Thor and Hulk: What really happened and what would really happen

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Posted by Saren (25890 posts) - - Show Bio

This is probably Marvel's most frequent match-up. It takes place more often than any other fight you can think of, except maybe the obvious rivalries like Wolverine vs Sabretooth or something like that. That said, there is a ton of misinformation circulated by both sides of the debate. I recently collected almost every single canon fight between the two to get a concrete grasp of what actually goes down in these bouts, and the picture that was painted for me differed greatly from the nonsense that pervades most battle forum threads on the topic.

People are going to go back and forth between "THOR WILL GODBLAST HULK!!1!" and "NO HULK WILL TEAR OFF HIS HEAD BEFORE THAT HAPPENS!!1!", both of which are incorrect, judging not from their overall feats, but from the assortment of fights the two have had against each other alone. I'm making this for two main reasons:

  • Primarily because I've seen several misconceptions about their fights going around, and when I address the users who do so, they go "Ah ok" and then move on to the next thread where they simply repeat the same incorrect points like nothing happened. I'm tired of continually repeating myself, so I'm going to put everything down here as a reference.
  • I'm going to make another blog post about Hulk and how he's supposedly "underrated" on CV, and I'd like to put all the Hulk vs Thor scans on this thread so that I don't have to look for them when I get around to making the other blog.

Note that I'm not doing this because I dislike either or both characters. It's true that I can't stand Hulk and could care less about Thor, but that's not why this blog is being made.

Without further ado,

Avengers #3

This is their first fight on panel. They actually have two skirmishes in this issue.

Hulk ties up Thor with some steel cable, but Thor was holding back according to Pym. They have a later encounter where Hulk has Namor's help, and they overpower Thor for a while until he uses Mjolnir to get Hulk away from him so that he only has Namor to worry about. The fight ends when Hulk unexpectedly reverts to Banner.

Journey Into Mystery #112

This is a retelling of the fight in Avengers #3, exploring events that supposedly took place off-panel in the original fight.

After that you have the Thor vs Hulk and Namor fight, you know how that goes.

Sub-Mariner #35

Hulk hits Thor hard enough to make him drop Mjolnir, and might actually have won if he'd pressed his advantage and kept Thor away for 60 seconds. A clarion goes off and distracts him, so Thor seizes the opportunity to reclaim his hammer.

Defenders #10

They're portrayed as evenly matched in strength here.

The Incredible Hulk #255

This is a bit similar to Sub-Mariner #35, after Thor gets distracted by a collapsing tunnel Hulk punches him away from Mjolnir, and 60 seconds runs out while Thor is saving the people under the tunnel.

The Incredible Hulk #300

Thor fights Mindless Hulk, and it's still pretty even with both giving as good as they get until Strange stops the fight and opens a portal to send Hulk away.

The Mighty Thor #385

This is where it starts to get interesting. Up until this point, the two had been portrayed as equals, at least physically. It starts to change a bit from here on out. Thor and Hulk clash and while no one gets KO'd or gives in or anything, Thor is portrayed as possessing a clear edge over Hulk, who complains that Thor is only powerful because of Mjolnir, and that without his hammer Thor ain't all that.

In a somewhat uncharacteristic move, Hulk picks up a woman and threatens to kill her if Thor doesn't get rid of Mjolnir.

From there on, the advantage shifts to Hulk. At the end of the fight, it's Thor who seems worse for wear.

I'm not a believer in letting the events of a single issue serve as the definitive standard for how all fights between two characters should go, but if I were, the message I'd be getting from this particular fight is:

Thor w/Mjolnir > Hulk

Thor w/o Mjolnir < Hulk

Just to be clear, I don't necessarily agree with that. It's just what this issue seems to imply.

The Mighty Thor #489

Not a great representation of the real nature of their bouts since both were holding back. Thor had the advantage before the fight was broken up by Hela.

The Incredible Hulk #440

This fight should serve as a direct rebuttal to the commonly held idea that Thor only struggles against Hulk because he's always holding back at all points of time. Hulk snaps and starts to become his older Maestro version, while Thor enters his Warrior's Madness state (and I really doubt he was holding back while in a "berserker fury"). It's still fairly even, and the fight ends when the government fires a nuke at the battlefield, prompting Hulk to punch Thor away to save his life (and no, I have no idea why he thought a nuke would kill Thor......).

The Incredible Hulk Annual 2001

This is, in my opinion, the first and only legitimate and unquestionable win that either one has over the other, and it goes to Thor. Though at the end of the fight the two are separated and probably still capable of going a few rounds, Thor does KO Hulk with a lightning bolt earlier on.

Fear Itself #5

Their most recent fight. Hulk was possessed by an Asgardian god called Nul, so he was probably amped (I don't know to what extent since I never read the Hulk vs Dracula fight). Thor fights Nul and Angrir (a possessed Ben Grimm). After taking a beating at first, he throws Mjolnir through Angrir and then attacks Nul. Fight ends when Thor BFR's Nul into space (there is some disagreement on whether Nul was KO'd or not......the Thor camp says that he was since his text bubble was blank, but it's more likely because there's no sound in space?).

Edit: Brevoort confirmed that Hulk was amped in this fight and still could not beat Thor because the latter was too powerful.

Those are all the clear cut fights between the two. Then there are fights of questionable validity.

The Mighty Thor #73

This takes place during the unrealized future (unrealized because Thor made sure it wouldn't happen later on) of The Reigning arc. In the year 2020, Thor fights Hulk and Thing at the same time without Mjolnir or the Odin Force and with only one arm......and wins.

I usually disregard this incident because:

  • The issue came out in 2004 while the fight took place in 2020, that's 16 years that have passed if we assume Marvel follows real world time (sometimes they do, for example I read a Marvel comic recently that said the year was 2012 in-world, but sometimes they don't). We don't know if Thor got stronger or had any upgrades to his powers during that time, nor do we know whether his opponents were at their regular level of strength or not.
  • Thor easily handling Hulk based on pure strength alone contradicts every single one of their prior showings. I'm not saying Thor wouldn't or shouldn't win, but history says he doesn't have an easy time of it even while applying his strength to its fullest.
  • On the very next page Captain America kicks and punches Thor, and even manages to down him. That does not make any sense. If Thor was still strong enough to beat up Hulk and Thing, then Cap's bones should have shattered upon contact. Go figure.
  • The whole hero-goes-bad-and-takes-over-his-planet-in-a-dystopian-future thing is a tired trope that resurfaces over and over again in comic books. Victor Mancha did it in an issue of The Runaways, Beast did it in Here Comes Tomorrow, Midnighter sort of did it in The Authority: Revolution, Superman and Batman did it in Absolute Power, Wonder Woman and Aquaman were squabbling over who gets more of the Earth in Flashpoint, hell even Hulk did it in Future Imperfect. It's just plot at work.

Hulk: Let The Battle Begin

See point one of the Reigning example, we simply don't know when this took place and what versions of each character were involved (and it's a pretty embarrassing loss for Thor, to boot).

Thor: Hammer & Sinew

See point one of the Reigning example, we simply don't know when this took place and what versions of each character were involved.

So now that we've covered what's actually happened, let's look at what should actually happen:

On paper, Thor should win every single time. Hulk is limited to punching things, with the original thunderclap/object toss thrown in for good measure. Thor can do far more, but part of the reason why he struggles with Hulk is that he rarely uses those abilities anywhere. He has a veritable armada of powers that only find use in a few issues before disappearing forever. If he uses those powers, he would win beyond a shadow of a doubt. Hell, he wouldn't even need to use those powers, all he needs is his speed. But Thor is notorious for slacking off when it comes to operational speed, more so than any other character in his weight class. If he fights Hulk on strength alone, there is a very real chance that he could lose.

Based on their fights so far, I would put the Thor vs Hulk tally at 1-0, because the only decisive and unquestionable victory that either have over the other is from The Incredible Hulk Annual 2001, where Thor KO's Hulk with a lightning bolt. That is an undeniable win for Thor. There are posters who are convinced Thor has a 7-1 score against Hulk, which is just nonsense. They usually arrive at these figures by a) ignoring context and circumstances or b) by claiming that incidents such as when Thor buried Hulk under some rubble in Journey Into Mystery #112 and The Mighty Thor #489 and when Hulk reciprocated in the Incredible Hulk Annual 2001 should count as victories even though both dug themselves out and were willing to continue the fight. Just to be clear, those are not in any way wins. They're temporary advantages at best. You could also say Thor BFR'ing Nul in Fear Itself #5 counts as a win, but BFR's are an artificial concept that we use on the battle forums. They don't have any place in the comics themselves, so I haven't counted them.

Can't think of anything else to say. Eh.

UPDATE : Hulk Smash Avengers #1

This just released, a fight between Hulk and the Avengers, including Thor. I included the first page where it says the fight takes place between Avengers v1 #7 and #14, which would mean Marvel recognizes it as an untold canon story. The Avengers try to restrain Hulk but he gets the better of them and leaves; however the Avengers were holding back at the time.

Update: Avengers Assemble #4

Thanos uses his telepathy to take control of Hulk's mind and make him fight the Avengers.

Hulk grabs Thor's hand and whacks him in the face with Mjolnir. He's down for pretty much the rest of the fight (might have been KO'd or just struck down) and then pulls himself back on his feet near the end.

#1 Posted by God_Spawn (38092 posts) - - Show Bio

IIRC in Hulk 440, Thor was practically powerless. He was hardly operating at 100% if I'm not mistaken. 1) this explains why he went in Warrior's Madness so he could physically match Hulk. 2) Explains why a nuke would have possibly killed him. I know I have the scans that state Thor was almost depowered, since I don't see you having them up in the fight.

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#2 Posted by Saren (25890 posts) - - Show Bio

@god_spawn: I actually have those, it's just that before fighting Hulk, Thor was moping around and remarking that he was powerless, and then all of a sudden some kind of weird miracle occurred and he seemed to regain his powers.

#3 Posted by venomoushatred1001 (12334 posts) - - Show Bio

Completely agree with this blog, Bane. It delivers a fair analysis of each fight. I know you don't care about either character but its nice you created this blog to clear some things up. Good job.

#4 Posted by God_Spawn (38092 posts) - - Show Bio

@CitizenBane: I thought there was one they mentioned during the fight? Guess not. Oh well, weird showing IMO either way. A nuke would kill Thor? C'mon.

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#5 Edited by Saren (25890 posts) - - Show Bio

@god_spawn: He wasn't in his Warrior's Madness state when he entered the fight. He was talking to a government advisory council and he told them that while fighting Hulk "a dark berserker rage may be unleashed within me in the heat of battle with one such as he". I took that to mean that he'd already regained his powers before he told the advisory council that he was going to fight Maestro, but recognized that a battle of that nature could send him into his Warrior's Madness state.

Dunno why Maestro thought the nuke would kill Thor, though.

#6 Edited by SC (13203 posts) - - Show Bio
@god_spawn:  As understood by the character, (according to writer PAD) rather than a statement of fact, with the nuke thing. Thor's power level was meant to be a bit iffy as you point out as well since in Thor's books at the time, Thor was weakened for his story, and PAD likes to stick with a tight continuity but he also wanted to have a big Hulk Thor fight in his book.  
 
Interestingly enough for any who care he is one of the few writers who has given Thor better odds over Hulk generally speaking. (Kevin Grevioux would be another, Greg Pak would be the opposite)  
 
Oh and excellent, well written Blog CitizenBane! **smiles** 
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#7 Edited by God_Spawn (38092 posts) - - Show Bio

@SC: So I did remember right that Thor's power levels weren't at optimum capacity?

SC just confirmed it for me. He was "iffy" so I take back that weird showing statement.

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#8 Posted by Gambit1024 (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

@CitizenBane: Excellent job, dude. Really great time reading this.

#9 Posted by Saren (25890 posts) - - Show Bio

@SC: LOL, Greg Pak wrote an event revolving around Hulk beating everyone in sight, so I'm not surprised that he'd give Hulk the win over Thor as well.

And thanks!

#10 Posted by Saren (25890 posts) - - Show Bio

@god_spawn: I didn't read the issues of Thor that were published at the time

DONT JUDGE MEEE

#11 Edited by God_Spawn (38092 posts) - - Show Bio

@CitizenBane: Never. The day I judge you is the day the battle forums goes even more insane. Btw, can't wait to see how the WWH blog comes out and I get all my credit for providing dozens of scans :P. Also, this gave me an idea to do a Wolverine vs Hulk blog.

And good blog. I've talked about everything else except say it is good lol.

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#12 Posted by OmegaRed86 (505 posts) - - Show Bio

I vote Thor. Just saying.

#13 Posted by TheGoldenOne (38849 posts) - - Show Bio
Interesting stuff. Good job getting the info and scans.
#14 Posted by Billy Batson (58143 posts) - - Show Bio

Hawt.
BB

#15 Posted by jeanroygrant (20191 posts) - - Show Bio

@CitizenBane: Good job and i totally agree with this. What i want to say though is people downgrade Hulk's strength a lot. I think Hulk's strength is up there with Thor, Superman, Captain Marvel.

#16 Posted by ShangoofTheOshiras (4 posts) - - Show Bio

This is a subject that will continue until the end of time. The Bottom line is this: Stan Lee created Thor to be the Strongest Hero in the Marvel Universe, but subsequent writers looking to make a different mark have attempted to change it to fit their own personal(selfish)needs.

#17 Posted by Saren (25890 posts) - - Show Bio

There might be another Hulk vs Thor fight in the next issue of Avengers Assemble.

#18 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33885 posts) - - Show Bio
@ShangoofTheOshiras said:

This is a subject that will continue until the end of time. The Bottom line is this: Stan Lee created Thor to be the Strongest Hero in the Marvel Universe, but subsequent writers looking to make a different mark have attempted to change it to fit their own personal(selfish)needs.

and Wolverine was created to be a feral mutated wolverine your point is irrelevant   
#19 Posted by TDK_1997 (14983 posts) - - Show Bio

I always thought that actually HUlk was maybe a little bit stronger than Thor but in the las t few years I started reading more Hulk and Thor books and I got to the opinion that Thor is actually stronger and you are proving that point well.

#20 Posted by majestic99 (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

Good job on the thread, good info and analysis.

#21 Posted by royale_with_cheese (747 posts) - - Show Bio

@CitizenBane:

Does this image sum up your perspective on who is physically stronger overall?
#22 Posted by Saren (25890 posts) - - Show Bio

@royale_with_cheese: Not entirely. I think Thor starts out stronger, but if he enters a slug fest with Hulk it would give the latter time to bridge the gap and even cross it.

#23 Posted by majestic99 (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

@CitizenBane:

Didn't Stan Lee state he created Thor to be stronger than Hulk?

Plus, if thor isn't holding back, he would eventually beat Hulk. But it wouldn't be a stomp.

#24 Posted by Saren (25890 posts) - - Show Bio

@majestic99: Stan Lee also stated that Thor was created to be more powerful than the Silver Surfer, but Surfer's been more powerful than Thor for quite a while now.

#25 Posted by majestic99 (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

@CitizenBane:

Notice that modern writers haven't been writing Thor like Stane Lee wrote Thor.

#26 Posted by Saren (25890 posts) - - Show Bio

@majestic99: .......ok?

#27 Posted by majestic99 (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

@CitizenBane:

No, I'm asking is that why SS is currently more powerful than Thor?

#28 Posted by Saren (25890 posts) - - Show Bio

@majestic99: Probably because he has received at least three upgrades since he was created.

#29 Posted by majestic99 (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

@CitizenBane said:

@majestic99: Probably because he has received at least three upgrades since he was created.

Another question, who is Jeph Loeb and what is the Loeb Force?

#30 Posted by evilvegeta74 (4530 posts) - - Show Bio

Well covered and I'm a thor fan,but one particular reason there is hardly ever a clear winner in the battle between these two is simply because they just wanna rough house, or as Thor put it in so many battles, he finds the hulk to be aworthy opponent and finds joy in the battle.

#31 Posted by majestic99 (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

@evilvegeta74 said:

Well covered and I'm a thor fan,but one particular reason there is hardly ever a clear winner in the battle between these two is simply because they just wanna rough house, or as Thor put it in so many battles, he finds the hulk to be aworthy opponent and finds joy in the battle.

Or Thor Syndrome.

#32 Posted by AssertingValor (5396 posts) - - Show Bio

@royale_with_cheese: not only does it not mention strength, that doesnt look like hulk to me, and if it is it is probably hulk during fear itself when he got a huge power boost.....

#33 Posted by jeanroygrant (20191 posts) - - Show Bio

@majestic99 said:

@CitizenBane:

Didn't Stan Lee state he created Thor to be stronger than Hulk?

Plus, if thor isn't holding back, he would eventually beat Hulk. But it wouldn't be a stomp.

But on other threads you say Thor will stomp Hulk...

#34 Posted by majestic99 (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

@jeanroygrant:

I'm talking about in a fist to fist fight, he would win but not stomp. If Thor goes all out, it's a curbstomp in the Norse God's favor.

m99

#35 Posted by jeanroygrant (20191 posts) - - Show Bio

@majestic99 said:

@jeanroygrant:

I'm talking about in a fist to fist fight, he would win but not stomp. If Thor goes all out, it's a curbstomp in the Norse God's favor.

m99

Haven't you said before Thor's strength is close or equal to Superman's, and Superman>>>Hulk?

#36 Posted by majestic99 (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

@jeanroygrant said:

Haven't you said before Thor's strength is close or equal to Superman's, and Superman>>>Hulk?

On the first part yes, on the second part, no. I said that it's equal. Hulk's strength increases with rage, and Superman's strength increases while under a yellow sun, their strength capacity is limitless.

m99

#37 Posted by jeanroygrant (20191 posts) - - Show Bio

@majestic99 said:

@jeanroygrant said:

Haven't you said before Thor's strength is close or equal to Superman's, and Superman>>>Hulk?

On the first part yes, on the second part, no. I said that it's equal. Hulk's strength increases with rage, and Superman's strength increases while under a yellow sun, their strength capacity is limitless.

m99

How about Superman or World Breaker Hulk, who is stronger with no amping.

#38 Posted by majestic99 (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

@jeanroygrant said:

How about Superman or World Breaker Hulk, who is stronger with no amping.

World Breaker Hulk. If it's pre-52 Superman, that is.

m99

#39 Posted by jeanroygrant (20191 posts) - - Show Bio

@majestic99 said:

@jeanroygrant said:

How about Superman or World Breaker Hulk, who is stronger with no amping.

World Breaker Hulk. If it's pre-52 Superman, that is.

m99

So he would lose to flash-point Superman? Is that what your implying?

#40 Posted by majestic99 (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

@jeanroygrant said:

So he would lose to flash-point Superman? Is that what your implying?

No. If it's an in-character battle where supes normally holds back(and hasn't received any amps) vs a constantly raging WBH, then WBH would eventually win.

m99

#41 Posted by DEGRAAF (7895 posts) - - Show Bio

@CitizenBane: what about World War Hulk? Didn't they fight then? That is Hulks strongest and most recent uninhibited form. That (IMO) would be the most up to date and legit fight i would think unless someone can show Thor holding back

#42 Posted by jeanroygrant (20191 posts) - - Show Bio

@majestic99 said:

@jeanroygrant said:

So he would lose to flash-point Superman? Is that what your implying?

No. If it's an in-character battle where supes normally holds back(and hasn't received any amps) vs a constantly raging WBH, then WBH would eventually win.

m99

Oh.

#43 Posted by Saren (25890 posts) - - Show Bio

Marvel is publishing a 5-part series called Hulk Smash Avengers (first issue comes out tomorrow) that will feature more fights between Hulk and the Avengers, including Thor of course. I was unsure of whether this series will be canon or not until I read a preview page that indicates that it is, in fact, canon. I'll upload any new Hulk vs Thor fights as and when they come out.

#44 Posted by Saren (25890 posts) - - Show Bio

@DEGRAAF said:

@CitizenBane: what about World War Hulk? Didn't they fight then? That is Hulks strongest and most recent uninhibited form. That (IMO) would be the most up to date and legit fight i would think unless someone can show Thor holding back

They never fought during WWH.

#45 Posted by SC (13203 posts) - - Show Bio
@CitizenBane said:

@DEGRAAF said:

@CitizenBane: what about World War Hulk? Didn't they fight then? That is Hulks strongest and most recent uninhibited form. That (IMO) would be the most up to date and legit fight i would think unless someone can show Thor holding back

They never fought during WWH.

 
He might be referring to the What If Comic?   
 
Greg Pak also wanted the two to fight in his original script to World War Hulk (among other things, like Hulk was going to one shot Sentry and or broke all his bones lol) and in that script Hulk was going to fight Thor to a standstill -  Hulk would hit Thor so hard he was going to drop his hammer and then Hiroim was going to pick it up (Or Hulk) and Thor would then realize that Hulk was right and the other heroes were wrong and he would fly off.  
 
In the What If, the fight ended inconclusively. Some random guy helping a train or something made Thor and Hulk reconsider fighting, then Sentry arrived and people mocked him =p     
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#46 Posted by DEGRAAF (7895 posts) - - Show Bio

@SC said:

@CitizenBane said:

@DEGRAAF said:

@CitizenBane: what about World War Hulk? Didn't they fight then? That is Hulks strongest and most recent uninhibited form. That (IMO) would be the most up to date and legit fight i would think unless someone can show Thor holding back

They never fought during WWH.

He might be referring to the What If Comic? Greg Pak also wanted the two to fight in his original script to World War Hulk (among other things, like Hulk was going to one shot Sentry and or broke all his bones lol) and in that script Hulk was going to fight Thor to a standstill - Hulk would hit Thor so hard he was going to drop his hammer and then Hiroim was going to pick it up (Or Hulk) and Thor would then realize that Hulk was right and the other heroes were wrong and he would fly off. In the What If, the fight ended inconclusively. Some random guy helping a train or something made Thor and Hulk reconsider fighting, then Sentry arrived and people mocked him =p

no i truly thought they fought during WWH. interesting. Thanks for the info from both of you

#47 Posted by entropy_aegis (15451 posts) - - Show Bio

CitizenBane's devotion must be appluaded.@CitizenBane said:

Marvel is publishing a 5-part series called Hulk Smash Avengers (first issue comes out tomorrow) that will feature more fights between Hulk and the Avengers, including Thor of course. I was unsure of whether this series will be canon or not until I read a preview page that indicates that it is, in fact, canon. I'll upload any new Hulk vs Thor fights as and when they come out.

WTF,with a title like that I feel sorry for Thor and Iron Man.

#48 Posted by Saren (25890 posts) - - Show Bio

Updated with the fight from Hulk Smash Avengers #1.

#49 Edited by venomoushatred1001 (12334 posts) - - Show Bio

@royale_with_cheese said:

Does this image sum up your perspective on who is physically stronger overall?

@CitizenBane:

He was being sarcastic.

#50 Posted by RoyalDivinity (3172 posts) - - Show Bio

Excellent blog. I skimmed through it however as it is late. It's definitely better than my old one a while back (Albeit my writing has vastly improved since then).

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