Superman once called a longtime Avenger the strongest opponent he’s ever gone up against in a Marvel/DC Comics crossover comic.
In an epic fight against the Hulk, Superman admitted the longtime Avenger was the strongest opponent he’s ever faced. Superman is known for his absurd strength and power levels, but during a Marvel/DC Comics crossover that saw the two powerhouses duke it out, he quickly realized how incredible the Jade Giant’s own strength is after he was hit so hard he ended up getting launched into space.
In The Incredible Hulk vs. Superman by Roger Stern, Steve Rude, and Al Milgrom, the iconic DC Comics hero faced off against the Jade Giant. Superman is shown to be sympathetic towards the Hulk, as, like Bruce Banner, his father Jor-El was rushing to save a life (in this case, Kal-El’s) before being overcome by a massive explosion. The Man of Steel points out the radioactive blast Banner endured didn’t kill him like it did his real dad, but it changed his physiology to make him a monster fueled by rage – which is why when they meet, Superman holds back initally.
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In the issue, Superman ends up in Arizona after a family is scared by the Hulk when he steals food during a barbeque. The Hulk doesn’t waste time in going after Superman, as he punches Superman through a general store. Kal-El is impressed with Hulk’s strength, saying that he’s been through hurricanes that didn’t hit as hard as him. Superman tries to catch the Hulk off guard by grabbing his body but is immediately thrown up in the air into space. As the Man of Steel is launched into orbit, he notes that the Hulk is “not only big, he’s fast.. and strong! Stronger than anyone I’ve ever gone up against!”
Superman wouldn’t mess around when he battles the Hulk later in the issue, as he uses his own strength to throw him through a mountain. But, Kal-El eventually realizes that Banner isn’t his enemy and the pair team up – with Superman even doing a Fastball Special-like maneuver to throw the Hulk – to take down Lex Luthor and his evil henchman.
Calling the Hulk the strongest person he’s ever gone up against is quite notable, as Superman has faced everyone from villains like Darkseid, Bizzaro, and Mongul to heroes like Orion, Wonder Woman, and Shazam. He knows when someone packs a wallop and out of all the strong heroes and villains he’s faced over his time as a hero, nobody hit him harder than the Hulk. It’s not a stretch considering the Hulk is one of the strongest characters in existence. Superman admitted the Hulk was his strongest opponent ever for good reason.
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