Off My Mind: The Separation of the Incredible Hulk and Bruce Banner

Posted by G-Man (30625 posts) - - Show Bio

The Hulk isn't normally a happy person. He just wants to be left alone yet he's constantly being bothered and chased by others. Over the years, he's tried several times to be left alone. No matter where he goes, others are soon to follow. If there's one person he might actually hate over the others, it's Bruce Banner.

Banner and the Hulk are the same person but different personas. You would think that saying Hulk hates Banner is like saying someone hates themself. They are the same person, yet they are two different people at the same time. How can this be? We have seen Banner and the Hulk separated before.

Separating Hulk and Banner can't be an easy task. Yet in the final pages of FEAR ITSELF #7, we saw this actually happen. Banner and Hulk were 'talking' in their shared mind and Hulk finally had enough. He told Banner he wanted to be alone and somehow made it happen. There were some bad results before when they were separated so the chances are they will be bad again. Should it be possible for the two to be separated?

== TEASER ==

Somehow, Hulk managed to do what he never could over the years on his own. While we're bound to get an answer to the how, this wasn't exactly an easy thing to do before. The incident that comes to mind was from back in Incredible Hulk #315. This was when Doc Samson was a nice guy, he spent a lot of time working with Banner and Hulk.

Samson confronted Hulk and was surprised to find him able to talk (this version previously was the savage, non-talking one). Hulk reacted strongly to Samson's mention of Banner. The two began fighting but Samson was knocked unconscious and Hulk found himself fighting phantoms of his old enemies. When Samson recovered, he surmised that Banner was making Hulk see hallucinations because Hulk was swinging at the air. Hulk soon realized the phantoms couldn't hurt him and this gave Samson the opening he needed to suckerpunch Hulk and knock him out. Samson, being the super-psychiatrist he was, figured if Banner was able to make the hallucinations, he must be more of a conscious entity within Hulk than he was before and thus, could be separated from the Hullk.

How could this be done?

Samson was able to convince the government to refinance the gamma base and pay for the procedure to separate the two. Hulk was placed in a giant nutrient bath. The idea was to edit Banner out of Hulk's body while trying to make sure Banner's intellect went into the new body.

Where did this leave Hulk? He no longer had a mind because Banner had been removed. Before Samson could turn his focus on molding Hulk into a functioning human, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents came to claim his body, due to the the dangers of Hulk's existence. Hulk escaped (with a little help) and went on a rampage. Iron Man, Namor, Hercules and Wonder Man tried to stop him but were unable. Stark understood that Hulk still got stronger the madder he got. Without Banner to moderate and influence the Hulk, there was simply no limit to his rage.

It took Banner a little while to recuperate as his body was still weak but he then made his move to form a new team of Hulkbusters to take down Hulk. Of course, Banner and Hulk were reunited and became one and we've seen many different versions of Hulk since.

Now we're seeing Hulk and Banner separated again...only this time it's a little different.

This isn't the savage mindless Hulk we saw in the 80s when they were separated. Hulk still wants to be left alone and appears to be very much at peace with himself. Could it be that this version of a separated Hulk is actually better off without Banner?

The big question that remains is how did this happen? Did I miss something in FEAR ITSELF that allowed Hulk so easily to separate the one 'person' he hated more than anyone else? We all know Hulk isn't going to find peace permanently and there's also the question of what will be Banner's fate. This is why the new Incredible Hulk series is off to a great start.

Whatever happens in the next few months, we need to have Banner and Hulk back together eventually. Sure they might both deserve some time away from each other but are they really separate entities or are they different facets of the same person? Having Banner and Hulk separated is like eating peanut butter without jelly or an Oreo cookie without the creamy center. You can eat them that way but it's just not the same.

Staff
#1 Posted by NightFang (9866 posts) - - Show Bio

I say it all ends with Hulk going on a rampage (like in World War Hulk), but Bruce Banner builds a weapon powerful enough too kill the Hulk and returns to a normal life, until he is made into the Hulk again.

#2 Posted by EnSabahNurX (2313 posts) - - Show Bio

Leftover Serpent hammer power could have been the catalyst for the separation, it will probably be touch upon in fear itself: the fearless

I don't know if they can remain separate because I feel like they will both begin to have serious side effects due to the separation so they will seek each other out(so they don't die) and hopefully they will become more balanced out now that hulk has become more civilized. Maybe banner and hulk will finally SHARE their existence instead of fighting for control

#3 Posted by EdBlank (492 posts) - - Show Bio

@NightFang said:

I say it all ends with Hulk going on a rampage (like in World War Hulk), but Bruce Banner builds a weapon powerful enough too kill the Hulk and returns to a normal life, until he is made into the Hulk again.

I love that

#4 Posted by LordRequiem (1309 posts) - - Show Bio

I would say Hulk's limitless rage would stem at least partly from the subconcious entity Banner inhabits post transformation, not solely Hulk. And if this version is finding himself at peace does that mean this anger has subsided somewhat? With less torment to rattle his cage.

#5 Posted by Dernman (14726 posts) - - Show Bio

From what I read it looks like Banner will be the bad guy and the Hulk will have to stop him.

For a while now they have been trying to make Banner as the bad one of the two. I don't like that direction.

#6 Posted by ArtisticNeedham (2232 posts) - - Show Bio
Now this is Bruce
and this is Hulk

OK, maybe the Hulk and Banner separated only this time the Hulk's personality is in Bruce's body with Bruce's intelligence while at the same time Bruce Banner is in the Hulk's body with the Hulk's intelligence. So now Hulk is a normal human with super intelligence, and Bruce Banner is now a hulking monster with limited intelligence. So Banner can be a physical hero without having his smarts and the Hulk can become an evil genius.

Or maybe its leading the Maestro.

I haven't actually read any of Fear Itself let alone #7.

#7 Posted by RocketOrange (21 posts) - - Show Bio

Personally I'd like to see a Hulk that had an average joe intelligence with Bruce Banner becoming his own superhero or supervillain. If this was the real world however, we would see Bruce Banner become an author. His bestseller would be "Life as the Hulk"...:P

#8 Posted by mistersarcastic (324 posts) - - Show Bio

This is a great article. I didn't read Fear Itself per se, but I did read enough summaries and crap to know what's what. I'll definitely be reading the the first issue of Incredible Hulk vol 3 to see what's going on.

#9 Posted by Eyz (3095 posts) - - Show Bio

...don't they get separated quite often? :P

Sounds like a story arc I still remember reading. (from the early 90s? 80s?)

#10 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3546 posts) - - Show Bio

You remove Banner, you remove the internal conflict with the character and Banner's fear that he may one day change and never return.

#11 Posted by gethere (164 posts) - - Show Bio
@Eyz:  You are right this has happen many times before, the very first time was in an annual when they got the uni-power for the first time ( they got the power twice). The second time was the one just mentioned, the third was during Onslaught, the fourth and most recent was in another annual when he, spiderman, and deadpool when to another universe   
#12 Posted by Oedipus_Rex (40 posts) - - Show Bio

The question that needs to be asked is why is Bruce Banner wearing a hospital gown with an I.V. stand laying next to him immediately after the separation? Is it because that was what he was wearing the last time he and the Hulk were reintegrated? Was the metal I.V. stand somehow absorbed into the Hulk at that time as well?

#13 Posted by Frobin (96 posts) - - Show Bio

Right - we've seen this many times before! Not just the seperation of Banner and Hulk, but also a controled and reasonable Hulk. So - though I really like the artwork of the preview above - I have to say: It's pretty senseless to do this again ... and a sign of lack of new ideas!

The core of the character of HULK is the duopoly and the endless fight between rationality and emotionality, more the extremes of social behavior/ control over oneselve and affectivity, the difference between civilisation and savageness ... if you seperate Banner and Hulk you destroy the unique character Hulk who is an incarnation of this endless fighting which always and forever is happening within us.

Of course you can tell nice stories with Banner and Hulk seperated - but these are no Hulk stories, just stories with two other characters: Banner is then just another genius scientist with a nice history (but doesn't differ so much from better ones like Reed Richards or Hank Pym, in fact Hank Pym is the much better character in this case to tell those stories of a genius who overcome his weaknesses). And of course you can tell stories of Hulk, which are just stories of a mighty warrior finding his peace (like Cane walking the Earth in the classic Kung Fu TV show) or stories of the adventures of a mighty warrior (like stories of Hercules or Odysseus or whoever, in fact the preview reminds me a bit of Conan). And all these stories are already told and are better told with other unique characters. That's not the Hulk. Fact!

So it's pretty needless in my opinion, no working on the character (but creating 2 other characters by destroying the original) and just another attempt to lure our bucks out of our wallets. Nice try, but I have to devote my bucks wisely to better stories that are really working on the character and are worth it.

#14 Posted by G-Man (30625 posts) - - Show Bio

@Frobin: I'm a big Hulk fan. I really dug the first issue. I think there's a big enough twist to make this a little different. Hulk has gone through so many different interpretations and I think this is an interesting take on him.

Staff
#15 Posted by difficlus (10679 posts) - - Show Bio

They need to be back together. They basically complete each other...

#16 Posted by Doctor!!!!! (2055 posts) - - Show Bio

The last time that happen, Hulk went on a complete rampage... likes that new... but this time Mindless!!!!!

#17 Posted by Decept-O (7274 posts) - - Show Bio

Can't say I even remotely like the idea of Banner and Hulk being separated. I know this goes into comic book physics and all but I always hated the concept of Hulk and Banner being physically separated.

Yes, Banner's physiology and mass and everything else is altered when he becomes the Hulk, making him essentially another person, but Hulk is still based off Banner's body and mind.

I enjoy seeing Hulk being Hulk for extended periods of time, whether he's wreaking havoc or being a good guy but having Hulk and Banner separated, simply put, I don't like it.

#18 Posted by Or35ti (1101 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the re-merging will happen when one of them is at near death. The other will be present or informed and, in an act of compassion, willingly merge in order to save their life.

#19 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio

Bruce Banner/Hulk;  a character with endless depth and wealth of potential, and one of Stan and Jack's finest creations.  
 
Hulk without Banner; a series for 5 year olds who like to watch the big green guy hit stuff! 
 
**** you, Marvel, and **** you, Jason Aaron.

#20 Posted by Quixotist (35 posts) - - Show Bio

I love the idea of Hulk and Banner being separate for a while, but of course I know they'll have to return to normal eventually. I feel like the time apart will teach them that they need each other, especially now that the Hulk is intelligent enough to come to that conclusion (eventually). Then some big crisis happens and the two work together to put a stop to it. Maybe they'll even team up for a while before inevitably becoming one person.

#21 Posted by DEGRAAF (7870 posts) - - Show Bio

nice article. I cant wait to read this issue

#22 Posted by Grimoire (530 posts) - - Show Bio

@Einherji said:

I love the idea of Hulk and Banner being separate for a while, but of course I know they'll have to return to normal eventually. I feel like the time apart will teach them that they need each other, especially now that the Hulk is intelligent enough to come to that conclusion (eventually). Then some big crisis happens and the two work together to put a stop to it. Maybe they'll even team up for a while before inevitably becoming one person.

That is what I was thinking as well but I hope the trip there will still be interesting. lol

#23 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

Essentially the Banner/Hulk dynamic is just the same as the Jekyll/Hyde coexistence in popular literature. In a way you can make the argument that they are one and yet again they are not. After all, if Hulk and Banner were truly the same pea int he pod, then Banner would be able to control wherever and whenever he became the Hulk, something that even only until recently he has not been able to successfully and consistently do. The last incarnation of Mindless/Bannerless Hulk showed that essentially the Mindless one had almost no sense of sentience other than to feel rage while this current one displays wonderful intelligence and self-awareness. I do believe it is an interesting spin to make since the whole Jekyll/Hyde thing is getting stale by now so there needs to be a little change up. Do I want the change to be permanent? No way...

#24 Posted by kimeraevet (188 posts) - - Show Bio

I want this issue! Banner is such a dirtbag. Seriously, he is this angry vengeful little man who could be using his intellect to do great things for the world, but instead focuses solely on himself. He is a broken man child who doesn't know when to shut up or leave well enough alone. Hulk is the repressed rage, the guardian anger that has festered in Banner and became a split in his personality when he was a child. Hulk is always finding peace and it is because of Banner's actions to make the Hulk seem dangerous and destructive that causes Hulk the problems he has with being hunted down. This split is going to show Hulk the hero and Banner the evil genius. This is going to be epic!

#25 Posted by AllandOnly (1 posts) - - Show Bio

@RocketOrange: Lol! Nice! :D

#26 Posted by TheMess1428 (2176 posts) - - Show Bio

With all the other Hulks out there, its bound to make them all reunite again.

#27 Posted by GrimmThing (11 posts) - - Show Bio

@FoxxFireArt said:

You remove Banner, you remove the internal conflict with the character and Banner's fear that he may one day change and never return.

Thats a good idea. I for one could care less about Banner. Hulk is the main attraction.

#28 Posted by SpidermanWins (3975 posts) - - Show Bio

Easy they are like the Holy Trinity if it was a duo except.... ya know, Jesus isn't a green rage monster

#29 Edited by notarandomguy (316 posts) - - Show Bio

Oh well, let's just hope this won't turn out to be as bad as the incredible hercules

#30 Posted by Grimwyrd (4 posts) - - Show Bio

Having Banner and Hulk separated is like eating peanut butter without jelly


 
I hate eating peanut butter with jelly. One or the other but never, ever together!
#31 Posted by fracturedorb (2 posts) - - Show Bio

Fuck Banner... All hulk, all the time. Banner can be Jiminey Cricket.

#32 Posted by Baptimus (21 posts) - - Show Bio

Long live Joe Fixit! lol

#33 Posted by karrob (4276 posts) - - Show Bio

I read somewhere that Banner will become the villain the Hulk will be called to stop him.

#34 Posted by Norusdog (203 posts) - - Show Bio

it's been stupid everytime they've done it. the hulk is banner is hulk. this two seperate beings is just really dumb...and they always then have some convoluted nonsense on why and how they have to get back as one being

#35 Posted by Donovan Montgomery (5415 posts) - - Show Bio

Does this mean Banner will be getting his own page on comicvine??  I was wondering about the I.V. stand and hospital gown as well.... 

#36 Posted by God_Spawn (37305 posts) - - Show Bio

Wouldn't separating Banner actually separate every incarnation of the Hulk?

Moderator
#37 Posted by ALdragon17 (126 posts) - - Show Bio

I think its cool to see them separated, but I wish Banner can change into the Grey Hulk. The Grey Hulk(joefixit) was the coolest out of the bunch, could be understandable in my option. I think everybody wants to see them re-unite which I don't understand, but the Hulk needs to understand himself and what role he must take. Maybe, when they come back together, the Hulk can talk to people and understand not to crash peoples homes or at least rebuild their house or something. Also, tell Banner, I'm not coming out, because you can't control your angry or give limited strength to get out of situations and fight for yourself.

#38 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio

@Oedipus_Rex said:

The question that needs to be asked is why is Bruce Banner wearing a hospital gown with an I.V. stand laying next to him immediately after the separation? Is it because that was what he was wearing the last time he and the Hulk were reintegrated? Was the metal I.V. stand somehow absorbed into the Hulk at that time as well?

That is indeed the question, folk.

#39 Edited by afgossett (39 posts) - - Show Bio

Well it just shows them in their shared mind. It never shows either one in the real world until the separation. Maybe Banner was being hospitalized after the fear itself shit and too scared to stay since he usually gets locked up and has to wait until they need hulk to let him go, so he made a run for it. He was probably being held in some sort've gamma base because they're all in the desert aren't they? Anyway Banner escapes said base wanders around the desert gets hot as fuck starts talking to the hulk and then the hulk is like "FUCK YOU BAI!". I don't know if this theory makes any sense. Maybe I missed something and need to go back and reread but it never shows who is in control and what form are they taking during the mind convo or maybe it does and like I said I probably missed it forgot.

#40 Posted by The_Deadly_Koi (12 posts) - - Show Bio

I really wish Hulk could just stay his own person. I really dont like the Banner character to much I find him slightly pathetic, and always appreciated the Hulk character. I think a lot more could be done with the character yeah yeah he can destroy stuff but im talking about watching his MIND develop. Will he decide to stay alone? Is it possible he might CHOOSE to destroy a world that cant leave him be? Maybe its my creative mind but I can either see this going right back into banners path, or hopefully this moving forward in a new direction.

#41 Posted by CATPANEXE (9368 posts) - - Show Bio

On the fence with how the book will be though I'll still read it. Mostly I think just lament from Pak ending his run. Really not too excited about the separation concept, since it's not new ground. Likewise we just had a long arc with a Hulkless Banner and right before that a Bannerless Hulk (not separated persay in these case, but still the story was covered).

#42 Posted by BKole (497 posts) - - Show Bio

I rather feel it will be Banner that goes on a rampage this time around, not Hulk.

#43 Posted by afgossett (39 posts) - - Show Bio

@afgossett said:

Well it just shows them in their shared mind. It never shows either one in the real world until the separation. Maybe Banner was being hospitalized after the fear itself shit and too scared to stay since he usually gets locked up and has to wait until they need hulk to let him go, so he made a run for it. He was probably being held in some sort've gamma base because they're all in the desert aren't they? Anyway Banner escapes said base wanders around the desert gets hot as fuck starts talking to the hulk and then the hulk is like "FUCK YOU BAI!". I don't know if this theory makes any sense. Maybe I missed something and need to go back and reread but it never shows who is in control and what form are they taking during the mind convo or maybe it does and like I said I probably missed it forgot.

Edit

Reread and turns out the Hulk was in control over the body during the time of the in head conversation. So I don't know how the gown and IV magically manifested during the break up.

#44 Posted by Sgt_Marlan_Kimus (11 posts) - - Show Bio

@ArtisticNeedham: i think thats a pretty awsome consept but bruce would want a life not being huge and green and possibly that would turn him crazy with rage not haveing a shot at normal life if anything he'd try and get it reversed somehow but yh thats an awsome path to take

#45 Posted by hellogan (55 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm excited to see what direction this story line will take. A phycotic mad Doc. Banner after the break seems a natural fit. Heck, dealing with that much gamma radiation all the time and fighting with myself constantly I think anyone would have a phycotic break sometime. I do believe an hope that this will not be a perminate seperation however. Because I have always felt that the Hulks conflict with himself is one of the biggest draws to the character.

#46 Posted by Sixsoda (45 posts) - - Show Bio

Look I know I was Bruce's friend first but I really feel for you hulk.

#47 Posted by PowerHerc (81602 posts) - - Show Bio

The whole concept of the Banner/Hulk separation has been done and overdone.

It's over. They're the same person and should always be together.

#48 Posted by Kallarkz (3303 posts) - - Show Bio

@PowerHerc said:

The whole concept of the Banner/Hulk separation has been done and overdone.

It's over. They're the same person and should always be together.

Agreed. ^. I do like that they are making Banner out to be a kind of a villain for the moment though.

But yeah they will be put back together.

#49 Posted by PowerHerc (81602 posts) - - Show Bio

@Kallarkz: I think so, too.

#50 Posted by MisterParker (83 posts) - - Show Bio

I disagree with those who say Banner shouldn't be in the series or have similar sentiments. Sure he's kind of a big nerd and would be pretty un-interesting on his own, but really, would you truly want to read an entire comic all about an emo, philosophical Hulk rambling all about how he hates Banner and his life? All this in his head! And the only other thing that will happen somewhat frequently will be 'RRAARGH! HULK SMASH!'. It's Banner's influence and emotional distress, tormenting and conflicting with the Hulk's many psyches that always provides a much-needed change of pace.

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