Hulk smash. It’s what he does. He is an enormous green rage monster after all, so it’s kind of hard to fault the guy when he goes off on some rampage that destroys half the planet. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do, no matter how lonely he feels, or how often the government tries to blow him up.
The Incredible Hulk may be the strongest there is, but when it comes to good decision-making, the Jade Giant can be a bit of a brute at times. Sure, we’ve all wanted to punch a deer in the face and fight Batman, but most of us know better. And if you absolutely have to throw Santa Claus through a wall, it’s important to know there’s a time and place for everything. Unfortunately, that’s just something the Green Goliath has yet to grasp.
Here are 12 Things (and 3 People) Hulk Should Not Have Smashed.
15. A Jeep
In his premiere appearance during 1962’s The Incredible Hulk #1, the very first thing Hulk does is trash a US military jeep. Now of all the things Hulk will go on to pulverize, a puny jeep doesn’t really compare to clobbering an asteroid or punching Thanos in the face. But it’s still nice to know not much has changed and he’s been destroying things he shouldn’t right from the very beginning.
Hulk’s short-lived initial comic series suffered from a lack of plot development. Which is probably why a character that would eventually become one of the most beloved superheroes didn’t initially strike a chord with fans and was cancelled after only six issues. However, all the makings where there right in that first issue. Hulk gets mad. Hulk gets confused. Hulk hulks out. Hulk destroys some stuff. Hulk feels lonely and goes into hiding. After Bruce Banner gets hit with a G-Bomb and turns into his monstrous alter-ego, the first thing he does is back hand his friend Rick Jones, shatter a stone wall, and throw his shoulder into an oncoming jeep, crunching it like an accordion and sending some stunned enlisted men flying. And just like that, a smashing legend was born.
14. A Bear
The Incredible Hulk has a fickle relationship with nature. One minute he’s trying to save a forest from human hunters and the next he’s burning it down. Marvel Fanfare #17 showcases this dynamic in its entirety in a story aptly named, “A day in the life…” It starts with Hulk cursing humans after drinking some polluted pond water and ends with him falling into a tar pit only to be saved by some nearby loggers. In between, he saves a baby deer by throwing a boulder on some hunters, tries to stop horned sheep from fighting by breaking their necks, and attempts to eat a fish. Oh yeah, and he smashes a bear.
If there’s one thing bears fear, it’s Batman. But second to him, it’s forest fires. So when a massive fire sends a slew of furry creatures fleeing for safety, a large grizzly bear is among them. Unfortunately for that bear, he ends up running right into the Hulkster. Sure, he could have easily stepped out of the way and let the scared bear pass, but Hulk moves for no one. To be fair, he did yell loudly at the bear to get back. Stupidly, it wouldn’t listen, leading to the logical reply, “Hulk doesn’t want to smash bear, but Hulk will not let bear smash Hulk.” Hulk then promptly body slams the bear and uppercuts it with enough force to snap its neck. So you know, just another day in the life of the Hulk.
13. A Statue of Socrates
Everyone knows Hulk hates logic. Hence that one time he went to town on a statue of Socrates. After fleeing from one of his routine rampages, the Hulk finds himself at Desert State University, Bruce Banner’s alma matter. Obviously this brings back a lot of memories. It also gives us the memorable image of the Incredible Hulk wearing a college sweater. But after Hulk gives one of his old professors a heart attack and a dog starts yelling at him, he throws a tantrum. This brings him face to face with a ten-foot tall granite effigy of the Greek philosopher, whose plaque reads, “Know thyself.” Big mistake. No one tells Hulk to know himself.
The enduring wisdom of Socrates is no match for the unyielding fists of the Incredible Hulk. He promptly shuts that stupid statue up by shattering it to pieces. But leave it to Socrates to have the last word. Post smashing, Hulk drops to his knees and, staring stoically into the Hulk’s soul, the dismembered head of statue Socrates turns him back into Bruce Banner. The whole scenes ends with Bruce crying as he hugs the decapitated head of Socrates and tearfully asks, “Who is Hulk?” Answer: Hulk is Hulk.
Here’s one occasion when the Man Without Fear should probably have run away scared. It comes in the panels of Daredevil #163, when the Hulk goes on another clobberfest through Manhattan. Only this time it’s Matthew Murdock’s turn to try and stop him. Or, should we say, get smashed by him.
In their first meeting, Murdock ditches a dinner party to try and talk some sense into the man-monster. Perhaps it’s the calming influence of his ruffled pirate shirt and fancy dinner jacket, but the Hulk is assuaged and quickly turns into Bruce Banner. Thankful for Murdock’s help, Bruce wisely decides to grab a bus out of town. However there’s one thing he could never have prepared for – rush hour subway traffic. Naturally dealing with that mess angers Hulk, and Daredevil has to intervene again, this time properly dressed for superheroing. Though the wardrobe change matters little because he promptly gets slapped across town and debates calling it a day.
Ultimately refusing to back down, Daredevil jumps in for Round 3 and, in a triumphant moment of glory, he gets beaten to a bloody pump. However, the Hulk, seemingly realizing he just smashed his friend within an inch of his life, jumps away crying. So we guess that’s a small victory. Or maybe Daredevil should have asked what Tony Stark would have done, and just stayed at the party and gotten drunk.
11. A Dumb Dam
If you ever wanted to understand the inner workings of the Incredible Hulk’s mind, look no further than the time he tried to fight a dam. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. First, he tried to reason with the dam. When it didn’t listen, that’s when he tried to fight it.
In The Amazing Spider-Man #119, the Jade Giant has made his way to Canada. Peter Parker is sent on assignment to get some pics, which inevitably leads to another classic episode of Hulk versus Spider-Man. Over the years, Spidey hasn’t had the best of luck against the Big Guy, despite the strength of his webs. This time’s no different, thanks in part to the Hulk flipping out on a giant wall and nearly drowning both of them.
For no apparent reason, the Hulk wanted to smash the Maskattawan Dam. When it starts leaking through the cracks he’s created, Hulk demands that it stops. As expected the dam ignores him so he calls it dumb and, using some of that world famous Hulk logic, decides to stop the water from coming out by demolishing what’s left of the concrete barricade. Luckily, Spidey is able to lower the water level so the ensuing flood doesn’t cause too much damage. However, he does get submerged along with the Hulk in the overflow. Hulk’s response to all this? Fight the water. Turns out there is one thing on this planet that Hulk can’t smash.
10. His Own House
If you are looking for one surefire way to decrease the value of your home, move next door to the Hulk. The second time Eric Bana turns into the Hulk during Ang Lee’s 2003 movie, it has the unfortunate happenstance of occurring in Bruce Banner’s home. Suffice it to say, his house doesn’t make it. And neither does the neighbor’s.
Since Banner still has absolutely no clue what was going on inside him at this point, you can forgive the guy for making the poor choice to go all green and rage-y in his own home. But once it did happen, and he had smashed his way on to the street, did Hulk really need to kick a sofa through his neighbor’s house too? It was entirely unnecessary and he kind of had to go out his way to do it. Guess that’ll teach that guy to let his dog pee on Hulk’s lawn.
9. A PBS Spring Garden Party
When everyone who’s ever worked at PBS during the ’70s (and Spider-Man) gets invited to a garden party to celebrate the coming of spring, the Hulk amazingly manages to both crash the party and smash everything at it. It’s basically a smashing twofer.
The Electric Company was a public access TV show that taught kids how to read. Its highlights include an episode where Morgan Freeman bites a woman dressed as Dracula and another where Morgan Freeman orders a ham sandwich. So in other words, extremely educational. One of its most bizarre moments came thanks to the comic book tie-in series Spidey Super Stories. The Electric Company decides to throw a green themed party in a greenhouse. The Hulk, who’s going for a stroll around New York, finds the invitation on the sidewalk. Obviously not being invited to a “green” party when he, himself is so green angers Hulk, leading him to declare the wise maxim, “Never have green party without Hulk.”
A few moments later, Hulk smashes through the windows of Pedro’s Plant Palace and begins stomping on all the potted plants. Luckily, Spider-Man also crashes through the windows and starts shoving candy down the Hulk’s throat. Someone then offers the Jade Giant some green Kool-Aid. Unsurprisingly, all that sugar makes Hulk very happy and, once the initial smash-fest is over, everyone has a great time at the party. Except Pedro. His greenhouse is still totally ruined.
In one of the best scenes from Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Hulk gives Manhattan the day off and goes on a Scarlet Witch-induced rampage through South Africa’s biggest city. He takes out a police van, a whole bunch of cars, a marketplace, several buildings, and presumably a good chunk of the population – much of which is the result of his epic duel with Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor.
The Incredible Hulk and his bloodshot eyes may have been coerced by the mental manipulations of Wanda Maximoff into freaking out on Johannesburg, but it doesn’t make his smashings any less forgivable. Just ask all those people in that elevator he slams Iron Man‘s Hulkbuster armor into. Or how about those poor police officers who arrived on the scene first only to have a massive truck booted in their face. Johannesburg didn’t deserve to get smashed like it was. Then again, where the Hulk is concerned, who does?
Worst of all, this whole incident was one of the contributing factors in the superhero split in Captain America: Civil War. Maybe next time, instead of sending a huge Hulk-fighting suit to help devastate a city, the Avengers should just use some puppies.
7. Santa Claus
As we said earlier, when it comes to smashing, there’s a time and a place. Beating up Santa Claus at a mall while a bunch of small children watch is neither the time nor the place. Awesome? Yes. Appropriate? Probably not.
Sure, this particular St. Nick is actually the Hulk’s oft long-horned adversary Rhino and he was throwing around any kid whose face he didn’t like. But the Green Goliath should have probably waited until Rhino’s shift was over before pounding him. That way he wouldn’t have wrecked the mall, endangered hundreds of shoppers, risked crushing a little girl’s belief in Christmas, and, in a strange turn of events, ended up as Santa Rhino’s helper. All of that could have been easily avoided with a little smashing foresight. Although seeing the Hulk throw a bunch of bowling balls at the Rhino while saying, “Anyone this side of Woody Allen could handle you. All it takes is plenty of balls,” is enough to bring Christmas cheer to anyone’s heart. So what do we know?
You’d think, for someone who’s synonymous with being green, the Hulk would have a little more respect for trees. That is why it’s odd to see how far out of his way he will go to smash them. Like at the start of Marvel Team-Up Annual #3, when he’s tramping through a forest and takes out an acre of trees just so he can feel more alone. Kind of like when he smashed some trees for no apparent reason other than to impress a kid eating Hostess Cup Cakes. Though that’s not that crazy when you realize a side effect of eating Hostess snacks is making Hulk punch trees.
Then there’s the time in Incredible Hulk Annual #5 when he fought everyone’s favorite walking, mono-syllabic talking tree – Groot. Granted it wasn’t the real Groot, but rather a facsimile conjured to squash Hulk. But still, did you see Guardians of the Galaxy? How could anyone ever want to hurt Groot? Well, apparently Hulk did, because he pulverizes the wooden Monster from Planet X with two rocks until only a shattered stump remained.
Finally, there’s the time in Incredible Hulk #217 when he helped some circus freaks cross a river by ripping an archaic-looking tree out of the ground and karate chopped it in half to be used as a bridge. Sure, they could have just taken the long way around but why bother when there are perfectly good trees nearby just waiting to be killed.
5. A Statue of Himself
The time Hulk repaid his super friends for constructing a monument in his honor by beating them with it is one of his more effed up moments. Even worse, this statue smashing came shortly after they threw a huge parade celebrating the fact he hadn’t smashed anything in awhile. Guess that was a little premature.
The statue in question was a 10-ton monument made of adamantium that was created by the Thing’s blind sculptress girlfriend Alicia Masters. On the list of things you don’t smash, cool statues made by blind women from extremely rare materials that were given as gifts is at the very top. But then again that’s just the Hulk being the Hulk. After going on his requisite monthly rampage through New York and after Thor knocks him into Central Park, Hulk finds the statue, smashes its base and rips it out of the ground. Luckily, Thor is able to knock it out of his massive hands before any harm comes to it, but the real damage has already been done. Not only did the Hulk smash this awesome statue but he also managed to smash the feelings of all those who celebrated him as a hero. Real nice.
4. Doctor Strange’s Hands
When you pit the greatest sorcerer in the universe against the strongest superhero of all time, things are bound to get incredible. And painful. Doctor Strange often boasts that he can end the Hulk’s puny life with a twitch of the finger, but when the Master of the Mystic Arts finally gets his chance, things don’t exactly go as expected. That’s the problem with magic– it’s all an illusion.
Honestly, pretty much everything Hulk does during World War Hulk is uncalled for. Raging a one-man war on Earth is never cool. Shattering the hands of a fellow superhero? That’s just wrong. As a member of the Illuminati, Doctor Strange is at the top Hulk’s smash list for banishing Hulk to from Earth. While everyone else tries bullets, Hulkbusters, and Wolverine’s face to stop the onslaught, Strange opts for a therapy session. Amazingly this seems to work, as Bruce Banner reemerges and the rampage momentarily halts. Strange reaches out his hands in a sign of unity, Bruce takes them and, in a burst of brilliant rage, transforms into the Hulk, gleefully smashing the bones of Doctor Strange’s hands in his massive vice-like grip. Of course, this means Strange can no longer cast spells, and in a fit of desperation, he uses some dark magic to conjure up a demon (who Hulk also smashes). All this results in his being stripped of his title as Sorcerer Supreme. So, all in all, a pretty crappy day for Doctor Strange. Thanks a lot, Hulk.
3. A Yellow School Bus Carrying Daycare Children
Deadpool can be a real selfish jerk sometimes. Like the time he tried to goad his friends into killing him when they didn’t want to. As it goes, the Deadpool buys a whole bunch of black market nukes and uses them on Bruce Banner. The idea being that the Hulk is the only one powerful enough to permanently smash his immortal body in two. Problem is that while he’s trying to piss Hulk off enough to get the job done, Deadpool leads this enraged murderous monster right to the Small Wonders Daycare.
As we arrive in the middle of “Operation: Annihilation” from 2008’s Deadpool #37, the Hulk is savagely bombarding his way towards a school of unsuspecting four-year-olds. After a quick lesson on gamma-induced stranger danger, the Merc with a Mouth loads the kids a tiny yellow school bus. As surprising as this may seem, buses are no match for Hulks. The Jade Giant starts demolishing the school, throwing it at the bus, and destroying the surrounding road and town. Miraculously, the smashed bus stays upright, that is until the daycare teacher shoots Deadpool in the head (right in front of her students) and the whole thing does a barrel roll. Don’t worry, the kids are safe. Though probably not for long, since at the beginning of all this, Deadpool did set off a nuclear bomb right around the corner from their daycare. On a happier note, Deadpool gets what he wants when Hulk crushes his head with a fist.
2. A Deer
No matter what anybody tells you, back punching in the head is never appropriate. While there may come a time when you absolutely must fight a bear, the same does not go for a deer. Even Batman didn’t beat up one of those. So when the Hulk cold-cocked a deer with all his might and snaps its neck in the opening pages of The Incredible Hulk #314, the Not-So-Jolly Green Giant pretty much reaches a new smashing low. At least the bear was kind of running towards him threateningly. Here, the Hulk angrily lands in the Colorado Rockies looking for trouble and when he sees a startled stag, immediately asserts his dominance by smashing the woodland creature to death.
All this is very odd behavior for the Hulk, given his love of deers. He once even had a pet deer named Bambi that he saved after some hunters killed its mother. Of course, that deer later was possessed by an evil magician and the Hulk abandoned it, but for a while that thing was a total chick magnet. The point is, deer-beating Hulk is not cool. Guess we have comic writer John Byrne to thank for this more savage Hulk. His very short run penning Hulk titles started with these first few panels of animal cruelty. At least we’ll always have Bambi.
No other person, place or thing has endured the smashings of Hulk more than Manhattan (except maybe Wolverine). But his most devastating was in the first volume of Mark Millar’s The Ultimates. In this alternate take on the Avengers, Bruce Banner injects himself with a mixture of Captain America’s super soldier serum and the Hulk formula to give the team the first real test of their worth. As bad an idea as that sounds, at least his heart is in the right place. Only there’s more to it than that. Like the fact Hulk hates Freddie Prinze Jr. And he’s extremely horny.
The Ultimates version of Bruce Banner is an emotionally unstable scientist wallowing in self-pity who’s constantly being made fun of by his fellow Avengers, who tell him he looks like Steve Buscemi. If that’s not insulting enough, Bruce learns his former flame Betty Ross is canoodling with the dreamboat Freddie Prinze Jr. It’s around that time he takes his rage cocktail. The result? Nothing less than the mother of all rampages, as Hulk tears through the city in an effort to show Betty just how big a man he is. In the process, he levels block after block, destroys Grand Central, threatens to defecate in Giant Man’s mouth, and kills over 800 innocent people. It’s only after Wasp flashes him, then stings his brain, that the rampaging beast is stopped. Though not before ripping New York City a new one and trying to eat Freddie Prinze Jr.
Do you have any other smashing anecdotes to share? Tell us about them in the comments.