Hulkbusters is the name of three fictional organizations appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. All three groups exist within Marvel's shared universe known as the Marvel Universe and are so-named for their attempts to battle the Hulk.
The U.S. military's Hulkbusters
The original Hulkbusters were a large joint task force consisting of both U.S. Army and Air Force personnel, whose primary purpose was to capture or if necessary, destroy the Hulk. Their headquarters was the Hulkbuster Base in New Mexico, resembling a peace sign (also known as Gamma Base), after it was damaged by the Hulk,[volume & issue needed] and they were commanded by General "Thunderbolt" Ross, General Ryker and Major Glenn Talbot. Hulkbuster Base was later demolished by the U-Foes. After Bruce Banner, the Hulk's alter-ego, achieved a state in which his normal intelligence and personality remained dominant while in Hulk form, he received a presidential pardon and the Hulkbusters were disbanded.
Gamma Base, located in Death Valley, is dedicated to the capturing and curing of the Incredible Hulk.
Originally, Gamma Base was Project Greenskin: Hulkbuster Base and it was the base for the Hulkbusters. The US Government shut it down and it was opened again for Bruce Banner's Project: Hulkbuster.[volume & issue needed] When that group broke up, it was shut down again.[volume & issue needed] Once again it was re-opened for the use of Operation: Zero Tolerance.[volume & issue needed]
Bruce Banner's Hulkbusters
After the Hulk reverted to his bestial personality, he was captured by Doc Samson. Samson persuaded the government to rebuild and finance Gamma Base. There, Samson managed to separate Banner and the Hulk into two distinct beings, although the Hulk was able to escape. Banner was named the leader of this iteration of the Hulkbusters, which first appeared in Incredible Hulk #317, created by John Byrne (Mar 1986).
Members of this group of Hulkbusters included:
- Craig Saunders, Jr. – Demolition expert (later known as Redeemer)
- Carolyn Parmenter – Marine scientist
- Samuel J. La Roquette – Explorer (later known as Rock)
- Armand Martel – Xenobiologist
- Hideko Takata – Geophysics professor
Saunders, Jr. and La Roquette later became Rock and Redeemer, a supervillain team who faced the Hulk on various occasions, after much of Banner's HB team were slain in Hulk's destruction. Rock had an external hide made of deadly minerals which can be used to impale and grow in size. Redeemer had an exoskeletal suit with weapons like repulsor blasters, and rocket fuel. The Leader later recruited them into "New Freehold" along with the Riot Squad,[volume & issue needed] and they haven't been seen since.
Hulk's exile from Earth by the Illuminati brought forth an unexpected consequence: Hulk's rogues' gallery began running wild. As a result, S.H.I.E.L.D. formed a team called the Hulkbusters to capture these villains and implant them with nanotechnology to nullify their powers. The team was led by Agent Clay Quartermain and members included Agent Cheesecake, Agent Crimson, and She-Hulk.
In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Hulkbuster teams exist and primarily serve Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. Hulkbuster Units have been used to take down major threats such as Norman Osborn, Harry Osborn, and Venom.
In other media
- The Hulkbusters were recurring antagonists in The Incredible Hulk animated series. As seen in the first season, they were used by Thunderbolt Ross and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Gabriel Jones in tracking down Bruce Banner. Dr. Craig Saunders Jr., and Dr. Samuel J. La Roquette (later known as Rock and Redeemer) were mentioned as members.
- The Hulkbusters appear in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. In the episode "Hulk vs. the World", they are under General Ross's supervision.
- The Hulkbusters appear in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series. In the episode "The Incredible Spider-Hulk", they were used by Phil Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D. to track down Peter Parker (in Hulk's body).
- The Hulkbusters appear in Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.. The featured Hulkbusters are modeled to take on the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. (consisting of the Hulk, Red Hulk, She-Hulk and A-Bomb) in case the group got out of control. In the episode "Hulk-Busted", the Leader hijacks the Hulkbusters to attack the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Iron Man comes to their aid and helps to fight the Hulkbusters. Iron Man uses his holograms to fool the Hulkbusters into thinking that they destroyed them. Iron Man showed them footage on the Stealth-Bot infecting a virus in the Hulkbusters armor so that they can be controlled from the outside. Using parts from the defeated Hulkbusters, the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. use them to take on the remaining Hulkbusters. The Hulkbusters then activate magnetizing beams to combine all of them into one giant Hulkbuster as it captures Iron Man and flies off. The Agents of S.M.A.S.H. pursue the giant Hulkbuster where Iron Man states that his Arc Reactor is being used to power the giant Hulkbuster and use it as a bomb where Iron Man and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. will be blamed for the city's destruction. After freeing Iron Man, Hulk redirects the defeated Hulkbuster into the river. Iron Man states that he will dismantle the Hulkbusters, but Hulk insists that he keep one Hulkbuster in case he gets out of control. In the episode "Homecoming", the Abomination gains some Hulkbusters that obey his commands after he was pardoned and reinstated into the U.S. Army. Abomination used the Hulkbusters to take over Vista Verde. When the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. return, they end up having to fight Abomination and the Hulkbusters. After the Gamma Hammer that came under Abomination's control is destroyed by Hulk, the rest of the Hulkbusters were destroyed by A-Bomb, She-Hulk and Skaar.
- The Hulkbusters appear in the Avengers Assemble animated series. In the episode "Head to Head", they are unleashed when MODOK (via the Mind Infinity Gem) takes control of S.H.I.E.L.D. to harass the Avengers. Hulkbusters are also seen in Avengers: Ultron Revolution. Guardsmen-esque Hulkbusters are seen in the episode "Civil War, Part 3: The Drums of War" within Truman Marsh's prison. The Hulkbuster Guardsmen have a lengthy fight with the Avengers until they're destroyed by Black Bolt.
- The Hulkbusters appeared in the Hulk 2003 game. They are depicted as military units controlled by General Ryker.
- The Hulkbusters appear in The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. They are used as part of General Ross and Director Emil Blonsky's efforts to capture the Hulk. These Hulkbusters are soldiers mentally controlling mechanical armor of varying sizes and capabilities; some missions require the player to recover or destroy prototype technology that will be used on the Hulkbusters to limit the threat that they will pose to the player later in the game.
- Armored Hulkbusters appear in The Incredible Hulk video game with two voiced by S. Scott Bullock and Chris Edgerly. These suits are identified as StarkTech models. Hulk had to protect the Hulkbuster technology from Enclave and later helps them fight Enclave's F-POD. A Hulkbuster under Major Glenn Talbot's control was a mini-boss for Hulk until Betty Ross reveals herself to the Hulkbuster. Glenn Talbot also powers a nuclear-powered Hulkbuster armor in his fight with the Hulk. A version of Iron Man's Hulkbuster armor appears as a playable secret character if there is a saved game for the 2008 Iron Man video game present on the same memory card used for The Incredible Hulk.
- In the novelization of the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk (written by Peter David, a noted contributor to the Hulk's comics history), two members of a military strike team sent to capture the Hulk are named "Saunders" and "Laroquette" after members of Banner's Hulkbusters (the characters are unnamed in the theatrical release of the film).
- Incredible Hulk #277 (Nov 1982)
- Incredible Hulk #279 (Jan 1983)
- Incredible Hulk #314 (Dec 1985)
- Incredible Hulk #315 (Jan 1986)
- Incredible Hulk #317
- Incredible Hulk #317 (Mar 1986)
- Incredible Hulk #345
- Incredible Hulk #366
- Incredible Hulk #398
- Incredible Hulk #343
- Incredible Hulk Vol. 2 #106
- Ultimate Spider-Man #100