For a while after Ol' Greenskin's star turn in The Avengers, Marvel Films asserted that Hulk seemed to work best in group settings, so they had no plans for another solo movie.
But times have changed, and now they are talking about exactly that. But, honestly, third time isn't the charm if it sucks. So if Marvel Films does do another Hulk film, is there an existing Hulk story that provides the laughs, the angst, the pathos, the romance and all the other stuff needed to give it a chance?
IOW, what are the best Hulk stories ever done? Sing out, Legionnaires!
I'll start with a scene I remember from some story I don't remember, but stuck with me because A) it was powerful, and B) it was almost necessary.
The book opens with Bruce Banner standing (or sitting) on a cliff in the great American Southwest. He pulls a pistol from his jacket. Wordlessly, he puts the barrel in his mouth. Camera closes in. He squeezes the trigger.
The camera pulls back. The Hulk is sitting where Banner was. He spits out the bullet.
"Stupid Banner." he says, and bounds away.
Aside from being a riveting scene, it explains why Banner has never committed suicide. He can't. The Hulk won't let him.
I think that story was from the miniseries Banner! by Brian Azzarello and Richard Corben. It was a great idea, but unfortunately the rest of the mini was your standard "government can't be trusted" story featuring Doc Samson.
For me, the story that sticks with me is from The Incredible Hulk #333, by Peter David and (unfortunately) Todd McFarlane. This story was a framing device for a story about spousal abuse. Within it, at the time, the change was not triggered by anxiety or anger but by sunrise/sunset. The Hulk breaks into a liquor store and drinks so much that Banner cannot possibly wake up until the next sunset. He's locked away by an abusive Sheriff that has no clue what he's dealing with, and the ending--while predictable--still stays with me to this day.
But he's got a stick!
The Greatest Hulk story might be Fantastic Four #25, but he's the antagonist in that one. I like the original Leader Saga, but I doubt it would make a good movie. Then there's Steve Englehart's Harpy/Bi-Beast story. I flicked through Marvel Treasury Edition #26, which reprinted the story, at an impressionable age. But it might come across on the screen like one of those superhero movies with too many villains.
Going outside the box, how about basing a movie on the Moby Dick in space story from The Incredible Hulk ##136-137? I didn't think the issues were great when I read them as a teen (in Marvel Treasury Edition #20), but that'd be a different Hulk movie.
Hmm. Interesting idea, Luke. Say, wasn't someone named Klaatu in that story? They'd have to change that ... !
My fear about the Bi-Beast/Harpy story is that it might be too reminiscent of those Ray Harryhausen Greek myth movies of the '60s and '70s. Or worse, reminiscent of the Hulk movie with Banner's dad being both the Absorbing Man and Zzaxx. Or even bad Toho Godzilla movies. In short, movies about really big things fighting has a bad history!
Luke Blanchard said:
The Greatest Hulk story might be Fantastic Four #25, but he's the antagonist in that one.
Unfortunately, we wouldn't be able to have the FF or the Thing/Hulk battle because of contracts.
I like the original Leader Saga, but I doubt it would make a good movie.
The Incredible Hulk (2008), the better of the two movies, had a janitor character who was being affected by gamma rays. If they had made a sequel to this one he probably would have been The Leader, since IIRC that's how the character came to be in the Silver Age. The Leader could make a good movie if he was paired with someone who could physically fight the Hulk.
I liked a lot of Peter David's run. I'd love to see a Mr. Fixit movie (but can't imagine that any time soon). Also, Hulk and the Pantheon would be great (but also unlikely). Not sure they want to go in an intelligent Hulk direction
Jarella's story might be interesting, although they'd probably replace Psyclop with the Leader and no doubt toss the idea that Hulk had Banner's mind on her world. Actually they'd probably mix Jarella with that queen from Planet Hulk and announce a Skaar spin off. Which considering how great spin offs tend to be would kill the Hulk franchise off again.
Jarella is my favorite Disney princess
And the only one that can defend herself without yelling for help. (Mulan doesn't count. She married a soldier, not a prince.)
I think it was when he encountered the drifter Cracker Jack Jackson and learned how to write his name. I can't remember the issue but there was a lot of good characters in that one.