Wolverine And The Hulk: The 15 Biggest Brawls
It’s no secret that the newest Wolverine movie, Logan, is heavily inspired by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s “Old Man Logan” storyline. The tale was a brutal, post-apocalyptic love note to Marvel’s rich history, and the fact that we’re seeing anything close to the comics on screen is nothing short of amazing. The Hulk played a major role in the original story, and while the odds of Mark Ruffalo showing up to go mano-a-mano with Hugh Jackman in Logan are less than infinitesimally small, now seems a good as time as any to revisit the fiercest fights between the two.
Wolverine and Hulk are clearly no strangers to violence, so it’s not exactly surprising that the Green Goliath and the Ol’ Canucklehead go at it nearly every time they’re within arms’ reach of one another. Wolverine’s first appearance was getting stab-happy with the Jade Giant in the pages of the Hulk’s own book, and they haven’t slowed down since, smacking each other around across multiple universes and timelines.
Now, here’s Wolverine And The Hulk: The 15 Biggest Brawls.
15. WOLVERINE #8 (1989)
Wolverine, currently going by Patch, lures the Hulk – now Joe Fixit– to Madripoor, then proceeds to provoke and trick Fixit into doing all his dirty work taking out a local mob. In fact, Patch spends at least as much time trying to get Fixit to admit he’s the Hulk (switching out his luggage with nothing but purple pants, constantly trying to make him angry) as he does actually stopping all the drug manufacturing and kidnapping that’s going on. And the less said about Wolverine baiting Fixit by getting Bruce Banner prostitutes, the better.
This issue seems to know it’s a tease from the start. When Patch and Fixit first meet face-to-face, bar patrons start taking bets on who’s going to win the inevitable fight … but the two titans don’t even so much as make a fist. Instead, they walk out the door like business partners. In fact, only one punch is thrown between the two of them, when Fixit clobbers Patch at the end. One punch! Anyway, the cover’s become kind of iconic, so at least there’s that.
14. HULK/WOLVERINE: SIX HOURS (2003)
The first issue of this miniseries is spent with Bruce Banner on a plane and Wolverine on a hike. Eventually, Banner hulks out, taking down the plane, and then, two whole issues later, the Green Goliath finally meets up with Wolverine. There’s some nonsense about drug lords and a kid with a snake bite, and a lot of cabins getting crushed, all of which is simply a long and convoluted way to get the Hulk and Wolverine to finally fight in the fourth of four issues. It’s a decent fight, with the Hulk nearly killing Wolverine by the end.
13. ADVENTURES OF THE X-MEN #1 (1996)
In a comic series based on the cartoon series based on the real comics, the Hulk and Wolverine tee off on one another, but briefly and without blood, because this was a comic for kids, after all. It’s not a bad fight, all things considered, but it doesn’t go on for very long before the rest of the X-Men show up and intervene, talking the gamma-powered gargantuan and the Canadian furball off the ledge. Together, they all work as a team to take down the bad guy, and then the Hulk goes on his merry way.
12. THE INCREDIBLE HULK #454 (1997)
The Hulk is living in the Savage Land, decked out in purple face paint and being worshiped as a god by the Locot tribe. Wolverine, hot on his trail after Hulk and a T-Rex wrecked up some military aircraft in Antartica, teams up with Ka-Zar and the leader of the rival Nowek tribe to get the Hulk out of the Savage Land.
Waiting in the trees with the Nowek, Wolverine ambushes the Hulk, stabbing the Jade Giant square in the throat. The Hulk grabs his neck, fearing the worst, only to realize that Wolverine’s had the adamantium removed from his claws. Now he’s even less concerned about the puny Canadian than before.
The two began fighting and a melee breaks out between the two tribes, only to be interrupted when a massive tyrannosaurus chomps down on the Hulk and hurls him into the jungle. The tribes team up to take down the dino and a truce is called. At a victory feast afterwards, Wolverine congratulates the Hulk on tricking the tribes into working together. In reply, the Hulk, unresponsive and bathed in shadow, collapses to the ground with zero explanation…
11. THE INCREDIBLE HULK #455 (1997)
…With an even further lack of explanation, Wolverine somehow drags the Hulk back to the X-Mansion and loads him into the med bay, against everyone’s better judgement. Despite being the very next issue, not once is the fact that Dr. Purple Pants almost got eaten by a dinosaur mentioned.
While Cable, Cyclops, and Wolverine stand around debating what should be done, Hulk has a nightmare, and then, not surprisingly, breaks loose from the med bay and wrecks up the mansion, using Wolverine like a punching bag stuffed with rag dolls while Wolverine just keeps trying to talk him down.
Eventually, the X-Men trick Hulk into entering the Danger Room, where he briefly believes he’s outside. Ol’ Jade Jaws figures out the truth soon enough though, smashes his way out and starts kicking X-butts again. Thankfully, the big guns show up – Phoenix and Forge, the latter literally holding a big gun – just in time to watch the Hulk get teleported away by Apocalypse.
And that’s how that story ends, it sure looked pretty, though.
10. WORLD WAR HULK: X-MEN (2007)
Some time ago, the Illuminati had Hulk hurled into space for the good of humanity, accidentally killing his pregnant wife in the process. So when the Hulk comes back to Earth full of extraterrestrial radiation and vengeance, he immediately proceeds to pummel the Marvel Universe.
Along the way, the Hulk stops to check in with Professor X to see what the prof (an Illuminati member, absent the day of the fateful vote) would have done. Xavier admits he probably would’ve voted to shoot Hulk into space (but not permanently!), so it’s cool if Hulk smash bald man’s skull. The rest of the X-Men, including Wolverine, are understandably less keen on this and intervene. They don’t fare well. Wolverine gets in precisely one good shot and is hurled into a forest. He returns only to be beaten to a bloody pulp. Desperate, every X-reinforcement available is called. Hulk whoops them all, then leaves without Professor X.
The Hulk goes on to threaten New York, have a change of heart, realize the Illuminati weren’t to blame for his wife’s death, and then get zapped by Tony Stark’s satellites until he turns back into Bruce Banner. You know, that old chestnut.
9. SAVAGE WOLVERINE #4-5 (2013)
Wolverine’s hanging out in the Savage Land again, where he runs into Shanna the She-Devil. They start fighting Neanderthals, as one does, and Shanna explains she’s on her way to destroy some strange device that’s siphoning the Land’s essence. Having nothing better to do, Wolverine offers to assist, only for the two of them to get separated. And by separated, we mean Shanna got killed. She was quickly resurrected by the Neanderthals, but Wolverine doesn’t know that, so he’s on his way to stop the machine on his own. A newly-alive Shanna stumbles into Amadeus Cho who explains the machine is actually imprisoning an alien serving the Galactus-like Morrigon. The two rush to stop Wolverine.
For reasons unknown, the Hulk shows up. Wolverine and the Green Goliath stare each other down, ready to rumble. Amadeus Cho tells them to cool it, and, as soon as Wolverine retracts his claws, the Hulk is attacked by a giant gorilla. Like, a giant gorilla. Shanna punches the gorilla, while Wolverine takes this opportunity to stab the Hulk through the freaking skull. In the meantime, the Cthulu-like alien escapes back to its mothership. Oops!
8. WOLVERINE/HULK (2002)
Wolverine crashes into a snow-covered mountain in New Mexico, where he find a little girl named Poe who also crashed into the mountain. She tells everyone’s favorite Canadian mutant that she’s looking for her uncle, who, dun dun DUNN, turns out to be none other than the Incredible Hulk. Wolverine goes to put the hurt on Dr. Purple Pants, but is begged not to by Poe. Moved, Wolverine stands down. Hulk kicks the crap out of him. Then Wolverine kicks the crap out of him in return.
Eventually they brawl themselves down the side of the mountain. Poe starts singing, which annoys the Hulk into turning back into Bruce Banner. Wolverine, meanwhile, is starting to wonder if Poe is even real. And, hey, guess what? She’s not. Poe is, in fact, a ghost. The two heroes put aside their differences and help the dead girl find the wreckage holding her and her father’s bodies. They then trick the naive ghost girl into thinking she saved her dad so that she can ascend to heaven. H-hooray?
7. THE INCREDIBLE HULK #181 (1974)
The Hulk is in Canada, tricked into tracking down the Wendigo. Canada’s still sore from Hulk’s last visit, so they send the mysterious “Weapon X” after him before Dr. Purple Pants can get into any trouble.
Finding each other in the woods, the two start brawling immediately, but it doesn’t take long for Wolverine (in his very first appearance!) to realize he can’t do diddly-squat to the Hulk. So he goes after the Wendigo instead.
Once the Wendigo’s knocked out, Wolverine and the Hulk turn back on each other, only to be magic gassed into unconsciousness by the Wendigo’s human sister, Marie. She wants to move the curse of the Wendigo over to the Hulk, but her boyfriend, thinking better of making a giant green rage monster even more powerful, turns himself into the Wendigo instead. Meanwhile, Hulk and Wolverine have woken up and are once again whaling on each other. Marie screams, distracting Wolverine, and the Hulk sucker-punches him, ending the fight.
6. MARVEL FANFARE #2 (1996)
The second volume of Marvel Fanfare was an anthology series of one-off stories by different creative teams, featuring all of Marvel’s favorite superheroes. Swinging for the fences, the second issue included a rematch between Wolverine, the Hulk, and the Wendigo.
A twist on their original fight, this time around Wolverine and Wendigo team up to take down the Hulk, ripping into him until he ends up face down in the snow. Of course, this isn’t anything near enough to stop the Jade Giant and he gets up. Bruised and bleeding, the Hulk even manages to spit out some snappy banter, telling Wolverine he needs to watch his temper. Then the Jade Giant knocked over a water tower and washed away his opponents.
5. WOLVERINE #145 (1999)
A little while back, the Skrulls had kidnapped Wolverine, replacing him with a shapeshifting imposter. Wolverine, meanwhile, was forced to fight Sabretooth for the right to be Apocalypse’s Horseman of Death. Fearing what Sabretooth would do with that power, Wolverine won and took on the mantle, unbeknownst to the X-Men.
Fast forward: Apocalypse sends Death after the Hulk, angry that Hulk hadn’t been a very good Horseman of War. Because you’re not a real Marvel hero until you’ve accidentally worked for a super-villain.
Death stabs the Hulk in the back with a sword, then, mirroring their first fight, jumps around to avoid getting clobbered. The Hulk catches him, crushing him in a colossal bear hug. In a last ditch effort, Death head butts the Jade Giant, then unsheathes his claws and stabs Hulk in the neck. Full of berserker rage, Death goes nuts, finally getting the upper hand on Hulk and pinning him to the ground. Before he can end him, though, Logan remembers who he really is, and that guy isn’t a monster. The hesitation is enough for the Hulk to grab him, slam him into the ground, and escape.
4. INCREDIBLE HULK #340 (1988)
In the middle of a snowstorm in Texas, the Hulk is searching for missing gamma bombs, while the X-Men are simultaneously searching for a missing Storm. Getting hungry, the Hulk bounds away for a quick bit, and in the process clips a commercial airliner. Rogue flies out of the passing Blackbird and makes a daring rescue of the aircraft, while Wolverine catches the Hulk’s scent and goes on the hunt.
Despite the mutant’s enhanced senses, the Hulk somehow sneaks up on him. Wolverine manages to do some damage, though, actually making the Hulk bleed. Then … Then Wolverine apologizes, saying that’s not who he is anymore. But Hulk isn’t buying it. He violently goads Wolverine into a berserker frenzy, and the two go at it until Wolverine guts the Hulk, his claws erupting from the green-skinned monster’s back. Thinking he killed him, the pint-sized X-Man begins to leave, only for the Grey Goliath to get up, angrier and stronger than before.
They start tussling again, matching blow for blow, until Hulk’s buddy Clay Quartermain breaks up the fight with a rocket launcher and scolds them both. Begrudgingly, they both agree to stop, and Hulk leaps away, back into the snowstorm.
3. INCREDIBLE HULK #8 (1999)
Basically a super-powered Three Stooges skit, the book opens with Wolverine getting his claws stuck in the Hulk’s eyes. Enraged, the blinded Green Goliath smashes the cliff they’re standing on, causing the two heroes to Wile E. Coyote into the valley below.
Hulk staggers into a tree, bonking his head, before finally getting a hold of the puny mutant. The Hulk snaps off one set of Wolverine’s claws, crushing them in his enormous hands. Still, Wolverine’s relentless, so the Hulk nabs a nearby camper as a hostage. A hero above all else, Wolverine surrenders long enough for the Hulk to grab him and toss the girl away, before stabbing the Hulk in the groin with his free (clawed) hand. The Hulk throws him into a river, where Wolverine collapses a bridge on top of him, literally quoting Bugs Bunny and saying, “Ain’t I a stinker?”
Written and drawn by Erik Larsen, always a fan of overkill, this issue takes “comic violence” to a whole new level.
2. ULTIMATE WOLVERINE VS. HULK (2005-2009)
Ultimate Wolverine’s been asked to assassinate Ultimate Hulk by Ultimate Nick Fury. There’s some more plot stuff, but none of that really matters: The Hulk tears Wolverine in half! Then he tries to eat his legs! Then he tears his head off! Then Nick Fury interrogates and shoots Wolverine’s severed head!
Anyway, Wolverine gets better, gets inhibitor collars from Forge, and then tracks down Betty Ross, who it turns out is She-Hulk in this universe. She’s not super thrilled with Wolverine busting into her hotel room, so she gouges out one of his eyes. He stabs her through her organs, finds out where the Hulk went, and then the furry Canadian confronts Bruce Banner on a plane. There’s some arguing, they jump out of the plane, they talk some more, then Bruce hulks out and lands them both safely. Nick Fury shows up and tells Wolverine they don’t need the Hulk anymore and takes off, leaving Logan and Bruce to stand around wondering if they’re ever going to have a satisfying ending to one of their fights.
1. OLD MAN LOGAN (2008-2009)
In a post-apocalyptic future, all the heroes are dead. The super-villains had, years before, banded together and destroyed almost everyone in the Marvel universe, dividing up the country between themselves afterwards. Logan, after being tricked into murdering all of the X-Men, hangs up his tights and lives his days as a farmer in Hulkland.
Yes, Hulk has turned evil, going crazy from gamma poisoning, and owns the western part of the country. Hawkeye talks Logan into joining him on some cross-country wrong-righting and money-making, and when Logan returns home he finds out Hulk murdered his wife and son after Logan was late with the rent. For the first time since that disastrous night, Logan unleashes his claws and tears through the Hulk’s inbred children before stabbing a crazed Bruce Banner. That only enrages Bruce, and Logan ends up confronting the big man himself. There’s a quick brawl before the Hulk straight-up eats Wolverine. But never fear, Wolverine explodes out of the Hulk’s back hours later, before riding off into the sunset with Banner’s infant hulk-child. Yes, after decades of losing, usually badly, Logan finally got to take down the Hulk once and for all.
There you have it, the best and the baddest battles between Wolverine and the Hulk. Did we miss any? What’s your favorite? Comment below!
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