The Titanic Titanium Man (I)

Boris Bullski debuted in TALES OF SUSPENSE #69. His vicious career had led him to be a de facto exile within his own beloved Soviet empire. Feared by the higher ups, the sadistic Bullski was sent to run a work camp in barren Siberia, treated little better than the captives in his twisted care. A giant of a man with strength to match, he ruled the camp with an iron fist, almost literally. Angered by his banishment to the forsaken wilderness because even the Premier feared him, he was convinced that he was destined for better things. He knew that if he could destroy the American Iron Man, one of Communism’s greatest enemies, it would be such a victory that he would be made dictator.

He exploited the slave labor of the scientists imprisoned in his gulag, overseeing the construction of a suit of titanium armor, an armor created with one thing in mind: the ability to smash Iron Man. (Bullski promised them their freedom if they would build the suit, but of course he lied. Once the suit was built, however, he kept them in prison so they could never build an armor suit for anyone else.)

Constructed in the same lab Crimson Dynamo had used to build and design his armor, the humongous, dark green Titanium Man suit was stronger and more advanced than the Dynamo armor, but it was not as small. To get the mighty power, the suit had to collossal. (Soviet technology lagged well behind the West’s, they lacked the knowledge of micro-transistors, the miracle devices that allowed Stark to build such tiny components. So while not as small and sophisticated, the transistors are extremely powerful.) The massive armored suit had power-assisted controls to move it, but Bullski did not use them. He was strong enough to wear the larger, heavier suit without the aid of electronic assistance. To him, the armor was as weightless as an overcoat.

Barrel-chested and twice the size of Iron Man's suit, the Titanium Man armor had a bank of knobs and switches across the chest piece. The mask featured glowing eyes. was a fitting armored adversary for the Golden Avenger.

While the suit was being built, Bullski spent time studying every available film of IM, his foes and battles. Learning all of Iron Man’s tactics, and donning a green, weaponized suit Bullski became a deadly enemy. He soon challenged Iron Man to a televised battle. In the politically charged times, Tony could not back down. He could not allow the communist Goliath to mock the United States, nor could he lose.

In their first battle, T-Man almost killed Iron Man (and Happy, too) on a television broadcast carried all over the world. But in the end, Shellhead rallied, and Bullski got his butt kicked. IM made his vaunted green armor inoperable with a dose of his Reverser Ray. Iron Man took T-Man’s helmet as a souvenir (and to shame him).

Months later (TOS #81 in our time) Titanium Man returned, badder and better. Embarrassed by his crushing defeat, T-Man’s commie masters were determined to get revenge on Iron Man. When it was announced that Iron Man and Tony Stark would be testifying before Congress, they saw an ideal opportunity. T-Man came to Washington, D.C., and they fought it out over the capitol.

After months of work and millions of rubles, the titanium armor was bigger and stronger and far more maneuverable than before. At the same time, it was also lighter and far more powerful. Top scientists labored seven days a week to make this suit many times more superior to IM’s. (Bullski also took a personal interest in the armor and helped design some of the improvements.) To help him wield the armor, Bullski was fed special hormone pills to enlarge his already massive girth. The increase in size allowed him to control the suit with ease.

A new element in the suit caused Iron Man’s rays to bounce harmlessly off—ricocheting back at Iron Man. A new beam on his forehead armed T-Man with a stunning paralysis ray. He also had a nifty new high-voltage beam, which when turned up could easily electrocute people. Power bolts in the palms (after a few blasts he needed a few seconds to recharge.)

The armor was vulnerable to Iron Man’s fiercest punches. It could be chipped with mighty blows, but the armor fabric itself resisted even Shellhead’s diamond-edged drill.

The power circuits of the T-Man armor are located on his back, near a control panel behind his headgear assembly (his helmet). Also on his back is his main control center. A decidedly vulnerable area, snapping the contact cable can cause him to loose balance and coordinated motor control.

Once again defeated by the American champion of industry and freedom, Titanium Man fled. He flew out to sea to rendezvous with a Soviet sub, but his commanders returned home, leaving him to drown in TOS #83.

Death would not come easy to Boris Bullski, however. Found floating in the sea on the verge of death, Titanium Man was taken to Vietnam. He returned in TOS #93, now aided by the electronic wizardry of the Half-Face (a Viet Cong mad scientist). T-Man was repaired and made stronger than ever. His new Ocular Destructo-Beam was even more devastating than previous efforts (but still required charging time between shots).

Half-Face’s cooperation hadn’t been strictly for comradeship, he had hacked into T-Man’s armor. T-Man was now controlled by the mad scientist, whom he now called master. With his remote unit, Half-Face could make Titanium Man do whatever he wanted, controlling the once-feared Bullski with the twist of a knob. With his remote unit, Half-Face was now the power of the V.C.

The fiendish scheme this time around was that T-Man would frag an entire Vietnamese village so that the V.C. could blame the Americans for war crimes and gain worldwide sympathy. The twisted Half-Face was only to happy to follow through on the plan, until he realized that the town in question was his former village, home to his wife and family. Iron Man came in to stop the plan, but was only able to defeat Titanium Man when Half-Face redeemed himself and downed the mega-bot on his own.

In IRON MAN #22, the green leviathan appeared again. Outside the pages of IRON MAN, the Titanium Man had somehow reconciled with his commie masters, who gave him another chance to redeem himself. Bullski was sent to America to bring Alex Niven/Alex Nevsky (the protégé of Ivan Vanko, and current Crimson Dynamo) back to the loving (but not forgiving) arms of Mother Russia.

Improved once again, T-Man had some glorious upgrades. His vulnerable back-mounted control pack was fortified, flight rockets were added—giving him the ability to fly—and he was also given a nifty gizmo that allowed him to magnetize his armor at the press of a button. His armor was further adapted to allow him to swim (an ironic power for a man who would routinely drown over the years…).

At this point, thanks to his own tinkering, the “fixes” of Half-Face, and the machinations of the Communist Party, the Titanium Man Boris Bullski was becoming more machine than man. Cheating death and grasping power, after all, is seldom without its price. Over the years he would always be revivable, but at a further cost of his humanity. And as he turned up to fight Iron Man again, he would commit one of his most inhuman acts. Although sent to get Nevsky, T-Man couldn’t resist the opportunity to tangle with Iron Man. During a battle with Iron Man and the Crimson Dynamo, T-Man killed Janice Cord with a high-voltage electric beam. When he fell into the water with Iron Man, Bullski’s armor appeared to somehow short out, and he sunk to the bottom, where he was thought to have drowned. But alas, the world had not seen the end of the reddest green commie in titanium boxer shorts.

Although he would return in IRON MAN #73, briefly, as part of the Titanic Three, a russkie super group, T-Man’s career of villainy hit the skids. He languished for several years, variously spending his time in and out of communist prisons or toiling in obscurity as a not-to-successful freelancer. Then, he developed a plan. After plotting against Iron Man in the shadows as “The Other,” Bullski returned to the pages of IRON MAN in #134 to destroy New York City in an effort to curry favor with the Kremlin.

Titanium Man featured a new stasis beam, mounted in his forehead ray, that was capable of immobilizing his foes—even armored ones. His boot jets were improved, as were his palm blasters. He now sported eye-fired laser beams, too. Ol’ T-Man also finally moved his very vulnerable control center, moving it to his helmet, making it less accessible to Iron Man’s grasp, punches, and repulsor blasts. Sadly, for the green monster especially, Iron Man had also upgraded his armor and systems over the years, and T-Man was no match for the Armored Avenger. After a thrilling battle on and above the Rockefeller Center ice rink, T-Man was defeated again. And again, Bullski went into hiding.

Over the years, Boris Bullski has been killed and brought back a number of times via mechanical contraptions, biological enhancements, and even cosmic powers (one time Thanos brought him back to serve evil). After the fall of the Soviet Union, Bullski went rouge, and then freelance, but his whereabouts today are unknown. But if history is any judge, he’s hiding under a rock somewhere, just waiting for his moment to smash Iron Man.

Weapons and other capabiliies of the T-Man suit: The suit is very powerful, although less agile than the Iron Man's. It is filled with an array of sensors and weapons, making it quite formidable.

Favorite weapons: Stasis beam (from forehead, immobilizes opponents); palm blasters; and eye lasers.

Other weapons: Disintegrator Ray; palms have magnetic attraction (can pull IM to him); right hand has a Shatter-Blast Ray; Impulse Rays (can bombard an area, set of mines); Power-Sapper Beam (from chest, can drain IM’s power); Molecular-Scrambler Ray (can disintegrate IM’s armor). He also carries components in hidden compartments to assemble gizmos as needed.

Extra nifty weapon: T-Man's Radar Rings. With the press of a control stud, rings shoot from his arm. Growing larger by the second, they almost always ensnare their prey. (Armed with built-in radar, their tracking system is so sensitive even Iron Man can’t evade them.) Controlled by T-Man, the rings encircle their foe, and shrink tightly around them.

Quote: "See how powerless you are against my superior size and strength!"

On occasion, others have worn the Titanium Man armor, most notably The Gremlin. Click here to read about him.

This page is copyright 2006 by Tim Rassbach.

Iron Man and all associated characters are the property of Marvel Comics.

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