Now for something near and dear to my heart… The Incredible Hulk. It may even be a bit of an unhealthy obsession. See this picture? That’s me behind the mask…
If you don’t know who the Hulk is (shame on you), it is the alter-ego of Bruce Banner, spawned from a bath of gamma radiation from a bomb test gone wrong…
On a deeper level, it’s about control. It’s about embracing the true you. Banner, in several storylines, either loses control completely or learns to harness the Hulk and be at one with him.
Psychologically, the Hulk is Banner’s id amplified and personified, with Banner’s ego and super-ego wrestling for control. So while the Hulk is generally perceived as a simple beast (think: Hulk smash), he’s actually very complex and interesting.
In fact, you could argue that the Hulk is not actually chaos, but chaos theory.
I digress… the real impetus for this blog post is something that occurred to me that I have not seen mentioned before or referenced in any story lines. If you’ve thought of the same or have seen it in print, please let me know so I can go read!
Put aside for a moment the fact that a living being could survive the sheer science behind gamma radiation exposure and accept that the Hulk could actually exist.
Where is the fallout? (pun intended)
The Hulk is green. He started out grey and has switched back and forth several times through the years. But his best known form is green. Why is that important? Well, green denotes that he was hit by gamma, which has been colorized as green. (Let’s ignore that green is generally associated with envy or greed or even peace…)
Green here means he’s infected with gamma radiation. Perhaps even extreme radiation poisoning. Wouldn’t all of that green-ness mean he’s also emitting at least *some* gamma radiation? There’s evidence in the comics that he is radioactive:
One explanation is that his blood is radioactive, which is how we got She-Hulk. But wouldn’t that radiation pass through Hulk’s skin, and even Banner’s in human form?
And wouldn’t that radiation become amplified as he gets angrier? The Red Hulk gets hotter as he gets angrier, and it even takes a toll on his physical well-being. Why wouldn’t the same happen to the Hulk?
With that in mind, wouldn’t that radiation affect people in his life like Betty Ross? As we saw in the Watchmen, Ozymandias plotted to make people believe that Dr. Manhattan had given people in his life cancer. And people believed it because it was credible!
We also see various radioactive-based characters (covered very nicely in this fantastic blog post: America’s Radioactive Superheroes) throughout DC and Marvel comics that wear special suits to either contain or protect others from their radiation. Does the Hulk’s skin act as a radiation shield? Or is this simply a plot hole in the character?
Perhaps it’s a yet unexplored storyline… maybe even yet to be unlocked powers.