The Hulk is undoubtedly one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe. No other character in Marvel is as best known for his insane strength levels as Hulk. In his debut in 1962’s The Incredible Hulk, the original Hulk was Dr. Bruce Banner, who was exposed to gamma radiation turning him into the giant monster we’ve come to know and love.
However, in the character’s almost 60-year history, different versions of the Hulk and other gamma-radiated beings share the name, each with varying levels of strength.
This article will take a deep dive into the Hulk’s history, ranking the character’s versions by their level of strength. So, be sure to read on till the end to get the full story of what will be an exciting read!
20. Gray Hulk
When the Hulk was first created, he was quite different than the character we know today. The original Hulk appearing in 1962’s The Incredible Hulk was gray in the first issue. This version of the Hulk is largely considered the least strong and would form a baseline for the evolution of the character’s powers over the years.
This version didn’t retain the intellect of Bruce Banner when he transformed and wasn’t quite as fast or agile as future Hulks. This Hulk’s color would change to green in the following issues, with his power level being increased just a tad bit.
19. Red She-Hulk
Betty Ross, Bruce Banner’s ex-wife, is a version of the Hulk referred to as Red She-Hulk. The Red She-Hulk first made an appearance in 2009’s Hulk #15. Betty Ross is the daughter of General “Thunderbolt” Ross. Betty was exposed to gamma radiation in the same explosion that transformed Bruce Banner into the Hulk.
Betty and Bruce, later on, get married but she routinely suffers from Gamma sickness that nearly kills her. Bruce invents a cure for her but his nemesis the Abomination replaces the cure with his own blood. This transfusion worsens her illness and she dies. General Ross places her body in cryogenic stasis.
Months later, The Leader put Betty through a range of experiments that transform her into the Red She-Hulk. She gained immense powers, most notably superhuman strength. As a red version of the Hulk, she can absorb Gamma Radiation but doesn’t have as much control over her abilities.
18. Ultimate Hulk
This incarnation of the Hulk resides in an alternate universe within the Marvel Multiverse. Otherwise known as Earth-1610 Hulk, this version of Banner has arguably the least control of any on this list. He occasionally loses control and ends up turning against his teammates, the Avengers.
Ultimate Hulk goes rogue on occasion and at one time, Wolverine was forced to confront him. It doesn’t end well for the Adamantium-laced Wolverine as Ultimate Hulk rips him in half and tosses both halves on different sides.
While strong in his own right, this version’s ability is well below Earth-616’s Incredible Hulk. For instance, he was defeated by Thor and Hercules, two characters who the Incredible Hulk fought to a stalemate.
17. Incredible/Classic Hulk
The second issue of the 1962 six series The Incredible Hulk saw the transformation of the Hulk from being gray to green. Apart from the color difference, the Incredible Hulk is also stronger than his gray predecessor. This Hulk also gets stronger the angrier he becomes which means he had no limit to his strength. He proved this assertion in 1966’s Tales To Astonish when he fought the supremely strong god Hercules to a standstill.
16. Cosmic Hulk
Cosmic Hulk from Earth-5000 is one of Galactus’ early trials at creating Heralds and made his first appearance in Eternals #14. This version of the Hulk is robotic and was created by a young Mad Thinker who received a telepathic message from Galactus to do so.
Cosmic Hulk shares the powers and abilities of the regular Hulk, with one huge difference. Cosmic Hulk’s powers come from a never-ending resource of Power Cosmic, unlike the other Hulks who utilize Gamma Radiation. Thanks to the Power Cosmic, this robotic Hulk has some unique powers including flight, shooting energy beams from his eyes, and the ability to absorb and store energies.
15. Red Hulk
First appearing in 2008’s Hulk Vol.2 #1, this version of the Hulk is the aforementioned General Thunderbolt Ross, Betty Ross’ dad and one of Bruce Banner’s most noteworthy enemies. He was the commander of the military base where Bruce and his team were experimenting on the Gamma Bomb. His hatred of Bruce was solidified by the fact that his daughter Betty and Bruce were an item.
When General Ross discovers that Bruce is the Hulk, he enlists the help of a dodgy organization to acquire energy from the Hulk’s body. He then uses it to transform himself into the Red Hulk. In addition to regular Hulk’s powers, this version can absorb radiation from people and objects to further augment his strength making him a formidable opponent.
Bruce Banner isn’t the only one in his family to contend with being a Hulk. Jennifer Walters is Bruce’s cousin and growing up, the two had an incredibly close bond. Jennifer is injured in an accident and Bruce provides a blood transfusion. This effectively heals Jennifer but has the side effect of turning her into a gamma-radiated being dubbed She-Hulk.
Unlike Bruce, she retains her wits while in Hulk form and her superhuman strength while in human form. The angrier She-Hulk gets, the stronger she becomes, though she does have a semblance of control over her anger.
She-Hulk is arguably stronger than the Incredible Hulk. For instance, she was able to hold her own in a fight against Zeus, getting in several powerful blows. By comparison, Zeus fought Hulk in The Incredible Hulk series and almost immediately dispatched the green giant.
Still, the upper limits of the She-Hulk’s strength and power are hitherto unknown so it’d be a good idea to watch the Disney+ series She-Hulk: Attorney At Law to see how her story plays out.
13. Professor Hulk
Professor Hulk was introduced in the early ’90s when Peter David was the main writer. This version of the Hulk combined the strength, intelligence, and power potential of every Hulk that had been created until that point. This gave rise to a supremely strong Hulk who also boasted an intellect until then unseen in any Hulk version. Professor Hulk formed the basis of Avengers: Endgame Hulk who was much calmer and more versatile.
Though a calmer version of the Hulk, Professor Hulk’s strength isn’t to be cast in doubt. He still gets stronger the angrier he gets, making his strength level greater in comparison to other Hulks.
12. Doc Green
In 2014’s Hulk #2, an organization by the name Ancient Order of the Shield has Bruce Banner shot in the head. Thankfully, the Hulk’s healing powers take effect and keep him alive.
However, the Hulk is unable to fix Bruce’s fractured mind. This is where Tony Stark steps in and administers the Extremis virus which he hopes will heal his mind. The virus does its work, but it also causes the emergence of a new personality, “Doc Green”.
This version of Hulk has similar characteristics to the regular Hulk. There’s one difference though, Doc Green doesn’t have any of the limitations that Banner has imposed on Hulk. Therefore, Doc Green can increase his strength beyond normal Hulk limits. Eventually, Banner has the Extremis virus removed because Doc Green is too powerful and he fears that Doc would turn villainous.
11. Savage Hulk
This version of the Hulk is probably the most famous among fans, in part thanks to his famous catchphrase “Hulk smash.” He usually refers to himself in the third person. Just as the name alludes, Savage Hulk has even less control over his emotions and actions.
This, therefore, makes him way stronger than the regular Hulk. In a calm state (or at least as calm as the Hulk can get), Savage Hulk can lift more than 100 tons. Imagine how much he can lift when he’s supremely angry! For example, in Hulk #126, Savage Hulk destroys an entire universe just by fighting.
10. Merged Hulk
When it became apparent that the personalities of Savage Hulk, Gray Hulk, and Bruce Banner were conflicting and would destroy each other, Doc Samson used hypnosis to merge all three of them. This resulted in the Merged Hulk who had the intelligence of Bruce Banner and remained a gigantic version of the Savage Hulk, though stronger.
Merged Hulk would lead a normal superhero life and become a leader of a team of heroes called Pantheon. However, things weren’t always smooth sailing. This new personality would malfunction at times. When he was extremely angry, he would revert to Bruce Banner’s body but with the mind of Savage Hulk. Eventually, this version would disappear and new personalities would emerge.
9. Mindless Hulk
We all know that for the most part, regular Hulk’s strength increases the angrier he gets. One would, therefore, imagine that he requires a fully functional brain to attain his peak rage level. This assumption would be disproven in The Incredible Hulk #299 in which Banner commits psychic suicide thus releasing Hulk from his bonds. Without Banner’s restrictions, Hulk’s lack of mind makes him a ravaging beast. His anger grew out of control making him incredibly strong.
We also see the Mindless Hulk in Onslaught: Marvel Universe #1 when Banner asks Jean Grey to shut off Bruce and release Mindless Hulk to help them defeat Onslaught.
This version comes from the darkest future timelines of Marvel Comics, first appearing in Peter David’s 1992 Future Imperfect series. Maestro is a version of the Hulk who became even more powerful than the regular Hulk after being exposed to nuclear radiation from the end-of-the-world events that killed off most of the planet.
His strength is so incredible that he can lift twice as much in a calm state. Because he’s been around longer, his strength level has increased exponentially and his continued exposure to Gamma Radiation only adds to this. What’s more, his apparent insanity also serves to enhance his anger levels and, therefore, his strength.
7. Green Scar
In the Planet Hulk storyline, the Illuminati led by Dr. Strange trick Hulk into leaving Earth believing him to be a threat. He ends up landing on a planet called Sakaar where he becomes a gladiator. While on the planet, his fighting prowess and strength increased exponentially as he fights in the arenas.
He discovers new methods of focusing his anger and he retains his intelligence. He battles his way to the throne of Sakaar before the ship he came in explodes. He believes his wife and unborn children are killed and this sets him on a vengeance trip back to Earth to exact his vengeance on the Illuminati who sent him to Sakaar.
One thing most people don’t know is that there are multiple Hulk personalities in Bruce Banner’s head. In 2014’s Avengers & X-Men: Axis, readers were introduced to Kluh, who’s an extremely powerful version of the Gray Hulk that Banner had long suppressed in his psyche. Kluh had dark grey skin with red lines covering his body and deep red eyes. He doesn’t rely on the mere rage that powers Bruce’s Hulk but is anger personified.
Not only was Kluh stronger than previous versions of the Hulk, but he also had some additional powers including telekinesis. He was able to defeat one of the strongest Avengers rosters including Thor, Scarlet Witch, Luke Cage, Wasp, Sam Wilson, and Medusa. This version was lost when Scarlet Witch cast a reversion spell to revert the Hulk.
5. Blue Hulk
One of the most powerful incarnations of the Hulk is Captain Universe Hulk. In Captain Universe: Incredible Hulk #1, we witness the Uni-Power bonding with the immeasurably strong Hulk. This not only grants Hulk a blue skin tone, but it also gives him the power of Captain Universe which also boosts the Hulk’s already limitless strength. He also gained powers like flight, psychic and telekinetic abilities. This mixture of powers and abilities resulted in one of the most powerful Hulk versions ever.
4. Titan Hulk
This version first appears in April 2022’s Hulk #6. Using magic, science, and psychic abilities, Banner can pilot Hulk’s body from a psychic cockpit inside his and Hulk’s psyche. This allows him to be in control of the power the Hulk possesses, unlike past versions where Hulk and Banner co-existed. In this version, the Hulk’s essence is trapped in what Banner calls an Engine Room. In the Engine Room, Hulk’s consciousness is forced to battle various manifestations of powerful Marvel beings, constantly powering his rage.
Eventually, the Hulk’s rage levels in the Engine Room reach their limit, erupting in power levels, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Hulk’s body erupts in extreme Gamma Radiation that transforms him into a 30-foot-tall beast.
We are yet to see the true extent of Titan Hulk’s powers because he was just recently introduced, but he could prove to be the strongest incarnation in the future.
3. Immortal Hulk
The Devil Hulk is an evil personality of Banner, a personification of his resentment at the way the world treats him. The Immortal Hulk stems from Banner and Hulk being through multiple deaths and rebirths, thus allowing Devil Hulk to suppress other incarnations and become the dominant Hulk.
As the name suggests, this Hulk is unkillable even by cosmic beings. In addition to tremendous strength, the Immortal Hulk can also drain gamma radiation from other beings allowing him to become even stronger. He can also shoot gamma rays capable of destroying planets. He discovers that the power of all gamma-radiated beings comes from The One Below All and uses this knowledge to become one of the strongest Hulks.
2. World Breaker Hulk
This is one of the strongest Hulk versions. After his family is seemingly destroyed on the planet Sakaar, this Hulk came to be when the Hulk absorbed the energy of Sakaar making him supremely powerful. He returns to Earth with rage, grief, sorrow, and vengeance in his heart aimed at the Illuminati and Avengers who had exiled him to Sakaar.
The World Breaker Hulk destroyed the entire East Coast of the U.S. and even the combined might of Earth’s heroes including the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Sentry wasn’t enough to stop him. He fought and defeated the Heroes of Earth in a week and even after this displayed that his true power was still untapped.
1. Breaker of Worlds
This version of the Hulk shouldn’t be confused with World Breaker Hulk. The Breaker of Worlds comes to be ten billion years in the future when The One Below All destroys Bruce Banner’s soul and takes possession of his body. The Sentience of the Universe who thinks Bruce is still in control wants to merge so they can become a new being but The One Below All possesses Hulk and devours the Sentience.
This transforms the Hulk into a Galactus-like being that can destroy entire universes in an instant. After ten billion years, the Breaker of Worlds has wreaked havoc and decimated everything rendering the universe dead. If we ever get to see The One Below All possess Hulk and transform him into this version, there’s no doubt he’ll be the strongest ever.