We already knew from the very start that Bruce Banner was going to become an important character in the new She-Hulk: Attorney at Law series. As one of the few remaining original members of the Avengers, he takes a backseat to his cousin in She-Hulk, but the series was still able to showcase a good part of his character. One of the things that people saw was the fact that he was in his human form for the first time in a very long time. So, how did Bruce Banner turn back into human form?
Bruce Banner didn’t fully return to his human form because he was merely using an inhibitor that kept him out of his Hulk form. However, he was always in his Smart Hulk form because he didn’t know how to switch between his human form and his Hulk transformation.
The struggle that Bruce had to endure for more than a decade has always been a well-documented one as he never was able to truly understand how to fully control his Hulk transformation, considering that the Hulk is an entirely different consciousness. Nevertheless, he was able to temporarily inhibit his transformation, and that’s what we are here to talk about.
How Did Bruce Banner Return To His Human Form?
Ever since the character debuted in the often-forgotten The Incredible Hulk movie back in 2008, the MCU’s Bruce Banner has had a long struggle between his two different personas. For one, he could never truly control when to transform and turn back into his human form. On top of that, he isn’t in control whenever he is the Hulk because his Hulk persona is an entirely different entity from his own consciousness.
In that regard, he struggled with the fact that people called him a monster and that he couldn’t always be there to help his allies whenever they needed the strength of the Hulk. And whenever he was in his Hulk form, Bruce needed external help to return to his regular human form, as this usually came in the form of serious physical force or of Natasha’s voice.
Whatever the case may be, Bruce always struggled between his two different personas. But it was revealed in Avengers: Endgame that he spent the last five years after the snap to learn more about how he could actually blend his two different personas together. That was when he ended up fusing Bruce Banner’s mind and personality with the Hulk’s strength and appearance, as this form ultimately became Smart Hulk.
Smart Hulk had his own great moments, despite the fact that he didn’t have the infinite strength that the Hulk had due to his lack of uncontrollable rage. While he wasn’t as strong and as ferocious as the Hulk, Banner, in his Smart Hulk form, was smarter and much more in control over his actions. That was the reason why he was able to help out in the Time Heist and was the one who had enough to snap everyone back into existence after he and the Avengers acquired the Infinity Stones from the different timelines. He may have lost the use of his right arm after the snap, but he was still pretty much capable in a fight.
But the one thing that fans were surprised about was the fact that Bruce Banner appeared in his human form during the post-credit scene of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. He was seen in a holographic transmission talking to Shang-Chi about the nature of the Ten Rings that he had in his possession. In that regard, fans were delighted to see Bruce back in his human form.
But the one thing that surprised people once again was the fact that Bruce was in his Smart Hulk form once again in the trailer of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. This made people wonder how he was able to return to his human form during the events of Shang-Chi. And this was answered in the opening portion of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
Jennifer Walters took no time to break the fourth wall so that she could explain how she ended up becoming a Hulk. She began with the story of how she and her cousin Bruce went on a road trip a few months before the events of the series. While on that road trip, it was clear as daylight that Bruce Banner was in his human form. And the good news is that he actually explained how he could stay in that form.
Bruce showed Jennifer a device on his left arm. He explained that this was an inhibitor device that kept him in his human form. As such, this simply means that he found a temporary fix to his problem of not being able to return to his regular human form after he achieved his Smart Hulk form.
It was also clear that Bruce needed the inhibitor to stay in his human form. After the accident that involved him and Jen, the inhibitor got damaged. This forced Bruce back into his Smart Hulk form just shortly after Jen got exposed to his blood, which was what turned her into She-Hulk.
The good news for Bruce was that, although he lost his human form when his inhibitor got damaged, he found a way to heal his right arm, which was damaged as a result of the Infinity Gauntlet snap. He used Jen’s blood to synthesize a cure that was able to almost instantly heal his right arm. And that’s why he was back to his normal Smart Hulk self during the events of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
Can Bruce Banner Transform At Will?
One of the things that we saw during the first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law was Bruce teaching Jen how to be a Hulk because it took him 15 years to achieve his Smart Hulk form. In only a matter of a few days, Jennifer mastered the art of turning in and out of her She-Hulk form, which was something that she was in full control of. So, does that mean that Bruce could also transform at will?
Bruce Banner said it himself during the events of She-Hulk that he could not transform at will. In fact, he even said that the best that he was able to do was to merge his two alter egos into one so that he could create his Smart Hulk form. That means that he had no control over his transformation into the Hulk, considering that his Hulk form had an entirely different personality that was separate and distinct from Bruce Banner.
This was an area that Jen had a clear advantage over him as she was able to learn how to control her She-Hulk transformation in no time at all. Meanwhile, Bruce had to come to terms with the fact that he could only merge his two different personalities in the form of Smart Hulk as he is unable to return to his human form without the use of the inhibitor device. And this was clear when he turned back into Smart Hulk the moment his inhibitor device got damaged after the car accident.