Thursday, August 23, 2012

One-Man Wrecking Crew


Name This Marvel Villain??

You've gotta hand it to a villain who chooses a name that makes it clear what's going to happen to you if you run into him. And in a battle with one of Marvel's powerhouses, he comes damn close to succeeding in his mission to destroy his target. Pretty good for someone who's little more than a spy. And before his super-powered debut he still managed to cause some trouble--even resorting to murder, with no one the wiser.

Yet, with some backing, a spiffy costume, and a secondary power source, this villain relished taking it up a notch and mowing down whatever was in his path. Eventually, it was his own high-tech gear that caused him to meet his end. I don't know why he'd need the extra gear in the first place--did you get a load of the guns on this guy??

Of course, sometimes it's hard to guess a villain's identity when the guy in question is a one-hit wonder. Meet Kirkov Petrova, the Devastator. Assigned to Hulkbuster Base as Capt. Peter Kirkman, he was a spy for a Soviet brainchild who had him infiltrate the base in order to safeguard the mission of another agent who'd been implanted with a bomb in order to assassinate the President. The assassination attempt failed--but an investigation was begun to discover who put it in motion, which forced Petrova to undertake his second mission.

Suiting up as the Devastator, he activated a link with an orbiting satellite, which broadcast power to him from a base behind the Iron Curtain. He was thus able to channel powerful blasts from his gauntlets, laying waste to much of Hulkbuster Base before the Hulk intervened. Resisting the blasts, the Hulk crushed the Devastator's gauntlets, causing the suit to overload and reduce Petrova to ashes.

The conflict certainly revealed the flaw in Hulkbuster Base, which was put into words by (who else?) "Thunderbolt" Ross, barking orders at his troops:

Unfortunately, they could, and did. Apparently the troops knew how to attack a mega-strength brute just fine, but not a super-powered assassin. Which conveniently worked out for the story, of course--especially considering that the Devastator wasn't bullet- or bomb-proof. Also, the Devastator did get the drop on them.

The Devastator was created by long-time Hulk artist Herb Trimpe--who also drew military ordnance so well that it was almost in competition with the title character. Though Trimpe drew a number of titles in his career, the Hulk book is generally considered his signature series.

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