Superpowers Most People Don't Know The Hulk Has

Thanks to the teenage shenanigans of Rick Jones, Bruce Banner found himself at the center of a gamma bomb blast and in possession of some incredible new powers, even if his new skillset manifested his angrier self, or as the saying goes, made him Hulk-out. Most fans and moviegoers are familiar with Jade Giant—not to be confused with the jolly green one—and his feats of strength and derring-do. However, Banner's inner turmoil has a few abilities not everyone may be familiar with. 

Sees astral forms and ghosts

To say the Hulk sees dead people wouldn't really be fair to this curious capability. Rather, Hulk is capable of detecting the spectral realm, as well as communicating and even manipulating someone projecting themselves on the astral plane, something eminent Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, is wont to do on more than a few occasions.

One of the earlier manifestations of this power—which would prove highly useful (or counterproductive) on a paranormal television show—occurred in The Incredible Hulk #370. Banner's alter ego found himself capable of seeing Strange and even grasping his astral form. The Defenders—not the Luke Cage and Jessica Jones Defenders but the Hulk, Namor, and Doc Strange ones—reunited to take down Shanzar, the twisted Sorcerer Supreme of the so-called "Strange Universe," after he possessed the mighty warrior and turned him into Dark Hulk. He's demonstrated this ability on several more occasions, and even Bruce Banner's proven capable of tuning into spirit TV, although without as solid a reception.

Although never made official, it's been suggested that Hulk gained the ability to see ghosts because of Bruce fearing his abusive father would haunt him. True or not, their sixth sense doesn't make many appearances throughout Hulk lore.

​Survives in low- to no-oxygen environments

Bruce Banner's crankier self is capable of quite a number of impressive feats. The gamma-irradiated superhuman has the ability to heal at incredible rates, leap up to 1,000 miles high—breaking clean through Earth's atmosphere—and walk along the floor of the ocean if need be. So it goes without saying, Hulk has a special skill set to deal with being left breathless.

Over the decades, The Hulk had ample opportunity to prove his incredible adaptability, including in The Incredible Hulk #138, which includes a long brawl with the Sandman (not the Vertigo guy) underwater. He also takes out a naval vessel—mostly because of puny humans and their war machines, thinking they're all tough or something—spending a considerable amount of time in underwater without worrying about that whole air thing. At one point, a shadowy organization even tries to control Hulk with noxious fumes, forcing one agent to remark: "poison gas? Who did your research? Hulk doesn't always have to breathe!"

Thanks to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s extensive research, Nick Fury postulates in Incredible Hulk #90 that the Hulk is capable of adapting to just about any environment due to his gamma radiation mutation. Fury's theory is later confirmed, as Hulk survives in the vacuum of space without oxygen, for the most part. Would-be supervillains take note: drowning and explosive decompression just aren't effective against Mr. Banner's nigh-invulnerable id.

Resistant to psychic attack

Unlike normal people, most superheroes don't just wake up to coffee and a plate of waffles. Well, they might get their morning started in a similar way, but there's also probably a band of twisted mutant-haters hanging around the yard or a psychic attack from an evil sorceress from an alternative reality interrupting their orange juice. Fortunately for Bruce Banner, he has a few defenses already in place, at least when it comes to enjoying the last drop of that tangy, tangy citrus.

Banner's avocado inner child comes equipped with resistance to psionic or hypnotic suggestion—that or it's really thick. The jury's still out on that one. This ability comes in rather handy, especially when nutters like Xemnu, who can mesmerize an entire planet, attack with a legion of monsters in Hulk #30. His psionic defenses also prove useful against the plethora of telepathic terrors like Mentallo or Apocalypse and even allies like Doctor Strange and Professor X. While Hulk's resistance isn't always 100 percent successful, it's pretty helpful when trying to save the galaxy from the crème-de-la-crème of psychic psychos.

Although it's never fully explained, his mental resistance may also have something to do his extreme resistance and adaptability or possibly even his multiple personalities. But that's likely a matter for his psi-chiatrist to unravel (ah, comics).

Able to punch through dimensions

In the Marvel Universe, some characters can rend time and space with mystical spells, like Doctor Strange, or even create new dimensions like Fantastic Four offspring Franklin Richards. With the exception of the second Miss America, America Chavez, few characters can bend the very reality they live in with just their force of will. The Hulk is one of those few.

Incredible Hulk #305 deals with the aftermath of one of those (all too frequent) times the Green Goliath devastated New York City. Unable to kill his friend and longtime ally, Doctor Strange instead banished Banner to the Crossroads Dimension. In the alternative world, Hulk ran across his old adversaries, the U-Foes, who'd love to take a piece out of the Hulk. His battle with them, especially with Ironclad, apparently reverberated around the multiverse, creating a serious multiversal ruckus.

Not content to blast his way through dimensions, he's also capable of destroying dimensions, such as the time he wiped out Dark Crawler's pocket universe with one of his potent "thunderclaps"—hate to see what his golf clap could do. He even knocked the heck out of the time-space continuum, punching his way through a time-storm at Kang the Conqueror's underhanded behest. Now that's what we call "Hulk smash!"

Homing instinct

Going home comes with a sense of comfort, security, and familiarity that can put even the most savage soul at ease, so much so that even the Hulk feels the call of his native soil. In spite of Bruce Banner's birthplace in Dayton, Ohio, the irradiated hero's true homeland is the bomb ranges of New Mexico, where Hulk first came to be.

Superhero scientist Doctor Leonard "Doc" Samson first notes a homing instinct in 1985's Incredible Hulk #314, during the aptly named "Call of the Desert" story, when he tracks The Hulk by predicting his need to revisit his roots. Unfortunately, he also calls the big green guy by his birth name (usually a big no-no), which doesn't go well in the usual smash-y sort of ways. 

The Hulk's strong bombsite-draw is later explained in Incredible Hulk #460, when he meets his tyrannical future version, the Maestro, in a dream state. Maestro explains that the remnants of gamma bomb continue to pull them back to replenish their powers. In addition to his home turf, Hulk has also demonstrated the ability to find certain individuals as well, such as Rick Jones and Betty Ross—kind of like a massive green bloodhound with hyper-violent tendencies.

Energy absorption and expulsion

Marvel's Earth-616 is filled with many friends and fiends capable of matter and energy manipulations, including Gambit, Captain Marvel, and Rachel Summers. The Hulk, on the other hand, is usually more associated with smashing and taking an incredible amount of punishment—which is in its own way, energy manipulation of sorts—than zap-rays or concussive blasts. Yet he's demonstrated some of his own unusual kinetic abilities.

In Incredible Hulk #103, an interstellar parasite, cleverly named the Space Parasite and later identified as Randau, King of the Xeronians, wants to use the Hulk as a gamma ray battery to recharge himself. Suffice to say, it doesn't go as planned. Similarly, Armageddon tried to bring his boy back to life using Hulk-powered machines. While his true deftness at controlling and channeling that green, green radiation is unknown, he has successfully redirected gamma blasts, even managing to deflect the Gammatron Bombarder's rays back at itself, which destroyed the Avengers' very expensive toy. As usual, the taxpayers thank you for your contributions, Hulk.

Hulk procreation

Seeing as Bruce Banner first arrived on the scene in 1962, it's a little surprising that the super-scientist has no children—at least no Earth-born ones, anyway. His desire not to breed is understandable, though, since his children could easily become whirling green dervishes (just imagine those terrible twos!). Still, that doesn't mean The Hulk hasn't passed on his unique traits to anyone else.

Due to his uniquely irradiated blood, Bruce was responsible for turning Jennifer Walters into the She-Hulk. Admittedly, he could either give his cousin a blood transfusion or watch her die, so he made the right call—for as frustrating as living with a green-eyed monster inside, at least Jen's still alive. His uniquely adaptive blood also meant that others who absorb his irradiation can become alternative Jade Giants, much like Amadeus Cho, when he diffused a Banner-fied gamma bomb with nanites and became the Totally Awesome Hulk.

Of course, Hulk did have a couple actual kids, siring twin boys, Skaar and Hiro-Kala, with his wife Caiera the Oldstrong on Sakaar, during the Planet Hulk story arc. The alternative future version of She-Hulk, Lyra Walters, is also the daughter of Hulk and Thundra. More infamously, though, the now-classic Old Man Logan storyline included a psycho-Hulk that popped out an entire brood of nasty, inbred spawn known as the Hulk Gang in the barren future. Hopefully, Old Man Logan is the only soul that ever has to deal with these vicious hillbilly hooligans.

Introspective growth

Hulk has many different sides, from his first inception—a reasonably intelligent if highly aggressive version of Bruce Banner—to a smash-friendly dunce to a gray-skinned tough guy conniver. Of course, that doesn't even count all the times Hulk and Bruce have been rent asunder or merged into a brainiac with brawn. Even at his most extroverted, rage-filled self, the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the superhero still underwent a little intellectual development, even if only on a subconscious level.

In the third volume of Incredible Hulk #110, during the "Dawn of War" part of the World War Hulk story arc, the big guy seeks revenge on the Illuminati after they trapped him off-world—because, well, he's a massive green force of destruction. After Hulk captures a number of Earth's heroes, Amadeus Cho engages him in a raging debate over his true nature. Cho hypothesizes that, due to Bruce Banner's influence, Hulk's conscience has continued to develop and grow through their shared life experience. As a result, Hulk himself has grown more intelligent and calculating and is unwilling to harm people now. Of course, an understandably crabby Hulk claims he isn't going to hurt anyone personally. He'll just make his frenemies fight each other to the death.

To clarify his point later, Cho adds "I pushed him as hard as I possibly could. And I'm still alive. He's no monster." As always, that remains to be seen.


Everybody has one of those days: the car breaks down on the freeway, the boss sends back a report, the kids jam spaghetti in the Blu-ray player. However, for Bruce Banner's emo side, every day could be a bad day, potentially for an entire street, city, or even the entire world.

Scores of Marvel's mightiest, from Nick Fury to Mr. Fantastic to the Beyonder, have classified the Hulk as an "Omega Level Threat." As his wrath intensifies—from crack-open-a-car to knock-out Thor to terrify Thanos levels—his strength, and therefore capacity for destruction, shoots off the charts. Among his most impressive furious feats include hoisting mountain ranges (which Molecule Man decided to drop on him), smashing entire cities (poor New York), and even thrashing entire planets.

Incredible Hulks #634 introduced the world to theoretically the most powerful format of Hulk, the World Breaker. Stuck in the Dark Dimension at that point, Hulk seemed perfectly content to brawl with his longtime flame Betty Ross until they were all tuckered out. However, were his tectonic plate-crushing might to escape, hoo-boy, there'd be some serious trouble for any planetoid in range. Hulk also manages to crack open the planet in World War Hulk with nothing more than a might stomp. Thankfully, he's not into bluegrass, or we wouldn't have much of a planet left.

Immunity to disease

Of all the great planetary ravages, few are quite as insidious as the tiny little viruses and bacteria that can take out millions of people at a breeding urge. The Hulk is definitely up there too, and, since they're both capable of devastation on a widespread scale, they have something in common. So the Emerald Avenger's immunity to disease actually makes some sense—especially when coupled with his remarkable strength, gamma-irradiated origin, and ability to take a ridiculous amount of punishment.

But it's the Hulk's incredible powers of regeneration—which almost puts Wolverine's super-healing to shame—that make him impervious to those pesky little invaders. In Incredible Hulk Annual from 1985, Hulk is captured by some really well-equipped researchers—when did the universities start handing out flying lairs with superhero grasping pincher arms? Keeping him sedated, no easy task, one of the researchers mentions how pointless sterilizing the needle would be, since "there's not a microbe on Earth that could live more than half a microsecond" inside the gamma-irradiated hero. Fortunately, one of the doctors feels bad for the Hulk and helps him eventually escape.

Aside from giving him a clean bill of health, his super-immunity also helps the Hulk detoxify when he's been poisoned, something Bruce probably appreciates when he decides to tie one on the night before.

Black hole crushing

Not many heroes can say they walked along the bottom of the ocean without the benefit of a diving bell or were jettisoned onto a distant planet to keep the Earth from being destroyed (by him). And, no matter how impressive an Earth hero's skills are, few can say they fought a black hole and lived to tell the tale. The Hulk counts that among his feats, though.

In Defenders #3 from 1972, the crew tries to break Silver Surfer out of his rut, literally, as he's been trapped on Earth. The mighty heroes slip the surly bounds of terra firma, winding up in the Dark Dimension by accident. While searching for a way out, they trigger some sort of cosmic event, which pulls them straight towards the hungry maw of a black hole. 

While the physics aren't finely tuned, let's say, Hulk manages to wedge himself into the singularity long enough for Namor and the other Defenders to climb onto Silver Surfer's board and slip away. No wonder Thanos fears the Hulk.

Super breath

Everyone knows about Superman and his ultra-garlic—uh, that's just on spaghetti night—ultra-freeze breath. It's loads of fun at kids' birthdays and keeps ice sculptures frosty. However, most fans of the Hulk probably aren't familiar with the Jade Giant's own impressive lung-power.

During the somewhat campy Incredible Hulk #273, the greenest of Earth's mightiest heroes gets in a scrap with Alpha Flight team member, Sasquatch, as well as a band of understandably concerned Canadian Mounties—because he's the Hulk. In the middle of one of his massive bounds across the Great White North, Banner reasserts himself, during the terrifying descent from miles into the atmosphere. 

Even as he's pleasantly surprised to still be alive after impacting the ground, Bruce begins to wonder how powerful he truly is in Hulk mode. So, when he stumbles across a lumber camp teeming with lumberjacks, he decides to play a little prank and huffs and puffs and blows down the entire forest. No one is hurt in the incident, but a lot of foresters probably got the next few weeks off—something their families and paychecks probably appreciated greatly.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

How many Hulks can you name off the top of your head? All save a seasoned Banner-booster probably can't name every single variation on the Emerald Avenger theme, since there are quite a few. Each Hulk may not be a different aspect of Bruce's personality, but most of them are distinctive spinoffs. So without further ado, we present the cavalcade of Banner psychoses! 

Bruce's best-known alter ego, on display for audiences everywhere in The Avengers films, is the Savage Hulk. Childish and brutal, he's the archetypal id, smash-first, and then transform back into Bruce to ask questions later Hulk. Among his other fairly well-known personas is Gray Hulk, otherwise known as Joe Fixit. Fixit was a takeoff of the very first iteration, a washed-out gray, who was forced to go green because of printing color consistency issues at the publishing house. The later Gray Hulk—after Bruce and his alter-ego's trial separation in the '80s—literally only comes out at night and exhibits a cunning and manipulative persona. 

In addition to his archetypal variances, Bruce also manifests as the Gravage Hulk (a blend of Gray and Savage Hulk), Merged Hulk (a smarter merger of Banner and Hulk), Green Scar (Planet Hulk's evolved and more-potent version), Dark Hulk (his Shanzar-possessed "strange-dimensional" Hulk), Doc Green (another smart Hulk), Kluh (long, Onslaught-related story there) and The Guilt, who unsurprisingly represents Bruce's massive guilt, among others. Technically, Red Hulk, Totally Awesome Hulk, and She-Hulk don't count, because they're other people.