I’m not sure what it is about the Hulk, but there is simply no other character in memory whose status quo can change so drastically and readers really do not seem to mind. It’s almost as though there should be a Hulk rule to comic book writing:
The Hulk Rule: As long as your stories are interesting, and there’s a way back to the familiar (if need be), do whatever the hell you want with the character.
Whether it’s Bruce Jones’ conspiracy epic, Greg Pak’s sci-fi epic, or Jeph Loeb’s two-fisted, two-Hulked epic, every writer takes the gamma-irradiated character in a wildly different direction. And the results are often met with approval (though Jones got some serious heat from the most vocal of fanboys for the lack of Hulk in his Hulk book).
Now Jason Aaron and Marc Silvestri get their shot at the Green Goliath and the book sounds like something brand new for the character who seems poised to suffer a major identity crisis. According to the teaser trailer that Marvel released today (publishers should do more of these), Hulk and Bruce Banner will be mysteriously separated when Hulk #1 is released this October.