Monday, November 10, 2014

What WAS the Comic Battle of the 20th Century? Part 4 - The Thing vs. The Hulk!

Continuing my 12-part series reviewing comic books that claim The Battle/Fight/Bout/Showdown of the Century on their covers. Today's battle---

The Thing vs. The Hulk! First presented in Fantastic Four #25, 1964. By Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Inks by George Roussos

Our story opens in the grand tradition of Stan Lee penned books where everyone in a panel is saying something. Mr. Fantastic is yelling, "Ben! Come back!" Ben's on the the wall. I can't help but feel there is a better way to leave.

Regardless, Mr. Fantastic has an antidote that will change Ben-Grimm-the-Thing back into Ben-Grimm-the-Human. But Ben ain't having it. He's afraid his girlfriend, Alicia, prefers him as the Thing. Gather from that what you will.

Suddenly the blind Alicia shows up with a newspaper. Looks like the Hulk’s on the loose!

We join the Hulk and he’s ranting about how much he hates his alter-ego, Bob Banner. (Yep. Bob Banner.) He also hates the Avengers. Hate hate hate.

It’s interesting that, besides the paper clipping, the only thing Bruce Bob had in his pockets was a pipe and matches. I’m not sure what he’s been smoking. Something to calm him down perhaps. Tossing it all aside, Hulk begins his jumping journey to New York City! Meanwhile in the Big Apple, Mr. Fantastic collapses!  As he attempts to find a cure for Ben’s Thing ailment, he’s gotten sick while messing with viruses. That’s some sloppy science, Dr. Richards.

Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, takes off in the Fantasticar intent on returning with a doctor. He however encounters the Hulk wrecking havoc, and attempts to put a stop to it. The Hulk makes quick work of him.

The Thing and the Invisible Girl soon arrive. Sue doesn't last long either. It’s now just the Thing and the Hulk. Time for the main event! (Btw, if the Thing fails, the army’s going to drop an ATOMIC BOMB on the Hulk.)

It’s on!

The Thing and Hulk break a lot of things; a warehouse, a bus, the pavement, a dock, a boat, the Washington Bridge. However, I think it’s most notable when Hulk gets his hands on the Thing and this happens—

It was this very moment, when I saw the building wagging to and fro, that I thought, “Hey! Maybe this IS the Battle of the Century!”

At one point, Mr. Fantastic decides to join the noble fight, but instead lapses into a coma.

Wow. That panel's just begging for new dialog.

Sorry. I sometimes distract myself. The battle continues and the Thing manages to wrap Hulk up in bridge cables! Has he won?

Nope. He tuckers out and takes a beating.

Wait! He’s up again!

Whaaaat?! Continued Next Issue? Welcome to the Marvel Age of Comics! Well, the next issue’s cover doesn’t say “The Battle of the Century”, so I’m not reading it.


Okay, I read it. Spoilers. Rick Jones throws an “emergency gamma-ray treated capsule which Banner gave (him) months ago” into the Hulk's mouth. He turns back into Dr. Banner. Whether it’s Bob or Bruce, I’m not sure.


The Hulk. The Thing fights him more in issue #26, but it’s Gamma-Ray-Capsule Rick who ends the battle.


I love this panel from issue #26.

It’s a bit goofy, and it’s also one of the few times Stan kept his words off Jack Kirby’s art.


Until Fantastic Four #25, I’ve considered the Human Torch/Sub-Mariner fight to be the battle of the century. Both their fight and the Hulk/Thing battle took place partially on the Washington Bridge. I haven’t consulted it, but I’m pretty certain the bridge would say the Hulk/Thing fight was the bigger battle. I’m going with that.

The Battle of the Century - The Thing vs. The Hulk, Fantastic Four #25.

At least as of 1964.

Come back Wednesday for Part 5. The battle of the sexes! The Thing vs. Thundra!


Anonymous said...


Richard hALL said...

The battle of the century can only be
by Eclipse Comics
"The Loudest Comic Book in the Universe"

Anonymous said...

I Remember Both Of Those Comics Cause I Had Them Both. There Were Good Superhero Fights In The Marvel Universe But The Hulk / Thing Battle To Me Is The All Time Greatest Superhero Fight Of All.

Anonymous said...

I agree, I always loved the Thing back then he was up there with the strongest, only Thor Hulk were stronger but I seem to remember Sub Mariner beating him too.