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Bruce Banner #3 makes even eating feel Sisyphean


You’d think the Hulk’s alter-ego might be mild, but it packs a hell of a punch. - BRANDON SODERBERG
  • Brandon Soderberg
  • You’d think the Hulk’s alter-ego might be mild, but it packs a hell of a punch.
Nervous, alienated and embattled weirdo Bruce Banner, best known as the alter-ego of the Incredible Hulk is a strange namesake for a strain if you really think about it. Likely, you associatively jump right to suggesting this hybrid of OG Kush and Strawberry Diesel with a whole lot of THC — nearing 30 percent — is strong, like the Hulk grrrrrrr, hence its name. But there’s already an Incredible Hulk strain (it’s really something else too, mixing Green Crack and Jack Herer) and so Bruce Banner really should be some lighter version of Incredible Hulk, maybe Incredible Hulk grown under light deprivation or something. But nope, it’s a hefty, head-squashing strain all its own.

Bruce Banner #3 is tough enough that when it hits, it feels like a body-shaking attack from within (“You wouldn’t like me when I’m um, hella stoned,” Bruce Banner somberly tells some street tough in an alley late at night), like a transformation — a rush of confusion, a punch of dopey sleepiness and then a floating-in-space sort of pain relief that ramps up until you’re all mind, obsessed, lost amid the kind of dilated pupil wildness and focus you get from say, cold medicine. Reading was a voracious thrill with Bruce Banner #3, while anything more sensory was tedious. Eating felt Sisyphean — all this chewing only to have to do it again soon enough — and music slowed down, three- or four-minute songs felt endless, all hook or no hook depending, and skipping around, no matter the song. Maren Morris’ “Girl,” Deli Girls’ “Officer,” Lor Choc’s “Vibe,” all pretty sick songs by the way, got boring a minute and a half in.

Then deep paranoia set in. I felt prone to suggestion. The room itself breathed, puffing up a little and then contracting, and the dog didn’t seem to like Bruce Banner #3 in the air one bit. I try and be mindful of not getting my pets high — it’s a basic consent issue, really, also getting an animal high is animal abuse — and do it away from them or close to the window, but the dog left the room entirely when I was smoking this one, something about it got to him and that made me feel very bad. The taste and smell, a glimmer of gummy sweet, a menacing shadow of icky gas, sent him hiding.

So I went outside. The moon’s light hurt my eyes. I wandered around and thought about Joe Harnell’s “Lonely Man,” the silly though aching song from the end of the old ‘70s Incredible Hulk show where David Banner (“Bruce” mind you, was “too gay,” according to CBS so they renamed him David Banner for television), back to normal, rolling out of whatever town he just smashed up, ambles down the road, piano, splitting the difference between Erik Satie and Andrew Gold soundtracking his profound shame and alienation. I felt terrible.

Strength: 9
Nose: Rock candy in a Jiffy Lube
Euphoria: 8
Existential dread: 5
Freaking out when a crazy person approaches you: 5
Drink pairing: Kale smoothie
Music pairing: Richard Pinhas, Iceland
Rating: 7

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