Issue(s): Hulk #377, Hulk #378, Hulk #379, Hulk #380, Hulk #381, Hulk #382
The psychological aspects of the nature of the Hulk have been apparent to Marvel writers for some time, but Peter David has been touching on them regularly during his run. And that comes to a culmination in issue #377.
From the introduction to this issue in my Hulk: Transformations trade:
This is a story that explains at long last the true relationship between Banner and the Hulk (actually both Hulks, green and gray). Banner, as was established back in the Incredible Hulk #312 [actually, the intro incorrectly cites #313), had a most unhappy childhood. His father was mentally unbalanced, and was insanely jealous of the close relationship that his wife had with their son. This led to Bruce being both physically and mentally abused by his father, who would ultimately kill his wife in a fit of rage. All of this caused young Bruce to retreat within himself, to become the reserved, rational, mild-mannered man with whom we are so familiar.
Doc Samson's therapy session is depicted as a conversation with Banner and the Hulks (grey and green)
And Dale Keown does a great job of showing the fear that even the big strong Hulks feel when confronted with their father.
And, to be fair, dad is depicted as being even more of a monster than he was in issue #312 (and also note the doll of Guardian from that issue).
Green Hulk attacks the monster/father but his back is snapped. Grey Hulk is also killed while begging Banner to "do something useful". Banner himself does nothing even while Samson urges him to fight. We next see Banner and the Hulks all sitting cross-legged on the floor, facing away from each other. And then we switch to the real world, where Banner is catatonic in a bed. We see that Samson has been using the Ringmaster to put Banner into hypnosis.
They put Banner under again, and this time see a scene of Bruce's mom, packing up to get away from her abusive husband.
The monster/father kills Bruce's mom when she tries to leave. We see Banner trying to get his younger self to express some kind of emotion over the death, but young Bruce keeps it all suppressed.
And when he does react, he turns into the Hulk, confirming for young Bruce that emotions are bad and destructive.
We next see Bruce as a young man in college, being berated by a fellow student named Susan who isn't impressed with Bruce's kissing, because Bruce is again holding back emotionally. And when Bruce lets his emotions out, he again Hulks out (metaphorically), this time with the grey Hulk persona. Susan is equally unimpressed with that.
We see how the grey Hulk side of Bruce continues with him to the present day.
And then we go to a cemetery where Bruce is visiting his mother's grave and he encounters his father again. I should note that in addition to more universal themes about an abusive father, there's a Marvel-specific flavor to the fact that part of what was feeding his father's abuse was fear that he had a mutant son (this was also in #312).
This time Bruce expresses his grief over his mother's death, and the result is that the monster/father transforms into an ordinary small man.
Bruce's mom then appears and tells the Hulks that it is time for them to merge into Bruce.
Really great emotion from Dale Keown in the Hulks' faces.
Also in issue #377 we have Betty Banner coming to terms with the fact that her husband had a relationship with Marlo Chandler while Bruce was in "Joe Fixit" mode in Los Vegas. As far as Marlo is concerned, Joe was a separate person, and Betty ultimately doesn't blame Marlo for anything but is having a tough time dealing with all that is happening ("I don't know who I married"). We see Rick Jones (Marlo's current boyfriend) enter the room and realize that the two women are having a moment, so he quietly withdraws. When he comes back at the end of the issue, he's limping, and we'll find out the reason for that in issue #378.
Before that, though, the merged Hulk shows up.
Really strong stuff here. Peter David has a well thought out theory for the Hulk that adds new angles to the characters. I've noted in some past issues (e.g. Hulk #227, Hulk #315)that we've seen explanations for the Hulk that are the virtual opposite of this, i.e. that the Hulk was a separate entity entirely from Bruce Banner. That misses out on so much of what makes the Hulk an intriguing character. What's interesting is that the "separate entities" theory has basically been proven wrong time and again (more or less explicitly after #315), and of course we have issue #312 and a lot of years of subtext implying that they really are the same entity. The 1980s television show probably also did a lot to solidify that interpretation. So Peter David's revelation here doesn't feel like it comes out of the blue; it was certainly developed slowly throughout David's run but it's also consistent with a reading of the Hulk's history. On top of that, the writing and art are top notch here, depicting the psychological aspects of the story in a way more associated with DC's proto-Vertigo comics than super-hero books.
Of course, the end result of the merging of Banner's personalities was controversial. It's worth remembering that despite some mainstream recognition, the Hulk wasn't always a popular character, and Bill Mantlo, inheriting the title basically because no one else wanted it, started playing with the concept of the character in order to keep things fresh, giving us a Hulk with Banner's brain and then a Banner-less Hulk. John Byrne also tried separating the Hulk from Banner, and Al Milgrom brought back the earliest incarnation of the Hulk, who was very different from his "classic" persona. And of course Peter David has been playing with incarnations of the Hulk throughout his run so far. So it's not a new thing for the Hulk to not be in "Hulk smash" mode; in fact he hasn't really been in that mode since the early 80s! But there would still be a vocal contingent that preferred the Hulk to be his "classic" self, even if there weren't enough of them to keep the sales on the book strong.
Going forward, Peter David will also have to thread the needle of demonstrating that this merged Hulk isn't the same as Mantlo's Hulk with Banner's brain while still convincing us that we are reading about the same character. He'll be doing that very well, in my opinion, but it must have been agonizing in realtime. Because after issue #377 we have quasi-fill-ins for issue #378 and #380. Both issues are by Peter David and are written to fit into the current chronology, but they have fill-in art teams (Jaaska/Albrecht) and neither feature present day Hulk. So after this big revelation and development, we have to wait a bit to see how it is all going to play out.
Issue #378 promises "the most requested villain of all" but despite the cover, it's not Santa Claus. We also find out why Rick Jones was limping. Wandering the hospital while waiting for Doc Samson to finish Bruce's therapy, Rick came across a bunch of rowdy children patients. And he told them a story about an event that occurred when he and Clay Quartermain were traveling the country with the Hulk circa Hulk #338. And the story features the Rhino.
Rhino isn't looking for trouble, and tries to hide when he hears that the Hulk is in town by donning a Salvation Army Santa costume.
But he gets roped in to working as a mall Santa. And he's not exactly good with dealing with kids.
According to Rick, the Rhino is a manic depressive. He was depressed earlier but he's currently in a manic phase. One of the kids figures out that he's the Rhino, and meanwhile night has fallen and Bruce has transformed into the Hulk.
So now we get our grey Hulk/Rhino fight.
With a little interference from Clay.
There's a little talk of the Rhino being sexually frustrated...
...followed by a line about his horn having penetrated. Er, um.
In the end, a kid wants to know why Santa is fighting, and that ends the fight.
I thought it was a cute, funny story, but the kids in the hospital didn't agree, and that's why Rick gets a kick to the shin.
I haven't liked a lot of Bill Jaaska's art, but it works well for this comedic story. And it's a fun story. But we were in the middle of something! We get back to it with issue #379. Actually we jump ahead a bit, with Hulk, Samson, and Ringmaster going out for a drink.
In many ways, the character that we see here has more of the personality of the grey Hulk than the Bruce that we've known. But he's also speaking as intelligently as Bruce.
And he handles the inevitable local toughs with more restraint than either the grey or green Hulk would, which isn't to say that he doesn't revel in his power.
The question of whether or not this Hulk is really Bruce is the main thing on Betty's mind, and Betty is therefore a great vehicle for addressing the same objections that readers may have had about this change (this is from a flashback showing the events directly after the end of #377).
Betty's point is that it may be true that this new merged Hulk is the "true" identity of Bruce Banner, but it's not the personality that she fell in love with.
A little earlier, though, Betty was reading from Rick Jones' book, where Rick made the point that both Bruce and Betty came from families with overbearing fathers. In a sense, neither character has really been well, so they have a lot in common and could provide support for each other. But Betty still has to work through the question of whether or not the merged Hulk is really Bruce.
And that's not going to happen in isolation. The rest of these issues fully introduce the organization that Peter David has been building up in previous issues, the Pantheon. We see some of them in the bar, watching how Hulk handles the local toughs, and then approaching him for a conversation.
And they do sound like a bunch of religious nuts. Doc Samson, meanwhile, clearly isn't so happy with the results of his work. That's an important point. We're not meant to believe that Bruce/Hulk is fully cured here. The Hulk's mental stability will be an ongoing concern for the rest of Peter David's run.
For now, though, Hulk's conversation with Ulysses, Hector, and Atalanta is interrupted when Rick Jones spots more people lurking outside the bar, and tries to run in to warn him. He's stopped by Prometheus, in the red high tech car we saw in an earlier issue. Hulk tries to go outside, but the Pantheon members in the bar try to stop him. When Hulk knocks away Atalanta, he's attacked by Ajax, one of the guys on the outside.
Hulk thinks to himself that he could just jump out of the way of Ajax's charge, but that would allow people in the bar behind him to be hurt. So he counter-charges Ajax instead. Meanwhile, you get the impression from the rest of the Pantheon that they really didn't want to fight.
Hulk seems to be talking more to the readers than anyone in particular when he describes the difference between himself and Mantlo Bruce-Hulk.
The other members of the Pantheon use energy weapons.
Except for Achilles, who thinks that he's invulnerable until he approaches the Hulk.
An increasingly angry Hulk winds up throwing Ajax into the bar. He notes to himself that this is exactly what he intended to avoid. So we next see the Hulk getting taken down by the Pantheon, but we find out at the end that he's allowed himself to be captured.
But, before we go further with that, we have another Jaaska/Albrecht fill-in that focuses on Doc Samson. The story begins in the aftermath of the Hulk's battle with the Pantheon, outside the bar. Jaaska's art is looking more Jaaska-ish than the Rhino issue.
Storywise, while we're not focused on the Hulk, you can see that we're continuing with the same themes as last issue. And that continues after Nick Fury shows up, not exactly happy that Samson has exceeded his authority by having the Ringmaster released (notice that Fury is aware of the Pantheon.).
But from there we pivot to a story about "Crazy Eight". Crazy Eight was a criminal that was subdued by Wonder Man (in a fight only seen in these flashbacks).
Doc Samson was subsequently called in to do a psych evaluation, to confirm that she was mentally fit to stand trial. He determined that she was (he also learned that her name was supposed to be "Infinity" but the cops saw the infinity symbol that she carved on a victim and thought it was a crazy looking eight), and she was sentenced to the death penalty. Her sentence is now going to be carried out, and she's requested that Doc Samson be there for it. The authorities don't mind having some super-powered help on hand in case things go wrong.
Crazy Eight had been focused on criminals, and was therefore being ignored by the cops, until her most recent victim, a US Senator. She was also thought to have beaten up the Senator's wife. But we learn after the execution that the Senator was actually beating his wife, and Crazy Eight was the wife's childhood friend, so Crazy Eight killed the Senator because the wife saw no other escape from the rich and powerful man. It's actually a pretty powerful story, with a backdrop of the controversy around the death penalty. The exterior of the prison is filled with pro-death penalty advocates cheering and having a barbecue. Samson unloads on them when he leaves.
Jaaska's art almost makes it look like Samson is beating up on a baby, but even with that it's an emotional story.
But, again, we were in the middle of something. So for #381, we go back to the Hulk, who repeats the fact that allowing himself to get captured is a new possibility for him.
And it is a new experience for him (although i could see the grey Hulk playing possum if necessary). However, pretending to get caught by the bad guys so they take you back to their lair is a pretty common scenario for a generic super-hero. And that's another needle that Peter David will have to thread with this merged Hulk: now that he's an intelligent guy in a super-powered body, how is he different than every other Marvel hero? David will meet that challenge as well, but it's definitely something that needed to be considered.
Separately from this, but more the immediate focus, Peter David will have to convince us that the Pantheon are interesting characters. It is interesting to see David create essentially an entire super-team and surrounding organization from scratch. In some respects it's a diverse group: Atalanta is a strong female character and we'll later learn that Hector is gay. And Ajax is intellectually disabled; that's another needle that David will have to thread carefully.
But since the group (as we'll learn) all have a shared origin, they aren't that diverse. They're all white, and the majority of them have energy weapons for powers. But David does a good job developing personalities for them all, complete with various rivalries.
Hulk uses the opportunity of Paris' hanger gate stunt to free himself.
So he gets into another fight with the Pantheon.
The fight is ended by the arrival of the Pantheon's leader, Agamemnon.
The rest of issue #381 (which is entitled "Exposition") describes the purpose of the Pantheon. They are an organization of 1,500 people described as a "massive think tank" designed to avert disasters all around the world. They live at "the Mount", a facility designed to hold their organization as well as refugees. They grow their own food (mostly vegetarian) and have a science wing that "almost has AIDS cured" as well as soldiers and armaments. And they want to Hulk to join them. Agamemnon shows the Hulk scenes of destruction that he himself has caused, making the argument that the government won't pardon him a second time, and if he wants to do something with his life, he can join the organization where he'll be hidden but able to act.
I am a sucker for proactive groups even though they never pan out. The Pantheon in particular, being a large organization instead of just a team of super-heroes, and because they insert themselves into international political events, have a lot of promise and they feel like they could have been a group like, say, Warren Ellis' Authority. The speed at which they are brought into the Hulk's book is a little disappointing, though. We've just seen the Hulk's psychological problems seemingly fixed. It would have been nice to have a few issues of that new status quo explored without the introduction of a new organization as well. Of course the organization is tailor made for the Hulk's new status, but that actually raises some questions. When we first saw the Pantheon trying to capture the Hulk, he wasn't yet in this status. They've adapted to this change rather quickly; i don't think appealing to the grey Hulk's humanitarian side would have made sense. I guess they could have just offered him a place to hide in return for him doing good on covert missions, but the merged Hulk makes a lot more sense for their organization.
Issue #382 has the Hulk still at the Pantheon facility. He's been given free reign of the place so that he can confirm for himself that they are on the up-and-up. They've also given him a new costume, sort-of.
It may not be great but it makes more sense than the purple speedos that the Hulk wore when he had Bruce Banner's intellect in Mantlo's run.
We learn that Achilles' "heel" is gamma radiation, which explains why the Hulk is able to hurt him. And we learn that all of the Pantheon members are part of an extended family. We also see Atalanta negotiate an end to hostilities between Hulk and Ajax.
Hulk is convinced to join when he sees a room full of refugees that have been hit with napalm. They were caught in a civil war in a small country. The US government is said to have supplied the napalm. A combination of doing something about that and paying back the government for all the attacks on him is what convinces him.
Pantheon's resident precog, Delphi, actually doesn't see good omens about his decision. One thing that's kind of funny is that in the lettercol in issue #381, it's (jokingly) said that one of the reasons to buy issue #382 is that we'll get to see Delphi naked. But in issue #382, the colorist (or editor) has decided to de-nudify her.
Delphi has a vision of the Hulk that will come to pass in Hulk #400.
Continuing Betty's efforts to deal with the changes in her husband, she decides to move in with Marlo (and hey look, a ROM suit!).
Despite Rick being uneasy about it, they wind up getting along pretty well together.
And in #382 we see the Abomination lurking around a Russian actress named Nadia.
Due to the fill-ins and the speed at which the Pantheon are brought in, the story is a little bit of a hodge-podge. But the story of the Hulk's merging is really great, and the merged Hulk is an intriguing character after that. The Pantheon still hold promise at this point. Peter David's Hulk run had already been full of fresh ideas, and that is raised to a new level with these issues.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 164,524. Single issue closest to filing date = 182,300.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Hulk was unconscious at the end of issue #376, and he's been in therapy with Samson until the beginning of issue #377, so he shouldn't appear in other books in between.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Hulk: Transformations TPB (#377 only; the rest are originals)
Inbound References (10): show
A great culmination of everything David had been writing to this point. And the fill-ins were decent, in spite of the momentum of the main story getting slowed.
But, good Lord, that open-chested Elvis jumpsuit look for the Hulk looks as dumb as I remember it.
However, merging the Hulks creates a bit of a problem for when the character inevitably reverts back to his classic Savage/Bruce set-up, in that it makes the conflict feel like a retread of a story that had been resolved already. I think it's one the reasons no later writer has come remotely close to David's run on the book.
Posted by: Bob | September 8, 2015 6:41 PM
Rick Jones rocking a Public Enemy shirt might be an allusion to, or inspired by, young John Connor's wardrobe in Terminator 2. Also released in 1991.
(though rebellious white dudes in PE shirts have enough examples - present company included - to constitute a trope: http://pitchfork.com/thepitch/649-a-history-of-famous-white-guys-in-public-enemy-t-shirts-or-stories-of-how-a-revolutionary-rap-group-infiltrated-the-mainstream )
Posted by: cullen | September 8, 2015 7:33 PM
Note that the Hulk actually thinks that Agamemnon might be THE Agamemnon of legend. And the Hulk doesn't seem to dislike him when he considers that possibility, despite the fact that the Agamemnon of legend killed his daughter. PAD ignored Banner's hatred of parents that harm their children to make the Agamemnon story work.
Posted by: Michael | September 8, 2015 9:16 PM
This is the culmination of Peter David's first part of his run, and it is very good. There are lots of good stories in the future as well, so there is no decline in quality from this point. However, I never liked the Pantheon. Hulk needed a new supporting cast for a new status quo, but I disliked the organization for various reasons.
1) Too many super-powered people. While an ultra-powerful being like the Hulk may need some super powered folks who can be peers, there are too many.
2) The Pantheon is very derivative and therefore lazy. He needs a bunch of superpowered people, so David takes the easy way out by giving everyone mythological names and corresponding powers. Inherently not interesting. The Zodiac was hobbled the same way. In contrast, the Serpent Society got it right despite having new characters and everyone had the same theme. Names, powers, and character design were very creative and individualized.
3) Despite being a brand new group, David quickly makes them an old group that has existed for a long time, known to existing characters like Nick Fury, but somehow invisible to the readers all this time. I absolutely hate this. It would have been much better if the Pantheon had just started and were recruiting others. Perhaps they could give Hulk a mythological nickname (which he won't use). David could also use many of the already created characters who were never used subsequently and assign them mythological code names as well. A mix of old and new characters would have brought some diversity to the group, and would have salvaged some of the existing characters and made them more likely to be used as individual characters by other writers who may not be interested in the Pantheon as a concept. One of Mark Gruenwald's strengths as a writer was doing just that.
I also agree that the inclusion of the Pantheon is too soon after the gestalt Hulk is born. It would be better for the readers to understand the new status quo first. It would also have been good for the new Hulk to feel like he doesn't belong as he tries to fit into the world. Then when the Pantheon shows up with their offer, it'd be easier to understand why Hulk accepts.
There are many great issues to come, but overall I was bored with the dynamics of the Pantheon. They were not as interesting as David seemed to think they were.
Posted by: Chris | September 8, 2015 9:54 PM
Bob, I think Greg Pak's run is generally considered a "modern classic."
About Hulk's new outfir...it's important to consider that this is the way women in comics USUALLY wear their jumpsuits (looking your way, Catwoman!) I don't think he wears it that long (I seem to recall the Hulk wearing more casual "street" clothes around this time. Tank tops and jeans and such.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | September 8, 2015 10:02 PM
Michael, maybe Bruce didn't remember that tidbit from his reading of Bulfinch's Mythology. The Bulfinch line does seem to indicate that Bruce has not read the Iliad.
Kind of interesting coincidence with this Crazy 8 villain being introduced into Wonder Man's background, due to later developments when Wonder Man gets a series with Simon's supporting cast become a group called the Crazy Eight.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | September 9, 2015 12:49 AM
Issue #377 is the best issue of Incredible Hulk ever. Unfortunately, I think the merged Hulk wasted his time working with the Pantheon. He should have rejoined the Avengers instead.
Posted by: Steven | September 9, 2015 1:41 AM
@cullen- Terminator 2 came out in July, and these issues were January-June, so no, it wasn't inspired by Terminator 2.
Posted by: Michael | September 9, 2015 7:49 AM
Rhino's explicitly states he's stuck in his costume with the shoulder aromr and bands; therefore this has to take place before Deadly Foes of Spider-Man.
Posted by: mikrolik | September 9, 2015 12:44 PM
Whoops! I glossed over the part that said it was a flashback. Never Mind. My Aplogies.
Posted by: mikrolik | September 9, 2015 12:51 PM
I wonder, is the the first post-golden age story that confirms that the death penalty exists in the US of the marvel universe. I'd always assumed there was no death penalty because several more villains would have been executed.
In general, I've always assumed US law works differently in the MU. For example, vigilantes don't have to testify at the trials of criminals. Otherwise, every villain Spider-man ever apprehended would walk.
And a reminder, diversity is not limited to skin colour. A group can be diverse and all have the same skin tone. There are more factors to diversity.
Bulfinch's mythology has a simplified, translated version of the Illiad (and Odessey), so the Hulk was refering to having read a simplified version of the Illiad.
Posted by: kveto | September 9, 2015 3:23 PM
"Of course the organization is tailor made for the Hulk's new status, but that actually raises some questions. When we first saw the Pantheon trying to capture the Hulk, he wasn't yet in this status. They've adapted to this change rather quickly; i don't think appealing to the grey Hulk's humanitarian side would have made sense."
I had a random thought today. The Pantheon DOES have an oracle. I don't recall how specific and accurate she is. But it was Prometheus' assault which first caused the re-emergence of the green Hulk, shortly after the mental door had been opened. If one were feeling very generous, perhaps Delphi had predicted the creation of the merged Hulk if the green Hulk was not allowed to slip under the surface again. (But that probably is not supported by any dialogue.)
Posted by: Erik Robbins | September 17, 2015 12:41 AM
That actually does work as an explanation, Erik.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 17, 2015 10:07 AM
"Unfortunately, I think the merged Hulk wasted his time working with the Pantheon. He should have rejoined the Avengers instead."
The Avengers would be too pacifistic for the Hulk. He needs someone like the Pantheon for their aggressive tactics. He would have been perfect for Force Works.
Posted by: CLYDE | September 17, 2015 10:12 AM
I heard that the reason that the Pantheon was introduced was for a reason for Hulk to maintain an outlaw status despite his new gestalt form.
Posted by: Max_Spider | September 17, 2015 1:34 PM
I do like the art, but I also hate the new costume. I gotta admit I love the purple torn pants.
You know, I never read Hulk back during this stretch and so when the Ang Lee film came out I had no idea that the whole "abusive father" part of the story came from the comics themselves.
And man are those guys in the bar dumb. This is the Marvel Universe. Even if you don't think it might be the actual Hulk, just look at the size of him. I've seen Lou Ferrigno in real life at a con. I know he was only wearing green paint on the show, but the man is friggin huge! There's no way I'm starting a fight with him, no matter what color he is.
Posted by: Erik Beck | November 17, 2015 11:34 AM
So, the Rhino story taught us Marvel Universe Denizens are ungrateful bastards who will quickly react with violence and insults against the people trying their best to help them, over the pettiest of reasons, even from childhood.
Posted by: OverMaster | June 25, 2017 10:13 PM
David threads the needle well here, showing a gestalt of someone who has never known how to regulate his own emotions, *thinks* he knows how to now, and thus takes immense and absurd pride in the kinds of self-regulation ordinary people do every day...while rationalizing away his major slips and faults.
David makes a point of showing that everyone around this new Hulk can see that he's "off," and that the Merged Hulk responds defensively to any insinuation that he's still got "work" to do on himself. It's a good portrayal of the "pink cloud" effect that happens in rehab, or after a big breakthrough in psychological treatment.
That said, the Pantheon is introduced to hastily, as everyone has noted. The idea may be that the merged Hulk is so eager to "move forward" and prove himself that he *can* b rushed into this sort of thing. It's notable that he sees how dysfunctional the Pantheon is, but all it takes to convince him to join is some footage of damages his past rampages and Agamemnon telling him he can stick it to everyone who hounded him in the past *and* feel righteous about what he's doing.
The idea seems to be that the Merged Hulk is intoxicated by his full rage of emotions, but not mature in handling them and, consequently, deeply lacking in real empathy. In a certain light, he's the scariest Hulk yet, and David will play that to the hilt later on.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 9, 2017 6:58 AM
I can't believe that the real Hulk truly died after that dumb Rocket Racoon issue. Banner took over the Hulk's body, then the Hulk got mindless, then it turned grey and became a new character and now he's got yet another personality.
Did the real Hulk ever return? I know at some point I'm going to stop reading Marvel comics and I fear that I'll never read the real (dumb) Hulk again...
Posted by: richie | April 18, 2018 10:24 PM
I think Bruce Jones' run involved the classic Hulk, but then it got semi-retconned away as maybe an illusion, and in any case the post-Heroes Reborn era involved a lot of delving into Banner's vast array of personalities. I want to say that before Planet Hulk the classic Hulk was in effect, but I don't know that for certain.
With how long the Hulk stayed out of his classic status quo, and how that status quo got shaken up again not too long after being restored, it's tempting to think that writers basically ran out of stories to tell with the "dumb Hulk" and found the more psychological aspects of the Hulk more interesting to play with. A lot of them seem to also want to work with a more intelligent Hulk that could play nicer with the rest of society and the superhero community, or conversely, one that exhibits the monstrosity of intelligence. Some writers may also almost feel sorry for Banner's condition and want to provide some measure of stability and resolution for him (as here).
Posted by: Morgan Wick | April 19, 2018 12:42 AM
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