Marvel's Civil War II didn't end well for a lot of heroes, but one of the 2016 storyline's most shocking deaths was the death of the Hulk. Even though he's one of the strongest characters in the entire Marvel Universe, he was taken out by Hawkeye, a non-powered Avenger who's served alongside the Hulk for years.
While that shocking moment was one of the crossover's biggest twists, its larger ramifications can still be felt around the Marvel Universe today. Now, CBR is breaking down how this surprising turn of events unfolded and how it's aftermath is still affecting the Marvel Universe today.
HOW DID HAWKEYE KILL HULK
The controversial Civil War II split Marvel's heroes apart with a story about a psychic who could see the future and an effort to stop crime before it happens, much like the movie Minority Report. When the Inhuman Ulysses said a hero or villain was going to do something terrible, the heroes led by Captain Marvel apprehended the person before anything happened, while they were still innocent of any wrongdoing.
For most of his history, Bruce Banner has turned into the Hulk and went on a rampage without any knowledge or control over his actions at all. In Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez and Olivier Coipel's Civil War II #3, Tony Stark and Carol Danvers showed up and asked Bruce to come talk to them.
Bruce said there had been no Hulk incidents in over a year, but they were there to stop him from Hulking out again, because Ulysses saw a vision so terrible that they had to stop him. Tony saw it too, and then the X-Men's Beast revealed that Banner had been testing gamma on himself again, although he pleaded with them that it kept him from changing. When Hawkeye though he saw a flicker of green in Banner's eyes, Hawkeye shot an arrow into his head, killing Bruce Banner and the Hulk.
WHY DID HAWKEYE KILL HULK
When the heroes all charged to find the shooter, Hawkeye turned himself over to them without a fight. While testifying in court, Clint Barton told the courtroom that Bruce Banner asked him to kill him. Barton said Banner had come to see him months before the confrontation and told him that he was experimenting on himself to keep the Hulk away.
However, Banner had a failsafe that he gave to Hawkeye. If Hulk did come back and the experiments went wrong, Banner gave Barton something guaranteed to kill him without allowing him to change into Hulk to save himself. As Banner said, Clint is one of the few people he trusted who could eventually live with the decision. Clint said he saw Bruce's eyes turn green and knew he had one chance to fulfill his promise.
WHAT HAPPENED TO HULK AND HAWKEYE
Hawkeye went on trial, and was found not guilty, since the court believed the Inhuman Ulysses' claims he could accurately see the future and believed Hawkeye's actions saved the world. However, Ulysses' visions eventually caused caused Iron Man and Captain Marvel to go to war with each other, with the other superheroes choosing one of the sides.
However, the death of the Hulk went further than just the fall of Bruce Banner and the heightening tensions of the second superhero Civil War. The loss of Hulk allowed two new heroes to step up into the spotlight. First, Amadeus Cho became the Totally Awesome Hulk and was able to control his emotions much better than Banner, although he started to lose control later on, shortly before Bruce Banner returned from the dead. The second change was that She-Hulk became a more Hulk-like figure and briefly just took the name Hulk for a short time.
HOW DID HULK GET REVENGE?
Of course, no one ever stays dead in the Marvel Universe. Bruce Banner' and the original Hulk returned in the Avengers storyline "No Surrender" storyline, before starring in the critically-acclaimed The Immortal Hulk, which had a huge twist. Like the earliest Hulk stories, Banner only changed at night in the horror-centric series. However, Bruce Banner could die and did more than once. When the sun goes down, he turns into Hulk and resurrects from the dead in a major status quo shift for the character.
Unsurprisingly, the Hulk, who's meaner and more manipulative than ever, isn't too happy with Hawkeye. The Hulk and Banner have always battled for control, and the Jade Giant isn't happy that Banner asked Hawkeye to kill him. As Hulk told Clint, he should have asked Bruce to see a shrink, not killed him.
Then Hulk made sure to let Hawkeye know that if he finds himself alone with him, they will settle it once and for all. He then spent the entire Avengers: No Road Home series tormenting the Avengers' archer until the two finally seemed to approach a reconciliation by the end.