|First appearance||Fantastic Four Vol.1 #177 (December 1976)|
|Created by||Roy Thomas (writer)
Joe Sinnott (inker)
|Alter ego||Griffin Gogol|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, durability, reflexes and endurance
Ability to tap his "ultra potential"
Captain Ultra (Griffin Gogol) is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared in Fantastic Four #177 (December 1976) and was created by Roy Thomas, George Pérez and Joe Sinnott.
Fictional character biography
When an elderly psychologist couldn't afford to pay plumber Griffin Gogol, he offers to cure Gogol's smoking habit via hypnosis. However, as Gogol later learned, the psychologist was an extraterrestrial, and the hypnosis unlocks Gogol's innate superhuman potential. Donning a clashing, colorful costume, Gogol became the superhero Captain Ultra. However, it is revealed he suffers from severe pyrophobia (fear of fire).
Captain Ultra's first appearance is as an applicant to the supervillain team called the Frightful Four. He is at first enthusiastically accepted by the other three villains, ecstatic at his large array of powers. However, when one of them began to light a cigarette in celebration, Captain Ultra faints in the presence of the match. He is promptly rejected.
An unauthorized television program informs Gogol of the super-hero team the Defenders. Captain Ultra is one of a large group to investigate by traveling to the Richmond Riding Academy on Long Island. There he works with a small group to stop a crime spree back in New York. Like most of the other applicants, he is not pleased with the Defenders and never really petitions the core group for membership.
He eventually overcomes his pathological fear of fire thanks to years of extensive therapy under the superpowered psychiatrist, Doc Samson. Gogol began a new career as a stand-up comedian, and battled Ekl'r, the Demon Without Humor. His comedy career takes him across the country. Super-heroics interfere with this, such as when the underground dirt creature 'Mud Pi', kidnaps his entire potential audience, the citizenry of 'Wash Basin', Texas. Captain Ultra manages to safely rescue them all.
Griffin then became the leader for the Nebraska team of the Initiative program, part of a government controlled superhero program. After two of his teammates, Paragon and Gadget are killed, Griffin briefly fights Iron Man to protect the rest of his group. He is seen investigating the circumstances of Paragon and Gadget's tragic deaths with Doc Samson and Iron Man. During the course of their investigation it is revealed that there are two new Initiative recruits in the process of being fast-tracked to the Nebraska team, although Captain Ultra expressed irritation at the prospect of having to "babysit the punks".
Captain Ultra is recruited by Wonder Man (whose ionic energy leaking problem was affecting his judgement) to join his Revengers. During the Revengers' attack on Avengers Mansion, he is scared off when Doctor Strange uses an illusion spell to make him believe he is on fire. He and the rest of the Revengers were defeated by all three Avengers teams and were remanded to the Raft. Captain Ultra's reason for joining the Revengers is that despite the fact that he was on the Initiative, he resents being disrespected despite having as much power as an Avenger.
Powers and abilities
Captain Ultra's powers were released through hypnosis by an alien, giving him the power of flight and superhuman strength, durability, reflexes and endurance. He also gained the psionic ability to become intangible at will, see through substances (X-ray vision), and the ability to project his breath forward with great concussive force — among others. He can apparently tap his "ultra-potential", enabling him to manifest a wide variety of mental and physical "ultra-feats", and even once told an "ultra-joke".
In other media
- Captain Ultra made a cameo appearance in the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes episode "The Cure". After Ben Grimm's "condition" had been cured, the team was auditioning possible replacements. Captain Ultra, in a scene reminiscent of his introduction with the Frightful Four, was considered a top candidate because of his powers until Johnny Storm "lit up" his thumb while giving a thumbs-up gesture, causing Captain Ultra to faint and be summarily rejected. In an interview with Marvel Animation Age, at the comment "There are lots of cameos in the FF's 'audition' scene, including the Fabulous Frog-Man and the Texas Twister...", the writer Dan Slott declared "And Captain Ultra! Don't forget Captain Ultra! What a kick, right? I can't believe that I had a hand in bringing Texas Twister to the small screen. Now I can die happy.".
- Captain Ultra makes a cameo appearance in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon series episode "Damage Control", voiced by Cam Clarke. He appears as an advertisement mascot for Damage Control.
- New Avengers Annual vol. 2 #1 (2011)
- Fantastic Four #177
- Defenders #62-64
- Thor #336
- Marvel Comics Presents #50
- Marvel Holiday Special 1993
- G.L.A. #3
- Iron Man vol. 4 #22
- Iron Man vol. 4 #24
- New Avengers Annual vol. 2 #1 (2011)
- Avengers Annual Vol. 4 #1
- "The Cure". Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes. Season 1. Episode 18. 2007-06-09.
- "Review: Episode #18: The Cure". marvel.toonzone.net. Marvel Animation Age. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- "Interview of Dan Slott". marvel.toonzone.net. Marvel Animation Age. Retrieved December 2, 2013.