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Who Would Win in a Fight Between Superman and The Hulk?

Who Would Win in a Fight Between Superman and The Hulk?

This post is republished (and lightly edited) from Quora, answered originally by Ariel Williams.


Ordinarily I would call this fight for Superman as eventually he would realize that Hulk just gets more powerful the angrier he gets and would back off until he calms down. That’s the only rational way to beat the Hulk under normal circumstances — you defeat his anger.

According to DC’s Pre-Crisis canon, Superman has incredible power for a Kryptonian. Superman is so powerful that in order to properly function he has to put in place mental blocks or limiters to his strength so that he is not a danger to everyone around him. According to Marvel canon, Hulk has nearly limitless power equal to or exceeding his anger. He gets angrier the more he is hurt and when he is losing. Hulk can recover from almost any injury, which again makes him angrier.


STRENGTHS: Can lift or manipulate between 66 quintillion and 400 quintillion tons.

+ Has moved the Earth around before.

+ After being supercharged by the sun, he was quoted as being able to lift 200 quintillion tons with just one arm and stated he thinks he could lift much more. We should give him the benefit of the doubt and say with both arms he should be able to lift 400 quintillion tons.

+ Can do the Infinite Mass Punch which is a punch at or near the speed of light causing the punch to impact with near infinite mass.

DURABILITY: Superman has survived numerous attacks in the past that are quoted as being of equal power to a supernova and has experienced some even more powerful attacks.

+ Can take a 10 octillion megaton yield of a relatively small supernova blast without being supercharged by the sun.

SPEED: Superman is capable of faster-than-light travel and can bend space-time around himself to go even faster. He can go so fast, he can leave our universe if he unleashes all of his barriers.

+ Batman has stated that Superman’s fastest recorded speed is 10,563,300,000 mph (10.5 billion mph). That’s 15.75 times the speed of light.

+ He has been compared in speed to the Flash when Superman is going his fastest and Flash is not overexerting himself.

+ Batman also says that Superman can perceive things happening with Zeptosecond precision. That is one sextillionth of a second.

WEAKNESSES (Not including depowering ones):

– Respect for life.

– High moral standard.

– Must remove self-imposed limiters and blocks sequentially to access his full power.

(Superman reference: Final Analysis for Superman and Goku (w/ power levels))


STRENGTHS: Effectively limitless depending upon his emotional state. Starts out at roughly 100 tons of lifting capacity.

+ After some probing, the entity Beyonder once claimed that the Hulk’s potential strength had “no finite element inside.” — “Betrayal!” Secret Wars II 8 (February 1986)

+ The Hulk is also able to generate omnidirectional bursts of kinetic energy that completely destroy the planet he is standing on. — Incredible Hulks #634-635 (2011)

+ He can grow stronger from radiation. — “Planet Hulk Armageddon Part II” The Incredible Hulk v3, 105 (June 2007)

DURABILITY: Hulk’s body will mutate as needed to compensate for any external threat including crushing pressure underwater, the surface of the sun and outer space as long as he stays mad.

+ Has withstood the equivalent of solar temperatures. — “Sins of the Father” The Incredible Hulk ’97 1 (1997) | “Hulk” World War Hulk 2 (September 2007)

+ Has survived attacks that can shatter a planet. — “Kids Will Be Kids” Marvel Comics Presents 52 (June 1990) | “Heart of the Beast” Silver Surfer v3, 125 (February 1997)

+ Can survive outer space. — “Casus Belli” World War Hulk Prologue: World Breaker 1 (July 2007) | The Incredible Hulk #90, Nick Fury states that Hulk’s mutations can alter his body to adapt to space.

SPEED: Hulk is capable of superhuman speeds of several hundred miles per hour and can enter low Earth orbit through jumping. He can then also survive the re-entry from low orbit.

WEAKNESSES (Not including depowering ones):

– Dumb as a box of rocks.

– Will lash out in rage without thinking through his actions.

– Starts out at 100 tons lifting strength and only increases in strength proportional to his anger.



I think I have to give this fight to Superman with one caveat. Superman would do everything he could to not kill the Hulk. Superman is faster and smarter and has a wide range of utility abilities at his disposal that Hulk cannot compare to. Hulk has no limit to his strength and is effectively immortal so long as he remains angry. Unfortunately, Hulk also starts off much weaker and cannot easily increase his strength on demand.

This is how I see the fight playing out.

Hulk likely starts this fight with a good punch to Superman which he shrugs off. Superman, ever the reasonable one, tries to talk Hulk down but this only makes Hulk angrier and results in stronger punches. Superman might start out with a few blows to test the Hulk’s strength, making Hulk very mad at the “Little blue man.” Hulk would lash out at him in return. Superman would then realize he needs to cut out some limits and ramp up in strength. Hulk would get angrier because he is, “Strongest there is!” and match Superman.

Eventually Superman would move the fight to another planet possibly one of Jupiter’s moons as he did in Superman vs The Elites. He doesn’t want innocents to be harmed in the coming fight. He might take some serious blows from Hulk while trying to drag and throw him to Io. Superman would then leave Io and do an extended sundive to power-up. While he is performing his sundive he would be cutting out his limits like he normally would to prepare for interstellar travel.

Hulk would get very angry at being left there alone (“Hey! This fight not OVER!”) and jumps off towards the sun. Strong as he is, he might be moving pretty fast but nowhere near Superman’s speed. At this rate it might take Hulk a while to get back to Supes.

The now overpowered and unlimited Superman would fly back toward Io at near light speed and do an “Infinite Mass Punch” on the Hulk that is now hurling through space.

With zeptosecond precision, Superman would break off his attack at the exact moment when Hulk is about to be killed. He would then throw the unconscious Hulk somewhere on Earth that is deserted and pleasant to rest.

Hulk can be overcome if he is attacked with a sufficiently strong attack to beat his resistances before he gets too angry to shrug it off. Superman on the other hand can willingly remove all of his barriers and boost himself with solar energy at will. This lets Superman ramp up his power faster than Hulk can boost his anger, effectively beating Hulks resistance to damage. The Hulk for all of his strength just isn’t fast enough to even hit Superman easily.

And just for reference, all three times they have actually fought in the combined Marvel/DC comics, Superman has won.

What do you think, who has the edge in this epic face-off? Include nerdy numbers and citations if you can!

Images courtesy of deviantART//Jrascoe; KZBulat

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  1. Jarhead says:

    What if Hulk just rips off Sups’ arms and legs, then what would Sups do?

  2. Thomas Ade says:

    Superman splatters Hulk all over the place. We know he can definitely hurt Hulk, o now all he has to do is hurt him faster than his ability to regenrate – and of course Supes can do THAT lol. Superspeed. Magnificent superspeed.

  3. David Lindasy says:

    Hulk every day of the week and twice on sundays

  4. Cookie Monster says:

    In the recent Superman movie “Man of Steel” Superman kills general Zod at the end of the movie by snapping his neck. Correct me if I’m wrong but Superman and Zod share the same fictional super powers, strengths, and weaknesses. This suggests to me that if the Hulk got a hold of Supermans’ neck and squeezed it hard enough, consequently would do to Superman what Superman did to Zod.

  5. Michael says:

    I would have to say the Hulk, I mean the Hulk took Loki and even Thor threw them around like they were rag dolls!

  6. cor2879 says:

    There is an actual Superman vs Hulk One-shot that was produced about 10 years ago or so.  It’s not bad, and interesting because it’s written as if Superman exists (and has always existed) in the Marvel Universe, which certainly presents a lot of interesting ideas on its own.

    Anyway, in that one, they fight several times, both landing some pretty significant hits against the other.  I don’t believe it ends with either one being a clear victor.

  7. Justin W. says:

    I’d LOVE to see you guys break down Thor vs. Superman in a similar fashion 🙂

    • Ian says:

      Goddamn. Let’s be clear: everyone who says they are disappointed are disgruntled Marvel fanboys who are kissed that not win everything ever. They also think that Batman could beat God with  prep time. Ugh. 

    • It’s not on Nerdist but I did actually cover that one. Unfortunately as I said in the answer it would be really impossible to call the fight. I did however break down their strengths and weaknesses and what factors would affect each hero in the fight.
      You can see that here._________________

  8. chris says:

    One: I’m ashamed that nerdist DID not specify a Hulk. You specified a super man but not a hulk. Two, as in after world war hulk, Bruce banner admitted he was always in control. (no this isn’t the quote from the film.) three,  Superman has fought the hulk (savage)  twice and lost. The their third round was professor hulk, proffesor lost due to his lack of power. Finaly,  we have someone (two actually) that are like and are as powerful as Ka El, The Sentury and Gladiator. Hulk has trashed gladiator and nearly killed himself and the sentury. Dont forget his he snaps now to world breaker. You guys did minor homework here and a bad job explaining it. I’m so disappointed in you,  terribly.

    • The article is reprinted from a Quora question I answered in which the following stipulations were a part of the question… 
      “Pre-Crisis Superman and Hulk of any Era” 
      You are right that I didn’t specify a Hulk but as it was open to any Era with the exception of the few smart Hulks I think the essential factors in the fight would be shared between most incarnations. I tried to use a good general case scenario for Hulk without cherry picking an obscure or excessively powered Hulk that only made a few appearances. Pre-Crisis Superman on the other hand had a wide publication history. 
      The only reason Pre-Crisis Supes was necessary to outline was to make sure it was clearly understood the power levels of Superman in this fight. A lesser Superman might not have been able to win this fight. It all hinged on Superman’s ability to sundive to boost his power before Hulk got too angry, super speed, infinite mass punch and Supermans zeptosecond precision to break off the attack.
      The combination of pre-crisis super speed, perceptions and ability to withstand a few initial blows from the Hulk was what gave the victory to Supes. This would be true against all but a few Hulk versions.

  9. Marc says:

    The speed would not be a factor, the Hulk has grabbed Silver Surfers board traveling at top speed( which according to wikipedia travels faster than light) (Tales to Astonish #92)!

  10. Ryan Buckley says:

    To be fair, the Marvel vs DC outcomes were based on fan voting. Superman is generally more popular than Hulk, so that decided that. If I am remembering correctly, Superman defeated him with a large blast of heat vision. I feel like that wouldn’t have given The Hulk a sunburn, let alone put him down for the count. In my opinion, The Hulk would take down Superman based on the infinite rage factor.

  11. tim says:

    this fight already happened in marvel vs dc…superman won

  12. okay, i have to agree that Supes would win….now Nerdist i challenge you do try and settle every fanboys argument… Superman vs Goku.

  13. Lyriz says:

    I say HULK wins. Because it’s possible that The Hulk is made up of the same elements as Kryptonite.  BOOM.

  14. gdkool says:

    As long as Superman keeps his distance and is always moving when attacking he should win

  15. Daniel Sievert says:

    The bit about Superman lifting 200 quintillion tons with one hand is that it happened on the earth’s moon which has one sixth the gravity of earth and he was so charged with solar radiation that he was dying. Superman also claimed that accounting for the moon’s gravity he could lift 66.67 quintillion tons that was six times heavier than his max lift before his lethal exposure. So his max military press would be 22.22 quintillion tons. A lot of people seem to get this reference messed up. That being said Superman still has the advantage with speed, senses and flight. Superman feels pain from powerful blows and has even been knocked out by punches nowhere near powerful enough to really hurt him. Hulk has gone up against the superfast and seems to be able to sense or predict when they will be on the receiving end of his powerful punches. If you take from the same source that radiation can be lethal and Hulk can give off massive gamma radiation to the point it can disintegrate matter on contact as well as planet shattering kinetic energy. Hulk in his dumbest incarnation can also rapidly calculate trajectories and outcomes in his subconscious so that even in the wake of all his destruction the Hulk has never been responsible for any deaths to non combatants. The Hulk has done some impossible things like grabbing pure energy as if it was solid matter and punching through dimensions and reality at a fraction of the power Superman needed to do the same. The Hulk could pose a serious threat to Superman. That being said and as much as I love the Hulk Superman still has a major advantage. I would say Superman would take it but it wouldn’t be an easy victory.

  16. phillip says:

    See cosmic spidey vs hulk : punch himInto space  + wait .  Hulk has no ability to move in the vaccume of space .

    • Jarhead says:

      Did you even read the article? Hulk is not effected by the vacuum of space. All he needs is to thunder clap away from earth and the force of his clap will send him back.

  17. BarnabyJones says:

    I actually see this as evidence that Marvel is overall a better constructed universe.  Superman is f**king ridiculous.  How can a guy with powers on the scale defined be challenged by a-holes like Intergang or Toyman?  Superman fights should last about 2 seconds tops.  Even if he is trying not to kill someone, the speed at which he can disarm, use his x-ray vision  to strike nerve clusters and bones, and use “hotter than the sun” laser eyes from a huge distance should allow him to wrap up a conflict against humans with minimal casualties in a heartbeat.

  18. This video is in portuguese, but I think that can you put subtitles in english. It shows how powerful are they, comparing them, using cience.

  19. Brad says:

    If we were dealing with Worldbreaker Hulk, the one who fought the Sentry (IE: Marvel’s version of Supes) in World War Hulk, I’d have to give the match to The Hulk.  That Hulk was incredibly intelligent, had a far greater “resting” power than the typical Green Hulk (Savage Hulk), and at one point would have shattered the world if he had taken but a single step.

    • Tyler says:

      I would almost agree.  I think I’d still giving it to Superman in the end (sad as it is to say being a Hulk fan), but you’re right in pointing out the massive oversight in this article that other writers (your reference in particular) have given Hulk Bruce Banner’s consciousness and intellect, thereby making him far more intelligent than Superman and exponentially more dangerous.

      Still, the fact remains that Superman is too fast and can out maneuver Hulk’s intelligence even in that situation.  It would just be a much closer, more drawn out, and far more complicated battle.

      • Worldbreaker Hulk would pretty much do what Doomsday did to Superman to kill him and would do it far more effectively, because of his intelligence and his limitless strength. Also his ability to recover to catastrophic damage is a huge asset in a fight with Superman.

      • Jarhead says:

        How can Supes out maneuver Hulk if Hulk rips off his arms and legs?