|Ralph "Ralphie" Hutchins|
|First appearance||Savage She-Hulk #6|
|Created by||David Anthony Kraft|
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Ralph "Ralphie" Hutchins is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually portrayed as an enemy of She-Hulk.
Debuting in Savage She-Hulk #6 (July 1980), Ralphie Hutchins makes several other appearances in issues #9 (Oct. 1980), #18 (July 1981), #19 (Aug. 1981), and #21-25 (Oct. 1981-Feb. 1982).
Ralphie Hutchins was a medical student at the University of California when his best friend Daniel "Zapper" Ridge gave him a blood sample to analyze, unaware that the blood belonged to Jennifer Walters (a.k.a. She-Hulk) whose transformations were becoming more frequent and erratic. Ralphie eventually referred Zapper to Dr. Michael Morbius over the sample.
Upon learning that the blood came from She-Hulk, Ralphie confronted Zapper about it, who then confessed to having turned it over to a scientist known only as the "Doc". Fascinated by the recuperative power in She-Hulk's blood, the Doc coerced the two into handing her over to him. Although claiming he only wants She-Hulk's recuperative abilities, the Doc also wanted to create an army of superhumans from her. When She-Hulk broke free, the Doc injected a serum of her blood into Ralphie which transformed him into the huge yellow Brute. After clashing with She-Hulk, the Brute ended up literally being ripped apart by her.
The Brute eventually reformed and mutated into the Seeker. Utilizing an inhibitor implant to control him, the Doc used him to take control of the criminal underworld and then had Seeker lure She-Hulk into "The Arena", an underground location for executions, as a show of strength to the other crime lords. In an attempt to kill She-Hulk, the Seeker latched onto a main power cable so as to build up enough power. However, the sheer volume of energy proved too much for him to control, causing an explosion that destroyed The Arena and buried the Seeker in the debris.
The Seeker survived, though, and underwent another mutation which turned him into Radius. He was sent to kill She-Hulk as a demonstration of his new powers, but the battle ended in a stalemate as Radius retreated to safety.
Radius endured another transformation and became Torque and was once more ordered to destroy She-Hulk, but she unwittingly overloaded his energy beyond his control, and he too exploded.
Torque eventually reconstituted himself and mutated into Earth-Lord. One of the Doc's many genetically engineered mutates, Kyr, was able to partially usurp control over Earth-Lord, leading to a brief battle with She-Hulk. The fight came to a climax when She-Hulk removed Kyr's inhibitor, which freed him to access his full power. This resulted in a massive backlash which sent immense waves of pain to all of Doc's mutates, including Earth-Lord. In an attempt to escape the pain, Earth-Lord tried to merge with Kyr and achieve a higher level of consciousness. Unfortunately, this only made the pain worse, causing Earth-Lord to surrender. He then completely regressed into Ralphie before going through his other incarnations. However, as Torque, he was killed by the Doc using a helmet which amplified his brainwaves into a single mental blast. In death, though, Ralphie transformed for the last time into a being of a higher mental plane of existence as his consciousness entered the mutates' minds and gave them a sense of purpose. He also gives them the courage and desire to oppose the Doc, defeating him. It is unknown what happened to Ralphie beyond this point.
Powers and abilities
Ralphie Hutchins possessed the ability to progressively mutate into various superhuman creatures, each with a different set of powers. Initially, as the Brute, he had plastic-like skin with superstrength, malleability, and the impact-absorption ability of the Blob. The gelatinous substance that was his skin was strong enough to hold down She-Hulk, albeit temporarily. He also had complete control over every part of his viscous body and, like the Sandman, could reform his body despite being dispersed.
As the Seeker, Ralphie's skin turned blue and gained the ability to control all forms of energy, especially electricity. He could absorb any electrical stimulus around him and magnify it a thousandfold or convert it into a single powerful blast. He could also magnify the air around his foes into a shield.
As Radius, he gained a rhino-like thick hide and the ability to control molecules. He could vibrate air into a shield, vibrate the ground into small isolated quakes and whip up gusts of wind to create rock-hard cocoons around his victims.
As Torque, his skin gained a steel-like appearance similar to that of Colossus which resembled an armored battlesuit. As a side result, his armorlike skin became an energy reserve able to burn out anything on a molecular level similar to microwave energy. He also gained the ability to control his mass and weight.
As Earth-Lord, Ralphie could animate the natural materials of his environment (soil, rock, plants, etc.) forming giant hands and tentacles. He could transfer his consciousness into any of these materials in his surroundings, so that he could move into another form if his previous one was destroyed.
In his final unnamed form, as an entity of pure consciousness, Ralphie could expand the consciousness of others - banishing pain, as well as instilling self-confidence, purpose, and peace.
- Savage She-Hulk #6 (July 1980)
- Savage She-Hulk #9 (Oct. 1980)
- Savage She-Hulk #18 (July 1981)
- Savage She-Hulk #19 (Aug. 1981)
- Savage She-Hulk #21 (Oct. 1981)
- Savage She-Hulk #22 (Nov. 1981)
- Savage She-Hulk #23 (Dec. 1981)
- Savage She-Hulk #24 (Jan. 1982)
- Savage She-Hulk #25 (Feb. 1982)
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