No matter how the story has been added to and modified through the years, there remain three key ingredients to making an Incredible Hulk: you need a selfless scientist, a boy in danger, and a gamma bomb. Bruce Banner, physicist, noticed a teenager on the testing grounds moments before a prototype bomb was to go off. He pushed the boy into a protective ditch, but was caught in the blast himself. Instead of being vaporized, though, Banner absorbed the gamma radiation and transformed into the mean, green rage machine known as the Hulk. Dice in an abusive parent for flavor, a super-soldier serum for texture, and Soviet meddling if you want to get spicy; the end result is the same: a hyper-strong, minimally-intelligent monster that you don’t want to make angry.
The jade giant is one of Marvel’s most iconic superheroes, and he may be the strongest one there is – but he is far from being one of a kind. Since his creation, dozens of Hulked-out characters have turned up, either from dabbling in gamma radiation themselves, or just by their proximity to Bruce Banner. The people in Hulk’s life can’t help but turn green (or red, or blue) sometimes, and we’ve documented every one of them. Here are (at least) 27 Marvel Comics Characters Who’ve Gained The Hulk’s Powers.
27. She-Hulk – Jennifer Walters
Jennifer Walters wouldn’t be who she is today if it weren’t for her family. It was thugs looking to send a message to her father that wounded her to the brink of death, but it was a blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner, that saved her life – and gave her a milder version of the Hulk’s own powers. As She-Hulk, Walters has incredibly enhanced strength and resilience, while retaining her intelligence and emotional control. During a mission that saw her trapped in her Hulked-out form, she realized she actually felt more comfortable in green than she ever did before. She has been a member of the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Heroes For Hire, among other groups, but spends much of her time focusing on her civilian career as a lawyer.
26. Emil Blonsky – Abomination
A spy operating out of the same military base as Bruce Banner, Emil Blonsky was present when Banner attempted to end his own life and take out the threat of the Hulk for good. He’d built a machine that would bombard him with such an intense dose of gamma radiation that even he couldn’t survive it, but just before it was activated, soldiers stopped him and carried him away. Blonsky, curious about the device, activated it.
He was immediately transformed into the Hulk-like beast known as the Abomination, a creature even stronger than the Hulk. An invention of Banner’s was able to slow Blonsky down, while the Hulk discovered that a sufficient level of anger could allow him to overpower the Abomination.
Blonsky would be responsible for the death of Betty Ross when he injected his own irradiated blood into her dialysis machine. Later, he spent some time as a creative writing professor, though he would eventually be hunted down and killed in vengeance by the Red Hulk.
25. Rick Jones – A-Bomb
Bruce Banner gained his powers when he pushed teenager Rick Jones away from the gamma bomb’s blast, taking the brunt of the radiation himself. Rick would go on to be the Hulk’s primary sidekick and Bruce Banner’s best friend, not to mention teaming up with a variety of other Marvel heroes such as Captain America and the original Captain Marvel.
Banner’s noble sacrifice would turn out to be all in vain, however, when a few years later Rick basically just volunteered to take a dose of radiation, becoming the monster A-Bomb in the process. During his time as A-Bomb, he battled the Red Hulk to a standstill and helped the Avengers contain an earthquake in San Francisco. Eventually, he is cured of his condition by the emergent Hulk persona, Doc Green, and goes on to develop super-learning abilities, become a master hacker, expose Maria Hill’s corruption, and get hired by S.H.I.E.L.D.
24. Doc Samson
Dr. Leonard “Samson” Skivorski, Jr. was just a humble, ultra-sexy psychiatrist working with Bruce Banner, attempting to fix his anger issues. When Banner was temporarily cured of his Hulk-ness, Dr. Skivorski dosed himself with some of the siphoned off gamma radiation. In the process, he became extremely strong, nearly invulnerable, slightly sexier, and his hair grew long and green, earning him the biblical nickname “Samson.” Like his namesake, his hair became his primary weakness; his strength is directly tied to how long his luscious locks are.
Things were going well until he met Betty Ross, and her beauty overthrew him. He put the moves on her, driving Banner into a jealous rage that resulted in the Hulk re-emerging. The two battled out their differences, with Hulk emerging victorious. Doc Samson, for his part, felt responsible for his own patient’s regression, and devoted the rest of his life to psychiatry and helping Banner control his rage.
23. Samuel Sterns – The Leader
Samuel Sterns, aka the Leader, is one of the Hulk’s oldest superpowered foes. Working at a chemical plant as a janitor, Sterns accidentally causes some radioactive materials to explode, dousing himself in gamma radiation. Instead of gaining incredible strength like Banner (or dying, like a regular person), Sterns develops a massive brain, gaining super-intelligence. Some gamma mutations express themselves as subconscious desires, as it turns out, and in Sterns’ case, he wanted to be as smart as his brother Philip, a physicist working in the same facility.
Taking on the mantle of the Leader, Stern begins to develop a private army of indestructible Humanoids and plans to overthrow the United States. While he at first wants to ally with the Hulk, knowing he is another gamma mutate, the two eventually being archenemies, with the Hulk thwarting Sterns’ plans at every point. In the modern era, the Leader has formed a group known as the Intelligencia, an assemblage of the world’s most intelligent villains. Together, they have created their own Hulks, and have threatened the Avengers on numerous occasions.
22. Philip Sterns – the Madman
Philip Sterns was a genius physicist, but he was nothing compared to his classmate, Bruce Banner. Driven by jealousy to best his rival in any way possibly, Sterns conducted a number of experiments upon himself, trying to emulate the Hulk in any way he could. Sterns eventually succeeded in a way, gaining incredible strength and severe mental illness along the way. The deranged Madman, as he was then calling himself, poisoned the Hulk and watched him slowly die.
Eventually, Philip’s own brother, Samuel Sterns aka the Leader, would help the Hulk. Saying that his brother “scared him” but not being able to kill him, the Leader cured the Hulk of his poisoning and allowed Madman to be captured. He would go on to work for the Red Skull, developing several monstrosities for him. Despite the Leader’s hesitance to murder his brother in the past, he would eventually kill the Madman during a struggle with the Thunderbolts.
21. Walter Langowski – Sasquatch
Walter Langowski was a Canadian-born one-time classmate of Bruce Banner’s, who also decided to specialize in gamma radiation. While at McGill University in Montreal, he heard of Banner’s transformation into the Hulk. With his own personal wealth (he had played for the Green Bay Packers) and a government grant, he decided to recreate the circumstances of Banner’s transformation in a more controlled environment up in Canada’s Arctic. The experiment was something of a success, with Langowski becoming the massive, furred beast known as Sasquatch.
After rampaging through the Canadian North, he was eventually captured and calmed by Snowbird and Shaman. Once he became able to control his emotions in his new form, he happily accepted a position with Alpha Flight, Canada’s premiere superhero team.
Unlike the Hulk, Sasquatch’s transformation wasn’t so simple – his experiment had actually opened a portal to the Realm of Great Beasts, and each “transformation” was actually him trading places with the monster Tanaraq. Later on, during Walter’s leave of absence, the Canadian government captured an actual sasquatch, assumed it to be Langowski with amnesia, and conscripted it back into Alpha Flight.
Rogue of the X-Men has the ability to drain the superpowers – and life – away from anyone she touches, whether they be mutant, human, alien or massive green personification of one man’s id. In the recent AvX storyline that saw the Avengers and X-Men come to blows, the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes try to take control of the X-Mansion. Having absorbed several Avengers’ powers, Rogue goes toe-to-toe with an angry She-Hulk. When Rogue makes contact with She-Hulk’s skin, she not only absorbs the latter’s strength and resilience, but her inner rage, as well, driving her into a violent fury. Rogue decimates the Avengers team, including Falcon, Moon Knight, and an empty Iron Man suit, and sends the unconscious heroes on their way.
Having joined the fight against the Avengers, she takes down Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers), allowing a Pheonix Force-powered Magik to send Danvers to another dimension. Upon seeing how the Pheonix Force was turning her teammates evil, Rogue attempts to intervene and rescue Ms. Marvel – only to be shunted off into another dimension herself.
19. General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross – Red Hulk
For several years after the appearance of the Red Hulk in the Marvel universe, the question on every hero and villain’s mind was simple: just who is the new Hulk? Evidence at the scene of the Abomination’s death suggested that it was the Hulk – Bruce Banner – who was responsible, except for some key factors: first of all, that Banner was currently incarcerated, and secondly, that whoever did the deed was giving off such intense radiation and heat that they turned the sand beneath them to glass.
It turned out that seeing Hulk return to Earth and cause immense devastation finally pushed his longtime nemesis, General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, over the edge. Ross approached the Intelligencia and, with their help, became the Red Hulk, whose primary purpose was to destroy the Hulk once and for all, and avenge Betty Ross’ apparenty death at the hands of Emil Blonsky. After several battles with the Hulk and other Avengers, his true identity would only become known to the Marvel heroes when was confronted by Red She-Hulk. He refused to fight her, insisting that he could never harm his own daughter.
18. Betty Ross – Red She-Hulk/Harpy
Elizabeth “Betty” Ross, Bruce Banner’s on again, off again love interest, has been dosed with gamma radiation a few times now. She’s had a difficult life; after Banner Hulked-out and ruined their wedding, Betty married a man known as Glenn Talbot. When he was presumed dead attempting to rescue her father, Betty suffered a nervous breakdown. Dosed with gamma radiation by M.O.D.O.K., she became the monstrous and insane Harpy, who sought to tear the Hulk to shreds.
After Banner helped return her to normal, they were finally wed – only for her to discover that prolonged exposure to the Hulk was slowly killing her. While she was hospitalized, Emil Blonsky used his own irradiated blood to speed up the process.
This was not the end of Betty Ross – she would be resurrected, brain-washed, and gamma-mutated into the Red She-Hulk in one fell swoop by the Intelligencia. In her new form, she would work alongside the Avengers and other superhero teams until Doc Green de-powered her for good.
17-9. The Hulked-Out Heroes – Thor, Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Iceman, The Thing, Wolverine, Human Torch, Spider-Man, And Deadpool
As part of a plan to defeat the Leader’s Intelligencia once and for all, Bruce Banner, the Red Hulk, and a handful of Avengers plotted to attack their base and rescue a number of hero hostages. Red Hulk’s frontal assault, however, had been predicted by the superintelligent villains, and his gamma radiation was partly siphoned off and spread among the other heroes present in the attack. Filled with rage and strength, the many heroes tore into each other in a grand melee before they were all finally de-Hulked. Among the heroes Hulked-up were Thor, the Thing, Ms. Marvel, Captain America (Bucky Barnes), Iceman, Human Torch, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Deadpool.
Deadpool, or Hulkpool as he called himself, would have a few adventures of his own, inexplicably travelling back in time and commandeering a pirate ship alongside the Thing. Along the way, he created an alternate history by destroying the Red Skull and HYDRA in World War 2, preempting the creation of most of the world’s supeheroes.
8. Lyra, The Savage She-Hulk
In a far-off future where the Earth is irradiated and humans are mostly sterile, a war between the sexes is raging. The leader of the female tribe, known as the United Sisterhood Republic, wanted an heir to lead her armies in a time when she could not. Travelling through time and finding the Hulk, she took cell scrapings of the jade giant and combined them with her own cells in her future’s laboratories. From their union, Lyra was born, the greatest warrior her world had seen for generations.
After a disaster caused the women’s cloning devices to malfunction, Lyra was sent to the present day Earth to find and breed with the mightiest man she could locate. Quickly abandoning her goal, she instead met her “father,” Bruce Banner, and befriended and lived with Jennifer Walters, She-Hulk, for a time. She attended high shool until Doc Green sent her to a Hell-like dimension, which she subsequently conquered.
The Maestro is the result of the Hulk gaining the Hulk’s powers. In a future Earth, a nuclear war has destroyed almost all of the world’s heroes and most of its population. The Hulk absorbs the latent radiation of this new world, dramamtically enhancing his own strength, not to mention allowing Bruce Banner’s intelligence to come to the fore. However, his long life, abysmal treatment, and constant doses of gamma radiation have driven him utterly insane. He presides over a city called Dystopia, which he rules with a green, iron fist.
When rebels from the Maestro’s time bring the modern Hulk forward to confront his future self, the Maestro hastily defeats the Hulk. However, the Hulk uses the same time machine that brought him forward to take Maestro back with him to his own time, to the exact point where the first gamma bomb went off – the bomb that created the Hulk in the first place. The bomb destroys the Maestro just as the original Bruce Banner is bombarded with radiation.
6. John Eisenhart – Hulk 2099
In yet another possible Marvel future, the Earth is largely run by corporations, and the age of heroes is long since over. In a cave in the middle of a California desert, however, one cult hopes to bring revive a nearly mythical hero of the past to help them take control of their present – the Hulk. Calling themselves the Knights of Banner, the cultists lived by a strict code of conduct, and experimented with gamma radiation in hopes of creating a new Hulk.
Attracted by the possibility of making a film based on their lifestyle, Hollywood mogul John Eisenhart attempted to buy the rights to the Knights’ story. Keeping an ascetic lifestyle, they refused the money, and an enraged John called the authorities on them. To his horror, the paramilitary police slaughtered the knights. Suddenly feeling heroic, John tried his best to help – and in the process, was dosed with a massive blast of gamma radiation, becoming the Hulk of the year 2099.
5. Brian Banner – Bruce’s Dad, Undead Guilt/Devil Hulk
One of the more tragic elements of Bruce Banner’s history is his abusive father, Brian Banner. As a boy, Bruce and his mother were bullied and beaten by Brian, and this instilled a rage in Bruce that would eventually come out as the Incredible Hulk. Brian would be responsible for the death of Bruce’s mother and, at a confrontation between the two over her grave, Brian falls back and cracks his neck on her headstone, dying.
In the Chaos War crossover event, the Chaos King resurrects Brian Banner to fight his son, transforming him into a fusion of two of Hulk’s most insidious personas – the Guilt Hulk and the Devil Hulk. The enormous Brian Banner is takes on all of the Hulk’s many allies, making short work of each of them. He is only stopped when Banner realizes that his father is only as powerful as his fear of him; after Banner declares that he is no longer scared of his father, Brian fades away.
4. Skaar – Son Of The Hulk
Realizing that the Hulk caused far more destruction than he prevented, a group of the Earth’s most intelligent superheroes, the Illuminati, conceived a plan to launch the Hulk into space so that he may never return. The plan had been to land Hulk on an uninhabited planet, but in truth he landed on Sakaar, a world of warriors. The Hulk married Caiera and ruled Sakaar, until the shuttle that he came in on exploded, killing his wife and their unborn child. Hulk left Sakaar to seek vengeance on the Illuminati.
Meanwhile, a not-so-young Skaar emerged from the cocoon his mother, Caiera, had placed him in, already ageing rapidly. He was headstrong, violent, and selfish; when he had the chance to save his people and keep Galactus at bay for a hundred thousand years, he opted instead to strike Galactus, driving him into a frenzy and dooming his planet and his people. Finding his way to Earth, Skaar would join with the Dark Avengers and eventually try to settle in the Savage Lands, feeling that they reminded him of home. Doc Green eventually removed the gamma radiation from Skaar, gave him a backpack full of money, and dropped him off in Paris.
3. Hiro-Kala – Other Son Of The Hulk, Skaar’s Twin Brother
Skaar wasn’t the only offspring of the Hulk to be left on Sakaar; in Caiera’s final moments, she used her powers not to protect herself, but to save her children and place them in protective cocoons. While Skaar would emerge from his quickly, Hiro-Kala remained in his cocoon for some time. After Skaar attacked Galactus, the seemingly less-powerful Hiro-Kala was left to lead his shattered people to a new planet. They commandeered a Stone Ship, but with no one on board capable of harnessing the “Old Power,” they could not properly control it.
Eventually, Hiro-Kala comes to understand his parentage and assumes his birthright as the “Worldbreaker” and master of the Old Power. Vowing vengeance on Galactus, he trails the world-eater throughout the galaxy until he is eventually teleported to another dimension, to unknown ends. It’s theorized that Hiro-Kala has an as-yet-unseen Hulk transformation, one triggered by love instead of anger, and could be so powerful it would threaten the universe when he transforms.
2. Hulk’s Hillbilly Family
In yet another alternate future, the Earth’s superheroes have been defeated by a concerted, combined effort by the world’s supervillains. They’ve divvied up the United States into various territories, each controlled by a different villain. In this world, the Hulk was driven mad by an extra dose of radiation after witnessing a nuclear bomb go off in California; he takes over the Western USA and renames it “Hulkland.” It is here that Logan – Wolverine – settles after he is tricked into killing the X-Men, and begins a new life with his family.
After an adventure alongside the now-blind Hawkeye, Logan returns to his home to find that his family has been killed by the Hulk’s gang. Banner and his cousin She-Hulk had been having children, which had children amongst themselves, leaving an inbred mess of Hulklings running around. An enraged Logan finally pops his claws for the first time in years and slays the entire Hulk clan, once and for all.
1. Amadeus Cho – The Totally Awesome Hulk
Like Bruce Banner himself, Amadeus Cho is a misunderstood genius often on the run for his life. He first met the Hulk when his parents were killed by a man wanting to eliminate anyone on the Earth smarter than him. The Hulk protected Cho, and the two became fast friends.
It was Cho who, upon hacking into the Illuminati’s own files, informed them that they had sent the Hulk to the wrong planet; later on, he would join the Illuminati, only to be hunted down once more – this time by the Avengers. Once everything had settled down, he offered his help to Bruce Banner. The latter had just absorbed a large dose of new radiation, and threatened to transform once more into an uncontrollable engine of destruction. Using special nanites, Cho drained Banner of his gamma radiation – and absorbed it himself. Calling himself the Totally Awesome Hulk, Cho has greater control over his transformations than Banner ever did, and now travels the world, taking down monsters that threaten the planet.
Honourable Mentions – Solomon Grundy, The Rhino, American Kaiju, Teenage Abomination, and Captain Zolandia
– In the Amalgam universe, a setting shared between DC and Marvel, the Hulk and Solomon Grundy are merged into one, a being known as Skulk.
– The Rhino, often a foe of Spider-Man, may be known primarily for the indestructible suit he wears over his body, but his enhanced strength actually comes from gamma radiation.
– American Kaiju is the latest entry on the list – a man who’s been dosed with gamma radiation, Pym particles, super soldier serum, and anything else his creators got their hands on.
– Teenage Abomination is a young man who was dosed with gamma radiation while on a “Bring Your Kid To Work Day” outing at Stark Industries.
– Finally, there is Captain Zolandia – a misshapen clone of Captain America created by Arnim Zola, dosed with gamma radiation (and given a fun, spiky shield!).
We must have missed someone – tell us who else has Hulked out in the comments!