bombarded with a massive dose of gamma radiation while saving a young man’s life during the testing of an experimental bomb, Dr. Robert Bruce Banner was transformed into the Incredible Hulk: a green behemoth who is the living personification of rage and pure physical strength.
Robert Bruce Banner was born to atomic scientist Dr. Brian Banner and his wife, Rebecca. Although deeply loved by his mother, Bruce’s father who was mentally unstable harbored a deep jealousy and hatred for him. Brian was convinced that his work in atomic science had altered his genetic structure and because of this he also feared that Bruce would grow up a genetic freak, when actually, Bruce was just a very gifted and intelligent child. While growing up Bruce was subjected to Brian’s drunken rages and abuse, as was his mother. Tragically, Rebecca was killed by Brian when she attempted to take young Bruce and leave him. His mother’s murder and his father’s arrest left Bruce in the care of his aunt, Mrs. Drake, and he grew up a social outcast due to the trauma of being abused by his father as well as witnessing his mother’s abuse and murder at the hands of his father.
After graduating high school, Bruce began studying nuclear physics at Desert State University and later at the California Institute of Technology. He gained employment with the military at Desert Base, New Mexico under the command of Thunderbolt General Ross, who was overseeing the test of Banner’s newly-created Gamma Bomb. It was here that he met Ross’s daughter, Betty and the two found a mutual attraction. On the day of the bomb’s scheduled detonation Banner saw someone in the testing area. Hoping to rescue this person, Banner went into the testing area where he encountered the person he’d seen; a young teenager named Rick Jones, who had sneaked onto the test site on a dare. Banner managed to push Jones to safety. However, rather than delay the countdown and halt the detonation as instructed, Banner’s assistant Igor Starsky, (in reality, a foreign secret agent named Igor Drovkor)allowed the countdown and the subsequent detonation to occur. This resulted in Banner being caught in the Gamma Bomb explosion and thus exposed to an incredibly massive amount of gamma radiation. Banner and Jones were later picked up by the base’s military personnel and taken back to Desert Base where they were placed in isolation and observation due to their exposure to gamma radiation. They were still in isolation at sundown when Banner transformed into a gray, monstrous, and lumbering brute for the first time. This brute was quickly dubbed “the Hulk” by military personnel.