Devil Hulk was a foe of Dr. Bruce Banner and the Hulk, but now he is in the form of Immortal Hulk. So what is his ulterior motive?
For those who have kept up with the series Immortal Hulk with 2000 AD and Judge Dredd affiliate, Al Ewing and Joe Bennett on pencils, Dr. Bruce Banner has returned from the dead, but the Hulk is more dangerous than ever. We previously reported that Immortal Hulk No.16 teased the return of Joe Fixit, a.k.a. the Gray Hulk, when the good doctor, or rather, his greener alter-ego in the “Devil Hulk” persona was ambushed by Carl Burbank/Bushwacker. The Hulk turned back into Banner, but his pupils changed to a pale gray color. In addition, his delivery and behavior changed to reflect Mr. Fixit’s.
The big questions to point out are: what plans does the Devil Hulk persona have for Banner and to what end? Created by Paul Jenkins, Ron Garney and Sal Buscema, Devil Hulk was the malevolent persona of Banner, who first made his appearance in The Incredible Hulk Vol.2 No.13 back in 2000, at which point the nuclear physicist suffered with some rare form of Lou Gehrig’s disease. The Devil Hulk – who is usually in a ghastly and orange reptilian appearance – represented Dr. Banner’s negative emotions and planned to banish another personality, the Gray Hulk. It was revealed in No.27 that Devil Hulk planned to keep Banner at bay in an imaginary utopia, while he laid havoc in the real world in Banner’s physical body. However, his plans were foiled by Dr. Banner’s other primary alter egos, Savage Hulk, Mr. Fixit and Professor Hulk, who restrained the beast in issue 30.
Since Dr. Banner’s resurrection following the events of Civil War II and during the current Hulk series with Ewing and Bennett, this incarnation of the Devil Hulk, otherwise known as Immortal Hulk, is a reflection of his mild-mannered alter ego seeking a father figure. Apparently, not as deceitful, but every bit as cunning and eloquent, and with a vengeful behavior and a lot less merciful. He is in his usual “Savage” form, but with a sinister, demonic look in his eyes and a Frankenstein haircut to match. Devil Hulk has ties to the mysterious entity known as the “One Below All.”
In Immortal Hulk No.15, Dr. Leonard Samson, in his brief confrontation with an incoherent Savage Hulk persona, who had been shot in the head by the assassin Bushwacker, conversed with “Immortal Hulk” – confirmed to be the Devil Hulk – once he managed to gain control. He revealed that the “Big Snake Guy” was just a matter of “projection”, a manifestation of Banner’s own psyche of what he perceived this Hulk to be. A version Banner was fearful of and what he brought out of him, the reason being that the good ol’ doctor cannot grasp the concept of love without pain, hence this Hulk’s father figure status. The question is this: what plans does he have for Banner?
Failing that, is this Devil Hulk the true Hulk? There is no definitive answer for the latter because last anyone checked, there were over a 1,000 Hulk’s roaming inside of Dr. Banner’s mind. Some more dominant than others and, if you want to get technical, even the Savage Hulk is not the original personality. As for Devil Hulk’s plans for the good doctor, whatever it is, this time it has to be greater than taking over Dr. Banner’s body. It could also be that and more. I doubt Devil Hulk wants to be rid of the very source of his existence, but his motivations are clear.
Devil Hulk has a desire to completely destroy mankind as, according to him, the world is one fraction away from total destruction anyway. Perhaps, due to his connection to the One Below All, he is still being possessed in secret and influenced to enact this plan. Since Devil Hulk has sought to avenge the wrong doings brought to him and Dr. Banner, maybe it could be to goad him to enact such a plan by influencing his actions.