Many Marvel fans would rank Bruce Banner, The Incredible Hulk, among their favorite characters, but the list of iconic Hulk storylines is surprisingly short. The strongest there is also happens to be one of the toughest for writers to get a handle on, and it’s to find a consensus on what the best Hulk comics are. It does make sense—how does one take the most powerful being on Earth and make him relatable? Despite the challenge, a number of Marvel writers and artists over the years have combined to bring to life some of the best Hulk story arcs ever.
With a superheroic career lasting over half a century, the list of the Hulk’s greatest adventures include trips through time, to far-off planets, and even to the microscopic world. No matter where he roams, the themes surrounding the jade giant are always the same—being angry, being misunderstood, and having the overwhelming desire to SMASH!
Issues: Hulk #92-105
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Carlo Pagulayan
Planet Hulk sees Bruce Banner sent to a far away planet by his former allies, like Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man, in a last-ditch effort to save the Earth from his destructive wrath. While on the gladiator-themed world of Sakaar, Hulk begins a quest to unite the oppressed population and rise up against the dreaded monarch who rules over them. This storyline heavily influenced the film Thor: Ragnarok.
Issues: Hulk: Gray #1-5
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Time Sale
Hulk: Gray is another in Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s classic “Hero: Color” collection of miniseries. Like the others that came before it, this series takes an emotional and retroactive look at the Hulk’s origin story, showcasing the heavy toll that his adventures have had on the unfriendly green giant.
Issues: World War Hulk #1-5
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: John Romita Jr.
The follow-up of Planet Hulk, World War Hulk sees the jade giant return from his exile on Sakaar, bent on revenge against the men who sent him there, and who he suspects had a hand in a devastating explosion that killed his bride. This is the Hulk at his angriest, and he cuts a bruised and bloody swath through the Marvel Universe in his quest for justice. Can anything stop him? Not likely.
Issues: Daredevil #163
Writer: Roger McKenzie
Artist: Frank Miller
This is technically a Daredevil story, but its use of the Hulk as an unstoppable force for the Man Without Fear to go up against really highlights the sheer terror that the Hulk can induce. Twice, Daredevil takes on the Hulk, and twice he barely walks away with his life. The power of the Hulk and the courage of Daredevil are on full display here.