Most depictions of Bruce Banner emphasize the duality of his mild mannered personality with that of the Hulk. He is typically written and viewed as a mild mannered, troubled genius, who struggles to keep his temper in check so that he doesn’t hulk out and become a liability. He is viewed with sympathy as he fights to maintain his grip on his own self-control and impulses.
The typical depiction of the Hulk is also generally positive. Even when Banner loses his cool and becomes the hulk, he may cause a lot of destruction and damage, but at the end of the day he tends to accomplish a heroic deed. He may destroy a skyscraper, but only to stop a super villain from destroying the city.
The Hulk is a wrecking ball that Banner struggles to control, but is still mostly viewed as a hero. The destruction is acceptable because he means well. The most interesting version of the Hulk that I’ve ever read has been the exact opposite.
In ‘Old Man Logan’, an eight-part mini-series depicting a dystopian future where the villains are in control, Bruce Banner embraces the deepest, darkest parts of the Hulk as he rules his realm with an iron fist of terror. This Bruce Banner has left sympathy at the door as he defiles and pillages an entire region.
The gamma radiation responsible for creating the Hulk has slowly eaten away at Banner’s sanity and humanity as he transforms into a ruthless monster. Banner himself is now in possession of super strength without being in his Hulk form. The Hulk actually exists as his secret weapon, his ace in the hole. This Bruce Banner takes everything he normally stands for, smashes it into pieces, and giddily consumes it whole.
Banner completely embraces all of the worst traits of the Hulk and perverts them to a despicable level. He no longer cares for humanity, his own included, possesses limitless power and loves abusing it. He even abandons his undying love for Betty Ross in exchange for his own cousin, She-Hulk. He determines She-Hulk is the only woman capable of surviving his gamma radiating advances as he creates an inbred, incestuous, pillaging, Hulk gang from his own bloodline.
Banner uses his brood of inbred hillbilly extended family to create a mafia like reign over his territory as he extorts his way to total control. He treats everyone as ants below his feet as he constantly extends his bloodline and control over a terror filled public under his control. He lives in a cave and revels in his own depraved impulses. In the end, his own lack of humanity, common sense, and wit end up being his own undoing. This is not your father’s Bruce Banner. This Bruce Banner is the polar opposite of what he usually stands for and isn’t afraid to explore every inch of his own darkness.
As I mentioned above, Bruce Banner is typically depicted as someone that is mild-mannered. In a blog posted on DrBannerHere, the author states that Banner is polite and shy. These personality traits are dramatically different from the ones shown in Old Man Logan.There are a handful of comic book characters that have infiltrated the mainstream to a point that they almost seemed to have always existed in our public consciousness. It is hard to take such a well-known character and truly change our perception of him. This depiction manages to explore new territory and take a veteran character into new and exciting places he has never ventured before. For a character that has traveled to other planets, galaxies, and dimensions, the exploration of his own altered psychology manages to be one of the most interesting versions of this character we’ve seen to date.