Gollum is the surprising reigning champion, having bested Ernie in the last bout. He’s a sneaky, skulking little guy who knows how to play on people’s heart strings by acting all scraggly and pathetic when he’s really all scraggly and murderous. Facing off against him is the Incredible Hulk, who has made sporadic appearances in the fights arena with varying levels of success. The Hulk has gone through many personality changes over the years; for this fight, I’m using what I’ve dubbed the “mean son of a bitch” Hulk, who is thuggish and intelligent while also being able to fly off the handle and smash people to bits if they piss him off. You can see more of this particular Hulk in the recent Marvel Comics event Planet Hulk, which is one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. Fortunately, he also got to star in the mini-series World War Hulk, where my sadness was replaced by savage joy as the Hulk smashed his way through the Marvel Universe.
This fight takes place prior to World War Hulk. For those who are unfamiliar with that storyline, the Hulk was shot into space by Marvel’s heroes, who were convinced they were getting rid of a menace. The Hulk landed on an alien world, where he had many adventures up until the heroes ended up accidentally blowing up the world. Now Hulk’s heading back to Earth with a sword in hand, planning on handing out some punishment.
Of course, he’s still the Hulk, so he can get mixed up once in a while in his anger. So he accidentally pilots his space ship to Middle Earth instead of Marvel Earth. His arrival in Middle Earth goes off like a shot heard around the world. The big guns, like Gandalf, Saruman, and the like, want nothing to do with the big green goliath, so they make up some lame excuse about how they must head across the seas for the greater balance of Middle Earth. That leaves only Gollum to handle a raging mad Hulk. He decides to try and outwit the Hulk first. He challenges the jade giant to a battle, and then retreats into the Misty Mountains, hoping to gain an advantage by hiding in the darkness and attacking from the many winding side tunnels beneath the mountain range.
Unfortunately, the Hulk takes a more direct route to dealing with the problem: he smashes the mountains, and reduces it to rubble, trapping Gollum inside. Round One goes to the Hulk.
Gollum spends a couple of hours picking his way through rubble. When he finally manages to reach the surface, he sees the Hulk waiting for him. Reacting quickly, Gollum goes to the one thing that’s always there for him: his precious, the One Ring. Gollum slips the ring on and turns invisible, then starts making a hasty retreat away from the Hulk. Unfortunately, the Hulk has a way of dealing with critters he can’t see. Slamming his hands together, he creates a massive thunder-like noise, the shockwave of which devastates the already ruined surroundings. it razes buildings, causes the ground to shake, and knocks the ring clear off Gollum’s finger. Only the local cows are unharmed, because apparently there’s something in bovine blood that makes them immune to the Hulk’s most devastating attacks (see my rant on the subject). Round Two goes to the Hulk.
Battered and helpless, Gollum can do nothing but cower as the Hulk bears down on him, intent on exacting revenge for the loss of his planet. But when the Hulk gets within arm’s reach of the pathetic creature, he stops.
“Oh…wait,” he says. “You’re not one of those puny superheroes. Sorry, my mistake.”
With that feeble apology, the Hulk heads back to his great stone spaceship, so he can plot a proper course to Earth. Gollum isn’t through, though. His skitzophrenic mind shifts from fear to rage in a microsecond, and he goes after the Hulk, planning of croaking the big green man like a frog. The Hulk is already in his ship and taking off, so Gollum grabs on and tries to bites his way through the vessel’s hull. It’s here where he realizes three important facts:
- Being able to bite through the bones of a frog doesn’t mean you can gnaw a hole in an intergalactic spaceship.
- Traveling through orbit at escape velocity is quite a burn.
- Once you’re out of orbit and in space, you’re pretty much dead, no matter what.
Gollum’s revelations don’t do him much good, however, as his brains leak out his ears in the vacuum of space. Round Three and the fight go to the Hulk.