Fans have long been clamoring for a live-action interpretation of the Planet Hulk storyline, but due to licensing issues, that may not be possible. However, when we learned that Thor: Ragnarok would prominently feature Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk and that the film would take place largely off-planet, fans began to speculate. Then, there was the reveal of Hulk’s gladiator armor at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con, adding further fuel to the fire. Finally, Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi himself confirmed that Thor and Hulk would be reunited on the planet Sakaar – the same world featured in the seminal Hulk storyline.
From what we’ve seen in the marketing material thus far, the clash of the two MCU titans on Sakaar promises to one of the biggest highlights of the film, so in anticipation of the superhero slugfest, we here at Epicstream decided to look back at the source material to find some of the greatest battles between the God of Thunder and the Green Goliath. Here are 5 times Thor and Hulk fought in the comics:
The Avengers #3
Creative Team: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Paul Reinman, Stan Goldberg
While this isn’t the biggest fight between Thor and Hulk, it’s notable, nonetheless, because it marks the first time the two heavy-hitters engaged in a physical confrontation. Taking place in The Avengers #3, the newly formed team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – Iron Man, Giant-Man, Wasp, and Thor – agree that they need to track down the Green Goliath, who had turned against his comrades and gone on a rampage. With the help of Rick Jones, the heroes locate Hulk in New Mexico and a fight quickly ensues. However, Hulk decides to high-tail it by hopping aboard a train, and after regrouping with Namor the Sub-Mariner, round two begins. Both Hulk and Namor attempt to gain the upper hand by grabbing Mjolnir, but naturally, neither one is able to lift the magical hammer, and the stress of the situation causes Hulk to transform back into Bruce Banner, bringing an end to the melee. Again, it’s hardly the mighty pair’s most incredible skirmish, but it certainly helped set the stage for the countless clashes since.Advertisement
Journey into Mystery #112
Creative Team: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Chic Stone
One year after their first animus encounter, Thor and Hulk would once again square off, this time in the pages of Journey into Mystery #112 – sort of. Funnily enough, this tussle actually takes place in the aforementioned Avengers #3, as Thor tells the tale of a previously unrecorded portion of the fight to a pair of children arguing over which of the two Avengers powerhouses is stronger. According to Thor’s recollection of the encounter, the God of Thunder and the Green Goliath were separated from Namor and the Avengers at one point during the brawl. It was during this time that Thor asked Odin to free him from the enchantment that caused him to revert back to the mortal Donald Blake when he’s kept from Mjolnir for 60 seconds. Odin agreed and granted his son five enchantment-free minutes to pit his full strength against that of the Hulk, leading to a massive battle that – despite not definitively answering which of the men was stronger – did help appease readers who were underwhelmed by the duo’s first exchange.
Fear Itself #5
Creative Team: Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, Laura Martin, Matt Milla, Lare Molinar
In Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen’s Fear Itself, the heroes of the Marvel Universe find themselves in contention with the Serpent – an Asgardian fear deity who causes global panic on Earth. Admittedly, the event itself is a bit of a lackluster affair, but it’s still home to one of Thor and Hulk’s more entertaining altercations, which occurs in Fear Itself #5. Thanks to one of the Serpent’s seven mystical hammers, Hulk is transformed into a being known as Nul, Breaker of Worlds, which puts the Green Goliath directly in Thor’s crosshairs. Over the course of the entire issue, Thor valiantly (and violently) clashes with Hulk/Nul, and while we also jump to the plotlines of the other Marvel heroes, it’s the Thor/Hulk fight that’s the real selling point. In the end, a completely fatigued Thor puts an end to the scuffle by whacking Hulk/Nul with Mjolnir and sending him into orbit. Just before he collapses from exhaustion, Thor utters the words, “to be continued, Banner,” putting an emphatic, if not entirely decisive exclamation point on the exchange.
Incredible Hulk #440
Creative Team: Peter David, Angel Medina, Robin Riggs, Glynis Oliver
In Incredible Hulk #440, the world is on the brink of a nuclear holocaust, courtesy of a terrorist organization called the Alliance. To try and prevent this, Hulk grows a beard and poses as the organization’s leader, the Maestro, thus putting a face to the group for the whole world to see. However, despite the selflessness of making himself a scapegoat, Hulk’s actions (and failure to tell the Avengers about his plan) quickly attract the attention of Thor, who heads up north in a full berserker rage to go toe-to-toe with the Green Goliath. With the whole world watching via televised feeds, the two behemoths throw everything they have at one another, so much so that the military decides that both men pose an equal threat to the world. The military then orders a nuclear missile strike at the sight of the battle, but Hulk notices the falling warhead and, not wanting to see his teammate killed, manages to toss the God of Thunder to a safe distance before it touches down.
Hulk: Let the Battle Begin
Creative Team: Jesse Blaze Snider, Steve Kurth, Andrew Hennessy, Chris Sotomayor
In this one-shot story, Bruce Banner tries to piece together the events that took place during his last Hulk transformation, which he is initially unable to recall. However, as the story unfolds, we experience the action along with him, by way of flashbacks. While Bruce was visiting Mount Rushmore, he ran into the Wrecking Crew, whose attack on the monument triggered his transformation. However, despite stopping the villains, Hulk’s unique brand of superheroics caused collateral damage that far exceeded the cost of simply paying the Wrecking Crew’s ransom. When Thor arrived on the scene, the Wrecking Crew had already been dealt with, but after mistaking the God of Thunder for a woman, Hulk found himself in the midst of another altercation. Much to the surprise of Thor, though, Hulk was able to win the fight by using Mjlonir, in a sense. You see, by swinging Thor’s arm – which was already holding the mighty hammer – Hulk was able to bypass the enchantment that prevented him from lifting the weapon. Taking full advantage of this loophole, Hulk pounded Thor’s face with Mjolnir until the God of Thunder was out cold, earning the Green Goliath a satisfying victory over his favorite frenemy.