Although he is portrayed as a hero in the Avengers movies, all I've seen and read of the Hulk in the comics has been in crossovers with other Marvel heroes where he's portrayed as a villain — an unwilling and unintentional villain, but a villain nontheless.

Other famous story arcs involving the Hulk also seem to imply he is acting as a villain and feel to me like the Hulk is more often than not found fighting other superpowered characters within Marvel, especially heroes as the Hulk is sort of the rival.

Is there any reference as to whether the Hulk is internally thought of as a villain or a hero in the MCU and whether there are guidelines for writers about patterns that should be applied to the Hulk?

Note this is evidently an out-of-universe question. I’m just curious as to what status Marvel gives to the Hulk.

  • 2
    The Hulk is rarely portrayed as a villain in comics. That implies that he is making a conscious choice to do wrong, which he rarely does.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 18:06
  • 2
    Marvel may portray any given character as hero, villain, anti-hero, over time. Hulk has been in all of these roles at different times.
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 18:06
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    Being that Banner/Hulk is one of the founding members of the Avengers in the MCU, I'm pretty certain he's not considered a villain there. Additionally, he was one of the founding members of the Avengers in the comics, so it's completely incorrect to say that he's a villain in most crossovers.
    – phantom42
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 18:13
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    He's most definitely been portrayed in such a fashion, just look at World War Hulk & Old Man Logan. Each of these storylines features the Hulk doing bad stuffs to good people!
    – Stormie
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 9:10

1 Answer 1


In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Hulk has been clearly represented as a heroic individual, at least partially under the control of his alter-ego, Dr. Banner.

  • This is most strongly seen when the Hulk joins the battle against the Chitauri with Dr. Banner uttering those famous words: "I'm always angry," before releasing the Hulk into the fray.

  • Is the Hulk always under control? A different debate shown several times particularly when the Hulk confronts Loki and dispatches him, rather violently, in seconds.

  • A more notable instance is when the Hulk and Iron Man's Hulkbuster suit lay waste to a small portion of a city.

The Hulk's more violent nature is basically problematic enough that Banner decides leaving the Avengers might be the most effective thing the Hulk could do for the world at large. Banner is certainly not evil and the Hulk, his rage personified, doesn't tend to be evil either, merely very difficult to control and weaponize in a fashion the Avengers or SHIELD might like. This is consistent with his appearances over the decades in the canon Marvel Universe as well.

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    In the A:AoU example, The Hulk was being brainwashed, so I'm not sure that really counts.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 18:55
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    Why not? Banner is reluctant to turn into the Hulk even before he was being brainwashed because the Hulk is destructive, not because he is inherently evil. Even when the Hulk is being brainwashed, he was still able to mitigate the potential damage being done. There were relatively few casualties despite all the damage. Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 22:17
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    And yet, Stark was never in control of the battle. The Hulkbuster suit could never truly stop Banner unless he was trying to stop himself. Even Stark understands this. While the MCU is a different canon, Stark has NEVER been in the Hulk's league no matter how many Hulkbuster suits he created. If the Hulk isn't destroying you, it's because of the influence of Banner inside the Hulk, prevented it. This is the most commonly depicted psychological issue in the Hulk comics for over fifteen years before the Hulk gained any form of intellectual capacity. Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 22:22
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    Steering the Hulk and controlling the battle were not the same thing. All he did was present himself as a target for the Hulk to attack. He was an effective punching bag. Controlling the battle would have meant he was winning it. He was losing it and directing himself where the fewest people would be hurt. He drew "aggro' and "tanked" damage. I don't call that controlling the battle. I call that "strategically retreating." Given his circumstances, even as powerful as he was he realized it was the best he could hope for. Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 22:31
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    Barely. Just barely. Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 23:01

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