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YMMV / Incredible Hulk

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Re-reading the original Lee-Kirby issues of Hulk from a certain point of view, it can be easy to interpret Banner as being gay, and the Hulk as straight. Banner's heterosexuality has been firmly established in the decades since, but still. This illuminates the way General Ross keeps calling him a milksop, why Banner seems indifferent to Betty but the Hulk is obsessed with her, and why Banner really hates being transformed into a caricature of he-man heterosexuality.
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    • Where does the Hulk's hatred of humans come from? Is it because he hates Banner, either for containing him or being weak, and sees humanity as an extension of him? Is it because of the mistreatment Banner suffered throughout his life? Is it just because he is different from them? Or is there a more specific reason stemming from his origin story? note 
      • In Immortal Hulk, Rick Jones raises the possibility that the Hulk hates even being human, that he's something non-human forced into human form (which also raises the question of why he's in human form in the first place, given what gamma mutation can do - does he blame Banner for viewing him that way?).
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  • Base-Breaking Character: Considering all the different incarnations of the Hulk, who in Real Life terms would be very different separate types of people, those who first came into contact with a particular aspect of one incarnation recurrently strongly dislike very contradictory versions.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • An early issue has the Hulk getting sent to a Bad Future by a ray-gun, whereupon he's attacked by a futuristic army working for someone. After a brief fight he's transported back to the past, and this strange sequence of events is never mentioned again.
    • When the Hulk was infected by a Wendigo and became the Wendi-Hulk.
  • Broken Base: The fandom generally falls into two camps. The first group likes the Earth's Mightiest Mortal aspect of the character, and like stories which concentrate on the Hulk fighting enemies that only he can defeat, and using his physiology to perform near-impossible feats (for instance, the Hulk can get anywhere on Earth by jumping there). The second group likes the character of Bruce Banner and how the Hulk represents his shattered psyche. The broken base is best exemplified by the two Hulk films that were made in the 2000s. The Ang Lee one was made by and for people in the second group; The Incredible Hulk, on the other hand, was made for people in the first.
    • Also Bruce Jones's run as writer. Some love it for being wonderfully atmospheric, others hate it for its disregard for previous continuity. Peter David all but removed it from canon when he returned as writer by announcing Nightmare had been messing with Bruce / the Hulk's perceptions during that time.
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    • And finally, which version of the Hulk do you like best? Savage Hulk, Devil Hulk, Smart Hulk, and Joe Fixit are usually the top contenders.
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Chances are you're reading Hulk stuff (including the Self Demonstrating page) in Fred Tatasciore's Hulk voice.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Brian Banner regularly beat his wife Rebecca and their son Bruce, eventually killing Rebecca when she tried to leave him. He forced Bruce to lie in court that Brian hadn't done anything to hurt either of them, but was arrested after drunkenly bragging about having gotten away with murder at a bar. Brian returned to murder Bruce years later after his release, blaming his own violent actions on Bruce, who killed him in self-defense. After being resurrected by the Chaos King, Brian, transformed into the Devil Hulk, would try to kill his resurrected wife a second time along with his son Bruce, now known as the Hulk, and grandson, Skaar. During the events of Immortal Hulk, Brian aids the One Below All in his attempt to enter the physical plane so he can completely destroy the Marvel Multiverse, planning to use his own son Bruce as a host to allow the One Below All entryway.
    • The Maestro is a future version of the Incredible Hulk. 90 years in the future after the world is devastated by nuclear war, the Hulk has changed his name to the Maestro and builds a city state called Dystopia out of the wreckage of New Year City. In Dystopia, the Maestro rules as a dictator, taking whatever he wants from his subjects and hoarding almost all the food and resources for himself. When Maestro sees a woman he fancies, he forces her to become his slave. The outside of his palace is littered with corpses of those who have defied or displeased the Maestro. The Maestro has his Secret Police patrol the streets, killing anyone who would oppose him. After the Maestro's forces have captured one of Rick Jones' rebels, the Maestro subjects the rebel to a machine which forcibly scans a person's mind, which puts him in a vegetative state. Afterwards, Maestro kills him with his own hands, because the rebel had insulted him earlier. When Rick Jones uses Dr. Doom's Time Machine to bring the Hulk to the future to defeat the Maestro, the Maestro takes one of his slave girls hostage to force Hulk to surrender to him. He then proceeds to paralyze the Hulk by breaking his neck and forces one of his slave girls to perform sexual acts on him without the Hulk's permission, all apparently for his own sick amusement. The Maestro even murders an elderly Rick Jones, the man who was once his best friend, for opposing him. The Maestro also tells the Hulk he prefers his harem of slaves to his former wife Betty Ross, because his slaves don't talk back to him or have opinions of their own. The Maestro is devoid of anything that made the Hulk sympathetic and is considered by the Hulk to be one of the most detestable foes he ever had to contend with.
    • Planet Hulk gives us Angmo-Asan, the Red King. See that page for more details.
  • Dork Age: Many readers regard the period after Peter David first left the book, or even after Paul Jenkins' run, as this leading up until just before Planet Hulk. There was a clear lack of direction of where the Hulk was going, and every shift made to the book would be undone as soon as the next writer came on board. It got so bad that when PAD came back, he pretty much erased the run of three different writers with a single line up until the time he first left. Which was six years prior.note  Likewise, Jeph Loeb's run on the book is often regarded as one: mainly known for relegating the Hulk into a guest character in his own book, a Villain Sue Evil Counterpart running around beating up half of the heavyweights in the Marvel Universe, before killing, reviving, then de-powering the Hulk (in a Milestone Celebration of all things), a number of Hulk derivatives abounding (even putting aside Red Hulk), a random Face–Heel Turn of Doc Samson, and every one of them receiving as much an explanation for the twists and turns that occurred during Loeb's run. Which is to say not much of one. Eventually, Greg Pak, the writer of Planet Hulk and World War Hulk, was brought alongside Loeb to write a concurrent book building on Loeb's storylines, but in reality, likely to try to make sense of the sheer insanity that Loeb brought in his run.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Rick Jones, after Peter David made him into a Crazy Awesome Nice Guy who worked perfectly as Hulk's best friend.
    • The Devil Hulk. He only appears once in a blue moon, but whenever he does, it's horrifyingly memorable. He's frequently mentioned as one of the Hulk's most terrifying enemies. He even ended up getting his own new ongoing in Immortal Hulk and his portrayal in there only made him even more popular.
    • The Gray Hulk/Joe Fixit.
    • Jim Wilson. Although he's been dead and rarely mentioned for decades, his death storyline and his friendship with the Hulk is well-remembered to this day.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In 2011, Colbert joked about the possibility of a Chinese/Asian Hulk (while commenting on Miles Morales). And guess what? A couple of years afterwards, Marvel announced Amadeus Cho as the new Hulk!
    • The Hulk series has a tendency of introducing characters who are basically prototype versions of future ones. The Metal Master was one for Magneto and somewhat Molecule Man, while Blossom from issue 217 was one for Big Bertha, the Blob's Spear Counterpart.
  • Ho Yay: There are some instances between Banner and Namor, and the exchanges between them at times look like Slap-Slap-Kiss. In one issue of the PAD series Namor complimented Banner on being muscular.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Banner being permanently rid of the Hulk and his subsequent death at the hands of Hawkeye were immediately undone when The Hand brought him back to life.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • In the Fall of 2013, a website, Famous Monsters of Filmland, held a tournament between various comic characters from DC and Marvel where fans would vote to determine the outcome. In the final match, Hulk defeated Batman.
    • It's generally accepted by fans, that like Batman and his prep-time, given enough time for the Hulk to get mad enough, he could take down a huge amount of characters.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Hulk Speak good for Dumb Muscle, show lack of smarts while still making point.
    • "Hulking Out" describes someone driven to rise up and wail on everyone, especially if one wouldn't expect them to have it in them.
    • "Puny X!", borrowing Hulk's oft-phrased reference to humans as "Puny humans!" This meme was elderly until The Avengers rejuvenated it with the Hulk's only line of dialogue.
    Hulk (flinging Loki's unconscious, battered body to the floor): Puny god.
    • A good one was during Civil War, where fans would state "I'm with Tony" or "I'm with Steve". A third camp popped up, stating "You're all fucked when the Hulk gets back!", a reference to Hulk's imminent return from the then-ongoing Planet Hulk storyline.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The Abomination almost murdering Betty Ross by giving her cancer.
    • The Leader detonating a gamma bomb in the middle of a small town of five thousand people in an attempt to create more gamma-powered superhumans. This worked for about one in a thousand. The rest were ashes.
  • My Real Daddy: Peter David wrote the book for over 12 years and pretty much shaped the mythos, cast, and central traits of the Hulk. Like Chris Claremont for the X-Men, nearly every run of the Hulk builds off what PAD started.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Zeus gained quite a lot of Memetic Badass Internet credibility due to beating the Hulk. These people apparently forget that Hulk generally does far more good than bad, whereas Zeus is a torturer, a rapist, and a pompous tyrant willing to commit genocide for petty reasons.
  • Seasonal Rot: While most of Peter David's run on the book is pretty iconic, readers agree that 1995-1996, the first two years after the "Pantheon" era ended, were the low point with David not at his best. The book took a darker turn mostly shifting away from the balanced comedy-drama writing David was known for, the artwork started to get real hit or miss, and then it got mixed up in the whole Onslaught and Heroes Reborn business which resulted in Hulk and Bruce Banner getting separated. It got back on track in 1997 around the time Adam Kubert took over as artist, with the title shifting back to its "dramedy" style and Banner returning a few months later.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Regarding Jim Wilson's death from AIDS, one letter regarding the issue felt that the subplot ultimately amounted to this, as right after Jim was revealed to have the disease he was injured and hospitalized thanks to the supervillain Speedfreak, and then wasn't even mentioned in over thirty issues (outside a cameo at Rick Jones' wedding) before finally showing up again where his death occurred. As they stated, "It's not enough to ask us to feel for Jim Wilson because he had AIDS, especially when we could (and should) have felt for him because he was a three-dimensional character we had grown to love."
    • After establishing Amadeus as Hulk in 616, showing Banner accepting his new state of being Hulkless in issues 7 & 8 of Totally Awesome Hulk and potentially becoming the Zen Survivor mentor to Amadeus, he's promptly and brutally executed in Civil War II.
  • Wangst: Sometimes his whole 'Leave Hulk alone' shtick can get quite tedious, especially at times where he actually manages to be left alone, but then starts crying about how he has nobody close to him.
  • The Woobie:
    • In some ways Bruce Banner is very unfortunate, given all of the abuse, isolation, and mental illness he has suffered from.
    • The Planet Hulk storyline proves that neither the Hulk nor Banner are allowed to have a happy life. He's exiled all the way to another planet, where he manages to overthrow the corrupt government and become a hero and the new king, finally finding a place where he can belong. He even manages to find a wife, and has a child on the way. Then the shuttle that brought him to the planet explodes, killing her and destroying the entire city.
    • Before that, there was Jarella, a Warrior Princess from the Microverse who was not only an ideal mate for the Hulk and Banner, but loved them both equally and unconditionally. Every time it seems like they would be able to be together, Hulk was forcibly pulled back to the macroscopic world, until finally, Jarella was brought to Earth with him, and they looked set to have an idyllic, carefree life together. Their very first day out as a couple, she was crushed by falling rubble. Jesus.


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