Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk is one of the most iconic transformations to ever exist in the history of comic books. A timid and frail old man suddenly starts increasing in size and becoming greener and greener. Suddenly, the frail man no longer exists. In his place we find a green goliath of a creature. This creature is the living embodiment of chaos and mayhem. The Hulk is the strongest and brawniest of all Marvel superheroes. There is no upper limit to his raw brute strength. Ever wonder what goes into that transformation? When Banner Hulks out, his skeletal structure and musculature increase beyond Kingdom Come. Where does the Hulk’s extra muscle mass come from?
Ordinary body builders have to follow a very strict diet and an airtight work-out regimen to even get close to the Hulk’s physique. Banner never needs to do that. All he needs is to get angry and he becomes bulkier than a Greek God. The mechanics of that remained unexplained until now.
In The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #5, Hulk’s entry states when Banner Hulks out, his body adds 800 pounds of tissue and bone marrow. This stupendous amount of muscle mass is derived from an unknown source of energy. Marvel tried to explain this unnatural source of energy as the “Godpower Theory”. First proposed by Doctor Rachna Koul, the theory claimed that superheroes derive the energies from one of many extra-dimensional sources of energy that exists outside time and space. Called Godpower sources, one of the many energy reserves from this extra-dimensional cesspool is what powers the Hulk.
For months, we believed this to be the official explanation to the Hulk’s source of powers.
That was until Hulk writer Jeff Parker gave us a more believable explanation to the Hulk’s energy source’s point of origin. Parker states Bruce Banner’s body is a conduit that can absorb ambient gamma energy and convert it into body mass. So the Hulk’s well-built physique is a result of a yet to be scientifically deciphered gamma energy-matter conversion process.
This is where it gets interesting. The Wolverine has claimed that any fight between the Hulk and him is futile since the former can easily regenerate his wounds at a rate faster than even Wolverine’s. But the difference between Logan’s and the Hulk’s healing factor is that the Hulk’s rapid cellular division is more akin to a form of cancer. Like Deadpool, the Hulk’s body is made up of benign cancer cells. Cancer cells divide and regenerate rapidly. The Hulk tumors that make up his body derive power from ambient gamma energy. They are superhuman cancer cells that can use raw energy to heal any injury instantaneously.
If you think the Hulk being a walking behemoth of cancer tumors was gross, wait till you hear this. When the Hulk transforms back into his human form, his muscles regurgitate the gamma energy it had absorbed. The Hulk literally undergoes massive muscular atrophy, a highly painful process where trillions and trillions of perfectly healthy cells of his body suddenly lose steam and die. Every time Hulk transforms back, Banner returns to a peaceful state. So it implies Banner’s body produces a massive dosage of painkillers for ease of transformation.
Even though the ambient gamma energy or the God power Sources give the Hulk immeasurable power, it is still not enough to satiate the hunger that follows every time the Hulk transforms back into Banner. Banner is always extremely hungry and parched after Hulking out every time. A super-human metabolism is the downside of this incredible superpower.