Real Name: Max "Hammer" Stryker (see comments)

Identity/Class: Human mutate

Occupation: Former gangster

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Boomerang, Kingpin (possibly, see comments), Rom, unnamed bodyguards

Enemies: Bruce Banner (Hulk), Dr. Katherine Waynesboro

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: A penthouse apartment in New York

First Appearance: Incredible Hulk II#294 (April, 1984)


Powers/Abilities: Formerly none accept for being a powerful gangster on par with the Kingpin and having a lot of people working for you. After being enhanced by gamma rays, he gained superhuman strength and durability to a very high degree, but significantly less than the savage Hulk, placing him anywhere from class 40-75.

History: (Incredible Hulk II#294) (fb) - A long time ago, Max "Hammer" Stryker was the biggest gangster in New York before the Kingpin ever showed up. He claimed to have taught the Kingpin.  He eventually got old and developed terminal cancer. He went to Dr. Bruce Banner (the Hulk) for a cure through a process involving gamma radiation that Banner was in the middle of developing. Banner refused because it was untested.

(Incredible Hulk II#294) - Max Stryker had his gang break Boomerang out of jail in order for Boomerang to force Banner into trying the gamma cure on his cancer. Boomerang broke into the Northwind Observatory and kidnapped Banner's girlfriend Kate while Banner was in the shower. After a tussle with Boomerang, Banner was buried under a bunch of rubble, and when he broke out, Max Stryker was there. Max Stryker told Bruce that Kate would not be harmed under the condition that Banner try the gamma cure on his cancer. Banner agreed and Stryker was cured of his cancer, and felt younger and healthier than he had in years. Banner then changed into the Hulk and took off for Stryker's penthouse to get his woman.



(Incredible Hulk II#295) - After being delayed for a full week due to the Secret Wars, Banner, along with a broken leg as a result of said wars, and Kate arrived at the Northwind Observatory and found that Stryker had been using the machines that cured him to cure everyone else in the city who was suffering from anything. Banner became furious because the machines were untested and nobody knew what long-term side affects there might be. Then suddenly, Stryker transformed into a green monster resembling the Hulk as a side affect of the gamma cure, just as the people outside began to fall over and die because of it. 

(Incredible Hulk II#296) - Stryker, now savage, super strong, and nearly mindless, charged at the Hulk and started taking it to him. Hulk already had a broken leg, and wasn't nearly as strong as he previously was in his savage form, and Stryker dominated the fight in its early goings. Eventually, Stryker got Banner so angry, that his healing factor kicked into overdrive and his broken leg healed, and the savage Hulk reemerged. Now a lot stronger and incredibly angry, the Savage Hulk unrelentingly beat the snot out of Max Stryker to within an inch of his life. Then, Rom the Spaceknight arrived on the scene and tried to cure both men of their gamma irradiated states by draining their gamma radiation. While Stryker was cured and turned back into a terminally ill old man,  the Hulk remained because his very DNA had been changed by the radiation years earlier and it was too late. Rom then stopped the Hulk from killing Stryker anyway. What happened to Max Stryker afterward has never been revealed, but its a safe bet that he died of his cancer and will never be seen or heard from again. 



Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo, Sal Buscema and Gerry Talaoc

It has never been verified that Max Stryker ever met Kingpin, much less taught him. It is possibly just a boast. 
    However, it wasn't just Stryker saying this, it was Boomerang, who had heard of him as being big before the Kingpin. Stryker replied, "yeah, he's top now, but who do ya think his teacher was?" Anyway, the Kingpin worked under Fortunato and Rigoletto (or something like that) in the past. Could Strykerhave had a connection with the Kingpin? Sure. Could Stryker just have been bragging or senile and remembering things differently? Sure. Will this ever be resolved? Take the "F" out of "weigh" (hint: There's no "F" in "weigh").
    In addition, Marvel is currently making every effort to trash 30-some years of Kingpin continuity with the current less-than-stellar Kingpin series, which will soon be cancelled. Hopefully that nonsense will be tossed aside, in favor of the Kingpin still having the wife and son who have dozens of appearances each.

Considering Bill Mantlo wrote all three issues Stryker appeared in, I find it very strange that his name was changed with no explanation, between Hulk#295+296.
We're going with his name being Stryker, and his nickname being Hammer, or "The Hammer."

Thanks to Leader's Lair for the images.

References to the Banner-Hulk and Savage-Hulk can be confusing for one who isn't familiar with the many incarnations of the Hulk. Without going into excessive detail (seeing as if I started I wouldn't stop for a while), Banner-Hulk is when the Hulk's body is controlled by the mind of Bruce Banner, and Savage Hulk is the rampaging one who says "Hulk Smash!"  
    The acceptance of the Savage Hulk was a conscious effort on Banner's part, and it was a major turning point in his sage and represented the start of the progression of the mindless Hulk (with Banner submerged completely), and the trip to the Crossroads.

Stryker is among the Gamma Mutates in World War Hulk: The Gamma Files.


CLARIFICATIONS: No connection to:

Incredible Hulk II#294 (April, 1984) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Gerry Talaoc (inks), Ann Nocenti (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#295-296 (May-June, 1984) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Dan Bulanadi (inks), Carl Potts (editor)

Last updated: 11/15/03

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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