WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s Immortal Hulk #4, on sale now.
Four issues in and Marvel's new Immortal Hulk comic continues to reveal never before known details of Bruce Banner's dynamic with the Hulk, painting the Jade Giant in a whole new light. Taking cues from stories like Frankenstein and Jaws, the Green Goliath is now molded as someone who can't die, haunting towns and looking into mysterious cases of criminal activity where he metes out violent, fatal justice.
With the world hunting him, this new, clever Hulk tries not to leave too many clues behind, but it's a bit tough to operate under the radar when you're this big and, well, green! As Al Ewing and Joe Bennett delve deeper inside Banner's psyche, we're not just learning what makes this newer, smarter Hulk tick, we're also gathering insight into his and Bruce Banner's past -- including the origin of those iconic purple pants.
The latest issue focuses on reporter Jacqueline McGee hunting Banner and trying to break a story about him being the Hulk once again. In the course of her research, she flies in Walter Langkowski (aka Sasquatch of Alpha Flight) from Canada, who was Banner's colleague from Penn State briefly where they conducted gamma research as students.
Prying into the scientist's life, McGee finds out Banner was an insecure man who didn't want Langkowski, his research assistant and roommate, hogging the spotlight. Seeing as Langkowski was a campus hunk and a football star, Banner wanted to stand out more, making up for his own lack of athletic prowess. As he told Langkowski, the field of academics was his, and not to be shared, but to spice things up, he decided to make a fashion statement in a bid to become more popular.
The eccentric Banner apparently gave all of his clothes to Goodwill, and filled his wardrobe with only purple pants, a color he believed would pop more, making him a trendsetter.
An odd one, yes, but to Banner, it made logical sense; he wanted to be like his idol, Albert Einstein, who usually wore the same clothes every day, showing simplicity really is part of being a genius. However, as Langkowski regales the reporter with the flashback, it becomes clear that, at least from Walter's viewpoint, Banner's shift in fashion sense was a cry for attention, from someone trying hard to be in the spotlight -- a bit ironic, considering all Banner wants right now is to be able to be left alone, to live his life in peace.