Some comic fans don’t have the time to keep up with modern continuity, and it’s easy to see why - the constant cycle of comic book deaths, resurrections, and character changes can make things rather difficult to follow.
Fortunately, it is easy for fans to catch up with their favorite heroes, but that doesn't mean the content won't shock them. Anyone trying to catch up on the Hulk’s story between the years 2016-2018 may be incredibly confused and full of questions, like "Wait, Hawkeye killed the Hulk?" and "Oh, so the Hulk is immortal now?"
Now referred to as the Immortal Hulk, Bruce Banner comes out of his brief time in the afterlife a markedly different character. He’s still big, green, and angry, but there are other convoluted factors involved now, and any casual fan will appreciate a set of “Cliff’s Notes” to help them understand what’s going on.
Bruce Banner Finally Escapes The Curse Of The Hulk, But It Isn't A Good Thing
For much of his comic book history, the ability to transform into the Hulk was more of a curse than a superpower for Bruce Banner - he’s more Jekyll and Hyde than he is Clark Kent and Superman.
Seeking to free his longtime friend and ally from this affliction, teenaged genius Amadeus Cho devises a method to drain the gamma radiation from Banner’s body and into his own, thus transferring the Hulk curse from Banner to Cho. Banner has been temporarily relieved of his giant green alter ego before, but this time seems far more permanent than others.
The Strongest Avenger Dies At The Hands Of The Weakest AvengerPhoto: Civil War II/Marvel Comics
Now that he is free of the Hulk, Bruce Banner is determined not to transform into the angriest Avenger ever again. To that end, he devises of a method to kill himself - gamma-enriched vibranium - and creates an arrowhead out of it, entrusting fellow Avenger Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye, with the task of taking him out if he ever looked Hulk-y again.
When that moment comes in 2016’s Civil War II, Barton does not hesitate, sniping Banner before he can transform. Hawkeye ends the life of man formerly known as the Incredible Hulk. The man considered by many to be the weakest Avenger kills the strongest one there is.
Hawkeye Is Brought To Trial For Killing Banner, But The Court Decides The World Is Better OffPhoto: Civil War II/Marvel Comics
Hawkeye surrenders to his fellow Avengers immediately following the slaying of Bruce Banner, and he is eventually brought up on murder charges. The Marvel Universe version of the “trial of the century” follows, and media coverage is intense as everyone waits to hear the final verdict.
“Hawkeye Walks!” exclaim the headlines when Barton is acquitted. The court rules he was justified in ending the threat of the Hulk, and the world is better off without Banner around to smash it up.
Banner Is Replaced By Amadeus Cho, The Totally Awesome Hulk
Amadeus Cho removes the gamma radiation from Bruce Banner’s body and transfers it into his own, thus gaining the ability to transform into the Hulk. However, Cho is a much more balanced individual than his former ally, and is not as prone to “Hulk-outs” as his predecessor.
Taking the name of the Totally Awesome Hulk, Cho proceeds to protect the world as a much friendlier and more carefree version of the green giant, eventually joining with a group of other teen heroes known as the Champions. Though he still struggles with the newly destructive potential of his temper, Amadeus does a much better job than Banner of keeping the beast in the “backseat” of his mind.