If you’re anything like us, you absolutely delight in seeing Bruce Banner get angry. Hulking out, armed with nothing more than a peculiar fashion sense and a bad temper; we love to sit back and watch the Incredible Hulk do what he does best, and that’s smash stuff with impunity. While it’s fun to witness wanton destruction, being at the receiving end is arguably less fun. When Hulk’s more malevolent tendencies take over, destruction is pretty much guaranteed, and its often up to Hulk’s own allies to put a stop to him before he causes too much damage.
While no one in their right mind would want to pick a fight with the Hulk, sometimes it is a necessity. Whether it is through brute strength, outsmarting the green giant, or just plain luck, we take a look at some of the heroes that have successfully put a stop to one of Hulk’s rampages. While the use of different writers means inconsistent depictions of powers and abilities, if it’s been printed, we’re taking a look at it! Some are canon, some are alternate universes, others are explicitly non-canon, but any way you slice it, the big green engine of destruction is getting his butt handed to him. Cue the sad Hulk music from the 70s TV show, and let’s take a look at 15 Superheroes That Have Defeated The Hulk.
15. Silver Surfer (Tales to Astonish Vol. 1 #92-93 1967)
Bruce Banner is on the run from General Ross and the military (again). Holed up in New York, Banner attempts to bombard himself with another dose of Gamma radiation, postulating that it might finally rid him of the Hulk. This doesn’t work (obviously), and instead causes the Hulk to go on a rampage in the middle of New York City. With the military closing in fast, the Hulk makes a desperate attempt to escape. Seeing what he thinks is a spacecraft in the sky, the Hulk gives chase, thinking that it could take him away from Earth and away from the people who incessantly pursue him.
The spacecraft ends up being none other than the Silver Surfer, who refuses to help the Green Goliath. Rejection doesn’t sit well with the Hulk, so naturally he picks a fight with the chrome domed alien. Feeling pity for the Hulk, Silver Surfer gives him a love tap with his surfboard that puts Hulk down, hard.
As the Silver Surfer tries to explain that he is unable to bring the Hulk into space, the Hulk goes mental and tries attacking the Surfer again. This time Silver Surfer just uses the power cosmic to knock the Hulk unconscious and bugs out, leaving the Hulk #foreveralone.
14. Thor (Incredible Hulk Annual 2001)
This issue finds the Incredible Hulk smashing stuff (what else is new), which catches the attention of Thor, who feels compelled to stop the Hulk’s rampage. As Thor is heading into battle, he states that while the two have faced off in the past, there was never a clear winner. For some reason, Thor speculates that the fact that he is a literal God gives him an advantage, even though a panel earlier he took a trip down memory road and saw exactly zero wins against the giant green monster.
Thor proceeds to attack the Hulk, which leads to an incredibly destructive battle. Realizing that their fisticuffs are endangering innocent bystanders, Thor teleports himself and the Hulk to another planet. Since the change in venue doesn’t even phase the minimal intellect of his savage form, Hulk picks Thor up and throws him into a mountain, which causes a massive avalanche that buries the God of Thunder under tons of rubble.
Assuming Thor is out for the count, Hulk shambles off, trying to figure out where he is. Sometime later Thor emerges, and continues his pursuit (although he does concede that the Hulk is wicked strong). After tracking the Hulk down, Thor cheats a bit and resorts to using his control over lightning this time around. The lightning zaps Hulk in the noggin, rendering him unconscious. Thor then proceeds to pick up the Hulk and fly him home, but before he can do that, the Hulk wakes up and beats the snot out of the God of Thunder. Although the ultimate victor was the Hulk, Thor deserves some props for getting a (extremely short lived) victory.
13. Spider-Man (Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #328)
Spider-Man has faced off against the Hulk in the past, but his battle strategy usually consists of luring the Hulk into less populated areas while trying to avoid getting knocking into the stratosphere. In the Acts of Vengeance story arc, however, Peter Parker goes on the offensive.
Since Spider-Man was imbued with Captain Universe at the time, he was perceived as a threat by the super villain group behind the Acts of Vengeance. Captain Universe is essentially the personification of the entire universe. Since its introduction in the Marvel Universe, Captain Universe has selected various worthy individuals as hosts. These people are bestowed with incredible powers including superhuman strength, speed, stamina, flight, telekinesis, and more. So obviously, Spider-Man is a problem, and instead of getting their hands dirty, the villains manipulate the Hulk in the hopes that he will be able to kill Spider-Man.
Spider-Man and the Hulk begin doing the dance, but when an enraged Hulk is about to harm two children bystanders, Spider-Man utilizes the cosmic powers of Captain Universe and punches the Hulk so hard he ends up in outer space. Spider-Man quickly flies up to rescue the Hulk, which the Hulk is incredibly grateful for and promises to leave the webhead alone. Sure, it wasn’t exactly a fair fight, but the Hulk still got beat.
12. Batman (DC Special Series #27 1982)
It wasn’t that long ago that Marvel and DC used to be buds… or at the very least, recognized how lucrative it would be to have their iconic characters face off against one another every so often, which is how Bruce Banner begins working for a department of Wayne Enterprises.
Of course the troublesome Joker shows up and causes Banner to Hulk out, and Banner begins smashing his way through one of Bruce Wayne’s laboratories. Batman shows up to put an end to Banner’s hissy fit, but he quickly realizes that any attack on the Hulk will be futile, and he needs to detect another way out of his precarious situation. The whole fight consists of Batman dodging the Hulk’s devastating attacks while having an inner monologue in which he explains his plan to subdue the Jade Giant to the reader like a villain would explain his master plan to a hero.
Eventually, Bats decides to use the sleeping gas he keeps tucked away in his utility belt to cause the Hulk to lose consciousness. He deploys the gas, but the Hulk laughs it off, making the mistake of telling Batman that he can simply hold his breath until the gas dissipates. Batman quickly kicks the Hulk in the solar plexus, which startles the Hulk, causing him to exhale and, in turn, inhale a large amount of the sleeping gas. As is often the case with superhero smack downs, Batman and the Hulk later team up to defeat the Joker and foil his insidious plans!
11. Deadpool (Deadpool #4 1997)
We’ve mentioned this one before, and boy is it a blemish on the Hulk’s career. Deadpool’s healing factor is shutting down for some reason that isn’t all that important, but he recently blew up a nuclear facility which bombarded him with gamma radiation, which is keeping him alive. Somehow.
Through the power of comic book logic, Deadpool figures out that the only way he can restore his healing factor is to acquire some of the Hulk’s blood. Because the hulk’s blood also has gamma radiation poisoning? This book isn’t exactly clear on how this would work, but that’s neither here nor there.
Shouting his battle cry, “Tim to make the donuts”, Deadpool engages the big green machine in battle. The Hulk leaps into the air courtesy of his super jumping ability, which gives Deadpool more than enough time to put his high school math to the test. While waiting for the Hulk to fall back down to Earth, Deadpool maps out his trajectory and shoves a broken sign post into the ground where he expects the Hulk to land. As the Hulk is coming down he notices the pole and casually laughs it off, until he impales himself on it. Deadpool gets the blood he needs and is cured.
10. The Thing (Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #320 1961)
Fantastic Four’s The Thing and The Incredible Hulk are like the Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed of the Marvel Universe. They’re friends, but they beat the ever loving snot out of each other more times than we can count. Usually these titans of testosterone get tired of throwing punches and call it a day before a clear winner can be determined, but way back in ’61, The Thing was able to chalk one up as a W.
It should be mentioned that the Hulk was in his grey, “Joe Fixit” form, which for those of you who are only familiar with the green variety, is a persona of the Hulk that is more intelligent than his more well known savage persona. Because of this higher level of intelligence, Joe Fixit aka Grey Hulk has better reasoning powers, thus he doesn’t get angry as quick as his savage counterpart, and as we all know, anger is what fuels the Hulk’s engine of destruction. So, while grey Hulk is still strong, he’s not as strong as green Hulk. Also, we should also point out that, at the time of the fight, The Thing was all ‘roided out in his super spiky form.
9. Dr. Doom (Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #320 1961)
You read that right, the Hulk actually got beat twice in this issue! We’ve already established that the Hulk, in his grey “Joe Fixit” form, is a more reasonable persona than the green “savage” Hulk, so what prompted the Hulk to start throwing haymakers at The Thing? Dr. Doom.
At this point, Dr. Doom had been usurped from his position as ruler of Latveria, a mantle he desperately wanted to reclaim. Doom devises a scheme in which he would enlist the Hulk as the first member of an army that would eventually wrestle control of the control back to Doom. Doom approaches the Hulk, but the Hulk isn’t having it and goes on the offensive. Doom knows that he can’t possibly beat the Hulk in a physical contest, so he utilizes his “neuro-ray” in order to take control of the Hulk’s movements, incapacitating him. The Hulk recognizes that his brute strength pales in comparison to Doom’s technological superiority, so he agrees to listen to Doom’s proposition.
The Hulk is unimpressed by Doom’s offer, stating that he much prefers his current gig as an enforcer in Las Vegas. So Doom preys on the Hulk’s ego insinuating that The Thing is much stronger than him, and that the Hulk prefers Vegas because he is hiding from The Thing. This sends the Hulk into a blind rage that prompts his attack!
Curiously enough, we can now count Doctor Doom as a superhero – since the events of Secret Wars, the Latverian leader has (supposedly) changed his ways.
8. Havok (The Incredible Hulk Vol. 1 #150 1972)
We begin with the Hulk once again being pursued by the full might of the military, but he manages to slip away into the desert. As the Hulk is quietly reflecting on his life, he spots a woman with green hair driving through the desert. The childlike Hulk believes this woman to be Jarella, the princess of sub-atomic green skinned people, who he had a relationship with.
The Hulk then chases after the green haired woman who turns out to be the X-Man Lorna Dane, better known as Polaris, who is looking for her fellow team-mate Alex Summers, better known as Havok, after he had quit the team over an internal dispute. The Hulk catches up to Polaris and snatches her, Ann Darrow-style.
Havok goes after the two with the intention of rescuing Polaris, but it isn’t long before he realizes that he doesn’t stand a chance against the Hulk. Havok’s ability to absorb latent energy and focus it into powerful blasts enables him to keep the not-so-jolly green giant at bay. After a while the Hulk tires of this and grabs a part of a cliff face to crush Havok. Before Hulk can smash, however, Havok focuses his plasma blasts on the Hulk’s brain, something that causes the Hulk excruciating pain before he passes out, meaning a single member of the X-Men B squad managed to defeat the Hulk. To add insult to injury, this was when Havok sported a costume that made him look like a common kitchen whisk.
7. Juggernaut (The Incredible Hulk Vol. 2 #402 1992)
The Hulk heads down to the Amazon in order to investigate a developer who is razing huge swaths of the rainforest when he is attacked by a huge man clad in light-washed denim jeans (because this was the early 90s) and a t-shirt. The Hulk, believing this man to be a construction worker (albeit an incredibly large one), tries to remain calm, as this was when Banner’s “Professor Hulk” persona was dominant, and getting angry would only cause him to become weaker.
Hulk and this seeming random attacker continue to punch and wrestle each other for the majority of the book, all while the Hulk tries to discern the identity of this hostile aggressor, who is revealed to be Cain Marko, better known as the Juggernaut, without his armor. Juggernaut lunges at the Hulk, but Banner is able to jump out of the way, causing Juggernaut to fall into a pit of quicksand. As Juggernaut begins to sink, the Hulk reaches out to him in an effort to save him from being consumed in true B-movie fashion, but the Juggernaut only tries to pull the hulk in with him. The Hulk lets Juggernaut go and walks away, still unsure who the man was or why he attacked him. Suddenly, Juggernaut bursts forth from the quicksand, catching the Hulk. Juggernaut continues his assault, savagely laying into the Hulk, never giving him a chance to recover, until he has knocked him unconscious.
6. Thor (Fear Itself Book Five: Brawl 2011)
Thor and the Hulk have gone toe to toe numerous times, but their throwdown on the pages of the 2011 crossover event Fear Itself is notable because both the God of thunder and the Green Goliath wield magical hammers of mass destruction.
Long story short, the Red Skull’s daughter, Sin, resurrects an ancient Asgardian God known as The Serpent, who is the personification of fear. To help in its quest to destroy the Earth, it identifies a bunch of super-powered beings to act as his acolytes, bestowing upon them some gnarly looking hammers that transform them into its generals known as The Worthy.
The Worthy go on a rampage all over the Earth, with the destruction and fear that they cause serving to make The Serpent stronger. The Avengers head out to put an end to the Worthy, with Thor tasked with facing off against the Hulk. Unfortunately for Thor, The Thing, who has also been turned into one of The Worthy, shows up to make it a two against one fight. Thor proceeds to kill The Thing by throwing Mjolnir straight through him. Thor and the Hulk face off in an epic battle that ends when Thor manages to knock the Hulk into space, though Thor is seriously injured in the fight.
5. Silver Surfer (The Incredible Hulk Vol. 1 #250 1980)
As the former herald of the planet-consuming Galactus, the Silver Surfer is imprisoned on Earth by his master through the use of a barrier around the Earth. Wishing to break free of this barrier, the Silver Surfer seeks out Bruce Banner in the hopes that he can siphon the gamma radiation out of Banner and increase his own powers.
Believing the Silver Surfer to be aggressive, Banner Hulks out and engages in a fight. The Silver Surfer simply absorbs all of the gamma radiation out of the Hulk, reverting Banner to his normal human form. Unfortunately, this plan doesn’t work from the Earth’s surface, and Banner is once again bombarded with the gamma radiation, turning him into the Hulk once again.
The Silver Surfer then brings the Hulk into space and once again saps all of the gamma radiation out of him, which allows the Silver Surfer to break free of Galactus’ barrier. Unfortunately for Banner, the lack of Gamma radiation has turned him back into a normal human being who is falling back to the Earth’s surface, and fast. Silver Surfer rushes back and catches Bruce before he hits the ground and bathes him in Gamma radiation in order to save his life, making Banner’s cure short lived.
4. Superman (Marvel vs DC Crossover 1996)
Marvel’s Jade Giant and DC’s number one boy scout have gone at it quite a few times over the years with varying results. In one instance the Hulk managed to knock Supes clear into outer space. On another occasion Superman just stood there, unphased by the endless barrage of punches from the Hulk until the Hulk grew tired and reverted back into Bruce Banner.
In this particular instance, however, things were a little more even. The story finds Banner seeking solace in Metropolis, keeping a low profile and working in homeless shelter. When Lex Luthor levels the shelter to make way for some new LexCorp building, Banner gets angry. And we’re pretty sure that even the folks over at DC know what happens when Banner gets angry.
Fully transformed into the Hulk and raging throughout downtown Metropolis, Superman realizes that he is the only one can will stand a chance against the green Goliath. The two trade blows back and forth, causing massive collateral damage. Knowing that the Hulk doesn’t care about the puny humans of Metropolis, Superman quickly knocks the Hulk into the Arctic Circle, so as to not harm any innocent bystanders.
3. Wolverine (Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant Size #1 2009)
Fifty years into the future, the superheroes have fallen and the most powerful super-villains have carved up the United States into territories that they rule over with iron fists. The territory known as Hulkland consists of what used to be California, and is policed by the ruthless Hulk Gang, the children of Bruce Banner.
Wolverine, who abandoned his superhero persona in order to live a more peaceful life with his wife and two children, is hounded by the Hulk Gang for failure to pay rent on his farm. Needing a large payout, Wolverine agrees to trek across the land formerly known as the United States in order to deliver a mysterious package. With the money he needs to pay off his debts, Wolverine heads back to his farm to pay off the Hulk Gang, only to find out that he is too late.
His family slaughtered, Wolverine vows bloody revenge on the Hulk and his gang of hillbilly children. After systematically cutting through the Hulk Gang’s ranks, Wolverine finally faces off against Bruce “Pappy” Banner himself, the hero once known as the Hulk. The two engage in bloody fisticuffs until the Hulk literally eats Wolverine. Sometime later, Banner doubles over in pain before Wolverine bursts out from inside the Hulk like one of the Xenomorphs from Alien, leaving Pappy Banner nothing but a giant green eviscerated carcass.
2. Fantastic Four (Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #166 1976)
Marvel’s first family is called into action by the military, who need the Fantastic Four’s scientific expertise to help them find a cure for Bruce Banner’s transformations. The FF has some reservations about this, due to the military’s questionable treatment of the Hulk in the past, but they agree.
The FF takes a commercial jet to get to the covert military base because the their Pogo-plane and the Fantasticar were in the shop that day (author’s note: this is purely speculative). The Hulk, on one of his hissy fits nearby, knocks the plane out of the sky. After the FF manage to land the plane safely by way of Reed stretching himself out to become a giant parachute, they have to face off against the Hulk.
Exhausted from rescuing the doomed airliner, it takes the combined powers of the Fantastic Four to take down the Hulk. First, Johnny Storm temporarily blinds the Hulk with a blast of fire to the eyes while Reed uses his stretching powers to restrain the Hulk. Meanwhile, Sue Storm creates a bubble over the Hulk’s head, depriving him of oxygen. With the Hulk now in a weakened state, The Thing winds up and knocks the Hulk out, which he doesn’t feel too great about.
With Banner in military custody, Reed manages to cure Banner of the gamma radiation that turns him into the Hulk. Despite the military promising the contrary, they immediately take Banner into custody. Realizing that the military lied to them, The Thing turns Banner back into the Hulk and helps him to escape.
1. Iron Man (Iron Man Vol. 1 #132 1980)
Before Professor Hulk came onto the scene, almost everyone in the Marvel universe knew that the Hulk, while generally an instrument for good, simply could not be controlled. This lack of control deemed Hulk a liability, and in an effort to free Bruce Banner from the worst mood swings in the history of comic books, Tony Stark utilizes his considerable resources to try and chemically “cure” Banner of the Hulk. This, of course, backfires wildly and sends banner into Hulk mode.
Stark dons the Iron Man armor and quickly lures the hulk away from populated areas. Since these were the days before the Hulkbuster armor, where he could tangle with the hulk long enough in order to find some other solution to ending a Hulk rampage, Iron Man attempts a variety of methods to take the green behemoth down as quickly as possible. This includes methods such as submerging him underwater and even attempting to choke the Hulk out by using a length of chain.
Of course, none of these tactics work. Running out of options, Tony attempts a Hail Mary and hopes for the best. Channelling all of the remaining power left in his suit into a single colossal punch, Tony manages to knock the Hulk unconscious, however it leaves the Iron Man suit totally immobile.