Archrivals

Archrivals: Hulk vs Thor

Before entering a brave new world of gods and monsters, we explore the greatest Hulk-Thor battles ever

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By Jim Beard The oppressive rivalry between the Incredible Hulk and the Mighty Thor represents one of the greatest in comic book throwdowns—two titans of stupendous strength and stamina with egos to match and the will to survive! HULK #5 by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness, due on July 23, continues this long-standing struggle to determine once and for all who shall possess the title of "Mightiest Being on Earth." As we fortify our bunkers for the newest explosion, let's take a gander at a choice few of the Hulk and Thor's most cataclysmic clashes.

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112 (1965) Though the two first scuffled briefly in AVENGERS v1 #3, the first real punches between the Hulk and Thor flew in this "behind-the-scenes" look at the Avengers' search for their erstwhile teammate. While his compatriots hammered at the Sub-Mariner, Thor tested his own mallet on the hide of the Hulk. Ol' Greenskin became determined to snap Mjolnir in two, but Odin's extension of his son's power sans hammer allowed Thor to deliver frantic fisticuffs on the Hulk. Alas, a timely cave-in signaled an end to the bout with neither fighter triumphant.

SUB-MARINER #35 (1971) Unsure of their intentions regarding a weather-control device on a remote island, the Avengers moved to intercept the unlikely team of Namor, the Silver Surfer, and the Hulk. The gamma-spawned giant tired of the initial tête-à-tête between the groups and angrily attacked Thor. The small isle shook from their explosive blows and yet again did the Hulk seek to capture Mjolnir, sensing it to be the key to the Thunder God's defeat. A horn blast interrupted the fight and Thor returned to his fellow Avengers—and the Hulk continued on to help found the dynamic Defenders.

DEFENDERS v1 #10 (1973) Mistaken intentions abounded once more when the Avengers-Defenders War spread throughout the community of heroes. The Defenders sought a powerful device called the Evil Eye to save the life of the Black Knight, but the Avengers barred their way. This clash between the Hulk and Thor truly defined blockbuster—a no-holds barred brouhaha that climaxed in the two adversaries locked in a hold they maintained by sheer strength for over an hour. Though the sweat rolled down their mighty countenances that day, again their eternal struggle ended up broken by external forces.

INCREDIBLE HULK v2 #300 (1984) With Bruce Banner submerged deeper in the Hulk's consciousness than ever before, the rampaging behemoth tore his way through the ranks of Marvel heroes one by one. While Dr. Strange pondered mystical other-worlds to which to banish the Hulk, Thor stepped up to the plate for the swing. Around his blows the Odinson asked the Hulk to yield, yet Banner's bestial alter-ego chose to lift an adamantium statue of himself to deliver a mortal blow to his immortal foe. Strange then arrived to open a magical portal to other dimensions and Thor agreed that abandoning the creature beyond the veil of terra firma seemed a sound solution to the conundrum of the Hulk.

THOR v1 #385 (1987) A bored Thor rashly sought the Hulk near the Mississippi River to yet again test his mettle. Once his nose became bloodied, the Hulk dared the Thunder God to set aside his Uru hammer and even took a hostage to force Thor to comply. Having thrown his weapon away, Thor entered into such fisticuffs with his irradiated opponent that neither combatant comprehended the surrounding damage they caused. After endangering a school bus and a train, Hulk became mystified over his lack of victory and his anger cooled. Walking away from the fight, the behemoth proved himself the better man.

INCREDIBLE HULK v2 #440 (1996) Seeking to unite the world against a common enemy, the Hulk—in the guise of the Maestro—traveled to far northern reaches to await a final confrontation. Thor insisted that only he should face the brute and told the President he'd deliver whatever force he deemed necessary to finish the Hulk forever. The subsequent battle drove both heroes to the brink; the Hulk to ultimate power levels and Thor into a berserker "Warrior's Madness." Military observers determined the extent of the fighters' rage and released an atomic bomb on the scene—and a mighty punch from the Incredible Hulk drove the Thunder God far from Ground Zero. Flash forward to now: the Mighty Thor missed out on "World War Hulk" completely, but spies his chance to put a world of hurt on the Hulk in HULK #5. You're gonna feel this one, True Believer! Check out this Hulk vs Thor classic on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!

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