Superman vs Hulk – A Superhero Battle Between DC and Marvel’s Gods of Strength

Hulk and Superman firing up

Kal Takes on the Big Green Machine

On comic book message boards all across the vastness of cyberspace, you can find one of the favorite pastimes of true comic fans: superhero battles. Not only does Superman vs Hulk recur again and again, but new arguments arise that shift the outcome in favor of one over the other.

Using the official – and semi-official when it suits them – range of powers available to their favorite characters, Marvel and DC fanatics alike engage in hypothetical battles between the most powerful heroes from the respective universes.

Such battles hinge on power levels, and how they’re measured in the different universes. The new and improved take on the Superman vs Hulk battle is actually here.

We saw what transpired in the greatest battle in all of comic-dom with Superman vs Doomsday, which gave us an idea of same-universe battles between beings with end-of-the-spectrum power.

For example, is Superman stronger than Thor? How about the Man of Steel vs. the gamma-irradiated green machine known as the Incredible Hulk? Well let’s find out how Superman vs Hulk pans out.

Hulk grabs Superman

Superman vs Hulk Battle: You Wouldn’t Like me Angry

Hulk ragingWhen nuclear physicist Dr. Bruce Banner turns into the Incredible Hulk, it is widely acknowledged that there isn’t a stronger humanoid creature in the Marvel universe – although there might be some competition for that moniker from an Infinity Gem-enabled Drax the Destroyer.

But Hulk, nonetheless, is the antihero most singularly presented as unstoppable.

Not only is his baseline strength immense enough to prove insurmountably troublesome for Thor the God of Thunder, but the Hulk actually gets significantly stronger as he gets angrier.

This was made no more apparent than in the World War Hulk storyline, when Hulk reached untold anger levels.

Some of his legendary feats have included being able to pick up Thor’s mystic hammer Mjolnir – which has an Odinforce enchantment that forbids anyone but Thor or the “worthy” from picking it up.

The Hulk’s strength has reached such levels that it was able to break the powerful magic that bound the hammer.

In his bout with the apocalyptic Onslaught, the Phoenix Force pushed the Hulk to the highest levels of anger by separating his human side from the gamma, which enabled him to cause a rupture in the mind-beast’s otherwise impenetrable armor.

In another storyline, the Incredible Hulk held a billion-ton mountain aloft to keep it from falling on the Avengers and innocents.

Comparably, he also held together the both sides of a drifting continent in order to save the inhabitants. With feats such as these, a Hulk Superman encounter would be terrifying, indeed.

Hulk’s Rage vs Superman’s Power

If you know anything about the Incredible Hulk, it’s that his already monstrous baseline strength increases as he gets angrier.

Therefore, in a Superman vs Hulk bout, the stakes become greater as the battle wears on against the tireless ultra-monster.

Fans of Hulk maintain that he will become angry enough to surpass Superman in strength if the battle wages on for too long.

It’s a very good point, and it forces Kal to strategize instead of choosing simply to pummel his opponent into
submission. But does Superman have a natural answer for Hulk’s increasing rage and strength?

Yes, he does. Superman has almost boundless super-speed and is far faster than the very quick Hulk. In an effort to always be mindful of the lives of innocents around, Clark constantly holds his true power in check – he’s also worried about destroying the Earth!

superman fights hulk both have arms upraised

Art by FKALEO Deviantart: You might be able to hurt Superman – but how do you SURVIVE him?!?

We can look to Supes first trying to get the battle to a remote island or region, the same way he did against the Kryptonian super-soldier Doomsday, when he picked him up and slammed him far into a distant mountain range at several hundred miles per hour.

So perhaps it is Hulk that should be worried about ending the fight before Superman decides to take it elsewhere, to a place where the Man of Steel can feel comfortable unleashing his true power.

Regardless, Superman can always add to his baseline strength by using his super-speed to drastically increase his power. Against most enemies, he throws punches at a normal pace; but, against a raging Hulk, he can ratchet up his power for each level Hulk reaches, given that Superman’s capable of near-light velocities.

It can be argued that no matter how angry Hulk gets, Superman always has an answer in the power department. Even though he must remain conscious of the setting sun, his reserves are truly vast and twilight by no means signals the end of the bout.

superman superspeed

Superman Hulk Comparison

The Hulk’s Healing Factor and Incredible Durability

In addition to his world-bending strength, the Hulk has astounding physical attributes like a healing factor and unbelievable stamina.

In fact, he has more than a healing factor: he can regenerate limbs and complex body parts like eyes and organs.

The only other beings in the Marvel universe who rival this ability to recover (from what would be devastating injuries to other heroes) are Deadpool and Wolverine.

Because you get tired as a result of lactic acid poisons building up in your body after vigorous exertion, the Hulk is immune to fatigue, which makes a Superman versus Hulk battle much more intriguing than merely one mega-strong creature against another.

Hulk strength smash

It might take a long time, but without the sun, the Man of Steel can actually tire. The question is whether or not he’d be able to end the battle before that happens, given his otherworldly offensive – and defensive, in fact – weapons.

Effectively, the Hulk’s incredible healing factor makes his endurance virtually incalculable – he may be able to exert himself at full capacity for weeks on end. The only way to realistically get him tired would be to pit him against another immensely powerful being, such that the Hulk has to exert himself at terrific levels just to engage the being; this wouldn’t give his healing factor enough time to dump the toxins and he would slowly wear down over time.

In a Hulk versus Superman bout, would Kal-El’s nuclear holocaust heat vision be just the thing that’s needed? It would be one heckuva fight.

How Long Can He Keep This Up?

In addition to his world-bending strength, the Hulk has astounding physical attributes like a healing factor and unbelievable stamina.

In fact, he has more than a healing factor: he can regenerate limbs and complex body parts like eyes and organs.

The only other beings in the Marvel universe who rival this ability to recover (from what would be devastating injuries to other heroes) are Deadpool and Wolverine.

Because normal humans get tired as a result of lactic acid poisons building up in your body after vigorous exertion, the Hulk is immune to getting tired.

Effectively, his incredible healing factor makes his endurance virtually incalculable – he may be able to exert himself at full capacity for weeks on end; except there aren’t too many beings that could sustain the kind of damage he could render for that long.

The only way to realistically get him tired would be to pit him against another immensely powerful being, such that Hulk has to exert himself at terrific levels just to engage the being; this wouldn’t give his healing factor enough time to dump the toxins and he would slowly wear down over time. In a superhero battle with an excessively quick opponent like Superman, the damage may mount faster than Hulk could heal.

Hulk radioactive anger

The Incredible Hulk: a rage that could cower a god.

The Hulk Shoots Energy Beams?

People don’t usually think of the Hulk as having any projectile abilities; however, he does have a thunderclap move that is more devastating than even the energy beams of some lesser characters.

Using his immense strength, the Hulk can clap his hands in front of him and thereby ravage the air in front of an opponent, resulting in a concussive blast of significant force. He can also slam the ground in front of him to cause a forward-driving fissure and earthquake.

Hulk's thunderclap

Despite his bulk, he is very fast – though he doesn’t move at a velocity one would consider to be superspeed.

This poses a bit of a problem in a Hulk Superman encounter; to a charged and motivated Man of Tomorrow, the Incredible Hulk would appear to be moving in molasses.

In fact, the Hulk may be able to take almost everything superman could throw at him (for awhile at least), but this lack of speed may very well make it an extremely one-sided bout. Supes is very, very fast. And with his great strength, amplified by his speed to even greater power (a weak punch at high speed generates a lot of power; how about a very strong punch at high speed?!), Hulk had better be in top form and angry as hell.

Is Superman Too Powerful Even for the Hulk?

How about Superman? DC’s representative superhero has strength levels that take a backseat to few characters – and none that are humanoid. To find beings as strong – or stronger – than Superman Man of Steel, you have to go up the chain of command to celestial entities.

superman catches flashHis quickness is surpassed only by the Flash – and just barely. He has all manner of distance attacks, from his lethal heat vision, to his freeze-breath and gale-force winds.

Presumably, he is strong enough by far to execute a thunderclap using his hands, or create a directional earthquake by striking the ground with his hands.

Of course, with his vaunted heat vision, he already has a distance attack extraordinaire – it’s capable of razing a battlefield full of meta-humans, or reducing a forest to a blazing inferno too hot to approach.

He can fly with the best of them, and circle the earth in minutes without unduly taxing his vast reserves of energy.

He heals fast with the aid of the sun, but far more significant than the moderate healing factor the Man of Steel possesses, is his outright invulnerability.

Superman takes direct hits from nuclear strikes and only misses a beat for his troubles. Against the Incredible Hulk, he simply has too many weapons to be beaten – although it might take him a whole day to put down the green machine because of the latter’s regenerative abilities.

More importantly, the battle doesn’t even have to happen unless Clark wants it to – given that Banner can only jump very high and far, compared to Kal-El’s powers of interstellar and atmospheric flight.

The Incredible Hulk’s best chance against the Man of Steel would be to try and fight him at night, so he could at least rob Superman of his solar energy-inspired regenerative healing abilities. In any case, this could be an assumption; Superman’s healing abilities might be a function of his Kryptonian bio-matrix – he may heal at fantastic rates even without the Sun, until his unbelievable reserves of stored energy run out.

It would still be tricky, because Kal can still fly and up over the horizon at night to meet the sun and perform the Kryptonian version of a “systems reboot.”

Hulk would have to cause so much damage that the mountain-mover becomes too wasted to fly – and that would be a mighty feat, indeed – as well as a first. There’s little doubt that Hulk would make one heckuva impression on Superman – the green machine is mega-strong, very durable, and regenerates even better than the Wolverine.

The biggest problem for Superman when fighting the Incredible Hulk is the latter’s regenerative abilities and seemingly limitless powers of exertion.

supermans invulnerability

As long as the sun shines, Kal can probably match or surpass one or both of these, but the fall of darkness should represent a tolling bell – Hulk can keep this up all night whereas Superman relies on solar energy.

Thus, the Man of Steel has something slightly north of 14 hours to put down Mr. Gamma Ray if they start the fight at dawn. Otherwise, he might want to consider flying away…

The problems for the Hulk may be insurmountable when facing the Kryptonian.

I’ve always felt that no opponent, no matter how strong or durable (within “reason”; if such a thing can be applied to fiction) can stand against a motivated and unleashed Superman without possessing superspeed or ultra-fast reflexes.

Hulk, to put it mildly, is too slow for Clark in a battle that takes into account all their powers.

superman's heat visionThis is a huge problem for someone with so much strength; and even if we take their respective strengths to be equal or close, the power added by superspeed puts Kal-El clearly over the top.

The heat vision is another problem, because it represents an extremely powerful distance attack – although I doubt it could put Hulk down, it’ll give him something to think about.

Every physicist knows that if you really want to break something – even resilient material like fire-proof glass, etc., you apply heat and then quickly douse it with cold.

Perhaps heat vision followed by an ice-storm would start to tax the Incredible Hulk’s healing factor, enough for superspeed and superstrength to start wearing Hulk down faster than he could recover. Something to think about….

Verdict: the Incredible Hulk can probably hit Superman harder than anyone not named Doomsday ever has…but Superman can probably take the punch.

Superman vs Hulk

Superman Prime:

superman prime gold

Hulk vs. Superman: Hulk’s Anger

This is the pivotal ability of the green gamma monster.

Because Hulk’s strength is tied to his emotional state, it is often regarded as incalculable – the angrier he gets, the greater his strength.

Fans of the Hulk Superman fight scenario often tout this as the one major advantage he has against the Kryptonian: Superman’s strength, while it is extremely high, is presumably maxed out in the presence of the sun (although in fact, that isn’t quite true; the closer he gets to the sun, the stronger he becomes).

Additionally, it is a well-known fact in the realm of fiction that superman always holds back when fighting supervillains – especially when inside a planetary atmosphere.

Unchecked, the sheer power he commands is apparently enough to ravage a planet. For an earth-bound battle, though, you can assume Clark’s lofty strength is capped.

supermans strength feat

Thus, would Supes be able to end Hulk’s existence – and yes, Superman does kill, so that argument goes out the window – before the Hulk got angry enough to perhaps challenge his limits?

Although intriguing, there’s a philosophical/biological problem with this logic: just how angry can something become?

After all, you don’t assume other emotions, such as happiness and sadness, are limitless; why assume that anger is an unlimited attribute?

Although it’s difficult to place a quantitative limit on anger, we can probably feel comfortable placing a qualitative limit on it: once something is enraged, there are no levels above rage – it’s all the same.

At worst, perhaps you can become so angry that you become a mindless mess incapable of thinking, strategizing, or even remembering who your enemy is – or what he did to anger you.

Rage isn’t the kind of attribute that can be fittingly argued to be limitless, just like happiness or disinterest can’t (I think).

Hulk enraged beyond all reason

After all, how angry/full of rage would you get if someone killed a loved one? Took away your child, sibling, parent or best friend? All of them? Is it even feasible to be more full of rage than if any or all of these happened? That’s what happened to the Incredible Hulk in the World War Hulk storyline.

The maddest Hulk ever would either be the incredibly powerful World War Hulk, or the Hulk that the Phoenix stripped of all humanity so that he could become the unadulterated rage-force that shredded Onslaught’s armor.

One of these awesome incarnations of Hulk is probably the one that should be judged in a bout with Big Blue.

If these two titans meet, we may not know the winner, but we definitely know the losers – all the denizens of Earth.

This Hulk is the one that would draw out the best from Superman; together, their fatal dance would rend the planet asunder.

 

A Superman Hulk Graphic Novel?

Perhaps someday a few great comics and graphic novel writers can get together and give the people what they want! a full-fledged, no-hold-barred Superman versus Hulk meeting and battle on the same scale as the epic and pivotal Death of Superman from the early 1990s.

Take into account all of their powers; not just to the letter, but as demonstrated against mighty opponents.

Have Marc Silvestri, Dale Keown, Jim Lee, Chris Bachalo or some other premier artists provide the artwork – and
find a damn good writer. It almost doesn’t matter who wins this bout – wouldn’t you just like to see it play out!?

Superman vs. Hulk: Superhero Weaknesses

superman and kryptoniteAmong the many things Superman and Hulk have in common, is the fact that their power levels are so high that writers felt the need to give them a distinct weakness or two, just so that super-villains have a fighting chance at doing them in – or at least escaping an immediate beat-down.

Even among the ranks of superheroes, Superman and Hulk are considered superior and their arrival on the scene of battle usually signals the beginning of the end of any fight.

For these mountain-movers, physical damage has to be catastrophic (against other superheroes) to even cause them to flinch, so we resort to analyzing the others ways they might take each other down.

Superman and Kryptonite and Magic

This radioactive green rock from the defunct planet Krypton – Superman’s place of birth – is the ace-in-the-hole if you want any real chance at beating Superman.

If Hulk can procure some, then this makes him an unbelievably deadly foe for Superman; most people who get some still get their hats handed to them by the Man of Steel, because his power is so great he often manages to get away from the power-sapping crystal and return fire.

But Hulk is in a class of strength and power far above Metallo, Lex Luthor or any of the small number of powered villains who’ve tried using Kryptonite to slow Superman down.

hulk strength

If Hulk is able to weaken Kal, he may just beat him to death as that vaunted invulnerability wanes just enough to allow it. Of course, the effects of Kryptonite – though fast – are still gradual, and perhaps Supes can fly away or use super-speed to evade any supersonic throws by Mr. Hulksmash.

Ultimately, when preparing to do battle with the Sun-god from Krypton, far too many super-villains ask themselves the wrong question. The question isn’t “How do I defeat the Man of Tomorrow.” It’s, “How do I survive him?”

As for magic, this isn’t a viable option for Hulk. Besides, too much has been made of Superman’s supposed weakness to magic; it would be more accurate to say he has a ‘relative’ weakness to magic.

One of the most powerful magic users in the DC universe has lost to Kal-El on multiple occasions: Captain Marvel.

His Shazam! lightning is arguably as powerful – more, probably – than the magic lightning from Thor’s Mjolnir, and yet it has failed to put Superman down on multiple occasions even after striking him many times.

shazam captain marvel

Captain Marvel’s lightning comes from Zeus, himself; who, as a Sky Father, is loads more powerful than even the mighty Thor. By the way, there’s a Superman vs Thor hub coming soon!

Nonetheless, make no mistake; Shazam! lightning certainly hurts Superman, no doubt! Regular lightning wouldn’t even register to the Man of Steel, which is where the magic aspect helps – it allows things that would otherwise not hurt him at all to at least cause him to think about them.

So it would appear that even against magic, Clark is extremely durable – just look what Shazam! does to other superheroes – it totals them. Magic is by no means a kill-shot against Superman – not even close. It just evens the playing field a bit.

Hulk and Sonics, Gases and Tranquilizers

supermans freeze breath The Hulk is immune to most poisons and attempts to subvert his central nervous system; however, one of the most common ways he is temporarily defeated is by using adamantium-tipped darts to penetrate his skin and put him to sleep.

This is unfortunate for a creature that is otherwise so powerful, because it would seem that superman could (relatively) easily come by something like this, if they resorted to using props in the fight (nobody wants to see that though!).

Hulk has also been shown to have a weakness to sonics, which is even more convenient for Superman to use – the Man of Steel can easily simulate sonics with his vocals far more powerful than any machine used in the past to hurt Hulk.

 

As for gases, well, Superman can hold a river’s worth of any gas in his lungs by superhuman compression. Whatever was used in the past to make Hulk fall asleep or revert to Dr. Banner, Superman better not get his hands on that.

Closing Thoughts on Superman vs. Hulk

First off, I’d like to thank everyone who was so generous with their time and bothered to read and interact with this article—it makes the writing worth it!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this whole Superman vs. Hulk thing – they’re both mighty and awe-inspiring super-beings! Be sure to participate in the polls and have a great day.

 

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