Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Human technology user

Occupation: Professional criminal, former champion martial artist

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Patrons of the Bar With No Name

Enemies: Scourge of the Underworld, She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters), Morris Walters

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Shorty, little man, runt, squirt (as called by She-Hulk, see comments)

Base of Operations: Los Angeles, California

First Appearance: Savage She-Hulk I#18 (July, 1981)

Powers/Abilities: The Grappler possessed Olympic-level training in martial arts and wrestling. He carried a specially-equipped battle staff; he used the staff in conjunction with a computer-pack (possibly concealed within his costume) which analyzed and relayed to him the exact spot and proper amount of leverage required to topple any object.

He once transported himself in a small one-man aircraft.

Height: Unrevealed (see comments)
Weight: Unrevealed
Eye: Unrevealed
Hair: Black

(Savage She-Hulk I#18 (fb)) - The man who would become the Grappler was a small-time thief who grew up in the ghetto. As a kid, he survived through his ability to wrestle any bully to the ground, no matter how much bigger they were. But just getting by wasn't good enough for him...he wanted to get ahead. He went to Las Vegas and sought out billionaire casino-owner Hugh Howard (see comments), then dashed past Howard's bodyguards to ask him for the secret of his success; Howard simply replied with one word--"leverage"--just before Howard had his bodyguards thrash the future Grappler within an inch of his life.

   Howard, of course, meant financial leverage, but the future Grappler took the advice literally, so he first mastered the science of leverage by studying martial arts, then used the winnings from his championship fights to study finances; he later used the principles of leverage in the stock market to make himself wealthy. But still not satisfied, he turned back to a life of crime for the kicks.

(Savage She-Hulk I#18) - Concealing his identity with a costume and armed with modified equipment, the Grappler swung down from his aircraft and tried to steal a shipment of gold from an armored car. With his battle staff, he used "the truly limitless power of leverage" to overturn the armored car and began his robbery. However, after clashing with the She-Hulk, he attempted to bribe her into working with him as his partner in crime, but she turned down the offer. Realizing there was no profit in staying any longer, the Grappler launched his staff's retractable line and snared his aircraft to make his getaway; but the She-Hulk leaped on the Grappler's airplane and forced him to land, then turned him over to the authorities.

(She-Hulk II#3 (fb)) - The Grappler once attacked a courthouse to steal sealed files from the records room, in order to have leverage over other people--he ensnared Morris Walters during his rampage. The She-Hulk showed up to oppose him, so the Grappler toppled a statue towards her father, but she saved him, then halted the Grappler's attempt at escape with a shock-wave that knocked him down, and she bent his battle staff; afterward, the Grappler was taken away to prison.

 (Captain America I#319) - Possibly escaping prison, the Grappler was approached by Firebrand (as were several other costumed criminals) to meet at the so-called "Bar With No Name" to discuss the threat posed by the assassin Scourge; however, Scourge turned out to be present, disguised as the bartender, and subsequently killed Firebrand, Grappler and all the other costumed criminals in attendance.

Comments: Created by David Anthony Kraft and Michael Vosburg.

The Grappler, Ultima and the Word are the only villains to appear out of the pages of the Savage She-Hulk series.
They are the only ones who first appeared in the She-Hulk series to show up outside of it.
Professor Slaughter and the people of la Hacienda (+/- villains), Morbius, and Gemini of the Android Zodiac were all seen elsewhere

It was difficult to gauge how tall he was, but since the She-Hulk made so many disparaging remarks regarding his height, I'm guessing the Grappler was perhaps 5'5" tall.

Grappler's "mentor" was Hugh Howard, a singular version of the Godzilla Squad's mechanic and pilot Hugh Howards. Merely a man with a similar name? A son who altered his name a bit so he wouldn't be HH, Jr. anymore? Or did Howard get his hands on Silvermane's Tablet of Life and Time?

Hugh Howard was obviously based on reclusive millionaire Howard Hughes.

And I'm guessing the Grappler probably got his aircraft, computer-pack, and battle staff from the Tinkerer (Phineas Mason).--Ron Fredricks

The main image was added and cleaned up by Loki.

Profile by Will Uchtman and Prime Eternal. Expansion by Ron Fredricks.

The Grappler should not be confused with:

Grappler's aircraft

A twin-propeller radio-controlled airplane, the Grappler used it in his first crime.

After using his battle staff's retractable line to swing down from it, the Grappler remotely set the unmarked airplane to circle less than thirty feet overhead, while he stole a gold shipment from an armored car driving on a Los Angeles freeway.

Following his clash with the She-Hulk, the Grappler launched his battle staff's retractable line and caught the airplane's landing gear to make his getaway, but the She-Hulk jumped aboard and forced him to land.

--Savage She-Hulk I#18

Grappler's battle staff

A titanium steel rod about five to six feet long, it had a high degree of tensile strength. Working in conjunction with a computer-pack, which calculated the exact spot to apply leverage, the Grappler could use the rod to topple the heaviest of objects. He also used the rod as a weapon, to strike opponents.

The rod could launch a retractable line (at least 30 feet long) to convey him from his flying aircraft to the ground and back. The head of the rod could also eject separate bands of steel coils to ensnare opponents.

The She-Hulk twisted the original battle staff around the Grappler and trapped him in the seat of his aircraft. The Grappler apparently replaced his battle staff with a second one, but the She-Hulk once again twisted it. When he was killed by Scourge at the so-called "Bar With No Name," the Grappler didn't seem to have his battle staff with him--possibly he never replaced the second one after the She-Hulk destroyed it.

--Savage She-Hulk I#18 (Savage She-Hulk I#18, She-Hulk II#3

images: (without ads)
Savage She-Hulk I#18, p8, pan7 (main image)
Savage She-Hulk I#18, p14, pan10 (headshot - Grappler)
Savage She-Hulk I#18, p8, pan3 (in flashback, future Grappler gets a word of advice from Hugh Howard, as Howard's bodyguards drag him away)
Savage She-Hulk I#18, p7, pan4-5 (Grappler overturns armored car with his battle staff)
Savage She-Hulk I#18, p14, pan11 (Grappler summons his circling aircraft)
Savage She-Hulk I#18, p17, pan3 (Grappler at controls of his aircraft, as She-Hulk jumps aboard)
Savage She-Hulk I#18, p14, pan1-6 (Grappler launches steel coils to strangle She-Hulk)
Savage She-Hulk I#18, p15, pan2 (Grappler launches retractable line to his aircraft)
She-Hulk II#3, p11, pan3 (Grappler ensnares police and Morris Walters with steel coils)

Savage She-Hulk#18 (July, 1981) - David Anthony Kraft (writer), Mike Vosburg (pencils), Frank Springer (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)
Captain America I#319 (July, 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Dennis Janke (inks), Michael Carlin (editor)
She-Hulk II#3 (February, 2006) - Dan Slott (writer), Mike Vosburg (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)

First posted: 02/07/2003
Last updated: 03/10/2024

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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