The Hulk is one of Marvel’s most powerful characters, with some versions of him shattering continents simply by walking. Yet, even he can meet his match sometimes, and that surely happened when he encountered Onslaught. He had battled alongside the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four to defeat him, but if the fight went one-on-one, who would win?
When Onslaught is in his physical form, Hulk can touch him, but when Onslaught reveals his true form, the Hulk stands no chance against him. He was first a persona evolving in the mind of Professor X but later became a being of pure psionic energy.
It took all the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four working together to conquer Onslaught. The Hulk played an integral part in that victory, but he would be way too powerful to defeat one-on-one. Let’s briefly introduce Onslaught for those unfamiliar with the character before we dive into how the Hulk defeated Onslaught.
Who Is Onslaught?
Onslaught is a persona, or rather, a being, that came to existence from the mind of Professor X, the leader of the X-Men. After Xavier’s inner frustrations, self-doubts, and struggles were already causing him mental turmoil, he had an encounter with Magneto where he mind-wiped him, causing some of Magneto’s most negative thoughts and emotions to burrow in his mind.
With time Professor X developed an alter-ego, a persona named Onslaught. It took over Professor X completely, with the intent of wiping out humanity to have the mutants rule Earth.
The X-Men tried fighting him, but they couldn’t do it on their own for several reasons. First, they wanted to save Xavier before anything else, so their offensive options were limited. Second, and probably even more important, Onslaught was way too powerful for them to handle.
So, in Onslaught: Marvel Universe #1 from 1996, they called for help from the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, which they don’t normally do. They answered the calls, and with them came the Hulk. After a while, Onslaught decided to leave Professor X’s body and became pure, concentrated psionic energy encapsulated in an ultra-strong armor.
How Did The Hulk Beat Onslaught?
Now, they can save Professor X, but if they can’t get through the suit of armor around Onslaught, there is no way of beating him. That’s where the Hulk steps in. Realizing the being is too powerful for him, he orders Jean Grey to enter his mind and put the “Banner side” to sleep to release the Mindless Hulk.
The version of Hulk is much more powerful; however, as the name suggests, completely savage and destructive. He attacks the armored, physical form of Onslaught and manages to pierce through his armor, causing a huge explosion that literally separates the Hulk from Banner.
They see the cracked, hollow armor and believe they defeated the being. However, while Hulk did defeat the physical manifestation of Onslaught, it only released his true form out – a pure plague of fear and horror in the form of psionic energy.
They realized that they could contain and weaken him if they ran into his psionic form. Only the X-Men couldn’t do it as they were mutants like him, so they only made him stronger instead of containing him. So, the Avengers, Bruce Banner, and the Fantastic Four seemingly sacrificed themselves to help the X-Men deliver the final blow.
They eventually survived when Onslaught had been defeated, but it was a true testament of how all the other heroes finally embraced the X-Men and trusted them to protect Earth after they were gone.
So, one could say that the Hulk played a huge role in defeating Onslaught, but if the odds were one-on-one, he wouldn’t stand a chance fighting alone against the psionic entity.
Onslaught Vs. Hulk Second Encounter
The encounter I’ve talked about above wasn’t the first time we’ve had the chance to see an Onslaught Vs. Hulk encounter. Only a month earlier, in The Incredible Hulk Vol 1 #445, Onslaught had appeared and battled Professor X with the X-Men, as well as the Avengers and the Hulk.
As they were burrowing to get to Onslaught’s lair, he played mind games with them. It had seemed as if they arrived at his lair, and as everybody rushed to attack Onslaught, the Hulk stayed behind for a moment. Onslaught destroyed and slain everybody, but the brawl gave the Hulk enough time to attack from behind and bludgeon Onslaught to death.
Or so it seemed for a moment because, as we know, Onslaught’s natural form is not physical but rather pure psionic energy.
It was all just a mental projection Onslaught had implanted in everyone’s mind to show them how the Hulk would light-heartedly send them to die just to attack from behind and kill him.
So, yet again, we have the Hulk smashing Onslaught’s physical form, but nothing more than that, and again, he had all the help in the world.
That being said, my conclusion is; although they probably wouldn’t have won against Onslaught without the Hulk, if we’re talking about a one-on-one battle between the two, there’s only so much that the Hulk can do to Onslaught when he shows his true form. It wouldn’t be a contest whatsoever – Onslaught would win one-on-one ten out of ten times.