Since Thor and Hulk first fought in issue #3 of 1963’s The Avengers, the question “who is the strongest Avenger?” has been running through fans’ minds. The two heroes have fought many times since that issue; each recording their fair share of victories. However, writers often bring different takes on the characters to each story they pen, which can make it difficult to determine the answer to that burning question. Even the MCU films have tapped into this competitive rivalry and take every opportunity available to pit the two fan-favorite characters against each other. These moments are often a source of humor in the MCU films, which creates an interesting tone as the two heavy hitters slug it out.
Thor and Hulk are without a doubt two of the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe. They each have a unique powerset that separates them from other members of the Avengers. Thor is an Asgardian god and Hulk is a mutated human, but over the years we have seen how evenly matched these two can be. If it came down to a final battle to determine the strongest Avenger, the immediate assumption for most fans would be Thor. However, there are a number of valid arguments to be made for Hulk. It seems the best option is to dissect each characters powerset to definitively determine who is the strongest Avenger. In this list we will examine 10 reasons that Thor is the strongest and 10 reasons that it is actually the Hulk.
20 THOR: GOD BLAST
The God Blast is Thor’s most powerful attack. Many think the power comes from Mjolnir, but that is not entirely true. The power comes from Thor being a god and although wielding the hammer can help him harness the force, he still has the power without it.
The God Blast can destroy practically anything, including many immortal beings. Hulk does not have feats of strength that can match the God Blast. Although Thor rarely uses the blast, because of the destruction it can cause to the surrounding area, having this immense power at his fingertips definitely makes him the strongest Avenger.
19 HULK: GREATER STAMINA
While Thor has an incredible level of stamina, Hulk actually has limitless stamina. If Hulk was able to extend a fight against Thor long enough, the Asgardian god would eventually tire before Hulk. This one factor gives Hulk a fighting chance against the physically stronger Thor.
When Hulk is relatively calm he is able to fight for several days without feeling tired, but as his anger increases, which it tends to do in a fight, that stamina also increases. Thor may start the fight physically stronger than Hulk, but if Hulk is the only one standing at the end it is pretty clear who the strongest Avenger really is.
18 THOR: FLIGHT
The origin of Thor’s flight power is still under debate. For a while it was known that Thor was not born with the ability to fly, but he would use Mjolnir to gain this power. However, over the many years of Thor’s existence, different writers have taken liberty with this power, showing Thor having the ability to hover and even fly without Mjolnir.
Flight can be a huge asset for Thor in a fight against the Hulk. Whatever the origin of the ability may be, it is an impressive display of power and must be considered in the debate of the strongest Avenger.
17 HULK: SUPERIOR PSYCHIC RESISTANCE
Hulk has a greater resistance to psychic attacks than Thor does. It is difficult for even the most powerful psychics to control Hulk because of the dual personalities already residing in his mind. Even Sentry, a Marvel character of immense power, was unable to affect Hulk on a psychic level.
Like most of the powers the Hulk displays, his resistance to psychic attacks will increase the angrier he becomes, which essentially means this power is limitless. Hulk can still be manipulated through trickery, as Loki has proven, but when it comes to psychic control, his mind is a steel trap.
16 THOR: MORE EXPERIENCE
Being a Norse god, Thor is well over 1,000 years old. He has fought in thousands more battles than the Hulk and that statistic definitely gives him a tactical advantage in this debate. Thor has also been the militant leader in many of these battles, while Hulk is often used as a weapon in his battles.
The discussion is about who is the strongest, so even a powerful weapon can be stronger than the commanding leader. However, in this case the leader is also a powerful weapon himself and we think the combination of his physical strength and tactical experience makes him the far superior Avenger.
15 HULK: ABILITY TO GIVE LIFE
A power that not everyone remembers the Hulk has is his life-giving blood. When the Hulk’s cousin, Jennifer Walters, was brutally injured, he was able to save her life through a blood transfusion. The transfusion also gave Jennifer incredible powers, transforming her into She-Hulk.
Even further, when Hulk went to the planet Sakaar and spilled his blood on the barren planet, it produced a flower, something the planet had not seen for years. Although this ability wouldn’t help Hulk in a fight one-on-one against Thor, we think it is a worthy power to be mentioned in the debate, particularly if Hulk was fighting as part of a team. Strength is not only measured in destruction.
14 THOR: CAN TRAVEL AT LIGHTSPEED
When Thor’s divine speed is harnessed through Mjolnir he can fly faster than the speed of light. It is difficult to quantify exactly how fast Thor is able to fly. When he is on earth he sticks to travelling at supersonic speeds; however, when he is in space he can travel across the universe in a matter of seconds.
When it comes to deciding who is the strongest Avenger, this overpowered ability must be part of the conversation. This results in a body that can inflict a lot of damage. If it came down to a fight between Hulk and Thor to determine who the strongest is, Thor’s ability to travel much faster than the Hulk could give him the upper hand.
13 HULK: DOESN’T PULL PUNCHES
While Thor has been known to pull his punches, Hulk will not grant an enemy that luxury. Hulk is fueled by his anger; he will throw everything he has into each and every punch. Thor often pulls his punches due to the destruction he can cause to the surrounding area. In contrast, if Hulk was able to increase his strength level to match Thor, he would not be pulling his punches to spare the environment around him.
He would unleash the full force on his opponent and destroy anything he has to in the process. Hulk has one focus in a brawl and that is his opponent, which gives him an edge over Thor.
12 THOR: SUPERHUMAN SENSES
Although Thor’s superhuman sense are rarely highlighted, he is actually one of the most sensitive beings in the Marvel Universe. Thor has claimed he can hear cries from the other side of a planet. He is also able to see as far as the edge of the solar system and can even track objects/beings that are traveling at the speed of light, which he has done during a fight with Quicksilver.
Thor should have no problem tracking Hulk, even if he’s out of sight; we’re guessing Hulk’s breathing and heartbeat would be thunderous to Thor’s sensitive hearing, and if all senses are heightened, that Hulk’s body would give off a scent Thor could perceive from miles away.
11 HULK: CAN DEFY GRAVITY
Hulk’s ability to defy gravity can be a tricky one to compare with Thor. Thor can fly while holding Mjolnir, which is clearly an advantage over Hulk who cannot fly. However, in the seventh episode of Season 1 of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which was based on a storyline in the comic New Avengers issues #1-3, Hulk is able to resist the powers of Graviton.
The gravity-controlling villain was able to pin down Thor in this episode, while Hulk was able to resist the immense gravitational force and walk around. This display of power had Graviton panicking as he witnessed what he thought was impossible.
10 THOR: MORE DURABLE AGAINST ENERGY/MAGIC ATTACKS
While Hulk can be susceptible to magic and energy attacks, Thor has a higher level of durability against them. Thor can still be harmed if the right amount of force is applied; he is not invulnerable to all attacks. However, he has survived energy blasts from Celestials and from Odin himself.
In the 1972 comic Defenders #1, the Hulk is struck down by the magic of the Nameless One. Even though the Nameless One is a high-level magic wielder, this encounter still shows Hulk’s vulnerability to magical attacks. Thor can attack with magic and energy of his own, which gives him a big edge, if he chooses to use it.
9 HULK: GREATER HEALING FACTOR
Hulk has one of the most impressive healing factors in the Marvel Universe. He can renew any cell type in his body almost instantaneously, which allows him to regrow skin, limbs, organs and tissues whenever necessary. Hulk’s healing factor also grows stronger with his rage. He will heal from any physical wound, allowing him to prolong a fight and possibly tire out an opponent that is matching his strength.
This is an important factor to consider, as the odds of Hulk winning in a brawl against Thor increase as the length of the fight increases, especially given Hulk’s superior stamina power mentioned previously. The strongest Avenger might just be the one who can last the longest.
8 THOR: EARTH CONTROL ABILITY
Many people know that Thor is the son of the All-Father of Asgard, Odin. However, it is often forgotten that Thor’s mother is the Elder Earth-Goddess Gaea. This is how Thor is able to combine the powers of Asgard and Midgard (Earth) to be one of the strongest beings of both worlds.
After Thor accepted his mother’s heritage, he was not only able to control the weather, but also the earth. He has displayed this power a few times by creating powerful earthquakes, which can be effective in battle when he needs to physically separate a group of enemies. His control over the earth is an impressive feat of strength.
7 HULK: LESS ARROGANT
Unlike Thor, Hulk would not let arrogance get in his way. While the Hulk has lost a few fights in the past because of his anger, they were to opponents that he should never have attempted to fight. Thor, on the other hand, has lost a number of fights to opponents he should easily defeat, simply because of his arrogance.
Hulk will not approach any fight with overconfidence; he will punch each opponent with the same amount of force: the maximum amount. In this debate between two of the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe, the deciding factor might be a personality trait, not a superpower.
6 THOR: STRONGER BASE LEVEL OF STRENGTH
While the Hulk has the ability to increase his strength during a fight, Thor (as the strongest of the Asgardian gods) starts the fight with a higher base level of strength. In the past, Thor has destroyed planets simply by punching someone on that planet. There is almost nothing Thor cannot do when he applies his strength.
He is so strong that he often admits he is holding back, because if he released his true strength it would cause too much destruction. This means the upper measure of his strength is unknown, but what is known is that his physical strength exceeds the Hulk’s.
5 HULK: MORE DURABLE AGAINST PHYSICAL ATTACKS
While Thor has the edge against energy and magical attacks, we would give the physical durability to Hulk. This is an important factor when combined with Thor’s arrogance and track record of pulling punches. If the pair decided that the only way to determine the strongest Avenger was a bare-knuckled brawl with Hulk, the Asgardian god might actually lose.
Hulk would be able to take more physical damage than Thor and eventually outlast him. There are definitely a number of other factors that would lead to this outcome, which we have mentioned on this list, but Hulk’s slight advantage in durability against physical damage would play a big part in his victory over Thor.
4 THOR: INVULNERABLE
Thor has an incredibly high level of invulnerability. He is not affected by any earthly poisons or toxins and has been shown to be immune to all human diseases. This gives him the upper hand on Hulk. Although Hulk is also incredibly invulnerable, he is affected by certain toxins and can even be knocked out by specific gases.
Thor doesn't require oxygen to breathe and is immune to all kinds of temperature extremes. These are very important factors when considering who is the strongest Avenger, because often the debate comes down to weaknesses. Thor is a god; he will always have the upper hand on Hulk when it comes to invulnerability.
3 HULK: CAN’T BE REASONED WITH
One advantage to the Hulk being fueled by rage is that he can never be reasoned with. It is true that he is a slave to his emotions, but those emotions will never include empathy. This is a shame for any person on the receiving end of his punches and gives Hulk an advantage over Thor in a fight.
Thor has a soft spot for Earth and its creatures, which unfortunately can be seen as a weakness in a fight. Once Hulk turns the rage on, mind games and blackmail will not work on him. This quality makes Hulk the strongest Avenger in some circumstances.
2 THOR: WEATHER CONTROL ABILITY
Thor is the god of thunder, which gives him the natural ability of controlling the weather. It is a popular belief that Mjolnir gives Thor this power, but that is not the case. Thor is born with the power to create rain and lightning storms. He can also harness the lightning in his hands to either shoot out blasts of lightning or engulf his fists during a punch.
Mjolnir simply allows Thor to harness the power more precisely, which in return allows him to release blasts of a more devastating degree. Weather control is one of Thor’s most impressive powers.
1 HULK: RAGE STRENGTH
The Hulk’s strength is directly affected by his emotions. The angrier Hulk gets the stronger he becomes and because of this he is considered to have an unlimited amount of strength. If this is true, then in theory if a fight between Thor and Hulk went on long enough with Hulk becoming increasingly more angry during it, he would become stronger than the god of thunder.
That is a hard fact to ignore in the debate between the strength of Hulk and Thor. This one ability is the deciding factor for some fans, making Hulk the strongest Avenger and possibly confirming his claim to be “the strongest one there is”.