For many years, the Hulk had been a story about a man named Bruce Banner who was at odds with his other personality, the Hulk. However, there was a brief time in the 1990s, where things had changed with the introduction of a “merged” version of this character. What had been once believed to be the merged Hulk may not have been what we thought. Learn about the whole truth behind what we now call, “Professor Hulk.”
For most of the character’s time in the comic books, he had been split into Bruce Banner or the Hulk, and he would complain about the humans who would not leave him alone, and he hated Banner so much. Banner had been doing a lot to rid himself of the Hulk personality, and when the Hulk finally debuted, his personality had not been that of a rampaging Hulk, but a crafty being who was gray in colour.
Many years later, during the run of Incredible Hulk, John Byrne had re-introduced this very version of the character. This had been the Hulk that starred starring in the book when Peter David had taken over the entire writing of the series. David had then changed the entire status quo during the run and let the gray Hulk take over and even go on to eliminate Banner.
Eventually, the first Bruce Banner had returned and so did the Green Hulk. They had been competing for control of the shared body. This had then led to the Incredible Hulk #377 by Dale Keown, Bob McLeod and Peter David. In this story, Doctor Leonard Samson had used hypnosis for talking to the two sides of the Hulk-the green and the gray ones.
As Samson had proceeded, the fans see that some repressed rage, going back to when Banner’s father had abused his mom and even killed her. By the end, Banner and Hulk come to terms with all their issues and merge.
This had become the status quo for the rest of Peter David’s run. The issue had not so much that Banner could not really keep himself from turning into Hulk, but rather that he had been worried that a merged Hulk was much more dangerous because the Hulk with Banner’s intellect may be more of a threat if he became evil and that is the fear that Bruce faced in Hulk: Future Imperfect.
Here, he had met his older self and called himself the Maestro and Bruce had realized that he was the biggest threat to the world.
There had been diversions, but this had been the central conflict.
The incoming writers had their own take on this, and after a stint by Joe Casey, Ron Garney and John Byrne had re-launched this series with the book that went back to the traditional Banner/Hulk conflict.
When this had finished, Paul Jenkins had taken over, and he had a new take on the Hulk’s “merged” personality. In Hulk #12, Jenkins showed Banner revisit his subconscious for the very first time after Incredible Hulk #377, and he saw the three dominant personalities…
This seemed like it had been a clear-cut change. The old gray Hulk and merged Hulk had cut a deal to prevent a fourth personality, from controlling the body. That had been a reasonable twist although, that is not where Jenkins stopped. In Incredible Hulk #16 Dr. Samson is seen visiting Angela and the merged Hulk…
Professor Hulk had been the nickname for the merged version of the Hulk. The closest we have come to see him had been in the form of “Doc Green,” which had been a result of Bruce Banner being almost killed and Tony Stark saving his life by putting Extremis in his brain, and this had caused the Hulk to become very intelligent.
“Doc Green” had turned out to be just a temporary personality change, and then he had turned to his classic version of the Hulk.