Even the most seemingly invincible superheroes have their weaknesses. Typically, these vulnerabilities are notable and direct: Superman to Kryptonite, Martian Manhunter to fire, and classic Green Lantern to the color yellow, to name a few examples.
For a raging, jade behemoth like The Incredible Hulk, however, no weakness is obviously apparent. With unlimited super strength that only increases as he grows angrier, as well as enhanced durability, endurance, and regeneration, The Hulk is a hard guy to put down.
The iconic hero is well known for being nearly indestructible, it’s usually his surroundings that suffer from his destruction, while the big guy remains perfectly intact.
Hulk has battled armies, monsters, and even superhero teams, yet still emerges as the victor more often than not. Once in a while a clever enough villain or well-meaning superhero trying to curb Hulk’s destructive anger finds a way to stop his never ending rage. Digging beyond the big, green surface, even Hulk has an Achilles’ heel or two…
Here are the 15 Weaknesses You Didn’t Know The Hulk Had.
Marvel’s trademark, indestructible metal is a deadly weapon when put to proper use. It is even capable of piercing the flesh of the most durable heroes, such as Luke Cage and, of course, the Hulk.
Adamantium is so effective in fact, that a constant rival hero uses it again Hulk whenever they clash. In The Incredible Hulk #181, Wolverine was introduced as an agent of the Canadian government sent to take down Hulk.
The two had a bit of a scuffle until they decided to team up against mutual enemy the Wendigo. There would be many encounters between the monster and the mutant over the decades, with Logan successfully piercing, cutting, and slicing at Hulk
One other mentionable adamantium user is Speedfreek, who manages to slice Hulk’s stomach open with a blade made of the powerful metal. Fortunately, Hulk’s healing factor closes his stomach back up, but unfortunately, it closed up around his fingers and, in a grisly moment, he had to tear his hand out and reopen the wound.
14. Bruce Banner
It’s a well-known fact that resting inside the green behemoth’s muscle bound body is the meek scientist Bruce Banner. Of course Banner should get precedence over The Hulk as he was the one to exist first, though Hulk is often portrayed as not being overly fond of his weaker counterpart. As Bruce Banner, he is vulnerable and is often taken advantage of by villains, and even by The Punisher on one occasion. In the Punisher storyline Confederacy of Dunces, Frank Castle took a kidnapped Banner, fed him C4 explosives and unleashed him as the Hulk against rival superheroes Wolverine, Spider-Man and Daredevil. Castle then denoted the C4 to turn Hulk back into Banner…because the Punisher is nuts.
Most recently Bruce Banner was ultimately killed in his human form by Hawkeye at the scientist’s own request. He instructed Hawkeye if he ever saw him turning back into the Hulk to take him out–the archer begrudgingly obliged and put an arrow in Banner’s head the moment he saw his eyes flicker green.
13. Multiple Personalities
If you were to listen to the thoughts inside of Bruce Banner’s head, you’d hear the pitter-patter of big green feet– well mostly green. There are a lot of Hulk’s running around in there– and one of them even comes in Grey.
There’s the original dim but lovable Savage Hulk to start with. He’s the most familiar, but he’s got plenty of company: there’s the more intelligent Joe Fix-it, the brilliant Professor Hulk, the planet ruling Green Scar Hulk, and Doc Savage who serves as a more modern take on the Professor.
This doesn’t even begin to dig into his more nefarious personalities like Devil Hulk and Guilt Hulk. Needless to say, all these guys don’t get along. In the video game The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, the player is able to go inside Banner’s mind and battle the Devil Hulk as Savage Hulk in an epic boss battle.
12. Hulk’s Ego
Sometimes big muscles come with a big ego. In his original form, the Hulk’s catch phrase is: “Hulk is the strongest there is!” This meant he would never back away from a fight or a challenge.
Even in his newer incarnation Doc Savage, Hulk proved to be arrogant. He felt like it was his responsibility to disarm all the gamma weapons around the world. Of course, by gamma weapons, he meant fellow gamma radiated individuals.
This caused him to travel the globe and take their powers by force. He removed the same powers that he enjoyed from the likes of his friend Rick Jones who went by A-Bomb in his gamma persona, his old flame Betty Ross who was Red She-Hulk at the time, and even his own son Skaar. Apparently, there is only room for one Hulk on Earth.
However, Bruce Banner’s predecessor Amadeus Cho was just as cocky in the Hulk persona. In his premiere as the jade giant in Totally Awesome Hulk #1 (humble title right?), Cho confidently flirted with a bikini-wearing woman after defeating a two-headed monster… until she pointed out he lost his shorts in the battle.
11. Memories of His Father
Brian Banner was a brilliant man with an unfortunate childhood. He was often abused by his father Bruce Banner I. He swore that he’d never have children, believing that a “monster gene” resided in him.
This all changed when he met his future wife Rebecca during college. He and Rebecca had a son, who Brian strangely named after his abusive father. Unfortunately, the cycle of violence continued, as Brian grew abusive towards Rebecca and Bruce. In the end, Brian beat her fatally in front of little Bruce, leaving him scarred for life.
Even after Brian Banner died, Bruce still feared his father. A lesser-known power of the Hulk is his ability to see ghosts and astral projections, which is why he can spot Doctor Strange even in his astral form.
The reason for this power? Hulk granted it to himself unconsciously as a way to spot his father’s ghost, if it ever came after him. That’s how deeply Brian impacted Bruce– not even the mighty Hulk could get away.
The Hulk is more than a monster, he’s a force of nature, so it would be smart to have him on your side. More than one villain has figured this out and recruited him to their allegiance by mental force.
In Incredible Hulk #403, he is captured by the Juggernaut and brought to the Red Skull and Mentallo. Under Skull’s orders, Mentallo gets into Hulk’s mind and uses memories of Brian Banner to frighten the big green guy into becoming their submissive servant. Later in the issue, they command him to attack the Avengers and he obliges.
Apocalypse was another villain powerful enough to take advantage of the Hulk’s fragile mind. In the story arc, War and Remembrance, he offered to make Hulk one of his Four Horsemen, War.
The mutant granted Hulk a helmet that would dampen out the “screams of his father” and allow him to fight at full power, among many other enhancements. Because Brian Banner did such a number on Bruce, Hulk accepted and became an unstoppable villain defeating the likes of the Absorbing Man and getting a little payback on the Juggernaut.
9. The Silver Surfer
The all mighty herald to Galactus, aka The Silver Surfer, is a formidable foe for anyone who crosses his path. As far as raw physical might, he could match the Hulk blow for blow… at least at first.
It would only be a matter of time before Hulk grew angry enough to overpower his chrome-faced opponent. In fact, he even managed to do so to the surfer during the Planet Hulk storyline at a gladiator battle. However, under optimal situations, the Silver Surfer can make quick work of Hulk.
Silver Surfer has delivered an instant knockout to the big guy before. In Incredible Hulk #250, during a fight between the two titans, the Silver Surfer used his energy manipulation ability to suck the gamma radiation out of Hulk, reducing him back to Bruce Banner– fight over.
8. His Love For Betty Ross
Betty Ross, Bruce Banner’s one true love, is a vulnerable spot for the Hulk. In order to obtain her hand in marriage, he had to get the blessings of her father, his archenemy General Thunderbolt Ross.
Ross used his military power to hunt Hulk for years but finally let up. If you thought Bruce would have peace on his wedding day, you would be wrong. Another enemy of Hulk’s, the Leader, crashed the wedding and hit Bruce with a radiation beam. A second attempt was made at a wedding only to be disrupted by a gun totting Thunderbolt Ross who, once again, disapproved of Bruce. Betty talked her father down and they tied the knot, but love does not come easy for Bruce and Betty.
There’d be occasions when Betty would be kidnapped by villains, such as Tyrannus, and she was eventually even killed by yet another Hulk foe, the Abomination. She came back to life– since this is the world of comics– but she’s still a sore spot for the Hulk.
7. The Sentry
If the phrase describing the Sentry as having “the power of a million exploding suns,” is meant as hyperbole, it isn’t that much of an exaggeration. Robert Reynolds is a powerhouse when he goes all out in his superhero form.
When he and Hulk clashed in the World War Hulk storyline, they fought to a stalemate. They battled so much, in fact, that they knocked each other back into one another’s human alter-egos. Then Bruce popped Robert in the face and ultimately won.
Interactions between the Sentry and Hulk don’t always go like this, however. The Sentry has a light projection ability that manifests as a golden aura. He is able to project it at Hulk, thus calming the green behemoth. Once relaxed, Hulk can revert back into Banner.
6. Kluh the anti-Hulk
Imagine a being designed so specifically to destroy the Hulk that it came in, not one, but two flavors. It’s clear that there are people in the Marvel Universe who want the big guy dead quite desperately.
The original Kluh was a gray skinned clone of the Hulk created by Xenmu. He spoke better English than the original and gave him quite the beatdown, but ultimately failed in Xenmu’s mission to destroy and replace Hulk.
The second Kluh is an even bigger problem– literally. Unlike Hulk, who manifest from rage, Kluh comes from a place of sadness and depression. Under the influence of an accidental spell from Scarlet Witch, Luke Cage punched Hulk, his teammate, into a wall. Hurt and saddened by the betrayal of a friend hurting him causes Hulk to turn into Kluh, making him the Hulk’s Hulk.
In 2005 Marvel Comics released Defenders: Indefensible, a fun and humorous return of the classic team in a limited run. As the reunited team went to battle Doctor Strange foe Dormammu, Hulk was quickly captured by the demon.
He found himself under the care of Dormammu’s slightly less villainous sister Umar the Unrelenting. With the Hulk in her bedroom, she has special plans for the big guy. The panel cuts to an outside shot of Umar’s tower as a ruckus is made from inside. “Hulk …exhausted!” he screams. “Umar…just getting started!” she counters.
After the super-powered deed is done, Hulk is collapsed on the floor with an enraptured look on his face. He soon reverts back to Banner. An angered Umar demands Banner bring the Hulk back.
He tries and tries again, making hilarious faces (which resulted in even more hilarious memes) but it is to no avail. Banner explains that what Umar did relaxed Hulk so deeply that he couldn’t make the Hulk return.
4. His Future Self
One of the most acclaimed Hulk writers, Peter David, gave his readers a grand time traveling adventure in the story Future Imperfect. In it, the Professor Hulk travels to the future to confront one of his most physically threatening foes to date: the Maestro.
What makes the Maestro unique from all of Hulk’s other enemies is that he… is the Hulk. The future version of Banner is a nasty dictator who survived a nuclear holocaust which killed most of Earth’s heroes. It’s implied that he killed the surviving superheroes, as he keeps a trophy room full of the equipment of dead legends, such as Mjolnir, Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton, and Captain America‘s shield.
Having absorbed radiation from nukes for over a century, the Maestro is insane, but also has increased strength. He outclasses the Hulk in every possible way and quickly demonstrates this when he breaks his younger self’s neck leaving him temporarily paralyzed.
3. Gamma Bombs
Sure it was a gamma explosion that granted the Hulk his existence, but sometimes that which gives life can also take it way. After realizing that he can not physically beat the Maestro, the intelligent Professor Hulk thinks of an alternative plan.
As they battle in the trophy room filled with super-powered equipment of days gone by, Hulk tricks Maestro into Dr. Doom’s discarded time machine and sends him back to an undisclosed time. A bystander asks “where did the Maestro go?” A bruised Hulk simply answers “to face the music.”
The Maestro finds himself in a desert trying to piece together his location, but it is too late. He is at ground-zero, the spot where the gamma bomb went off that made Bruce Banner the monster he is today.
2. Puppy Bombs
If there’s one thing that Bruce Banner is all too familiar with it’s the fact that his rampaging green counterpart has to be stopped at times, even when he’s being heroic. That’s why, in Indestructible Hulk Special #1, he worked with S.H.I.E.L.D to develop the ultimate weapon: the puppy bomb.
No one knows the Hulk like Bruce Banner does, and the puppy bomb is fully effective as it unleashed a small army of adorable doggies onto the helpless Hulk.
It’s a safer alternative than luring him into a pet store, and it calms him back into Bruce Banner. It’s good to know that, when Umar the Unrelenting isn’t around to take a tumble in the hay with Hulk, there’s another way to get him into a calm state.
1. Thunder Gods
As noted, Hulk’s ego problem guarantees he will never back away from a fight. Perhaps he should give it a second thought when it comes to clashing with gods, though, especially those of the sky and thunder variety.
The list of fights between Hulk and fellow Avenger and god of thunder Thor has grown so long it can only be described as historical. The enchanted hammer Mjolnir often gives Thor a special edge in the fight, and they’ve gone back and forth between their victories. Even in the upcoming Thor: Ragnorak, the boys will be at it again.
Thor gives Hulk a hard time, but there’s another thunder deity who really gave Hulk the beating of his life: the king of all the Greek gods, Zeus.
In Incredible Hulks #622, the hero decides to scale Mount Olympus to demand that Zeus cure his hulk-ish friends and grant them a new home. As a Sky-father, Zeus is an even more powerful thunder-lord than Thor.
After striking him with a lightning bolt, he gives Hulk one of the most brutal pummelings he has ever received. There’s enough green blood to paint a house by the time Zeus is done with Hulk.
Are there any other weaknesses that Hulk suffers from that we missed? Let us know in the comment section!
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