Continuing on our recent article on how the Hulk can die, we will analyze one specific manner of death for the Green Giant – old age. This is an often-debated question, and I am going to dig into the facts to give you a precise explanation of whether it is possible and, if it is, how it is possible. So, can Hulk really die of old age?
How can Hulk die?
Now that we’ve summarized everything you need to know, here’s the more in-depth explanation of the mechanics through which Hulk can die.
Aging – although we will analyze this one separately, there is a way through which the Hulk can die of aging. Namely, the Hulk himself doesn’t really age – or, he ages at such a slow rate that he is practically immortal – but Bruce Banner ages normally, so if he were to die of old age, the Hulk would likewise die, or would have to remain in the Hulk form, because he would die in case of a transformation.
Nuclear explosions – although this is a very tricky aspect (he was basically created by one), some iterations of the character did indeed die after being exposed to a nuclear explosion, such as Maestro, the strongest iteration of the Hulk. On the other hand, some iterations of the characters have survived a nuclear holocaust, so the canon is not completely consistent here.
Being killed in battle – this is another proven possibility, but it is very difficult to achieve because of Hulk’s strength and his healing factor. For example, He was killed by Abomination and by Old Man Logan, but he would always find a way of coming back. He has also been killed in several “What If?” stories by various characters such as Deadpool, King Thanos, and others.
Magic – as was demonstrated in several comic books, Hulk is vulnerable to some forms of magic. For example, Zeus magically removed his healing factor, thus making him completely mortal.
Removing the gamma radiation – by removing the force that created the Hulk, one could theoretically kill the Hulk because the Green Goliath would cease to exist. This is what Red Hulk did on one occasion.
Killing Bruce Banner – most iterations of the Hulk are completely dependent on the existence of Bruce Banner, meaning that killing the latter would certainly lead to the death of the Hulk. The only known version of the character that is not so closely tied to Banner is Space Punisher Hulk, who became an autonomous being.
Does Hulk age?
This is one of the most often asked questions in comic book fandom. Namely, Hulk is usually depicted as looking more or less the same all of the time, and there are often present implications that Hulk is immortal and that he does not age. Well, that is both true, and it is not true.
Strictly speaking, the Hulk does indeed age, but due to his regenerative factor, he does that so slowly that it seems he does not. And indeed, the Hulk does manage to keep his physical appearance the same for decades, and – in some cases – even centuries pass. Some future versions of the character (like Maestro or the imprisoned version captured by King Thanos) show signs of aging (bald head, grey beard), but his physique remains the same, and Hulk seems to be even stronger as time passes.
So yeah, as you can see, the Hulk does age; he gets older with time and will show some signs of aging, but he does that so slowly that it is practically unnoticeable.
Can Hulk die of old age?
Now that we’ve cleared up whether Hulk ages, we can answer the question – can he die of old age? Theoretically, he can, but it’s a bit complex. Let us see how and why.
As we’ve said, the Hulk does age; theoretically, he would also die at one point in the distant future. The issue is that this moment is so far in the future that it is debatable whether any life remains. The one-shot comic book ‘Hulk: The End’ (2002) implies that Hulk remains the last living being at one point in the future. He’s more resilient than cockroaches, it seems. So, yes – in theory, he would die from old age but don’t count on it, really.
But, there is an easy and effective to “kill” the Hulk by aging – Bruce Banner! As a human, Bruce Banner ages normally, and his body does not have the necessary regenerative factor to remain immortal. This means that Bruce Banner can only live as regular humans can, which would, in a best-case scenario, mean that he could potentially live for about 120 years, but even that is a stretch.
So, after these 120 years, Bruce Banner would die, but while he is Hulk, he would technically not die until he transforms back again. If he transformed back, Banner would instantly die, and the Hulk would die with him. Hulk realizes this in one comic, facing the fact that if he transformed back, he would die.
And that answers all your questions. Yes, the Hulk does age, but extremely slowly, and yes, he can die of old age, but it is a truly complex process, and you shouldn’t really count on it unless you have an effective way of transforming him back to Bruce Banner and killing the host and the monster alongside him.
What do you think about this? Share your thoughts in the comments below!