The Incredible Hulk In Animation - A Retrospective

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four - Part Five - Part Six - Part Seven

Perhaps the most drastic change in the Ultimate Avengers cartoon was that of Bruce Banner. No longer a mild mannered scientist who had the unfortunate luck of being blown up by a gamma bomb, Ultimate Bruce was a man determined to crack the secret of the super solider formula to the point where it had pretty much ruined both his personal and professional life. After injecting himself with his own version of the super solider formula, Banner tore up New York in a murderous rampage as The Hulk, causing him to be placed on medication which he felt greatly slowed him down in finally finding his super soldier formula. Or so everyone thought! Banner didn’t actually care about creating the formula so SHIELD could have an army of super soldiers – he just wanted to be able to control The Hulk so he could be the ultimate weapon.

After successfully re-creating the formula and defeating The Chitauri, Banner got a little too mad and lost control once again, smacking the utter crap out of The Avengers in what is probably the best fight scene Marvel has ever animated. (I can’t decide between this and Spidey vs Kraven from Mind Games). It’s just brutal, it’s staged so beautifully and The Hulk is a threat that can actually stand up to The Avengers, as evident by the fact he beats the crap out of every last one of them and they are eventually saved by a normal woman (who else but Betty Ross?). As much as I love Captain America, there was something brilliant about seeing him go toe to toe with The Hulk and coming off worse.

The sequel, Rise Of The Panther was a disappointment, Hulk wise. Whilst the story is better than the original and I personally prefer the second one, I found Banner’s story didn’t get as much focus as I would’ve liked and The Hulk’s appearance can pretty much be considered a cameo. I wasn’t sure what they were planning to do to get The Hulk in the film again, and the answer wasn’t really what I was hoping for. There is a bittersweet moment after Banner’s (confusing) death in which Hulk simply watches Betty walk out of his life.

Hulk’s next appearance wouldn’t disappoint, however. The first guest to appear on the new Fantastic Four show is still the best episode the show’s done, at current time of writing. The government are once again after Banner and Bruce has stopped by The Baxter Building in order to seek Reed’s help with his cure. Featuring what I found to be a great design and stellar casting, Hard Knocks was great fun, and featured a few good throw downs between Hulk and The Thing, who humorously wasn’t willing to admit that The Hulk had the one up on him in most of their exchanges.

The ending is simply asking for a follow up, and She Hulk has been confirmed to be appearing later in the season. With The Incredible Hulk movie sequel on it’s way and how popular Hulk is on the toy shelves, I wouldn’t expect a long wait to see Hulk back on the small screen. We’ve had good Hulk, we’ve had bad Hulk and we’ve had great Hulk. Let’s hope the next one is more of the latter!

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