Hello readers. It has been a while, but the new year is upon us, and the dawning of the new year (coupled with my return to campus) have inspired me to blog. And, seeing how it is a new year, I thought that I would begin with a topic of importance, namely the issue of identity in the persona of Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk.
For those of you who don't know, the Incredible Hulk is a superhero created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee who first appeared in Incredible Hulk #1, May of 1962. The Hulk was "born" for the lack of a better term when scientist Bruce Banner was caught in the onslaught of a nuclear blast, altering his D.N.A. and causing him to transform into a monstrous alter ego dubbed "The Hulk". Initially these transformations were merely nocturnal, leading Bruce to transform when the sun went down, but quickly began to instead be associated with Banner's emotional state, transformation being triggered by emotional duress, be it anger, excitement, jealousy, etc.
All of that brings us to the real question behind this blog post: are Dr. Bruce Banner and the Incredible Hulk the same person? If someone were to ask me this, my initial response would be "of course", but, upon further thought, it appears that the answer is a resounding "no". Consider the following: When Dr. Banner becomes the Hulk, he has little to no control in regards to stopping or regulating his transformations, as well as regulating his actions once he has "hulked out", to use the vernacular. The Hulk does seem to share at least some common memories with Banner, and vice versa, but they do seem to be two distinct identities.
Whether or not you regard Hulk and Bruce Banner as the same person can of course vary depending upon your definition of identity regarding mental instability, specifically psychosis and schizophrenia. But, if some commits some sort of crime while temporarily insane, we do not convict them of this crime. We will restrain and detain them, but not as punishment. Rather, we do so to protect ourselves from a repeat occurrence until such time as they can be cured.
It appears as though they are relieved from responsibility due to their inability to control themselves, implying that we regard the person who committed the crime and the person being tried as two separate individuals, even though they live in the same body. The same applies for Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk. In my humble opinion they are merely two separate individuals who inhabit the same body.
 Incredible Hulk #1, May 1962
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