Doctor Robert "Bruce" Banner was supposed to be dead. He had been several times. But he has come to the startling truth that the Hulk will not let him die. And with this new relationship, he's been summoned by the Kingdom of Melromarc to fight as the Shield Hero. But they may have summoned something worse. What is the Immortal Hulk? And what was brought from beyond the Green Door?
...Or Is He Both? is a Immortal Hulk/The Rising of the Shield Hero Crossover fanfic written by The Infamous Man of Amazing Fantasy and Just an Unorthodox Thief fame. It can be read here on Space Battles and here on Fanfiction Dot Net.
Beware of unmarked spoilers for the story and Immortal Hulk.
...Or Is He Both? contains examples of:
- Adaptational Nice Guy:
- Motoyasu, Itsuki, and Ren are noticeably a lot nicer and personable to Bruce compared to their treatment with Naofumi. It's likely due to Bruce's noticeable freak-out when he was summoned and admitting to them that he's not a gamer.
- King Aultcray displays an interest in Bruce the moment he mentions he's a doctor, though that's likely due to self-interest and wanting to wring as much knowledge from the Shield Hero before the rape accusation.
- Myne/Malty is a lot nicer to Bruce and even calls him by his first name when asked. Though, this is thoroughly subverted later on when she plainly tells him her hatred of him before cruelly speeding along with his death.
- Adapted Out: Instead of Naofumi, Bruce Banner is summoned to the Kingdom of Melromarc as the Shield Hero.
- Atrocious Alias: Bruce decides to hide his identity by going with his actual name Robert Banner. Unfortunately, this has Motoyasu begin calling him "Bob" which Bruce comes to really, really find annoying.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Motoyasu, Ren, and Itsuki attempt to stop Hulk's warpath towards Malty. Predictably the "battle" turns into a one-sided Mook Horror Show as not only is the Hulk immortal, but massively outstats them in every category along with having access to the Curse Series: Wrath from the get-go.
- Death Is Cheap: Bruce Banner can physically die, but come nightfall the Hulk rises from the grave with all wounds healed. When the sun comes up again, Bruce will awaken fully healed.
- Entertainingly Wrong: To the point of a Running Gag.
- Bruce thinks that King Aultcray purposefully summoned him because he's the Hulk and that the other heroes are there to put him down if the Hulk gets out of hand. What he doesn't know is that Aultcray has no idea who he is and is mistreating him solely for his hatred towards the Shield Hero and Demihumans. Furthermore, he balks at the revelation that Malty intends to frame him for a False Rape Accusation as she further twists the knife in his neck as he lay dying.
- Epigraph: Like Immortal Hulk, each chapter begins with a quote from a famous piece of literature,
- Mythology Gag:
- Bruce reflects upon his many deaths throughout his career, the most recent being shot with an arrow by Hawkeye during Civil War II
- Bruce's alias during his arrival in Melromarc is Robert Banner, which is his lesser-used full name.
- Bruce mentions to his fellow heroes that he has only really played Minecraft on peaceful.
- Outside-Context Problem: The Hulk is this to the Kingdom of Melromarc and Three Cardinal Heroes. Not only does he have the powers of the Shield Hero, but the Hulk is also an incredibly strong, fast, and smart creature that simply cannot die.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hulk loves dishing these out, but takes the time to dissect Maltys reasoning for killing Bruce and exposing her as a self-centered brat who sees everyone as expendable but somehow never sees her actions coming back to bite her.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
- Because the world that Melromarc resides in is close to medieval times development-wise, there is no modern sewage system or toilets. Because of this, Bruce is forced to go to the bathroom in a chamber pot.
- Due to lacking the gaming knowledge necessary to grasp his Legendary Shield, Bruce's first mission against the low-level Balloons goes incredibly poorly.
- Rather than try to take the lead due to his experience, Bruce defers most of his decisions to Malty/Myne because she's supposedly more familiar with adventuring and unlike him can actually read the local language.
- While Bruce does pick up a children's book to learn the local language, learning a whole new language takes time and Bruce finds himself struggling with it during the hour he has reading it.
- Bruce finds that the morning after the Hulk's rampage that the village he's residing in is just getting news of his death. Because there's no way to instantaneously update or check information like through telegrams or telephones, there's an information lag that relies wholly on the speed of messengers.
- Due to the transformation into the Hulk shredding his clothes, Bruce is forced to steal them from local residences. He even admits that he's broken into a few houses for money and clothes out of desperation.
- Bruce ruminates that maps of the land are not widely available and are expensive, which he cannot get because he has no money. As such he needs to wholly rely on the Hulk for a sense of direction.
- Touched by Vorlons: Hulk gives Raphtalia a mark that erases her slave seal and gives her gamma strength.
- Wrong Genre Savvy:
- In a darkly comedic sense, Bruce thinks that he's trapped in a standard superhero crossover plot a-la Secret Wars (1984). As such, he makes assumptions about the narrative solely revolving around him and how the kingdom wants the Hulk's strength despite their complete lack of knowledge about it.
- Bruce, due to not being a gamer, is completely at a loss with the mechanics of his status menu and the Legendary Shield. Needless to say, his first mission ends badly and he barely kills any Balloon monsters.
- Motoyasu, Ren, and Itsuki believe that they are in a standard Trapped in Another World story where each of them are the protagonists and Bruce is basically the semi-useless tag-along side-character.