This article is about the Hulk film antagonist.

For the television film series protagonist, see David Bruce Banner.
David Banner
David Banner.jpg
Alias(es) Absorbing Man
Appeared in Hulk
Status Deceased
Actor Nick Nolte
Paul Kersey (young)
"Stop your bawling, you weak little speck of human trash!"
―David Banner[src]

David Banner was a genetics researcher and the father of Bruce Banner.



David was a genetics researcher who, in his quest to improve on humanity, experiments on himself; after his wife, Edith Banner gives birth to Bruce, David, seeing that Bruce was not normal, barely showing emotion and gaining patches of green skin when he does, feels that he is responsible, realizing that his experiments on himself have affected Bruce. Trying to find a cure for Bruce's condition, David has his research shut down by General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross; going into a rage over the loss of his work and the hopelessness of Bruce's situation, David accidentally destroys his laboratory and kills Edith during a fight, before being arrested and confined to a mental institution; blocking his memories of David killing Edith, which haunt his nightmares, Bruce is taken into foster care.

Some years later, David was released from mental hospital and gets a job as a janitor at the research institute Bruce works at, in the same field as his father. Confronting Bruce on the night after he was blasted with radiation and nanobots, David reveals his relationship to him (Bruce had previously thought his biological father was dead) and steals some of his mutated DNA. Experimenting with Bruce's DNA on animals, David also sees his son's first transformation into the Hulk, which he soon becomes obsessed with copying.

Releasing three dogs he had mutated to kill Betty Ross, who had confronted him over what has happened with Bruce, David calls Bruce and tells him of this. Defeating the mutant dogs and saving Betty, Bruce is tranquilized and taken to a military facility, which David follows him to. As Bruce is held captive, David subjects himself to the same devices that gave Bruce the ability to change into the Hulk, giving himself the ability to absorb the properties of everything he touches (similar to the villain Absorbing Man from the Hulk comics). Finding Betty, David tells her that he will turn himself in if he was allowed to see Bruce one more time, also revealing to her that he had intended to murder Bruce (believing he would mutate out of control) when his research was originally shut down and that instead he ended up killing Edith when she tried to stop him.

Taken to Bruce, David was placed in a room with him, where they are placed between two electrical generators that will kill both of them if things got out of hand. Having descended into megalomania, David rants to Bruce about how the military has ruined their lives, also stating that the Hulk is his true son, and Bruce is just a shell for him. Biting some electrical wires, David becomes a being of pure electricity (similar to the villain Zzzax from the Hulk comics) while Bruce, upon seeing this, becomes the Hulk. Breaking out of the military facility and engaging each other, David and the Hulk crash into a lake, where David, becoming a being of stone and water, tries to absorb all the Hulk's energy, which the Hulk allows. Unable to contain the Hulk's energy, David swells into a gigantic energy bubble, which is blown apart by a Gamma Charge Bomb launched by General Ross, killing David.

Powers and Abilities

  • Superhuman Physiology: Due to exposure to gamma radiation coupled with him genetically altering his DNA years prior; David had gained the ability to absorb various types of matter.
    • Matter Absorption: David could absorb and utilize various types of matter; particularly those of the elements of nature.
      • Electricity Mimicry: By absorbing electricity; David gained all of its properties.
        • Electrogenesis: David could generate, create and project electricity from both his hands or his entire body.
        • Electrokinesis: David could manipulate electricity.
      • Earth Mimicry: By absorbing earth substance; David gained all of its properties.
        • Geogenesis: David could generate, create and project earth matter.
        • Geokinesis: David could manipulate earth matter.
      • Water Mimicry: By absorbing water; David gained all of its properties.



  • David's name is a homage to Bill Bixby's characters from the TV series; in the comics, Bruce's father is called Brian Banner.
  • David's powers after Gamma radiation are almost the same as those of Crusher Creel, known as the Absorbing Man, thus David is considered to be the movie's version of the Absorbing Man.
  • David was the main antagonist of the Hulk film.

Behind the scenes

  • Hulk's father character is present in every one of the many version of the movie script; in the first two he's called Brian as in the comics.
  • Nick Nolte lost his voice while filming his showdown scene. They had to stop shooting so he could recover.
  • Nick Nolte agreed to be in the film after Ang Lee said he wanted it be like a Greek tragedy.
  • Nick Nolte had his hair grown wildly for this movie when he was arrested on drunk driving charges and photographed for his now infamous mug shot.



See Also



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