Butterball (Emery Schaub)
Art by Steve Uy.
|First appearance||Avengers: The Initiative #13 (2008)|
|Created by||Christos N. Gage
|Full name||Emery Schaub|
Complete numbness to physical sensation
Butterball appeared as a supporting character in Avengers Academy beginning with issue #20 (Dec 2011), making several appearances throughout the series.
Fictional character biography
Emery Schaub was originally an overweight fry cook from Morganton, North Carolina. He was later recruited to the Initiative program and given the codename Boulder. However, his drill sergeant Taskmaster nicknames him Butterball, deeming it more appropriate. While Schaub's power of total invulnerability was impressive and he was an enthusiastic and dedicated trainee, his lack of physical strength, skill, and wits make him an inappropriate candidate for the superhero program. Much to the frustration of Taskmaster, no amount of training improves Schaub's physical strength and no amount of discipline modifies his behavior or attitude. As a direct consequence of his powers, any kind of punishment was completely ineffectual.
At one point Schaub's fellow trainee Sunstreak shows sexual interest in him. Because Sunstreak's heat generating powers prevent her from close contact with others but Schaub's powers mean he is completely unaffected by heat, an intimate relationship was possible. Schaub, however, due to his inability to physically feel anything anymore as a side effect of his powers, becomes upset after Sunstreak's advances fail to arouse him. He flees in frustration.
Despite managing well against a supervillain ambush, Schaub washes out of the Initiative, due to his general ineptitude and lack of offensive capability. Despite this, the instructors Taskmaster and Constrictor give Schaub a photo of himself standing triumphant over them, depicting him as a hero, and themselves as the "conquered and fallen" supervillains.
After Norman Osborn takes control of the Initiative, Schaub is among those shown as a member of Osborn's new Shadow Initiative, assembled to take back control of Negative Zone Prison Alpha from the forces of Blastaar. In reality, this shadow group, under the command of Henry Peter Gyrich is made up of expendable super-powered beings. This, so the more valued members of the Initiative are not slain in a brutal frontal assault. Schaub accompanies the team to liberate the Negative Zone prison. They are swiftly assaulted by the aliens. Schaub is traumatized at the deaths of Slaughter Boy, Johnny Guitar and Firearms. He then reports that half of the sub-team Heavy Mettle are either dead or incapacitated. With the assistance of Hardball, a prison inmate, the facility is retaken. Schaub has subsequently been referred to as a hero by Norman Osborn and used as an everyman figure for propaganda purposes by H.A.M.M.E.R., Osborn's military arm.
During the Siege storyline, Penance evades the guards and convinces Batwing, Bengal, and Butterball into helping Avengers Resistance. As Osborn is defeated, Butterball and Batwing create a new superteam for North Carolina, based in Morganton, with the task to replace the jailed U-Foes. He and Batwing are currently the only two members of this team.
During the Fear Itself storyline, Butterball appears at a meeting held by Prodigy regarding magical hammers that have crashed to Earth. He helps the team in rescuing survivors and in their battle against Thor Girl, after she regained her designate powers.
Butterball was seen among the young heroes to arrive at the new campus for Avengers Academy. Butterball is part of the new class of students when the Academy moves to the former headquarters of the West Coast Avengers. He is later attacked by a shape-shifting energy being called a "Wraith" who delights in its find: Butterball apparently has infinite energy for the alien to feed off of.
He was listed in the behind-the-scenes backup files for a battle against a horde of alternate universe powered beings in New York's Central Park. His Academy allies were part of the battle as well.
Powers and abilities
Emery Schaub is resistant to all forms of physical harm. He cannot be harmed by projectiles or puncturing, nor can he be poisoned, drowned, suffocated, or damaged in any conventional way. He cannot even be hurt by mental attacks, although he can still be controlled telepathically. Physical, energy, chemical, and psychic assaults have negligible effects on him. As a result of this he has unlimited stamina, enabling him to theoretically run forever without breaking a sweat. However, as a side effect of this invulnerability, his sense of touch is impaired and he is also "frozen" at the physical state he was in when his powers were activated, making his body incapable of losing or gaining weight or muscle mass.
In other media
- Avengers: The Initiative #13
- Avengers: The Initiative #26
- Avengers: The Initiative #27 (October 2009)
- Avengers: The Initiative #29 (December 2009)
- Avengers: The Initiative #34
- Avengers: The Initiative #35
- Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt #1-6
- Avengers Academy #20
- Avengers Academy #21 (November 2011)
- Young Avengers Vol. 2. #13 (Dec. 2013)