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The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – So the Hulk Can Just Breathe Underwater?

by  in Comic News Comment
The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – So the Hulk Can Just Breathe Underwater?

In this feature we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today, based on a suggestion from reader Charlie E., we look at the HUlk’s ability to breathe underwater…

The Hulk has always been an extremely powerful being. However, one thing that had remained consistent for the Hulk’s existence is that, for all of his strengths, the Hulk had certain limits that were similar to most creatures. Perhaps most prominently of them all, the Hulk had to breathe. He could withsttand exposure to the pressure of outer space, but he still needed to BREATHE out there. Same thing with underwater. He could go deep under water without the water pressure being too much for him, but he couldn’t actually BREATHE in water. For all of his power, he theoretically COULD be drowned.

This has come up a LOT of times over the years, but here are just a couple of examples, from Incredible Hulk #165 by Steve Englehart and Herb Trimpe…

to Incredible Hulk #408, by Peter David and Gary Frank…

Here’s also a bit from Incredible Hulk #402…

Heck, even all the way back in Avengers #3, they explicitly state it…

So that was the case for decades until it was abandoned and forsaked by Incredible Hulk #77 from 2005. We see the Hulk fight a giant squid…

And later, we learn that he can breathe underwater!!

Incredible Hulk #77 was part of a bit of a weird storyline involving the reality-manipulating villain Nightmare, so there is an argument to be made that maybe it didn’t really happen or something like that, but the breathing underwater thing was later confirmed during Jason Aaron’s run on the Hulk…

As Charlie noted when he suggested it, this is a bit of a power creep, as now one of the Hulk’s few weaknesses is no longer a weakness.

Thanks for the suggestion, Charlie! Okay, folks, send in any ideas YOU have for this column to

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