DC Database

"The Monster and the Madman": Bruce Banner is working at a division of Wayne Research, assisting in the development of a gamma-gun, designed to cure diseases. Banner hopes it may provide a cure for him - from periodically turning into the Hulk. Unfortunat

Quote1.png Perhaps a spot of tea will calm your nerves, Dr. Banner. Quote2.png
Alfred -- at the ready, as always

DC Special Series #27 is an issue of the series DC Special Series (Volume 1) with a cover date of September, 1981.

Synopsis for "The Monster and the Madman"

Bruce Banner is working at a division of Wayne Research, assisting in the development of a gamma-gun, designed to cure diseases. Banner hopes it may provide a cure for him - from periodically turning into the Hulk. Unfortunately, the Joker has allied himself with a powerful force and he needs to steal the gamma-gun for his grand goal. The Joker's stealing attempt of the gamma-gun causes Banner to transform into the Hulk and the commotion created draws the attention of Batman. Joker takes the chance to convince Hulk that Batman is his enemy and the green brute attacks Batman, who fights back with all his might, to no avail. Batman then uses knockout gas from his Utility Belt and manages to subdue the Hulk, but the Joker has escaped with the gamma-gun while Batman was busy fighting Hulk. A few moments later, the Hulk reverts to Banner and Bruce Wayne arrives at the scene, offering Banner a proper job, supervising the gun's replacement.

The Joker then takes the gun on and uses it on the Shaper-of-Worlds, who is losing his ability to absorb the dreams of others, denying himself an outlet for his powers, and potentially driving him insane. He is responsible for the Joker's activities as he has promised the mad clown unlimited power once his powers are restored. However, the gun doesn't work properly and The Shaper tells Joker to get Bruce Banner in order to fix the gun.

As Banner works on a Wayne research ship in international waters, an army team appears demanding he accompany them. It turns out they aren't the army, and Banner is not pleased, transforming into the Hulk. As the fake General wishes there was a bigger monster to defeat the Hulk, a monster indeed appears - courtesy of the Shaper. When Hulk is taken to the Shaper, the latter feels his powers returning when Hulk comes close to him and The Shaper realizes that Hulk's radiation can restore his powers. Refusing to fight the Shaper, Hulk decides to leave the place and Shaper commands the Joker to find Hulk and bring him back.

Without a clue of the Hulk's whereabouts, Joker decides to contact Batman to help him locate the green monster. Using the Bat-Signal to summon the Dark Knight, Joker and Batman make a temporary truce at the roof of the GCPD Headquarters. After an extensive search for the Hulk across Gotham, they finally find him and at first, Hulk tries to escape, but Batman follows him closely by attaching his Batrope to the Hulk's leg. When Hulk realizes Batman has followed him, he turns violent and attacks Batman, who relies on his speed and reflexes to avoid damage. After all their attempts have failed, Batman and Joker decide to try another approach. Disguised as an old man, Batman convinces Hulk to go with the Joker in a passive manner and a mild Hulk obeys.

Joker takes Hulk back to the Shaper, but after learning Joker's true intentions, Batman tries to stop Hulk from going into the warehouse The Shaper is located. The Shaper uses his remaining powers to create illusions of some of Hulk and Batman's enemies and the heroes work together to defeat the illusions. However, the confrontation turns Hulk angry again and he attacks The Shaper with his full force. The impact cures Shaper and restores his abilities. Finally, Shaper decides to leave Earth, but first he grants Joker the omnipotent powers that they agreed upon. With his new powers, Joker is free to shape the world around him at will and there is nothing that can stop him. Batman knows this and he challenges the Joker's newfound power to create everything that was, is and will be. The strain is too much for Joker's mind to handle and the Clown Prince of Crime faints as his powers leave his body.

In the aftermath, Joker is locked away for good with his mind still in a catatonic state, but Bruce Banner has lost hope once again of curing himself from his living nightmare.

Appearing in "The Monster and the Madman"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:





  • The story is commonly known as "Batman vs The Hulk". However, the actual title of the story is "The Monster and the Madman" and it is told in several chapters including a prologue and epilogue:
    • Chapter One: When Wakes the Behemoth...!
    • Chapter Two: When Dreams Won't Come!
    • Chapter Three: When the Sea Churns Green...!
    • Chapter Four: When the Shaper Commands...!
    • Chapter Five: When Madness Reigns...!
  • The credit box features special thanks to Marv Wolfman and Mike DeCarlo.
  • This is the third DC/Marvel Crossover, the first one featuring Batman and the last of the tabloid-size editions for several years.
  • The Official Crisis on Infinite Earths Index and The Official Crisis on Infinite Earths Crossover Index classify this as a Crossover Earth story.


  • The story resembles the plot of the later story arc Emperor Joker.

See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

DC Marvel Crossovers
Superman vs The Amazing Spider-Man Superman and Spider-Man Batman vs The Incredible Hulk Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans Batman / Punisher: Lake of Fire
Punisher / Batman: Deadly Knights Darkseid vs Galactus: The Hunger Spider-Man and Batman Green Lantern / Silver Surfer: Unholy Alliances DC Versus Marvel
All Access Silver Surfer / Superman Batman/Captain America Daredevil/Batman Batman and Spider-Man
Unlimited Access Superman / Fantastic Four The Incredible Hulk vs Superman Batman/Daredevil JLA/Avengers