Whenever the Marvel and DC Universes have crossed over, Superman and the Hulk have usually come to blows. Both of those powerhouses are among their world’s strongest heroes, and their battles have shaken the foundations of their respective worlds more than once.
While it’s rare for either of these titans to suffer defeat, Superman was famously killed by Doomsday after a lengthy battle in the aptly-titled “Death of Superman” event. Even though that story saw Superman and Doomsday slowly beat each other to a pulp in a lengthy fight, the Hulk was able to knock out Doomsday with a single punch in Incredible Hulk #413, by Peter David, Gary Frank and Cam Smith.
This issue kicks off “The Troyjan War,” an interstellar saga where the Hulk was drawn into an intergalactic conflict. While training, the intelligent Professor Hulk and a colleague in the Pantheon — a vigilante organization that had recruited the Hulk at the time — are in a Danger Room-like simulator fighting a number of holographic foes, and one of those holographic opponents looked decidedly familiar.
With a single punch, the Hulk seemingly knocks out a Doomsday lookalike before he can even make it onto the panel. While the moment is played for laughs, it raises the question of how similar these two strength monsters really are, and how they might fare against each other in a head-to-head slugfest.
On some level, Doomsday seemingly takes a great deal of inspiration from the Hulk: both are inhumanly strong with a speed that belies their bulky frames. Throughout the “Death of Superman,” Doomsday cut a swath of destruction across the United States that left countless dead and injured and laid waste to the Justice League before his final fight with Superman.
Like the Hulk, Doomsday is the product of science gone wrong, as the work of an alien scientist intent on creating the ultimate lifeform on a pre-historic Krypton. After several failed clones, the creature that would be called Doomsday evolved into a being that was a nigh-unstoppable powerhouse, and he was effectively immune to whatever had killed him previously. With superhuman strength, speed, regenerative capabilities, limitless stamina and powerful bone claws that can punch through a superpowered Kryptonian’s skin, Doomsday is easily the stuff of nightmares.
Meanwhile, the Incredible Hulk has declared time and again that he is the strongest one there is. And with his power set, it’s easy to see why. The Hulk’s gamma -enhanced muscles can lift 100 tons in a calm state. And since his strength is only limited by his rage, there is no theoretical upper limit to just how powerful he could become. Add to that speed, a healing factor to rival Wolverine’s own, and a fierce cunning in battle in his smarter forms, the Hulk can be a very formidable opponent. In his time, the Hulk has taken on powerhouse heroes like Thor and Hercules, entire teams like the Avengers, even an insane version of himself from the far future. As the Immortal Hulk, the behemoth cannot be killed for good and returns from the grave again and again, not unlike Doomsday’s own dark origin.
Considering how evenly matched the Hulk and Superman are in battle, it stands to reason that the Hulk and the real Doomsday would be fairly evenly matched in terms of raw power too. But while Doomsday exists solely to kill, to lash out and destroy every living thing that crosses his path, the human side of the Hulk and his primal need to survive and protect his friends might be enough to push the Avenger past his own considerable limits, just as Superman did in his first Doomsday battle.
While the fight itself would be a world-shattering spectacle that would leave complete and utter devastation in its wake, the final victory would probably belong to the Hulk, just as Incredible Hulk #413 predicted. With his endless rage, mighty power and his need to survive above all, the Jade Giant can endure practically anything that comes his way, even doomsday.
The monstrous Doomsday was strong enough to kill Superman, but the Hulk knocked out the DC heavyweight with one punch in the Marvel Universe.