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The Deadliest Hulk Ever Has A Secret Twisted Marvel Origin

Spoilers ahead for Hulk #13 by Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics is revealing the truth behind the deadliest Hulk ever, as Titan's origin has finally been explained. In the current "Hulk" ongoing series, Bruce Banner and the Hulk have been plagued by Titan. Titan is a terrifying persona of the Hulk; he is essentially the Hulk's Hulk and is responsible for numerous deadly incidents, including one in El Paso that made the Jade Giant an even bigger problem for his usual allies, the Avengers. On Hulk Planet, Titan has emerged once again, obliterating the Gamma-powered inhabitants of the world and leading to the dark Hulk's twisted backstory being shared.

Bruce Banner and the Hulk have undergone considerable change in the current "Hulk" run at Marvel Comics, with the hero adding numerous cybernetic augments that have transformed him into Starship Hulk. Meanwhile, Banner controls the Hulk like a pilot inside his psyche. He is able to make him stronger in the real world by powering him up through the Engine Room, where a version of the Hulk battles against a series of escalating villains inside his mind to fuel and increase the real monster's powers. The more villains he mows down inside Hulk's mind — including manifestations of Galactus, Marvel Zombies, and more representing different levels of a simulation — the stronger he becomes in the real world. However, readers are now learning the green monster's latest transformation wasn't actually the Hulk's idea but a villain in disguise who helped birth Titan.

Who is Titan actually?

In "Hulk" #13 by Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, Marte Gracia, and Cory Petit from Marvel Comics, it's revealed that Bruce Banner previously sought out the assistance of Doctor Strange to help control the Hulk. The Sorcerer Supreme uses a spell to create a mind palace he could live in using newly discovered magic. In doing so, Banner could control the Hulk like never before in a world of his own making, operating the Jade Giant from inside his mind. But Doctor Strange's spell hasn't kept Hulk's darkest side at bay. Since its construction, the Hulk has lost control a few times, and Titan has taken his place, killing everyone and everything that stood in his way in a horrifying fashion — ensuring there's a trail of blood, body parts, and death in his wake.

In the present day, on "Hulk Planet," the world made up solely of gamma monsters, Titan causes mass destruction, toppling the Hulk paradise. Fully unleashed, Titan goes on a murderous rampage against the different Hulks, and they can only watch in horror while the hero they celebrated turns against them. Doctor Strange, in his astral form, arrives amidst the chaos, jumping into Titan's body. However, after being expelled from the deadliest Hulk, Strange admits he recognizes the magic that created Titan — hinting that it's not his own. After grabbing an orb allowing Strange to reveal the entity inside Titan, the Fear Lord D'Spayre appears and shares that he's just a servant in a plan of someone else's intent. 

D'Spayre, who first appeared in "Marvel Team-Up" #68, feeds on negative emotions and can create illusions of fear and despair. Stephen Strange puts together that the villain, disguised as Strange, made the Mind Palace for Bruce. That somewhat explains how Hulk's greatest fear, Titan, manifested.

How did Hulk transform?

"Hulk" #13 also dives into how Hulk became the cybernetically augmented version of himself, getting a bloody closer look at his encounter with MODOK from "Free Comic Book Day 2021: Avengers/Hulk" #1. In the story, Hulk takes out A.I.M. forces and MODOK to get to his tech. We learn how Bruce Banner used the advanced space travel equipment to dramatically transform himself. Bruce explains he never wanted to be a monster like the Hulk, nor an Avenger or Defender — he wanted to be an astronaut as a kid and discover new worlds. As a result, he ripped apart his own skin and flesh, going through a horrifying process to become the Starship Hulk. The technology changed the hero into something new and unrecognizable from his usual Hulk form, paired with his new Mind Palace.

Ultimately, transforming into Starship Hulk and controlling him like a captain in "Star Trek" was a way for Bruce Banner to escape his old life. He never intended on returning to Earth. Considering all the trauma the hero has endured, from his childhood to the accident that changed him into the powerful rage monster, Banner was ready to move on from it. But his transformative efforts from Doctor Strange ended up being a trick, as D'Spayre was the actual architect of the Mind Palace, turning what should have been an escape for Banner into an even bigger nightmare.

It remains to be seen how Hulk can stop Titan, especially with Doctor Strange's discovery that D'Spayre might be following someone else's orders, but Banner will hopefully finally find peace once Titan is put down for good. But defeating the deadliest Hulk ever will be one of the biggest challenges the hero has ever faced. Meanwhile, Titan's rampage on "Hulk Planet" looks unstoppable.

What does this mean for the Hulk?

The penultimate issue of the current ongoing "Hulk" series is setting up a final battle between Hulk and Titan. It will be fascinating to see if D'Spayre is working on behalf of someone else, and if so, who that is. Who would want to destroy Bruce's mind and create a version of the Hulk that is his worst fears personified? Could classic Hulk villains like the Leader be involved? Or how about Bruce's father, Brian Banner, whose whereabouts are unknown following "Immortal Hulk." Regardless of who is truly responsible for Titan, the tease for the series' finale in "Hulk" #14 hints at more twists while Banner tries to stop Titan from obliterating "Hulk Planet." Banner and the Hulk will have to work together to stop Titan and save the gamma-powered world. 

With the Hulk's status quo soon to change — a new "Incredible Hulk" series will focus on the Jade Giant battling monsters — the truth coming out about Titan and the deadliest Hulk's connection to D'Spayre is a huge bombshell that makes the upcoming finale unpredictable. Hulk's attempt at change has resulted in even more chaos, as the magic used to create the Mind Palace ended up being a deadly Trojan horse. Hulk needs to dig deep to stop Titan. Otherwise, his previous destruction will look tame in comparison to what's coming.

"Hulk" #13 from Marvel Comics is in comic book stores now.