Jeez...I LOVE talking comics!!
The Hulks origin is Stan & Kirby’s most complete and balanced origin. It's a character built like something out of the Greek classics.
It encapsulates everything I love about my favorite Marvel heroes;
1) Original Sin
Banner was working on a BOMB... for the military industrial complex! This is an endeavor usually reserved for the antagonists of most stories. But in this comic, despite the fact that Dr. Robert Bruce Banner was working on what was going to be the world’s most devastating weapon to date, this was still the origin story of a HERO.
So yes, he was developing a weapon for the military but not because he was a war monger or death dealer but because he was a scientist. A scientist whose goals were very much akin to that of the public image of Albert Einstein goals to unlock the secrets of the atom. Marvel’s Bruce Banner was enraptured by the opportunity to unlock the secrets of “Gamma” radiation and attaining the intellectual knowledge and power of this achievement.
So driven, was he, to attain that intellectual POWER that he failed to really see that he was helping to create a weapon of mass death.
So how do we know this wasn’t who he was? That he was blinded by his own intellectual pursuit? How do I know that inside Bruce Banner beats the heart of a HERO who clearly only cares about what's important; life? Because Bruce Banner is a hero BEFORE he gains his powers.
2) Heart of a HERO
During the penultimate moment of his life, just as he was about to unlock the secret power of gamma radiation that he worked so hard for, Bruce sees RICK JONES on the testing grounds. Seeing a life in danger forces Bruce to revert his true nature: HERO Heedless of the danger or of ruining the test Banner acts. No longer concerned of losing valuable data or losing the intellectual POWER that he had sought so passionately before without thought of the lives he was endangering, Banner rushes out onto the test grounds. Did he KNOW that they wouldn't stop the countdown? Likely, otherwise he wouldn't have needed to go out there himself. He was clearly risking not only his lifelong dream, but his life as well. He gets to Rick and throws him into the bomb shelter ...even possibly SHIELDING him from the blast. In that moment...Bruce was his true self; a hero
In the moment that Bruce Banner gets hit by the gamma bomb he is ironically given, in a way, the secret of gamma radiation. He gets… the POWER he had been seeking all along BUT at the cost of the very intellect he had wanted to boost. In that moment the gamma bomb infuses him with that power when he is being his TRUE SELF; the man who rushed onto the bomb testing grounds to save the life of another heedless of his own safety. And forever after that power can only be expressed whenever he reverts to that truth; to the hero, who only cares about what’s important. Protecting life… and being left the heck alone! And of course he is then pursued by that military industrial complex that still wants that promised power as a weapon. And wonderfully Shakespearean, or maybe Hitchcockian, Banners regular self, the scientist, the seeker of intellectual pursuits, sees the Hulk side of himself as a curse. Part of what makes him such a compelling character is that he still doesn't realize his fault in his own fate or that he is trying to cure himself of…well; himself! And that twist in the protagonists goals is what powers the compelling nature of his story! When the Hulk gets re-written to eliminate the Gamma bomb they inadvertently remove the gamma powered foundation of his story. Banner created his own situation because of his selfish, sinful, pursuit of intellectual power but has yet to learn from his mistakes. Sounds like a franchise to me. That’s MY Hulk.