When superheroes have similar power sets people love to debate about who would win in a fight and this is certainly the case when it comes to the Hulk vs the Thing. These two super-strong brawlers have a lot in common, but some surprising differences that may tip the scales in a battle between the two. While they have had several battles in the past, and the Thing has lost almost every single one of them, there are some scenarios in which the Thing could win since the Hulk’s power level and personality tend to fluctuate wildly given various circumstances. Anyway, let’s take a look at the powers, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses of the Hulk and the Thing and see who would come out on top in a rematch!
The Hulk Biography
Bruce Banner was born to Dr. Brian Banner and his wife Rebecca. Brian was violent and crazy, and would oftentimes beat Bruce. The psychopath would eventually murder his wife right in front of poor Bruce. While Brian would ultimately end up in a mental institution, then subsequently killed by Bruce on accident, the scars he would leave on his son’s mind would haunt Bruce for the rest of his life. These psychological scars would eventually lead to the manifestation of multiple personalities in the form of various Hulk personas.
Dr. Bruce Banner was a prodigy in the fields of nuclear physics, particularly concerning gamma radiation. In an attempt to make a gamma bomb for the US military, Bruce would be bombarded with gamma rays while saving a teen named Rick Jones who had wandered onto the test site. This would be the birth of his Savage Hulk persona. As a manifestation of Bruce’s inner rage, the Savage Hulk would engage in battles with the US military and other superheroes on a regular basis despite Banner’s attempts to lay low and live a peaceful life so that he wouldn’t transform.
Over the years Bruce would develop several other personalities and Hulk manifestations including the Gray Hulk, aka Joe Fixit, and Professor Hulk, which was a merger of Bruce’s shattered psyche and ironically the most well-adjusted and intelligent of the Hulk personas. Bruce would also make many allies as well, including his wife Betty Ross, close friend Rick Jones, his therapist Doc Sampson, his son Skaar, and cousin Jennifer Walters, better known as the She-Hulk. The Hulk would also join several superhero teams including the Avengers, and the Pantheon.
Notable adventures of the Hulk include his battles with the super-intelligent entity known as the Leader, and his rivalry with the gamma-powered Soviet agent, the Abomination. There was also the World War Hulk storyline in which the Hulk takes on and defeats nearly every other superhero on Earth in a quest for revenge, and the time Professor Hulk went to the future and fought his future self, the cruel and cunning Maestro. Regardless of who he’s fighting or why Bruce seems to always be drawn into conflict despite his wishes to just live in peace.
The Thing Biography
Benjamin Grimm was born and raised in Manhattan’s Lower East Side on Yancy Street. His early years were marked by poverty, gang violence, and the deaths of his older brother and alcoholic parents. This would lead to him being adopted by his aunt and uncle, and raised properly. Getting his life together, Ben became a high school football star and earned a scholarship. In college, he would be roommates with Reed Richards whose dream was to build a spaceship. Ben half-jokingly promised that if Reed succeeded he’d be the one to pilot it. After graduation, Ben joined the US Air Force and became a skilled fighter pilot.
Years later Reed would complete his spaceship and would hold Ben to his promise to pilot it. Along with Sue Storm and her brother Johnny, the group would attempt to travel to another solar system only to be caught in a cosmic ray storm. Forced to abort the mission, the group travelled back to Earth where they would learn that they had gained superpowers. Distraught over his gruesome new appearance, Ben would take on the superhero name, the Thing.
Over the years Ben would find methods for returning to his human form, but in the end, would always revert to being the Thing for one reason or another. Despite this, he would manage to marry famous blind sculptress Alicia Masters. He would also become a multi-millionaire thanks to the stock options Reed had given him. This led Ben to live a lavish lifestyle but he still never forgot his roots and took a part-time job working for an old grocery store clerk he owed money to. During this time he would also convert to Judaism and even have a belated bar mitzvah celebrating his 13 years of life as the Thing.
As a member of the Fantastic Four, Ben would have many adventures and battles against powerful villains such as Dr. Doom, Galactus, and the Super Skrull. He would also be involved in the storyline Civil War early on as an ally of Iron Man but would become disillusioned after both sides showed a disregard for civilian casualties. This would ultimately cause Ben to leave the US and move to France for a time. The Thing would also team with the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and many other superheroes on occasion before reuniting with the original Fantastic Four to complete the failed space journey that had given them their powers in the first place.
The Hulk: Powers & Abilities
The Hulk is known for his vast superhuman strength, but there is more to him than just that. Here’s a quick rundown of the Hulk’s powers and abilities:
- Superhuman strength (infinite potential)
- Superhuman leaping
- Superhuman stamina
- Superhuman speed
- Superhuman durability
- High-level regeneration
- Decelerated aging
- Disease immunity
- Body part autonomy
- Reactive adaptation
- Underwater breathing
- Telepathic resistance
- Astral form perception
- Homing ability
- Gamma radiation manipulation
- Super genius level intellect
- Master combatant
Hulk’s main ability is his superhuman strength. He is one of the physically strongest characters in Marvel Comics, even when compared to cosmic entities. In his Savage Hulk persona, his strength actually increases with his rage, making him even more powerful. Using his brute strength, the Hulk has developed several unique attacks such as clapping his hands together to create a powerful sonic shockwave and slamming his fists on the ground to create an earthquake and knock his opponents off balance.
On top of being superhumanly strong, the Hulk is also extremely durable. Not only is his skin resistant to most physical and energy-based attacks, but he also has very high-level regeneration abilities on par with someone like Dead Pool. This means that even if an opponent manages to injure the Hulk, the Hulk will recover almost instantly in most cases. Chopping him into pieces also doesn’t work since the Hulk can control each severed part of his body individually and reform himself.
We also can’t forget the Hulk’s lesser-known powers such as underwater breathing, superhuman speed, telepathic resistance, and the ability to see ghosts and spiritual entities. The Hulk can also manipulate gamma radiation to a degree thanks to his body working like a self-charging gamma radiation battery.
The Thing: Powers & Abilities
Like the Hulk, the Thing possesses incredible superhuman strength and durability, but he also has a few other abilities too. Let’s take a look:
- Superhuman strength
- Superhuman durability
- Superhuman stamina
- Superhuman sensory adaptation
- Ageless while in Thing form
- Peak human speed/agility
- Master combatant
- Skilled pilot
- Experienced astronaut
- Indominable willpower
- Skilled saxophone player
The Thing’s main powers consist of both his incredible strength and his superhuman durability. Unlike the Hulk though, his strength does not give him superhuman speed as well. That said, Ben is faster and more agile in his Thing form than when he was a normal human, giving him peak human reflexes. Using these attributes, the Thing is a master at hand-to-hand combat incorporating a variety of styles including wrestling, boxing, and even jujitsu.
Something that should be mentioned about the Thing’s durability is that he’s not made completely out of rocks, that’s just his skin. While this may seem like a weakness, it is actually a good thing since it means he can’t be shattered by a sharp blow as would be the case if he were a fully rock-like being. Even so, he doesn’t have any special regeneration or healing abilities making him susceptible to injury.
The Hulk: Weakness
While the Hulk may seem completely invincible, he actually has quite a few weaknesses. The first is that he’s vulnerable to gamma-ray draining. In fact, if he is drained to a sufficient degree, he will revert to his human form and have to recharge before becoming the Hulk again.
Cosmic rays will also turn the Hulk back into Bruce Banner if he’s zapped with enough of them. However, if he absorbs enough cosmic rays he will actually become a cosmic ray empowered Hulk, so knowing just the right amount to hit him with is important.
Another weakness the Hulk has is gas which has been used to incapacitate him or even revert him to Bruce Banner in some cases. While the Hulk is smart enough not to breathe strange gas and can even dispel it with his thunderclap attack, he is vulnerable to gasses that can permeate his skin.
Speaking of his skin, while it may be super tough, it isn’t invincible and can be pierced by adamantium or vibranium blades. This makes the Hulk susceptible to being injected with formulas that can incapacitate him, or revert him to his human form. Also, despite being resistant to practically every disease on Earth, the Hulk can fall victim to synthetic poisons and toxins.
Another interesting weakness of the Hulk is the fact that in his Savage form he doesn’t start out at massively high levels of super strength. This means that if an opponent acts quickly, they may be able to defeat the Hulk before he gets mad enough to increase his strength to levels that they can’t handle.
Magic is another weakness of the Hulk. While the Hulk has been shown to absorb magical energies, he does get injured more easily by enchanted weapons. Spells that have indirect effects may be effective as well.
The Thing: Weakness
The Thing has very few if any outright weaknesses. This being the case, it could be said that his greatest weakness is his very limited powerset. He’s superhumanly strong and durable, but that’s about it. This leaves him vulnerable to simply being outclassed by other characters since he lacks versatility.
Another odd weakness of the Thing, and the other members of the Fantastic Four, is the fact that the longer they spend separated from one another, the more their powers weaken. This means that if they were to be separated long enough, they would actually lose their powers entirely.
The Thing vs The Hulk: Who Would Win in a Fight?
Instead of considering who would win in just one fight, let’s do two out of three matches and pit the Thing against the Hulk’s three main personas: Savage Hulk, Gray Hulk, and Professor Hulk. This will give us a better idea of how these characters compare and help us avoid approaching this too narrow-mindedly.
First up, the Thing vs the Savage Hulk. This is a battle that has been fought many times in Marvel Comics and the Hulk almost always comes out on top. As strong as he is, the Thing simply can’t compete with the Hulk’s level of strength. Honestly, the only hope Ben would have of winning this fight would be to calm the Hulk down by talking things out with him. However, Ben is a smartass and his snide comments and sarcastic remarks tend to anger the Hulk even more so that probably isn’t going to happen. We’re giving this round to the Savage Hulk.
Next up, the Thing vs the Gray Hulk, aka Mr. Joe Fixit. Gray Hulk is the smallest and least powerful of the three main Hulk persona’s. While he isn’t as smart as Professor Hulk, he also isn’t mentally stunted like the Savage Hulk. Due to the Gray Hulk’s limitations, the Thing stands a very good chance at taking him down using his better fighting skills. It would still be a tough fight though, as the Thing would need to incapacitate the Gray Hluk all in one go thanks to his healing factor, but with Ben’s boxing background landing a knockout blow shouldn’t be too difficult. This round goes to the Thing.
Lastly, we have the Thing vs Professor Hulk. This might actually be the Thing’s most difficult fight yet. Professor Hulk has a higher base strength level than Savage Hulk but with the drawback that getting angry only makes him weaker, and could revert him to Bruce Banner. Professor Hulk also tends to use a variety of high-tech weapons as well, making him even more of a threat. These factors, along with his super genius-level intellect, give the Thing a very slim chance of victory. The only hope Ben really has is to make Professor Hulk mad enough to turn back into Banner. However, a few wisecracks and rude remarks probably won’t be enough to do that. That’s why this round goes to Professor Hulk.
And that’s that. The Hulk wins two out of three rounds against the Thing. While the Thing may be tough and strong, the Hulk is generally tougher, stronger, and has several other advantages as well. While it is true that the Thing has defeated the Hulk while he was under mind control, that was an outlier.
Honestly, it’s almost as if Marvel Comics likes making the Thing fight the Hulk simply as a way to showcase the Thing’s never-say-die attitude, and the sheer courage it takes to fight a battle he knows will likely result in serious injury, humiliation, and possibly even death. The Hulk may be the self-proclaimed strongest there is, but you gotta give Ben credit for having the strength to carry around those balls of steel.