Luke Cage is one tough motherf**ker to kill. Blast Cage in the head with a shotgun? Just gives him a headache. Shoot Cage with alien bullets that explode inside his body? He keeps on fighting. Dip Cage in a bath full of acid? Ok, that one was pretty nasty, but through it all, Luke Cage powered through and kept on fighting.
Throughout the entire MCU, it's hard to think of any other heroes who can match Cage for sheer durability — besides of course Thor and the Hulk. While these heroes are yet to meet in the MCU, the comic book versions of Cage and the Green Goliath did fight once in the comics, with surprising results.
Why Did Cage Fight The Hulk?
Back in the day, Luke had his own series called Cage, which was an extremely '90s take on the character, depicting him as even angrier than usual. Understandably then, Marvel decided to capitalize on this new interpretation of Power Man by pitting him against the raging powerhouse of the Hulk in issues #9 and 10.
In the two-parter, both Cage and Spidey's villain Rhino have been framed for murder by some prison guards *because that seems to happen to Luke on the regular), so the Hulk arrives to deal with them both. It's worth noting that Bruce Banner was completely in control of his Hulk persona at the time, so he used his strength to carry out missions for an agency called the Pantheon, instead of his usual M.O. of just smashing the shit out of buildings.
Before Cage eventually forces one of the prison guards to reveal Cage's innocence, Hulk shows up and starts a fight — because that's just what superheroes do and Marvel knows that we're thirsty for this stuff.
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Who Won The Fight?
Before you assume that Hulk smashed Cage's brains into the asphalt within the first panel, it turns out that Cage could actually hold his own against the Green Goliath.
Watch Luke Cage take out the Red Hulk in video game form below:
Unfortunately, the fight was never resolved, as Cage took the first opportunity to scramble away — but not before Hulk throws out his classic nickname for Cage, “Fuzzy Hair”. It's a clever nod for old school fans of Hulk, hearkening back to previous eras where the savage Hulk had funny names for everyone.
The encounter was a fun one, paying fan service for those who had always wondered how Cage could match up to the Hulk. But the story still left one pivotal question unanswered:
Could Cage Beat The Hulk In A Fair Fight?
Conventional wisdom says no. The Hulk is easily one of the strongest characters in the entire Marvel universe, going toe-to-toe with the likes of Thor and The Thing with ease. Even nuclear war can't stop the Hulk, who's basically just a giant, green cockroach in human form, so it's hard to imagine Cage taking him out once and for all.
However, Cage has performed some impressive feats of his own in the comics, which means that we shouldn't count him out just yet.
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Remember That Time... Dr Doom Paid Cage To Stop Punching Him?
Remember That Time... Cage Knocked Out Rhino In One Punch?
That's what happens when you wear dumb rhino costumes and take up Cage's precious time.
Remember That Time... Cage Knocked Out Venom In One Punch?
Spider-Man should probably invest in a crowbar.
Remember That Time... Cage Made The Juggernaut Bleed?
Not so unstoppable now, eh Juggernaut?
Remember That Time... Cage Sent The Thing Flying With A Haymaker?
The Thing's not the only one who enjoys some clobberin' time.
Remember That Time... Cage Stopped A Plane With His Bare Hands?
That's one way to grab a cheap flight.
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Luke Cage may not be the strongest hero for hire in the entire MCU, but Power Man is more than a fitting description for any character who goes head-to-head with the Hulk without being ripped into pieces.
If the MCU version of Luke Cage ever decides to join the Avengers, we could very well see an awesome rematch take place on the big screen. Place your bets now, guys.
Luke Cage Vs Hulk: Who wins?