Comics often weave in other aspects of popular culture.
It helps make comic book universes more grounded in reality and gives readers something to relate to. Whether it’s taking selfies or talking memes, comics have always adapted with the times.
Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that Marvel’s superheroes might occasionally play video games when they aren’t too busy saving the world. Fighting supervillains is hard work, and playing games can be a great way to kick back and blow off some steam. That’s exactly the case with Bruce Banner in The Totally Awesome Hulk #8, on stands now. Bruce has seemingly been cured of the Hulk, and now, he finally has some time on his hands to kick back and relax. While fellow superheroes and friends like She-Hulk play cards, Bruce sits in bed and plays the wildly-popular block-based building game Minecraft.
Apparently, Bruce has been spending more than a little time with the Mojang-developed game, though he has yet to slay the Ender Dragon. Minecraft, at first, comes off as an odd video game of choice for the onetime Hulk to play. After all, the game is filled with spiders, exploding creepers and more that would seemingly send the scientist into one of his Hulk-induced rages, whether or not he thinks he’s been cured of the Hulk forever.
It’s then that Bruce reveals he likes to play the game on Peaceful difficulty. On Peaceful mode, no hostile enemies spawn. That means no scrambling to find shelter every night or screaming when a creeper blows up an entire day’s worth of hard work. It’s definitely a calmer and more relaxing experience, and that works perfectly with Bruce’s new Hulk-free persona. According to Bruce, he wants to tame an ocelot. Given his genius-level intellect, there’s no telling what kind of insane creations Bruce could build, given the time.
In the grand context of the comic, Bruce playing the game isn’t a major plot point or moment. However, writer Greg Pak manages to turn a fun Minecraft reference into a meaningful reflection on Bruce’s new life. He’s relaxed and stress-free, and playing Minecraft on Peaceful difficulty illustrates that in a way more than a few readers instantly understand.
For more pop culture reference in Marvel Comics, you can read how Spider-Man and Deadpool feel about superhero movies here.