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Leader (character)

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The Leader
The Leader (Samuel Sterns).jpg
Variant cover art of Skaar: Son of Hulk #6 (Dec. 2008, Marvel Comics), art by Francis Tsai
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceTales to Astonish #62 (December 1964)
Created byStan Lee (writer)
Steve Ditko (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoSamuel Sterns
SpeciesHuman mutate
Team affiliationsIntelligencia
Humanoids
Freehold/New Freehold
Riot Squad
Lethal Legion
Thunderbolts[1]
PartnershipsAbomination
Madman
Notable aliasesThe Red Leader[1]
Abilities

The Leader (Samuel Sterns) is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Leader first appeared in Tales to Astonish #62, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko as the archenemy of the Hulk.[2][3] He has mainly appeared in Hulk-related comic books over the years and was one of the featured characters in the Marvel NOW! Thunderbolts relaunch.

Sterns worked as a janitor in Boise, Idaho when he was exposed to gamma radiation. The radiation mutated him into a green-skinned, super-intelligent entity who named himself the Leader, embarking on a career of crime. He is repeatedly foiled by the Hulk, who overcomes all of the Leader's schemes as well as his artificial henchmen known as the Humanoids. Sterns would later be further transformed, causing his cranium to change into the shape of an oversized brain. As part of the Intelligencia, he is an integral part of the Hulked Out Heroes storyline.

The character has been adapted from the comics into various forms of media, including television series and video games. Samuel Sterns made his cinematic debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film The Incredible Hulk (2008), portrayed by Tim Blake Nelson, and will return in Captain America: New World Order (2024). In 2009, the Leader was ranked as IGN's 63rd Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[4]

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American comic book

American comic book

An American comic book is a thin periodical originating in the United States, on average 32 pages, containing comics. While the form originated in 1933, American comic books first gained popularity after the 1938 publication of Action Comics, which included the debut of the superhero Superman. This was followed by a superhero boom that lasted until the end of World War II. After the war, while superheroes were marginalized, the comic book industry rapidly expanded and genres such as horror, crime, science fiction and romance became popular. The 1950s saw a gradual decline, due to a shift away from print media in the wake of television and the impact of the Comics Code Authority. The late 1950s and the 1960s saw a superhero revival and superheroes remained the dominant character archetype throughout the late 20th century into the 21st century.

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics is an American comic book publisher and the flagship property of Marvel Entertainment, a division of The Walt Disney Company since September 1, 2009. Evolving from Timely Comics in 1939, Magazine Management/Atlas Comics in 1951 and its predecessor, Marvel Mystery Comics, the Marvel Comics title/name/brand was first used in June 1961.

Tales to Astonish

Tales to Astonish

Tales to Astonish is the name of two American comic book series and a one-shot comic published by Marvel Comics.

Stan Lee

Stan Lee

Stan Lee was an American comic book writer, editor, publisher, and producer. He rose through the ranks of a family-run business called Timely Comics which would later become Marvel Comics. He was the primary creative leader for two decades, leading its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a multimedia corporation that dominated the comics and film industries.

Steve Ditko

Steve Ditko

Stephen John Ditko was an American comics artist and writer best known for being co-creator of Marvel superhero Spider-Man and creator of Doctor Strange. He also made notable contributions to the character of Iron Man with the character's iconic red and yellow design being revolutionized by Ditko.

Archenemy

Archenemy

In literature, an archenemy is the main enemy of someone. In fiction, it is a character who is the protagonist's, commonly a hero's, most prominent and most-known enemy.

Hulk

Hulk

The Hulk is a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in the debut issue of The Incredible Hulk. In his comic book appearances, the character, who has dissociative identity disorder (DID), is primarily represented by the alter ego Hulk, a green-skinned, hulking and muscular humanoid possessing a limitless degree of physical strength, and the alter ego Dr. Robert Bruce Banner, a physically weak, socially withdrawn, and emotionally reserved physicist, both of whom typically resent each other.

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho

Boise is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Idaho and is the county seat of Ada County. As of the 2020 census, there were 235,684 people residing in the city. On the Boise River in southwestern Idaho, it is 41 miles (66 km) east of the Oregon border and 110 miles (177 km) north of the Nevada border. The downtown area's elevation is 2,704 feet (824 m) above sea level.

Hulked Out Heroes

Hulked Out Heroes

Hulked Out Heroes is a 2-issue comic book crossover mini-series, written by Jeff Parker and published by Marvel Comics in June 2010. It is part of the "World War Hulks" crossover storyline.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel Cinematic Universe

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IGN

IGN

IGN is an American video game and entertainment media website operated by IGN Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Ziff Davis, Inc. The company's headquarters is located in San Francisco's SoMa district and is headed by its former editor-in-chief, Peer Schneider. The IGN website was the brainchild of media entrepreneur Chris Anderson and launched on September 29, 1996. It focuses on games, films, anime, television, comics, technology, and other media. Originally a network of desktop websites, IGN is now also distributed on mobile platforms, console programs on the Xbox and PlayStation, FireTV, Roku, and via YouTube, Twitch, Hulu, and Snapchat.

Publication history

The character first appeared in Tales to Astonish #62[5] (December 1964), and was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Fictional character biography

Born in Boise, Idaho, Samuel Sterns lived in the shadow of his brilliant brother Phillip, and he worked in a menial capacity for a chemical plant where Phillip was employed as a researcher. While Sterns was transporting radioactive materials, an explosive accident bombarded him with gamma radiation, which turned his skin green, abnormally enlarged his cranium and brain, and granted him a superhuman intellect that reflected his subconscious desire to be smarter than his brother.[6][7] Christening himself "The Leader", he forms an espionage ring to overthrow the United States federal government, enlisting such spies as the Chameleon to steal its secrets.[8] After his men are duly thwarted by the Hulk, the Leader decides to capture the Hulk with a powerful army of androids known as "Humanoids".[9] However, the Hulk breaks free and destroys the Leader's laboratory, forcing his retreat.[10] Impressed by the Hulk's strength, the Leader later convinces him to steal the Watcher's "Ultimate Machine", a device containing all the knowledge in the universe.[11] After obtaining the device and visualizing its contents, the Leader apparently dies of shock.[12]

One of the Leader's Humanoids revives him, and he resurfaces after months of hiding to engage in a number of plots against the Hulk, including an alliance with General Ross.[13] He also interrupts the wedding of Bruce Banner (the Hulk's alter ego) and Betty Ross by shooting Banner with a ray which restores the Hulk's savage state,[14] gamma-irradiates Manhattan's water supply to transform its inhabitants into loyal mutants,[15] and clashes with the Avengers.[16] Eventually, the Leader's mutation destabilizes and he reverts to the form of Samuel Sterns. He convinces the Gray Hulk to transfer the gamma radiation from the recently Hulk-like Rick Jones into himself, and the Leader is restored with a new appearance and a psychic link to Rick.[17] The Leader subsequently detonates a gamma bomb in a small-town city, Middletown, Arizona, killing over 5,000 people. The few, now enhanced, survivors provide him with valuable research subjects and a group of superhuman enforcers called the Riot Squad.[18] With their help, he builds a self-sufficient society called Freehold in the Arctic, populated with civilians dying from radiation poisoning. When the Leader's brother Philip Sterns becomes Madman, the Leader deems him a threat and sends the Hulk to eliminate him.[19]

When Freehold is targeted by HYDRA, the Leader sends his followers to invade the covert Pantheon organization and coerce them into aiding Freehold. To the Hulk's anger, the Leader and the Pantheon's head Agamemnon ultimately form an alliance. At the same time, the Leader is experiencing Rick's grief over the recent death of his girlfriend Marlo Chandler. The Leader offers to revive Marlo by using the power of his follower Soul Man, hoping to use Rick as a pawn against the Hulk and taking the opportunity to analyze Soul Man's power in a bid to achieve immortality.[20] Marlo's revival is interrupted by a two-pronged attack on Freehold by the Hulk and HYDRA, and the Leader is apparently killed in the crossfire.[21] The now-incorporeal Leader controls his follower Omnibus and attempts to throw the world into a state of war. Omnibus is eventually exposed by his fellow Freehold citizens, exiled into the Arctic, and is eaten by a polar bear.[22]

When Banner is dying from ALS, the Hulk is summoned by the Leader, who had created a new body from various organic materials. The Leader tells the Hulk that he is preparing to transcend the mortal plane, and he grants the Hulk the cure to Banner's condition in exchange for the Hulk bearing witness to his ascension. However, the Leader's body explodes at a crucial juncture. Later, Banner mentally hears the Leader begging him for help, having apparently made a grave mistake. The Leader is ultimately abandoned by Banner, who is unable to help.[23]

The Leader survives once more as a large disembodied head in a tank within a hidden California base. Planning to create a new body from the Hulk's DNA, the Leader establishes the clandestine organization Home Base and dispatches agents to pursue the Hulk after framing him for the death of a young boy. After all his other agendas fail, the Leader finally manages to mind-control the Hulk and guides him towards his secret base, with the intention of taking his indestructible body for himself. Because of intervention by Nadia Blonsky, Betty Ross, Doc Samson, and Iron Man, the plan fails and the Leader dies again.[24]

After the Leader regains his body through unknown means, he is captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. and brought to trial for his crimes, but his attorney manages to have him found not guilty by reason of insanity.[25] Shortly afterward, the Leader discovers he is dying and builds a dome in Nevada desert to survive.[26] Upon recovering, he joins the Intelligencia,[27] and he takes part in the creation of the second Harpy Marlo Chandler, the Red Hulk General Ross, and the Red She-Hulk Betty Ross. However, when Ross discovers that the Red She-Hulk is his daughter, he furiously drains the gamma radiation from the Leader's body, depriving him of his intelligence and reverting him back to Samuel Sterns.[28]

Subsequently taken into custody so that he may divulge information on the Intelligencia's plans,[29] Sterns is subjected to a dose of red gamma radiation by the Red Hulk, who intends to make Sterns his intelligence agent.[30] However, Sterns is shot and killed when the Punisher discovers him.[31] The Red Hulk further exposes his body to gamma radiation, which revives him and transforms him into the Red Leader.[32] Initially forced to work for Ross's Thunderbolts, the Red Leader manages to escape and begins to rebuild his criminal empire, but is recaptured. He forms a pact with Mephisto to free himself, and is later dragged to Hell.[33]

After somehow escaping from Mephisto's captivity, the Red Leader is tracked down by "Doc Green", an ingenious and ruthless new personality of the Hulk, and is deprived of his powers. However, the Red Leader had previously taken possession of an artificial intelligence created by Banner, which restores his powers and original green complexion.[34]

In the "Hulkverines" miniseries, the Leader is shown to be detained at Shadow Base Remote Facility 43B using Big Bob's Lumber Lounge in Akron, Ohio as a front. He is approached by Agent Castillo, who informs him that the Hulk has returned from the dead and they need his help to kill him. The Leader accepts, but stabs Agent Castillo, stating that he would rather do it himself. The Leader arrives at the area where the Hulk and Weapon H are fighting each other, until Shadow Base agents led by Agent NG catch up to him. As the Hulk starts sneezing, the Leader states to Agent NG that he infected Clayton Cortez with a gamma-altering virus. Arriving where Weapon H had knocked the Hulk unconscious, the Leader begs for Weapon H to finish him off. When the Leader threatens his family as part of Plan C, he detonates some bombs near Weapon H in order to get away. Clayton chases after the Leader until Wolverine arrives.[35] The Leader brings out the Humanoids, only to be regressed back to their pods by reverse-engineered Humanoids when former Weapon X Project scientist Dr. Aliana Alba shows up. She advises the Leader to leave the disposal of Wolverine to her. After a brief fight, the Leader explains that he was pursuing the Hulk, while Dr. Alba states that she was pursuing Wolverine. They come to a conclusion that they were manipulated by someone who wants Weapon H dead. This leads to them making plans to capture the Hulk in order to collaborate on a project. The Leader and Dr. Alba later attack Shadow Base's Remote Facility FN34.[36] After the larger Humanoid abducts Wolverine and Bruce Banner, it brings them to Shadow Base's Remote Facility FN34 as they begin the experiment that gives the Hulk the claws of Wolverine and Wolverine the strength of the Hulk. The Leader and Dr. Alba unleash the mutated Hulk and Wolverine on Shadow Base Auto-Op WMD Facility BX91 in Central, Ohio using Green Energy Corp as a front. Weapon H arrives and lures them towards the Leader and Dr. Alba. When Weapon H destroys the remote-control in the Leader's hand, Dr. Alba withdraws the nanobots that were placed in Wolverine and Bruce Banner and places them in Weapon H. It does not work on Weapon H, as the Leader repairs his teleporter enough to get himself and Dr. Alba away from Weapon H. After watching the aftermath from afar, the Leader and Dr. Alba share a romantic kiss as they embrace each other.[37]

After the Hulk left after finding that Xemnu the Living Titan devoured the Minotaur and transformed him into a Xemnu/Minotaur hybrid, the Leader visits him. While controlling Rick Jones when spying on the Hulk, the Leader advises the Minotaur to leave the Hulk to him.[38]

The Leader begins working on studying the Below-Place where gamma mutates travel to after dying and before resurrecting. He began to learn how to control the Green Door while in the Below-Place. He encountered Brian Banner, who wanted the Leader to help him escape the Below-Place. Instead, the Leader removed his skeleton for research. Following the Hulk's victory over Xemnu, the Leader had Rick Jones send a surge of gamma energy into the Hulk during a photo shoot, which caused him to release a blast of gamma energy where the survivors were saved by Rick Jones, who was mutated to an elongated and multi-limbed form. Gamma Flight came to confront the Hulk, which the Leader commented on. Then, the Leader controlled Del Frye so that he could send Doc Samson to the Below-Place and watch his plans unfold. During the Hulk's fight with the Absorbing Man, Puck fired an energy beam on the Hulk, as the Leader had planned. The Leader used the Green Door to take over the Hulk and his Green Scar persona. In Bruce's mindscape, the Leader tied up Bruce and the Hulk personas to the prison that held the Devil Hulk inside. The Leader bragged to Bruce how he was using the Green Door to take control of his mind. He then began to hit snags when he tried to entice Dr. Charlene McGowan of the U.S. Hulk Operations to join him. While the Leader was distracted, Samson struck him with a piece of debris, inflicting a severe head injury. McGowan then used a translocator to split Rick in two, which the Leader felt. Seeing his plans were on thin ice, the Leader decided to drag Bruce through the Green Door immediately instead of making him suffer. This unexpectedly caused the Devil Hulk to get angry enough to finally break free from his prison and confront the Leader, causing him to become very fearful. The Leader was able to distract the Devil Hulk briefly by tuning into Brian Banner before transforming into a crab-like monstrosity and grabbing Brian. The Devil Hulk tried to fight the Leader, but was unexpectedly restrained by the Savage Hulk persona, who believed that he was Brian and decided to protect him so he could be loved by him. With the Devil Hulk restrained, the Leader killed him and dragged his remains and Bruce through the Green Door. Now in the Below-Place, the Leader hooked Bruce and the Devil Hulk's remains to strange plant-like structures for the purpose of turning him into a device to channel gamma energy to the One Below All. However, the Leader could not get the system to work, even though Brian could. Then, the Leader learned the truth about Brian's spirit: Brian could do it because he was possessed by The One Below All, something the Leader did not want. After that, it possessed him, much to his horror. The Leader eventually grew to a gargantuan size and built a fortress around himself. The Savage Hulk, Joe Fixit, and Jackie McGee managed to travel to the Below-Place using the Fantastic Four's Forever Gate and confronted him. However, the Leader ensnared the Savage Hulk with his tendrils and controlled him like a puppet to fight Joe so he could absorb them both. When Jackie came to terms with her past, she unleashed a beam that harmed the Leader, allowing Joe and the Savage Hulk to separate him from the One Below All and unexpectedly depower him as well. After the Hulk personas talked with the One Below All, the Savage Hulk forgave Sterns for all he did. Sterns was then returned to Earth with Jackie, Bruce, and the Hulk personas, where he was shackled and presumably taken into police custody.[39]

During the "Empyre" story line, it was revealed that the Leader also used the Green Door to return the She-Hulk to life after she was possessed by a Cotati.[40]

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Gamma ray

Gamma ray

A gamma ray, also known as gamma radiation (symbol γ or ), is a penetrating form of electromagnetic radiation arising from the radioactive decay of atomic nuclei. It consists of the shortest wavelength electromagnetic waves, typically shorter than those of X-rays. With frequencies above 30 exahertz (3×1019 Hz), it imparts the highest photon energy. Paul Villard, a French chemist and physicist, discovered gamma radiation in 1900 while studying radiation emitted by radium. In 1903, Ernest Rutherford named this radiation gamma rays based on their relatively strong penetration of matter; in 1900 he had already named two less penetrating types of decay radiation (discovered by Henri Becquerel) alpha rays and beta rays in ascending order of penetrating power.

Hulk

Hulk

The Hulk is a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in the debut issue of The Incredible Hulk. In his comic book appearances, the character, who has dissociative identity disorder (DID), is primarily represented by the alter ego Hulk, a green-skinned, hulking and muscular humanoid possessing a limitless degree of physical strength, and the alter ego Dr. Robert Bruce Banner, a physically weak, socially withdrawn, and emotionally reserved physicist, both of whom typically resent each other.

Betty Ross

Betty Ross

Elizabeth "Betty" Ross is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and made her first appearance in The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962) as a romantic interest of the Hulk. She is the daughter of General Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt" Ross. Over the years, the character has undergone multiple transformations, including the Harpy and Red She-Hulk.

Avengers (comics)

Avengers (comics)

The Avengers are a team of superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby, the team made its debut in The Avengers #1. Labeled "Earth's Mightiest Heroes," the original Avengers consisted of Iron Man, Ant-Man, Hulk, Thor and the Wasp. Captain America was discovered trapped in ice in issue #4, and joined the group after they revived him.

Riot Squad (comics)

Riot Squad (comics)

The Riot Squad is a supervillain team appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. They are often depicted as enemies of Hulk.

Madman (Marvel Comics)

Madman (Marvel Comics)

Madman is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is portrayed as one of the Hulk's enemies and as the brother of the Leader.

Pantheon (Marvel Comics)

Pantheon (Marvel Comics)

Pantheon is a fictional organization appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Peter David, the Pantheon first appeared in The Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #368, and was a large part of that book's supporting cast from issue #379 to issue #426.

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Iron Man

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Powers and abilities

The Leader has superhuman mental acumen as a result of his exposure to an explosion of gamma-irradiated waste. He is capable of knowledge and comprehension that is beyond the human ability to understand. Just as the Hulk has the potential for limitless strength, the Leader has the potential for limitless intelligence, being capable of mastering every worldly subject and adopting concepts completely foreign to his environment. His higher brain functions, including pattern recognition, information storage/retrieval and logical/philosophical structuring have been enhanced to inhuman levels. He also has total recall of every event he has witnessed since the accident that transformed him and can calculate possibilities and outcomes so accurately that it borders on predicting the future. Despite his limitless intelligence and supreme knowledge, his effectiveness is greatly hampered by his own arrogance, impatience and obsession with defeating the Hulk, which constantly causes him to lose sight of necessary details and act prematurely, causing the ruin of his schemes. His egotism also led him to embark on two impractical schemes to turn the rest of humanity into green-skinned beings like himself.[15][16]

He has also unlocked latent telekinetic and telepathic powers within him. He is able to control the minds of ordinary humans by merely touching them (aside from gamma-mutated individuals like the Hulk or the Abomination), wipe the memories of several humans at once, create illusions to trick others or disguise himself, and project telekinetic blasts potent enough to topple a very weakened Hulk.

The Leader is also a technological genius that specializes in gamma radiation. He has created technology that is beyond human ability, including vehicles, weaponry, computers, laser pistols, pulse weapons and kinetic gauntlets, and is particularly adept at genetic engineering and manipulating radiation for many nefarious purposes. The Leader has created an army of synthetic henchmen at his disposal called "Humanoids" that have served him throughout his career of world domination, mainly as bodyguards, soldiers and laboratory servants. They have versatile programming capacities to allow them to perform any task, do not tire, talk or need sustenance and have elastic-like bodies that make them immune to blunt impacts. They range in size from microscopic to hundreds of feet tall. The Humanoids are usually controlled directly through the Leader's own mental commands, but can also be pre-programmed to carry out a certain directive. The Leader has also developed gamma bombs, shield generators to cover large areas, cages for holding the Hulk, powered armor, teleportation devices, android duplicates, a means of controlling the minds of the Hulk or the Rhino through technological devices,[41][24] a Revivo-Beam which was designed to restore him to life in the event of his death[13] and Omnivac,[41] a sentient computer that maintains the enormous space station he has used as a base of operations.

On occasion, the Leader has been shown to have the ability to change himself back into Samuel Sterns, but this ability resulted in him losing all memory of his identity as the Leader, as Sterns' mind was ill-equipped to cope with the Leader's intellect (although he always remembered everything when he changed back into the Leader again).

Although the Leader can be killed, being a gamma mutate, he is able to resurrect himself each time he is by passing through the Green Door, which makes him virtually immortal.[42]

Other versions

Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-in issues

Prior to the release of The Avengers in 2012, Marvel ran a series of canon tie-in comics entitled Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week, which take place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In issues #6-7, Sterns is seen undergoing a rapid head mutation just as he is discovered by Natasha Romanoff who stumbles upon him immediately after the Hulk has escaped (which happens during the climax of The Incredible Hulk, while the Hulk is fighting the Abomination). Although his brainpower has already drastically increased to the point where he can pinpoint the exact location of the Black Widow's birth just by a brief hint of Stalingrad in her accent, Natasha shoots him in the leg when he attempts to bribe her by offering to help her return to her home and he is taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.[43]

Marvel Zombies

The Leader makes an appearance as a zombie in Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness in the horde that overwhelms and infects the Punisher. He has a giant hole blown through his cranium, which does not stop him.[44] He is also in Marvel Zombies 3 where he is looking over food and medical supplies that other zombies have found as an offering to the Zombie Kingpin. The Zombie Leader determines how long the others can feed on the human clones. The Zombie Leader is sent with other zombified superbeings to find and destroy Machine Man. The android gains the upper hand in the battle and destroys all his pursuers. The Zombie Leader then kills himself by ripping out his arm, using it to take out all of his brain, and ripping out his own body.[45]

Ultimate Marvel

The Ultimate Marvel equivalent of the Leader is an enemy of Iron Man and the Hulk.[46] In Ultimate Human, Pete Wisdom is an ex-British Intelligence agent thrown out of MI6 after testing his "British Enhancile Program" on himself, transforming him into the Leader.[47] Wisdom has psychic and mental abilities similar to the original Leader, but requires a wheelchair and a halo brace to support the weight of his enlarged cranium's weight. The Leader attempts to steal Tony Stark's nanotechnology, as Bruce Banner and Stark work together to try to incorporate into Banner's physiology in the hopes that it will grant control over the Hulk. When Stark commands a decoy Iron-Tech robot into the Leader's base, Banner transforms into the Hulk. The Hulk resists the Leader's influence, and pounds him into the ground. The Leader, almost dead, commands a C-17 down onto the Hulk, ultimately killing Wisdom.[48]

The Ultimate version of Samuel Sterns is an elderly doctor who is seen in a wheelchair. In Ultimate Mystery, he is amongst a brain trust group for Roxxon Industries, including Doctor Octopus, Arnim Zola, Misty Knight, Nathaniel Essex, and Dr. Layla Miller.[49] He has the ability to transform into a hybrid of the Hulk and the Leader, but is defeated by the original Spider-Man,[50] and later the new Spider-Man[51] on two different occasions involving Spider-Woman.

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Kingpin (character)

Kingpin (character)

The Kingpin is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr., and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #50. The "Kingpin" name is a reference to the crime lord title in Mafia slang nomenclature.

Machine Man

Machine Man

Machine Man is an android superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by Jack Kirby for 2001: A Space Odyssey #8, a comic written and drawn by Kirby featuring concepts based on the eponymous 1968 Stanley Kubrick feature film and Arthur C. Clarke's 1968 novel. Shortly thereafter, Machine Man spun off into his own Kirby-created series. He is a robot, the only survivor of a series, raised as a human son of scientist Abel Stack, who was killed removing his auto-destruct mechanism, and further evolved to sentience by a Monolith.

Iron Man (Ultimate Marvel character)

Iron Man (Ultimate Marvel character)

Iron Man is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is the Ultimate Marvel version of the fictional superhero Iron Man, who first appeared in the fourth issue of Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Mike Allred. He later appeared in the Ultimates and often appears in other Ultimate Marvel titles.

Hulk (Ultimate Marvel character)

Hulk (Ultimate Marvel character)

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, the Hulk is a fictional character. Loosely based on the regular Marvel Universe character of the same name, he first appeared, in flashback, in Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's Ultimates #2. Although he did appear in a two-part story in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Phil Hester, it is generally considered to be out of continuity due to conflicting designs and characters; however, references made in the first issues of The Ultimates and the Ultimate Origins could be taken to reconcile some of this.

Pete Wisdom

Pete Wisdom

Pete Wisdom is a fictional secret agent published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared in Excalibur vol. 1 #86, and was created by Warren Ellis and Ken Lashley. Wisdom is a British Secret Service agent with the mutant ability to throw "blades" of energy from his fingertips.

Reception

In 2009, the Leader was ranked as IGN's 63rd Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[52]

In other media

Television

  • The Leader appeared in "The Incredible Hulk" segment of The Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by Gillie Fenwick.
  • The Leader appeared in the 1980s The Incredible Hulk series episode "Punks on Wheels", voiced by Stan Jones.
  • The Leader appeared in the Iron Man episode "Hulkbuster", voiced by Matt Frewer.
  • The Leader appeared in the 1990s The Incredible Hulk series, voiced again by Matt Frewer. This version of Samuel Sterns was a scientist who sabotaged the gamma bomb that turned Bruce Banner into the Hulk. As the latter event happened, Sterns fell into a pit of radioactive waste created by the gamma bomb and was mutated into the Leader. Additionally, he is served by the Gargoyle, the Abomination, the Ogress, and the Gamma Warriors.
  • The Leader makes a non-speaking cameo appearance in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Tremble at the Might of... M.O.D.O.K.!"
  • The Leader appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Jeffrey Combs. Introduced in the episode "Hulk vs. the World", he is initially imprisoned in the Cube before a technological fault allows the inmates to escape and take over in "The Breakout, Part 1". In the two-part episode "Gamma World", the Leader joins forces with the Abomination, the Absorbing Man, the Wrecking Crew, the U-Foes, and Zzzax to turn the world into gamma monsters, but they are thwarted by the Avengers. As of "Assault on 42", the Leader has been remanded to the titular Prison 42, where he warns the Avengers of Annihilus and the Annihilation Wave with his psionic powers.
  • The Leader appears in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.,[53] voiced by James Arnold Taylor. This version employed Skaar until the Hulk frees him from the Leader's control and fights the titular Agents of S.M.A.S.H. on several occasions.
  • The Leader appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Contest of Champions" Pt. 3, voiced again by James Arnold Taylor.
  • The Leader appears in Avengers Assemble, voiced again by James Arnold Taylor. Following minor appearances in the episodes "Building the Perfect Weapon" and "World War Hulk", the Leader appears in the two-part episode "Avengers No More" as the apparent leader of the Cabal, whom he leads in stealing a prototype Arc Reactor and Vibranium to build a Static Expander. While they come into conflict with the Avengers, the Cabal capture them and scatter them across time and space. In response, the Black Panther gathers the Avengers' reserve members to fight back. The heroes defeat the Leader and take him into custody, but the rest of the Cabal abandon the Leader and escape.
  • The Leader appears in Marvel Future Avengers, voiced by Yoshihito Sasaki in Japanese and Benjamin Diskin in English.[54] This version is a member of Kang the Conqueror's Masters of Evil.
  • The Leader appears in the M.O.D.O.K. episode "If Saturday Be... For the Boys!", voiced by Bill Hader.[55]

Film

  • Dr. Samuel Sterns appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film The Incredible Hulk (2008), portrayed by Tim Blake Nelson.[56] This version is a Harlem-based university professor who secretly attempts to help Bruce Banner find a cure for his transformations via various samples of Banner's blood under the alias of "Mr. Blue". After a trial run to control the Hulk mutation, Sterns reveals he replicated the samples to Banner before the latter is captured by General Ross and Sterns is forced to transform Emil Blonsky into the Abomination. After the latter injures Sterns and destroys his lab, one of Banner's blood samples drips into Sterns' open head wound, causing his cranium to rapidly expand.
  • Nelson will reprise his role as Sterns in the upcoming MCU film Captain America: New World Order (2024).[57]

Video games

  • The Leader appears in The Incredible Hulk 1994 video game.
  • The Leader appears in the 2003 Hulk film tie-in game, voiced by Michael Dobson. This version possesses levitation and teleportation capabilities as well as psionic abilities such as telekinesis, energy projection, and creating illusions of himself. He plans to create a gamma mutant army to take over the world from New Freehold using a special "Gamma Orb", with help from his brother, the Madman, and fellow enemies of the Hulk such as Ravage and Halflife.
  • Dr. Samuel Sterns appears in The Incredible Hulk 2008 film tie-in game, voiced by Tim Blake Nelson.
  • The Leader appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes,[58] voiced again by Jeffrey Combs.
  • The Leader appears in Marvel: Avengers Alliance. In Spec Ops 32, he kidnaps Betty Ross and turns her into the Red She-Hulk. After he is defeated by the Red Hulk, the Leader turns himself into the Red Leader.[59]
  • The Leader appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel's Avengers.
  • The Leader appears as a playable character in Marvel Avengers Academy.

Literature

The Leader appears in the X-Men/Avengers crossover trilogy Gamma Quest by Greg Cox. He forms an alliance with the Super-Skrull to enhance his abilities with the powers of various other superhumans, but during the final confrontation Rogue is able to borrow enough of the Leader's intellect to reverse the procedure and return the Skrull to his usual power levels.

Discover more about In other media related topics

The Marvel Super Heroes

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Iron Man (TV series)

Iron Man (TV series)

Iron Man, also known as Iron Man: The Animated Series, is an American animated television series based on Marvel Comics' superhero Iron Man. The series aired from 1994 to 1996 in syndication as part of The Marvel Action Hour, which packaged Iron Man with another animated series based on Marvel properties, the Fantastic Four, with one half-hour episode from each series airing back-to-back. The show was backed by a toy line that featured many armor variants.

Matt Frewer

Matt Frewer

Matthew George Frewer is an American-Canadian actor, singer and comedian. He portrayed the 1980s icon Max Headroom in the 1985 TV movie and 1987 television series of the same names.

The Incredible Hulk (1996 TV series)

The Incredible Hulk (1996 TV series)

The Incredible Hulk is an American animated television series starring the Marvel Comics character the Hulk. It ran two seasons, for 21 episodes, on the television network UPN from 1996 to 1997. Lou Ferrigno, who portrayed the Hulk on the live-action TV series from 1978 to 1982, provided the Hulk's voice.

Hulk

Hulk

The Hulk is a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in the debut issue of The Incredible Hulk. In his comic book appearances, the character, who has dissociative identity disorder (DID), is primarily represented by the alter ego Hulk, a green-skinned, hulking and muscular humanoid possessing a limitless degree of physical strength, and the alter ego Dr. Robert Bruce Banner, a physically weak, socially withdrawn, and emotionally reserved physicist, both of whom typically resent each other.

Gargoyle (comics)

Gargoyle (comics)

Gargoyle is a name shared by two fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Abomination (character)

Abomination (character)

The Abomination is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The original and best known iteration is Emil Blonsky, who first appeared in Tales to Astonish #90 and was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Gil Kane. He is one of the main enemies of the superhero Hulk, and possesses powers similar to his after also being exposed to gamma rays.

The Super Hero Squad Show

The Super Hero Squad Show

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The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes is an American superhero animated television series by Marvel Animation in cooperation with Film Roman, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers. The show debuted on Disney XD and online in the fall of 2010, starting with a 20-part micro-series that were later broadcast as five television episodes. In the second season, it was one of the inaugural shows of the Marvel Universe programming block alongside Ultimate Spider-Man.

Jeffrey Combs

Jeffrey Combs

Jeffrey Alan Combs is an American actor. He is known for starring in horror films, such as Re-Animator, and appearances playing a number of characters in the Star Trek and the DC animated universe television franchises.

Absorbing Man

Absorbing Man

Absorbing Man is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared in Journey into Mystery #114, cover dated March 1965, created by writer Stan Lee and writer/artist Jack Kirby, and has over the years played a part on several Marvel Comics crossovers such as the original Secret Wars and Fear Itself. Though depicted for many years as a supervillain, Creel has also been portrayed as an anti-hero, siding with characters such as Black Bolt and Alpha Flight.

Avengers (comics)

Avengers (comics)

The Avengers are a team of superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby, the team made its debut in The Avengers #1. Labeled "Earth's Mightiest Heroes," the original Avengers consisted of Iron Man, Ant-Man, Hulk, Thor and the Wasp. Captain America was discovered trapped in ice in issue #4, and joined the group after they revived him.

Source: "Leader (character)", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 26th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leader_(character).

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