“We have a Hulk.”
Those are the famous words from The Avengers that have gone on to represent both the enduring sense of humor that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has, as well as the unmatchable powers that the Hulk possesses. Tony Stark’s quote represents everything you need to know about the Hulk in four little words; don’t screw with the green guy. No matter what you throw at him, no matter what size army you control or what weapons you have at your disposal, the Hulk will always win. If you find yourself on a side of battle opposite the Hulk, you’re on the losing side.
So sure, the Hulk a giant green beast that can lay waste to anything in his path, but what else can he do? Well, as one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe, it turns out he can do a lot. Strength and size aren’t all that the Hulk has on his side, and since his debut to the world in 1962 the Hulk has accumulated a whole host of powers that would shock and surprise you; and anyone he faced. Yeah, the Hulk is incredible, but you don’t even know the half of it yet.
Here are 15 Superpowers You Didn't Know the Hulk Has.
Ask anyone around the world what the Hulk’s power is, and they’ll all say the same thing; “He’s strong.” Everyone knows that the Hulk can rip a helicopter in two or punch a hole deep into the ground, so strength is undeniably the Hulk’s most well-known power. But the thing that very few people know is just how strong the Hulk is. How just how strong is the Hulk? The answer; there isn’t one.
The amazing thing about the Hulk is that unlike nearly every other superhero ever created, the Hulk’s strength has absolutely no upper limit. He can lift a commercial airplane – which weighs around 100 tons – when he is at his calmest; that’s no problem for him. But the angrier he gets the stronger he gets, and if the Hulk is really pissed off then he can lift anything, including mountains, planets, or any other inconceivably heavy object.
When you think of the Hulk you think of a guy who punches stuff into the ground and lumbers around taking heavy fire while getting a little ticked off. Like any giant creature found in nature, one would understandably assume that being big and indestructible has its trade-offs. Trade-offs such as speed. But no. Not only can the Hulk destroy anything he wants, he can also absolutely demolish most superheroes in a race. He’s that fast.
Although it’s rare in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the Hulk to be shown as lightning quick, in the comics the Hulk’s speed is one of his more amazing powers. Often shown outrunning a rocket blast and catching up to the world’s fastest heroes, the Hulk’s speed is an advantage to him purely because it’s so unexpected. No one would expect a hero as giant and dimwitted as the Hulk to be a speed machine, so when he takes off at full blast he has the ability to surprise and disarm nearly every enemy the he faces.
We’ve seen the Hulk jump far and wide in all forms of media, and yeah, his leaping skills are impressive, but they aren’t Earth shattering. At least, not unless you look at what the Hulk can do when he’s really trying – the stuff that we’ve yet to see in a cartoon or movie. When you consider what the Hulk can really do in a single leap, then it’s Earth shattering; sometimes literally.
With super-powered muscles all over his body, the Hulk is able to do all sorts of things that regular humans can only dream of. This includes his ability to casually travel miles in a single jump – thanks to his leg muscles - which the Hulk often uses as his main method of transportation. When he’s really trying, however, the Hulk can leap into the Earth’s atmosphere or even travel across oceans and land on different continents. Hulk never has to worry about airline baggage fees or flight times, but he does have to worry about landing. With the enormity of his powers and body mass, the Hulk has been known to create earthquakes, shockwaves, and large craters when he comes back down to Earth after a particularly big jump.
The ocean is a scary place, filled with nightmarish fish and sharks and creatures that we haven’t even begun to understand. But now imagine swimming in the ocean and seeing the scariest creature of them all; the Hulk.
The Hulk has a rather unknown ability in breathing underwater, which he’s able to accomplish due to a gland in his body that creates oxygen to fill his lungs with. With his enhanced strength and massive size, the Hulk is also able to withstand enormous amounts of water pressure, and as a result he’s been seen on the ocean floor on more than one occasion. It’s something that often doesn’t come in handy, but the ocean is definitely a cool place for the Hulk to hide out when he doesn’t want anyone to find him. And considering our distinct lack of an underwater Hulk movie thus far, maybe it will turn out that after the Hulk’s disappearance at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron Bruce Banner’s Hulk has been sleeping with the fishes – literally.
Perhaps this is a power that the Hulk will never show off in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s nonetheless an interesting one that is hidden among the curiosities of the Hulk comic books. It all started when Bruce Banner accidentally killed his father, and fearing that he would come back to settle the score, Bruce gave the Hulk the ability to see ghosts. Because in the comics that just a thing you can do, and you don’t need the type of Marvel Cinematic Universe logic that equates things like gods and ghosts with science and technology.
With the Hulk’s unique ghost-seeing ability, he is one of the only beings that is able to see Dr. Strange when he is in his astral form, and that’s something to keep in mind should ghosts end up making their way into the MCU courtesy of this November’s Doctor Strange. If that happens, look for the Hulk to take on a much bigger role in the metaphysical side of Marvel films going forward.
The powers just keep on coming, and apparently the creators of Hulk weren’t pleased with unlimited strength, superhuman speed, and unrivalled adaptability. In order to make the Hulk truly superpowered, they decided to give him one of the more useful powers that any hero can have; superhuman healing and regenerating abilities.
Like Deadpool and Wolverine – but way less publicized – the Hulk has the ability to grow entirely new tissues and heal from most wounds in just seconds. Severe wounds as well – including the near-complete destruction of his body mass – are also no match for the healing abilities of the Hulk. It’s been said that the Hulk heals faster than anyone in the Marvel Universe, a fact which is perhaps best illustrated during a battle with Speedfreek. Here, the Hulk’s stomach was sliced open and Hulk held it together with his hands while fighting. In a mere matter of minutes, not only was his stomach healed, but it had actually healed around his fingers, resulting in his need to rip his fingers out and wait for his stomach to heal again.
By now you should know that the Hulk is one of the most indestructible beings on Earth, but what about outside of Earth? Since the Marvel Universe has always traditionally explored the galaxy, the Hulk has always had a big part in Marvel’s space-spanning adventures, and he’s aided by the fact that he can survive in space better than almost every other Avenger.
Thanks to his ability to grow new tissues at exceptional rates and regenerate tissue, the human-killing void of space is no match for Hulk. And while in the comics the Hulk has been launched into space in a pressurized vessel for safety, once the vessel broke the Hulk just got angrier and as a result he got stronger, thus causing his body to adapt into one that can survive anything space throws at it. Similar to his ability to withstand the pressures of underwater life, the Hulk can’t be stopped just because he isn’t in his natural habitat. In fact, it’s safe to say that he has no natural habitat, which makes him one of the unique superheroes that can decimate an enemy no matter where he is in the universe.
Bruce Banner never seems to be having a good time with his powers as the Hulk, which kinda makes it worse for him that he has an extremely prolonged lifespan. As if it wasn’t enough that he’s nearly indestructible, and that if he does get destroyed he can just heal almost instantly, on top of all that he just has a tough time dying of natural causes at any age.
Because of his gamma-radiation acquired powers, the Hulk has gained a host of immunities that will help him survive long past his normal due date. With a known resistance to all Earth-based diseases – which includes AIDS (yes, this was brought up in the comics) – the Hulk can survive almost anything, and as a result, it’s tough to imagine a senior-aged Hulk rolling around in a wheelchair or moving into a retirement home. Additionally, the Hulk’s constant regeneration allows him to avoid fatigue altogether, so mid-day naps won’t be a weakness for the Hulk as he transitions gracefully into old-age.
One of the most overlooked Hulk powers may be his strangest one, as it’s something that doesn’t have as much use as, say, Hulk smashing his way through foes and jumping across continents to enjoy a quick vacation. Nonetheless, it’s been shown in comics before that Hulk has the unique ability to punch so hard that he finds himself having forced his way into a new dimension.
Being able to punch through dimensions is certainly an aggressive way of traveling, but it means that the Hulk can’t be trapped by some of his more trans-dimensionally gifted enemies. Adding to that the ability to punch a villain so hard that he actually causes a rip in space and sends the bad guy into a new realm – though it’s yet to be confirmed if he can send someone back in time with his fist – and you have an idea why this strange power might come in handy from time to time.
At one point the Hulk’s go to move in the comics, Hulk’s thunderclap isn’t seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe much, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as powerful and badass as it was when it first debuted. Back in the day when every hero had their signature move and not much else to accompany it, the Hulk was known for pounding his hands together to create a large thunderclap so powerful that it could drop enemies even large distances away from him.
And while the Hulk has been gifted with more amazing powers since his thunderclap days, we’d still like to see his original move get some more love in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With its ability to deafen, concuss, or even be used to put out fires, the thunderclap would be a one-stop weapon that could be pulled out in a pivotal scene by the Hulk to make an audience erupt with a thunderclap of their own.
With every weapon of mass destruction comes failsafes and backup failsafes to ensure that the weapon doesn’t fall under control of the wrong people. So considering that the Hulk is one of the most volatile and destructive weapons on the face of the planet, it’s probably a good thing that he has a resistance to mind control, because there wouldn’t be many things worse than a Hulk controlled by the enemy.
Theories for the Hulk’s resistance to mind control manifesting as one of his powers include the fact that there are multiple personalities lurking insider of the Hulk’s mind. Not only is there Bruce Banner and “the green guy,” but other facets of the Hulk are always somewhere beneath the surface. As a result, it is said that no one – not even one with superior mind-control abilities such as Professor X – is able to control all of them at once; and thus they cannot control the Hulk.
Joining the company of Tony Stark, Hank Pym, and Reed Richards, Bruce Banner is known as one of the greatest scientific minds on Earth. The foremost expert on Gamma Radiation – which is of course what led to his becoming the Hulk in the first place – Banner often rivals Stark on matters of scientific theory and practice. He has developed new scientific methods and inventions, but he has famously been unable to control the Hulk no matter how hard he tries. But the best part of Bruce Banner’s intelligence comes from the irony that it doesn’t carry over when he becomes the Hulk.
As soon as Banner gets angry and the Hulk takes over, his memories and intelligence are largely forgotten and the Hulk becomes a destructive force with little guiding him save for his animal instincts. For someone as intelligent and empathetic as Bruce Banner, seeing the destruction that the Hulk causes and being powerless to stop it is what makes him one of the most compelling characters in all of comics.
Remember in The Avengers when Bruce Banner said “I put a bullet in my mouth... and the other guy spit it out?” Yeah, it turns out he wasn’t exaggerating, bullets can’t stop the Hulk in the same way they can hurt Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, or any other number of superheroes. Shoot the Hulk and all that will happen is he’ll get angry and most likely rip you to shreds.
Because of the thickness and strength of the Hulk’s skin, it’s nearly impossible for any form of artillery to hurt him. Sure, everyone’s seen bullets bounce off of the Hulk, but when we say he’s bulletproof what we really mean is he’s BULLETPROOF. Grenades, rockets, supervillains smashing into him at full force, there’s nothing that the Hulk can’t withstand, and it’s all thanks to his outer-layer being more like an impenetrable shell than a irradiated mass of green skin.
One of the things that makes the Hulk so interesting is that he was the result of a freak accident involving Bruce Banner. All of the powers that stemmed from his accident created a once-in-a-lifetime superhero; at least, you’d think he was a once-in-a-lifetime superhero.
As it turns out, the Hulk has another power that even he wasn’t aware of, and it’s that a blood transfusion given by Bruce Banner has the ability to turn others that match his DNA into the Hulk. And this was exactly what happened with his cousin Jennifer Walters, who ended up becoming She-Hulk after an emergency blood transfusion. Although Jennifer retained most of her personality when becoming She-Hulk – including her intelligence and control – she too has the unique ability to become stronger the angrier she gets. And it’s understandable that she would be angry after becoming only the second Hulk in history.
Most people are aware of the different color Hulks that have graced the pages of various comic books over the years, but what’s less known is that these different colored Hulks all possess different powers. Examples of this are the gray Hulk, a version of the Hulk that is crafty, sneaky, and corrupt. Rather than turning into the Gray Hulk when he’s angry, Banner turned into the Gray Hulk when the sun went down. This particular iteration of the Hulk moved to Vegas to become an “enforcer” at a casino.
Eventually going to therapy to control himself, Banner for a time became both Green Hulk and Gray Hulk, which made for a version of the two where he wasn’t necessarily a destructive force, but he was an angry beast that was also very smart. In addition to this “Pale Green Hulk” is the infamous Red Hulk, a beast who gets stronger depending on how much radiation he exposed to. Because of this, rather than anger controlling him, radiation is what increases his abilities.
Which incredible Hulk powers were you the most amazed about? Are there any you wish you had? Sound off in the comments!