Is Hulk Good or Bad? Bruce Banner’s Angry Alter Ego Explained

hulk good bad

Comic books today are so full of thousands of different characters that literally everyone can pick their favorite hero, villain, or something in between. There are some characters that are only heroes, and there are some that are only villains. However, many characters aren’t so black-and-white. One of them is Hulk, the alter ego of a brilliant scientist, Bruce Banner. Bruce Banner is definitely a good guy, but the Hulk can be an entirely different story. In this article, we’ll try to give a definitive answer on whether the Hulk is a hero or a villain.

As a member of the Avengers, Hulk is more commonly portrayed as a superhero than a villain. However, Hulk’s inability to control his anger can turn him into a powerful, destructive machine, which usually puts him against other Avengers and his other allies. Even when he’s fighting with good intentions, Hulk is still an excessively strong and not really smart being, and he usually leaves a lot of collateral damage behind him. Still, he’s more commonly portrayed as a hero, particularly because there are other variants of Hulk that are entirely evil, unlike him.

Superheroes who are fighting for good, but not entirely in a good way, are usually called anti-heroes, and that’s what Hulk has been many times since he was introduced. The Marvel Cinematic Universe also dealt with the idea of how Hulk can easily turn from an Avenger into a destructive monster several times. In the following paragraphs, we’ll talk about the Hulk and how his great strength can represent a weapon that can be used with good but also with bad intentions as well.

Hulk is everything that Bruce Banner isn’t, and that’s what makes him dangerous!

Two legends of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, created Bruce Banner, a brilliant but physically weak and socially withdrawn scientist whose life will take a drastic turn after being exposed to gamma rays that eventually turn him into a green monster with limitless physical strength. In case you didn’t know, and we bet you did, the Hulk was originally intended to be grey before he was made green because the colorist, Stan Goldberg, had problems with coloring the character.


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Both Bruce Banner and the Hulk first appeared in the comics in the first issue of his own title, ‘The Incredible Hulk,’ which started publishing back in 1962. As a nuclear physicist, Banner was involved in testing the first gamma bomb after General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross and the US Army recruited him to develop it. So, Banner was something like Marvel’s Oppenheimer on this government project.

However, Banner spotted a teenager, Rick Jones, during the first test on a testing field. Banner told his colleague Igor Starsky to delay the countdown as he went into the field to bring Jones back to safety, but since Starsky was a Soviet agent, he didn’t do anything. Although Banner managed to save Jones, he was exposed to a huge level of gamma radiation, turning him into a humanoid monster that General Ross named “the Hulk.”

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That’s the origin story of the first original Hulk, which resides in Marvel’s Prime Universe (Earth-616). In some other incarnations, like in the Ultimate Universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Bruce Banner turned into a Hulk after the US government recruited him to recreate the Super-Soldier serum that Abraham Erskine developed to turn Steve Rogers into Captain America.

Gamma rays still played a significant part in Banner’s transformation since Banner believed that gamma rays could stabilize the serum after injecting it into a human system (Erskine used vita rays on Rogers).

It was initially believed that Banner transformed into the Hulk only during nighttime, but it turned out later that his transformations are triggered by anger, which makes the Hulk everything that Bruce Banner isn’t. While Banner is physically weak but mentally brilliant, Hulk possesses limitless physical strength, but he’s not really a Mensa candidate.


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Hulk can be a great ally but also a very tricky opponent!

Even if we don’t look at the source material, the Marvel Cinematic Universe also depicted what it’s like to have the Hulk as your ally and as your opponent. And since Hulk has existed in the comics for the last six decades, he’s been on both sides numerous times.

The first example that crosses my mind is the Ultimate Universe when Banner turned into a grey-colored Hulk and went on a rampage out of jealousy when Betty Ross had dinner with Freddie Prince Junior.

This Hulk was even stronger than the original one. He fought all the Ultimates and broke an adamantium needle that was supposed to stop him. He was ultimately stopped when the Wasp got into his head and stung him into his brain, turning him back to normal.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the idea of anti-hero Hulk was explored in the first two ‘Avengers’ movies, written and directed by Joss Whedon. In ‘The Avengers,’ Banner transforms when Loki’s agents and brainwashed Hawkeye attack the SHIELD Helicarrier. Uncontrollable as he is, Hulk goes on a rampage and pursues Black Widow before he’s intercepted by Thor, who tries to stop him.

Fury had no choice but to send a fighter jet to shoot at Hulk, but he jumped at the jet, tore it apart mid-air, and ultimately crash-landed into an empty warehouse.

hulk vs hulkbuster

Hulk later worked with the Avengers during the Battle of New York and the Attack on the HYDRA Research Base. However, when the Avengers encountered Ultron in South Africa, Scarlet Witch used her mental manipulation powers to force Banner to turn. Hulk went on a rampage and started destroying the city of Johannesburg.

Without any backup, Iron Man upgraded himself to Hulkbuster and encountered the Hulk in a fight that was one of the highlights of the second ‘Avengers’ movie. After that, we saw Hulk fighting an Avenger one more time in 2017’s ‘Thor: Ragnarok,’ when he and Thor were put into a fighting arena by the Grandmaster.

We could say that the Hulk is like an antibiotic that can help a lot but comes with side effects if not used properly. No matter how hard his teammates try to keep him under control and keep Banner out of fighting unless it’s absolutely necessary, the Hulk’s violent nature still makes him dangerous for everyone around him. Still, despite his anger management issues, Hulk is still a superhero, particularly when you put him against some other Hulks that are entirely evil.

Have something to add on this topic? Do you prefer the Hulk as the good guy, or do you like him more when he’s fighting the Avengers? Let us know in the comments.

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