The Greatest Hulk vs. Thor Battles Across Marvel History
To celebrate 'Banner of War,' take a look back at Hulk and Thor’s most epic battles!
The rivalry between the Incredible Hulk and the Mighty Thor erupted nearly six decades ago and, today, the immovable object and the unstoppable force will collide once again. HULK VS. THOR: BANNER OF WAR ALPHA #1 is just the beginning of a five-part crossover story that will span across both THOR and HULK in May and June.
As the writer of both titles, Donny Cates is uniquely qualified to open a new chapter in their shared history alongside artist Martin Coccolo, who will illustrate all five issues. Former INCREDIBLE HULK artist Gary Frank is also providing the covers for this battle that will shake the Marvel Universe.
As the All-Father of Asgard, Thor is more powerful than he has ever been – and perhaps he is even stronger than Hulk, but the Hulk has undergone some drastic changes as well. Bruce Banner’s mind is literally in the driver’s seat of Starship Hulk, and that could prove to be a deadly combination.
Before we dive into what will surely be an epic clash, Marvel.com is taking a look back at some of the most memorable Hulk and Thor battles over the years.
Thor and Hulk first met in AVENGERS #1, and they soon became teammates and founding members of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. However, they were never friends, and Hulk quit the team in issue #2 when he realized that they didn’t trust him. By issue #3, readers had their first glimpse of a real Hulk vs. Thor battle. JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112 featured a flashback to that fight, which Thor related to a group of rival Hulk and Odinson fans. You see, in the days before the internet, overly passionate fans gathered on the streets of New York to argue about which hero was the strongest.
There were no definitive answers to be found here, but Thor learned the hard way just how dangerous Hulk could be. In a moment of pure ego, Thor asked his father, Odin, to temporarily free him from the enchantment of Mjolnir just to see if he was stronger than the Hulk. Perhaps Hulk sensed that the hammer was Thor’s weakness, because he spent most of the fight trying to destroy it. After some close calls, Thor was lucky to fight the Hulk to a stalemate.
In the middle of the Avengers and Defenders war, Hulk and Thor crossed paths once again during their quest for the Evil Eye. Loki and Dormammu tricked both teams into fighting each other, but Hulk needed few reasons to fight with Thor. Even though Thor tried to reason with his former teammate, they were soon at each other's throats. This may have also been their first fight in public, as they ravaged the city around them in an incredible display of power. Regardless, they were more evenly matched in this encounter, and they fought to a draw just as their teammates arrived to end their battle.
Hulk has always been quite fond of reminding people that the “the madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets!” But what if the Hulk was nothing but rage? Thanks to Nightmare’s machinations, Bruce Banner’s mind was once seemingly destroyed. Without the moderating influence of Banner’s humanity, the Hulk was truly a savage beast. Even the mighty Avengers couldn’t withstand his onslaught, and only Thor had the power to stand against a Hulk unleashed. However, it was a pyrrhic victory at best when Doctor Strange exiled Hulk to another world, leaving Thor and the Avengers to mourn for the man he had once been.
This Hulk and Thor rematch took place at an unspecified time in the past as they renewed their rivalry. In this nearly issue-long battle, the green Hulk displayed a chilling ruthless streak. By threatening a woman’s life, Hulk blackmailed Thor into fighting him without Mjolnir’s might. In turn, this was a more one-sided affair than many of their previous conflicts. Thor was heavily beaten, even though he refused to yield to Hulk’s strength. In the end, Thor realized that continuing to fight was pointless and he had once again allowed a battle with the Hulk to cause unneeded destruction and chaos.
In perhaps the shortest battle between Hulk and Thor, the son of Odin was decisively knocked out by his own hammer. The enchantment of Mjolnir only allows it to be picked up by someone who is worthy of its power, but since Thor already had the hammer in his hand, Hulk simply made the Odinson hit himself until he was unconscious. It was not Thor’s proudest moment, and perhaps only fueled the ill feelings between them.
As Thor has become more powerful over the years, so too has the Hulk. Within the early issues of IMMORTAL HULK, Thor theorized that Hulk had become more than simply a mortal. He suggested Banner’s Devil Hulk incarnation was something closer to a god, and Devil Hulk did something that no other Hulk has: he truly hurt Thor. With a single blow, Hulk knocked out one of Thor’s teeth and cracked his skull. With Thor out of the picture, Hulk easily fought off the rest of the Avengers until they unleashed an orbital weapon against him.
When Thor got his rematch with Hulk a few months later, he was understandably less than happy to see the green goliath again. By this time, Thor had come into his full Odinson powers, but the Immortal Hulk seemed to be far beyond any previous incarnation of the beast. In a moment of pure rage, Thor shattered Hulk’s arm with lightning, only for Hulk to allow the arm to regenerate around Thor’s head in an attempt to suffocate him. It was grotesque and almost enough to kill the son of Odin.
No matter how powerful Thor or Hulk becomes, their rivalry has only intensified. The next battle has only just begun in HULK VS. THOR: BANNER OF WAR ALPHA #1, on sale now!
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