Bruce Banner, on the run from the law and undercover, eventually makes his way to Metropolis. Working as a medic at a homeless shelter, he runs into trouble when Lex Luthor decides to demolish the shelter to make way for a LexCorp subsidiary or secret laboratory of some sort. It doesn’t really matter; the bottom line is that Luthor won’t like Dr. Banner when he’s angry. Gamma-powered blood begins to flow, pulse pounds and heart rate increases… next thing you know, we’ve got an eight-foot, 1,400 lb rampaging behemoth tearing up Metropolis. Looks like a job for Superman!
Superman’s Strengths (or Why Kal-El could KO Hulk)
Well, Superman sort of has a reputation for being the most powerful being on the planet earth. Not only that, he’s smart–not smarter than Dr. Bruce Banner, but definitely smarter than the Hulk. If Superman is going to win this battle, he’s going to have to rely on brains over brawn, which shouldn’t be too hard, considering the Hulk’s intelligence level is on par with the average 5-year old.
While the Hulk is just a big, strong monster, Superman is faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive. Even a nuclear explosion can’t put him down for the count, so he could definitely go toe-to-toe with the Hulk and give ol’ jade jaws a run for his money. But wait, there’s more! Superman possesses a smorgasbord of abilities far beyond those of mortal men. He could use his super breath to freeze the Hulk. He could bore a hole into the earth at super speed and bury the Hulk in it. He could use his microscopic vision to… OK; maybe that one wouldn’t be of much use.
Hulk’s Strengths (or Why Hulk Could Knock Supes for a Loop)
The Incredible Hulk definitely lives up to his name. His level of strength, endurance and healing ability is determined by his emotional state. Or to put it more simply, the madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets. When the Hulk goes on a rampage, the best we can hope for is that he eventually gets bored and leaves. He has withstood temperatures equivalent of those found in the sun’s core, been hit with a nuclear bomb and survived planet-splitting impacts. Heck, he’s gone 12 rounds with the God of Thunder and was barely breathing heavy. He took on the entire Marvel Universe a couple of years ago in a story entitled “World War Hulk.”
And you think a little solar-powered Kryptonian is gonna be able to beat him?
As far as weaknesses go, the Hulk has really only got one, but it’s a doozy: He’s as dumb as a box of rocks. If you can figure out a way to outthink the Hulk, you might be able to beat him.
Superman’s got a few weaknesses, but since the Hulk isn’t magical and he’s not likely carrying a chunk of Kryptonite in those ripped-up purple pants, there’s really only one flaw left for him to exploit: Superman’s heart. Superman might possess enough power to actually kill the Hulk, but would he do it? Unlikely. Add to that the distraction of saving the lives of innocents caught in the midst of the battle and Superman is gonna have his hands full. It might be just enough to give the Hulk the upper hand.
Historical Match ups
Perhaps the best way to compare these two combatants is to take a look at some of the more notable bouts they’ve had in the past. By taking a look at the caliber of their old rivals and their win/loss records, we can better determine who will come out on top.
The Last Son of Krypton has had his share of notable enemies, among them:
Bizarro–an imperfect clone of the Man of Steel. He’s all the brawn with half the brains. Superman has handed Bizarro his ass on many occasions.
General Zoda Kryptonian villain who possesses all of Superman’s powers but none of his morals. The Son of Jor-El has narrowly defeated this villain by trapping him in the Phantom Zone. It’s sort of like the superhero equivalent of hitting a guy with a loaded glove.
Doomsday–a genetically modified Kryptonian engine of destruction, Doomday is a lot like Clubber Lang in Rocky III, or more appropriately, Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. He’s not only defeated Superman, he killed him!
The Incredible Hulk has fought a number of heavy-hitting bruisers as well…
Abomination–sort of the Bizarro-Hulk, Abomination has gamma-powered muscles and a scientists’ brain. He’s one of the few folks who has actually managed to KO the Hulk!
Absorbing Man–Crusher Creel possesses the ability to take on the characteristics of whatever he touches: steel, rock, etc. He’s turned into stone and been smashed to pieces by the Hulk more times than we can count.
The Leader–gamma radiation gave this guy a big ol’ brain instead of muscles. Despite his impressive intellect, he’s never been able to get the Hulk down for the count, proving that sometimes might does make right!
So who wins? The way we see it, it goes down like this…
After doing a number on Metropolis and laying waste to the Science Police and a few minor heroes, the Hulk finally comes face-to-face with the toughest battle of his life: Superman. The two lock horns and create massive amounts of property damage. No matter how hard Hulk hits Supes, the Big Blue Boy Scout just won’t stay down, a fact that only serves to further enrage the Hulk. The adrenaline starts flowing and the Hulk “Hulks out,” to use a popular phrase.
Hulk could care less about the puny humans who get in his way but Superman is determined to make sure there will be no collateral damage in this fight. This distraction allows the Hulk to get in a few cheap shots, weakening the Man of Steel. Just as it’s looking like we’re going to see another Doomsday scenario, Kal-El whisks the Hulk off to the Arctic Circle where the only ones in danger are a few penguins and a polar bear.
The battle rages on but before it’s too late, Superman manages to get inside the Fortress of Solitude and nail the Hulk with the Phantom Zone projector, sending the gamma-spawned behemoth to that netherworld between worlds. It’s a victory for the Man of Steel, but in the process, Hulk laid waste to Metropolis and trashed the Fortress of Solitude, destroying many of Superman’s personal items, historical Kryptonian artifacts and his prized stamp collection.