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The Wrong Side: Red Hulk vs. Thor

by  in Comic News Comment
The Wrong Side: Red Hulk vs. Thor

In this feature, I examine comic book fights that were particularly notable in the wrong side winning (or at least that the fight wasn’t won the “right” way). This really isn’t a big deal, of course, as it doesn’t really matter if the “wrong” person won a fight. But it’s fun to talk about!

If you want to suggest a fight for future inclusion in this feature, drop me a line at Don’t suggest a fight in the comments!

This week, we take a look at the beat down that the Red Hulk gave Thor early in the Red Hulk’s series…

As always, the first page spotlights their power levels and the second page examines the fight itself.

And as always, the first question we need to ask is…

How did these people do when they fought Spider-Man?

Just plain ol’ regular Thor, amazingly enough, hasn’t really fought Spider-Man over the years. Eric Masterson Thor has and a Hulked-out version of Thor has, but not Thor himself. Kind of odd, honestly. I think early on, Stan Lee was keeping Thor sort of out of things, sort of like “This guy is on a whole other level, so I don’t want to have other heroes fight against him, because they would look bad.” It was only after a couple of years that he even gave in to the Thor/Hulk fight enthusiasts (which he then famously made fun of when they fought, by actually depicting fans arguing over it – I think I should feature that story later this week as an I Love Ya But You’re Strange).

But Spider-Man HAS fought Red Hulk, in Incredible Hulk #600 (by Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness and Mark Farmer) and it did not go well for Spider-Man…

Regular Hulk breaks free and breaks up the fight on the next page. Now clearly, Spider-Man would have broken free and kicked Red Hulk’s ass on the next page if Hulk Classic did not interfere, that’s obvious and doesn’t really need to be stated, but it is still important to note that Red Hulk did very well by himself there. So good on him – Red Hulk is quite formidable.

But Thor, he is sort of on another level, right? He’s a guy who Hulk Classic can’t defeat, which is possibly never been shown more clearly than in the classic Defenders #10 matchup by Steve Englehart and Sal Buscema. In that issue, Thor tries to reason with the Hulk, who then attacks Thor. Thor tries to explain that it did not go well for Hulk the last time that they fought (in Journey Into Mystery #112, which honestly is a bit jerkish of Thor, as while he did have the upper hand in that fight, it was very much inconclusive – Thor brought down a cavern on top of the Hulk, and when he went to go dig the Hulk out to continue the fight, Hulk had escaped, so it’s not like he just kicked Hulk’s butt), but Hulk shouts “You said…you’re better than the Hulk? No one is better than the Hulk!”

The fight is then on like Donkey Kong…

That’s been roughly their status quo since – they both beat the hell out of each other but neither one objectively rates out as better than the other. So in other words, Thor is pretty freakin’ badass.

The Red Hulk, however, was really an ingenious creation by Jeph Loeb, because he was created by Gamma Rays AND Cosmic Rays. Now, he isn’t stronger than the Hulk, but he has an additional power – he can absorb radiation (and also melt things with his eyes for some reason). This, then, gives him a HUGE advantage in a fight against the Hulk. This was a really clever idea by Loeb, because it allowed his Red Hulk character to defeat the Hulk without making the Hulk look bad. Plus, of course, since he is secretly Thunderbolt Ross and in complete control of the Hulk’s mind, the Red Hulk has a brilliant strategic mind (well, considering how poorly Ross did hunting the Hulk for so many years, I suppose I should go easy with how “brilliant” his strategic mind is), which is helpful.

On to the fight!

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