U-Foes

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U-Foes
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Incredible Hulk #254 (Dec 1980)
Created by

Bill Mantlo
Sal Buscema

Per Incredible Hulk #254 credits:

Editor Al Milgrom designed the costumes of the U-Foes

Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter helped with the names of the U-Foes
In-story information
Member(s) Ironclad
Vapor
Vector
X-Ray

The U-Foes are a fictional comic book supervillain team appearing in various series published by Marvel Comics. The group consists of four members: Vector, the group's leader who can repel matter telekinetically; Vapor, who can transform into any form of gaseous matter; X-Ray, who can generate and project radiation and fly; and Ironclad, who can transform into any metal form and control his density. They first appeared in Incredible Hulk (1st series) #254 (December 1980). As noted on the first page of that issue, the group's name was inspired by the 1979 Graham Parker song "Waiting for the UFOs".[1]

Publication history[edit]

Fictional team biography[edit]

Simon Utrecht, a former politician and multi-millionaire, funded an operation to gain superpowers the same way the Fantastic Four had. He reviewed thousands of files, interviewed hundreds of applicants, and chose three other members: Ann Darnell, Jimmy Darnell, and Mike Steel. He even got the contractors who built the FF's ship to build his. His group flew a spaceship into outer space and was exposed to cosmic rays. What the group did not know was that they would be exposed to an even more massive amount than the Fantastic Four and that it would most likely kill them. The Hulk had wandered into the launching area and returned to human form, meaning that Dr. Bruce Banner was at the launch site, and upon gaining awareness of the situation, brought the ship down by reprogramming their computer before the group was exposed to the terminal levels of cosmic rays. The group, however, did gain their powers and the newly christened U-Foes attacked Banner for interfering in their affairs, convinced that they could have become even more powerful without his intervention. Banner transformed into the Hulk and a large fight ensued, but the U-Foes ended up being their own worst enemies, their inexperience with their newly gained powers and inability to fight as a team costing them control of the battle and ensuring their defeat. They escaped from jail, though, and X-ray discovered a way to keep Bruce Banner in his human form by generating 'anti-gamma rays', enabling them to capture him. However, he was freed by his allies and defeated the team.

After several defeats at the hands of the Hulk and his allies, each of the U-Foes were banished to a different dimension.[2] They managed to reunite and find their way back to Earth when the mutant Portal's powers began manifesting. The U-Foes attempted to murder Portal to keep him from opening another portal to banish them, until they were defeated by the Avengers. They would later attempt to kidnap Portal to exploit his mutant powers, and were defeated once again by Captain America, Darkhawk, and Daredevil.

Throughout the 1980s - 1990s the team generally worked alone, but occasionally were hired hands for other villains such as the Leader. They attacked the independent group, the Pantheon, injuring dozens of civilians.[3] They were under the command of the Leader who wanted to get at the commander of the Pantheon itself. Despite the handicap of an orphan girl who had gotten mixed up in the battle, the Hulk and the Pantheon soldiers manage to subdue some of the U-Foes. The villains were tricked into hurting each other. Vapor, particularly, is defeated when she bragged ahead of time what form of gas she was taking and the Hulk and a Pantheon member used this against her. During the Acts of Vengeance, the U-Foes face the West Coast Avengers with the help of the Mole Man, but they are defeated.

Around this time, they play an important part in The Vault prison breakout in "Venom Deathrap; The Vault". The various U-Foes work together and with other villains to fight against the prison's security, its forces, Freedom Force and the Avengers. The U-Foes and other prisoners are neutralized by technological mind-control.

The team later encounters the Hulk in the Arctic ice fields outside the Leader's devastated sanctuary for cancer victims. The Hulk, believing he had just lost his friend, intimidated them into fleeing.

Both of the fights with the Hulk are part of manipulations by the Pantheon's ancient leader, Agamemnon. Neither side realizes the old man was secretly a power-crazed murderous psychotic who enjoys manipulation.

Later, the U-Foes are again part of a breakout from the Vault. During this, they manage to destroy the entire facility.

The U-Foes also are freed from the Raft, when Electro breaks them out in the New Avengers,[4] but were distracted from escaping by a confrontation with Crossfire and his team of mind-controllers- including Mandrill, Mister Fear, Corruptor and the Controller- over technology that had been stolen from them, until Spider-Man, Captain America and Iron Man were able to capture them.

Civil War[edit]

The Superhuman Registration Act, which was part of the Civil War incident, brings the U-Foes to the attention of the United States government. The U.S. sends the B-Squad version of the Thunderbolts, Blizzard, Joystick, Fixer and Quicksand. After a battle in Portland, the U-Foes are arrested.[5] Instead of due process, they are given the choice of joining up with the team or facing jail time.

The U-Foes are among the villains recruited to join Hood's crime syndicate.[6] In Avengers: The Initiative #25, The U-Foes are seen to be among the new recruits for Camp H.A.M.M.E.R..

Dark Reign[edit]

The U-Foes are revealed by new Initiative leader Norman Osborn as the new Initiative team for the state of North Carolina.[7] Osborn orders the U-Foes to attack the Heavy Hitters after they secede from the Initiative. They help the other Initiative teams to defeat and capture the Heavy Hitters' leader, Prodigy.[8]

Siege[edit]

The U-Foes later play a role in the beginning of Siege. Norman Osborn sends them to fight Volstagg. The resulting clash leads to Volstagg being (falsely) blamed for destroying Soldier Field and killing thousands, and giving Osborn the event necessary to start his war with Asgard.[9] With the help of other villains, they bring down Thor after he is attacked by the Sentry. Osborn defeated, the whole team surrenders and is then incarcerated.

Members[edit]

Vector[edit]

  • Real Name: Simon Utrecht
  • Power: Telekinesis, limited to attract or repel matter from his own body. Enormously powerful, as by focusing his power into blasts he was even capable of flaying most of the Hulk's skin and muscle tissue from his body when the latter resisted,[10] and repelled the structure of reality itself within the 'Crossroads' nexus, with force he claimed was sufficient to hurl entire worlds.[11] Also capable of flight.
  • Background: Simon Utrecht was a successful businessman, industrialist, and politician who craved more power. He used his resources to copy everything about the Fantastic Four's flight into space, and hired a crew in the hopes of gaining superpowers.

Vapor[edit]

  • Real Name: Ann Darnell
  • Powers: Has the power to alter her form into any known gas, usually the most lethally poisonous she can imagine while invading an opponent's body. Vapor can transform into her fully human state for only brief periods.
  • Background: Ann Darnell is Jimmy Darnell's older sister. She was hired by Simon Utrecht to be the life-support technologist on his space ship. During the Acts of Vengeance storyline, Vapor tried to kill Scarlet Witch.

X-Ray[edit]

  • Real Name: James "Jimmy" Darnell
  • Powers: Has been permanently transformed into a living energy field, intangible and immune to most physical harm although his powers cannot affect lead. Has the power to expel various forms of heavy radiation in the form of very potent blasts, shown capable of hurting even the Hulk,[12] and severely weakening Thor when combined with three other energy blasts [13] and the ability to fly in supersonic speed, or turn invisible.[11] He has also been able to emit negative-gamma rays that turn the Hulk back into Bruce Banner, but this is only effective so long as he is conscious.
  • Background: James Darnell is the younger brother of Ann Darnell. He was hired by Simon to be the spaceship's fuel-propulsion engineer.

Ironclad[edit]

  • Real Name: Michael Steel
  • Powers: Permanently transformed into organic metal similar to the X-Man Colossus. Superhuman strength, durability, and the ability to increase or decrease his own weight, hovering in the air,[12] or crushing like a mountain. Ironclad's form was initially composed of jagged folds of metal; however, after briefly losing control of his weight-altering powers and sinking deep into the Earth's crust, he emerged with his body smoothed and polished by the friction of his passage.
  • Background: Michael Steel is a scientist, engineer, and skilled pilot. He was hired by Simon to pilot his spaceship. he helped his fellow comrades defeat their enemies multiple times after he changed to a great team man.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • The U-Foes appear in the animated series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, with Vector voiced by Cam Clarke and Vapor voiced by Colleen O'Shaughnessey while X-Ray and Ironclad had no dialogue. In the episode "Hulk Vs. the World", Vapor, Vector, X-Ray cameo as inmates of the Cube while Ironclad was possibly seen from the back, but it is unclear whether or not it was him, but all their blood samples were seen. The U-Foes later return in the episode "Gamma World" Pt. 1 to distract the Avengers from destroying the Gamma Dome Generator. The U-Foes' powers are increased by Gamma Boosters made by the Leader. In the end, they are defeated along with the Wrecking Crew and Zzzax when Black Panther destroys the generator.

Video games[edit]

  • The U-Foes appear in The Incredible Hulk with Vector voiced by S. Scott Bullock, Vapor voiced by Rachael MacFarlane, X-Ray voiced by Keith Ferguson, and Ironclad voiced by Mitch Lewis. While Ironclad and Vapor appear virtually identical to their comic book incarnations, X-Ray is presented as glowing green with a silhouette of his skeletal structure visible through his flesh, and Vector retains a normal human appearance rather than being physically transformed. In this version, their original intention was to duplicate the accident that created the Hulk using atmospheric rather than gamma radiation. Their rage is subsequently directed at the Hulk due to him destroying the antenna that was gathering the radiation. The U-Foes attack the Hulk, but he defeats all of them. After the Hulk leaves the area, the U-Foes recover and decide if Hulk interferes with them again, they will kill him. The U-Foes would often appear in different parts of the city causing havoc. Ironclad can also be used as a playable character in the game if one of the U-Foes (Vector, X-Ray, Vapor) is used against the other.

References[edit]

  1. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1980s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 199. ISBN 978-0756641238. "Inspired by the 1979 Graham Parker song Waiting for the UFOs, the creation of the U-Foes was truly a team effort. Writer Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema produced the first U-Foes story, but editor Al Milgrom helped design the costumes and Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter suggested some of the names." 
  2. ^ Incredible Hulk #304-305 (Feb.-March 1985)
  3. ^ Incredible Hulk #397
  4. ^ New Avengers vol. 1 #01
  5. ^ Thunderbolts #104
  6. ^ New Avengers #32 - 37 (2007)
  7. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #26
  8. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #28
  9. ^ Siege #1
  10. ^ The Incredible Hulk vol. 1, #398 (Oct. 1992)
  11. ^ a b Incredible Hulk vol.2, #305
  12. ^ a b The Incredible Hulk vol. 1, #397 (Oct. 1992)
  13. ^ Siege #1
  14. ^ The Incredible Hulk: The Pantheon Saga for DOS (1997) - MobyGames

External links[edit]