Chris (pokeypenguin) wrote,

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DID and the Hulk

Note, this is not fit for publication; in fact, it will be closer to stream of consciousness than anything.

But, so anyway, Bruce Banner and the Hulk, right? I started by pondering the Defenders and how they have befriended the Hulk.[1] Lots of people have done this over time, but what separates the Defenders from one-time and rarely-recurring individuals is that they spend a lot of time with the Hulk and must know that he shares bodies with Bruce Banner. So people like the mermaid he just met in the 11/1977 issue only ever know the Hulk, is my point. And then people like Rick Jones and Jim Wilson know both the Hulk and Bruce Banner, and are usually trying to help Banner regain himself while simply trying to contain the Hulk's rages. But the Defenders, they are interested in the Hulk and actively disinterested in a Banner that they must know exists. So I started by thinking, "Damn, those guys kind of suck. Poor Bruce Banner, cursed by heroism and a Commie spy to be sporadically trapped in this body that destroys everything around him, that in fact hates him almost more than anything and is compelled to make things worse for him, and they don't even care, they just like the giant green dude and what he brings to their team."

Then I realized I was being unfair in a few ways. For one thing, they really do like the Hulk for himself, not just his smashing ability. And another, much more important way is the part where the Hulk hates Banner. ie, views him as a separate identity first, and actively dislikes that identity on top of it. ie, the Hulk is a fully realized person in his own right, albeit a generally unlikable one. Sure, Banner's the primary, in that he can usually remember things that have happened as the Hulk, in a foggy way, while the Hulk is only aware of existence when he exists, although he's also aware that sometimes he doesn't exist, and that it's Banner's "fault". None of which would matter much, it's still a pathology to be cured, except that the Hulk has a completely different body on top of it. They can't exist at once, okay, but he's not merely a personality, which makes the pathology diagnosis a little murkier, to my amateur eye.

And, okay, that's pretty much it. The psychology and the morality of interacting with Hulk as though he is not a pathology trapping Bruce Banner from being a fully realized person, and equally of trying to cure Banner of what might be an actual whole person who depends upon him to exist instead of just a pathology, both of them are incredibly compelling. They are not actually addressed questions in either direction, at least so far as I have read to date, and the fact that now and again Banner's personality lives in the Hulk's body[2] makes things WAY MORE CONFUSING.

This is the kind of thing I end up thinking about as I read, sometimes.

[1] The Avengers tried to, but I am discounting them both because of their lack of success and also because at the time they tried, Hulk was not a stand-alone character and so they never really interacted with Banner at all; it is interesting to note that the movie / Ultimate versions bypass this trouble because the modern Hulk is an amplified, id-driven version of Banner's personality, not a completely separate personality in his own right. But now I'm getting ahead of myself, unless you are weird and read footnotes at the end.
[2] It occurs to me that the Hulk's intemperate personality in Banner's body would probably not survive an hour, if let loose in a populated area.

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