Name: Robert Bruce Banner Fandom: Marvel Comics Age: 37 Point in Canon: Post Invincible Hulk (has Extremis). Post-New Avengers #23, Post-Original Sin, Post Iron Man Vs The Hulk. Alignment: Good Powers (If any): ... You won't like him when he's angry. Personality:
For some reason, it's Clark Kent who is always described as the "mild-mannered" reporter. If he could, Bruce would take that adjective for himself. He tries, above all things, to be mild-mannered. And sure, sometimes he gets a little carried away with his intellectual prowess, sometimes he speaks in a language that goes over other people's heads; sometimes he likes to remind others that he's the smartest there is. But generally, generally he doesn't.
But the real reason he can's just be summed up as "mild-mannered" is the fact that there is a lot going on with Bruce Banner. Growing up, he was the victim of crimes and abuse who turned inward to deal with his issues by creating an imaginary friend called the Hulk. In High School, he almost lashed out against his fellow students with a plan to blow up his school. Beneath the host of endless amounts of genius, lingers endless amounts of fury, anger and rage: Bruce is messed up.
But you know, if you knew him? If you met him, if you were his friend? You probably wouldn't know about a lot of that, or at least, you'd understand the nature of just how horrible and deadly he can be if loses control of himself -- and so does he. The Hulk, the manifestation of his childhood trauma turned Avenger is a part of who he is, and it's a part of himself that he doesn't like, but has learned to utilize and control to the best of his (sometimes limited) ability.
It would be easy to describe the Hulk/Bruce relationship as a kind of paradox: as joined opposites, but that wouldn't be turn and that isn't really what the paradox with Bruce is. Sure, the Hulk is a giant rage monster responsible for death and destruction, but so is Bruce. He's the pacifist who built a bomb, the scientist who is as unstable as the molecules he works with. The shy, reserved man from humble backgrounds that knows more about time and space and all the corners of the galaxy than anyone else.
It's this that allows Banner the ability to see a lot of possibilities. He's always searching, always curious, always desperate to fine a better solution that the one he has. And as introverted as he is, and as much as he wants to be left alone, he does look to the outside world to fuel his ideas and give him the inspiration to create and understand more. So while he's self-reliant, he is in no way so self focused that he can't reach out and connect with the world as it is in actuality and not just in his own theories.
Bruce is loyal, honest, and friendly. While he's always, always aware of his own Hulk-shaped burden, and while he's always, always crippled not only by that but by the atrocities that the Hulk has committed in the past or on purpose, he is still driven to help others and to do whatever he can to make the world a better place for everyone. He does, however, learn more towards Tony Stark's style of "helping the world" than some of the other avengers. (Not quite as far as Tony does, mind you, but they're two men who are both ruled by science, equations and calculations which means that a pragmatic, utilitarian way of thinking is... just natural)
Professor Brian Banner, Bruce’s father, was an abusive, violent alcoholic who was well known for his work in atomic energy. While living near the Los Alamos research base, Brian’s wife Rebecca became pregnant with their first son after he insisted that she should try for a baby. But, once she was pregnant, Brian started to become jealous of his unborn child, his drinking habits worsened and he started to become paranoid that his wife and baby would be infected by the radiation of the Los Alamos base. His greatest fear being that his son would be born with some sort of deformities or defects because of his and Rebecca’s exposure to his research. Brian then started to press his wife to have an abortion, but she refused.
After a complicated labour, Robert Bruce Banner was born by way of a life-saving cesarean. But seeing his son born and healthy didn’t convince Brian that his son was normal and it only after weeks of tests that Brian demanded the Ohio General Hospital perform on baby Bruce that he finally consented to the fact the child was well enough to go home to his new family. Brian never changed his mind about Bruce, always stressing the fact that there was something wrong with him. Of course, the reason Brian hated his son was because of the baby’s continued demand on Rebecca’s attention. While she loved her son very much, Brian’s demands for her attention and his violent tempers made her try to do everything she could to temper her husband, including allowing him to hire a nanny, Nurse Meachum, (who was also abusive) to care for the baby while he dragged his wife around to important social events, fundraisers and functions.
Because of the verbal and physical about of his father, Bruce grew up into timid, terrified and mistrusting toddler who didn’t really reach out or attempt to make friends or connections with other people. His only real friend during any of this time, was his stuffed animal named Guardian, who he used to hold onto and hope that that would protect him from his father and from the nurse.
Although Bruce was considerably neglected, he was a bright and observant young boy whose curiosity and need for affection and attention often lead him into harm’s way. He was quite literally, but boy who touched the stove to find out for himself that it was hot. The abuse at the hands of his father, meanwhile, only intensified as Bruce got older, and whenever he showed any signs of his brilliance or progressive thinking, it only convinced Brian more that Bruce had somehow been genetically mutated by radiation and would somehow single-handedly usher in the fall of mankind.
The only real high point in his young life, was when he met and befriended his cousin, Jennifer Walters.
Rebecca would reach her breaking point when Bruce was around seven years old or so, and she packed up her bags and intended to sneak out with her son without Brian knowing, but he caught the two of them in the driveway and proceeded to beat Rebecca to death in for of Bruce, who was powerless to do anything to help his mother. While Brian was arrested for the murder of his wife, and Bruce expected to testify against his father. Brian threatened and terrified his son into lying on the witness stand and saying that Rebecca’s death was an accident, that she fell while trying to run away from her husband and the marriage. Bruce felt he had no choice but to do as his father wished, and Brian was initially cleared of all charges based on Bruce’s testimony.
However, Brian was then overheard expressing his guilt and taking pride in the fact that he’d managed to convince convince his son to lie in court. Brian was convicted and Bruce was placed in the care of his brother’s sister, Susan.
While in Susan’s care, Bruce started to show signs of mental issues as a result of his father’s constant abuse. Having somewhat outgrown his stuffed animal “Guardian”, Bruce created an imaginary friend named the “Hulk” to protect him. While Susan was concerned about her nephew’s well-being, the professionals she took him to promised him that these were normal ways for the child to cope with the traumatic experiences of his youth and the death of his mother.
HIGH SCHOOL, EDUCATION & THE DEATH OF BRIAN BANNER
TRIGGER WARNING: BULLYING, SCHOOL VIOLENCE (ATTEMPTED SCHOOL BOMBING), ACCIDENTAL HOMICIDE
In high school, Bruce always looked forward to his summer-time visits from his cousin Jennifer, and the two became very close. In fact, she was really one of the few people that he was friends with at all, as he usually kept to himself and didn't really get along or try to befriend any of his fellow students. However, being a loner kid who excelled at his work did mean that he ended up being the target of some bullies: Once, an experiment he was working on in a science class was tampered with by a fellow student, causing it to explode in his face and getting him into trouble. While Bruce knew that he'd done everything right, the frequency with his his experiments failed (by no fault of his own) caused him to get increasingly frustrated about his own work and he was constantly second guessing himself and his own abilities.
He alienated himself even further from his classmates by continuing to talk to his imaginary friend "The Hulk" whenever he got upset, angry or mad at himself. His classmates, who didn't really like him anyway, nowstarted to think that Bruce was actually crazy, a rumor that wasn't helped by the knowledge that his father was already in an institution for the murder of Rebecca Banner. When talking to himself wasn't enough to vent his frustration and anger, Bruce started to work on building explosions which he would set of in an abandoned warehouse near his home.
During a particularly dark time in his adolescence, Bruce started to have fantasies about seeking revenge on his classmates. Particularly on Ken, a boy who harassed a girl named Carly who Bruce had developed something of a crush on. But, the one time that Bruce tried to stop Ken from harassing Barly, he was beaten up by Ken and his friends, so badly that he had to be hospitalized for broken ribs, nose and other injuries.
After this incident, and when the other students learned more details about the imaginary "Hulk", Bruce was even more ostracized than before. (Trigger Warning, set-up for a school shooting) Rejected by Carly, the "Hulk" started to talk to Bruce, telling him that what they should do is "smash" all the students that were mean to him. And while Bruce slept, the 'Hulk' took control of his body and planted a bomb in Bruce's high school.
Bruce got to school the following day to warn the students and diffuse the bomb, but once his classmates realised that it was him responsible for building it, he was beaten up worse that before and had to return to the hospital. To avoid seeing Bruce sent to prison, Susan decided to take her nephew and leave town. While she was preparing to do so, she was approached by a representative of the military who expressed an interest in Bruce's clear ability to manufacturer highly sophisticated weaponry.
Desert State University in Navapo, New Mexico was where Bruce went after High School. While there, Bruce tried to romance a girl named Susan Jacobson, but she broke it off when Bruce became unintentionally aggressive one night when things turned a bit intimate. He then transfered to Pennsylvania State University to work with Canadian Walter Langkowski who had a similar interest to his in gamma radiation. Bruce then transferred again to further his education at the California Institute of Technology, where he worked with Philip Sterns, and obtained his doctorate in nuclear physics.
This was also around the time where he first met Tony Stark, and for a while the two where intellectual rivals, until Tony decided he liked his lifestyle more than pursuing a rivalry with Banner. He also met and fell in love with Angela Lipscombe. But that relationship ended in jealousy, when Bruce attributed Angela's successin getting grants and funding for her projects to her being attractive, and the two parted ways.
Instead of going further with his education, Bruce took up an offer put on the table by the US Military, to get involved with their research teams.
At some time after the military started to show an interest in Bruce, Brian Banner was released from the mental institution. However, Brian was far from cured and on the anniversary of Rebecca's murder, he attacked Bruce at her gravesight, Bruce pushed him off and Brian fell and hit his head on Rebecca's tombstone, dying instantly. The police wrote the death off as an accident, and Bruce was allowed to continue with his military contract.
MILITARY CONTRACTS, THE GAMMA BOMB, BETTY ROSS & THE BIRTH OF THE HULK
Approached by General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross to come expand the military's weapons initiative, Banner joins to work on developing his gamma bomb for military use. While Banner wanted to develop his bomb to seek out and only destroy enemy weaponry and not enemy life, Ross only wanted the bomb to be destructive, and so Ross secretly hired Tony Stark to tamper with Bruce's bomb before the demonstration. However, Tony didn't make the bomb more destructive, but instead actually altered Bruce's design slightly because the bomb, as Bruce had initially constructed it, would have detonated and killed everyone, had Stark not interfered.
It was also during this time that Bruce would meet the General's daughter, Elizabeth Banner, and while she wasn't impressed with him all that much, he pretty quickly fell in love with her.
"The Hulk" came into being on the day that the gamma bomb was initially tested. But while the testing was beginning, Bruce noticed a young man, Rick Jones, playing in the testing area and ran out to get him to safety. While he managed to get Rick clear of the scene, he did not manage to move away from the bomb before it went off. Bruce survived the ordeal, but the gamma rays given off by the explosion gave him the power to turn into his old imaginary friend, the Hulk.
Initially, Bruce's transformations into the Hulk were nightly, starting at sunset and he would revert back to his human form in the daylight, much like how the Hulk had taken him over when he was a teenager and planted a bomb in his school. Eventually, however, Banner's body adapted so that the transformation into the Hulk was triggered by adrenalin that was released into his body whenever he got intensely excited, aggravated or frustrated.
During this stage, and for many years to come, the Hulk would be a menace. He wouldn't have access to Banner's memory or intelligence and instead just because an angry monster who railed against the military, enemies, and just about everyone else that stood in his way. During this time, he was befriended by the young man that he had saved from the gamma bomb, Rick Jones, who felt responsible for what had happened to Bruce. Jones also took it upon himself to do everything that he could to keep the Hulk contained, or Bruce calm, if he was able to intercept the rage or problems that Bruce was having.
Early Adventures with the Hulk include protecting earth from the Gargoyle, and stopping the earth from being invaded by the Toad Men. It was also relatively early on that Banner developed a Gamma Ray Projector that would help him control his transformations by foring himself into the Hulk or back again. At one time during these early Hulk-outings, the Hulk was shot into space (something that would happen like, every other week from then on) and, trusty side-kick, Rick Jones found himself able to control the Hulk for sometime after, before the ability faded. It was after this space excursion, that the Hulk's abilities were no longer just limited to happening at night.
Many times, Hulk would go on to clash with allies, because he lost control or because he was set up to take the fall for someone else's crime. Like when he was set up by a Russian scientist to look as though he was sabotaging a Gamma Base, and the Fantastic Four were called in to stop him. Eventually, the truth came out and the real culprit was caught, but not before the Hulk and Bruce got to dance with the devil in the pale moonlight. So to speak.
LOKI, THE BIRTH OF THE AVENGERS, RICK JONES BECOMES BUCKY BARNES & UNDERSEA ADVENTURES
One of the initial Avengers, he was used by Loki as a pawn and tricked into battling Thor, which led to the inception of the Avengers, a team formed by Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and the Wasp to defeat Loki. Hulk remained with the group until an incident with the Space Phantom led people to believe that Hulk was not trustworthy, so he left and instead joined forces with Namor, and disappeared into the water to live at the bottom of the sea.
Comics are weird.
Mad at the Avengers for their distrust in him, he eventually resurfaced, battling against them and the Fantastic Four, he left town dor his own adventures, until the Green Goblin entangled him in a plot to kill Spider-Man, and he was manipulated back into the city to attack the Avengers once more.
It's IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT, that Hulk isn't smart and is easily tricked, but is also irrationally upset when he learns that he's been duped or lied too. Much like a child would be, he doesn't have any kind of social filters in place to try and help stop that.
Because it was still unknown that Bruce Banner was the Hulk, he continued his work on Gamma radiation at the Gamma Base testing facility until General Ross began to sense a connection between Banner and the Hulk and wondered if Banner was secretly a spy for the big green giant. A new arrival to the base, Lt. Glenn Talbot, shared in Ross's suspicions about Banner, which were complicated further by the fact that Bruce learned that the Chameleon was attempting to steal information from the army base, including some of his weapon designs. And while the Hulk managed to stop the culprit, Banner was arrested because of Ross and Talbot's suspicions. It was Rick Jones who earned Banner a pardon by revealing to the US President that Banner and Hulk were one in the same.
Later, when Rick Jones thought that the Hulk was dead, he again revealed Hulk's identity, this time to Talbot and Ross. But it's very soon after returning to earth that Bruce is on the run from the military again, this time for killing a man who was super evil, but without having the chance to explain it to anyone. Even Captain America is after him this time, and things are not so good.
Loki breaks on the scene again and tricks the Hulk into being transported to Asgard, where he battles the Warriors Three, Executioner,and an army of Trolls. until Odin... shoots him off into space. Because that is literally all anyone ever fucking does with him.
Once back on earth, shit gets real, there's a fight with Nick Fury and some communists, and Rick Jones becomes the new Bucky Barnes.
Not long after that, after learning of Betty's soon-to-happen marriage to Glenn Talbot, Hulk was once again launched into space, and ended up on Counter-Earth. While on Counter-Earth, Hulk met an alternate version of himself who was married to Betty Ross and had a son, he brought this information back to earth with him, and while Ross ordered Abomination to keep Hulk away from Talbot and Betty's wedding, when Hulk learned that she was going to Niagara Falls, he went after her.
It was around this time, when his cousin Jennifer Walters was shot by a rival gang member to one of the young men that she was defending, to save her life, Bruce agreed to an emergency blood transfusion which would turn Jennifer into the She-Hulk
TRIGGER WARNING: BRAIN DAMAGE
After the Hulk and Banner personas are "reunited" the Hulk goes into exile, until he's called upon by the Avengers to assist the Guardians of the Galaxy with the defeat of Thanos. He then returns to exile until the events of Avengers Vs X-men, when he is asked by Captain America to help them fight against Cyclops and the mutants. The Hulk. Because he agrees to help, he is offered a position bak with the Avengers, and he gets recruited as a consultant for S.H.I.E.L.D.
In Indestructible Hulk, Bruce is brain damaged and to restore him to life and return his genius, Arno Stark gives him his Extremis virus, which basically brings him back to full capacity and beyond, but he has suffered some memory loss. He's also gained a considerable amount more control overthe Hulk as a result of Arno Stark's interference.
Once he’s shown the eye of Uatu, the watcher, Bruce sees some of Tony Stark’s memories, which leads him to believe that Tony Stark is the reason that the Gamma Bomb failed and turned him into the Hulk, ages ago. He goes after Iron Man to beat the shit out of him, and Arno Stark (Oh God, there he is. Arno Stark.) injects Bruce with his version of Extremis which allows Bruce to keep control of himself as the Hulk.
Because of the weird multi-timeline Infinity Gem business, this is also the moment in time where the Illuminati, with Hulk present, use the doomsday device that Tony built and prepare to destroy another universe to spare their own. No one, Panther, Strange, Stark, or Reed is able to actually pull the trigger and end the lives of the other universe. So then Namor just goes ahead and fucking does it. Fuck that guy, man.