When thinking of the strongest characters that Marvel Comics has to offer, it is likely that The Incredible Hulk is the first one that comes to mind. Known for his strength being directly proportionate to his anger, the Jade Giant’s power seemingly has no limit. However, a storyline from the 2000s offers a different take on Hulk, suggesting that his weight is actually his deadliest power, rather than his strength.
World War Hulk is a 2007 crossover event that sees Hulk return to Earth and seek revenge against the Illuminati after banishing him to the planet Sakaar. This story, Planet Hulk served as inspiration for the MCU’s 2017 film, Thor: Ragnarok. Wave after wave of superhero teams like the Avengers, X-Men, Inhumans, etc. all fell before the Hulk and his forces, and as the story neared its end, it’s revealed that the alien Miek influenced Hulk’s revenge, which angers him enough to turn him into the deadliest version of himself.
In World War Hulk #5 from Greg Pak and John Romita Jr. Hulk is at the angriest he’s ever been. His mere footsteps are enough to crack the ground and cause destruction. He isn’t even stomping down using any of his strength, his anger is just making him incredibly dense, so when he moves to take a step, the Earth can’t handle it. This implies that his powers are not actually based on strength, but instead on his weight and density. Hulk’s battle against the villain Onslaught supports this idea as he, in another fit of intense rage, punched the villain so hard that the universe exploded.
How would this work scientifically? Density is defined as the amount of matter in a specific volume, whereas weight is defined as the force applied on an object due to a gravitational field. This means that the angrier Hulk gets, the denser he becomes. And thus, gravity is pulling on a denser object, which explains why Hulk is able to cause destruction simply by existing. How his anger equates to an increased mass and density is up in the air, but hey, this is a comic book universe full of weird and zany characters and happenings.
For being the strongest Avenger, Hulk’s true power is not actually found in his strength, but in his weight. Marvel Comics’ World War Hulk shows that he threatens the planet simply because of the force his body composition exerts on the world around him. That is an incredible power worthy of The Incredible Hulk.
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