Few battles in the Marvel Universe hold as much anticipation as those involving Hulk and Thanos. These two, with Hulk, touted as earth’s mightiest hero and Thanos as the Mad Titan, always serve up a colossal battle. They have come to blows both in the comics and the cinematic adaptation. But the question remains; who would win between Hulk and Thanos in one-on-one combat?
In the opening scenes of Avengers: Infinity Wars, we see Thanos quickly bashed into a wall by Hulk. It could have been a fantastic outcome for fans of the “smash” monster if things had remained the same. While Hulk gained the upper hand early, what followed next was a clear demonstration of power by Thanos even without the infinity stones. He turned the tide in his favor with some quick fighting combinations and precise movement. It was a statement.
Over the years, the two have fought more battles both in the MCU and Marvel Universe. While both are freaks of nature with incredible power sets, one has to edge the other. The brutish strength of Hulk accelerated healing, and his other impressive abilities make him a formidable foe. An added advantage of his strength is tied to the amount of rage he feels means that as long as his anger grows that there are no limits to his power. On his day, Hulk would win any foe at the battle.
Thanos, on the other hand being an Eternal-Deviant hybrid, has a whole range of abilities that causes Hulk’s powers to pale in comparison. His ability to harness and use a large amount of cosmic energy, access to artifacts and mystic objects belonging to the Eternals, and resistance to terrestrial diseases are some of his prominent powers. Telekinesis and Telepathy are thrown into the mix, although the latter would be ineffective against the Hulk, as the Hulk is immune to telepathy. Excellent hand combat skills make him more calculative in battle than the brutish Hulk.
Thanos’s powers and superior fighting skills mean he would win Hulk at any given moment with or without the infinity stones. But, there is no Thanos in the Marvel Universe without the mention of the infinity stones. Using the infinity stones in battle with Hulk will leave a situation where Thanos is light years ahead of Hulk. In a Marvel Comics Infinity Gauntlet storyline, Thanos uses the infinity stones to make the Hulk extremely weak on most occasions. On one occasion he had shrunk the Hulk to size. He also subdued the Hulk in this storyline, and turned him into his pet, pitting him against his former friends, Avengers. No doubt that the Hulk is a physical coliseum and would take on and best most characters in the Marvel Universe, Thanos is just one of the characters he can’t beat. At least in one-on-one combat.
The only consolation though is that with the help of his friends, The Avengers, the Hulk would be able to win Thanos. That choice wouldn’t be what Hulk would be too proud of.