Saturday, July 6, 2013

Gamma Base: Hulkbusters and the Project Greenskin Base

From "The Incredible Hulk" #145 (1971) Art by Herb Trimpe and John Severin.
Clipped from Wikipedia: The Old Hulkbusters Headquarters. Originally a New Mexico base dedicated to Hulk's capture and named Project Greenskin Base, also could hold other gamma-powered superhumans. 

History of Gamma Base and the Hulkbusters: General "Thunderbolt" Ross was the orginal founder and leader of the "Project Greenskin". Initially the base was known as Project Greenskin, later known as Hulkbuster Base. 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.

The original base resembled a peace sign. The writer or artist (Len Wein and Herb Trimpe) never refer to the symbol per se in the book. The only comment as to why it was a peace sign came from a letter to the editor,
Since Herb Trimpe's the artful designer of Project Greenskin Base, 'twould appear that he's the only one who could answer your query concerning the reason it resembles a giant peace symbol. Only thing is, happy Herbie isn't talking--so we'll just have to put it down to his offbeat sensahumor and let it go at that.
When the base was downgraded to "Gamma Base" the landing strips/roads were redesigned to conform to a more standard military base style.

Ross was eventually replaced by Colonel John J. Armbruster. Months later Armbruster perished in the line of duty, Hulkbuster base was given direction by SHIELD and Clay Quartermain was assigned as liason. Shortly thereafter Hulk Buster Base was re-named Gamma Base in Incredible Hulk #198. Soldiers on the base wore special shoulder patches indicating that they were Hulk Busters. Hulkbuster Base was 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 ceased to exist and the US Government shut down Gamma Base.

After the Hulk reverted to his bestial personality, he was captured by Doc Samson. Samson persuaded the government to rebuild and finance Gamma Base in Death Valley, Nevada.  There, Samson managed to separate Banner and the Hulk into two distinct beings, although the Hulk was able to escape. Bruce Banner reformed and led Project: Hulkbuster. This new version first appeared in Incredible Hulk #317, created by John Byrne.

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 – Professor of geophysics

After much of Banner's HB team were slain in Hulk's destruction the team was disbanded and Gamma Base was shut down again. It was re-opened for the use of Operation: Zero Tolerance. Later, Gamma Base became Ross' headquarters once more as the Red Hulk when he was recruited by Steve Rogers, who had replaced Norman Osborn. Gamma Base was staffed entirely by Life Model Decoys. One in particular, Annie, became very close to Ross.

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