The Hulk is an incredibly powerful hero with almost limitless strength. So what would happen if he fought himself to the death?
Marvel’s Green Goliath the Incredible Hulk is one of the strongest characters in fiction, and decades of writers have increased his power to the point where he’s a potentially world-ending threat. The Hulk has fought many enemies of similar strength in the past – most notably the Abomination and the Juggernaut – but these battles are often either won though indirect means or else just prove that Hulk is the strongest one there is. But what would happen if the Hulk fought himself with no cheap ending to solve the problem of an unstoppable force meeting… another unstoppable force?
Fans of the Hulk who haven’t followed his most recent adventures may not realize that the Hulk’s powers have become significantly more complex as of late. While once there was just the Savage Hulk, there are now a variety of personalities who all use gamma radiation to transform Banner’s body into more or less powerful forms. For the sake of really answering our question, we’ll be allowing the Hulk his top natural strength (that is, the one he’s reached thanks to his own mutation and anger, rather than outside influences like the Enigma Force.)
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The first thing to admit is that if two identical versions of the Hulk did fight today, they’d probably just agree to disagree. From the dastardly Devil Hulk persona to the Savage Hulk, Banner’s transformations either leave him smart enough to negotiate a ceasefire or childish enough that his true goal in facing an attacker is just to be left alone. Pitted against each other, two Hulks would likely trade a few punches and then leap away grumbling (or even become friends.)
But what if they were compelled to continue? Well, three answers present themselves. The first is a random victory – classic Hulk stories include instances where the Hulk was knocked out by sufficient force, so it’s conceivable that once the Hulks were tired, one would take the other out with a lucky shot. However, this isn’t really reflective of the Hulk’s power levels today. World War Hulk saw the Hulk’s Green Scar form take incredible punishment from Marvel’s Sentry – their equivalent of Superman – so it’s unlikely a sock to the jaw is going to be enough to down either Hulk, especially since he grows stronger and more durable the angrier he gets.
The second answer is that the Hulks could die not from the damage they do to each other, but thanks to overexertion. Hulk vol. 1 #139 “Many Foes Has The Hulk” sees the Leader enact an audacious plan where he faces the Hulk with a ceaseless barrage of enemies in order to cause a heart attack. While the plan is foiled before its culmination, the reader does see it begin to take a physical toll on the Hulk, suggesting he could be felled by over-exertion. Again, however, this is an old Hulk story, and his efforts since (like taking the beating of a lifetime from Zeus in Incredible Hulks #622) have taken him beyond these suggested limits.
Were two modern Hulks forced to fight, the honest answer is that they’d probably destroy the planet. World War Hulk ended with the Hulk at such unbelievable levels of anger/power that he was damaging tectonic plates with every step. It’s likely that two warring Hulks would eventually reach this power level, at which point they would tear apart the planet before they managed to hurt each other. But what then? Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s The Immortal Hulk revealed that the Hulk’s powers mean he always returns from death, often at sunset. So while Mr. Fantastic asserted that the Hulk does need to breathe in Contest of Champions II, it’s reasonable to assume he’d ultimately return from any asphyxiation. So, what would happen if the Hulk fought the Hulk? They’d destroy the Earth itself and then tumble through space, fighting and dying until the end of the current Marvel reality. “Hulk smash!” indeed.
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