Hulk and Banner, they're two sides to the same coin. You can't have one without the other yet that's exactly what we have since the current INCREDIBLE HULK series by Jason Aaron was rebooted with a new #1. In the final issue of FEAR ITSELF, we witnessed Hulk easily getting rid of Banner.
Being separated or rid of the Hulk is what Banner has wanted from the beginning. It was something that simply couldn't be done. Bruce Banner is one of the smartest people in the Marvel Universe. He's tried everything he could and most likely has discussed his problem with the other brains in the Marvel Universe as well. The times Banner and Hulk have been separated ended with disastrous results. The two were fated to remain together. I recently discussed the time Doc Samson was able to separate them, the process that was involved and the problems that resulted.
This time, it was Hulk that took the initiative. He found someone and made a deal with this person to be free from Puny Banner. Somehow Hulk has been successfully separated from Banner. The explanation is pretty simply but you have to wonder how come no one has been able to do this before? Is this a logical solution or is there more to it than we've seen? There will be some spoilers from INCREDIBLE HULK #5. Be sure to read that issue before continuing below.== TEASER ==
Hulk had enough of the endless struggle with Banner. Pushing him deep down in the recesses of his mind, Hulk went out asking anyone with intelligence if they could help rid him of Banner. He apparently went to the Mad Thinker, the Tinkerer, Red Ghost and Baron Zemo but all refused or were unable. Finally his last choice brought him to Doctor Doom.
Doom is a brilliant man and Hulk figured he could cater to his ego by offering him the chance to succeed where Banner's intellect failed. Doom agreed, not for bragging rights but a price to be named later. Doom had an idea how to separate the two, it would require brain surgery and some cloning.
That's right, Doom performed brain surgery on Hulk. He could pinpoint which parts of the brain contained Hulk and which contained Banner. He cut out the Banner parts and placed them in a body cloned from the DNA Hulk and Banner shared. Thus, Banner would live completely separated from the Hulk and Hulk would be free (with a seventh grade education).
Who knew Doom was an expert at brain surgery and cloning? The solution to the Hulk/Banner problem couldn't be this easy. It would be bizarre that Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Hank Pym and all the other smarty-pants in the Marvel Universe couldn't figure out that all it would take to separate them is a little brain surgery (and cloning). In the past when Hulk and Banner were separated, Hulk was left as a vessel of pure rage. There was no intellect at all to drive or control the body. That is different now.
The problem is, Hulk, Banner, the Grey Hulk, etc, have all been different aspects of Banner's mind. Banner essential had gamma-irradiated multiple personalities. Who knew these different personalities were actually isolated in specific sections of the brain and could be removed? What about other areas of the brain that perform normal functions? How could Banner and Hulk be complete with only a portion of a shared brain?
The freed Banner obviously isn't thinking clearly. Doom suggested that he could manipulate the brain to change certain aspects of Banner. Hulk insisted to simply separate them right down the middle but because this is Doom we're talking about, how much can he be trusted?
Banner has been obsessed with re-creating the Hulk. Could there be a flaw in his cloned body? We have to assume that the rest of the brain must have been cloned as well in order to justify how two separate bodies could function with only half a brain. Banner is acting insane and it has to be a result of Doom's attempt.
The idea is a bit of a stretch, even for comic books. How could different personalities be contained in specific areas of their brain? How come no one else ever thought that this could be the solution to freeing Banner?
Banner and Hulk may be separated for now but there's no way this is the solution they've both been looking for since the beginning. Doctor Doom performing brain surgery allows him to live up to the 'doctor' part of his name but it just isn't a plausible solution to permanently separating Banner and the Hulk.