There are numerous powerhouse superheroes in the Marvel universe. However, the Hulk and the Thing are the most talked about in terms of raw strength. The two giants fought each other in the comics numerous times. The question is, if the Hulk and the Thing duked it out, which giant would win?
The Hulk would win in a giant fight against the Thing almost every time. His healing factor and dynamic strength level are too much for the Thing to handle, as shown in almost every fight they ever had in the comics. The Thing’s best chance is intellect and indomitable will.
The Thing never gives up – even when he knows the odds are completely against him. That, along with the fact that he usually works in a team, might give Benjamin Grimm a slight chance against Marvel’s strongest superhero. Let’s dive into the Hulk’s and Thing’s powers and analyze how they compare with each other.
Let’s be honest here – I don’t think there’s a character in the entire Marvel universe that can match the Hulk in pure, raw strength. When Bruce Banner gets angry, he turns into Hulk. The angrier Hulk gets, the stronger he becomes.
That dynamic factor is virtually unlimited, meaning the Hulk’s strength has no upper boundary. He was seen casually holding a 150 billion-ton mountain range on his shoulders and shattered the American East Coast with mere footsteps.
The Beyonder, a being of omnipotent powers and one of the most powerful beings in the multiverse, stated in Secret Wars II #8 that Banner’s strength could vary up to literally unlimited levels.
In Indestructible Hulk #1, the Mad Thinker – known for his extraordinary mathematical calculations, deemed the upper level of the Hulk’s strength incalculable.
Likewise, the Stranger – a cosmic entity with power levels comparable to the Celestials, Galactus, and the Watchers – also said the Hulk’s strength is undoubtedly limitless in Tales to Astonish #89.
The list goes on and on, but you get the point. Banner is the only thing limiting the Hulk’s strength, not because he can’t grow stronger, but because his true strength is way too incredible. If the Hulk reached anywhere near his upper limits, his mere existence would jeopardize the planet, possibly the galaxy.
As for the beloved Thing, he’s been the Fantastic Four’s powerhouse since 1961. Since the radioactive exposure that granted the Fantastic Four their powers, Benjamin Grimm gained the ability to turn into the Thing.
His skin is made of organic stone material, and he gains incredible superhuman strength. Unlike the Hulk, though, Ben keeps his intellect when in Thing form.
However, although the Thing is incredibly strong, he doesn’t have the dynamic level of strength like the Hulk – meaning, it has its limitations. The Hulk’s strength is classified as Class 100+, meaning he can lift over 100 000 tons. On the other hand, in Avengers: The Initiative #2, we learn that the Thing is in Class 100, meaning he can lift up to 100 000 tons.
Some of his strength feats include throwing a structure resembling the Louvre pyramid (weighing at least 100 000 tons), preventing a building from collapsing and lifting it in place (Fantastic Four #95), and even knocking out the Immortal Hulk – something almost nobody ever could (Fantastic Four Vol. 6 #13).
The classifications ought to be taken roughly, not literally, as both of these characters increased and decreased in strength over the years, so it depends on which two versions of Hulk and Thing we’re comparing.
Be that as it may, the Thing’s strength has limits, whereas the Hulk’s doesn’t. It’s safe to say the Green Goliath takes this category.
Point: Hulk (1:0) Thing
Strength and durability are the two strongest characteristics of both the Hulk and the Thing. However, Hulk yet again comes out on top here due to one simple fact – he’s virtually immortal.
Many have tried harming the Hulk in every possible way – cutting out his air supply, throwing nukes, sending him into deep space – whatever you can think of, the Hulk already survived through it.
His skin is virtually impenetrable, and although he did get hurt a few times in the comics, Hulk has a strong healing factor that helped him recover from every injury. There is simply no way to kill the Hulk.
Bruce Banner himself tried to end things. He tried everything – shooting himself in the mouth, drinking a fistful of pills, slitting his wrists – but nothing worked. The Hulk always survives. He went toe-to-toe against some of the mightiest cosmic heroes. The only thing that can defeat the Hulk is preventing Banner from ever transforming into the big green guy.
On the other hand, the Thing is also quite durable and resilient. First of all, his stamina is impressive. Due to the muscular composition of his body, Thing can physically exert himself for over 24 hours before the first sign of fatigue kicks in.
His rock-solid skin – pun intended – makes Thing incredibly resistant to physical injury, pain, and any kind of impact. The Hulk’s punch can decimate a mountain range, and yet, in Fantastic Four #25, Thing showed he could take that punch without too much damage.
He’s highly resilient to explosives, too – a bazooka shot from point-blank range didn’t harm him at all, although I’m not sure how Thing would fare against nuclear weaponry. The only thing we’ve seen that’s capable of piercing Thing’s rock-like skin is Wolverine’s adamantium.
Then again, his claws pierced through the Hulk’s impenetrable skin a few times, too. So that can hardly be taken as a measuring stick.
That being said, he does bleed and can get injured, but Thing doesn’t have the Hulk’s recovery factor – he needs to heal properly over time and can indeed die. Finally, I’d like to point out that Thing doesn’t age unless he’s in human form, which makes him naturally immortal.
When you put it all together, I’d still give the Hulk a durability advantage, as he had shown much greater feats when it comes to durability. They are both highly resilient to physical damage, but Hulk is just on another level.
Point: Hulk (2:0) Thing
Now, if you need any more confirmation about who is stronger and who would win, you should just look at the comic insert above and read what Ben Grimm himself has to say about the topic. He openly states that there’s no debate – the Hulk is stronger than him.
Indeed, the Thing is probably one of Hulk’s most frequent rivals. Although it’s impressive to see how many times Thing stood his ground against one of the strongest beings in the universe, the fact remains that the Fantastic Four powerhouse still lost most of their comic duels.
According to one research, the Hulk and the Thing fought 60 times in the comics, most of which ended in a draw (or having no decisive winner). However, Hulk usually gets the best of Thing – so much so that the big heart of stone taps out of some of their fights.
For instance, in Secret Empire #6, Hulk obliterates Thing in merely two punches. In the Fantastic Four #25, the Thing says, “he beat me,” after an epic fight between the two leads to the Thing being knocked down. Marvel Fanfare #21 had Banner destroy Grimm, screaming for help and abandoning the fight in the end.
And, the victories that th Thing had over the Hulk usually came as a part of a team effort, not a solo act.
For instance, in Fantastic Four #13 from 2019, the Hulk’s mind has been partially under Puppet Master’s control, leading to the Thing being able to knock him down. In Immortal Hulk #41, Ben even managed to knock Bruce out. However, the Hulk was weakened with an internal clash of his multiple personalities, Hulk versions, and Banner himself.
On one occasion, the Invisible Woman summoned a force field around Hulk’s head, cutting off his air supply, which enabled the Thing to knock him out. But, the only time Thing really beat Banner one-on-one was when he had amplified abilities while fighting a weakened Gray Hulk – which is one of the weakest Hulk versions to start with.
Overall, the Hulk showed much more strength and won many more fights than the Think, and even the fights Ben won were hardly ever a one-on-one clash.
Point: Hulk (3:0) Thing
If we’re talking about Bruce Banner vs. Ben Grimm intelligence-wise, then it’s a no-contest in Dr. Banner’s favor. Bruce is a renowned scientist and one of the smartest people on the planet. His intellect is classified as super-genius. Banner is an expert in nuclear physics, as well as engineering, medicine, quantum mechanics, etc.
And while Benjamin Grimm is quite smart, he’s nowhere near Banner’s level of intelligence. In fact, I wouldn’t even say he’s on the genius level, let alone super-genius. That means Hulk clearly gets the point in this category, right? Well, not quite.
You see, when Banner transforms into Hulk, the beast loses Bruce’s mind and intellect. On the other hand, when Grimm turns into Thing, he maintains the same level of intelligence, coherent thought, speech, and cognitive abilities.
There were versions of the Hulk that mashed together the brute strength of the Green Giant and the intellectual capabilities of Dr. Banner (like Professor Hulk, Doc Green, or the Merged Hulk). Still, the regular, classic version of the Hulk doesn’t have that kind of intellect.
Bruce Banner beats Ben Grimm intellectually, but the Thing beats the Hulk. Therefore, both characters deserve points in this category.
Point(s): Hulk (4:1) Thing
Apart from incredible strength and durability, the major thing that makes Thing such an amazing superhero and one of the most beloved characters in Marvel Comics is his indomitable will and heart. Even when the odds are against him, when he’s bruised and hurt, Benjy never gives up.
One time, the Champion – a cosmic entity of unfathomable strength – challenged 8 of Earth’s strongest heroes, including Hulk, Thor (Asgardian, but Earth’s protector), and the Thing. One by one, everyone got either disqualified or knocked out, so the Thing remained the last one standing.
He knew there was no way of beating the Champion. However, he kept pressing forward, lasting over two rounds – whereas no one else endured one full round. Badly beaten up and injured, the Thing thought the entire planet was in danger and that he was the last one who could defend it. So, he literally crawled in the ring, demanding that the fight continue.
Impressed with his poise, heart, and will, the Champion spared the planet and Thing. Now, that’s what being a hero truly means – never giving up on doing the right thing.
The Thing also has heightened senses, or sensory adaptation, to be precise. He can withstand incredible amounts of sensory stimuli that normal human beings couldn’t, such as extremely high temperatures, loud noises, direct light into the eyes, and more.
He’s also a phenomenal pilot, expert martial artist, and, for what it’s worth, a fabulous saxophone player.
As for the Hulk, it’s not like he needs anything else than his unfathomable strength, durability, and healing prowess, as well as Banner’s super-genius intellect. However, there’s more.
The Big Green has telepathic resistance, extrasensory perception, superhuman reflexes, stamina, disease immunity, and incredible superhuman speed for his size. Some of the Hulk’s stronger forms even have radioactive gamma radiation (for instance, the World Breaker Hulk).
When it’s all said and done, as much as we all love the Thing’s will and heart of a true hero, Banner/Hulk simply overpower him, even if you exclude strength and durability.
Point: Hulk (5:1) Thing
Hulk Vs. Thing: Who Wins?
The results speak for themselves – Hulk wins against the Thing comfortably at least 9/10 times. The Big Green is simply too powerful for the original Rock to conquer. Thing’s best attribute is strength, and Hulk trumps him in that regard by a mile. The same goes for durability and additional powers.
Their comic battles almost always end up with the Hulk winning comfortably or the fight ending before we can get a winner. The only time(s) when Thing won against the Hulk is when he had help from the Fantastic Four, or the Hulk was weakened, while the Thing was powered up.
Realistically, the only way the Thing could beat Hulk in a fair fight is to outsmart him somehow. Although Banner is smarter than Grimm, remember – Benjamin keeps his intellect while in his Thing form, while Banner loses his intellect while in Hulk form.
Thing would have to plan how to weaken the Hulk and make him turn back into Banner. Seeing that you can’t kill or physically harm the Hulk, it might be the only way to win against the Green Giant.
Also, Thing probably has more martial arts and combat skills than the Hulk, so there’s a tiny window where I can see him outfight the Hulk. Still, Hulk’s strength is almost always enough for him to overcome some technical shortages.
In the end, I have the Hulk winning the battle of giants against the Thing 9/10 times, with the one victory Thing is having being a matter of plot convenience.