Brian Banner is an alcoholic who married his college sweetheart: Rebecca Banner, and had a son named Bruce. Brian is known to have a violent past. He and his mother were physically and emotionally abused by his father. He believed he inherited a "monster gene" from his father, as he later passes the "gene" to Bruce.
Mayor Story Arcs
The Gamma Equation
During a unknown period before Bruce was born, Brian was attempting to uncover the third form of gamma radiation (the first two were as particles or as a wave) and had been researching feverishly to uncover it, if it ever existed at all. This theory was designed to explain why gamma radiation acted in a unpredictable or unplanned manner sometimes when tested. While Brian's coworkers were interested by the theory, there was nothing proving it, which is what he seeked to change. During a particularly long night of researching, he fell asleep for a second and seen that this "third form" was searching for him, viewing only a partial glance into the Green Door . Terrified by this image, Brian quickly dropped the theory next morning, convincing himself that it was just a dream: through he always knew it was far more than that. Returning to his house, Rebecca told him she was pregnant. Brian after death would later state that this encounter was his lifelong curse.
For years, Brian hated both his son and wife because of the fact that Rebecca had showed more love to Bruce then himself when Bruce was a baby. Though he promised himself never to have children despite the fact he accidentally impregnated Rebecca. Brian was distrustful and neglectful of his son, and refused to acknowledge his advanced intellect from a young age, convinced he was merely trying to trick him.
When Bruce reached his middle childhood, Brian went insane and killed Rebecca. Knowing Bruce had seen him do it. Brian warned his son strictly that if they went to court, he must lie in order to get out of this situation. Bruce is threatened that if he tells the truth, he would go to Hell. When the father-son duo visit court Bruce did what his father told him to do so Brian could slip out. It wasn't long before police officers had Bruce tell the truth. Soon enough, Brian is sent to a mental institution as he lashes out at his son in fury thanks to Bruce telling the truth.
Brian later returns to visit Bruce after spending 15 years in the institution, but he isn't aware that his son became the rampaging monster known as the Hulk. However, the visit becomes short-lived as Bruce engages in a fight with his father in a cemetery. Bruce knocks Brian out, causing him to fall on the tombstone of the recently-deceased Rebecca Banner and the force of the tombstone cracks his head open, killing him instantly.
Sometime later, Bruce's alter ego, the Hulk, is haunted by the ghost of Brian who is currently a member of the population of people gone to Hell. However, when Bruce visits Hell, he had enough of his father haunting him and the Hulk. So he stands up to his father by beating him up before getting back to the normal world.
Much later, Bruce reveals that he could have easily avoided killing his father with the blow that knocked him toward the tombstone, but didn't. During The Chaos War, Brian came back from the dead as a servant of The Chaos King, who had given him the power to transform into The Guilt Hulk at will, and captured both his resurrected wife Rebecca and their son's gamma-irradiated alter ego, The Hulk.
Below Hell Itself
After this encounter, Brian was knocked even deeper into Hell, eventually landing at the Below-Place, a dimension that was the lowest planes of Hell itself, where a deity known as One-Below-All ruled. Needing a host body and soul to effect the living world due to being blocked off from all other dimensions due to the Green Door, it used Brian as its carrier, allowing it to influence Gamma-infused individuals like Jailbait, Sasquatch , and Absorbing Man. Brian gained back enough control over himself to inform his son that The One-Below-All needed to take over hosts to function. While unsuccessful in the first two attempts, when it took over Absorbing Man (who at that point had been given the powers of Red Hulk's energy draining to combat Banner) it was able to find the site where the nuke that first infused Banner with Gamma energy occurred, and opens the Green Door over Mexico to attempt to escape from its dimensional prison.
While Brian was powerless to stop the One-Below-All from using his body and spirit, he was never truly against setting the deity free, as he believed that opening the Green Door would allow him freedom as well. After Hulk regained his lost gamma energy and destroyed both the One-Below-All and Brian, he stated that Bruce wasn't his son, but rather, the son of "the devil" this being the One-Below-All itself.
Though Brian has no powers and he is a mere human, when he was Resurrection in Chaos War, he became a creature that resembled the guilt/beast hulk, and since the dead gain powers according to how the living feel about them, he was gaining strength form his sons Bruce Banners hatred.
While Brian was controlled by the One-Below-All, he was capable of crossing over the dimensional Green Door and could enter into the minds of those who were empowered by gamma radiation and control them as hosts: this power was presumably removed when Brian's soul was separated from the deity.
Brian Banner (renamed "David") appears as the main antagonist in Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk film, played by Oscar-winner Nick Nolte for most of the movie and by Paul Kersey as a young man in flashbacks. In the film, David was once a brilliant geneticist who performed unauthorized experiments on himself in order to unlock mankind's true potential, and the changes to his DNA were later passed on to his son, Bruce. Enraged over having his research project shut down by Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, David destroyed his research and attempted to kill Bruce, realizing that the boy was not normal. The incident instead led to the accidental death of David's wife, which resulted in Bruce being sent to a foster family and David being imprisoned in a mental institution.
Decades later, David is released from the institution, and begins stalking his now-adult son, who has now been mutated even further by an accident involving gamma rays. Believing Bruce's new Hulk persona to be his "true son," David sets out to test him, and eventually tries to recreate the accident that created the creature. Instead of becoming a Hulk, the experiment grants David the ability to absorb and assimilate various forms of matter, in effect making him this continuity's version of the Absorbing Man (though that name is never once used in the film; Ang Lee later referred to David as The Partaking Man in the audio commentary for the DVD release, though that name is not used in the movie either). David uses his new powers to battle the Hulk, but is ultimately destroyed after absorbing too much of the creature's gamma radiation.
- An action figure of David Banner in his Absorbing Man-inspired form was included in ToyBiz's line for the 2003 Hulk movie.