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The most incredible things the Hulk has ever done

Stan Lee liked adjectives. The "Amazing" Spider-Man. The "Invincible" Iron Man. The "Uncanny" X-Men. And, of course, the Incredible Hulk. Whether Lee got a little too generous with the descriptors or not, the characters tend to live up to them and the Hulk is no exception. In close to 60 years of being an icon in every modern medium, the Hulk has impressed his fans with feats worthy of the word "incredible" and more. He's survived atomic blasts, he's torn through armies like they were nothing, and he's beaten the tar out of actual gods

In a way, the Hulk's particular power set makes it tough for the Green Goliath to impress us. His signature ability is his colossal strength, and super strength doesn't exactly make you stand out as a comic book superhero. So many superheroes have at least some degree of super strength. Just take a snapshot of the MCU — Thor, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Spider-Man, War Machine, Vision, Black Panther, Drax, Gamora, Groot — even the tree has super strength. 

But the Hulk, as he reminds us so many times in the comics, isn't just super strong. He's the strongest one there is. How strong is that? Well, be your own judge as you check out the most incredible things the Hulk has ever done. 

SPOILER WARNING: There is one fairly big Avengers: Endgame spoiler in what follows.

He saved everyone... well, half of everyone

The Hulk proves to be one of the most important Avengers of 2019's Avengers: Endgame. While it's the Hulk's legendary strength that helps save the day, it isn't his penchant for smashing that makes him so critical. 

The Avengers' plan is to travel to the past, get the Infinity Stones before Thanos can, and use them to resurrect everyone who was lost in the Mad Titan's purge. Once the Stones are gathered and brought back to the present, Tony Stark makes a new Infinity Gauntlet. The heroes argue over who could successfully wield the stones. At first Thor, consumed with grief and desperate for redemption, insists he must be the one to do it. But the Hulk knows he's the only one who can — not only because of his strength, but because most of the radiation emitted by the Stones is gamma in origin. 

Things don't look good for Hulk when he first puts on the Gauntlet. He stumbles and screams as the energy courses through him. Eventually, he's able to summon the endurance to snap his fingers. At first, the heroes are unsure about its success, but when all the purged Avengers and Guardians appear in the final battle, we know the Hulk succeeded in resurrecting half the universe. 

The Hulk doesn't come away unscathed, however. We see after the snap that his right arm is horribly burnt, and at the end of the film it's still in a sling. 

He took down Thor with one punch... twice

The Hulk and Thor enjoy an old rivalry dating back to their early days in the Avengers' original line-up. They've enjoyed some epic clashes and usually they're more-or-less equally matched. But twice, the Hulk manages to take the thunder god out with a single emerald punch. 

The first one-shot came in 2013's Avengers #1. When the new line-up of Avengers confront a group of aliens terraforming Mars, the team sends the Hulk in first, but they learn to regret it. The aliens are able to subdue most of the Avengers, but when facing the Hulk, a woman named Abyss uses a psychic suggestive power to convince Hulk that Thor thinks he's stronger and that Hulk is a "frightened little child." Convinced by Abyss' powers, the Hulk attacks the thunder god. Not prepared for the assault, Thor's beaten with just one punch. 

More recently, in 2018's Immortal Hulk #7, Thor is not only prepared for the attack but he's part of a team of Avengers confronting the Hulk. Regardless, one punch from the Hulk is all it takes to get Thor out of the fight. Odinson isn't knocked out, but he's so staggered by the blow that he needs Captain America's help to stand up and get off the battlefield. As he stumbles away, he tells Cap that the Hulk is stronger than he's ever been and that the Hulk has become something more, comparing him to a god or a devil. 

He held back a mountain range

Marvel's first line-wide crossover event was 1984's Secret Wars, which saw most of the Marvel Universe's heroes and villains transported to a distant planet called Battleword and made to fight each other for the amusement of a godlike being called the Beyonder. At the time, Bruce Banner controlled the Hulk's body. Without the Hulk's trademark savagery, Banner often couldn't reach the insane levels of strength the Hulk is known for. Regardless, he accomplishes one of his most legendary feats of power in Secret Wars #4. 

After an assault on the heroes' HQ, the usually meek but powerful Molecule Man has newfound confidence. In part to impress his new girlfriend Volcana, Molecule Man uses his molecule manipulation powers to rip an entire mountain range out of the ground and drop it on top of the retreating superheroes. 

It's the Hulk's strength that keeps the heroes alive. The Green Goliath holds an entire mountain range on his shoulders, stopping it from crushing him and his allies. Mister Fantastic rounds up tech from different heroes to boost Iron Man's repulsor blasts, and as he works he insults the Hulk, knowing his growing anger will increase his strength and keep him from tiring out. It isn't easy for the Hulk, and he's sweating buckets (of something that probably looks like Scope) as he holds the mountain range at bay, but he succeeds in keeping it from crushing anyone until Iron Man's modified repulsor blast finally frees them all. 

He held a planet together, literally

At the climax of the now-classic Hulk story Planet Hulk, the man-monster who Sakaar called the Green Scar not only smashed the bad guy, but he saved the world by literally holding it together. 

The Red King — Sakaar's insane ruler — is no picture of stability, and as the Warbound's rebellion against him grows in strength, it doesn't do a lot for his sanity. In 2007's Incredible Hulk #102 the Red King dons the near-indestructible armor he wore while fighting the Hulk in the Sakaar's Great Arena in Incredible Hulk #92. When the battle goes south for the Red King, he activates a doomsday device. The tectonic plates of Sakaar crack, splitting the planet's crust. 

Abandoning his battle with the Red King, the Hulk leaps into a rift in the earth and plummets down to the plates themselves. Burnt with ash and lava, the Hulk holds the tectonic plates, shifting them and — in the words of the comic's narration — he "unbreaks the world." Once the world is healed, he leaps out of the ground and takes care of the Red King for good.

He shook the world

In Planet Hulk, the Green Goliath proved he can unbreak worlds. In World War Hulk, he proved that — if he wants to — he can break them too. 

The inciting event of World War Hulk is what the Hulk believes is the Earth heroes' attempt to murder him. In 2007's Incredible Hulk #105, with the Red King dead and Sakaar beginning to look as if it can heal from its wounds, the ship that brought the Hulk to Sakaar explodes, killing millions on Sakaar including the Hulk's new wife Caiera. Naturally, the Hulk believes this was a booby trap meant to murder him. At the end of World War Hulk, we learn this was a lie.

After Hulk's Warbound ally Miek tries to kill Hulk's old friend Rick Jones, Miek reveals it was he who wired the ship to explode. He didn't want the Hulk to lose his rage, so he manufactured the assassination attempt to fuel the Hulk's need for vengeance. The Hulk beats Miek to a bloody pulp and once he's done, his rage and power continue to mount. He stomps on the ground, and we get shots all over the U.S. east coast showing us the results of the Hulk's power. An aide tells the president two more steps will shake the Eastern seaboard loose. Luckily for beach bums from Rhode Island to Florida, Tony Stark activates a satellite that sends a blast at the Hulk that neutralizes him. 

He smashed everybody

In World War Hulk, the Hulk proves conclusively who the top dog is in the Marvel Universe. He and his Warbound tear through most of Marvel's major heroes. He takes downa crazed Sentry, defeats a demon-powered Doctor Strange, and destroys Avengers Tower while tearing Iron Man's Hulkbuster suit to pieces. In the mini-series' second issue, he beats up his old rival the Thing, one-shots the Greek god of war Ares, and pounds Mister Fantastic into a giant, floppy rubber band. In the connecting mini World War Hulk: X-Men, the Hulk singlehandedly takes out multiple teams of X-Men, including X-people like Juggernaut, Wolverine, and Colossus.

Perhaps most impressive is World War Hulk's opening salvo. The mini's first issue opens with the Hulk arriving on Earth's moon to confront Black Bolt — one of the Illuminati members who exiled Hulk, and one of the most powerful Marvel heroes. With an explosive power that can kill with just a whisper, Black Bolt is one of the few heroes to have defeated the Hulk in the past. It initially seems like Hulk is done for when Black Bolt whispers "Enough" and seems to send the Hulk spinning into the void. But when you turn the page, you see a bloody but determined Hulk leaping at his foe and saying, "I didn't come here for a whisper. I wanna hear you scream." The next time we see Black Bolt, the Hulk is holding up his bloody, unconscious body to the people of Earth.

He's always angry

The 2012 movie Avengers has a lot of great moments, and one of the best belongs to the Hulk. Well, actually a few belong to the Hulk, but there's one in particular that not only highlights the hero's godlike power, but makes him the final part of the equation that makes the Avengers a team. 

When Bruce Banner meets up with the Avengers in the Battle of New York, things aren't looking great. The heroes are putting up their best fight, but they aren't really a team yet. Once Iron Man learns Banner's showed up to play, he leads the Chitauri Leviathan that's chasing him toward the gathered heroes. Finally, after several teases about how Banner was able to stop himself from changing into the Hulk for so long, we get the answer. As the huge floating monster bears down on the very vulnerable-looking Banner, we get the now-classic line, "That's my secret Captain — I'm always angry," and Banner purposely transforms into the Hulk. With one colossal punch, he kills the massive beast. The Hulk hits so hard that the Leviathan is sent flying backward and tail-up, causing Iron Man to shoot its tail end with an explosive so that the thing's girth doesn't flop on top of the team. 

The Chitauri, enraged at the kill, scream as one at the Avengers. The Hulk roars back in challenge, and we get that iconic shot of the heroes becoming a team in more than just words.  

He outlived everyone

Stories of dystopian futures used to be rare and seem novel on the comics stands. These days, it seems like hardly a week goes by without at least one new DC or Marvel comic taking place into a future where everything goes wrong because of zombies or a plague or robots or windmill cancer. The Hulk's had his share of such stories, and they seem to share a common thread — he's usually the only one left. 

Perhaps the most well-known example is 1992's Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect mini, in which the Hulk of the present is summoned to the future, where a villain named the Maestro rules over what little is left of humanity. The Hulk soon learns he is the one who will one day become the Maestro. Almost all of Marvel's other heroes and villains are dead, as the aging Rick Jones' trophy room proves. 

Ten years later, in 2002's Incredible Hulk: The End, we see an even bleaker future. This time, all of humanity is gone, not just the heroes and villains. Banner's only company is a floating probe left by an alien wanting to confirm humanity's extinction. Banner is occasionally attacked by a swarm of mutated flying cockroaches, and sometimes he makes futile attempts at suicide, but each time, the Hulk surfaces and prolongs his suffering. The story ends with Hulk suppressing Banner's persona completely and finally realizing how horribly alone he really is. 

He destroyed a dimension

If Superman were trapped in another dimension, he'd probably figure out some unique combo of his dozens of powers to get himself out. If it were Batman, he might trick whoever sent him there into letting him go. The Flash would run really fast (it solves most of his problems) and Mister Fantastic would make a teleporter out of a couple of rocks and a book of matches. When Hulk was trapped in another dimension? He destroyed the dimension. Extreme, maybe, but effective. 

In 1970's Incredible Hulk #126, the Hulk is trapped in another dimension by a villain called the Night-Crawler (not the guy from the X-Men; presumably to fend off confusion, this character's name would later be changed to Dark-Crawler). As they battle, Night-Crawler unleashes a sonic barrage on the Hulk, who responds with one of his earth-shattering claps. The resulting clash between the Hulk's clap and Night-Crawler's wall of sound is a shockwave that rips through Night-Crawler's dimension and tears it to pieces. Night-Crawler uses his power to bring them to the dimension of powerful beings called the Undying Ones, where a captive Doctor Strange waits for the briefest of team-ups, after which he brings the Hulk home.

He cracked Onslaught's armor

The final battle of 1996's line-wide event Onslaught rages in Onslaught: Marvel Universe #1. The issue gathers the X-Men, Avengers, Fantastic Four, and the Hulk all together to fight the event's namesake. One of the biggest challenges facing the heroes is that no one and nothing could pierce Onslaught's armor. 

The battle proves to be the end — at least for a while — of the merged or so-called "Professor" Hulk. While Professor Hulk's strength still increases with his rage, he believes it needs to increase faster in order to finish Onslaught. He asks Jean Grey of the X-Men to use her psychic powers to temporarily shut down the influence of Bruce Banner. The savage, monosyllabic Hulk of old emerges and wastes no time in attacking Onslaught. For the first time, the villain is on the ropes. 

At one point, he seems to have overpowered the Green Goliath, until Hulk's strength increases enough to unleash a single ultra-powerful blow that — according to the nearby heroes — sounds like a nuclear explosion. Onslaught's armor is finally cracked and the gathered heroes rush him. The shockwave from the blow is so powerful, the Hulk and Bruce Banner are literally and physically separated from one another; both unconscious from the blast.  

He even overpowered himself

Okay, so if the Hulk is so strong, can he overpower… himself? Well, according to 2001's Defenders #8, yes. Yes he can. 

While searching for their missing teammate Silver Surfer, the three founding Defenders — Hulk, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and Doctor Strange — are attacked by Kree forces on Trellax-3 in vehicles looking not unlike the AT-ST Walkers of Star Wars fame. All three heroes are surprised by the power of the Kree weapons, and soon learn it's a key to the reason why they're off-world. The Kree have captured Silver Surfer and figured out a way to harness his cosmic power. 

The Defenders seem doomed when the Kree unleash a weapon called the Starwheel powered by the imprisoned Silver Surfer. The device is armed with mechanical tentacles that imprison each of the heroes in an energy bubble. The bubbles feed off the heroes' attempts to escape, draining the force of their attacks and reflecting their own power back at them. Namor and Doctor Strange quickly succumb, but the Hulk refuses to give in. Proving too much even for his own strength to contain, the Hulk punches the interior of the bubble holding him over and over until it's ripped apart. The Starwheel itself is destroyed by a power backlash resulting from the Hulk's escape.