Mr. Hyde is Gray Hulk from League of Extraordinary Gentleman


There have been plenty of “Dark Hulk” stories over the years. There have been plenty of dark takes on the character, even recently with new series like Immortal Hulk or the new Titan Hulk. But the jade giant’s darkest subversion never came from Marvel – but was the result of a legendary creator turning one of his inspirations into a true monster.

The Mr. Hyde of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill) is one of the darkest renditions of the Hulk archetype ever produced – highlighting what a truly morally bereft Hulk would actually look like.

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The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of the main inspirations for Hulk as a concept, with Stan Lee explicitly comparing the characters. It is appropriate then that the version of Hyde which appears in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen would pull a lot of the Hulk in turn. In the world of the League, Jekyll had faked his death after the events of TheStrange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and tried to hide. However, over the years, Hyde increasingly became the dominant personality, gaining stature and eventually developing super strength and increased durability. A more ruthless and intelligent version of the scientist, Hyde was a real monster – both in form and in action. He murdered and assaulted carelessly, and grew truly massive over time.

Hyde has perhaps the most marked growth in the original League, appearing as a major team member for the first two stories set in the Victorian era. Hyde was forced into League service and quickly became their greatest physical powerhouse. During this time, he develops a deep affection for Mina Murray, who (correctly) suspects that she is one of the few people who understands him on some level. His fondness for her motivates his actions in the second volume to become more heroic-ish – he brutally murders Invisible Man, but only after discovering his conspiracy with the Martians of War of the Worlds. Afterwards, he shares one last moment with Mina before sacrificing himself to kill one of the aliens – buying his allies the precious time needed to unleash biowarfare against the aliens, saving Earth in the process.

In years to come, Hyde will be remembered as something of a hero, with a statue even erected in his honor. But none of this negates the atrocities committed by the character. It’s still a monster, but a monster with a purpose. While he may never reach Hyde’s levels of depravity, he shares more than a little in common with Joe Fixit, the most famous incarnation of the Gray Hulk. Debut in The Incredible Hulk #347 by Peter David and Jeff Purves, Fixit is a smart and cruel version of the Hulk who quickly found himself at home as a Vegas enforcer. Both Hyde and Fixit are subversions of the neebish scientist, their wrath brought out on the deadliest scale imaginable.

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But while Fixit has finally proven that it still retains some heroic qualities – most recently in Immortal Hulk — Hyde is never close to redemption. Fixit can commit crimes but he eventually comes back. Hyde might develop a fondness for some ordinary humans, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a man who’s let his worst impulses get the better of him. The character confronts the many flaws that Jekyll still carries and takes on the responsibilities of the unleashed monster through his transformation. Thus, he is not just a deconstruction of the Hulk, but the entire archetype inspired by his story.

If Joe Fixit is the Hulk completely detached from mere morality, then he should be just as truly dark and complex as Moore’s take on Hyde. A dark take on Hyde that embraces everything truly twisted about one of Marvel’s most famous heroes could be a huge selling point for the new film adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. While any adaptation would probably tone down just how vicious Hyde truly is, a truly dark and complex characterization might be one of the best elements of graphic novels to bring to the big screen.

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