July 22, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #275: Butterball

A simple, good-hearted lad isn't really cut out to be a superhero, but he has some special gifts anyway.

This week, for a few chuckles, I cast the various members of the Gabbing Geek bullpen as potential MCU characters.  For Watson, I went with the super-trucker US-1.  But I had a back-up option given how much shelter-in-place has not been good for some of our waistlines.

My back-up option was codenamed Butterball, and I actually think he was pretty awesome from what I saw of him.  Admittedly, it wasn’t much, but I don’t think he was designed for much.

So, who was Butterball?

Following the Marvel series Civil War, the winning side started the Avengers Initiative, also known as the 50-State Initiative.  That meant any young person who displayed any sort of superpowers was essentially drafted into the Avengers, trained heavily, and then sent off to a superhero team for one of the 50 states.  Though it started off looking awfully draconian, I have to say the series improved quite a bit in my own estimation over time.

Anyway, one day some new recruits showed up, including one Emery Schaub, a good-natured fellow from North Carolina.  Originally codenamed Boulder, he had basically one superpower:  he was completely indestructible.

Well, that sure sounds like it could be impressive and useful.  True, he wasn’t in the best of shape, and one of his trainers, the mercenary Taskmaster, had problems with Emery.  He renamed the guy Butterball.  Emery didn’t seem to mind.

See, there was a problem with Emery.  Was he indestructible?  Yes.  He couldn’t really feel any form of conventional pain, but he also was incapable of, well, learning the sorts of things that would make him a better superhero.  He couldn’t lose weight or gain muscle mass no matter how much he exercised.  He couldn’t even pick up fighting skills through simple muscle memory.  Basically, nothing could change his body.  Heck, he was even resistant to psychic powers.

So, basically, he was a chubby guy who couldn’t get hurt and was completely incapable of learning any new skills that would make him better.  He did cover for some other new recruits, helping them sneak off base once by going through the security area first.  Heck, a female teammate named Sunstreak, someone who was too hot to get physically close to most people, tried coming on to him, but sadly Emery’s powers also means he wasn’t able to feel anything, and that included pleasure.  Poor guy.

Anyway, he washed out of the program.  Taskmaster and Constrictor felt a little bad for him and posed for a picture with the guy where it looked like he defeated the two of them in battle.

Even his mercenary instructors ended up liking him!

Of course, he did come back.  When Secret Invasion happened, Norman Osborn managed to take out the Skrull Queen and became a national hero because no one remembered he was a convicted mass murderer.

Seriously, how did that happen?

Point is, he was suddenly in charge of all of America’s superhuman security aparatus.

Why?

Never mind.  Emery came back, and Norman used him to take hits from threats like the Annihilation Wave in the Negative Zone sometime after lots of canon fodder superhumans went down fighting and before the big guns came in and took out the threat in a big flash of power.  Emery didn’t care for that, and he left to start his own superhero team in his hometown the first chance he got.  His only teammate was his friend and fellow-recruit, a guy named Batwing.

These two!

Now, apparently, Butterball is one of those characters who keeps hanging around various Avengers training institutes and popping into backgrounds, but he’s the sort of charming guy who I’d just assume rarely if ever appeared.  Simple guy, simple powers, and fairly likable.  I’m fine with him not appearing again, but then again, maybe there’s a great Butterball story out there.  He may be immortal.  Maybe he can meet up with the Immortal Hulk…wait, that’s not going to go well for Butterball.

Never mind.