Since their attempt to replicate the Fantastic Four's powers went wrong, the U-Foes have been some of the Hulk's most dangerous villains.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Immortal Hulk #42 by Al Ewing, Alex Lins, Adam Gorham, Rachel Stott, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Chris O'Jalloran, Paul Mounts & VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.
Henry Peter Gyrich hasn't changed much since his early days in the Marvel Universe. Theformer Avengers coordinator and government bureaucrat who once alienated most of theteam is now alienating Gamma Flight as he runs the hunt for Hulk. With Gamma Flight walking out on him, Gyrich has brought in a new team of Hulk-hunters in The Immortal Hulk.
This team is the U-Foes, a supervillain team that made their debut in 1980 in The Incredible Hulk #254 byBill Mantlo,Sal Buscema,Bob Sharenand Diana Albers. Since that time, they have grown to become some of the most dangerous individuals in the Hulk's rogues' gallery.
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InThe Incredible Hulk #254, four people planned a mission to gain superpowers similar to that of the Fantastic Four. Millionaire Simon Utrecht planned out the mission -- flying into the cosmic rays unprotected with pilot Mike Steel, engineer Jimmy Darnell, and life-support specialist Ann Darnell. They were very similar to the Fantastic Four, with Mike, a muscular hothead, Ann and Jimmy being siblings, and the mastermind Simon. However, Simon, a rival of Tony Stark, didn't want to be a hero. He wanted power for power's sake and was willing to do anythingtoget it.
Bruce Banner showed up in the lab soon after and saw cosmic rays bombarding the ship. Believing they needed to be saved, Bruce helped bring them back to Earth. The four came out with powers but were angry that their powers were not as great as they had hoped and blamed Banner for bringing them back before reaching their full potential. Simon became Vector, who possessed the power of telekinesis. Ann was Vapor, who could alter her form to any known gas. Jimmy became X-Ray, and transformed into a pure form of energy. Michael was Ironclad, transformed into organic metal. However, in their new forms, they couldn't touch each other without shorting their powers out, which cost them in their first fight with Hulk.
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Throughout the years, The U-Foes popped up here and there, mostly to battle Hulk. They also got a chance to be heroes when Norman Osborn placed them in North Carolina as part of the Initiative during Dark Reign.They were even responsible for the Siege event, as they attacked Vostagg in Chicago, the event leading to the war with Asgard. Now, they have a chance to work with the U.S. government again, but only if they can bring in Hulk in exchange for time off of their prison sentences.
While that might seem like a tall order for most villains, it's well within the U-Foes' power. Vapor showed this on her own in the alternate worldsMaestroseries, where she single-handedly killed Hercules. However, as a team, they typically stand little chance when trying to take down Hulk.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who received his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma with a minor in Film Studies. He has worked as a journalist for 25 years, starting in newspapers and magazines before moving to online media as the world changed. Shawn is a former member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a current voting member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. He has work published on websites like The Huffington Post, Time Warner Cable, Yahoo Movies, The Movie Network, Chud, Renegade Cinema, 411mania, and Monsters & Critics. Shawn is also a published author, with a non-fiction book about the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers and has begun work on a new fiction series as well. Visit Shawn Lealos' website to learn more about his novel writing and follow him on Twitter @sslealos.
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