|First appearance||Incredible Hulk #163 (May 1973)|
|Created by||Steve Englehart and Herb Trimpe|
|Alter ego||Kondrati Yurivich Topolov|
|Team affiliations||Soviet Super-Soldiers|
|Notable aliases||Titanium Man|
Concept and creation
Co-creator Steve Englehart recounted, "I’ve always treated the entire run of a book, up to the point that I took it over, as worthy of respect. So I was always interested in where series started out, and how they developed in their early days. The Gargoyle had indeed been in Hulk #1, so I thought it would be fun to connect to him—but I had to make something interesting for my time, not just wave at the past. I thought, ‘Gargoyle + Kremlin = Gremlin’."
Fictional character biography
Kondrati Topolov is the son of Russian scientist Yuri Topolov, also known as the Gargoyle, and is himself a mutant. Kondrati inherited his father's grotesque appearance and superhuman intelligence, although he was born disfigured unlike his father, who was mutated over time from the exposure of radioactive materials. His father was cured by a captured Bruce Banner using gamma rays and died killing other Soviets in an explosion.[volume & issue needed] A brilliant scientist like his father, he created the high-tech gear used by the Soviet Super-Troopers (the immediate precursor to the Soviet Super-Soldiers), and for a time wore the Titanium Man power armor. He operated out of a secret base named Bitterfrost in Khystym, Siberia. He created a pet for himself named Droog, which was an intelligent, talking, triceratops-like monster created through genetic engineering.
As the Gremlin, he first clashed with the Hulk at the Gremlin's secret base in the Arctic. Gremlin's men then captured General "Thunderbolt" Ross. The Hulk and General Ross later invaded the Gremlin's Bitterfrost base in Siberia to rescue the captured Major Glenn Talbot. The Gremlin and his pet Droog contended with the Hulk, but Bitterfrost was destroyed by S.H.I.E.L.D. Later, with the Soviet Super-Soldiers, Rom, and Starshine, the Gremlin helped defeat the alien Dire Wraiths. The Gremlin then officially joined the Soviet Super-Soldiers.
The Gremlin next appeared as the second Titanium Man, wearing a new suit of the power armor he had originally created for Boris Bullsky. With the other Soviet Super-Soldiers, he contended with the X-Men and Avengers in an attempt to capture Magneto. Later, the Gremlin fought Iron Man while wearing the Titanium Man armor during the "Armor Wars". Iron Man - despite using his weaker stealth armor - managed to defeat the Crimson Dynamo in the fight but was unable to neutralize the Gremlin, who destroyed Iron Man's negator pack. When the Gremlin grabbed Iron Man and the armored Avenger attempted to escape, his booster jets ignited the titanium armor. The Titanium Man armor exploded, apparently burning the Gremlin to death and forcing Iron Man to flee.
Powers and abilities
Gremlin is a mutant who has inherited the genius level intelligence that his father, the Gargoyle, gained when radiation mutated his brain. It is unclear whether or not Gremlin's intelligence is of a superhuman level.
Gremlin has completed doctoral level programs in various sciences, and has attained mastery of many areas of science and technology, notably the design of battle armor, strength-magnifying exoskeletons, and computer technology, as well as genetic engineering.
Towards the end of his career, Gremlin wore the Titanium Man armored battle suit of his design, which amplified his strength, was highly resistant to damage, enabled him to fly, and from which he could project destructive energy bolts.