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The Hulk was created in a fairly mundane way. Just take one human, add a load of gamma radiation and you get a hulk.

Given this fairly simple recipe, why have more hulks not been created?

I know there are a few others:

  • Three She-Hulks
  • Red Hulk
  • Abomination is a bit Hulk-like

I am surprised that there are not even more; I would have thought that every rogue state, military commander and evil organization would like their own Hulk. Not everyone can be as moral and moody as Bruce Banner.

Is there an in-universe reason why there are not more Hulks?

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    There are actually a few more than six. – Rogue Jedi Apr 18 '16 at 15:50
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    As I understand it, there's still some sort of "X Factor" (no, not the mutation one) involved in it. Some people are transformed by gamma radiation. Others are simply killed or disfigured by it. – FuzzyBoots Apr 18 '16 at 16:16
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    “Just take one human, add a load of gamma radiation and you get a hulk. Given this fairly simple recipe” — one does not simply create a hulk. – Paul D. Waite Apr 18 '16 at 16:36
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    Just irradiate a bunch of spiders and let them start biting people. Just take a bunch of people and stick them in a bunch of sand in atomic testing grounds and start exploding bombs. Just take a bunch of astronauts and send them into space to get hit by cosmic rays. Just take a bunch of billionaire geniuses and send them into the middle east to get kidnapped. – phantom42 Apr 18 '16 at 18:16
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    @phantom42: At least this isn't DC. Then we'd be killing all the billionaire parents of eight-year-olds. – John Sensebe Apr 18 '16 at 21:59
63

I challenge the premise:

The Hulk was created in a fairly mundane way. Just take one human, add a load of gamma radiation and you get a hulk.

There were additional factors involved with Bruce Banner and other hulks that are not at all well understood. The Hulks we know about were all flukes, and you'd be thousands of times more likely to kill any subject rather than "enhance" them. In fact, whatever facility or lab you set up to produce your Hulks might inadvertently exclude the unknown factor that allowed the gamma radiation to transform the subject rather than merely kill it, and you'd never get your new Hulk.

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    This more than anything seems like the primary impediment. – KRyan Apr 18 '16 at 20:13
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    As far as I know Bruce Banner had anger issues, stemming from childhood abuse, before he was irradiated. – Arif Burhan Apr 18 '16 at 23:33
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    @ArifBurhan We know from the comics this was (at least part of) the catalyst. But other hulks had different catalysts. For an in-universe character, scientifically speaking, how would they know where to even start? You couldn't even begin to guess what else might be required. It might make for a fun story arc, though: some shady org goes into a war zone and starts experimenting on and killing refuges, pow's, etc, hoping to get at least one hulk and start narrowing down the possible factors. – Joel Coehoorn Mar 21 '17 at 19:12
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    That said, the Intelligencia DID use Red Hulk to create an army of hulks in the "Hulked-Out Heroes" arc. The effect was temporary, however. – Omegacron Mar 28 '17 at 15:09
44

How do you control your Hulk(s) once you've created them?

You ask why people seeking power don't create Hulks to increase their power.

And it seems obvious that having an army of Hulks under one's control would do just that. But you're begging the question. Anything I can think of to control a Hulk would by definition have to be more powerful than a Hulk. If you already have that, what do you need Hulks for?

Maybe you could engineer your Hulks to be dependent upon something over which you exercise exclusive control (such as the Jem'Hadar in the Star Trek universe, who are addicted to Ketracel White). But you'd better be absolutely certain of that control, because your Army of Addicted Hulks is going to be very motivated to get control over the thing that controls them. Whom do you trust to guard access to your "White"? How can you be sure he won't use that to rule your AoAH?

Maybe you can do surgery on your Hulk Army recruits' brains before you irradiate them, and add some kind of loyalty chip that lets you directly control some pleasure/pain responses, and you can condition them to obey your commands implicitly. But (at the risk of repeating myself) if you can do that, why not use your control technology to control more people and skip the whole Hulk thing?

And if you don't have a way to assure that control, all you'll succeed in creating is something very powerful that you don't control. And that certainly seems like it would decrease the power of its creator. I assume anyone smart enough to actually be able to create an Army of Hulks is also smart enough to think this through.

In universe, we have plenty of examples of how hard a Hulk is to control. Assume anyone thinking of creating one is half as familiar with those examples as you are, and you have your answer.

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    Strength isn't the only way to control someone. Leverage comes in all forms, from financial to social to logistical. You don't have to out-punch the Hulk army, you just have to have enough leverage on them that they're incentivized to do what you say. – Knetic Apr 18 '16 at 19:42
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    @Knetic I gave two examples other than brute strength of how one might have leverage over the Army of Hulks, but in both cases, if you're able to maintain that leverage in the first place, why do you need the Army of Hulks? Just use your leverage directly against the populace, or against political, business, and entertainment leaders who already have influence over the populace. And be damn sure you control the leverage, and none of your minions decides he can leverage the AoH against you. – Monty Harder Apr 18 '16 at 19:54
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    It's a hell of a lot easier to implant one mind control chip in one guy's head, turn him into a Hulk, and use him to impose control on thousands of people, than it is to perform brain surgery on thousands of civilians. There are plenty of reasons that leverage which works on one person wouldn't work on an entire populace. – Chris Hayes Apr 18 '16 at 19:59
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    @Knetic I don't think you can control an army of Hulks by threatening them with taking away their tax refunds. – PyRulez Apr 19 '16 at 2:07
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    @Knetic Actually, you do have to out-punch them, because if there's one thing Hulks do, it's smash. And they smash when they get angry, like when they get angry at you for manipulating them. Oh, and they aren't exactly the most rational while they're doing that. You feel like trusting your life to that? Be my guest. – jpmc26 Apr 19 '16 at 4:51
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There are roughly 180 gamma powered mutates in the Marvel universe...

If we have a look at the Marvel wiki for Gamma Ray Exposure, we can see a list of 176 individual characters who received their powers through exposure to gamma radiation.

But to be fair, a lot of these characters are from alternate earths and timelines and such (mostly Banners and Blonskys), but they still exist in the Marvel universe nonetheless.


One thing you need to remember too, killing a gamma powered mutate is exceedingly difficult. It would be reasonable to assume Marvel doesn't want dozens of them running around.

1

I thought The Leader did something like this in Hulk #345. (mind you in decades of comics many things have been done and then ret-conned away)

reference http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/04/08/comics-you-should-own-the-incredible-hulk-331-346/

It was also my understanding it was implied that the US government was keeping "Gamma Bombs" to create "Gamma Powered" beings.

It could be that the radiation from a "Gamma Bomb" is not simply pure gamma and so it's not just anyone who can do this.

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