The Wolverine were the ads for issue #181!
It’s funny, to me anyways, that this battle is a “fan favorite”. It seems like such an easy, lopsided fight for the Hulk to win! Heck, in their original meeting all the Hulk had to do was be able to get his hands on him just once and the fight was practically over. Even the Canadian government that sent Wolverine out there said he failed his mission! So, how did this “loser” become so popular?
Alright, I admit – I actually like Wolverine. A lot. But I think I am one of the few who roll their eyes at a promise to see a new Hulk/Wolvie battle royale. What else is there to see? Every time they meet up the same inevitable outcome is reached. And that is that Wolverine cannot beat the Hulk – on his best day – or the Hulk’s worst. Granted, the first encounter had a very different Wolverine than the one we see today. The Hulk breaks Wolvie’s ribs – or so he admits – giving us the assumption that his bones are not laced with adamantium. His healing factor is also a mystery as he seems to be able to take a bit of punishment – but is easily knocked out by gas. Hulk also dispatched Wolverine ala a knock to the noggin like they are rehearsing a 3 Stooges bit. Not to mention, Wolvie’s claws (which originally were going to be part of his gloves and NOT part of his anatomy. I’m going on record saying that would have been one of the biggest blunders in Marvel history – so kudos to them for changing their tune) can’t even pierce the Hulk’s skin. I miss this Wolverine. Today’s incarnation has survived a nuke at ground zero. What’s the fun in a character who seemingly can’t die? And how is Marvel going to milk more cash out of us with a poly-bagged “Death” issue when we’ve seen Wolverine come back from being dust?
Of course, the Hulk isn’t any slouch in the “change and adapt” category either. The Hulk from ’74 would get his butt whopped by the current Hulk. The ’74 Hulk doesn’t know loss, betrayal and anger the way the Hulk of today does. So does Wolvie (the super, unkillable one of today) stand a chance against the Hulk of today? Well, if we look at the WWH X-Men mini – then no. Let me compile a small list of the Wolvie vs Hulk issues and go through some of the best and worst moments.
The Incredible Hulk #181 – Of course, as I said, the character was not fully formed but his introduction did make it apparent he wasn’t a character that will shy away from a fight – even one he can’t win. This fight sticks with Wolverine so much he never forgets it – or the Hulk! He even flashes back to the fight when Wedigo comes a calling in Uncanny X-Men #139.
Best Moment: The Hulk and Wolvie take on Wendigo together – and Hulk thinks Wolvie is his friend… until Wolverine turns around and starts slashing away at our emerald hero – showing that the Canuck is not afraid to take a cheap shot!
The Incredible Hulk #340 – one of the great behind the scenes moments from this issue is that PD admits to having to plead with the X-Offices to let him use Logan. At that point no one was allowed to use any of the X-Men is guest shots – but PD finally persuaded them all because McFarlane REALLY wanted to take a shot in drawing Wolverine! All of this to bring one of the greatest comic covers to light ever!
Best Moment: After Wolvie loses control and dishes out the pain – the Hulk gets back up and asks for more!
The Incredible Hulk #454 – Banner-less Hulk is facing off against metal-less Wolverine. Hulk is weakened without his alter ego – but Wolverine has no adamantium. Wolvie never stand a chance.
Best Moment: After Wolvie slashes the Hulk’s throat the Hulk realizes there is no metal to be heard of… and the gloves come off.
Hulk #8 – Larsen pens another bout with ole’ bone claws against the raging muscles. Of course this issue (which David reviewed on this very site!) actually has a Wolverine Skrull facing off against the Hulk. But it’s still an action filled issue that’s worth the pick up!
Best moment: Tit for Tat – Wolverine pokes the Hulk’s eyes out – Hulk snaps his claws off. Awesome!
Marvel Fanfare #2 (Second Volume) – This is a weak issue to begin with but I do think it’s worth checking out if only to see Wendigo the size of a teddy-bear. It’s another brutal fight between the Engine of Destruction and the Pint-Sized Foreigner where the Hulk actually teaches Wolvie something about self control.
Best Moment: The Hulk stands there after taking blow after blow from Wolverine’s claws – but even bloody and injured – he remains in control and tells Wolverine he needs to find a way to control his anger.
Infintiy Gaunlet #3 – While the madness of stopping Thanos is taking over everyone’s thoughts there is a quick scene between the hairy midget and Jade with the fade (haircut) where they express some mutual respect.
Best Moment: This is such a short part – but I love it when Hulk refers to their bouts as “Down and Dirty Scraps”
Wolverine #7/8 – Wolverine is going by Patch, Hulk is going by Joe Fixit, and they meet at a cross roads. Amazingly, Claremont makes a slight blunder here – Wolverine mentions knowing who Fixit is by his fighting style and scent – even though he’s grey instead of green. But the last time the two met the Hulk was already grey. Besides that the issue dishes out some great action – most of it not being between Wolvie and Hulk, although, there is sweet chin music laid on Patch after he sort of threatens Fixit.
Best Moment: I love the bit where Wolverine replaces all of Fixit’s suits with purple pants.
Wolverine Origins #28 – Here Deodato takes a moment to flex his pencils and recreates the Hulk and Wolverine’s first battle. This issue really shows how Deodato has grown as an artist – every page is amazing! The above cover is the 2nd print.
Best Moment: I do like how they tied it all together in the end and had Prof. X on the helicopter that picks Wolvie up. Perfect issue!
Wolverine #50 – This recounts the original meeting between the two but the amazing art by McG is totally worth the cover price! This bloody battle is even colored the good old fashion way with pixellated color dots.
Best Moment: Ed’s pencils giving homage to that most excellent dividing of Wolverine! Even better then the original!
The Adventures of the X-Men #1-2 – This is probably my least favorite battle – mainly because Hulk never gets a chance to really stick it to Wolverine. Wolverine actually is winning most of the time – before the other X-Men come and stop the two.
Best Moment: I can’t even give you a best moment – in the 4 page battle nothing of consequence really happens to either of them.
Wolverine/Hulk: Six Hours – This story has it all! A poisonous snake, a sick boy, The Shredder! (No, not the one from TMNT – but a deformed assassin instead – who has tangled with Wolverine in the past).
Best Moment: It’s not the Hulk – but Banner instead who lays out Wolverine with a fist to the ole’ money maker.
Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk – Granted this storyline took almost a decade to finally be released but it still lives on in infamy – not only for the delays but also some other controversial details, for instance; Hulk eats people. This storyline also had the be-heading of Wolverine and had him live through it.
Best Moment: I don’t think anyone will EVER forget Wolverine being ripped in half. Classic.
Over the years people still get giddy when they see that these two are going to dance the violent tango – again and again – but I still don’t see the big deal. Wolverine is just not able to handle what the Hulk has to dish out and the best part is – he never WILL. Here’s the real kicker though – Wolverine doesn’t care. He will still go head first into this tussle and take a beating – but he will go down swinging. Maybe that’s the endearing part of his character. Maybe that’s why they like to see them fight. People like to see if the underdogs can get one over on the goliaths. Sort of like the Red Sox vs Yankees. The Yankees are totally out matched and out classed by the Sox – but people still love to see them kick the dirt up.
Hehe – sorry, I couldn’t resist! But one thing can be said about Wolvie – he has real interesting taste in “reading” material.
In closing I thought it would be interesting to read the initial responses from Wolverine’s first appearance:
The fans were immediately excited to see this match up again – although, it would not come for some time!
While I agree Wolverine has given us some great comic moments over the years – usually they don’t involve the Hulk! The only real chance Logan ever really has against the Hulk… is when it’s not the Hulk at all!