It feels like it was only a few months ago when Marvel Comics killed one of their most popular and strongest characters in Civil War II #2. Wait, it actually was a few months ago. Guess what? In Uncanny X-Men #15, Bruce Banner was resurrected by the ninja assassin clan The Hand thus bringing back The Hulk.
We are all used to comic book characters coming back from the dead. Death in comic books has become a bit of a joke. We all knew that the Hulk was going to come back at some point, but three months is a bit too soon — even for comics. His gamma radiated body wasn't even cold yet. While The Hulk coming back so soon may be a bit annoying, it isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Bruce Banner The Villain
People forget that while The Hulk is the brawn and a scary rage monster, Bruce Banner is just as scary when left to his own devices. Now you have Bruce Banner who will no longer have his conscience holding him back when it comes his experiments and creations. It could be like Dark Beast in Age of Apocalypse or Ultimate Reed Richards a.k.a. The Maker. Villains who not only have the physical powers to take people out but are also geniuses who can create inventions thata threaten the world.
Marvel has been in need of a new and powerful villain for a while now. Magneto is a good guy, Red Skull's shtick is eventually going to get old and stale, and Norman Osborn is without powers and is no longer the same person. It's time for Marvel Comics to give fans a villain that can legitimately and convincingly beat the heroes. Now you have two. You have the Hulk as well as Bruce Banner to take on the world. You saw how dangerous he was during World War Hulk; imagine that guy as a villain.
A New Hawkeye
Another thing Banner's death created was a new direction for Clint Barton. Hawkeye has always been a member of some team, whether it be Captain America's Avengers, Luke Cage's Avengers, or the Thunderbolts. It's about time that Hawkeye got up and stopped being the Avengers smart aleck guy with the great aim or Kate Bishop's on again/off again mentor and became his own man since killing Bruce Banner didn't gain him any fans among his superhero community. Now Clint has left New York for what seems like a journey to redeem himself for killing one of Earth's greatest heroes.
Eventually, Bruce Banner is going to track down Clint for killing him. It doesn't matter that Banner gave Hawkeye the means to kill him and told him to do it, he still killed him. Banner isn't going to be happy that he was murdered by a friend. In fact, he's going to be angry and... you wouldn't like Banner when he is angry. How this confrontation will end is up in the air. It's doubtful that Clint will be killed (again), but at the very least, there is going to be a fight between the two former Avengers and teammates.
Adding Legitimacy To The Hand
For years, The Hand has been a bit of a joke. Unless they are led by Daredevil, Gorgon, Elektra or have Wolverine by their side, readers rarely buy them as a true threat. They are essentially just faceless minions. Sure, they are a group of highly trained assassins who see death as a reward, but when have they ever taken anybody out without the help of a big name player backing them up? Answer: They haven't. Now they have the biggest of the big under their control and it officially shakes things up a bit.
Whoever is leading The Hand might think that they have The Hulk under control, but there is no way that lasts long. The Hulk and Bruce Banner have never been something that can be controlled for too long. Eventually The Hulk is going to gain control back and smash whoever thought it was a bright idea to bring him back from the dead.
Does Death Mean Anything Anymore?
One thing that is absolutely certain is that comic books constantly make death seem like it means nothing. Like I said earlier, we knew Bruce was going to come back, but not this soon. The one thing that Banner coming back so soon is that when the next person dies, no one is going to care. I mean, why would we? The Hulk came back in less than four months. It may not send giant ripples throughout the comic book world, but if the idea was to end Civil War II with a major death, no one is going to care. Especially when The Hand could bring them back or they could just be floating throughout time like Captain America. In the long term, Banner coming back is going to have an effect on how we see death in comic books.
Regardless of how we all feel, it looks like Bruce Banner is back. Is this just a quick stop and a big bad guy for the Uncanny Avengers to beat? Will he join the unity squad after they defeat him? Only time will tell. But the one thing that we can take from this is that The Hulk is BACK and I am sure we are all happy he is.
Was the Hulk brought back too soon? Let me know in the comments below.