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Brian Banner[src]

Dr. Brian David Banner was the abusive husband and father of Rebecca and Bruce Banner, who would later be known as the Hulk. While researching about gamma radiation he had a glimpse of the hideous entity known as the One Below All, putting a stop to his research.[1]

When Bruce was born, Brian quickly became neglectful towards the infant, to the point of killing his mother in front of him when they were trying to escape. Despite being acquitted, he was arrested and sent to a mental institution after boasting about it while drunk. Fifteen years later, Bruce was resentful but welcomed him into his life again. During a confrontation, Bruce accidentally killed him and blocked these memories.[2][3] During the Chaos War, Brian was resurrected as a fusion of the Devil Hulk and the Guilt Hulk, facing off his son and feeding of his fears, but was overwhelmed when Jarella told Bruce to face them.[4]

Now exposed to gamma energy, he was sent to the Below-Place, where the One Below All resides. The dark entity took possession of his soul and used him to operate in the real world.[1] When the Leader, a villain of the Hulk, came to the Below-Place in order to realize the One Below All's plan to be the sole remaining presence in the Multiverse, he assimilated Brian's soul, creating a broken link between him and the devilish entity.[5]

History

Early Life

As a child, Brian Banner and his sisters Susan and Elaine, along with their mother, were physically and emotionally abused by their father Bruce. Regarding his father as a monster and believing that he had inherited a "monster gene" from him, Brian promised himself that he would never have any children, for fear of bringing another Banner into the world. He severed contact with his sisters not wanting to relive bad memories from their childhood and wanted to escape his by running from it.

In college, Brian met a girl named Rebecca, whom he fell in love with and later married. Gaining a PhD in physics, Brian found a job in Los Alamos, New Mexico working for the government as a member of a project trying to develop a clean way to create nuclear energy. The stress of his job eventually led Brian to become an alcoholic and he began to develop anger problems, lashing out at others even when they try to help him. While drunk on the job one day, Brian accidentally overloaded some of the machinery, causing an explosion which ended up with him fired from his job. Despite doctors stating that the explosion caused him no harm, Brian became convinced that the explosion in Los Alamos had affected him on the genetic level.[6]

Marriage and Parenting

Becoming a rising star in the field of radiation research, Brian started investigating gamma radiation. As he started looking into its anomalistic behavior, Brian started considering that gamma was neither a wave nor a particle, but something entirely different. One night when working late, Brian closed his eyes for a second due to exhaustion, and caught a glimpse of the One Below All, a grotesque presence in the Below-Place, a dimension lower than Hell and reality's bottom layer. Brian also sensed that the One Below All was looking for him. Deeping affected by this dream, Brian decided to put a stop to his research the following morning.[1]

Brian Banner (Earth-616) from Incredible Hulk Vol 1 -1 001.jpg

Despite his vow to never have children, Brian accidentally impregnated Rebecca, who gave birth to their only son, Bruce, who was ironically named after Brian's father. Instantly hateful of the baby, whom he believed to be a monster created from both the radiation he was exposed to and the "monster gene," Brian ignored him completely and attempted to keep Rebecca away from him, leaving Bruce in the care of the neglectful Nurse Meachum.

When Bruce woke up early one Christmas morning and opened a present from his mother, a complex model kit, he assembled it easily despite his young age. Brian's discovery of this convinced him that his belief that Bruce was abnormal and different was correct and resulted in him beating Bruce and Rebecca when she came to their son's aid. Forced to endure heavy abuse from Brian for several years, Rebecca attempted to escape from him with Bruce. Finding Rebecca as she and Bruce were packing their belongings into their car, Brian attacked Rebecca, killing her by slamming her head against the pavement in front of Bruce.

Under the threat of severe punishment, Brian stopped Bruce from testifying against him at his trial for Rebecca's murder, saying in doing so, he would go to Hell. Intimidated by Brian's anger, Bruce lied to the courts, stating that his father never abused him or Rebecca, whom he claimed tried to run away for no reason. Brian escaped conviction due to lack of evidence, but was arrested after boasting about it while drunk. Taken away, kicking and screaming, Brian yelled at Bruce that he would have revenge for this. Brian was sent to be imprisoned and put in a mental institution.[citation needed]

Death

After fifteen years of confinement, the doctors believed that Brian was ready to rejoin society. Despite his reluctance, Bruce let his father temporarily stay with him. During this time, Brian began acting strange, causing tensions to escalate between the two. After Brian lashed out at his son, blaming him for his insanity, Bruce left to visit his mother's grave since it was the anniversary of her death. Brian followed him and started harassing Bruce, calling him a mutant and a monster. The confrontation quickly became physical, and Brian knocked Bruce down. While on the ground, Bruce pushed him back with his foot. Brian stumbled back and cracked his neck on Rebecca's gravestone, instantly killing him. Bruce blocked the memories of Brian's stay with him and his subsequent death, making himself believe that, as the two of them fought at Rebecca's grave, Brian had simply beat him and left, later being killed by muggers.[2][3]

Legacy

Years later, Bruce himself started investigating gamma radiation. During an accident involving a gamma bomb, Bruce gained the ability to transform into a behemoth named the Hulk.[7]

Brian's ghost would occasionally haunt Bruce and the Hulk, often appearing to taunt him, stating that he was no better than him. Villains such as Mentallo, the Red Skull, the Devil Hulk and the Guilt Hulk also used the image of Brian Banner against the Hulk, in an attempt to weaken him.[citation needed]

When Bruce Banner and the Hulk were fused back together after being separated on Counter-Earth, Bruce found himself in Hell, where he met Brian. At first terrorized by Brian, the Leader and the Maestro, Bruce eventually stood up to his father, brutally beating and strangling him before being returned to Earth by the spirit of his deceased wife, Betty Ross. Having faced his father, Bruce's haunting by him ceased.[8]

After the Hulk began to suffer from Lou Gehrig's disease, Mr. Fantastic had Brian's grave dug up and his corpse exhumed, so as to collect some of his DNA. With this, Mr. Fantastic managed to successfully cure the Hulk. Following this incident, Bruce Banner visited his father's grave and lamented to himself that now he didn't know how to feel about him.[9]

During the World War Hulk event after Hulk returned to Earth to seek revenge after been banished by the Illuminati, young hero Trauma battled him by turning into the villains Hulk had faced, including Brian. In the end, Hulk managed to overcome them and defeated Trauma, telling him that he no longer afraid of anything.[10]

Chaos War

During the Chaos War, Brian was among the people resurrected by the Chaos King. He transformed into a fusion of the Devil Hulk and the Guilt Hulk and fought with Bruce. He tried to kill Rebecca again, but Bruce prevented him from doing so. Brian fed off his son's fear, growing in strength and allowing him to overpower Bruce. After Jarella told Bruce to face his fears, Brian was deprived of his son's fear to feed off, causing him to revert to human form and crumble away to dust. Before dying, Brian told Bruce that he was a monster.[4]

Immortal Hulk

After this second death, Brian ended up in the Below-Place.[11] He was joined by Doc Samson, another gamma mutate briefly brought back to life during the Chaos War. Whereas Samson managed to return to life again through a Green Door, a metaphysical barrier between the Below-Place and Earth, no Green Door manifested for Brian, so he started to study it.[12] The One Below All eventually took hold of Brian's soul, since it needed a host personality to speak and act through.[1] Using Brian as its vessel, the One Below All embarked on a plan to bring the land of the living into the Below-Place as part of its objective to destroy the entirety of reality until it was the one remaining presence in the Multiverse. With the One Below All's possession, Brian became capable of influencing the real world by taking over gamma mutates.[13]

Brian first took possession of Jailbait,[14] causing her powers to go out of control and ultimately leading to her death.[15] Afterward, Brian started taking hold of Walter Langkowski, who had started spending prolonged periods of time in his monster form of Sasquatch, making him susceptible to Brian's influence.[14] When Walter was stabbed during a bar scuffle, and treated in a hospital when the night fell, Brian took possession of his body.[16] Bruce had tracked down Walter's whereabouts and confronted him as the Hulk. Brian revealed his true nature, initially causing the Hulk to stagger until he rationalized that his fear of Brian actually belonged to the Bruce Banner persona. The Hulk stopped Brian's possession by absorbing all of Sasquatch's gamma radiation, thus severing the anchor used by Brian to possess him. However, Brian seemingly simply transferred to the Hulk's body.[14]

Brian then subtly manipulated Hulk into coming back to the Los Diablos Missile Base, the site where Bruce's gamma bomb had detonated, where he ended up fighting the Absorbing Man. During the fight, a significant portion of Hulk's gamma energy was absorbed by the Absorbing Man, passing the possession to him.[17] He was then forced to absorb all the ambient gamma radiation on the site, which opened a Green Door. Everybody in the scene was plunged into the Below-Place, including the Hulk, the Absorbing Man, and Puck of Gamma Flight.[18] In the Below-Place, the Hulk and Bruce were split apart, and Brian took Bruce captive in order to turn him into the One Below All's vessel.[19] The plan failed after Puck convinced the Absorbing Man to put things right, and he absorbed a fountain of gamma to then transfer it into the Hulk and replenished his strength. Once restored to full power, the Hulk managed to dissipate the One Below All and close the Green Door.[20]

While bemoaning the fact that his chance to escape the Below-Place was thwarted, Brian was approached by the Leader, who was investigating the Below-Place and had managed to open a Green Door from the other side.[11] The Leader tricked Brian into becoming assimilated by him, gaining all of his knowledge and transferring his connection to the One Below All to him. The villain also gained the ability to take Brian's image,[5] using it to trick Bruce into thinking Brian was still the only permanent presence in the Below-Place any time he was plunged into this dimension between death and rebirth.[21]

Powers and Abilities

Powers

Psychological Metaphysical Conversion: Brian is as powerful as Bruce perceives him to be. Since Bruce as a child saw his father as an all powerful evil monster that is what he became. While feared by his son Brian was easily able to overpower the Hulk family and shoot green fire blasts.[22]

Gamma Mutate Possession: After his soul was used by the One Below All as its vessel in order to exit the conceptual "Green Door" pertaining to gamma mutates,[17] Brian demonstrated the ability to possess their bodies. He managed to take control of Jailbait,[15] Sasquatch,[16] the Hulk[14] and the Absorbing Man.[17]

Abilities

Scientific genius

Weaknesses

Love: Jarella was able to overcome Brian in his Devil/Guilt Hulk form due to Bruce's love for her exceeding the fear of his father.[22]

Courage: As he was only as powerful as his son's fear of him, he was quickly defeated when Hulk realized that he did not fear his father anymore and literally blew him away.[22]

See Also

Links and References

Footnotes

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