The Thing and the Hulk have had some notable tussles over the years. Here are my nods for the Top Five!
5. Fantastic Four #320
I was not a huge fan of this one or the rematch in Incredible Hulk#350, mainly for the whole “Make everything work out perfectly for the character in his book” routine that was going on in each issue, but between the two, Fantastic Four #320 was slightly better, because, at the time, it WAS the more likely outcome (while Incredible Hulk #350 needed some leaps of logic).
But yeah, not exactly a classic, as the enhanced strength Thing beats the heck out of the powered down Hulk.
But seeing as how Ben Grimm had never been able to beat the Hulk before, this was still a nice moment.
4. Marvel Fanfare #20-21
This was a really fun Jim Starlin story, where the Thing is enlisted by Doctor Strange to stop the evil Xandu.
The conceit is that Xandu had hypnotized all of New York, but can only control one person at a time. It turns out he’s controlling a Defender. The Thing goes to the battle rattling off the names of the possible Defenders he could be facing, and when he finds out it is the Hulk, he makes a good joke like, “Why couldn’t it be Hellcat?”
The ensuing battle was beautifully drawn by Starlin, depicting a crosstown epic battle.
3. Fantastic Four #112
This was a neat story that involved one of Reed’s attempts at curing Ben. He cured Ben so that Ben could change back and forth into the Thing, the only problem is that when he BECAME the Thing, he became more and more irrational. Reed calls in Bruce Banner to help him find a cure, but when the Thing goes nuts, Banner turns into the Hulk to stop him, only the Thing is SO nuts that he’s actually WINNING!
However, Alicia shows up and distracts Ben, leading to the Hulk knocking him out with a cheap shot.
Neat story with great John Buscema artwork.
2. Fantastic Four #12
This was a great matchup, and it perfectly high lit the difference the two (the Hulk is all power while the Thing is crafty), but the drawback is that it is a VERY short fight, as they barely get a chance to really go blow to blow..
So I will give the next fight the nod…
1. Fantastic Four #25-26
TWO issues of Jack Kirby greatness! With Dr. Doom AND the Avengers mixed in!
This battle had it all!
The Thing is truly humbled by the Hulk’s strength (which he managed to avoid last tussle), and it takes the combined Avengers and Fantastic Four just to give the Hulk a fight! The fight ends with a stalemate (Rick Jones turns Hulk back to Banner, and he escapes), but wow, what a fight!
Reed remarks that the fight wasn’t ALL bad, as it gave the Avengers and Fantastic Four a chance to meet!
That Reed, always looking on the bright side of life!
Well, that’s the list!
Agree? Disagree? Let me know!