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Friday, October 10, 2008

What if Wolverine Had Killed the Hulk?

Although Hulk's temper stayed largely in check around the Defenders, his rampages continued when left on his own. It was only a matter of time before new heroes popped up to drive off the Hulk. Enter: Wolverine.

Their historic first encounter established that the Canadian hero was tough enough to keep fighting after Hulk tossed him around, and that Wolverine's claws were sharp enough to penetrate Hulk's gamma-tough skin (Incredible Hulk 180-181). There was a chance Wolverine might win.

Further, the battle was interrupted by the cannibalistic man-monster called Wendigo, then cut short when a villain's magic spell put Hulk and Wolverine to sleep. The set up was ripe to consider what might have happened if the heroes hadn't been forced into a mystical draw. More specifically, "What if Wolverine Had Killed the Hulk?"

Faced with murder charges after fatally wounding the green goliath in self-defense, the clawed Canadian in this storyline fled from authorities. Recruited by Magneto into the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Wolverine's first assignment was to infilterate the X-Men.

Wolverine trained in the Danger Room with most of the original team, and proved himself against the Sentinels. So when time came to double-cross the mutant heroes, he instead turned on the master of magnetism. The story ended in a tragic draw, with Wolverine and Magneto killing each other (What If? #31).

For continuity lovers, this hypothetical tale hinged on the premise that Incredible Hulk #181 (October 1974) ended before Defenders #15 (September 1974), when Professor X turned to the Defenders to stop Magneto and Alpha the Ultimate Mutant. Len Wein wrote both of those classic stories.

During the 1990s, Hulk and Wolverine worked together briefly as Secret Defenders.

What If ? Vol. 1. No. 31. February 1982. "What if Wolverine Had Killed the Hulk?" Rich Margopoulos (script), Bob Budiansky (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Karin Nemri (letters), Tom DeFalco (edits), Jim Shooter (chief).


Hulk hater said...

Serves the Hulk right! I love seeing him die because I hate him.

But boy, do I hate those authorities for punishing the Wolverine just 'cause he killed the Green Goliath? If I'm the clawed Canadian, I'd turn on them for punishing me. Besides, the Hulk deserves to die for the trouble-making brute he is.

Plus, I'm sick of that green-skinned jerk's strength and endurance. His enemies deserve those characteristics instead of him.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Wolverine assigned by Department H or Alpha Flight to stop the Hulk? It's like prosecuting James Bond for killing Dr. No or Goldfinger. And if he killed the Hulk in self-defense, wouldn't it be legally justifiable? It seems like any competent lawyer should have been able to get Wolverine acquitted. Then again, maybe the Earth 616 legal system is as messed up as ours is IRL.