WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Immortal Hulk #8 by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Paul Mounts and VC’s Cory Petit, out now.
The Hulk has always left a path of destruction in his wake. It’s one of his defining characteristics, and has been from the start. It makes sense, then, that in all the years he's smashed his way across the galaxy, there’s always been a question as to the mortality rate of his rampages. Although Amadeus Cho makes the case that he’d never actually killed anyone by the time World War Hulk hit, there are plenty of animals, aliens, monsters, and even the occasional hero (RIP, Pod) that have fallen before him.
Frankly, Amadeus was wrong. With the tally increasing in this week’s Immortal Hulk #8, we take a look back at the character's history and learn, incontrovertibly, that the Hulk does have some decidedly dark murders on his hands.
Like Father, Like Son
The first time the Hulk's actions led to someone's demise occurred before Hulk was fully unleashed. Brian Banner was Bruce’s father, and generally a cruel man. Vindictive of the love his wife paid to her son and the child's bourgeoning intelligence, he beat his wife to death and spent years in a mental institution.
In Incredible Hulk #312, we learned his final fate; Bruce eventually went to visit his mother’s grave and was shocked to find his father there. Brian attacked Bruce and in the scuffle, Bruce pushed Brian off of him, and headfirst into the tombstone. Brian was killed instantly, Bruce repressed the memory, and his father's spirit went on to become a haunting force in the Hulk's life for years to come.
Bruce's dad amy be dead, but he's far from forgotten. His most recent role has been in Immortal Hulk, where he's become the personification of the darkness trying to escape through Gamma powered heroes and villains into the real world. Brian Banner appearing as his specter of darkness is a sign of just how much that first death has subconsciously weighed on the Hulk for years, and will continue to do so.