Did You Know?
In the All-Star comics, Superman could lift up to 200 quintillion tons of weight with relative ease. That's the number 2, followed by 23 zeroes.
The match-up between Superman and Incredible Hulk is the stuff of any comic lover's fantasy. There are die-hard fans of both these superheroes. Some of them are pretty hard-lined and the discussion (read as verbal brawling) pertaining to who will win the fight never does reach a conclusion. In this Hulk vs. Superman head-to-head, this article tries to be as objective as possible. As such, we'll make a few assumptions here:
- Superman here is the post-John Byrne superman.
- The Hulk is the classic hulk.
- They actually have a reason to fight, seeing boy-scout Superman needs a solid reason to engage his royal butt against an enemy (he's no fun!).
As compared to Superman, the Hulk is always ready to fight. Still, they do need a reason to fight. And since we are merging two completely different universes (DC and Marvel) together for the fight, we might as well make up the reason why they start the fight. I would say that Superman had an affair with Betty Ross and Bruce had a fling with Lois Lane, and then the males find out about the respective affairs. Just to spice the deal up, both the girlfriends dump their respective guys, and this makes the superheroes super-angry. Yes, this would be enough of an incentive for a fantastic fight.
Earth, formerly Krypton
192 cm (6' 3")
236 lb (107 kg)
: Lois Lane
■ Can fly, even in space
■ Advanced fighting techniques
■ Can last long, very long
■ Awesome hairstyle
■ Can see through everything but lead
■ Almost as fast as light
■ Wears underpants over tights
■ Can destroy planets
■ Very intelligent
244 cm (8')
1038 lb (471 kg)
■ Can jump great distances
■ Wears purple shorts
■ Can destroy mountains
■ Cannot be mind-controlled
■ Limited vocabulary
■ Over-sized muscles
■ Green-colored skin and blood
■ Ultra-fast healing
■ Can last very long too
■ Skilled slugger
Strength: Both are very strong. They have both moved mountains and destroyed planets. Superman has destroyed and moved planets on multiple occasions.
Stamina: Both have super-stamina and the fight goes on. Superman has a slight disadvantage here, since he needs solar rays to replenish him after some time.
Intelligence: Although Bruce Banner is a genius, the Hulk retains average intelligence after the conversion. Superman has a distinct advantage here.
Energy Projection: Superman can shoot ultra-hot laser-like rays from his eyes. His heat vision is second only to the Omega rays of Darkseid. The Hulk, however, can slam both the hands together and generate a sonic boom. This, however, cannot deter Superman.
Speed: Although the Hulk is super-fast, Superman can almost fly at the speed of light. Some of his versions have even time traveled due to this speed. He has a distinct advantage here.
The problem with Superman is he is also Clark Kent, the good boy. So, even if he has got a lot of bad-ass inside him, he keeps it contained in the good qualities his humble foster parents taught him. He never actually uses the range of powers he has, because of the awareness of their awesomeness. This is the reason readers never get to know his true limits.
The Hulk, like Superman, has a similar weakness―that he is actually Bruce Banner. Bruce is an intelligent and good-natured scientist, and is the sole reason the Hulk is kept in check most of the time. There have been cases when Bruce has grown tired and let Hulk have a free reign. He has been known to destroy an entire planet on such an occasion.
We will pitch them against each other in specific scenarios, and then let them have a go at each other. These scenarios will try to cover the most popular possibilities, and hence maintain objectivity.
Scenario One: Punch-Slugfest!
Round One, Ding-ding!
►Superman and Hulk exchange a barrage of punches. Each one trying to break the other one's jaw. But it doesn't help, because both of them have superhuman healing abilities and stamina.
►They could start throwing each other long distances, then giving each other long-distance punches, where they leap off, arms coiled, and WHAM! It makes contact at the end of the leap.
►This will only make the Hulk angrier, and hence, make him much more stronger.
►This is routine stuff for Supes, and will make him nothing much.
►If Superman doesn't really up the ante, he is bound to lose here. He can keep up, but as Hulk gets angrier, he is going to keep punching, and eventually they will get harder, even for Superman.
Possible Outcome - Hulk exhausts and out-punches the Man of Steel. The Man of Steel needs some rest.
Scenario Two: Superman gets Brainy and Naughty
►Instead of engaging the Hulk in outright brawling, Superman eats all the punches without throwing a counter. He could feign getting hurt and being exhausted.
►Eventually, the Hulk will realize that Superman is down and out, and Bruce Banner will take over.
►After the Hulk turns into Bruce, Superman could just take Bruce down. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Quite literally.
►This scenario, however, is very un-Supermanish, and very Deadpool or Batmanish. Superman is very honorable, and this strategy is below his royal Kryptonian butt, so is unlikely, but (no pun intended) still doable.
Possible Outcome - Superman slaps Bruce, snaps his neck, and paralyzes/kills him.
Scenario Three: Superman gets Fast
►One department Superman is way ahead of the Hulk is his speed. Superman can, and has on occasions, matched The Flash in speed.
►The Hulk, even though has superhuman reflexes, cannot match or respond to the near-speed-of-light quickness of Superman.
►When the brawling starts, Superman has to start getting really fast. The Hulk will not even know what is hitting him. He will see only a blur of blue, red, and green. The green is his blood.
►The Hulk can get angry and super-strong, but what will he hit? He cannot hit what he cannot see.
Possible Outcome - Superman punches the Hulk, until he becomes disoriented and submits.
Scenario Four: The Fight Goes Into Space
►Another advantage Superman has is his ability to fly.
►The Hulk, has on one occasion, hurled Superman into outer orbit. Supes can do the same.
►Combined with his super-speed, he could just catch hold off the Hulk and take him into space.
►The Hulk can sustain and live in outer space, but the poor dude cannot maneuver.
►Whereas, space is also a domain of Superman. He has gone on intergalactic vacations during some summers.
►Now, the options Superman has is whether to keep whacking the Hulk until some sense comes to him, or just give him a big kick so he floats in outer space forever.
Possible Outcome - The Hulk becomes an asteroid or a comet or space debris. Superman goes back to Earth, enjoys a piña colada on a beach, soaking up the sun.
Scenario Five: All-Star Superman vs. Worldbreaker Hulk
This is the version in which Superman is saturated with the Sun's energy, and is probably his most powerful avatar we have seen in comics.
Worldbreaker Hulk is the Hulk's most powerful avatar. There is an amplification of his powers, by a lot. He can produce bursts of kinetic energy, and can survive in space for extended periods of time.
This battle is not for Earth, because the kind of powers they are pulling, the planet will be one of the first of the planets to be annihilated.
Here too, Superman is superior in speed and energy blasts, but I do not see any significant effect on WB Hulk.
- A stalemate, with two slight possible deviations:
- All-star Superman is going to die eventually. So if the Hulk can keep it contained till then, Superman will eventually die.
- Superman can just take the Hulk and fling him into the Sun.
Even though the hypothetical battle between them is mouthwatering, it is very unlikely. Superman, as we mentioned before, is a righteous man, and the Hulk, the dim-witted green monster, also does good, since his conscience has a moral compass of Bruce Banner.
Then there is the invulnerability issue of Superman. He does not have many weaknesses. The weaknesses he does have―Kryptonite, Red Sun, and solar exhaustion―are not possible, since the Hulk lacks the intelligence of Bruce and the flying capability of Superman. If the Hulk could fly, yes, he would be more than a formidable opponent.
The powers of Superman have been upped and downgraded many times in the past. Post-Crisis and Flashpoint Paradox, he is still very powerful, but has lost the capability to traverse entire universes. If he was the old golden-age Superman, then this face-off leans towards him completely.
But because they powered him down, this fight becomes a good prospect to fantasize about.