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Two Classic Marvel Villains Meet a Grisly End in Immortal Hulk

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
Two Classic Marvel Villains Meet a Grisly End in Immortal Hulk

WARNING: The following contains crucial plot details for Immortal Hulk #3 by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett, on sale now.


Something funky is going on with gamma irradiated people in the Marvel Universe. Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s Immortal Hulk #3 drives home that fact by reintroducing two classic Hulk villains, Hotshot and Jailbait, both of whom are seemingly suffering from a familiar delusion.

You could be forgiven if you don’t recognize the names, though. Hotshot and Jailbait are both classic, though minor, villains from Hulk’s lengthy history. The duo gets reimagined in Immortal Hulk #3 in some very experimental ways, and, unfortunately for them, the results are downright grisly. So, who are these two and what’s their history with Hulk?

RELATED: The Immortal Hulk Is Now Smarter Than Bruce Banner – And That’s Incredibly Frightening

Most villains take up arms against heroes because they bear a grudge, but in the case of Hotshot and Jailbait (Louis Lembert and Jess Harrison, respectively) they’re really just regular people in a bad situation. Created by Peter David and Todd McFarlane, Hotshot and Jailbait first appeared in Incredible Hulk #345 back in 1988. The two didn’t start off as villains. In fact, they were basically just normal teenagers living in a small town called Middletown. Like most small-town teenagers, they hated living in such an isolated, desolate place and sought to escape their confines. They almost made it, too.

Unfortunately, Middletown happened to be ground zero for one of the Leader’s schemes, which involved encasing the town in a forcefield and irradiating it with a gamma bomb like the kind that created the Incredible Hulk. It’s likely that over 4,000 people died in the explosion, but five miraculously lived on — only changed.

Those who lived are Burt Horowitz, an encyclopedia salesman who became the super-smart villain Omnibus; Diane Davids, a fed-up defense lawyer who became the super-strong Ogress; Father Jason McCall, a priest who became the necromancer Soul Man; Jess, who became the forcefield-wielder Jailbait; and Louis, the energy beam-firing Hotshot. Together, they joined classic Hulk villains Rock and Redeemer to become the Riot Squad.

It’s hard to hold a grudge against any of these villains because, for the most part, they were kidnapped by the Leader, who turned them into living weapons via mind control. When the Riot Squad eventually shows up again, they’re hardly the kind of snarling, foaming-at-the-mouth villains you would expect.

In Incredible Hulk #366, they tangle with Hulk and knock him down a few pegs, but they appear to only do so at the behest of the Leader. Given how much the Middletown Riot Squad members just wanted to escape their rural confines, it’s hard to believe any of them voluntarily threw down with the Hulk.

The fate of Hotshot and Jailbait prior to Immortal Hulk #3 remains somewhat ambiguous. Up until their most recent appearance, the duo was last seen in Incredible Hulk #464, in which it was revealed that they were defenders of Freehold, the city of great thinkers and gamma-irradiated people created by the Leader.

The Leader envisioned Freehold as a last bastion of humanity capable of conquering the world after an apocalypse. When the Leader died, Omnibus took over the city (though he was operating under the Leader’s psychic orders, as the villain had taken over his mind just prior to death). Hotshot and Jailbait disappeared into the ether — until now.

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