Hulk is the strongest one there is! And unfortunately for him, when you’re a gamma-irradiated goliath, having a rogues’ gallery full of mutated monsters and atomic-age evil geniuses comes with the territory.
Hulk’s pantheon of villains has some classic bad guys. Abomination, The Leader, Wendigo, the United States Government… and while it’s true that some of his villains may give him a run for his money, others have fallen wildly short over the years.
10 Missing Link
Born millions of years ago, the Missing Link was trapped in a pocket of volcanic magma and uncovered in modern times following a nuclear weapons test. Captured by the Chinese Military, they attempt to use him as a weapon and launch him at Manhattan, where he brawls with the Hulk.
While he’s strong enough to pose a threat to the Hulk, he has a bad habit of exploding and reforming his own body when the nuclear radiation he has absorbed over the years reaches a critical level. On top of that, he has a childlike mental state, meaning he is often not totally responsible for the damage he causes.
No, not the friendly translucent mutant teenager from the X-Men, the original Glob was a small-time criminal transformed into a walking heap of swamp-goo. Functioning almost like a Proto-Man-Thing, Glob had superhuman strength and durability.
Unfortunately for Glob, he had limited intelligence and very poor speed and reflexes. More of a pawn than a real player in the field of super-villainy, he was captured and enslaved by the Collector before being recruited into SHIELD’s paranormal off-shoot department S.T.A.K.E.
Gremlin isn’t pathetic because of the threat he poses to the Hulk. On the contrary, he has a genius-level intellect capable of crafting some particularly dangerous science-weapons. The sadness surrounding his character comes from his tragic history.
His father was the Gargoyle, the mutant Soviet scientist who holds the distinction of being the first antagonist that the Incredible Hulk ever faced. Born with his father’s deformed appearance, Gremlin set out to live up to his legacy and battle the Hulk, who was passively responsible for the Garygoyle’s demise.
Originally a captive of the Red Skull, the man who would become Piecemeal was used as a test subject for an experiment wherein his various limbs were replaced with those of various animals, people, and supervillains.
This resulted in a fairly effective superpowered henchman with an utterly ridiculous appearance and codename to boot. His most formidable ability was his ability to transform and mimic the powers of those he touched, making him a bit like a cut-rate Absorbing Man.
6 The Metal Master
Speaking of cut-rate versions of more well-known antagonists, we have the Metal Master. One of the Hulk’s earliest foes, first appearing all the way back in The Incredible Hulk #6, he was an extraterrestrial with the ability to telepathically control metal (like some sort of… master of metal.)
He came from an unnamed planet in the Astra Galaxy, where he had been sent into exile by his own people for trying to conquer their world. Upon arriving on earth, he was able to easily beat the Hulk in their first encounter. How did the Hulk finally beat him? He used a plastic gun, which MM had no power over.
A member of the anti-Hulk villain team the Riot Squad, the Ogress was created to be like a dark mirror of She-Hulk. She was formerly Diane Davids, an attorney working in the small Arizona town of Middletown, who had grown increasingly despondent with having to defend criminals.
After the Leader exposes Middletown to gamma radiation in the hopes of creating super-powered citizens for his new nation, Diane is only one of several survivors. The radiation turns her into a humongous green superhuman, although one that unfortunately resembles a grotesque parody of She-Hulk.
4 The Bi-Beast
Unimaginative name aside (he’s called Bi-Beast because he has two faces), everything about the monstrous android feels as though he’s a rejected Lee/Kirby idea from one of their 1950’s monster books. Bi-Beast was an artificial construct developed by a bird-like subset of Inhumans to be their ultimate champion.
His two heads contained different wells of information, the top head housing all of the creature’s knowledge of warfare and the bottom head holding data related to culture. After his creators die out, he’s left wandering their abandoned city alone until the Hulk happens across him, and the two become instant friends. Just kidding, they fight!
3 Hammer and Anvil
Comic books have always been political. However, some have done it much better than others. The supervillain duo of Hammer and Anvil is definitely an example of the latter. They were introduced to readers as two convicts, one a black man and the other a hardened white supremacist, who were shackled together (like the 1958 film The Defiant Ones) by a sadistic prison warden.
Putting their “differences” aside long enough to bust out of prison, they escaped only to be encountered by a dying alien who granted them both superhuman strength but made it so the two were linked both physically and mentally through their chain. They then returned to the prison to tear it apart, where they ended up battling the Hulk.
2 The Clown
The Circus of Crime, with their collection of performers and sideshow attractions-themed bad guys can at times be a visually interesting group of villains for a hero to fight. Individually though, their entertainment/menace factor plummets.
Take the Clown for instance. Though he would sometimes lead the Circus when the Ringmaster was unavailable, the Clown (real name Eliot Franklin) also moonlighted as a solo assassin, with mixed results. More recently he underwent a gamma mutation of his own and became the Griffin, a bird/hulk hybrid member of the Gamma Corps.
1 Puffball Collective
The interdimensional entity known as the Puffball Collective may easily take the award for the Hulk villain with the least threatening name and appearance. Hulk originally crossed paths with the Collective after being banished to the dimensional crossroads by Doctor Strange, who had sent him there in the hopes he would find peace (this idea never. Ever. Works.)
While the Collective originally helped the Hulk survive in the crossroads and defeat several enemies, he eventually learned the dark truth: the Collective was the sole survivor of its homeworld, which it had destroyed by summoning demons through experimentation with arcane magic. While that’s a neat twist, there’s no getting around the name.
The Hulk may be one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel universe, but his rogue's gallery doesn't always meet the high standards he sets.