|“World War Hulk” #4|
CBR News is back with the penultimate installment of the Tale of the Tape series. In Round 2 of our series, "World War Hulk” writer Greg Pak played fight doctor and gave us the odds on the possible match up between the Hulk and Mr. Fantastic. Now, in round three, we’re pitting the Green King against the man with the magic hands, the master of the Mystic Arts, Doctor Strange. Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!((TM))
William Blake said, “It’s easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.” If that’s true, than Dr. Strange is the Illuminati member who should be most afraid of the furious Hulk. “The Hulk has spent more quality time with Dr. Strange than with any other member of the Illuminati,” Greg Pak told CBR News. “The Hulk and Strange have teamed up dozens of times as members of the Defenders. Admittedly, of all the superhero teams, the Defenders probably win the title of ‘Most Likely to Beat Each Other Down’… but still, the members of the Defenders rank among the Hulk’s oldest and closest friends.”
Longtime Hulk fans may recall the first time Dr. Strange banished the Hulk. “Back during Bill Mantlo’s brilliant, classic run, Strange sent the mindless, raging Hulk to the Crossroads in the effort to find a world the Hulk could call home,” Pak explained. “But Strange was genuinely trying to help his friend find a home, and the Hulk during that time was mindless and didn’t understand what Strange had done to him anyway. But this time, Strange joined the Illuminati in sending a rational Hulk off-planet. This Hulk remembers everything. And he’s suffered a tragedy on Sakaar far more horrible than even the worst tortures he endured during his Crossroads journeys. Strange has never encountered this kind of anger before.”
Anger is indeed the driving force behind the Hulk’s plans for the Illuminati, but remorse is likely to be the dominant emotion in Doctor Strange’s interactions with the Hulk. “He probably feels more remorse than any other member of the Illuminati,” Pak said. “Strange is a mystic, not a king or a futurist or a politician. He’s the Sorcerer Supreme and fights evil on the mystic realm all the time, but I’d hazard the guess that he deals with the moral ambiguities of the everyday world far less often than the other members of the Illuminati, and is far less accustomed to separating his heart from his actions. But even more importantly, Strange is closer to the Hulk than any other Illuminati member and almost certainly feels the Green Goliath’s pain more than any of the others.”
When Doctor Strange finally comes face to face with the Hulk, it’s certain that emotional pain will be felt but it’s not yet clear who will feel the most physical pain. Even with Strange’s vast mystic might, a number of the internal variables could still decide the outcome of their confrontation. “Strange presumably could destroy the Hulk with the faintest twitch of his littlest finger, but his own conscience and code as the Sorcerer Supreme might actually work against him. We saw Strange recuse himself from the Marvel Civil War. Will he be similarly unable to participate in World War Hulk? And then there’s the wild card of the Hulk’s own powers and those of his Warbound companions.
“The Hulk’s strength is generally thought of as entirely physical. But in the past he’s demonstrated the ability to see astral forms and ghosts. Now that he’s angrier — and stronger — than ever before, will his powers regarding the mystic realm be increased? And we still don’t know the full extent of the powers of Hulk’s Warbound ally Hiroim the Oldstrong, who took on the possibly mystic powers of the Shadow Elders when they were incinerated in Sakaar’s Crown City. Strange has no idea of just exactly what dangers he might face.”
Round 2 – The Hulk Vs. Mr. Fantastic
Round 1 – The Hulk Vs. Black Bolt
Now discuss this story in CBR’s World War Hulk forum.