The psychological effects of Bruce Banner’s blackouts are explained by Dr. Larry Lewis.

When the Hulk changes back to Bruce Banner, Bruce has no memory of what he did as Hulk. What would this really be like for a person to deal with?

Dr. Bruce Banner is a scientist for the defense industry. During a bomb test, he is exposed to a massive dose of gamma radiation. Since the accident, when Bruce becomes angry, he transforms into The Hulk, an enormously strong and destructive creature. But when he changes back, he has no memory of what he did as The Hulk. What psychological impact would these blackouts have on Bruce?

I think Bruce has a heavy road ahead of him in terms of what he has to struggle with. We like the Bruce that rights wrongs. We like the Bruce that takes on bad guys, but we seldom think about the toll on him for that. If he’s in a blackout, man, that didn’t happen for him. All he knows is that a period of time passed over.

If we look at this as a blackout, one of the stressors on an alcoholic or anyone that has brain damage, is reconciling that ‘I don’t know what I really did.’ A good friend of mine was confronted with pictures that were taken by her children of their genitalia when they were young. Because kids just do stuff like that and not really comprehend the magnitude of the situation if your five, you know. But Rite Aid does, and they send the pictures that were being developed to the police. And the police show up, and this is the line of interrogation the police will use.

‘Well, are you an alcoholic or not?’
‘Yeah, I’ve been to rehab for alcohol treatment.’
‘How do you know you didn’t do it if you were in a blackout?’
‘Well, I guess if you put it that way, I really don’t know I didn’t do it.’
‘Cuff her.’

In the case of The Hulk, if you come out of your blackout and discover that you’ve destroyed two city blocks, for instance… massive destruction, or killing of people, or breaking down material things, or whatever goes on when this thing becomes big, and the army doesn’t know how to deal with it, and the government doesn’t know how to deal with it – in a blackout.

Not like he could even say ‘You know I was feeling this when I ripped the bus in half,’ or ‘feeling that when I threw the tank across the street.’ He doesn’t know. Very, very psychologically bewildering.

The alcoholic covers for this by denial, by a number of other features. But The Hulk’s not drunk. He doesn’t need to cover the stigma of his drinking. He’s more perplexed; he’s more challenged than the guy who puts away two quarts of vodka. Because he didn’t put away two quarts of vodka. He just got pissed. That’s an endless amount of struggle for him.

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