SCIENCE: Can Hulk haz strongest bones there is?

A little while ago Agent M teamed up with Greg Pak to answer the question everyone is dying to know. The post is reprinted below:

Anonymous asked: okay. let’s say the hulk underwent the adamantium bonding process. If he survived, would Banner have adamantium bones as well?

This is such a crazy question! And to answer it, I tapped one of the nicest dudes in comics and an expert on all things Hulk, writer Greg Pak.

“Excellent question…

You might think that if adamantium has bonded with the Hulk’s skeleton, then it would kill Banner when the Hulk reverts back, since a Hulk-sized adamantium endoskeleton would just rip through Banner’s body. But the Hulk wouldn’t let himself die that way, so presumably he’d never revert back to Banner.

But it’s possible that things could actually work differently. The idea would be that the Hulk’s system would only allow itself to bond with adamantium in a way that would allow Banner to live — part of the Hulk’s biologically driven survival instinct. Under this theory, the Hulk’s bones would only allow the adamantium to bond in a kind of net or mesh form, so when the Hulk shrinks down to Banner-size, the adamantium can fold in on itself and shrink down in size, too. So you end up with Banner with an adamantium laced skeleton!”

So there ya go! Neato! Make sure to give @gregpak a follow on the Twitters—he’s a quality dude

I felt that both those answers were a bit too concise. I wanted more! So I thought and thought. It’s harder than it sounds, but it’s what science-types do. And I return with… thoughts!

I’m gonna breakdown the above questions into the simpler questions I used to think through the problem. Hopefully that’ll keep things a bit more organized.

1)    Can you bond adamantium to the Hulk?

Experts (me and Ron) agree that the adamantium bonding process is a surgical one. You get sedated, put into a bacta tank, and there’s an automated surgical process that gets the adamantium onto your bones.

This brings me immediately to another question,
1a) Can you sedate the Hulk?
My thinking is the Hulk only exists in a heightened emotional state, so sedation is impossible. It’d be like giving tranquilizers to a guy high on PCP. If you successfully sedated him, he’d become Banner and not survive the bonding process. The solution is Hulk would have to submit to the procedure willingly. The scenario I imagine is Wolverine makes some snide remark about how he is strongest there is ‘cause he has the strongest bones. Hulk then proceeds to one-up him, unaware of the all the consequences I am now forced to sit here and think through.
Back to the question at hand, we have a willing Hulk in our tank, now what? Well a healing factor is required to survive the procedure. Hulk has a healing factor, but there are a lot of unknown variables. Does Hulk’s healing factor work at the same rate as Wolverine’s? I’ll assume not, and I’ll also assume that the Hulk heals faster the madder he gets, and we’re dealing with a Hulk at the minimum level of rage to prevent reversion to Banner, so likely a healing factor slower than Wolverine.
The other thing we don’t know is how different speeds of healing affect the adamantium bonding process. I’m going to assume that the bonding is unaffected and that the patient just needs the healing factor to simply survive the process. If you’re looking for more on the tricky nature of healing factors and medical procedures I encourage you to go check out Geoff John’s first arc of Teen Titans involving a gruesome knee-capping and painful looking surgery. Bet you didn’t remember that Bart had an artificial knee, did ya? But I digress.

1b) Can you penetrate the Hulk’s skin?

Bones are, to sound fancy, sub-dermal. And while the Hulk can heal like Wolverine, he also doesn’t get injured nearly as often. Bullets bounce right off him so designing special surgical equipment is a must. You’d probably have to have adamantium tipped needles to get the adamantium in. You can’t just go through the mouth or ears like they do in the comics because that’s not where bones are. Duh.

Ok, so I’m reasonably satisfied that it’s at least theoretically possible to get yourself an adamantium enhanced Hulk, now onto the next phase.

2) What happens when Hulk goes back to puny Banner?

This is the crux of the question given to Agent M and I have a few ideas for how to tackle it. There is the most obvious solution that Hulk simply never becomes Banner again. That works, but isn’t as interesting.

Pak suggested that if the adamantium existed as a lattice or mesh on Hulks bones then it could shrink down to a more robust structure on Banner. I actually like this idea a lot. Having a mesh like coating wouldn’t make much difference since adamantium is essentially infinitely strong (I know that’s impossible but I’m going with it). And there’s a real life equivalent to all this! Doctors are now using foams containing titanium that creates a framework for new bone to grow on inside the human body! These fancy metals are nice because they’re generally not very reactive inside the human body, and strong enough to last. The problem with a lot of joint replacement surgery is the lifespan of the replacement. Most people getting joints replaced are elderly and less active than your average rampaging monster. My concern with the mesh idea is one of metal fatigue. Take a paperclip from your desk and bend it back and forth a buncha times. It breaks. Similar concern here, but at the end of the day it’s adamantium, which is the comic equivalent of mirthril so it’s probably fine. We know a regular human can handle adamantium in their system because Bullseye had some on his spine for awhile.

And of course since this is based on something from Agent M the post wouldn’t be complete without some cuteness. Here’s a video of some kitties with fainting goat syndrome (real thing) that has been edited to include lasers. The lasers are fake and the fainting doesn’t hurt the kitties, I promise.

Cats Getting Shot By Lasers – Watch more Funny Videos



Ryan Haupt pretends that writing articles and producing his podcast is the same thing as really getting work done. One day he’ll crash and burn, but until then, critique his poor reasoning in the comments.


  1. You’re reasoning makes as much sense as it can. I love these articles, because I tend to look at questions likes this and answer “Impossible. Next!” So thanks for taking the time to answer creatively.

  2. Damn, these are fun.


  4. Bullets do penetrate the Hulk’s hide (at least the Joe Fixit & Merged Hulk incarnations) and has been explained as he heals so rapidly and the slugs are spat out by his body so as to make it seem he is bulletproof. Green Scar Hulk might be bulletproof as he had never reached the level of rage he had during WWH. And the angrier he is, the stronger…wel you get the picture.

  5. I don’t think he could go through the whole process.  As the adamantium is pumped in, from what we’ve seen in the books, the pain increases, thereby making the Hulk angrier and stronger.  He’d eventually go just go into full rage mode and terminate the whole process.

  6. Is this the greatest post in the history of iFanboy or in the history of the internet?

    Fantastic.  I don’t care what the answer is, but I love the way you reason through the response.

    I will be laughing at/pitying those cats for the rest of the day. 

  7. I don’t understand how a mesh would help.  Since we’re assuming the material has an infinitely high modulus of elasticity, there are 2 cases to consider:

    1) Interconnected mesh – By definition, this would be incompressible and hence unshrinkable.

    2) Interdispersed  particles – This could allow shrinkage, but would result in “adamantium dilution” in the full-sized hulk.  Particles size would have a huge effect here.  You’d have to trade off shrinkability for performance.  Having bones interlaced with non-connected adamantium nanoparticles might just make Bruce weigh much more without helping Hulk. 

    I think the way to really do this is to inject Bruce with antibodies conjugated with adamantium nano-switches.  Next, target the antibodies to the bone surface to create a coating of adamantium “gates” which can reorient (assemble or disassemble) in response to electrical signal.  Then all you need is to set up a control signal that will set the whole thing up to trigger whenever Banner’s size starts changing.  This approach also solves the delivery problem since all you need is to inject it with an adamantium needle. 

    The drawback: you only have a really thin coating on the bones, but since adamantium is almost infinitely strong, maybe thats all you need?

  8. I honest thought the title read: “Science: Can Hulk has strongest BONER there is?”

  9. @jackietam  Now that you’ve said that, I can’t unsee it.

  10. holy shit that just about murdered me…

  11. @jackietam: Uh, that’s a whole different website…

  12. The level and amount of cascading assumptions necessary to get to the point of bonding makes it seem like we might as well just say, “The Beyonder Makes it So.”  Not the least of which is a reason to justify doing all of this!

    If you can create a flexible adamantium mesh with all the durability benefits of the metal, it begs the question, why bother bonding it to the bone?  Given how often Hulk is left with naught but purple stretchy pants, he might be far better off with an adamantium mesh woredobe.

    I realize the point is to consider if there’s any conceivable way to do it and therefore pragmatism doesn’t factor into the equation, but surely the purpose of such a bonding process has to come into play somehow to evalute whether or not the parameters of the question are really being addressed?  For example an expanded mess that freely collapses with Hulk’s variable size wouldn’t provide any protective strength to Hulk’s bones up and through the varying radial lengths which- given their comparative size- is significant… likely not enough to provide any sort of protection from a broken bone… only, perhaps, a lost bone.

    But a mesh bag filled with shattered bone fragments is hardly “the strongest bones there is”… so how does that qualify as a solution?  It doesn’t.  Not anymore than using the Beyonder (pre-retcon) to make it so does.

  13. What about some of the famous Richards unstable molecules? If you could bombard the liquid adamantium with them perhaps they would be flexible enough to shrink with the bones they’re attached to.

  14. Not to be Debbie Downer, but the fainting DID harm the cats. The kittens – Charlie and Spike – died as a result of this condition. Spike first, then Charlie. 

    Seeing this video again made me cry. Look up the follow up tribute video; Cutest/saddest thing on the internet, ever.