposed elbow. Telling Hulk that he did not deserve this power, he threatened that Hulk would be forced to watch Betty die as he dug the exposed elbow in deeper.
Refusing the thought of allowing Betty or anyone else come to harm angered Hulk and he soon managed to overpower Abomination, pulling him away from him before slamming him into the wall with all his might just as the helicopter caught fire due to the exposed gas. Seeing this, Hulk charged forward and thunder-clapped his hands together and managed to blow out the entire fire, saving Betty and General Ross from being consumed by the flames.
However, just as Hulk watched as Betty and the General were pulling themselves out of the wreakage of the helicopter, Betty screamed out a warning just before the Abomination hit Hulk from behind with a concrete pillar on a high-tensile chain. The power of the hard blow was enough to knock Hulk to the ground, with another hit almost rendering Hulk unable to move while the Abomination smiled at all of the painful suffering he was causing onto Hulk.
Fuelled by rage and insanity due to being exposed to such a large amount of Gamma Radiation which had caused his transformation, the Abomination then turned his attention to the General, swinging the concrete pillar and chain to kill Betty and the General. However Hulk refused to allow this to happen and, explaining Hulk Smash, he smashed a large crack into the ground where the Abomination's foot got caught and the pillar fell and hit him in the head.
Charging back into the battle, Hulk then grabbed the chain and began strangling the Abomination. The pair engaged in a brutal fight, as the Abomination desperately tried to free himself from Hulk's powerful grasp as he struggled for air, with Hulk even managing to rip out of his the Abomination's exposed elbows and stabbing him with it. Poised to deliver a final blow and crush the Abomination's throat, Hulk was stopped in the act of killing by the intervention of Betty, as Hulk finally let out a powerful, victorious roar.
With the Abomination finally defeated, members of the New York City Police Department as well as the Strategic Operations Command Center arrived on the scene with the guns aimed directly at Hulk. However General Ross ordered all the men to lower the weapons as Hulk and Betty had a moment as they briefly looked at one another. As more soldiers arrived, Hulk was left with no other option and fled the scene with the army once again back in hot pursuit.
Gaining Control of Hulk
- "I moved on, I focused on helping other people. I was good until you dragged me back into this freak show and put everyone here at risk."
- ―Bruce Banner to Nick Fury
Thirty-one days after his fight with Abomination, Banner arrived at Betty Ross's cabin in Bella Coola, British Columbia. He left Betty a note along with a necklace that he reclaimed after she had to sell it. After his first success in controlling Hulk, Banner focused on gaining control over Hulk instead of suppressing it. Banner crossed the border from Pakistan into India. An incident involving some local mercenary bandits soon forced him into transforming into Hulk and protecting local residents from the attempted terrorist attack.
Initiation by Black Widow
- "Avoiding stress isn't the secret."
"Then, what is it? Yoga?"
- ―Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff
Banner had been working as a doctor in Kolkata, India having not transformed for over a year. One Evening, Banner was approached by a girl that claimed her parents were very ill. He followed her to her home on the outskirts of the city where she made a quick escape. Banner remarks to himself that he should have been paid upfront. To his surprise, he was approached by S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Natasha Romanoff. Banner asked Romanoff he she was sent there to kill him, to which she assured him that she was sent by S.H.I.E.L.D. Suspicious, Banner suggests that the building was already surrounded.
Romanoff revealed that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been assisted Banner in his hiding; keeping their distance and derailing parties interested in capturing Hulk. She divulged that S.H.I.E.L.D. was facing a potential global catastrophe, events that Banner claimed to actively avoid. Banner is shown an image of the Tesseract, to which he questioned if Nick Fury wanted him to swallow it. Romanoff claims that Fury needs his help finding it as the object emits Gamma Radiation, Banner's speciality.
Banner remained doubtful of S.H.I.E.L.D. intentions as he suggests that S.H.I.E.L.D. needs him in a cage. He suddenly yells in a fit of rage, with Romanoff immediately draws her firearm in response. Banner takes a step back and apologises for getting angry at her. He reveals that he wanted to see how Natasha would respond to a Hulk incident; to which she orders a surrounding S.H.I.E.L.D. task force to stand down. Banner agrees to assist S.H.I.E.L.D. in finding the Tesseract.
Working with S.H.I.E.L.D.
- "It's good to meet you, Dr. Banner. Your work on anti-electron collisions is unparalleled. And I'm a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.
- ―Tony Stark and Bruce Banner
After meeting and befriending members of the team on the Helicarrier, Banner and Tony Stark began research on the recently captured Scepter of Loki. He and Stark talked about the negative sides of their skills, Stark referring to the shrapnel in his heart and Banner talked about his constant fear of Hulk's destructive powers. They also talked to Steve Rogers about what Nick Fury's true intentions with the Tesseract were. As they completed their work and waited for the information, Fury arrived, demanding to know why Stark had been downloading all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s files.
At the same time Rogers arrived, having discovered HYDRA weapons powered by the Tesseract. Natasha Romanoff and Thor tried to convince Banner to remove himself from the situation as they believed he was being manipulated by Loki. When the team began to spark unnecessary arguments, Banner became so annoyed due to Loki's influence that he unintentionally picked up the Scepter. The team was able to snap him back to reality just as the computer located the Tesseract.
- "Target acquired. Target engaged. Target angry, target angry!"
- ―A pilot trying to stop Hulk's rampage
Before Banner could inform the team of the Tesseract's whereabouts, the brainwashed Hawkeye led a team of mind-controlled soldiers into the ship and destroyed one of the engines, causing Banner and Black Widow to fall into the weapons cache room. Banner transformed unwillingly despite Romanoff's efforts to calm him down; as soon as he fully became Hulk, he saw Romanoff and gave chase. Although she managed to evade him for a long time, Hulk was able to catch up to her and throw her against a wall.
Before he could kill Romanoff with another hit, Hulk was intercepted by Thor. As Hulk's rage increased during his fight with Thor, he was able to survive direct hits from Mjølnir and throw the Asgardian across the room several times. At one point he ripped the wing off a fighter jet and hurled it at Thor. During the fight Hulk attempted to lift Mjønir, but even with his incredible strength, he was unable to move the hammer, which only increased his rage.
As the fight got more more intense, Nick Fury and Maria Hill were left with no other choice than to send a fighter jet to shoot at Hulk, as they feared he would destroy the Helicarrier and kill everyone aboard. When the jet began firing at him, Hulk's enforced skin was able to deflect the bullets leaving him unharmed. Outraged by the attack Hulk roared, left Thor and leaped at the jet. He was able to rip it apart in the sky causing it to spin out of control, the pilot attempted to eject, Hulk caught him and threw him across the skyline, fortunately, the pilot survived. Hulk fell to the ground as the jet exploded.
Banner eventually transformed back into Banner and woke up naked in a warehouse where he had crashed through the ceiling. He learned that he had been watched falling by a security guard. Banner made sure that he did not harm anybody during his crash landing, the security guard asked him if he was in fact an alien, to which Banner assured him he was not. The man then told him he had a condition, which Banner could not argue with. The security guard gave Banner some new clothes and a motorcycle and Banner made his way back to New York to assist the Avengers.
Banner returned to fight in the battle of New York and re-teamed with the Avengers, he apologized to Romanoff for attacking her earlier. He then finally revealed his secret of keeping calm: he is always angry. Banner transformed into Hulk and took out a Leviathan with one punch, then aided the Avengers in the battle. Steve Rogers gave all the Avengers detailed orders on how to fight the Chitauri army, and turned to Hulk and simply ordered him to "smash", to which Hulk simply smiled and leapt into battle.
Hulk threw himself at the Chitauri army, immediately killing many soldiers climbing buildings, using his incredible strength and leaping abilities he was able to leap high in the air and hit the Chitauri Chariots out of the sky. He also killed several Leviathan creatures, at one point battling on top of one along side Thor, together they killed it and as they took a moment to catch their breath, Hulk punched him across the room, getting revenge for their earlier fight.
Hulk entered the Stark Tower and threw Loki against the wall. Loki screamed at Hulk that Hulk was unworthy to fight him, not listening to the speech Hulk beat Loki into submission. Hulk left Loki unable to move, said "Puny God", and rejoined the battle. At one point Hulk became surrounded by Chitauri Chariots who all fired down at him together. As the battle looked almost hopeless, the World Security Council eventually sent a missile to destroy Manhattan.
Stark flew the missile to the Chitauri's Wormhole, destroying the Chitauri ship and thus killed all the other soldiers. Stark was able to escape the closing Wormhole but his suit shut down in the process. Hulk caught Stark as he fell and brought him to the other Avengers. For a moment it seemed Stark had made the ultimate sacrifice and had suffocated in space, however Hulk roared in his face, waking him up.
Later, all of the Avengers silently ate at the Shawarma Palace. They were interrupted by War Machine, who arrived too late to aid in the battle. After Loki was sent back to Asgard with Thor and the Tesseract, Banner and Stark drove away in one of Stark's Acura 2012 Stark Industries Super Car as the Avengers went their separate ways.
After fighting in the Battle of New York, Banner was able to show that he could keep Hulk under control. Nick Fury made it so that Banner could move around in the world without being afraid of being arrested or kidnapped.
A Therapy Session
- "I'm sorry, I'm not that kind of doctor. I'm not a therapist. It's not my training, I-I don't have the-"
"What? The time?"
- ―Bruce Banner and Tony Stark
Some time after his battle against Aldrich Killian, Tony Stark came to Dr. Banner to talk about his traumas. But Banner fell asleep near the beginning of the session, so Stark told Banner more stories about his life, to which Banner again quickly fell asleep.
Targeted by HYDRA
The Genius of Banner
S.H.I.E.L.D. resorted to use many inventions developed by Banner that maybe did not have the use he intended to have, but were useful in other ways.
For example, Nick Fury explained that he used Tetrodotoxin B, an anti-stress serum developed by Banner, to slow his heart to a beat per minute to fake his death following a HYDRA assassination attempt. 
In order to defeat Marcus Daniels, Leo Fitz used the Gamma Power Reserve designed by Bruce Banner to modify the stage lights of the Portland Symphony Orchestra to emit concentrated beams of light.
Banner created the Retreat, a place nicknamed "the house that Banner built"; it looks like a log cabin on the outside, but the inner walls have Vibranium lining. Inside, there is a Hulk-sized fist print in the wall. 
Banner received an apartment from Tony Stark in the new Avengers Tower. The team eventually reunified to take down HYDRA bases around the world. During this time, Banner began to develop a romantic relationship with Natasha Romanoff. Romanoff developed a lullaby that she found could successfully make Hulk transform back into Banner.
- "This is what I get for waiting in the car."
- ―Bruce Banner
While Banner was occupied with a scientific examination, J.A.R.V.I.S. informed him that Natasha Romanoff was in need of assistance from the other Avengers in Sudan. Banner went into the team's Quinjet in order to fly to her location. As the other Avengers ran out to fight the HYDRA agents, Banner stayed inside the Quinjet, waiting for further instructions.
HYDRA soldiers found him in the jet and shot it with one of their tanks, trying to kill him. Unfortunately for them, the explosion only made Banner transform into Hulk, allowing him to help his allies in the fight. Together, the team was able to defeat the soldiers and their leader, Jensen.
- "Hey big guy. Sun's getting real low."
- ―Black Widow to Hulk
Some time later, the Avengers discovered through Maria Hill the whereabouts of Loki's Scepter, which had been taken to Baron Wolfgang von Strucker's secret HYDRA Research Base in Sokovia, where it had been used by Doctor List to conduct experiments on individuals with powers. The heroes attacked the fortress protecting the laboratory with Hulk destroying armored vehicles and bunkers defending the outpost.
Romanoff performed the lullaby with Hulk to get him to calm down and turn back into Bruce Banner. On the way back to the Avengers Tower, Banner listened to some classical music. Natasha then came to him and told him that the lullaby worked better than ever.
Once they arrived at Avengers Tower, Banner and Stark began decoding the secrets of the scepter. Stark compared J.A.R.V.I.S. to the contents of the scepter which Banner believed to be a form of thinking, as exemplified by the neuron-like patterns. He concluded that Strucker was working on a form of artificial intelligence.
Tony revealed that he was mystified by the idea of using the A.I. to frame the Ultron Program. Banner was sceptical of the idea as it was based in the hypothetical, having never been accomplished before. He also questioned Tony's decision to not reveal their plans to the rest of the team. Stark summarised his motivations by suggesting that he sees a 'suit of armor' around the world. To which Banner suggested that it would be a cold world to live in.
Ultimately, Tony was able to convince Banner to help him by proposing it could create peace in their time. Over the course of three days, the two scientists worked on merging the scepter's code with the Ultron Programme. Believing they had hit a roadblock, Banner and Stark chose to enjoy the party being held at Avengers Tower. Once everyone left, J.A.R.V.I.S. awakened Ultron, who proceeded to eliminate him after telling about Ultron's meaning and existence.
- "It's nice"
"You and Romanoff."
- ―Steve Rogers and Bruce Banner
To celebrate the victory on HYDRA, Stark organized a party in the Avengers Tower. During the party, Natasha Romanoff flirted with Banner, making him realize the two had feelings for each other. Steve Rogers spoke to Banner, telling him that Romanoff was clearly flirting with him. Rogers insisted that Banner should not let the chance for a happy life go passed, noting that Romanoff had flirted with him in the past but the way she spoke to Banner was more than mere flirting. As Rogers walked away, Banner pondered this before questioning how much Romanoff had flirted with Rogers in the past.
During the victory celebration at the Tower, the Avengers and guests attempted to lift Mjølnir. Banner sat with Romanoff who opted not to play. When Banner tried to lift the hammer, he pretended to turn into Hulk, which none of the others found funny, except Romanoff. Thor then teased them that none of them were worthy enough to lift the hammer.
"In the flesh."
- ―Bruce Banner and Ultron
Ultron, now with a robotic body, played a loud screeching noise through the speakers, questioning how could they be worthy. Following his speech that he no longer had "these strings holding him down", Ultron forced drones from the Iron Legion to begin an attack on the Avengers. In order not to lose control, Banner hid behind the Tower's bar with Romanoff. Ultron began mocking the Avengers, but Thor had enough and destroyed Ultron's body.
- "Tony, maybe this might not be the time..."
"Really? That's it? You just roll over and show your belly, every time somebody snarls?"
"Only when I've created a murder-bot!"
- ―Bruce Banner and Tony Stark
After a brief battle, the lead Ultron robot was destroyed, although it claimed it would attack again. With the team gathered together, Stark began examining the robot to understand what caused it. He learned that it had destroyed J.A.R.V.I.S.' mainframe in a rage. Thor stormed in and grabbed Stark by the throat, accusing him of bringing destruction to the Earth; Stark defended himself however claiming that he was coming up with a solution to end a war that would destroy the Earth. Banner was not convinced by Stark's argument. The team later learned that Ultron had built himself a new body and had killed Wolfgang von Strucker, that he was planning on stealing vibranium from Ulysses Klaue and that he had made an alliance with Wanda and Pietro Maximoff.
- "You listening? That little witch is messing with your mind. You're stronger than her, you're smarter than her, you're Bruce Banner."
- ―Tony Stark to Hulk
The Avengers soon went to South Africa to keep Ultron from getting Vibranium. As the others were fighting Ultron, Banner remained in the Quinjet. Wanda Maximoff found Banner and forced him to turn into Hulk using her mental manipulation powers. Under her control, Hulk started destroying the city of Johannesburg.
Iron Man arrived on the scene and equipped the Hulkbuster armor, ordering the police to "stand down" and drawing the attention of Hulk. He attempted to calm Hulk down through conversation but inadvertently enraged him by referring to him as Bruce Banner. Hulk then threw a car at Iron Man but he managed to catch it. Hulk hit him through the car and sent him backwards, so Iron Man took off and grabbed Hulk by the neck, dragging him through the street. Hulk kicked the Hulkbuster armor, freeing himself and crashing Iron Man.
During the fight, Hulk then pounced on the Hulkbuster before Iron Man could recover and severely damaged its left arm but as Hulk tore through the thick armor, Iron Man reversed the damaged arm and punched him off. Seeing that the left arm of the suit was too damaged, Iron Man ejected it and called the hovering "Veronica" carrier for a replacement. He continuously barraged the charging Hulk with repulsor blasts from his right arm while the replacement attached itself to the Hulkbuster. Finally, Hulk punched Iron Man but he punched back with his new arm, causing a shockwave.
Iron Man managed to throw Hulk down on the ground and proceeded to pound him repeatedly with the new arm. Hulk grabbed hold of the arm but it turned out to be a trap, imprisoning Hulk's hand. Iron Man then attempted to fly Hulk away from the city, but Hulk punched him mid-air, causing him to crash into a building full of people. Iron Man tried to sedate Hulk but Hulk kicked him into an elevator full of people. He grabbed the elevator wire before it crashed, allowing the people to escape. Hulk jumped on him but the Hulkbuster flip-kicked him away before smashing him with the elevator and punching him full in the face, making him lose a tooth. Hulk angrily spit out the tooth, scaring Iron Man enough to apologize.
The fight spilled out once again, with Hulk angrily gliding the Hulkbuster across a tall building before ripping out vital components off of it. Veronica attempted to replace the damaged parts but Hulk smashed the incoming replacement right into the carrier, destroying both. Seeking to end the fight quickly, Iron Man flew high above the city, throwing Hulk into a building under construction, shooting missiles to destabilize it and ramming Hulk all the way to the ground floor, burying them both under the rubble. Hulk burst through the rubble and began to calm down as the South African Army arrived on the scene. Hulk started to get angry again but Iron Man punched him in the head, knocking him unconscious. The Avengers regrouped, forced into hiding.
- "Where in the world am I not a threat?"
"You're not a threat to me."
"You sure? Even if I didn't just... there's no future with me. I can't ever... I can't have this, kids,"
- ―Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff
With the public ridiculing them for Hulk's rampage, the Avengers went to Hawkeye's home. While there, Banner took a shower and when he was finished, he found that Romanoff was waiting for him. Banner explained her that they cannot be together because he could present her a threat, but also because he cannot make children. She told him about her training in the Red Room, where she was sterilized, which made her unable to have children. They planned to elope together after defeating Ultron.
Nick Fury also arrived at the farm and spoke with the group at length about stopping Ultron. Banner then realized that Ultron wanted to improve his body. So he needed Helen Cho and the Cradle device to build for him the ultimate body. While Banner was brought back to the Avengers Tower by Fury, the Avengers flew to Seoul to take the synthetic body from Ultron, and Stark went to the NEXUS base in Oslo to find the person who prevented Ultron from obtaining nuclear launch codes.
Birth of Vision
Tony Stark and Clint Barton returned to the Avengers Tower. Barton brought with him the Cradle with the synthetic body in it, but he said that Ultron had kidnapped Natasha Romanoff, so he went to search for her. Stark revealed to Banner that J.A.R.V.I.S., who was not destroyed by Ultron as he thought, was the person who prevented from Ultron to get the nuclear codes. Stark tried to convinced Banner to help him put J.A.R.V.I.S. inside the body. At first, Banner refused but Stark claimed that it was the only hope they got to stop Ultron. Banner then agreed to help him.
As the two were almost finished, Steve Rogers with Wanda and Pietro Maximoff came and ordered them to shut it down. After Banner and Stark refused, the two and Barton fight against the three with Banner personally threatening Wanda Maximoff and assuring her that he could kill her without losing control and transforming into Hulk. As Stark and Rogers began attacking one another, suddenly Thor came in and revived the synthetic body with his lightning.
The living body jumped out and briefly attacked Thor until he looked out over the city, the living body apologized and called itself the Vision and claimed to wish to assist them to fight Ultron. Thor explained that he had seen the Vision in his vision and the Mind Stone, one of the six Infinity Stones, that is in the Vision's forehead. At first, the team did not trust him, but as proof of his honor, Vision handed Thor Mjølnir.
Rescuing Black Widow
- "You’re not going to turn green?"
"I’ve got a compelling reason not to lose my cool."
"I adore you. But I need the other guy."
- ―Black Widow and Bruce Banner
The Avengers tracked Ultron down in Sokovia, where Natasha Romanoff was being held. While the other Avengers were busy facing off against Ultron and his sentinels, Banner managed to sneak into Ultron's lair and break Romanoff free. Determined to make good on their earlier plan to run away together, Banner told Romanoff that he did not want to change into Hulk, but Black Widow kissed him and pushed him over the edge of a well, forcing the transformation. Moments later, Banner emerged as Hulk, ready for the battle. With Romanoff clinging to his back, Hulk began jumping through the air, trying to reach the flying city of Novi Grad. Crash landing on solid ground, Hulk and Black Widow ran off in separate directions to deal with Ultron's forces.
One Last Fight
Hulk joined the Avengers, protecting the key that could drop the city and thus cause global destruction. Ultron summoned his sentinels, and they reached the key and activated it. The team defended it and made Ultron distraught. Hulk then hit him strongly and threw him far away. Hulk was far from the battle, and Romanoff tried to calm him back to his human state. Her calming technique was interrupted by Ultron, who was at the controls of the Avengers' own Quinjet, raking Hulk with gunfire. Hulk became enraged, and Natasha was knocked out. Hulk grabbed Romanoff and bore her to safety on a newly arrived S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier that had been brought by Nick Fury and Maria Hill, before leaping after Ultron. He threw him from the jet and then took control of it.
After the battle was over, and the Avengers succeeded in saving the world and defeating Ultron, Hulk chose to remain in the Avengers Quinjet that Ultron had previously hijacked. Natasha Romanoff tried to make him disable the plane's stealth mode, but he cut off its communications, keeping with the stealth mode so he would not be tracked. Nick Fury later assured Romanoff that Banner was safe and alive; however, they would not be able to track him due to the cloaking systems that Stark had applied on the ship.
Champion of Sakaar
Shortly after leaving Sokovia, the Quinjet ended up entering a wormhole to the alien planet of Sakaar. Stranded on the unknown planet, which stressed him out, Banner remained in Hulk form. During his stay there, he was taken to the Grandmaster by Valkyrie and became his champion. Over the course of two Earth years, Hulk fought in the arenas and became a famous champion. He also made sure that he would not switch back to Banner, by avoiding anything that could calm and reawaken his other self.
- "Banner. Hey, Banner!"
"No Banner. Only Hulk!"
"What are you doing? It's me. It's Thor!"
- ―Thor and Hulk
Beloved by the arena crowds, Hulk came to enjoy his lifestyle as the Champion of Sakaar. One day, Hulk met his newest opponent, who turned out to be none other than his former teammate and fellow Avenger, Thor. Refusing to acknowledge Thor, despite his pleads and attempts to make him calm down, Hulk fought against his former ally. A grueling duel took place as both combatants smashed and ruined the arena.
During the battle, Thor managed to gain the upper hand when he summoned his lightning powers. Hulk secured his victory when the Grandmaster activated the taser that has been implanted on Thor's neck. Hulk gain the upper after Thor was incapacitated from the Obedience Disk, he jumps up several feet up in the air and punch Thor to the ground, leaving him unconscious.
Relaxing with Thor
- "You're not the stupid Avenger. Nobody calls you the stupid Avenger."
"You just can't go around throwing shields at people, you could have killed me."
"I know, I'm sorry! I just get so angry all the time! Hulk always... always angry."
- ―Thor and Hulk
Following their fight, Thor was brought to Hulk's chamber. Thor had eventually awoken inside with a team of nurses tending to his injuries. Getting to his feet, Thor put his armor back on before exploring the room, discovering that Hulk was also there. The Hulk was taking a bath at that moment, as Thor first confirmed that the Hulk would not attempt to attack him again.
The two former allies resumed their conversation. Thor began questioning Hulk about exactly how he had managed to get into Sakaar, becoming frustrated as Hulk struggled to answer his questions. When the Hulk claimed he had gotten where he was by winning at the Contest of Champions, Thor insisted that he had won by cheating since the Grandmaster had activated his Obedience Disk. Hulk revealed that he arrived in the Quinjet by imitating the crash landing noise in the bathtub.
Thor then ask where is it to which Hulk walks by Thor while naked and then showing where it was in a scrapyard. Thor asked Hulk to come to Asgard with him and ensure that Hela could not cause Ragnarök. Hulk decides to stay as Thor kept pleading for Hulk's assistance, but Hulk yawned at the idea and refused to acknowledge their friendship, since he believed that Thor liked Banner better. Hulk also refused to return back to Earth as he believed that everyone hated him there following the Duel of Johannesburg.
Although Thor attempted to convince Hulk that everybody loved him since he was a member of the Avengers, Hulk insisted that Thor was only friends with Bruce Banner, which Thor denied by claiming that he did not even like Banner. Hulk still refused and Thor made his way out while insulting the room. However Thor was electrified by the door and Hulk laughed hysterically at him.
Hulk puts back on his Sakaaran Battle Armor and tells Thor that he goes under training with Valkyrie for his next fight with the Contest of Champions. As Hulk reaches the door Valkyrie ask him how he was doing to which he replies that he has been winning tournament. Once he was alone, Thor had meditated and attempted to come into contact with Heimdall back on Asgard.
At night, Thor attempted to rip out of his Obedience Disk out of his neck once again to which he had no luck as it had instead caused him considerable pain. Waking up in his bed and seeing this, Hulk noted how sad Thor looked, to which Thor simply told him to shut up as he sat alone and contemplating his next move. Hulk pushed him over and still continued teasing him, the annoyed Thor rebutted that he was furious to what had happened to his home, the death of father and losing his hammer before he had become imprisoned by the Grandmaster.
Hulk decided to ignore and irritated with Thor's complaints, Thor furiously accused him of not listening and began kicking some stuff towards the Hulk. Hulk furiously told Thor to stop kicking stuff, to which Thor responded by claiming that the Hulk was known as the stupid member of the Avengers, as the Hulk called Thor the tiny Avenger. As his temper rose, Hulk threw a shield at Thor which nearly decapitated him, resulting in Thor angrily claiming that everybody on the Earth hates Hulk. Eventually they managed to reach a cordial ground and Thor convinced Hulk to call on his sparring partner, Valkyrie to his room.
Return to Banner
The next day, Hulk did as Thor requested and had Valkyrie come up to his chamber, as together they playfully sparring with each other as the Hulk played with the Sakaaran War Hammer while Valkryie kicked him over. Thor then revealed himself in the room, awkwardly trying to look impressive before Valkyrie simply ignored him and prepared to leave the room, as she claimed that Thor was too thick headed to see she was in Sakaar only to hide away from her problems.
As Valkyrie was about to leave, Hulk threw part of his bed to ensure she did not leave. Valkyrie agreed to listen to Thor, as the two conversed about the threat of Hela would bring to Asgard. Though unsuccessful in bringing Valkyrie over to his side, Thor managed to get the remote for his Obedience Disk and took the implant off. With that, Thor took a ball that Hulk was playing with and used it to crack the room's glass window, although this resulted in the ball bouncing back and striking Thor's face. Getting back onto his feet, Thor immediately made his escape toward the Quinjet. Hulk was distraught at leaving him behind and preceded to follow him.
As soon as Thor could take off and escape from Sakaar, Hulk immediately tried to stop him from leaving, damaging the Quinjet in the process. During his attempt, Thor turned on Natasha Romanoff's recording back during the Battle of Sokovia. Seeing her, Banner was able to awaken and transform back into himself. Confused by his surroundings, Banner was confronted by Thor and was told to calm down.
Hunted by the Grandmaster
- "Wait, You're just using me to get to Hulk. It's gross, You don't care about me. You're not my friend.
No! I don't even like Hulk. He's all like, grr... smash, smash, smash. I prefer you."
- ―Bruce Banner and Thor
Returning back to his senses, Banner found himself in the Quinjet and met with Thor. He quickly asked what happened to Ultron and Sokovia. Banner was shocked to be informed that while they won the fight, that event happened two years ago. With no memories of what happened in the past two years, it dawned to Banner that his relation with Hulk is starting to change; he compared it to previously both of them having a hand on the wheel, but this time in was like Hulk stuffed him in the trunk. Banner voiced his fear to Thor that if he ever transform back to Hulk again, he might not be able to come back.
They did not have long to catch up. Soon they heard an announcement from the Grandmaster that they are hunting Thor, due to believing that Thor has captured Hulk. Much to Banner's annoyance, Thor forced him to wear the only available clothes in the Quinjet; they belonged to Tony Stark, which were a tight fit for Banner. The two former Avengers made their escape from the Quinjet and start making their way through the city.
Though Thor attempted to keep Banner calm, he only succeeded in agitating Banner even further. The two discussed leaving Sakaar and fighting Hela, however Banner made it very clear he was tired of fighting evil beings and only wanted to go back to Earth to be left in peace, and felt Thor was only using him to get to Hulk. However, Banner agrees to accompany Thor back to Asgard on the condition that he doesn't have to think about Hulk ever again.
Eventually, amidst a Hulk parade, they encountered Valkyrie. She has decided to join Thor in his fight against Hela. She brought them to her apartment, where she has chained and captured Loki. They decided to steal the Grandmaster's ship and escape through the biggest portal of Sakaar. Banner and Valkyrie remarked that they seemed familiar to one another, however Thor dismissed this and hid Banner's link to Hulk from her in case she changed her mind about helping them to take Hulk back to the Grandmaster.
Banner stayed with Valkyrie while Thor and Loki went to capture a Commodore which belonged to the Grandmaster. During their escape, Thor forced Banner to steer the ship while he assisted Valkyrie with fighting off their pursuers. Banner unwittingly made Topaz crash into a rock when he turned on the ship's fireworks in his attempts to assist his allies. Banner handed the control to Valkyrie and travelled with his allies to Asgard.
Turning back into Hulk
Banner and his allies arrived in Asgard, onboard the Commodore. Thor headed back to the throne room to confront Hela, while Banner stayed with Valkyrie to prepare and assist the remaining Asgardians with the evacuation. They immediately went to Bifrost Bridge to assist the Asgardians. When Fenris was blocking their path, including Skurge and Hela's forces attacking them from behind, Banner decided to turn back into Hulk in order to prevent the Asgardians from getting slaughtered, despite knowing that he might not be able to turn back into himself.
Banner jumped off the ship, humorously landing and injuring himself at first, Fenris tries to sniff out Banner to see if he's alive, but showing no signs of it. Hulk resumed control and immediately battled against the wolf.
They fought fiercely and eventually their battle forced them off into the sea where they continued to battle. Hulk managed to defeat Fenris by throwing the wolf off the edge of the sea and into the void. Hulk got back on the bridge and saw Surtur destroying Asgard.
Hulk immediately charged into battle and jumped onto Surtur's face, but threw Hulk back onto the bridge. Before he could resume his battle, Thor and Valkyre convinced Hulk to stand down as they wanted Surtur to destroy Asgard so that Hela could be killed. Hulk helped his allies escape onto the Statesman, commandeered by Loki and Korg.
With Asgard destroyed, Hulk joined its new king, Thor, on their trip towards Earth. Hulk is aboard the Statesman when it is approached by the Sanctuary II, a vessel commanded by the warlord Thanos.
Crashing to Earth
Travelling to Earth, Hulk crashed through the window of the New York Sanctum in New York City, creating a massive crater in the building's staircase. As Doctor Strange and Wong investigated, they found Hulk reverting to the form of Bruce Banner, warning them that Thanos was coming. Doctor Strange contacted Tony Stark, and Banner was reunited with his friend that he had no seen for over two years.
While discussing the imminent threat to Earth from Thanos, Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian arrived to secure the Time Stone from Doctor Strange. In the confrontation, Banner tried to turn into Hulk. Hulk, however, refused to come out, leaving Banner to play no part in the battle. Once Ebony Maw left with a captive Doctor Strange, Banner contacted Steve Rogers with the phone he had given to Stark. Banner reunited with his former Avengers teammates at the New Avengers Facility, including an awkward greeting with Natasha Romanoff.
"Oh, screw you, you big green asshole! I'll do it myself!"
- ―Hulk and Bruce Banner
Banner participated in the Battle of Wakanda. With Hulk still refusing to emerge, Banner used the Hulkbuster armor during the battle. With the Children of Thanos drawing closer to Vision and the Mind Stone, Banner fought Cull Obsidian and was able to use the Hulkbuster's severed left arm to kill Obsidian by trapping his arm in it and then activating the inbuilt thruster to send him crashing into the Wakandan defense shield. However, unfortunately for the heroes, Thanos personally arrived on Wakanda to retrieve the Mind Stone and complete the Infinity Gauntlet and Banner quickly deduced that it is him.Banner was the first one taken out, with Thanos phasing Hulkbuster out of space and then making it corporeal again to trap him in solid stone. When Thanos gained the power of all six Infinity Stones and snapped his fingers to kill half of the universe's population, Banner was one of the survivors and could do nothing but bow his head in despair, forced to accept that Thanos had defeated them.
- "You got a lousy taste in men, kid."
"He's not so bad. Well, he has a temper. Deep down he's all fluff. Fact is he's not like anyone I've ever known. All my friends are fighters. And here comes this one guy, spends his life avoiding the fight because he knows he'll win."
"He's also a huge dork. Chicks dig that."
- ―Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff
Bruce Banner is shown as a mild-mannered, mysterious, shy and analytical man of science. The incident at Culver University caused Banner to become somewhat mentally troubled and obsessed with finding a cure for his mutation. He is compassionate and afraid of hurting someone unintentionally, so he tries not to get close to something or someone that leaves him stressed.
- "For all the destruction Hulk has caused over the years, he's done that only after we attacked him. In fact, whenever he's seen innocents threatened, Hulk has gone out of his way to protect them. Suggests to me that buried within that raging monster beats the heart of a hero."
- ―Nick Fury about Hulk
In turn, Hulk is more primitive with his senses amplified to such an extent that it is difficult for his brain to process it all. In Banner's own words, he describes the experience as "It's like someone poured a liter of acid into my brain." When Banner returns to his normal human form, he has little recollection of events aside from fragments and images.
In his earliest transformations, Hulk appeared as a savage with no real ability to distinguish friend from foe. Because of this, he was responsible for the deaths of two scientists, an army officer, a police officer from Idaho, and two Canadian hunters when he was a fugitive. However, while extremely aggressive and destructive, Hulk only attacked when provoked as a form of self-defense and wanted to be alone, often fleeing and ending up in areas uninhabited by humans like caves or forests to calm himself.
Ever since his first transformation Banner was terribly afraid of Hulk and the risk of him hurting those around him. He abandoned everyone and everything he cared about and became a fugitive for five years to prevent Hulk's power from falling into the wrong hands, while desperately searching for a cure and attempting to avoid transforming at all costs. On some occasions, he lost the hope of getting rid of his other persona and showed suicidal tendencies, attempting to kill himself once. The only times he was willing to let himself transform was during the Battle of New York, when attempting to intimidate Scarlet Witch, as he was angry with her for having set Hulk loose on Johannesburg, to the point where he threatened to kill her without even transforming, and when he tried to protect the Asgardians from Hela, her army of Berserkers and the Fenris. Despite this, he still dislikes having to transform into Hulk to battle, as it would require him to harm and kill others, which he expressed after the Attack on the HYDRA Research Base, as Thor commented on Hulk's kills and inadvertently made Banner feel ashamed and regretful.
Hulk keeps fragments of Banner's personality and gradually attained a better reasoning capacity over time, becoming able to show affection, demonstrating a capacity to work collaboratively with others once they've established a rapport with him, be aware that his name is "Hulk", and demonstrating he's capable of directing his savagery at foes instead of allies. Betty suggested that this is because Banner's mind is still within Hulk and can influence his behavior. Over time, he supplemented his scientific pursuit by learning meditation and breathing techniques, gaining a greater control over the transformations. Banner discovered that by focusing during the moment of transformation he can control Hulk's destructive behavior or at least "aim" it at a desired target, first seen during the Duel of Harlem. Banner usually has a love interest to act as Hulk's handler and soothe him back into his normal state. Hulk would check his aggression if Betty Ross desired it and would be given a lullaby to lull him into a calmer state by Black Widow.
After having shown some success in controlling the monster, he seemed to have abandoned the search for a cure and redeemed himself, helping sick people in poor areas of the world. Thus, he appeared to be more comfortable and sarcastic in various situations with fellow Avengers. He is no longer even afraid to get angry as it no longer triggers a transformation instantly. Tony Stark encouraged Banner to see Hulk as an ally rather than a destructive curse by pointing out that Hulk technically saved his life when the Gamma exposure accident occurred. Eventually Banner became confident enough to bring out Hulk voluntarily knowing he won't attack his allies. By the time Thor found Hulk while trapped in Sakaar, Hulk became intelligent enough to speak, albeit somewhat rudimentary.
However, Banner is the Avenger his teammates are the most wary of despite their camaraderie and often don't call Hulk to a battle unless strictly necessary. Though Banner is able to suppress his transformations through emotional intelligence, he has been known to lose control or be manipulated into lose control. Should he be completely overwhelmed with rage or stress, he loses all reason and becomes a volatile rage monster. Because of this, Banner had requested Tony to build the Hulkbuster armor. For example, he once attacked Black Widow on the Helicarrier, when they were blasted out of the lab and he transformed and attacked her, and when the Scarlet Witch used her mental manipulation powers on him in South Africa to force him to transform. After the War against Ultron, Hulk himself decided to abandon his Avengers friends much like he did when he defeated Abomination.
During his time in Sakaar, Hulk's control over Banner's body increased significantly, to the point that he was able to stay as Hulk for two whole years and prevent himself from reverting back to Banner. His increased self-awareness gave him increasingly visible layers of personality, instead of just being a very destructive rage monster. Hulk became intelligent enough to acknowledge his human half but repeatedly refuted Banner's existence, claiming "No Banner, only Hulk!", though he did so out of resentment and bitterness for Banner. While he gained more self awareness and personality, Hulk was still susceptible to emotion and could easily become more savage due to stress and frustration, such as when he fought Thor in the Contest of Champions. Despite this, he could still demonstrate a calm and stable demeanor, which allows him to not solely act aggressive and hostile, such as when he talk calmly with Thor after the two of them argue and befriend Valkyrie during his stay on the planet. However, Hulk was also wary of others, due to his history of violence on Earth, which caused him to believe that humanity hated him and made him refuse to return. Upon regaining control, Banner became afraid of Hulk once more, baffled at the fact that Hulk existed for more than two years, inferring that transforming again would likely result in Hulk gaining full control and the ability to indefinitely suppress Banner.
Hulk's time on Sakaar allowed him to form his own identity. Having risen to the top of the ranks and becoming the Grandmaster's Champion, Hulk enjoyed a celebrity lifestyle. This was as close to a 'normal life' that he was able to enjoy. During such time, he was able to develop his emotions beyond just anger. His interactions with Valkyrie and Thor demonstrated his playful nature. In addition, upon hearing that Earth hated him, Hulk appeared genuinely upset. This fortifies the notion that Hulk doesn't want to be alone. This was highlighted when he begged Thor to stay on Sakaar as his friend. Unfortunately, Hulk's low emotional intelligence and raw strength provide a combination that creates a being who cannot easily co-exist with others. Tragically, Hulk may be the loneliest Avenger yet the one who needs friends the most.
Having been an undefeated rage monster since he came into being, Hulk had never knew utter loss in fights. His experience and growing intelligence in Sakaar reinforced the idea and image so much that he believed himself to be invincible, even after Thor proved that at the height of his powers, he outclassed Hulk. During the Asgardians' escape from their destroyed home, he acted as the refugees' protector, and was quick to defend them when Thanos attacked. However, not only being much stronger, durable, faster, and even bigger as well as way more experienced and skilled, Hulk was only able to pummel Thanos when he was off-guard and when Thanos had enough of it and recomposed himself, he soundly and effortlessly defeated Hulk.
When Hulk arrived on earth, he refused to appear and help the Avengers when they need him, only coming out when telling Banner he does not want to. This is due to him, after developing emotions and thinking capabilities, that he realizes that he's nothing more than a destructive beast that is hated and feared by many, but when they need saving the beast is called, unlike on Sakaar where everyone loves the beast. Banner ironically realizes that despite getting his wish of being cured of the Hulk, this has left him vulnerable and unable to help his teammates directly as he has lost the strength gained from being the Hulk. Despite this, however, Banner displays great courage by fighting in the Battle of Wakanda wearing the Hulkbuster Armor, even facing Thanos again without fear.
Powers and Abilities
Transformation: Bruce Banner subjected himself to a combination of a recreated version of the Super Soldier Serum and an exposure to high levels of Gamma Radiation, in an attempt to develop a result similar to the original Project Rebirth from World War II. As a result, Banner is able to transform into Hulk when his heart rate increases to high levels or he loses control of his emotions. And as Hulk, Banner is a giant green-skinned humanoid with immense strength fueled by his rage, meaning the angrier he gets the stronger he becomes, and is one of the most powerful beings on Earth. According to Samuel Sterns, the transformation is triggered when an electric pulse generated on the amygdala (when Banner loses control or the pulse is induced) increases the gamma radiation of Bruce's cells. Betty Ross' reagent allows the cells to absorb the energy temporarily, which then abates, resulting in a chemical reaction that produces a myostatin primer. When Hulk transforms back into Banner, the excess muscle mass and energy is dissipated. The total time of transformation falls anywhere between seconds to several minutes, depending on the initial adrenaline surge, which will be determined by the original stimulus. Despite Banner's initial inability to control the transformations, he managed to attain some level of control through training and practice, and Banner's consciousness is buried within Hulk, influencing his behavior to a very limited extent. Shortly before being part of the Avengers, Banner became able to trigger his transformations at will, remaining angry in a controlled state, which allowed Hulk to be much smarter and self-controlled in battle. However, the more stressful or provoking his surroundings, the more difficult it is for Hulk to become calm enough to transform back into Banner, which lead to the Natasha Romanoff using her “lullaby” technique to calm Hulk at the end of each battle. Despite Banner previously being able to control Hulk, his alter-ego was slowly becoming more self-aware and developing a mind of his own. After the events of Sokovia, Hulk left Earth and became a gladiator on Sakaar, keeping Banner suppressed for two years. After meeting Thor, Banner re-emerged and, despite realizing that transforming again would mean that he might not change back, willingly unleashed Hulk to aid Thor and the Asgardians. Following this battle, Hulk fought Thanos one-on-one and was effortlessly defeated. Hulk has since refused to come back, tired of being used to fight for others, leaving Banner to fend for himself.
- Superhuman Strength: Hulk´s primary power is his immense superhuman strength. Hulk's strength increases with his anger, thus making it essentially Immeasurable. His incredible strength allows him to rip steel apart as if it were made of paper, to break vehicles with a single punch, stop a speeding Humvee in its tracks by stomping it into the ground, leave a dent after punching a wall made of an extremely durable silicon-carbide Vibranium alloy, kill a massive Leviathan with a single punch, do a powerful thunderclap to stop a military helicopter from blowing up, or catch a HYDRA tank struck by Thor during the Avengers assault on the HYDRA Research base in Sokovia, proceeding to not only hold it, but also lift and throw it a considerable distance as well. In combat, Hulk often uses his strength to throw heavy objects (like cars, forklift trucks, HYDRA tanks for example) or his smaller opponents in order to defeat his enemies, such as when Hulk threw a human-sized Emil Blonsky more than 40 feet away with a single kick or when he hurled Loki around repeatedly while holding him by the leg. Overall, few individuals have been able to match or surpass Hulk's strength, such as: the Abomination, who despite his greater base level of strength ultimately succumbed to Hulk's when he endangered the life of Betty Ross, angering him enough to overpower the gamma monster. Thor, who Hulk was able to hit hard enough to cause his nose to bleed, send flying with a punch, and upon growing angry, managed to almost overpower him in the Contest of Champions, although he was himself almost overpowered after Thor gained his full powers, Iron Man, who had to develop a special Hulkbuster armor to battle him in case of need and still needing Hulk to calm down to overpower him, Fenris, who had managed to contend with Hulk in their battle, but was ultimately hurled into outer space by Hulk, Surtur, whom Hulk was able to slightly stagger with a leaping blow, before Surtur effortlessly swatted Hulk away, and Thanos, who Hulk managed to surprise and stagger with his blows; however, Thanos effortlessly strike him with various blows and knock him out, leaving him unconscious for a short amount of time.
- Super Leaps: Hulk's strength also extends to his legs, allowing him to leap great distances, such as when he traveled from Brazil to Guatemala in a single night, covering at least from 1500 to 1600 miles in over 7 to 10 hours, or great heights with precision, such as when reached the top of Stark Tower from ground level in a single leap, or when he caught Iron Man in mid-fall when Stark came back through the Wormhole over New York City. Hulk reaches eye level of Surtur in a single bound, the fire giant being around 800 meters tall at this point of his restoration. Hulk is also near the far end of the Bifrost while Surtur is closer to the center of Asgard when he performs this leap, meaning he covers a tremendous distance both vertically and horizontally.
- Superhuman Durability: Hulk is able to withstand blows and attacks of considerable force; even high caliber bullets bounce off him and flames cause him little damage. His bone, skin, and muscles have an extreme density and he possesses a high degree of resistance to injury, pain, and disease. Hulk also withstood multiple energy blasts from Chitauri weaponry, extreme cold in the Arctic, great impacts from heights of several miles (though the impact knocked him unconscious, forcing him to revert back into Banner). In addition, Iron Man noted the amount of gamma radiation Banner was exposed to would have killed him if it had not given him the ability to transform into Hulk. Only beings with incredible force or extremely powerful weapons can harm him, such as when Hulk was painfully pierced by Abomination's skeletal spikes, was later painfully pierced by Fenris' teeth, when a blow from Thor wielding Mjølnir knocked him out for a moment and when Thanos badly beat him. While Hulk did survive quite a few blows from the Hulkbuster with little discomfort, he got a tooth knocked out in the confrontation. In addition, Hulk's durability is also tied to his anger level - during the fight against the Hulkbuster, he slightly calmed down, which slightly reduced his durability after witnessing the destruction that he caused in South Africa, allowing Iron Man to use the advantage, hammering Hulk with a massive punch, which sent him flying into a tall building, knocking him out. Similarly, during the Contest of Champions when Thor sent Hulk flying with a strike from the Sakaaran hammer, Hulk was further enraged to the point that he managed to block the next hammer blow with a single hand. However, after Thor had his powers fully enhanced (from a vision of Odin's spirit), Hulk was visibly dazed by a single lightning-charged blow from Thor. Hulk's skin was also pierced and noticeably wounded by Fenris who bit him several times, forcing Hulk to throw him into the void. When fighting Thanos, Hulk managed to withstand many blows from the Mad Titan, though he was noticeably stunned and was soon pummelled into submission, to the point where the Hulk refused to transform back anymore.
- Superhuman Stamina: Hulk has substantially greater endurance than a normal human, allowing him to run and fight for a long time. His enraged state, during a fight, allows him to maintain peak output for hours on end and still continue to become even stronger as his anger escalates.
- Superhuman Speed: Regardless of his size, Hulk's superhuman strength of his legs allow him to run at speeds that are far beyond the natural physical limits of a human being. He also possesses enhanced reflexes and agility proportionate to his size, but his large size can still be exploited by smaller foes to use to their advantage.
- "The cell was just..."
"In case you needed to kill me, but you can't! I know, I tried. I got low, I didn't see an end, so I put a bullet in my mouth and the other guy spit it out."
- ―Nick Fury to Hulk
- Regenerative Healing Factor: Should he receive damage that penetrates his extreme durability, his biology has a very high rate of cellular regeneration. Grievous bodily harm has also proven to be a trigger for Banner's transformations, and he has recovered from otherwise fatal injuries sustained in his normal form. Banner said he tried to put a bullet in his mouth but the "other guy" merely spit it out. Hulk also has an enhanced immune system; Samuel Sterns described that a synthesized sample of Banner's blood would make humans impervious to diseases. These attributes make him extremely difficult to kill, even if he is in his human form. Mere moments after his fight with Fenris in which Hulk suffers a deep puncture wound in his leg, no wound or scar tissue is seen.
Bruce Banner's Abilities
- "Okay, How many PhD's does Hulk have? Zero. How many PhD's does Banner have? Seven."
- ―Bruce Banner
- Genius-Level Intellect: In his Bruce Banner persona, he is one of the smartest humans in the world, being on par with Tony Stark's own level of intellect and being rivaled only by Erik Selvig, Hank Pym, Doctor Strange, Shuri, and Helen Cho. Hence, Banner achieved his doctorate at Harvard, and, prior to the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project, worked as a biochemistry and radiophysics professor as Culver University. Indeed, Phil Coulson once compared him to Stephen Hawking, and Banner is one of the few modern scientists famous and prominent enough to be pictured in the science lab of Midtown School of Science and Technology. Banner is also fairly disciplined in emotional intelligence, particularly in meditative breathing techniques and anger management, due to his experience with attempting to control and reign in his Hulk persona.
- Master Scientist: Banner is ingeniously resourceful and brilliant in many different fields of science, notably biochemistry, and bioorganics, as well as both atomic and radiophysics, being a former professor at Culver University, and one of the world's most renown scientists overall. Indeed, even fellow genius Tony Stark admired Banner's brilliance, claiming that the latter's work on anti-electron collisions is unparalleled, while Nick Fury referred to Banner as the world's foremost expert in gamma radiation. In addition, Stark needed Banner's assistance in downloading J.A.R.V.I.S. into the Vision android, due to Banner also being the world's foremost expert in the discipline of bioorganics. Tony himself admits to Banner surpassing him in the fields of radiophysics, particle collisions, and bio organics.
- Master Engineer: Banner, while not quite on par with Tony Stark, is an extremely skilled engineer, computer scientist, and robotics technician. Hence, Banner was able to help Stark construct the Hulkbuster, create the Ultron AI, and download J.A.R.V.I.S. into the Vision android.
- Physician: Banner possesses enough medical knowledge to help the sick and injured while living in India.
- Expert Tactician: Banner has over the years become an expert in developing strategies to go unnoticed and run from the government, military, and even S.H.I.E.L.D. by using his intellect to quickly evaluate his surroundings and develop feasible escape strategies. As such, Banner also became quite skilled at going undercover.
- Multilingualism: Banner speaks his native English, as well as some Hindi, Spanish, and Portuguese. However, he only demonstrated a fluency in Hindi, while in Kolkata, and had notable trouble with Spanish and Portuguese while in South America, occasionally mixing up words. According to his S.H.I.E.L.D. file, Bruce can speak English, Latin, Portuguese, Malay, and Punjabi.
- Martial Artist: Banner learned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and basic meditative breathing techniques in Brazil from a martial arts expert. By the time of the Battle of Wakanda, Banner seems to have undergone a considerable improvement in skill, as he is able to defeat many Outriders and even hold his own and eventually best Cull Obsidian.
- Pilot: Despite admitting himself that he does not know how to fly ships, Banner was nevertheless shown able to fly a couple of aircrafts, this being the Quinjet and an alien spaceship known as the Commodore just well enough to avoid any severe damage, although he struggles first. He also was able to pilot the Hulkbuster armor effectively despite having never used it before.
- Master Combatant: As Hulk, while having no formal training from the beginning, he is a formidable and experienced hand-to-hand combatant simply due to his great physical attributes. Hulk often engages his enemies using brawling techniques and street fighting skills that make full use of his incredible strength and also employs pieces of his immediate environment to fight with, often using them as range projectiles to strike distant targets, while sometimes for melee attacks or protection. While training and fighting in the Grandmaster's Contest of Champions, however, Hulk demonstrated much more combat skill than before, as he wielded a huge hammer and battle-ax in the arena and his prowess allowed him to kill all of his competitors. His improved skills allowed him to compete against Thor himself, although Hulk had to rely on surprise attacks to gain the upper hand and when against the newly empowered Thor, Hulk was quickly outclassed and was only able to win due The Grandmaster interfering with the battle to ensure Hulk won to keep Thor imprisoned. He also still depends on using his physical attributes to dominate in a hand-to-hand fight, with his style still having little subtlety and technique, which can prove to be a debilitating issue when confronted by opponents of equivalent, if not even superior physical power, with far greater experience, as against the even stronger Thanos, whose fighting experience was millennia ahead of him, Hulk was only able to land a few blows on the Titan until he was caught off-guard after Thanos recomposed himself, Hulk was no match for Thanos, who soundly and effortlessly beat him.
- Minor Fluent Communication: Initially, Hulk was only able to speak very short lines and only in extremely rare occasions, most of the time he communicated with others with roars and gestures, much like an animal would. After having stayed in his Hulk form for 2 years on Sakaar, however, Hulk's ability to speak improved enough for him to have casual conversations with Thor and Valkyrie, however, his vocabulary is still very limited and rudimentary.
- Stretchable Pants: After the Battle of New York, Bruce Banner became a consecrated member of the Avengers, he acquired a uniform with the main feature of stretching to fit his Hulk physique after his transformations. He uses a pair of trousers made with a flexible microfiber fabric, the material of which was shown to be extremely durable on several occasions, like when the team attacked the HYDRA Research Base, Banner turned back into Hulk with his pants still intact.
- Battle Axe (Formerly): As he became a gladiator, Hulk had gained a large special metallic battle axe that suitable to his own size.
- Hammer (Formerly): With him as a gladiator, Hulk had also obtained a special metallic war hammer that aids him with battling others in the arena.
After the Culver University's incident, Banner used several pieces of equipment while he was a fugitive. Some of these were destroyed or confiscated by United States Armed Forces. To prevent clues, Banner avoided the use of credit card, identity documents and phones. The materials he used included:
- Wrist-Mounted Cardiovascular Monitor: A gauge used to monitor Banner's heart rate, helping him to prevent a transformation into Hulk. The first monitor was destroyed after Banner's transformation in Brazil. The last one seen was given by Betty Ross and seized by United States Armed Forces.
- Laptop Computer: A cheap laptop with an encrypted instant messaging software installed. Banner used it to chat with "Mr. Blue" a.k.a. Samuel Sterns. Banner always carried it in a backpack, so he could maintain a communication where he was.
- Iron Man Armor: Mark XLIX: Since Hulk refused to come back following his defeat by Thanos, Banner had to use the Hulkbuster 2.0 Armor of Tony Stark to fight Thanos' army during the Battle of Wakanda.
|Appearances for Bruce Banner|
In chronological order:
- Hulk has the distinction of directly or indirectly defeating the most amount of main villains, with three so far. He defeated Abomination at the Duel of Harlem, smashed Loki multiple times in Stark Tower and thus incapacitated him only to be captured by the rest of the Avengers after the battle, and threw Ultron back into the floating part of Sokovia and leaving him too damaged to stop Scarlet Witch from ripping out his power source.
- Banner appeared in the non-canon short film Team Thor, where he met Thor in a café and they discussed why the latter had not been invited to the Avengers Civil War.
- Hulk has his own flavor of Ben & Jerry's ice cream called Hulk-A-Hulk-A Burning Fudge.
- Hulk is so far the only hero to currently have only one standalone film in the MCU and not spawn sequels in the following phases.
Behind the Scenes
- An alternate opening sequence scene was shot for The Incredible Hulk, though it was eventually cut from the final draft of the movie. In the scene, Banner travels to Greenland to commit suicide due to his incurable Hulk transformations. Banner shoots himself in the mouth, which only serves to trigger his transformation into Hulk, whose appearance destroys the glacier he was on. This scene is still considered canon because it is referenced in The Avengers by Banner.
- Additionally, within the deleted scene is a Captain America "Easter egg" in the form of the silhouette of his body and shield encased in ice; though it is widely cast aside as a subtle nod anyway as it contradicts the continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe based on his placement. This is disregarded due to the scene remaining canon through spoken account and not by what is visually present in the deleted scene.
- There are several noticeable visual differences between Hulk's physical appearances in The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers, despite the fact they are both in the same continuity. Hulk is slightly taller in The Incredible Hulk than he is in The Avengers, although this cannot be collaborated because Hulk in The Avengers was hunched over. He is more slender in The Incredible Hulk than he is in The Avengers, and has darker green skin, and in The Avengers he has a shorter hair cut. Their faces are also slightly different, with his face in The Avengers more strongly resembling Banner's than in The Incredible Hulk. Much of these differences are because Mark Ruffalo is using motion-capture to actually play Hulk, whereas Hulk was entirely CGI in The Incredible Hulk.
- Bruce Banner/Hulk is one of the few characters who are played by different actors in different films. The others are James Rhodes, Howard Stark, Fandral, Thanos, and Red Skull.
- In The Incredible Hulk, Bruce is given a mailed package with the name "David B." on it. This is a reference to the TV series The Incredible Hulk, where the character was renamed to David Bruce Banner.
- Mark Ruffalo was uncredited for his appearance in Iron Man 3.
- To prepare for the role of Hulk in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mark Ruffalo worked with motion capture expert Andy Serkis.
- There was an idea for Hulk to turn gray during the Hulkbuster battle in Avengers: Age of Ultron, as a reference to his original comic book incarnation, but it went unused.
- Loki using Hulk to attack the Helicarrier is a reference to Loki using Hulk to destroy a train track to lure out Thor, and unwillingly creating the Avengers in the process in the main Marvel Comics Universe.
- Mark Ruffalo was written into Captain America: Civil War at one point but was removed as Marvel felt Hulk's current whereabouts were too huge to be revealed in the packed film; he did however make a very short cameo on video.
- Hulk is one of the three main protagonists to defeat the main antagonist of their debut film without any assistance, the others being Ant-Man and Spider-Man.
- J.B. Blanc, J.D. Hall, Fred Tatasciore and Jonathan Lipow all provided voiceover work for Hulk in The Incredible Hulk, though none of them were credited.
- Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the third live-action incarnation of the character, following incarnations portrayed by Bill Bixby (Bruce Banner) and Lou Ferrigno (Hulk) and by Eric Bana.
- Chad Camilleri, Jamie Jones and Cyril Raffaelli were stunt doubles for Edward Norton and Anthony Molinari, Troy Brenna, Josh Dyer, Clint Elvy and Ryan Tarran were stunt doubles for Mark Ruffalo in the role of Hulk.
- Matt Purdy was a stand-in for Edward Norton in the role of Hulk.
- On Hulk's advanced ability to talk in Thor: Ragnarok, Mark Ruffalo explained: "Hulk refuses to turn back into Banner, He's actually enjoying his time on Sakaar, because he's a gladiator champion. Which means he kicks lots of ass and he's enjoying his life for once. And he'll be damned if he goes back to Banner. He's a little perma-hulked, and because he's been Hulk for two years he has the vocab of a two-year-old."
- Taika Waititi said that: "I was always fascinated with the duality of Hulk and Banner, and seeing how their brains could be interconnected. Could we sometimes see Hulk and have a bit of Banner's voice in there? Could we see Banner and have Hulk's personality through there? I think in this film we're going to see that for the first time, where the two are fighting -- really fighting this time -- for control over the body. And Hulk talking -- this idea of a more cognitive Hulk who can say sentences -- that obviously has existed in the comics, but it's something the fans want to finally see. It's exactly what fans want to see, and what I have wanted to see."
- According to Mark Ruffalo, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 make up a trilogy for Hulk.
- When interviewed regarding why Hulk didn't come out and fight in Avengers: Infinity War, Joe Russo stated "I think people have interpreted it as Hulk's scared. I mean, certainly, that's not a -- I don't know that the Hulk is ever... he's had his ass kicked before, and he loves a good fight. But I think that it's really reflective of the journey from Ragnarok. Is that these two characters are constantly in conflict with each other over control. And I think that if the Hulk were to say why, it'd be [that] Banner only wants Hulk for fighting. I think he's had enough of saving Banner's ass."
- ↑ The Incredible Hulk: The Fury Files, Volume 1
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 The Incredible Hulk
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 The Incredible Hulk: The Big Picture
- ↑ Thor
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 The Avengers
- ↑ Thor: Ragnarok Deleted Scene
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Thor: Ragnarok
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 The Incredible Hulk - List of Deleted Scenes
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 The Incredible Hulk Movie Novelization
- ↑ Translates to:Don't make me hungry... You wouldn't like me when I'm hungry.
- ↑ The Avengers: The Avengers Initiative
- ↑ The Avengers Post-credits Scene
- ↑ Iron Man 3 Prelude
- ↑ Iron Man 3 Post-credits Scene
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.19: The Only Light in the Darkness
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.15: One Door Closes
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Avengers: Operation HYDRA
- ↑ 19.00 19.01 19.02 19.03 19.04 19.05 19.06 19.07 19.08 19.09 19.10 Avengers: Age of Ultron
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.19: The Dirty Half Dozen
- ↑ Thor: Ragnarok Mid-credits Scene
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 22.2 Avengers: Infinity War
- ↑ Avengers: Age of Ultron | Design FX
- ↑ No HULK In CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR; Current Whereabouts Are Highly Confidential
- ↑ BEHIND STUDIO DOORS : THE INCREDIBLE HULK VOICE OVER SESSIONS
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 How Come Hulk Can Speak in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’,?
- ↑ Apparently Mark Ruffalo And Kevin Feige Have Planned A Special Trilogy For The Hulk