The Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us some of the most memorable superheroes, each with their own unique set of strengths and vulnerabilities. One such character is the Incredible Hulk, a fan-favorite known for his unparalleled strength and indestructibility. But beyond his incredible powers lies a deeply complex and multifaceted character, plagued by fears and anxieties that have shaped his journey as a superhero. As a fan of the Hulk, it’s fascinating to explore the inner workings of this iconic character and understand the things that make him vulnerable. We will delve into the 10 greatest fears of the Hulk, and take a closer look at the psychological complexities of this beloved superhero.
10 Greatest Fears of Hulk
After experiencing a traumatic break-up, it’s not uncommon to struggle with trust issues. In the case of the Hulk, his trust was shattered when his supposed friends betrayed him by launching him into space, as depicted in the NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI one-shot. This act set off a chain of events leading to the storylines of PLANET HULK and WORLD WAR HULK. It’s a betrayal that’s hard to forget and even harder to forgive. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the Hulk has been deceived by those close to him. While his friends’ intentions may have been to prevent a catastrophic Hulk rage-out, the hurt of their betrayal still lingers. It’s important to remember that beneath the Hulk’s imposing physique lies a vulnerable individual seeking acceptance and affection from his companions.
Allowing his rage to take over
Bruce Banner’s deepest fear since becoming the Hulk is losing control of his emotions, which has been evident in his transformation into his bloodthirsty alter-ego, Kluh, in the AXIS storyline. Kluh’s extreme ferocity even alarmed the Hulk himself, a testament to the danger he poses. The gravity of Banner’s fear was further revealed in CIVIL WAR II #3 when it was disclosed that he had asked Hawkeye to terminate him if he became uncontrollable. It’s a common fear to struggle with one’s emotions, but for the Hulk, whose immense strength can surpass that of immortals as seen in WORLD WAR HULK.
Finding and then losing Happiness
It’s a rare sight to witness Hulk experiencing true happiness. It’s difficult to imagine him sitting down to a leisurely brunch with his family, savoring mimosas and avocado toast. However, there was a fleeting moment of joy for him during PLANET HULK, where he fell in love with and married the alien queen Caiera. Sadly, their happiness was cut short when Caiera perished in a ship explosion, as depicted in 2007’s INCREDIBLE HULK #105. The devastating loss pushed him over the edge, causing him to return to Earth consumed with rage, setting the stage for the events of WORLD WAR HULK. The truth is, the Hulk desires a peaceful and contented life, but he struggles to believe that it’s attainable, haunted by the fear of losing everything all over again.
In addition to Betty Ross, Jarella was the only woman who could match her in capturing the Hulk’s heart. As the queen of K’ai and a resident of the Microverse, Jarella charmed Banner, but more importantly, she was the Hulk’s true love, the first person to accept him unconditionally. Unfortunately, their romance was doomed by a cruel twist of fate, which resulted in one of the few occasions the Hulk shed tears.
After a brief reunion, the Hulk returned to Earth with Jarella by his side. However, their happiness was short-lived as tragedy struck. While trying to enjoy a peaceful day together, Bruce and Jarella were attacked by Crypto-Man. Hulk fought fiercely to protect her, but in the end, Jarella lost her life while attempting to save innocent bystanders. Once again, we witnessed the heartbreaking sight of the Hulk shedding tears.
Despite Hulk’s disdain for humanity, there’s one person who he deeply cares about: Betty Ross. Despite their complicated relationship with Bruce Banner, they both love Betty, who often ends up in danger due to their actions.
For instance, Betty suffered from radiation poisoning due to her close proximity to Banner and the Hulk. It wasn’t a villain like MODOK or the Leader that threatened her life, but rather the consequences of being around her loved ones. Hulk couldn’t use his strength to protect her from this invisible foe, leaving him terrified for her well-being.
In the “Thanos Wins” storyline of Donny Cates’ Thanos comic, we see a very bleak and dark future of the Marvel universe. It’s many years ahead, and we find King Thanos, who has wiped out almost all of the living beings in his romance with Death. The only living creature remaining in this timeline is the Hulk, who has been turned into Thanos’ pet. When present-day Thanos is taken to this future to see the outcome of his actions, he finds Hulk living in a pit and being fed scraps. Hulk sniffs Thanos like a dog and whimpers for a merciful death, revealing the extent of his suffering.
It’s pretty obvious that the Hulk’s relationship with Bruce Banner is not a happy one. In fact, for a long time, the Hulk didn’t even know that he and Banner were the same person! The Hulk blamed Banner for all of his problems and constantly fought against him.
Even though the Hulk may not realize it, it’s clear to anyone reading the comics that he is actually afraid of Banner. After all, Banner is the only one smart enough to figure out how to defeat the Hulk for good. Deep down, the Hulk knows that Banner hates him, and that level of hatred is pretty scary for anyone.
The never-ending feud between the Hulk and Wolverine has been raging for more than 40 years. Some people believe that the reason for this rivalry’s intensity is that the Hulk is scared that Wolverine might be one of the few people on Earth who can defeat him for good.
An excellent example of this is in the classic comic book Incredible Hulk #340, where Wolverine and Joe Fixit fight fiercely. Although Wolverine attempted to walk away from the fight, Hulk insisted on engaging in a brutal fight that left him torn to shreds by Wolverine’s adamantium claws. Even though Hulk always recovers from his injuries, he must still be frightened by the little guy after all of the times he has been defeated.
Taking on the World
In the storyline of Planet Hulk, the Hulk is betrayed by his supposed allies and ends up on the planet of Sakaar, where he is forced to fight as a gladiator. Despite the harsh conditions, Hulk thrives and eventually leads a successful rebellion against the oppressive Red King. The people of Sakaar see him as a savior, fulfilling a prophecy that he is the one who will bring them into a new era of prosperity.
However, just as Hulk becomes the Green King and starts to enjoy his new life, he discovers that the shuttle that brought him to Sakaar is rigged to explode. The resulting devastation would make him the World Breaker, fulfilling another prophecy. Even on a new planet, surrounded by new friends and loved ones, Hulk cannot escape his own destructive nature.
Being an outsider all the time
One of the Hulk greatest anxieties is feeling like they don’t truly belong anywhere. They continuously search for their tribe, attempting to find a sense of belonging by joining the Avengers, falling in love, forming friendships, and fighting alongside allies. However, due to the Hulk’s unpredictable nature, it’s challenging for others to place their complete trust in him. Regardless of how hard he tries, he never feels like he fully fits in, and the thought of being a loner indefinitely would be a nightmare for him. Despite putting up a tough front and acting as if he’s content with his status as a lone wolf, it’s clear that he deeply values human connections and craves genuine emotional support. It’s crucial for the Hulk to feel cared for and to have people in his life who care about him.
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