For all your suited heroes, multi-powered villains, and technically gifted individuals among the expansive Marvel universe, it’s hard to argue that one of the most formidable, powerful – and quite frankly unstoppable – forces of all characters is The Incredible Hulk.
Let’s face it, Hulk is one mean machine, channeling his inner rage to unleash furious barrages of power, precision, and unstoppable force that could render anyone foolish enough to oppose him pretty well screwed.
We’re talking about a behemoth of the universe, able to take down seemingly impossible targets with his sheer size and strength, and one whose own human form is also an unmatched scientific genius – he’s simply got it all.
But for all the power and might that the Hulk possesses, it’s also fair to say that the assumption that he is indestructible is very far from the truth. In fact, ever since his debut in May of 1962, Hulk has seen his fair share of defeats among the copious victories he has experienced. While he did famously declare Loki a ‘puny god’ in The Avengers movie, it appears that our very own green machine hasn’t always had it his own way when it comes to fighting both the good guys and the bad.
If you don’t believe that such a Marvel hero could be dethroned, bashed to within an inch of his life, or even man-handled, then let us divulge our secrets and prove to you that he may have the brawn but that doesn’t always mean a sure-fire victory for the green guy.
Here are those opposing threats who have overcome Hulk and basked in the glory of taking down the gamma-radiated brute.
15. The Thing
It would come to the surprise of very few to say that the Incredible Hulk and The Thing have had their fair share of disagreements and, ultimately, fights against one another. True, they’ve been good friends through the years, but when you’re built with that much muscle (or boulders) then it’s only a matter of time before you start throwing your weight around.
That occurred in 1961’s Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #320, with a more intellectual Hulk taking on Thing who was in the form which saw him at his most dangerous. With The Thing in his most devastating form and Hulk somewhat weakened of his rage in his “grey form,” the door was open for victory for the Fantastic Four man.
Thor is one ultimate badass- fact. He’s not only a demi-god, but in one instance he took on the might of both The Thing and the Incredible Hulk at the same time – and came out the victor.
It all happened in Fear Itself Book Five: Brawl, where an Asgardian god by the name of The Serpent looked to destroy Earth with the aid of his acolytes, The Worthy.
Entangled in this series of events, Hulk and Thor face off against one another – with the help of some pretty badass hammers – and carnage ensues. Before it all ends, an evil Thing also shows up to rain on the parade to make it a handicap match of epic proportions.
13. Iron Man
Their relationship within the movies seems to have been one of great respect between Bruce Banner and Tony Stark, with their scientific minds often combining to create wonders (even if Ultron had something to say about that). But in the comics, one particular smackdown between Iron Man and Hulk was of great note.
In the days before Stark created his own Hulkbuster armor, 1980’s Iron Man Vol 1. #132 saw the heroes collide, with Stark taking it into his own hands when it was realized that the Hulk was too much of a danger. Unable to control this unpredictable monster, Stark would go toe-to-toe with Banner in an epic duel.
In the match Iron Man would seek any opportunity possible to take down the big green machine, hoping to choke him with a chain, and even trying to drown him underwater, to no avail.
In a ‘last chance saloon’ moment, Stark would use every little bit of power left within his suit to land one final punch and knock out Banner’s violent alter-ego, leaving the Iron Man suit rendered useless.
12. Namor the Sub-Mariner
Tales to Astonish #100 provided one among many meetings between Namor the Sub-Mariner and our very own Incredible Hulk, with this particular one resulting in them locking horns.
This was all down to the villainous Puppet Master, whose control over Hulk meant that he was a danger and a threat. With the villain pitting Hulk against Namor, the pair battle across the coast, with Namor’s advantage instantly clear and Hulk struggling when constantly immersed in water.
As their fight goes further out to sea, a tsunami is caused, which wipes out Puppet Master’s base of operations and sees Hulk transform back into Bruce Banner. Namor is unaware of the Hulk’s true identity so simply leaves the unconscious body of Banner on the shore and returns to his home, believing the Hulk to have been dealt with.
11. The Silver Surfer
Being one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy (and serving under the almighty Galactus), it’s hardly a surprise that the first entry on our list comes in the form of planet-eater sidekick, the Silver Surfer.
The big green wrecking machine would encounter the interplanetary shiny guy in 1967’s Tales to Astonish Vol.1 #92-93, when his plan to radiate himself with further gamma power would go terribly wrong. Having been on the run from the government and one General Ross, Hulk would see an opportunity to escape, believing to see a spacecraft heading to outer space.
Somehow, it would actually turn out to be Surfer, who would instantly refuse to help Hulk, angering him into an even more devastating fit of rage. Cue Surfer’s board planting itself firmly in the direction of Hulk, followed by the board’s cosmic power rendering our hero somewhat unconscious and certainly not space bound.
When you pit these two against one another on paper then it seems like it would be an instant foregone conclusion that Hulk would be the dominant victor, but in the world of comics anything can happen.
For example, in Amazing Spider-Man Vol.1 #328, old web-head himself actually notched up a victory over the big green guy- with the help of some rather nifty powers it must be said. Having been entrusted with the power cosmic from Captain Universe, Cosmic Spider-Man finds himself up against Hulk following an offer from villain Sebastian Shaw for the monster to take out the web-slinger.
Once dropped into Manhattan, Hulk eventually puts the lives of two children in jeopardy after some battling with Spider-Man and the newly-powered Spidey responds by punching him right into orbit.
9. Doctor Doom
It’s fair to say that Hulk’s run-ins with anyone from the Fantastic Four world have often resulted in him seeing the poor end of the battle. He’s seen himself beaten at the hands of The Thing on his own, the foursome of heroes, and also by Doctor Doom.
Doom’s victory actually came following the villain looking to recruit the mighty green monster in order to reclaim his throne as ruler of Latveria. He devised a plot to put together an army that would regain his power, with Hulk as the ideal first candidate.
Upon Hulk refusing to help someone on the other side, Doom had no option but to utilize his neuro-ray and render old Hulkster unconscious. This allowed Doom to control any movements of the green hero and use him as his pawn, until Hulk himself realized he had no choice but to help out the villainous Fantastic Four nemesis.
As if you didn’t expect the Merc With The Mouth to pop up on this list, even if he is all trash-talking and not so much about the throwing down with mighty opponents like Hulk. That being said, Wade Wilson did actually pick up a ‘W’ against the Big Green in 1997’s Deadpool #4.
When Wilson realizes that his all-important regeneration abilities are somehow coming to an end, he looks to find a way to restore them to their useful state. As his quest goes on, Deadpool blows up a nuclear power station, exposing himself to masses of gamma radiation before realizing that he needs Hulk’s blood to give him what he needs.
In one of the most ridiculous yet rather inventive ways to take down Hulk, Deadpool takes a moment of rage and turns it into his advantage. As Hulk takes a mystifying leap into the air to Hulk Smash him to smithereens, Deadpool maps out the trajectory for landing and places a signpost to impale the goliath. Needless to say, it works, Hulk is impaled and Deadpool gets his blood. Mission accomplished!
We’re sure you’re all familiar with the image of King Kong swooping in to take a woman hostage in his grasp and that’s just what Hulk did in Incredible Hulk Vol.1 #150 in 1972 to one of the X-Men.
While on the run from the military, naturally, Hulk would see an individual whom he believed to be former partner Jarella, a princess of those powered green-skins, only for it to turn out she was her actually Polaris, one member of the X-Men who had been searching for fellow member Havok. Nevertheless, Hulk would take her, blinded by the thought of his former flame, and Havok would soon arrive on the scene.
After a battle that would see Havok eventually realize that his limited powers were struggling to get through to his enemy, he would soon deliver the killer blow with a barrage of blasts to Hulk’s head. This would soon see the Hulk pass out and Polaris saved from his grasp.
Our first entry in the list emanating from now-rivals DC Comics and Marvel, Hulk and Batman have faced off against one another in the past, as Marvel and DC proved that they can come together and create some truly engaging stories with all of their characters together.
Being the brilliant mind that he is, Bruce Banner found himself working at Wayne Enterprises once upon a time, only to be coaxed into transforming into Hulk by none other than the Joker and wreaking havoc in Wayne’s laboratories.
Needless to say, Batman would step in to stop the Hulk, looking to find a way to stop his foe in his tracks. Eventually, he would do this via some handy sleeping gas, and then the pair would dust themselves off and team up to take down the crafty clown prince of crime like real heroes do!
In a story which sees a whole new world in which the heroes have fallen and the super-villains have risen to power, we find a new America forged, with California replaced by Hulkland. Hulkland is under the command of Hulk and his children, the Hulk Gang, and they are as merciless as they are dangerous.
Logan (aka Wolverine), has hung up his cowl for a more normal life but is being hounded by the Hulk Gang in order to pay his rent for the farm on which he resides. Having no choice but to do what the gang demands, Logan finds that his own family is slaughtered upon his return and we all know what that means.
Fueled by rage, he targets the gang before colliding with Hulk himself, who actually eats Logan whole. That’s not to stop the former X-Man though, as he uses those adamantium claws to literally burst through Hulk’s chest and leave him a messy green lump of death.
4. The Fantastic Four
Marvel’s first family have often worked together with Hulk, but in 1976’s Fantastic Four Vol.1 #166 they were tasked with finding a cure for the transformation of Bruce Banner into the dangerous Hulk.
While reluctant at first, the team agreed to work with the military in finding a cure, before Hulk can go on a familiar rampage, causing the Four to work together to take down the unstoppable beast.
With Reed Richards using his own stretching ability to trap Hulk, it takes Johnny Storm to blast him with some fire into his eyes, Sue Storm to surround him with a bubble cutting off his oxygen flow, and The Thing to deliver the knockout blow.
When two titans go head-to-head you never know who is going to come out victorious, but in the case of Hulk and Juggernaut it’s only a very short-lived victory for the X-Men villain against one of the core Avengers.
With Hulk in his more mellowed out ‘Professor Hulk’ persona, Banner is in the rain forest on an investigation when an unknown assailant looks to take him out. When a battle ensues, Banner looks to figure out who this mysterious figure is, until it is finally revealed to be Cain Marko, better known as Juggernaut.
Finally unveiling his identity, Banner throws an unsuited Marko into quicksand before offering him a hand out, but Marko simply tries to pull him in with him. After Banner leaves him for dust, Marko breaks free of the quicksand and levels him with a barrage of punches before our hero falls unconscious.
2. Thor (again)
Okay, so technically this one is a bit of a long shot, but you’ll have to stick with us when we say that Thor has pretty much defeated Hulk on another occasion. That moment came in 2001’s Incredible Hulk Annual, where the two titans of the Avengers collided after Hulk’s rampaging caught the attention of Odin’s son.
Believing that the fact that he is a god places him as the dominant one in this particular fight, Thor and Hulk go at it, eventually teleporting to a lesser populated planet. This doesn’t quite bode well for Thor though, as he is buried under the rubble of a mountain he is thrown into and Hulk dusts himself off believing his task is complete. Not so.
Thor returns and harnesses thunder to strike into the head of his opponent, rendering him unconscious for the win. Well, that is until Hulk wakes up while being brought home and gets his revenge. A momentary victory for Thor at best…
In a period when Marvel and DC actually decided on crossing over their universes and combining their characters in stories, Hulk went face-to-face with Superman on many occasions.
It’s funny really, because despite Hulk’s dominating presence, he was always up against essentially a god, meaning that it was rather unlikely that the green monster would often be the victor.
In one particular story in 1996, Hulk/Bruce Banner looked to find a new home in Metropolis, working at a homeless shelter and keeping himself away from his abnormal life of rage and smashing things up. Unfortunately, Lex Luthor’s a man who only cares for his own power and wealth, and after he essentially levelled the shelter, Hulk raged into Metropolis and caused some untimely chaos.
Superman was the only person who could stop this uncontrollable beast and lured him to the Fortress of Solitude before utilizing the Phantom Zone Projector and saying a fond farewell into another dimension for our Marvel hero.