WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Avengers #684
In resurrecting Bruce Banner, Marvel Comics revealed the the original Hulk is immortal. However, Avengers #684 makes it clear that this new reveal isn't a retcon or the change to the character some skeptic fans may have assumed. Specific references to past comics are made to show that the Hulk has been immortal... ever since he was first created in 1962.
Fans will remember the most recent example, when Hawkeye killed Bruce Banner with a special arrow during Civil War II, at Banner's request. Banner had feared what would happened if he "Hulked out" again. Banner was soon replaced by Amadeus Cho's Totally Awesome Hulk. The original Hulk remained dead until he was revealed to be alive and with glowing green eyes in "Avengers: No Surrender", a 16-part story that combines three Avengers titles: The Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, and U.S. Avengers.
Now, fans have a clear explanation why Hulk never stays dead for long (and it's not just fan demand).
Marvel Comics has explained the Hulk's return with the reveal that the hero is actually immortal. Apparently, he always has been. The prologue of Avengers #684 highlights other times that the Hulk or Banner has died, beginning with Banner getting hit with the gamma bomb. Other instances include the time he was shot to death in Tales to Astonish #69, and the time he died after going into shock in The Incredible Hulk #225.
An infographic at the end of the comic also provides references to the issues where these deaths occurred, intended to prove to the reader that the Hulk being immortal isn't a new twist or another recon. It's an aspect of the Hulk's character that's been present from the start. They just forgot to mention it.
In an interview with CBR, Avengers writer Al Ewing talks about the decision to reveal that the Hulk is immortal. Ewing says that the idea was born from the fact that the Hulk has been resurrected so many times in the past. He also explains that the hero's origin story, in which Bruce Banner was killed by the gamma bomb and turned into the Hulk for the first time, was "the first demonstration of his immortal nature."
This is something that’s been brewing for a while – the last time I was in the Marvel 'writer’s room,' way back at the start of last year, we were talking about the Hulk. and I pitched the idea that he was resurrecting so often because that’s just what he does. Like, we don’t need a MacGuffin or magic or Hydra science every time – he just comes back. That’s what he does. That’s what he is. I don’t think it went anywhere at the time, but when I sat down on my own and really thought it through, that led very naturally into the idea that when the gamma bomb went off, Bruce died… and then he came back. The birth of the Hulk was also the first demonstration of his immortal nature.
This new take on the character may prove groundbreaking for old and new fans of Marvel's strongest hero. It also helps to make sense of the Hulk's many resurrections over the last 50 years (fitting, given Marvel's larger 'Legacy' mindset). In a way, being virtually unkillable could add to the hero's image as one of the most powerful and most feared characters in the Marvel Universe.
Fans can expect Hulk's immortality to be explored even more in the upcoming comic book series, The Immortal Hulk.
Avengers #684 is on sale now from Marvel.
Source: Marvel, CBR