Are you a Hulk fan who enjoys seeing him smash everything in his path? This animated television series has all of that and more! The Incredible Hulk was the fifth series in the Marvel Animated Universe to air. On September 8, 1996, the first episode aired, and on November 23, 1997, the final episode aired.
The show was developed by Stan Lee and ran for two seasons with twenty-one episodes. The first season follows Bruce Banner, played by Neil McDonough, as he tries to break free from his alter ego, The Hulk. For the first time, Lou Ferrigno, who played the Hulk in the 1977 live-action series, delivered the voice of the Hulk.
The series expanded the concept of a shared Marvel Animated Universe by integrating characters from prior Marvel cartoons from the time. The show’s structure was updated in the second season because UPN concluded that Season 1 was too gloomy, and She-Hulk was made a regular co-star to give “female viewers a chance.” The Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk were renamed as a result. In the second season, the Grey Hulk also made an appearance. Today, we will look at the series’ darkest moments, as well as the lighter moments that viewers were exposed to.
The Leader & The Abomination Try To Kill The Hulk
The first dark moment that we will discuss takes place over the events of The Return of the Beast: Part 1 & 2 which is encapsulated in the first two episodes in the first season. Banners’ experiment goes terribly wrong, turning him into the Hulk. This causes the army to label him as national threat number one and they open fire on The Hulk.
The Hulk manages to withstand all the attacks however, is chased and pursued by the military. In the first episode, we are also introduced to Gargoyle and The Leader, both of whom want Hulk’s powers and it is here when we first see The Abomination who manages to infiltrate the base. While Hulk is on the run, surprisingly, a group of gigantic, strange-looking monsters emerges from the desert to attack the helicopters. The choppers take a backseat.
The creatures approach the Hulk, who is overjoyed at the prospect of making new friends. The Hulk pursues the monsters into a cave. The next day, Betty and Rick locate him, but robotic bugs produced by the Leader detect Banner. Banner is kidnapped by the crazy genius’s pawn, the Abomination. The Abomination bangs the ground as he approaches the cave, and rocks begin to fall from the cave’s roof, one of which hits Banner in the head. The Abomination snatches Banner and drags him out of the cave.
Banner is imprisoned in a capsule that can absorb the Hulk’s Gamma energy and deliver it to a target. The Leader aspires to be the brightest and the most powerful being on the planet, completely unstoppable. As a result, he connects the appropriate wires to his wrists and instructs the Gargoyle to administer minor electric shocks to Banner in order to initiate the change.
It is a dark moment and it all seems lost however, upon encouragement from Betty, the Hulk becomes enraged, causing him to grow stronger and reclaim all of the power he had lost, robbing the Leader of all traces of it. Hulk escapes the container and attacks the Abomination, who he then smashes in true Hulk fashion. All’s well that ends well.
Bruce Banner Suffering From Amnesia
Losing one’s memory might be one of the saddest things to happen to a person and that is exactly what afflicts Bruce Banner in Helping Hands, Iron Fist which is the fourth episode of the first season. In this episode, Bruce Banner and his alter ego Hulk are in the City of Angels when an accident leads them to lose their memory. Rick Jones seeks the assistance of an old acquaintance of Bruce’s: the invincible Iron Man, as General Ross and the Hulkbusters shut in on him. Iron Man and War Machine battle not only the army and S.H.I.E.L.D. but also a raging Hulk who has forgotten who his friends are.
The episode begins with Hulk sitting under an overpass on a dark and rainy night. He hears a lady scream and jumps to his feet, assuming it’s Betty. The Incredible Hulk slams through the street and lands nearby. In an attempt to save the woman, Hulk tosses a car, which smashes into the streets below, bouncing along the road. When he succeeds, though, lightning hits and Hulk collapses to the ground in agony. Veins appear in his hand and go up to his arm. His body emits a cloud of steam. As he slowly turns back into Bruce Banner, the veins in his back move up and he yells out, collapsing on the street. That’s not the case; after that, the entire street collapses, burying him beneath the rubble.
When Rick finally finds him, Banner is unable to recognize him and then he transforms into The Hulk, attacking his own friends, even attacking IronMan. It is a tough sight to watch as his eyes are empty, devoid of any recognition due to the amnesia caused by the accident.
Ghost Rider and Major Glenn Try To Kill The Hulk
It’s quite obvious that throughout the series, Hulk will be hunted or apprehended as many try to kill him or take his powers but things get extremely dark when the Ghost Rider tries to kill him in Innocent Blood which is the fifth episode in season one. In this episode, Ghost Rider seeks revenge on Hulk for destroying a town and harming innocents after he hears that The Hulk destroyed a nearby town and set it ablaze. He revs off on his motorcycle and leaves to find Hulk and end his ‘reign of terror. On his journey, he even crosses Rick who was also on his way to find and help his friend after learning of the violent incident that had taken place in the town.
Ghost Rider, unfortunately, chances upon the Hulk during an accident wherein Hulk was simply trying to save a nun and believes that he is once again terrorizing innocents. Ghost Rider saves the nun and blasts him back with the Hulk, claiming that the Hulk’s time has arrived and that he would be the one to kill him and stop him from doing bad deeds.
Hulk leaves in the meantime, but the word of his change and rampage reaches General Thaddeus Ross and Major Glenn Talbot, who decide to deploy the newly developed fatal tranquilizer ray on him. Glen prepares to deploy the tranq gun on Hulk when he lands in a street and is noticed by helicopters. At the same time, Ghost Rider appears, believing the Hulk is harming another innocent person. When Hulk turns around, he notices Glenn wielding the tranquilizer ray.
Glenn fires a shot at him in the chest, then hits him again, completely disregarding the fact that the ray gun was lethal. This would definitely kill the Hulk and finally, Ghost Rider believes that Bruce Banner is the innocent one in all this and stops pursuing him and trying to kill him. The Hulk also survives this ordeal with the help of all his friends.
Bruce Banner Turns His Cousin Into The She-Hulk
In Doomed, the seventh episode of the first season, In Washington, D.C., Bruce Banner is attacked by robots, followed by General Ross and the Hulkbusters. Because they seek Banner, the robots defend him from the Hulkbusters. Banner then emerges as the Hulk and destroys the Hulkbusters before fleeing.
After returning to Banner, he pays a visit to his cousin Jennifer Walters at her apartment. The robots then attack Banner and Jennifer, who flee in Jennifer’s car, but Banner Hulks out as the robots pursue them. Because Hulk can’t drive, the car crashes and the robots assault again, but Hulk kills them. More robots appear, Jennifer is injured, and the robots transport her aboard a big plane. The Hulk then pursues it to Dr. Doom’s fortress.
Back at the castle, the Hulk discovers Doom holding a dying Jennifer captive with bombs. Because he can’t do anything else, Hulk returns to Banner and saves her by giving her part of his blood. Doom then surrounds the castle with a force field, preventing the soldiers from entering. The Hulk is then brainwashed by Doom and unleashed on Washington, where he destroys the troops and the city. Back at the castle, Jennifer’s Gamma-altered blood takes effect quickly, transforming her into a “She-Hulk” while keeping her mind.
It’s quite sad and the moment is very dark as we watch Jennifer struggle as her cousin’s blood changes her from within, especially because he gave it to her with pure intentions. She-Hulk, on the other hand, manages to flee and combat Doom’s robots before un-brainwashing Hulk. Because Doom has injured She-Hulk, Hulk returns to the castle, where they fight the robots and Doom, who flee. The following day, Banner and She-Hulk fly to New York as the episode ends.
Hulk VS The Wendigo
We see one hell of a showdown in episode 10 of the first season, And the Wind Cries… Wendigo and boy does it get dark. Betty is dispatched to investigate a report of a creature resembling the Hulk in this episode. The Wendigo, not the Hulk, is the iconic monster she encounters. Gabe Jones and General Ross stop Banner from rushing to her rescue. He manages to get free, but he is tethered to Ross in the process. So, before the Wendigo kills Betty, Thunderbolt Ross and the Hulk must work together to stop him!
Betty learns that there is a huge menacing creature stealing livestock and potentially threatening humans. She sets off to check it out, thinking it is hulk but runs into the Wendigo, a creature from ancient American Indian tribal legends. The Hulk and the Wendigo run into each other in the Redwood forest along with Thunderbolt and Ross coming there as well in search of the Hulk and Betty.
The Wendigo wants to battle the Hulk and suffer defeat so that the curse can lift and the man stuck inside the Wendigo may be set free. Betty also enters the forest and soon, the Hulk is captured by Betty’s father and Ross. Betty then screams for help as she is taken by the Wendigo and Hulk along with General Thaddeus Ross follows them. Ross helps him find the Wendigo and it leads to an all-out fight breaking out between the two.
Hulk smashes the Wendigo and throws it away but is also hit back with a tree. They fight, matching each other blow for blow as Betty and Ross watch however, the Hulk is mighty and finishes him off, dropping into a ravine with the Wendigo. Betty thinks he is dead as they disappear under a pile of rubble and they leave. However, the Wendigo transforms back into a man and the Hulk also gets out of the ordeal alive.
Darkness and Light: Part 1, 2 & 3 show terribly hurtful separation -anxiety. In this episode, Betty and Doc Samson have figured out a means to separate Bruce from the Hulk. Betty is ecstatic since this is the treatment Banner has been looking for all along. It was only a matter of smuggling the Hulk into the Gamma Base facility, where the Nutrient Bath awaited him.
Despite opposition, they are able to reclaim him, and the experiment is completed successfully. Bruce and the Hulk are now two separate people in the second part of this story, episode 12, but the Hulk escapes and starts on a devastating rampage. The Leader kidnaps him and implants his mind into the Hulk’s body who is now separated from Banner, giving him the strength he craves.
However, this much longed-for separation is not to last for long as soon, the inherent separation anxiety sets in. Bruce faces Hulk in the desert, clad in formidable exo-armor. The fight is ferocious, and Hulk has the upper hand in terms of strength. Bruce, on the other hand, is intelligent and can inflame Hulk’s rage, defeating him but not capturing him. Bruce isn’t feeling well either, which has put a damper on his upcoming wedding to Betty. It turns out that Bruce and Hulk must be reunited or they would perish.
The Nutrient Bath is the only way to bring them back together, but time is running out to find Hulk and save both of their lives. The situation is both sad and dark as Banner comes to the realization that he cannot live without the green counterpart that he has long wanted to get rid of. The inner turmoil is very real and quite dark to watch.
The Hulk Turns Gray
The second season of the series also has its fair share of dark moments and the first one is seen in the very first episode of this season called Hulk of a Different Color. As the name suggests, Hulk changes color and this is how. Bruce was transformed into a big grey beast after being exposed to radiation from the Gamma Reactor for the first time. This shape, however, was swiftly replaced by a more powerful green version known as the Hulk.
After the Nutrient Bath experiment, Bruce Banner’s body was separated from Hulk’s. But, because he couldn’t live without the Hulk, Bruce’s body experienced some stress following the experiment. In one experiment, the effects of the nutrient bath were reversed. Thaddeus Ross, on the other hand, attempted to destroy the experiment, but Rick Jones intervened to stop him. Rick was knocked into the nutrient bath by accident and transformed into a green hybrid of himself and the Hulk.
The banner was shocked to learn that his friend had turned into the Hulk. He didn’t want Rick to have to go through what he had. After that, he became the Grey Hulk. Grey Hulk tracked down and defeated Rick-Hulk, knocking him out. Leader desired Grey Hulk and Rick-abilities, Hulk’s so he conducted an experiment in which he transferred their abilities into his own body. Rick-powers Hulk’s were taken away and he was cured.
He reverted to Rick Jones, but the Hulk escaped and put an end to their plans. He then transformed back into the Green Hulk. When Banner is angry, he transforms into the Green Hulk, but he may also transform into the Grey Hulk. In Bruce’s imagination, the two are constantly fighting to see who comes out on top when he gets angry. Quite dark -if you ask me.
A Dark Entity Tries To House Into The Hulk Body
Doctor Strange and She-Hulk travel into Bruce Banner’s head after he is possessed by an evil demon extra-terrestrial in the third episode of season 2, “Mind Over Anti-Matter.” In the process, Banner transforms into the gigantic Dark Hulk. Doctor Strange is fighting a strange entity in another dimension who wants to take over Earth.
However, he is defeated by the creature, who throws him through a portal that returns him to Earth. When the creature emerges from the portal, Doctor Strange warns that if he can find a powerful enough mind to possess, the Earth would perish. While Bruce and Jennifer are on a carnival ride, the evil alien enters Bruce’s body and takes control of his thoughts. When Bruce notices the wicked alien, he tries to battle him. The extra-terrestrial, on the other hand, is not present. The wicked alien watches from within Banner’s consciousness as the green and grey Hulks fight for control of Bruce’s body.
The alien, on the other hand, defeats both Hulks and then begins erasing Banner’s memories once he has complete control of his body. Banner suddenly passes out, and Doctor Strange appears, telling She-Hulk that Bruce is in grave danger and that unless he helps him, he would perish. Doctor Strange then transports the three of them to his Sanctum Sanctorum using his sorcery.
Doctor Strange then informs She-Hulk that he is being possessed by a terrible being who intends to destroy the planet unless Banner’s mind is freed. Strange then uses his magic to send them into Banner’s head, where they attempt to destroy the alien, but the alien seizes control of Banner’s body, transforming him into the Hulk. The malevolent extra-terrestrial then travels to New York City and starts wreaking havoc. They are ultimately able to vanquish the alien in Banner’s head here, and Banner regains control of his own body.
She-Hulk Is Losing Her Power
In Down Memory Lane which is the second episode of the second season, She-Hulk begins losing her power which affects her confidence. She-Hulk receives a letter inviting her to her high school reunion in the mail. Gargoyle later takes her car, but she swiftly recovers it. She-Hulk then transports Hulk to her parent’s home, where he is hidden in the treehouse. When she enters the house, her parents are taken aback to see their daughter transformed into She-Hulk.
Her mother tells her she has to relax and remarks on her brown eyes, which She-Hulk panics over because they’re meant to be green. Later on, her eyes turn green again. Meanwhile, Hulk transforms into Bruce Banner and advises She-Hulk to relax, but she refuses and attends the reunion celebration.
hocking everyone at the party, including her former bullies, and attracting the attention of a large number of males After a while, she exits the party, her gamma levels drop, and she reverts to Jennifer Walters. Jennifer is confronted by Gargoyle, who offers to restore her to She-Hulk form, but she rejects. In the meantime, Bruce Banner is kidnapped by Abomination. He transforms into the Hulk and flees.
Jennifer fights Ogress and tries to prevent a platform from falling on her bullies at the party, which raises her gamma levels and transforms her back into She-Hulk. They quickly win the combat, and the criminals flee. Back at the house, Bruce informs She-Hulk that the reason she turned back was due to a lack of sleep. It’s possible that the next time you turn around, it’ll be permanent.
Hybrid Tries To Take Over General Ross
General Ross emerges from a coma possessed by a dark creature in the season 2 series finale. Meanwhile, Bruce Banner, Grey Hulk, She-Hulk, and Betty Ross must infiltrate a S.H.I.E.L.D. base to discover the truth.
A nurse afflicted with a parasitic organism spreads the parasite to General Ross as Betty Ross is visiting her vegetative father in the hospital. He wakes up and pursues Betty until she is cornered. Betty is relieved to see her father alive and well, without knowing the fact that it is not her father. She lets her father get close to her and when she finally realizes it’s not her father, she seeks assistance from Bruce Banner. This is a dark and troublesome incident as it must be terrible to see one’s parent like that.
Diana, a double agent who used to work for S.H.I.E.L.D., is revealed to be the parasite. She was injured in an accident while attempting to steal a creature with the ability to attach itself to other organisms, and she changed into a mutated form of the organism herself, which she now seeks vengeance for. After a long battle with the parasite, which jumps from Betty to Hulk to She-Hulk in the process, they manage to rescue the day. General Ross appears alert and in good health, referring to Banner as his future son-in-law.
With that, we come to the end of our list of darkest moments in this underrated tv series from the nineties. If you are a fan of The Hulk, then definitely give this one a watch!