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Information
Leader

 

Real Name: Samuel Sterns
Occupation: Would-be conqueror
Identity: Publicly known
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with a criminal record
Former Aliases: None
Place of Birth: Boise, Idaho
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: Formerly a satellite orbiting Earth and various hidden bases on Earth; now unknown
First Appearance: TALES TO ASTONISH #62

History: Sterns was an ordinary laborer moving a load of radioactive wastes in the subcellar of a government-owned chemical research facility in the Nevada desert when, in a freak accident, a cylinder containing unusual nuclear experiment waste exploded. Sterns was caught in the blast and was trapped in close proximity to gamma radiation given off by the spilled waste for about a minute. He survived, apparently unharmed, and was placed under observation in a nearby hospital. Several days after the accident, Sterns, a high-school dropout, began voraciously reading every book available in the hospital library. His reading rate increased to approximately 4,000+ words per minute, with complete retention. The precise frequency of gamma radiation had affected his body, and particularly his brain, even as it had affected Dr. Bruce Banner's body in a previous accident.

Several weeks after being discharged from the hospital, Sterns' gamma-induced mutation completed itself: his brain and skull enlarged to five times their former volume, and his skin turned a shade of green. Stern left his job, deciding to use his recently acquired superhuman intelligence to a mass power for himself, and named himself the Leader. Over the course of several months, he organized a spy ring among the government scientists he'd known at the research facility. His spy ring collapsed before it could take over the world's governments due to internal bickering and mistrust. Frustrated by the lower intelligence of his aides, but lusting for power, the Leader absconded with the spy ring's fund of stolen money and used it to set a private laboratory in New Mexico, in which he designed and built his first "humanoid." The humanoid, a powerful, plastic robot which responded to the Leader's mental commands, was the first step in his career as a solitary criminal mastermind.

The Leader has since proved himself to be an adversary of humanity and has made many attempts at world conquest. He has continually been thwarted in his schemes by the Hulk, his greatest nemesis. When last seen, the Leader had gone back in time to primeval Earth in a mad scheme to create a divergent Earth whose history would differ from his own Earth's. The Hulk and the Avengers followed him back to that time period to stop him. In the course of their battle with the Leader, the Hulk and Avengers saw him fall into a volcano, and the Avenger Iron Man saw him fall into the molten lava within. It appeared that the Leader was finally dead. Yet the Leader has appeared to die before, and has turned up alive, revived by his extraordinary technological devices. It thus remains to be seen whether or not the Leader is truly dead.

The adventure had taken its toll, however. For reasons unrevealed, the Leader began to lose his gamma-spawned intellect. Desperate to regain it, Sterns made a deal with the Hulk, who had evolved into a grey-skinned amoral and intelligent form, and drained the gamma radiation from the Hulk's associate, Rick Jones, who had at the time been transformed into a version of the Hulk, inducing in the Leader a similar but different mutation, and forming a psychic link with Jones. The Leader then embarked on a plan to capture the U.S. military's cache of gamma bombs and kill the Hulk, although he was quickly defeated. To this end, the Leader stole gamma bombs from the U.S. government, lured the Hulk to Middletown, Arizona and detonated a nuclear bomb in the city. Although the Hulk narrowly escaped death, the Leader collected the few citizens of Middletown who survived the detonation and made them his minions.

In a subsequent battle with the Hulk, the Leader believed the Hulk perished in the explosion of a gamma bomb the Hulk had been holding in his hand at the time of detonation.

Later, the Leader made a deal with Agamemnon, the leader of the Pantheon, a hero team that the Hulk was then a part of. Agamemnon agreed to help the Leader battle the terrorist organization Hydra, but Agamemnon sent the Hulk. After the Hulk defeated Hydra, he battled the Leader and seemingly caused the Leader's death. However, the Leader transferred his consciousness into to one of his minions, Omnibus, just prior to his death. In Omnibus' form, the Leader caused global tension by creating a fictitious international terrorist group, The Alliance. "The Alliance" destroyed monuments, commercial vehicles, and governmental buildings around the world; each government believed that their enemy was funding The Alliance. However, the citizens of Freehold, a hidden city in the Arctic, learned that "Omnibus" was behind "The Alliance" and exiled him in the Arctic wasteland.

Height: 5 ft. 10 in.
Weight: 140 lbs
Eyes: Green
Hair: Black
Unusual Features: The Leader has an overdeveloped skull and green skin.

Known Superhuman Powers: The Leader possesses no superhuman physical powers, but his mutated brain possesses intelligence that is many times that of genius level. The Leader possesses total recall of every event he has witnessed since the accident in which he was mutated. His right-cerebrum higher brain functions, including pattern recognition, information storage and retrieval, and logical and philosophical structuring, have been enhanced to inhuman levels. His intuitive left-cerebrum functions have been enhanced to the point that his hunches are almost always correct.

Limitations: The Leader's most serious weaknesses are his immaturity and impatience; several times his malevolent selfishness has caused him to lose sight of necessary precautions, or he has acted prematurely, causing the ruin of his schemes. Lately his egotism has led him to embark on mad, impractical schemes to turn the rest of humanity into green-skinned beings like himself.

Weapons and Paraphernalia: The Leader has devised a large array of technologically advanced weaponry and computer systems to help him with his criminal activities. He has developed a means for telepathically controlling the Hulk and the Rhino. One example of the Leader's work was the construction of a robot programmed to bring the Leader back to life in the event of his death.

The Leader's greatest achievement in the field of computers is his design and construction of the highly advanced and complex computer system called Omnivac, which controls the orbiting space station that the Leader has used as a base of operations.

The Leader has developed an army of varied so-called "humanoids," which are actually robots constructed from unusually tough plastics and with versatile programming capacities to enable them to perform any task. These robots, however, have little if any capacity for independent thought. These robots' bodies have extraordinary elasticity, enabling them to absorb impacts or to stretch harmlessly with them. These "humanoids" have served the Leader throughout his career of attempted world domination.

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