Top 10 Greatest Hulk Stories Ever Written

Written by Craig Butler

There is a lot more to The Incredible Hulk than smashing everything in sight. Welcome to and today we're going green with the top 10 Hulk comics you should read.

For this list, we're examining Hulk stories that are important, influential or, like the Hulk himself, simply incredible.

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There is a lot more to The Incredible Hulk than smashing everything in sight. Welcome to and today we're going green with the top 10 Hulk comics you should read.

For this list, we're examining Hulk stories that are important, influential or, like the Hulk himself, simply incredible.

#10: "The Coming of the Hulk" (1962)

Where better to start than at the beginning? The Hulk’s origin story became an instant classic, and why not? It borrows, in the best sense of the word, from two brilliant sources. The Bruce Banner/Hulk split echoes Jekyll and Hyde, as well as from Freudian theories of the id and superego. And the misunderstood monster is drawn from “Frankenstein.” But Stan Lee and Jack Kirby added their own touches, including teen sidekick Rick Jones and hardass enemy General Ross. Lee’s flair for melodrama is right at home here, and Kirby’s muscular style was made for this character.

#9: "What If…The Hulk Had Killed Wolverine?" (1993)

Marvel’s “What If” comics allow writers to speculate on how change, big or small, might impact previous stories. In this alternate telling of events begun in Incredible Hulk #340, the Hulk kills Wolverine during one of their many fights. The X-Men team up with other heroes and even villains in an attempt to bring the Hulk to justice. Writer John Arcudi keeps the action bold and the stakes high; seeing as this is a ‘what if’ scenario, nobody is safe. This makes for an exciting and at times strangely moving tale – as Bruce Banner is once again faced with the fact that he is a menace to everyone around him.

#8: "Dear Betty/Always On My Mind" (2001)

Betty Ross was Bruce Banner’s love and eventually his wife. Her death from Hulk’s enemy the Abomination was unbearable. This two-part story plumbs intense emotional depths of both banner and the Abomination, who has also lost his own wife. Eventually, Betty’s father manipulates Banner into changing into the Hulk to seek revenge – and one of the most awesome fight scenes in Hulk’s carrier ensues. Paul Jenkins’ scripting is deft and always in control, and John Romita Jr.’s skilled artwork pulls no punches.

#7: "The Brute…That Shouted Love… at the Heart of the Atom" (1971)

The massive Hulk gets shrunk down to microscopic size – and discovers a sub-atomic world of other green-skinned beings. After fighting off savage, sub-atomic creatures, he is regarded by the microscopic people as a hero. He also becomes enamored with their princess, who finds a way to both communicate with him and to bring Bruce Banner’s mind in control of the Hulk’s body. Naturally this idyllic situation can’t last, and Hulk is forcibly pulled back to his own world. Hulk’s pain at leaving his bizarre new home is heartbreaking, and this one-issue tale is a compact marvel of fine storytelling, courtesy of Harlan Ellison.

#6: "The Lone and Level Sands" (1998)

Peter David’s 11-year run on Hulk was filled with amazing stories, none more so than this, his final issue. Betty Ross, Bruce Banner’s wife, is dead – and this tale leaps forward ten years into a hypothetical future. In a wrenching story of what might have come after Betty’s death, Peter David pens a tale in which Bruce Banner repeatedly tries to kill himself – only to have the Hulk foil his every effort. Moving, darkly perceptive and at times achingly painful, “The Lone and Level Sands” is unlike any other Hulk story – and impossible to forget.

#5: "Crossroads" (1984-85)

Bill Mantlo is another writer who left an indelible stamp on the Hulk, and “Crossroads” is one of his finest arcs. Hulk having become too dangerous, Dr. Strange has banished him to the surreal and senseless dimension of the Crossroads. Mantlo takes Hulk on a year-long journey through strange, bizarre worlds and beings. Yet his adventures here help Hulk to learn and grow and demonstrate that there’s more to ol’ Greenskin than unbridled rage. Especially noteworthy is the chilling “Monster” segment, in which readers learn details of Bruce Banner’s abusive childhood.

#4: "Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk " (2006-09)

This six-issue mini-series by Damen Lindelof is set in an alternate universe and chronicles an epic showdown between the X-Man and our rampaging antihero. Delays in production caused the series to be spread out over three years, but when read all togeather it’s absolutely enthralling. Lindelof’s take on the Ultimate Versions of these beloved characters completely reinvigorates them. It’s over-the-top, but in a committed way that brings a new level of reality to them. Strange, mystifying and at times hilarious, the series is also a highpoint in fight comics, thanks to Leinil Francis Yu’s awesome pencils.

#3: "The End" (2002)

The earlier “Future Imperfect” storyline imagined a dystopian future in which Hulk has morphed into an intelligent monster called the Maestro and rules the world. “The End” takes off from there, imagining the day when Hulk is the only being left alive. As Bruce Banner, he is driven to despair and wants to die; as Hulk, he wants only to live and be left alone. When he finally subsumes his Banner persona personally, Hulk achieves his wish – only to realize what it really means to be truly alone. Peter David’s writing is at its peak, emotionally intense and psychologically astute.

#2: "Planet Hulk" (2006-07)

When the Illuminati, a group of Marvel heroes dedicated to saving the world from behind the curtain, decide Hulk simply can’t be controlled and send him deep into space. Thus begins an epic journey that takes Hulk to a new world, a gladiatorial-styled planet reminiscent of the “John Carter of Mars” book series. Here, Hulk gets to do a lot of good ol’ smashing, and quickly becomes right at home as a pillar of society. Once again thriving in a new environment and coming close to getting everything he’s ever wanted – Hulk gets the rug pulled out from him. “Planet Hulk” takes the big green guy back to his basics while at the same time giving readers a refreshing depiction of the character decades after his debut.

#1: "World War Hulk" (2007-08)

When Hulk returns to Earth after the events of “Planet Hulk”, the mighty green one is in, shall we say, not in the best moods. Hulk wants to have words with those who exiled him – and he’s willing to destroy the world to get what he wants. Hulk’s anger and desire for vengeance is kept at a peak throughout this extended storyline, and the action sequences are nothing short of stunning. Greg Pak’s script never falters, and John Romita Jr.’s art fills the page with glorious mayhem.