Bruce Banner has found himself at odds with many of his allies in the Marvel universe at various times in his life. The latest volume of Hulk by author Donny Cates and artist Ryan Ottley seems to be making yet another change to the Bruce Banner / Hulk dynamic by placing Bruce further away from a clear hero; even if you were to ask Bruce, he would still see himself as the hero in his own twisted story. Of course the way Bruce behaves Hulk # 1, it seems he really does not care what others think of his actions and motivations.
WARNING: Spoilers for Hulk # 1 below. If you were a reader of Al Ewing and Joe Bennetts Immortal Hulk, then this new iteration of the title will appear as a drastic departure. The horror themes have been replaced with sci-fi bombastic flare-ups, all due to Bruce Banner’s intrigue. An unspecified event in El Paso, TX sends Bruce on the run, and he has taken control of his gamma-driven alter ego in the most unexpected way possible. Bruce has captured the Hulk’s rage from within and uses it as an engine to power what Cates refers to as the “Starship Hulk”. Bruce sits in the command center of this techno-Hulk and overpowers Tony Stark in one of his classic Hulkbuster armor.
The Avengers, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and Fantastic Four have teamed up to discuss their latest Hulk issue. As Doctor Strange explains, the events in El Paso have shattered Bruce’s mind. He tries to run away from his problems, and part of that race involves using Iron Man’s celestial sheets to teleport to a pocket dimension, never to be bothered or chased again. The furious Starship Hulk makes it easy to work with the Hulkbuster, go into the wormhole and disappear. Bruce leaves a message warning that his friends are no longer dealing with the Hulk … they are dealing with Bruce Banner.
Cates talked about Bruce Banner’s hero status in an interview with ComicBook.com and said he does not see the character as an antagonist. “No, I do not. That’s not how I see him at all. I think he’s a deeply troubled and deficient man, just like the rest of us,” Cate explained. “And he’s at a point in his life where he’s trying to regain some control and some autonomy, and sometimes it can be very self-destructive. So I think the only victim right now is himself. And it’s seen with the vision.by Betty who acts as his subconscious moral center.It’s clear she’s not real, right? But if you look at her actually, Ryan Ottley put her in exactly the outfit she looks like in her first appearance. For that’s how Bruce sees her in his mind as this girl, that he has not ruined her life yet. “
Bruce Banner finds himself more like an anti-hero now than a full-fledged villain. Though it seems he cost some people their lives in El Paso, he does not plan for world domination or anything like that. Readers, of course, will have to keep an eye out to see that this does not change Hulk continues.
What did you think of Cates and Ottley’s Hulk, and their bid for Bruce Banner? Tell us in the comments.