Can The Hulk Really Defeat Superman In A Fight?: (An Exercise in Fanciful Speculation)
Can the Hulk really defeat Superman, The Man of Steel, in a fight? This article is my humble attempt to analyze this question using a critical formula I perfected in examining the matter of "Can Superman Outrun The Flash?" We look at two things: the native species of the two proposed contestants, to determine which is innately physically superior; and what is the nature of the forces, which acted upon these individuals to give them their superpowers.
In the case of the Hulk versus Superman, there is actually a third factor which matters a great deal. In fact, this third thing is critical. That third thing is this: Is there or Is there not a God? That's right, the answer we come up differs depending on which condition is true. How, you ask? We'll come back to that.
First of all Superman, Ka-el, is a Kryptonian; and The Hulk, Bruce Banner underneath it all, is a human being. As we established in the article "Can Superman Outrun The Flash," Kryptonians are innately physically superior to human beings. We know this is so because of the dramatic effects that the Earth's yellow sun and lighter gravity has on Kryptonians.
It is unlikely that Krypton, if it hadn't been smashed to smithereens, would have had the same effect on human beings as our world had on Kryptonians. Krypton had a much, much heavier gravity; and given the fact that they can fly on our world, we, homo sapiens would probably have had a hard time just moving around much less outracing a speeding bullet and all the rest of it.
Therefore, again, Kryptonians are physically, innately superior to ourselves. There's a much higher grade of raw material to work with in the case of the former. This, of course - and I can't stress this enough - is what we must always keep in mind when we begin to assess the effects of superpowers imposed on two individuals, in making a determination about whose abilities outstrip whose.
Score one for Superman, he's a native Kryptonian.
What are the sources of their powers? For Superman we've already said: the Earth's yellow sun and lighter gravity. Superman's powers come from the very universe, therefore, since our planet and solar system, like every other planet and solar system in the universe was made by universal forces.
How did the Hulk come to be the Hulk? Dr. Bruce Banner got his powers from a nuclear experiment that went terribly wrong. His body was inundated with an enormous amount of gamma radiation, which is a natual, universal force, I suppose.
But let's look at that again. Superman's powers come from the everyday, hour-by-hour, minute -by-minute natural workings of reality, the movement of the energies of the universe. The Hulk's powers derive from a violent disruption of the universe, localized in one point, Bruce Banner's body. To put it crudely, Superman draws on a wider and deeper stream of universal energies than the Hulk does - much more so, in fact.
Therefore, looking at his logically, we have to say that Superman kicks Hulk's !a**! So, Superman began as a physically innately superior being to the Hulk, and the forces acting on them to endow them with their powers, was superior in the case of Superman.
But wait, there's more. We said there was a third factor that matters here. How would this contest turn out in a universe where there is and is not a God? Well in a universe where there is no God, Superman wins for the reasons I stated.
Now, The Hulk does have a power amplifier -- his rage! We are given to understand that the Hulk is a creature is fueled by rage. The angrier he gets the stronger he gets. Still, in a God-less universe, Hulk still loses to Superman.
Why? Because human beings (and remember beneath it all he is Bruce Banner) cannot become infinitely angry forever. Sooner or later, realistically speaking, is anger level would come down, and Superman would still be standing, until he is the last man standing.
What about a universe with a God? Then the answer becomes more complicated. Why? Because Hulk's rage might potentially be a universal force. Indeed, this might make him a divine instrument like Sampson, instead of an accidentally created monstrosity.
Consider this. One thing all the world's religions agree on is the idea that human beings are, more or less, created in "His" image. If we have learned anything from five thousand years of religious mythology is that the Big Guy is capable of literally unlimited everything, especially anger and a willingness to act on this anger.
In this case, the Hulk's powers can be considered to originate in a divine attribute, and since the capacities of "God," including his anger is presumably unlimited, the power of his/her servant, The Hulk, is also potentially unlimited. In this case the Hulk wins -- unless, for some reason "God" withdraws his/her support for some reason.
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I am going to defend Hayden Christensen's performance in the two prequels.