The HULK Actually Speaks Better English Than Most Avengers

Although many may claim the Hulk as a simple-minded brute with a limited vocabulary, the Jade Giant once lectured people on proper grammar and usage!

Most people consider The Incredible Hulk a dull-witted brute, with a vocabulary often limited to his two-word catchphrase, “Hulk Smash!” However, this isn’t necessarily true. Hulk’s human half, Dr. Bruce Banner, is considered one of the world’s smartest men and the Green Goliath’s own intelligence and ability to speak has gone through many changes over the years.

As a result, there have been many versions of the Hulk - including some who are not only very articulate but sticklers for proper grammar. In The Incredible Hulk #420, The Hulk actually showcased his more level-headed side by being the voice of reason in a tense situation. In the process, he displayed not only great familiarity with the English language but also corrected others on their bad grammar!

This hilarious moment happened in the opening scene of the story when the Green Goliath – now in his smart, “Professor Hulk” form – learned that his friend Jim Wilson had been attacked. Jim, who was HIV-positive, was marching in a protest rally in support of another AIDS-infected child who had been banned from his elementary school. During the protest, someone hit Jim in the head, causing the media to crowd around the injured man.

As Jim cried out for help, the Hulk suddenly landed in the parking lot causing the media to panic. Although Bruce only wanted to get to his friend, a trigger-happy cop shot him with his rifle. Naturally, the bullet did nothing (and Bruce even spread his arms to prevent the bullet from ricocheting into the crowd and accidentally injuring someone). Crushing the officer’s weapon, Bruce lectured the man on his stupidity telling him to, “think before you shoot off your gun… or your mouth.”

Dumbstruck, some of the people in the crowd exclaimed, “Since… since when can the Hulk talk good?!” Instead of being insulted, Bruce simply commented on their inability to distinguish between adjectives and adverbs by responding, “Talk well.” Hulk’s mood got darker, however, when Bruce asked Jim who attacked him. When Jim admitted he didn’t see who struck him, the Hulk turned to the crowd and issued the following eloquent threat, “All right… Which of you dead men hurt my friend?”

At this point, the media, police, and remaining protestors ran away in terror. Rather than track down the culprit, however, Hulk – who was only concerned for his friend’s safety – took Jim to the Pantheon, a superhuman think tank he was currently working with. Given Hulk’s reputation as a ”green rage monster,” it was actually refreshing to see him play the role of the cool-headed friend, particularly in such a tense situation. While later stories would see Banner revert to his more savage personality and lose his facility with the English language, the fact that Hulk showed such an awareness for proper grammar reveals that, sometimes, Hulk really is “the smartest one there is.”

BY MICHAEL JUNG first published on on 24 June 2020.