Hulk may claim to be the “strongest there is,” but being strong isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to winning superpowered brawls. Sometimes, it’s not about asking who is stronger than the Hulk - and there is indeed a long list of characters arguably stronger than the Hulk - but about who is best equipped to meet his strength with something else entirely and can thus overcome it.
The Hulk has indeed been defeated on numerous occasions in the pages of Marvel Comics, but he’d also have his hands full if he ever stepped out into the greater published multiverse of superhero comics. There are plenty of non-Marvel heroes lurking out there who could take down the jade giant if they ever had to, and through a wide variety of methods, at that!
- Photo: DC Comics
First and foremost, Doctor Manhattan is one of the few characters in comic books that could feasibly wander his way into a cross-publisher conflict with the Incredible Hulk. He’s already crossed from the Watchmen continuity into the DC Universe proper, and there’s no real in-story reason he couldn’t pop on over to the world of Marvel Comics if he wanted.
The powers of Doctor Manhattan are very nearly without limit. He’s nigh-omnipotent and nigh-omniscient, and readers have already witnessed him taking down the entirety of the Justice League without breaking a sweat. In direct combat, it’s really just a question of whether to merely knock out the Hulk or disintegrate him right down to the atom, and that would be that.
However, a Doctor Manhattan/Hulk matchup comes with a substantial caveat. Doctor Manhattan perceives time as non-linear with all happening simultaneously, so while he can see the future, he cannot change it. Therefore, he would square off against the Hulk if that particular bout were supposed to happen - but if it were, it would undoubtedly be Doctor Manhattan who came out on top.Stronger than Hulk?
- Photo: Marvel Comics/DC Comics
Of all the non-Marvel superheroes out there, Superman holds a noteworthy distinction as the only one to square off against the Hulk on multiple occasions. The Man of Steel has come away from the trio of crossover bouts with an unbeaten record of 2-0-1.
The first time they met, Superman just stood there taking punches from the Hulk like they were nothing and waited for his opponent to calm down and turn back into Bruce Banner.
The second time around, Kal-El was facing the super-intelligent “Professor Hulk,” but it didn’t make a bit of difference; Superman knocked him out cold with a super-roundhouse kick. Superman didn’t even need to tap into his wide swath of superpowers to win. Thus, he’s already better at smashing than the Hulk, and smashing is the Hulk’s whole thing.
The last instance saw Superman and Hulk tussle to a hard-fought draw until deciding to team up and destroy Lex Luthor’s gamma gun. History would suggest that, had the fight gone on any longer, the Man of Steel would have come out on top - and that he will again, should the two ever meet in the future.Stronger than Hulk?
At His Peak, Spawn Could Stomp The Hulk In A Number Of Different WaysPhoto: Image Comics
In his earliest forms, Spawn could have given the Hulk a fair run for his money. After getting in touch with his necroplasmic energy, Spawn eventually got strong enough to throw buildings around, and that’s to say nothing of his myriad demonic abilities - the Hulk does have a notable vulnerability to magic.
But then Spawn ate fruit from the Tree of Life and gained nigh-omnipotence, putting him on par with the Image Comics versions of God and Satan, and giving him control over the planet Earth in its entirety. With this powerset, Spawn could drown the Hulk in tidal waves, send him to Hell, or simply have the Earth open up wide and swallow the Hulk whole. Really, the possibilities are endless.Stronger than Hulk?
- Photo: DC Comics
Firestorm, the Nuclear Man, might not be a household name on the same level as other members of the Justice League, but he’s still one of DC Comics’ heaviest hitters. Whether it’s Ronnie Raymond, Jason Rusch, Martin Stein, or whoever plugged into the Firestorm Matrix, they draw their considerable power from internal atomic fusion, and that makes them capable of trading punches with the likes of Shazam and Black Adam.
It also allows Firestorm to break down, manipulate, and absorb significant amounts of radiation - enough to snuff out the effects of a nuclear bomb. That’s bad news for the Hulk, who is powered by gamma radiation.
There’s no form of radiation Firestorm can’t handle, so there’s nothing stopping him from deconstructing Hulk’s gamma at the molecular level, absorbing it, and then redistributing it as something less destructive.
The Hulk has had his radiation drained before - most notably when Amadeus Cho did so and became the Totally Awesome Hulk - and it usually just turns him back into Bruce Banner semi-permanently. Bruce Banner is then relatively simple for Firestorm to deal with, if necessary.Stronger than Hulk?