Monday, February 10, 2014

The Top Tenth of the Month: You Dropped a Gamma Bomb on Me

Top Ten Gamma Powered Characters

The Concept:  Gamma radiation is the number three source of super people in the Marvel Universe.  It takes perfectly normal people and imbues them with fantastical and varied powers unlike the real world where excessive gamma radiation just kills you.  This is my top ten list of gamma characters.

Side note:  Rulk and She-Rulk are not strictly gamma created characters.  Their origins are suggested to involve some version of the super soldier program which, in the main universe, clearly doesn't involve gamma radiation.  I already make a few exceptions (including blood transfusions) and I prefer the exceptions I made.

10) Leader -

--Who They Are:  Samuel Sterns was basically a janitor when he was exposed to gamma waste.  He then grew a dick shaped head that later turned into balls shaped head.  He has mental powers, telepathy and telekinesis but, to me, he's THE most worthless Hulk villain ever.  I guess some people think the Leader is the opposing force to Hulk's brute strength but he doesn't become more powerful the calmer he gets.  In fact he doesn't become more anything the anything he gets.  The guy's a scrub, plain and simple.

--Why They’re 10:  His head looks like balls.

9) Doc Samson -

--Who They Are:  Leonard Samson (Skivorski) Jr. because he was made in 1971 was a married, womanizing therapist.  He specialized in treating young women who he then boned.  Classy.  Bruce Banner was able to "cure" himself by siphoning off his gamma radiation which Samson then exposed himself to it.  Perhaps Samson thought it was one of his patients.  He also played an integral part in recreating The Hulk when he macked on perpetual Hulk ladyfriend Betty Ross.  I prefer Samson as gamma theorist, She-Hulk's therapist and doctor to gamma powered beings.  A close second is his appearance in Red Hulk where he becomes powerful enough to take on both Hulk and Rulk and put up a fight.

--Why They’re 9:  Samson is powerful but not Hulk powerful.  He could take out Sterns but Sterns is a punching bag (or bags, or man bag, or male sack, his head looks like balls is what I'm saying) but I have a hard time buying him as a Hulk level menace mostly due to his weak upper power limit but also his lack of a healing factor.  He's most interesting as a supporting character and his appearances in the She-Hulk series where he offers great insight on the creation of gamma powered beings.  So while he can take out Leader he's going to run into trouble fighting the big guys on the list because while he's smart brains don't help you against such raw power.  Big guys like:

8)  Madman 

--Who They Are:  Phillip Sterns (brother to old ball head at #10) was a classmate of Bruce Banner and had, essentially, an angry gay crush on Bruce.  This crush leads him to expose himself to radiation much how he'd like to expose himself to Bruce (there's going to be a lot of exposure jokes here) where he becomes Madman and goes on a quest to kill Hulk.

--Why They’re 8:  He's a big dude and he has intelligence but he also has multiple personalities.  He can control his size and density but not his power levels.  He's got the strength and when he's lucid he has the ability to plan but it could all fall apart at a moments notice and ultimately that mental instability will cause him to fall both to those who can retain greater intelligence and mental stability along with their monstrous strength and those who retain no intelligence at the expense of greater power.

7) A-Bomb -

--Who They Are:  Rick Jones was the reason Bruce Banner as turned into the Hulk.  Wandering on to the gamma bomb testing area, probably high off his ass, he caused Bruce Banner to run out onto the test field in an attempt to save him.  After that Rick became a perpetual hanger on following him around for decades.  Eventually he was captured by The Intelligencia and turned into A-Bomb by Ol' Sack Head using Abominations blood.

--Why They’re 7:  Rick is able to keep what limited intelligence he has while he gains strength and an incredibly thick shell that was impenetrable even to the Red Hulk's attack.  So he could hold his own Madman, letting Madman punch himself out, but ultimately he's still Rick Jones.  He doesn't have the savagery of our next contender, the fighting skill, the ruthlessness, the training or the sheer, pornographic power of the remaining members of this list.

6) Skaar -

--Who They Are:  The Son of Hulk from Hulk's time as a gladiator and eventual ruler of a distant planet.  Half gamma human/half Oldstrong Skaar inherited pretty much everything from he papa except maybe his dads upper power limits.  What he may lack in in raw strength he makes up for it in savage fighting skill and the willingness to shove a sword through your head.

--Why They’re 6:  He's willing to SHOVE A SWORD THROUGH YOUR FUCKING HEAD.  He had no problem coming to Earth to kill daddy Hulk and only abated when he realized that he was not fighting the version of Hulk he wanted to.  They maintained an uneasy truce with a depowered Banner teaching Skaar but Skaar promised that if Banner ever turned into Hulk he would kill him.  But Skaar was the unquestioned brutal prince of his home planet Sakarr and the Savage Land of Earth and you don't climb to the top of either of those food chains without learning how to survive.  But savagery and survival only get you so far.  He would ultimately fall prey to his own hubris which would allow those more skilled than him to get and press an advantage that would defeat him.

5) She-Hulk -

--Who They Are:  Jennifer Walters was the victim of shooting crime while her cousin, Bruce Banner was visiting.  Needing a blood transfusion and Bruce being the only compatible donor passed on the curse of The Hulk through the introduction of gamma irradiated blood.  She embraced her transformation however and learned to live in her She-Hulk form retaining her great intelligence and becoming a lawyer.  Oh yeah, she also beat up the CHAMPION OF THE UNIVERSE.

--Why They’re 5:  She-Hulk is probably my most favorite character ever.  Easily my favorite female character she's always in my top five all time characters.  She's been trained by Captain America, perhaps one of the best fighters and tacticians in the Marvel Universe.  She was also taught Space Karate by Gamora making her a master of terrestrial and extra-terrestrial fighting.  So if it comes down to a slug fest she can hold her own but she can also combine acupressure and submission holds on a Hulk-like level and when it comes down to a Hulk-powered sword wielding barbarian she has a healing factor on par with The Big Guy himself.  There's very little She-Hulk can't do and while she's one of my favorite characters even I have to admit that she can't do everything.  With a sort of low upper power limit her fancy karate might not be of much help and with a strong moral center she won't stoop to the depravity of our next contender:

4) Tyrone Cash -

--Who They Are:  Dr. Leonard Williams worked with Bruce Banner at Cambridge University in the Marvel Ultimate Universe.  Frail and using crutches due to an unknown illness Williams taught Bruce everything he knew and used that knowledge to become The First Hulk.  Using his new abilities he went down to South America and became a ruthless drug lord.  While not strictly created from gamma rays, he used a version of a version of the Super Soldier Serum, but I'm counting him because A) I really like him and B) You don't know what was involved in that version of the serum, gamma rays could have been used.  It sure as shit didn't create a Captain America, it created a Hulk so I'm counting him.

--Why They’re 4:  When he was picked for the Ultimate Avengers team (the dark black-ops version of The Ultimate universe's The Ultimates) he was approached by War Machine using a heavily armored version of an Iron Man armor.  In this battle Cash jumped into the air, grabbed a plane and drove that plane down right on top of War Machine.  He was in a fight and went from talking trash to DROPPING A FUCKING PLANE on a dudes head.  In his dealings with The Ultimate Avengers he shows no regard for life or collateral damage.  He just doesn't give a shit about anything and that will give him the advantage against those that do.  While they hesitate he's throwing a bus full of nuns at them, while they try to save the bus he punches them into an orphanage.  There is just no lower limit to his depravity and when combined with his genius intellect it makes him a very formidable foe.  However against the next opponent, who's depravity matches his own, his own ego along with his lack of military training will ultimately take him down.

3) Abomination -

--Who They Are:  Former KGB agent Emil Blonsky exposes himself (hey-oh!) to massive amounts of gamma radiation turning himself into the Abomination, Hulk's physical rival.  He goes on to be a constant pain in the Hulks ass.

--Why They’re 3:  Abomination came on the scene and act one was to NEARLY KILL THE FUCKING HULK.  He just showed up and almost eliminated the world strongest being.  There's nothing that can stop the cunning Blonsky.  You think you can out power him?  He's twice as strong as normal, calm Hulk.  He has military training and can use those fighting skills on a level even beyond She-Hulk and if all else fails he's amphibious so he could just grab you and jump into the ocean and wait you out until your drown.  The only problem being he has a set power limit, it doesn't increase under any circumstances.  That default level is insanely high but it will prove his downfall when he goes against the true Strongest There Is.

2) Hulk 

--Who They Are:  He's Bruce Banner.  Who doesn't know who the Hulk is?

--Why They’re 2:  He's the Strongest There Is.  The One Who Smashes.  The Green Scar.  His mere existence was such a threat to Earth that the worlds smartest people decided the safest bet was to send him to space.  No matter what has happened to him, no matter how close others came, no one has been able to put him down for good.  You shoot him in to space and he comes back and takes over New York, laying waste to some of the most powerful beings ever in the process.  He is the ultimate survivor.  His healing factor can bring him back from a stack of bones, the madder he gets the stronger he is and there is no limit to how mad he can get.  He is an unstoppable almost elemental force.  There's nothing that the previous contenders can do that he can't recover from or simply smash through.  But what happens when he comes against an opponent who is everything that he is with the genius of Bruce Banner, the cold, uncaring nature of Abomination and the experience of fighting every kind of superhuman?

1) Maestro -

--Who They Are:  He's a future Hulk.  After a nuclear war augments and changes Hulk, returning Banners intelligence while also warping all the morality out of what that increased intelligence might have brought, he takes over the world and defeats all the worlds heroes and villains in the process.

--Why They’re 1:  Captain America's shield?  He can wield that on a level unknown by current heroes.  Imagine that thing thrown with nearly infinite strength, it becomes an indestructible circular saw when not used as the greatest defensive weapon in the Marvel U.  He can lift Thor's hammer and he uses Wolverine's clawed skeleton as a pointy gauntlet.  Yeah he's not technically a separate character but existing in an alternate timeline it can only be a matter of time before he finds a way to the modern time in the main continuity.  There is nothing that can stand up to this level of violence and there's nothing that can stop Maestro from taking out everyone on this list.

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