In the Marvel Universe, the Hulk is the strongest one there is. Turns out, with the hundreds of alternative universes that exist within Marvel, Hulk isn’t just the strongest there is, he has a tendency to be one of the weirdest. The Bruce Banner we know and love has been an intergalactic gladiator, he’s been a Vegas enforcer, and he’s even fought Santa Claus. But the life and times of the main Marvel Jade Giant don’t hold a candle to the strange, bizarre and downright out-there Hulks that inhabit the multiverse.
With so many weird Hulks running around, it can be a stiff competition to figure out just which of these alternative Hulks are truly the weirdest one there is. So join CBR as we work our way through a laundry list of strange Hulks to bring you the the 15 weirdest versions of the Hulk.
Ah, the 90’s. A simpler time when the two biggest names in comics could set aside their differences and join forces to undertake a weird crossover project that combined beloved characters from both companies to create brand new composite characters, all in the name of making lots and lots of money. While some of these combinations made sense (Smushing together Captain America and Superman to make Super Soldier is a solid idea), some characters got the short end of the stick. Enter Skulk.
By combining Marvel’s Hulk with DC’s Solomon Grundy, you end up with Skulk. The story goes that brilliant scientist Bruce Banner was conducting gamma bomb tests in the desert, when the elemental known as Solomon Grundy happened along. Bruce tried to save the zombie strongman, but the detonation of the gamma bomb ended up fusing the two, forming Skulk. At the end of the day, Skulk basically looks like Solomon Grundy in Hulk’s purple pants, so he doesn’t get any points for originality. But he gets plenty of points for being a truly weird Hulk.
14. BULLET POINTS HULK
Think of “Bullet Points” as Trading Places: The Comic. In this 2006 miniseries penned by J. Michael Straczynski, a series of unfortunate events within the Marvel Universe lead to some of Marvel’s biggest names taking on new iconic mantels.
Due to the assassination of the scientist responsible for creating the Super Soldier serum by German spies, Project: Rebirth is cancelled and the U.S. government activates Project: Iron Man, leading to a young Steve Rogers being permanently bonded with the Iron Man armor. Later, troubled punk Peter Parker wanders onto the testing site of the gamma bomb, and ends up engulfed in gamma rays, becoming this reality’s Hulk. While working to devise a way to cure Parker’s Hulk form, scientist Bruce Banner is bitten by a gamma irradiated spider and becomes this realities Spider-Man. These mixed-up heroes end up crossing paths and trading blows, all before putting aside their differences to fight Galactus alongside a version of S.H.I.E.L.D. led by an eyepatch clad Reed Richards. Peter makes a sulking, sullen Hulk, but having the man we know and love as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man become the Green Goliath definitely makes for an interesting, and weird, spin on the character.
13. HULK 2099
Take one part Hulk, add a dash of Venom’s tongue, toss in some dinosaur features, and voila! You have Hulk 2099. While Spider-Man 2099 has been the most endearing 2099 character, there were plenty of future versions of beloved Marvel characters running around the short-lived 2099 universe, including John Eisenhart, better known as Hulk 2099.
In his bizarre origin story, Eisenhart works as a studio executive at the movie studio Lotusland Productions, who ends up tracking down a cult known as the Knights of Banner, who are committed to creating a new hulk using gamma radiation, with the intent of optioning the cult’s story for a movie. Subsequently, the Knights refuse Eisenhart’s proposal, leading to the executive reporting the cult to the police. A police shootout ensues, several knights die, Eisenhart joins the group out of guilt, only to be caught in a gamma explosion caused by a spurned Knights member. Through this complicate sequence of events, Eisenhart becomes the Hulk. Oh yeah, and he is then enlisted by his job to hunt down this new Hulk (a.k.a. himself) to make a movie about the Jade Giant. Hey, we didn’t say every 2099 character was as cool as Spider-Man 2099.
12. EXILES HULK
Superheroes often make some… questionable fashion decisions. Whether it’s Magneto’s “giant M on my chest” outfit or Invisible Woman’s truly unfortunate “boob window” phase, classic characters sometimes end up in not so classic duds. Case in point: The Hulk that appeared in Judd Winick’s time-hopping “Exiles” series.
As members of the Exiles had such a tendency to die terrible deaths, it was inevitable that an incarnation of the Hulk would grace the team’s roster eventually. But this definitely wasn’t your garden variety Hulk; gone were the simple purple pants, replaced by a purple bodysuit and a horrendous mesh shirt. Looking less like a superhero and more like a 90’s raver was so silly looking that he didn’t hang around long. A mere four issues after debuting, this fashion disaster was beaten to death by a power-mad Hyperion and promptly forgotten. While this Hulk didn’t do much, his bizarre outfit cemented his place on our list.
11. ZOMBIE HULK
In the world of “Marvel Zombies,” the Hulk is the hungriest one there is. After an unnamed hero driven by “The Hunger” crash lands on Earth and infects the Avengers with a zombie virus, the world spirals into a zombie apocalypse. Once valiant heroes resort to stomach churning acts to fulfill their craving for human flesh, and the world becomes a battle of the strongest for scarce resources.
A roaming band of zombies, (de)composed of former heroes such as Spider-Man and Wolverine, kill and eat their way across the planet, with a zombified Hulk serving as the twisted team’s muscle. The group eventually crossed paths with the Silver Surfer, who was subsequently brutally killed by the Hulk and eaten by the group, imbuing the zombies with the power cosmic, allowing the former heroes to take to the stars to eat their way across the galaxy. A zombie Hulk is weird enough, but a cosmically powered zombie Hulk eating aliens is definitely a totally different type of weird.
10. TYRONE CASH
There’s a famous phrase in comic-dom: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Dr. Leonard Williams apparently did not get this memo. Originally serving as a mentor to the Bruce Banner of the Ultimate Universe, Dr. Williams worked side by side with Banner to recreate the super soldier formula. During an unexplained occurrence at the lab that left several people dead, Dr. Williams went missing and was presumed dead.
Except Dr. Williams was quite the opposite of dead. Taking the name “Tyrone Cash,” the newfound Mr. Cash had actually been imbued with super soldier powers, essentially making him the first Hulk. Cash disappeared into the slums of South America, building up a criminal empire that he ruled over with an iron fist. Cash was eventually found by Nick Fury and his black-ops Ulimates team, and recruited to the team under threats of having his existence revealed to the wife and children he left behind. Unlike Banner, Cash retained his genius intellect while in his Hulk form; this, compounded with his cruelty and sadism, made him a Hulk to be reckoned with. Turns out, a smash-happy Hulk is bad, but a drug peddling, super-smart, sadistic Hulk is much, much worse.
With his gamma-irradiated strength and his boundless rage, the Hulk is truly the strongest one there is. But in a world ruled by vicious spider people, being the strongest there is just isn’t enough. Add in a dash of lizard genes, and suddenly, the newly made Lizard-Hulk might just be able to smash his way through any problem.
In the “Secret Wars” spin-off “Spider-Island,” Manhattan is ruled by the insidious Spider-Queen, who uses a mysterious virus to turn the residents of New York into terrifying spider creatures. While the Spider-Queen and her cadre of spider-servants lord over Manhattan, a small group of resistance fighters concoct a plan to fight back against the new spider regime. Luring spider-infected heroes into a trap, the resistance, lead by Spider-Man and Agent Venom, manage to rewrite the infected heroes spider DNA with alternative animal DNA, erasing the Spider-Queen’s control and morphing the heroes into new forms. Spider-Hulk becomes the scale-clad Lizard-Hulk, combing the power set of the Hulk and of the Spider-Man foe the Lizard. This raging reptile is not one to be crossed, and his Hulk/Lizard strength helps the resistance to win the day.
8. THE MAESTRO
While the Hulk has traditionally served as a tragic anti-hero, the supervillian known as The Maestro serves as a reminder that the Hulk is only one bad day away from becoming the most dangerous foe mankind has ever encountered.
This alternate future version of the Hulk hails from a Earth ravaged by nuclear war. Driven mad by the death of his friends and from continued exposure to radiation, the Hulk christens himself The Maestro and appoints himself the ruler of this war torn dystopia. Retaining the intelligence of Bruce Banner, but with enhanced strength brought on from the radiation, The Maestro rules unopposed, splitting his time between torturing those that have crossed him and admiring his trophy room filled with the weapons and costumes of his fallen comrades. When the modern day Hulk is sent forward in time, he ends up clashing with his future self, eventually triumphing over the cocky Maestro. While the Maestro hails from a possible future, the Hulk lives in constant fear that one bad move could put him on the path to becoming the tyrannical ruler.
As The Hulk, Bruce Banner has managed to accomplish quite a bit. He’s fought alongside the Avengers, saved the Earth numerous times, and single handily kept purple pants in style. But in his short tenure as a Hulk, Deadpool managed to do the one thing no other Hulk can lay claim to: Kill the hell of out Adolph Hitler.
In the miniseries “Hulked Out Heroes,” a gamma powered Deadpool becomes “Hulkpool.” With the help of Bob, Agent of HYDRA, Hulkpool departs on a time hopping adventure, using his new gamma irradiated powers to become a pirate, slug it out with dinosaurs in the Wild West alongside a time-displaced Hawkeye, and eventually landing in World War II. Hulkpool proceeds to muck with time, smooshing Adolph Hilter, crushing the Red Skull, and even manages to kill an alternate reality World War II Deadpool, all while managing to prevent the origins of pretty much every Marvel superhero. Luckily for the rest of the Marvel Universe, Hulkpool’s time shenanigans lead to a branch-off in time, not affecting the main Marvel timeline. Deadpool was eventually de-Hulked, but his short tenure as Hulk definitely earned the Merc With a Mouth a place on our list.
6. ABORIGINAL HULK
With three simple words, the Scarlet Witch managed to drastically change the Marvel Universe. With a simple whisper of “No more mutants,” the alternate reality of “House of M” was created, putting Magneto in charge of a mutant controlled world, leading to “sapiens” being subjugated by the mutant-minded ruler.
In “House of M,” life is tough for non-mutants. When. Dr. Bruce Banner is transformed by gamma radiation, his sapien superior, General “Thunderbolt” Ross, assumes Banner to be a secret mutant sent as a spy by Magneto, leading to a showdown between the newly transformed Hulk and General Ross’ army of soldiers. Fleeing the battle, Banner eventually winds up in Australia, joining a group of Aboriginal people. Here, the creature dubbed the Hulk learns to appreciate the ways of the tribe, vowing to live the rest of his days in peace. This Hulk doesn’t care about being the strongest there is; rather, he’s more concerned about being the most zen there is.
5. MARVEL APES HULK
With the “Marvel Zombies” franchise burning up he sales charts, the decision was made by Marvel to launch a new alternate universe Marvel series. The result was the truly bizarre “Marvel Apes.”
The premise of “Marvel Apes” is simple: It’s Marvel, but now everyone is monkeys. While the series gave the world some truly eye-rolling monkey pun names, ranging from the obvious (Spider-Man becoming Spider-Monkey) to the not-so-obvious (Doctor Octopus becoming Doctor OOKtopus), poor Hulk got the short end of the pun name stick, simply retaining the name “The Hulk.” But despite his new furry appearance, the ape version of the Hulk isn’t so different from our Hulk; he is the strongest one there is and he loves to smash. This Ape Hulk would go on to help in a battle against the vampiric Ape-Vengers (yes, really), and would later join a group dubbed the “Prime Eight,” lead by Nick Furry (ugh). The Marvel Apes universe may be positively bananas, but this Hulk definitely deserved a place on this list.
4. INFERNAL HULK
While the two might hate each other, Bruce Banner and the Hulk need each other. By removing one or the other, both personalities suffer and the world would suffer with it. As such, “Incredible Hulks Annual” #1 illustrates why removing the Hulk from Banner is a terrible idea.
In this alternate reality. Bruce Banner becomes the Sorcerer Supreme and uses his advanced magic to separate the Hulk from himself, ultimately casting the separated Hulk into literal Hell. Turns out, sending a literal rage beast to Hell isn’t a super great idea, as the Hulk becomes corrupted by the demons of Hell, eventually being converted into the orange skinned, horn adorned Infernal Hulk. Clawing his way out of Hell, the Infernal Hulk returns to Earth to seek revenge on his creator. Devoid of good and driven only by revenge, the Infernal Hulk is a force to be reckoned with. This demonic Hulk is eventually defeated and cast back into the pit of Hell, but he serves as a startling reminder as to why Bruce Banner and the Hulk have no choice but to stick together.
3. INTELLIGENT DESIGN GOD HULK
When The Illuminati, a collection of the brightest minds in Marvel, gathered and collectively decided to shoot the Hulk into space, the plan was to have the Hulk land on a peaceful planet, allowing the creature to live out the rest of his days in harmony. The plan went awry and Hulk ended up on the planet of Sakaar, leading to his eventual return to Earth and the ensuing fallout from shooting someone into space without their permission.
But in “What If? Planet Hulk,” the Hulk actually lands on the peaceful planet the Illuminati selected for him. After some understandable smashing, the Hulk takes a shine to a small species of creatures that inhabit this alien planet. The Hulk finds the creatures are being preyed upon by a stronger species, and the Hulk decides to dedicate himself to defending his newfound friends. Hulk ends up watching over the species for so long, the species evolves, eventually gaining sentience and culture. The creatures see their protector as a God, and build their entire culture around worshipping the Hulk. This Darwinian take on the Hulk may not have ultimately come to pass in the main Marvel Universe, but this interesting “What If?” makes for one unusual Hulk.
2. RUINS HULK
In the Marvel world, scientific accidents tend to lead to fabulous superpowers. In the real world, a scientific accident typically leads to serious injury or death. After all, if a regular person were caught in the explosion of a gamma bomb, they definitely wouldn’t gain green skin and super strength; odds are, they would just get really, really sick and die. Enter Bruce Banner from the miniseries “Ruins.”
Written by Warren Ellis, “Ruins” is a dystopian twist on the Marvel universe, where everything that can go wrong, does. In this twist on the classic origin story, Rick Jones is a morphine addict that wandered onto the testing site of a gamma bomb. The heroic Bruce Banner rushes to save him, and is caught in the blast of the bomb. But instead of becoming the Jade Giant, Bruce Banner is consumed in a mess of green tumors, which tear Banner apart from the inside out. Ick.
1. OLD MAN LOGAN HULK
In the bleak, decimated future of “Old Man Logan,” Wolverine is a tired old man. With his fighting days behind him, Wolverine just wants to live out the rest of his days with his family in relative peace. But Bruce Banner and his Hulk Gang have other ideas.
With a brain warped by the same gamma radiation that gave him his awesome powers, Hulk conquered California, took up the habit of eating those that wronged him (Gross), and ended up shacking up with his cousin She-Hulk (Double gross), and the two started a large, psychotic family of grossly inbred Hulk children. Hulk and his gang end up crossing the man formerly known as Wolverine, leading to a clash between the two former heroes. But with his sanity gone and a sadism streak a mile wide, the Hulk in Old Man Logan is a far cry from the Hulk fans know and love. Cruel, vicious, and just plain gross, Old Man Logan Hulk earned the top spot as the weirdest version of the Hulk.
Which alternate version of the Hulk is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!