Hulk Vs. Bruce Banner

After our definition of a super hero class, I started rethinking about comic book heroes, and which of them actually qualify as super heroes. One beloved character stood out in my mind the most, the infamous green giant himself, Dr. Bruce Banner. I use the name Bruce Banner instead of his alter ego the Hulk, because I believe Dr. Bruce is much more of a super hero than the green guy he turns into every time he gets angry. The modern definition of a super hero states that in order to qualify for super hero status, you must be a heroic character with a selfless pro social mission. Personally, I don’t believe HULK SMASH qualifies as a pro social mission, but that’s just me. I also don’t consider the Hulk to be selfless either. True, he does fight with the Avengers, whose mission is to protect Earth from all evil, but at the same time I see the Hulk as the team member who just gets attacked a lot, then gets angry and wreaks havoc on the bad guys. I don’t believe he has the self-control in order to justify his fighting for the benefit of society.

Bruce Banner on the other hand is much more of a super hero than Hulk ever could be. True he does not have the super strength the Hulk possesses, but what he lacks in brawn, he makes up for with brains. Dr. Banner is one of the smartest scientists in comic book history, and he understands the anger and destruction the Hulk is capable of. Because of this, he has made it his mission to find a cure for his “disease” and protect the world from himself. This is completely selfless, and the definition of a pro-social mission, making him much more of a super hero than the Hulk.



Joss Whedon, director of the Avengers was quoted saying“Hulk is a tricky son of a bitch. He’s the Claudio of superheroes. Because the problem is it’s a very popular character, but it’s not a superhero. Half of it’s a superhero, half of it’s a werewolf.”Planet Hulk (2010) 1

This looks like more werewolf than super hero to me.

Brendan Wolovick





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5 Responses to Hulk Vs. Bruce Banner

  1. jcdegner says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post! The Hulk has always been one of my favourite comic book characters, because I think the contrast between Bruce Banner and his monstrous side is truly fascinating. Although they are technically the same person, the two ‘characters’ are polar opposites. It would be almost impossible for another fictional individual to realize that Hulk and Dr. Banner are the same person, unless Bruce directly told them about his accident. Furthermore, I found what you said about the definition of a superhero particularly interesting. While it is true that Dr. Banner has good intentions to use his knowledge for the benefit of society, it is also true that when he becomes the Hulk, many of those noble intentions vanish. Bruce Banner does not wish to transform into the Hulk, because he realizes this fact; he does not want his powers to harm anyone or anything around him. It seems as though he views his powers as a curse, rather than as a gift. Therefore, I think it is most accurate to say that neither the Hulk or Dr. Banner are superheroes. While Bruce has the aspect of the pro-social attitude towards society, he lacks the actual superpowers in his human form. On the other hand, the Hulk has the power to help society, but instead ends up wreaking havoc.

    -Julie Degner

  2. aksran says:

    I agree according to the Peter Coogan definition of a superhero, The Hulk himself is not selfless or pro-social on a means of his own. Though he does possess extraordinary abilities and physical strength it was but a mere flaw of science which caused this. The doctor on the other hand himself does want to make the world a better place. The Hulk also does not have any sort of mission or worldly inspiration. He does not even have a proper costume that is a set of attire; it is him alone that transforms into something else. Another example of this superhero contrary to the definition and elements would be “Thing” from “Fantastic Four” his flesh turns into stone is this really a considerable costume? Also his identity is not concealed does this take away from the fact that he wants to help the world? Both of the monsters with their uncontrollable strength.

  3. sebmazur says:

    Hey great post, I totally agree with you, however, in my books, I simply cannot qualify Bruce Banner as a super hero. Yes he is very selfless, and does have a pro social mission, however, this makes him just an intellectually inclined, morally respectable human, who simply strives to do well. So I can see him as being a hero, however, he himself does not hold the characteristics needed to fulfill what it takes to be a superhero. That being said, I totally agree with you on the fact that HULK SMASH is not a pro social mission, and even through the Hulk does come to fight “villains”, he himself has little control over his own actions, and ambitions. After reading Julie’s post, I loved how she said that Bruce sees his powers as a curse, rather than a gift, and so, if anything, this is what would make me more inclined to view Bruce Banner as a superhero. Bruce, and the Hulk, are essential one person. And so he becomes his own villain, who only he can stop or control (to a very certain degree), which he tires to do, in his constant fight to not transform into the brutish monster. Yes, he (in the form of Hulk) does have the super abilities to be qualified as “super”, but the heroism of his character emerges in the selflessness of Bruce to protect people from the destruction he knows he can commit.

    – Seb

  4. benwong2369 says:

    fun read. while I agree that the Hulk himself, isn’t necessarily a hero. I have to say that Dr. Bruce Banner isn’t really a hero either. In my opinion, Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner is a total enigma, a total Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde if you will. One, who only wants to “Smash” has little to no control over his immense strength, while the other although brilliant has no power or authority whatsoever to combat villains. However, I do believe that you can’t have the Hulk without Bruce Banner, and visa versa.
    One thing that caught my attention is when mentioning about Dr. Bruce Banner, is how he’s trying to protect the world from himself, from his “disease”. That one sentence I believe can propel him into “hero” status. I’m slightly contradicting myself here, but what I’m trying to say is that I can’t fully classify either Dr. Bruce Banner or Hulk as full on superheroes, more like a side character that’s freakishly strong


  5. matthall says:

    An interesting post on one of the most well known “superheroes”.
    While I agree the definitions we used in class for a superhero don’t exactly coincide with the Hulk, the same can be said for a lot of other superheroes. It seems the title of superhero today has become too broad and tends to be given to any protagonist with some sort of powers.
    As for the Hulk, I personally think of him as more of an antihero considering he has no heroic qualities or doesn’t tend to have a pro social mission. If we were to consider each “superhero” in the world in depth I am sure that many others could also be sorted into another character type.
    Like some of the other people said above me in other comments, I have trouble calling Dr. Banner a superhero simply due to him basically being an extremely smart human. However, according to the definitions we used in class it does make sense to call him a superhero.

    -Matt Hall

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