When I read questions, see comments, and in general when anyone talks about Bruce Banner and The Hulk these days, there's always a separation of identity between the two. There's "The Hulk" and "Bruce Banner", but they're not treated as the same person.

In particular, there was one comic where Bruce Banner dies, and the Hulk has an internal monologue about how once he has to revert back to Banner, he'll die too. And there's the Avengers movie, where Bruce refers to The Hulk as "the Big Guy", as if he were a separate entity.

This may not be consistent throughout canon, but does this mean Bruce/The Hulk has dissociative personality disorder, despite only having one mind? Or are Bruce Banner and The Hulk truly two different entities? Has that changed over time to reflect the evolution of the character?

  • The fact that one is smart and the other dumb would imply some kind of change in the brain. It is going out on a limb calling it psychological as the change has more to do with comic mumbo jumbo than anything else.
    – Oldcat
    May 7, 2014 at 22:22
  • 2
    @Oldcat Not all versions of the Hulk are dumb. Not only are some highly intelligent, at least one has the full mental capabilities as Bruce Banner.
    – phantom42
    May 7, 2014 at 22:28
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    Hmph. Is nothing sacred? The whole point of the Hulk is man vs the uncontrolled unreasoning beast within. It isn't supposed to be a lifestyle choice.
    – Oldcat
    May 7, 2014 at 22:47
  • As @phantom42 points out, you would need to specify which version of the Hulk you are talking about. Also, the term "Multiple personality" is no longer used, the proper diagnosis would be Dis-associative Personality Disorder, which a case could definitely be argued for
    – Monty129
    May 7, 2014 at 22:47
  • @Monty129 Fair enough about the term, I will use the right one. The thing is, I seem to also recall that a lot of the Hulk's "different mind" bits have to do with a dramatic increase in rage during his transformation, basically losing control of himself, but not actually being an entirely different person...if that interpretation is totally wrong though, and this is how he's always been...then that's the information I am looking for.
    – Zibbobz
    May 8, 2014 at 0:10

4 Answers 4


There have been so many different versions of the Hulk, it's difficult to say what the definitive answer is to this question; however, during Peter David's run on The Incredible Hulk, it became clear that this particular conception of the Hulk had some degree of dissociative identity disorder, largely caused by the abuse his father heaped upon Bruce and his mother (abuse that culminated in Bruce's father killing his mother.)

See the section "Multiple Personality Disorder" at Marvel's Hulk Page for their confirmation of this theory:

Soon after, the swirling mess of persona and mentalities took their toll on the ever-flustered mind of Dr. Banner, and a battle for supremacy and control took place in Banner's subconscious. With assistance by the Ringmaster and his hypnotic abilities, Doc Samson tapped into the subconscious of Banner and reached his separate incarnations. Through this hypnosis, Banner, the green Hulk, and the grey Fixit all aligned to face their true inner demons-- Banner's unresolved issues with his abusive father and the murderer of his mother. With this realization, Banner was able to fuse these mentalities together, finding peace of mind...


In short yes but at the end of World War Hulk Banner concedes he and Hulk are one and the same. 'Each' Hulk is a different reflection of Banner's personality. Over the years we have seen more and more of 'Hulk' in Banner. Banner is manipulative, jealous (of Tony Stark for example), he takes enjoyment from the misfortune of others - he mocks Tony Stark for his lack of intellect (in relation to himself), he infected Doctor Doom with a virus that made him retarded, tricked Juggernaut into fighting his son etc, etc. Over the past year he has a catchphrase "Banner is the smartest there is". Banner/Hulk are very complex characters and I think it's refreshing that unlike say Spider-Man or Superman, they have grown tremendously.


I think the Mind Body Dualism theory can explain this, though it may not make sense scientifically because it cannot be proven with any means of current technology. Basically, the soul is our true self and we control our bodies like puppet masters, most people live through their entire lives without realizing this, but some do and are able to break through the bonds and seperate them into two entities, mind and body.

I believe that Hulk’s soul is born or placed into Bruce’s body, and now his body is similar to two pilots fighting over a plane's control, one experienced yet cowardly, the other clumsy and has anger issues.

This is different from mental disorders because it has nothing to do with the brain, they were two entities from the very start, only trapped within the same body, that explains why they can never truly be cured, because it was never an illness. The reason Hulk takes over at times is because he wants to protect this physical vessel. They both share the same one, thus if Bruce’s body dies, Hulk’s bond with this physical body will be broken as well. The only way to cure this illness is to give Hulk another soulless vessel to dwell in, so that Hulk can break off his ties to Bruce’s vessel and hand back to Bruce complete control of his vessel.


It's difficult to say, because the Hulk is a relatively unique being in the Marvel Universe (despite there being 50 other hulking types out there)... I'll explain.

The Original Hulk personality stems from the dark feelings in Banner's heart. This is why the Hulk hates Banner with an all-consuming passion. Banner is weakness, and Hulk is invincible strength... immune to all the hurts he received as Banner.

However, at this point, it becomes something else entirely. I am currently trying to gain enough points to answer another question here, but I will keep it concise...

The Hulk is, in essence, a living being on his own. He is essentially an Astral Elemental (note that Astral energy is, as said by the Silver Surfer when he was trapped on the Astral Plane, the source of the Power Cosmic (also said here:http://www.comicvine.com/power-cosmic/4015-41039/)) Also, the Astral Plane is also the plane of the mental, and thoughts..

he is a thought that insists on itself, and therefore exists..

So no.. he is not a personality disorder, though he was born from one. Even if Banner received treatment and was "cured" of the Hulk, he would still change when angry.

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