Real Name: Phil Sterns

Identity/Class: Human mutate

Occupation: High-tech merchant, mercenary; former scientist at the Yucca Flats Nuclear Research facility

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Supereme Leader General Jalak Awa, Piecemeal;
formerly Kata Jayan Peoples Army

Enemies: Hulk (Bruce Banner), Kata Jayan Peoples Army, Killpower, Motormouth, Perseus, Thunderbolts (Deadpool/"Wade Wilson, Elektra Natchios, Punisher/Frank Castle, Red Hulk/Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, Red Leader/Samuel Sterns, Venom/Eugene "Flash" Thompson)

Known Relatives: Samuel Sterns (the Leader, brother)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: The island nation of Kata Jaya;
   formerly mobile;
    formerly Yucca Flats in Nevada

Education: Ph.D in nuclear physics

First Appearance: (Phil Sterns) Incredible Hulk II#362 (November, 1989);
    (Madman) Incredible Hulk II#364 (December, 1989)

Powers/Abilities: Madman has superhuman strength comparable to the Hulk's (Class 100), as well as size-changing abilities. His strength increases with his size, his peak form being almost 9' tall. Madman initially struggled with his dual personality of Phil Sterns, both of whom were in control of their body at different times. However, the Phil Sterns personality now seems completely submerged beneath that of Madman. He was also a very intelligent scientist, with knowledge in nuclear physics and robotics.

Height: (Sterns) 5'10"; (Madman) variable up to 8'11"
Weight: (Sterns) 182 lbs.; (Madman) variable up to 622 lbs.
Eyes: (Sterns) Blue; (Madman) Brown
Hair: (Sterns) Blond; (Madman) None

(Thunderbolts III#4 (fb) - BTS) - As a child Phil always ate his Halloween candy as fast as he could while his seven-year-old brother Sam divided his candy up into tiny amounts and hid them all over the place, knowing Phil would otherwise take the candy from him. Phil always wondered how Sam could find the candy again.

(Incredible Hulk II#367 (fb) ) - Phil Sterns, the brother of Sam Sterns (better known as the Leader), attended the same graduate school as Bruce Banner. Though intelligent, Phil always hovered toward the bottom of the class, but admired the genius of Bruce Banner from afar. After graduation, Sterns tried to get military funding to support his research in using gamma radiation as a weapon. However, the military supported Bruce Banner instead. Jealous of his idol, Sterns spent years trying to duplicate the conditions to give himself powers like the Hulk. The process drastically twisted his mind as well as his body. His personality was splintered between Phil Sterns and a new persona called the Madman, a superhumanly strong, size-shifting monster. His Madman personality became stronger, asserting more dominance over Phil until finally, Phil found himself a servant of his deranged alter ego.

(Incredible Hulk II#366-367 (fb) ) - The Leader became aware of what his brother had become, and decided that Madman was a potential threat and must be terminated. However, he could not find it in himself to kill his own brother.

(Incredible Hulk II#362 (fb) - BTS) - Sterns began working as a research scientist at the Yucca Flats Nuclear Research Facility.

(Incredible Hulk II#362) - Phil Sterns, while on the job at Yucca Flats, approached Bruce Banner, who was using the alias "Bruce Bancroft" and working as a janitor in the facility. He was surprised that a janitor showed a high level of understanding of the technology.

(Incredible Hulk II#363) - Phil Sterns approached Bruce Banner at work again, telling him that he was aware of Banner's true identity, and offered his assistance to Banner. He would give Banner access to the machines and equipment so he could search for a way to rid himself of the Hulk, and in return, Banner would look over Sterns' science work for errors.

(Incredible Hulk II#364) - The Madman personality created a poison that could kill even the Hulk. He ordered his Phil Sterns personality to inject the poison into Bruce Banner. The Phil Sterns personality objected, not wanting to take part in murder, but the persona of Madman prevailed, and Phil Sterns injected the poison into Bruce Banner with what appeared to be just a friendly pat on the shoulder.

(Incredible Hulk II#366) - Madman watched the Hulk from a window at Yucca Flats. As he departed, an armed guard stopped him, and Madman promptly killed him.

(Incredible Hulk II#367) - The Hulk, nearly dead from poison, was transported to Phil Stern's apartment. He found the lair of the Madman in the caves beneath the apartment, and confronted Madman. Madman used his size changing powers to bulk up to his maximum strength, and attacked the weakened Hulk. Madman beat on the Hulk mercilessly until the Phil Sterns personality regained control of the body. The personalities of Madman and Phil Sterns struggled for dominance. In a moment of strength, Sterns told Hulk of the location of the cure for his poison. After a period of struggle, the personality of Phil Sterns was completely submerged beneath that of Madman, apparently "killed" by his alter ego. However, the Hulk managed to inject Madman with his own poison from behind, and injected himself with the cure before Madman could do anything to stop him. He then left the cure just out of Madman's reach as he departed, leaving the villain to die.

(Incredible Hulk II#408 (fb) ) - Madman reached the cure in time and recovered. He later posed as a scientist in South America for the Red Skull's New World Order, tinkering with the android, Piecemeal, and gaining its loyalty.

(Incredible Hulk II#407) - Madman came to Scotland to find Piecemeal after it escaped from the place of its creation. The Hulk had also come to Scotland on behalf of the Pantheon at the request of former Pantheon Member Perseus to investigate sightings of a monster in Loch Ness. Madman attacked Hulk from behind while the Hulk was fighting Piecemeal, and knocked him unconscious.

(Incredible Hulk II#408) - Madman bound the Hulk in chains, tied him to an anchor, and threw him into the lake. He held the inhabitants of the lodge owned by Perseus hostage, allowing Piecemeal to use his absorption powers on them, and killed a hostage when Perseus attacked him. Later, when the Hulk returned to fight, Madman and Piecemeal both attacked the Hulk. During the melee, Madman easily killed Perseus after the former Pantheon member tried to aid the Hulk. This enraged the Hulk, who punched Madman out of the lodge. Madman fled to a small airship and departed. After finishing off Piecemeal, the Hulk realized Madman had disappeared from the scene.

(Incredible Hulk II#409 (fb) ) - The Hulk caught up to Madman's airship, and smashed his way inside the craft. However, as soon as he did, Madman ejected and detonated his craft.

(Incredible Hulk II#409) - Madman parachuted down over London, and took the prince captive. He then stood atop Big Ben and demanded that the UK's legislature declare him the new king of England. The Hulk again engaged Madman and rescued the prince, while the British superhero called Motormouth sent Madman flying off Big Ben with her sonic scream. The Hulk and Madman fought onto London Bridge where the Hulk got the better of Madman, but before the fight could be finished, the bridge collapsed, and when the dust had cleared, Madman was nowhere to be found.

(Savage Hulk I#1) – Madman was part of a large group of villains that attacked the Hulk at court in New York City.

(Thunderbolts III#6 (fb) - BTS) - Phil Sterns somehow learned that his brother, the Leader, had uploaded billions of encoded data packages to the internet because his physical brain was unable to contain all his knowledge. The data was only accessible to the Leader though a code needed to unlock them.

(Thunderbolts III#4 (fb) ) - Phil visited his brother Sam, who could barely remember him, and they talked about their childhood. Sam revealed that he had always used a code to hide his Halloween candy, a code he used for other things as well. Phil asked him if he could remember this code.

(Thunderbolts III#6 (fb) ) - Sam couldn't remember the code.

(Thunderbolts III#4 (fb) ) - Freedom fighters on the island nation Kata Jaya hired Madman to fight for them against General Awa's regime.

(Thunderbolts III#4 (fb) ) - Awa made Madman a better offer and he turned on the freedom fighters.

(Thunderbolts III#2 (fb) - BTS) - A gamma-powered weapon was detonated on Kata Jaya by the dictator General Awa (it was actually Madman).

(Thunderbolts III#4 (fb) - BTS) - Awa was desperate at the time, but soon realized that Madman would eventually turn on him as well.

(Thunderbolts III#6 (fb) - BTS) - In an underground lab in Awa's palace Madman connected a group of prisoners to the internet where they isolated the data his brother had uploaded to the internet and amalgamated the data units into abstract human thoughts. Madman's human think tank was unable to figure out the code to unlock the data though. Madman was looking for information on gamma radiation and a particle accelerator on Kata Jaya had been built decades earlier with the help of Thaddeus Ross.

(Thunderbolts III#3) - Madman interrogated captured Thunderbolts member Elektra and called her attempt to infiltrate them as some kind of Trojan Horse embarrassing.

(Thunderbolts III#3 - BTS) - Red Hulk (Ross) used the depowered Leader (Sam Stern) to get information on Stern's brother Madman.

(Thunderbolts III#4 - BTS) - A female freedom fighter revealed to the Punisher how they had hired Madman before Red Hulk's team.

(Thunderbolts III#4 - BTS) - Madman ordered Demak Tengku and Sabtu to guard the armored door to the room Elektra was kept in. They were scared of Madman, but General Awa threatened their families if they didn't let him through. They allowed him to go inside, but Awa knew that he had lost everything and after his conversation with Elektra shot himself in the head, committing suicide.

(Thunderbolts III#4) - At Awa's palace the Punisher and Deadpool provoked Madman to face them. He felt insulted and jumped at them, but they fired their gamma-rifles at him. They hid behind trees from Madman. The Punisher taped a land mine to his chest, Deadpool faked to surrender, but the Punisher jumped at him. Madman caught him in a bearhug and the land mine detonated. The Punisher survived due to the breast plate provided to him by Red Hulk, but Madman took the full brunt of the detonation.

(Thunderbolts III#5 (fb) ) - Madman reverted to his human form after losing consciousness following the explosion. Deadpool took off his collar, believing it allowed Madman to control his powers.

(Thunderbolts III#5 - BTS) - Venom found Madman's underground lab where dozens of people were connected to the internet. A scientist told Venom that the machine was the only thing keeping them alive.

(Thunderbolts III#7 - BTS) - Madman had gamma-powered batteries created and sold.

(Thunderbolts III#5) - Deadpool delivered Phil Sterns to the Kata Jayan Peoples Army to give them a chance to get their revenge against him. A short time later Venom (Thompson) told them he would take them off their hands. With a smile on his face Phil asked Venom to take him to their leader.

(Thunderbolts III#6) - The Kata Jayan Peoples Army was not willing to hand over Phil, whom they planned to execute. They were willing to die fighting Venom to bring Phil to justice. Mercy was willing to grant them their wish, killing them all.

   Venom and Deadpool brought Madman to the underground lab, realizing too late that they were tricked by him, when Red Hulk revealed that Madman's collar was not connected to his powers. Phil turned into his gigantic form and attacked Red Hulk for trying to hide his secrets on gamma radiation from him. Madman then grabbed his brother, who revealed the code to Madman, but the data was too much for Madman and head exploded, apparently killing him. Upon his death Madman reverted to his human form. Leader realized that Madman had built something dangerous, which had been shipped off the island three days earlier.

(Thunderbolts III#7 - BTS) - Leader found out that what his brother was selling was gamma-powered batteries. What the Thunderbolts didn't know was that he had sold them to Elektra's brother Orestez.

Comments: Created by Peter David, Jeff Purves, and Marie Severin.

    Put this one on the long list of characters I'm eagerly waiting to see return after a pretty lengthy hiatus.

It took a few years.
--Markus Raymond

Profile by Stunner.. Update by Markus Raymond (Thunderbolts).

Character name has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Incredible Hulk II#367 page 11, panel 3 (first image)
Incredible Hulk II#367 page 15, panel 2 (Phil Sterns image)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Hulk 2004, Madman entry (third image)
Incredible Hulk II#409 page 14 panel 3 (fourth image)
Thunderbolts III#4, p4 (fifth image)

Incredible Hulk II#362 (November, 1989) - Peter David (writer), Jeff Purves (pencils), Marie Severin (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#363 (December, 1989) - Peter David (writer), Jeff Purves (pencils), Marie Severin (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#364 (December, 1989) - Peter David (writer), Jeff Purves (pencils), Marie Severin (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#366 (February, 1990) - Peter David (writer), Jeff Purves (pencils), Marie Severin (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#367 (March, 1990) - Peter David (writer), Dale Keown (pencils), Marie Severin (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#407 (July, 1993) - Peter David (writer), Gary Frank (pencils), Cam Smith (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#408 (August, 1993) -  Peter David (writer), Gary Frank (pencils), Cam Smith (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#409  (September, 1993) - Peter David (writer), Gary Frank (pencils), Cam Smith (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Savage Hulk I#1 (January, 1996) – Peter David (writer), Mike McKone (penciler), Mark McKenna (inker), James Felder (editor)
Thunderbolts III#3-6 (March, 2013) - Daniel Way (writer), Steve Dillon (artist), Jordan D. White (editor)
Thunderbolts III#4-5 (April, 2013) - Daniel Way (writer), Steve Dillon (artist), Jordan D. White (editor)
Thunderbolts III#6 (May, 2013) - Daniel Way (writer), Steve Dillon (artist), Jordan D. White (editor)

First Posted: 10/19/2007
Last updated: 06/11/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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