The Hulk is known for his unpredictability, his rampaging, his smashing, and for basically being the strongest there is in the Marvel universe. As the comic says, the Hulk is incredible. If you’re like most people, you get a kick out of seeing the Hulk let his temper run wild and smash everything and everyone in sight. The wanton destruction might be fun to witness, but being on the receiving end is not as much fun. Most other heroes try as best they can to avoid being on the receiving end of Hulk’s rage. That being said, the jade giant is not unbeatable. Before his current level strength, where he can punch so hard it is felt in other dimensions, quite a number of individuals have managed to beat the Hulk into unconsciousness or to a point where he just quit.
Admittedly, no sane person would try to get in the middle of a Hulk tantrum, but there have been a number of times when his own allies have had to step in and try to stop him from causing too much damage. Whether they’ve used their own raw strength, smarts, or just plain luck, defeating the Hulk can be accomplished. Some of these tales are canon, some are from alternate universes, but regardless, if it was printed, we’re including it. The Incredible Hulk might be one tough guy, but he has on occasion had his hat handed to him a few times in his history. Let’s take a look at 20 other characters that have actually taken down the Hulk.
20 IRON MAN
Banner’s science-bro, Tony Stark, and his Iron Man armor, kind of has a leg up on everyone else when it comes to finding ways to successfully take down the Hulk. Stark is pretty much the only person on this list who Banner has helped come up with ideas for dealing with his raging green alter-ego.
In the pages of Iron Man #132, those plans were implemented and Iron Man was able to lay the Hulk out with a single mega-punch. Of course, that punch utilized all of Iron Man’s power reserves, nearly ending Stark in the process. But hey, a wins a win!
19 SILVER SURFER
If there’s anyone in the Marvel universe known for being cool when up against an adversary, it’s the Silver Surfer. The guy just exudes power and confidence. In Tales to Astonish #92-93, he smacked the Hulk with the surfboard and knocked him on his keister, like he was nothing!
Later on, when the Hulk’s raging was vexing the Surfer, he simply rendered him unconscious with a little dose of the power cosmic! Later, in the pages of The Incredible Hulk #250, the Surfer actually asks for the Hulk’s assistance. The Hulk loses it again and an annoyed Surfer then removes the gamma radiation from the Hulk’s body, leaving him unimposing as Bruce Banner.
The Hulk’s rage even transcends the Marvel Universe. He’s not content with just picking fights with Marvel’s characters; he has to challenge DC heroes too! In 1981’s DC Special Series #27, unofficially titled “Batman vs The Hulk,” Batman used his signature cunning to defeat the Hulk’s raw strength.
Banner finds himself employed at Wayne Research and, after a whole big kerfuffle involving the Joker and the Shaper of Worlds, the Hulk goes on a rampage. Batman, knowing he can’t go punch-for-punch with the Hulk, throws a knock-out gas grenade as Hulk’s face. As it explodes, Batman kicks Hulk in his solar plexus, forcing him to inhale the gas. The Hulk is then down for the count, allowing Batman to subdue him.
These two are pretty evenly matched. They have fought numerous times and hardly does one truly triumph over the other. A tussle between Thor and the Hulk usually ends up in a draw, with both heroes a little bit beaten down. However, this was not the case in the Incredible Hulk Annual 2001.
In that encounter, Thor pulls a sneak-move and unleashes a full-strength lightning bolt to the back of Hulk’s head. This electrifying attack knocks the Hulk out completely and he definitely cannot find it in him to get back up. Thor then picks up the unconscious jade monster and goes flying off. Along the way, as luck would have it, Hulk wakes up and proceeds to give Thor a taste of his own medicine. Even if it’s short-lived, a victory is a victory.
Alex Summers, Havok is one of the most powerful mutants to have even been a member of the X-Men. In 1972, in the pages of Incredible Hulk #150, the Hulk has the misfortune of mistaking green-haired Lorna Dane for his beloved Jarella. Dane had just had a lover’s spat with Alex Summers.
Believing Summers has angered his love, Jarella, Hulk grabs Dane and takes off up the side of a butte. Now thoroughly peeved, Summers dons his Havok outfit and pursues Hulk. Hulk rips off an entire mountainous cliff side and prepares to throw it on Havok. Havok unleashes a massive plasma blast that incapacitates the Hulk, leaving him knocked out cold. Havok and Dane then take off, leaving him lying where he fell.
15 DOCTOR DOOM
Doctor Doom is no hero, but he’s not really the villain he once was either. Since the Secret Wars, the Latverian ruler kind of changed his villainous ways. Regardless, he’s beaten the Hulk so we’re including him here.
It all took place in the pages of 1988’s Fantastic Four #320. In his grey “Joe Fixit” persona, Hulk is less powerful than when he’s the unrestrained green Hulk. Doom approaches the Hulk to enlist his help in being restored to the throne of Latveria. Hulk doesn’t want any part of it and unleashes on Doom. Knowing he doesn’t stand a chance physically, Doom activates a “neuro-space field” to control the Hulk and incapacitate him. Realizing that in his current form, his strength is no match for Doom’s techno superiority, he concedes.
14 THE THING
With the exception of Thor, Hulk has probably fought the Thing more than any other Marvel superhero. While it is sometimes a draw, Hulk usually bests his friendly rival. That is except for this one time, in the pages of Fantastic Four #320 (that’s right, Hulk is beat twice in one issue!).
Doctor Doom forces the Hulk to take on the Thing for the heck of it. The Thing was in his spiky, mutated (more so than before) form, and Hulk was the less powerful grey-skinned version. The pair get to trading blows and Thing loses his temper laying blow after blow on the Hulk. Although he never really knocks him out, the Hulk concedes that the Thing got the better of him that day.
They say Wolverine is the best at what he does, but what he does isn’t very nice! If anyone could last against a berserker attack by Wolverine, it’s the Hulk. There have been a few instances when the Hulk fell victim to Wolverine’s deadly claws. One notable tale occurred in Mark Millar’s Old Man Logan stories. In those stories, only the toughest heroes, such as Wolverine, have survived; most ended by baddies.
Hulk has become an obese, grotesque degenerate. When he encounters Wolverine, he literally eats him! Not accounting for his rapid healing factor, Hulk sits back to digest. Wolverine regenerates and slices his way out of the Hulk, and we will leave it to your imagination to think about how he did that. So, he rid the world of the Hulk.
Do you remember the time when Deadpool ended the entire Marvel Universe? We mean like literally everyone, even the Watcher. In that alternate timeline, Deadpool sets his sights on the Hulk. The fight is short and Hulk easily takes Deadpool apart, limb from limb.
Deadpool regenerates and decides to wait Hulk out, allowing for him to calm down and revert back to an exhausted Bruce Banner. Once he sees that happen, Deadpool sneaks up and pounces on Banner, quickly before he has a chance to transform into the Hulk. With a swift slice of the blade, Deadpool ends Banner, stopping the Hulk for good.
11 THE FANTASTIC FOUR
As we’ve seen previously, the Thing has tussled with the Hulk a few times, and it is always a good match-up. Once in Fantastic Four #166, the entire team took on the Hulk and was able to defeat him. Marvel’s first family worked together in typical FF-family fashion.
The Human Torch blinded him with fire, Mister Fantastic wrapped him and immobilized him, and the Invisible Woman put a force-field around his head cutting off his oxygen supply, while the Thing clocked him with the final blow. The Hulk was out! Looking back on the fracas, the Thing always felt like a jerk for knocking him out while he was immobilized.
Namor the Sub-Mariner is one of the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe, easily on par with Thor, as long as he’s in physical contact with water. Out of water, Namor’s strength slowly diminishes. Way back in 1964’s Avengers #3, a wayward Hulk mistakenly takes on Namor off the shores of a small island.
The Prince of Atlantis makes short work of Hulk, dragging his unconscious body back to shore. He does this again in Tales to Astonish #100, and again in Incredible Hulk #118. Over the years, the Hulk has grown only stronger so Namor has had a harder time defeating the Hulk. These days, if Namor takes him on, it is usually a draw or a victory for the Hulk.
There have actually been a few crossovers where Superman has mixed it up with the Hulk. Probably the famous is in the 1996 Marvel Comics Vs. DC crossover series. Fans actually got to vote as to which character would ultimately triumph in a fight. Naturally, Superman was faced off against the Hulk.
Fans were torn, but most would agree that Superman was fated to win. The pair squared off against each other and traded some powerful mountain-crushing blows. Superman unleashed a barrage of heat vision, and Hulk raged. In the end, Superman got in the last punch, a haymaker to end all haymakers, and put the Hulk down for the count!
Spider-Man is a hero that the Hulk has found himself up against more than a few times. Strength-wise, there’s no match-up. Spider-Man uses his superior speed and agility to keep from getting killed. Wisely enough, he’s pretty good about luring the Hulk out of densely populated areas and into more isolated spaces.
Usually, the Hulk gets the better of Spidey in the end (hey, but at least he comes out of it alive). That is except for Amazing Spider-Man #328, where Spider-Man, flushed recently with the Power Cosmic, was able to trounce the Hulk. In that altercation, Spidey punched the Hulk into outer space. Feeling bad, he then flies out to rescue him.
In a fight for the ages, in the pages of The Incredible Hulks #622, Hulk picks a fight with the king of the Olympian Gods himself, Zeus. The Hulk had come to make demands of Zeus. Though they were once allied in past battles, Zeus doesn’t take anyone making demands of him lightly.
Never known for being the most forgiving of gods, Zeus proceeds to show Hulk that his “puny” might is no match for his. Zeus proceeds to inundate the Hulk’s body with lightning bolts and massive punches. He hits the Hulk so hard that he suffers internal injuries and begins to spit up green blood. The Hulk ultimately passes out from his injuries.
In the pages of Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect #2, a future version of the Hulk gone mad due to radiation and grief has become Maestro. He rules in an alternate future where he not only retains Bruce Banner’s intelligence but has even more rage than Hulk. When the two versions of the Hulk square off, modern Hulk, cocky and sure of himself, is not really a match for future Hulk, Maestro.
The more future version easily dodges the Hulks attack as he knows every move he is going to make before he makes it. Seemingly achieved the upper hand, Hulk mistakenly allows Maestro to slip behind him where Maestro proceeds to break the Hulk’s neck. The Hulk survives but is left paralyzed for some time.
In the pages of Civil War II, Banner is believed to be free from the curse of becoming the destructive Hulk. During a period of anger, Banner begins to rant and grow angry, with his surrounding friends uneasy about whether he’ll transform or not. Before any change can occur, Hawkeye releases a barrage of arrows at Banner’s head and heart, ending him.
Hawkeye stands trial for what he did to Banner, but it is revealed that Banner helped him create the specially-tipped arrows that ended him. There were instructions to carry out those orders if a transformation was about to take place. Hawkeye says that just prior to firing the deadly arrows, he saw Banner’s eyes flicker green.
4 RED HULK
The 2008’s Hulk #4 (Vol. 2), fans learn that the new biggest, baddest Hulk around is actually Red Hulk. He’s actually General “Thunderbolt” Ross, who has long had it in for the big, green guy. Now with his new ability to transform into Red Hulk, he believes he can finally put an end to Hulk for good!
Red Hulk, or Rulk as he’s called, pretty much takes out anyone who gets in his way and finally comes face to face with Hulk. He proves just how superior he is by quickly pummeling the Hulk, and going all out before he finally sends the Hulk into unconsciousness. This was unheard of as the Hulk has been taken down in the past, but never overpowered to this magnitude.
Another of the powerful X-Men, Storm was once worshiped as a literal god in Africa. Her powers make her one of the formidable characters in the Marvel Universe. If she hasn’t proven that in the pages of the X-Men, then she certainly did in The Incredible Hulk #444, when she actually ended the Hulk. A psychic entity named Onslaught possesses Hulk forcing Storm and Cable to fight him.
Hulk easily holds his own against them both, but Storm tires and offers Hulk one final chance to stand down. Unwavering, Hulk presses the attack and Storm releases an unbridled salvo of lightning against him. She literally stops his heart. Fearing she ended him, she restarts his heart by sending a pinpoint electric burst into his chest.
In 1992’s The Incredible Hulk #402, the Hulk finds himself down in the Amazon when he is attacked by an incredibly large man in blue jeans and a t-shirt. This random attacker seems to be able to trade punches with the Hulk. It is soon revealed that the man is actually Cain Marko, the Juggernaut. Even without his trademark armor, Juggernaut is one of the most powerful baddies in the Marvel Universe. The Hulk seems to get the upper hand and eventually gets Juggernaut trapped in quicksand.
Believing the fight to be over, Hulk stands down. Juggernaut quickly bursts from the quicksand, catching the Hulk unaware and beats him. Never giving the Hulk a chance to recover, he makes the Hulk go unconscious. I know he's not a hero by any stretch of the word, but since he wasn't actually involved in any nefarious activities when they fought, I'll allow it!
1 A BROKEN HEART
I know many of you are like, “what?” Stay with me on this one. In the Incredible Hulk (1995) #105, the Planet Hulk conclusion, Earth’s heroes exile Hulk into space. He makes his way to the planet Sakaar, where his savagery and strength make him a hero to the inhabitants. He is crowned king and takes a wife, Caiera. Soon, the pair is expecting a child and Hulk makes plans for the future.
Those plans are destroyed when the Avengers craft that brought him to Sakaar explodes, ending Caiera and his unborn child. His true loves were gone. While physically unharmed, emotionally and mentally, Hulk was beaten like never before. You can’t shake off a loss like this and the experience left him broken and defeated. It remains his most painful loss.