"Power for Powers Sake!", are the words of Simon Utrecht as he explains his intentions, having just had his sanity questioned by Mike Steel, about why a millionaire would need a ship designed without shielding to reach the outer atmosphere of Earth. As anyone might surmise from those four words, Simon Utrecht craved POWER and it wasn't enough that he had already acquired millions of dollars, being a serious industrial competitor of Tony Stark and having held political office, he wanted more! He wanted the might of the Fantastic Four and was willing to put his fortune on the line as well as his life and the lives of his three companions to obtain that power, sailing them right into the heart of a Cosmic Storm.
Tapping the knowledge of , Life-Support Specialist, Ann Darnell and her brother, Fuel Propulsion Engineer, Jimmy Darnell, Utrecht goads Mike Steel into flying the ship. The Dynamic is now complete with four members ready to set sail to limitless power.
The sound of the rocket's propulsion wakens Bruce Banner from his crater bed in the near by desert area, where he had been left by the Hulk after reentering earths atmosphere. Deducing that the rocket configuration and trajectory could only mean space flight, Banner rushed to the mission control room to discover that the ship is headed straight for a cosmic storm, instruments reading radiation levels off the chart. Fearing for their safety Banner reprograms the flight control computer to bring them back before they are killed by radiation poisoning.
The occupants are bathed in the cosmic radiation, each of them experiencing something unique. Mike expresses that it feels as thought the weight of the ship were on his shoulders, his body somehow bonding with the ships alloy. Jimmy states that he feels aglow with power. Ann melds with the life support systems and Simon is overwhelmed by a mass of data somehow connected to the ships computers, as if he were vectoring towards the stars themselves. The rocket returns crashing to earth with such a crushing explosion that Banner fears nothing could have survived the impact.
Much to Banner's surprise, four beings emerge from the wreckage with incredible powers.
Vector: (Simon Utrecht) has the ability to vector/repel any object no matter it's weight size or density.
Vapor: (Ann Darnell) Exhibits the ability to change her form into any gaseous mixture she imagines.
X-Ray: (Jimmy Darnell) Commands radiation of all classifications and can project them offensively.
Ironclad: (Mike Steel) Emerges with a metallic hide, the ability to control his density and Hulk class strength.
Immediately the quartet blame Banner for robbing them of even greater power by having brought them back too early. Banner is shocked by the revelation that they would expose themselves to dangerous levels of radiation intentionally, to which Simon Utrecht replies, "You make it sound as if it were madness to seek after power! Perhaps it is when the quest ends in failure. But we have attained the power which we sought!"
While pummeling Banner and continuing the blame game, Ironclad uses his cosmic irradiated logic to title the quartet the U-Foes. The "U" stands for Utrecht, who "engineered the Voyage to the edge of Sanity!" and "Foes" to signify the teams defiance of Humanity now that they are mighty and something greater than human.
Incurring the wrath of the Hulk, the U-Foes battle clumsily as their powers are new to them and the team dynamic is something far less than "dynamic". Each member demonstrates a level of selfishness while trying to work as a team, catching Ironclad in friendly fire. While having the ability to defeat the giant green brute, ultimately the U-Foes end up defeating themselves as their increasing powers get the better of them, becoming uncontrollable. Vapor unable to maintain her atomic structure dissipates into the air. Vector suffocates himself as he unwillingly pushes away even the smallest air molecule and pushes himself away from the earth into the outer atmosphere. X-Ray is unable to control the radiation combination, explodes in the sky and Ironclad's mass density get so heavy that he sinks into the ground working his way towards the earth's core.
The U-Foes were created by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema in 1980 and first appeared in The Incredible Hulk # 254.
Of course this was not the end of the U-Foes. The team has tried to get revenge on the Hulk a multitude of times after their initial incarnation. They pop up every now and again with a second string treatment level but with first rate potential.
Much like the Fantastic Four, the team uses a family structure sharing the same goals and working together to reach their targets. Simon shares a romantic relationship with Ann much in the same way that Reed and Sue have but without the wedlock and the super powered offspring. Ann and Jimmy both come to each others aid in time of need like you would expect a loving siblings to do but this concern for one another is not specific to the siblings as all four members have dropped the cause of battle to aid one of their own in one instance or another.
Unlike the Marvel's first family, there is and air of negativity and dis-functionality that aids in their undoing, time and time again.
The U-Foes fought the West Coast Avengers during the Acts of Vengeance.
The U-Foes registered as part of the Superhuman Registration Act after they were apprehended by the Thunderbolts. The U-Foes agree to join the Thunderbolts' army and capture other heroes and villains who oppose the Registration Act instead of facing prison time.
Norman Osborn replaces Tony Stark as the director of SHIELD after the Secret Invasion and is also appointed to run the Initiative. The U-Foes are revealed as members of the Initiative's North Carolina team. The U-Foes are also recruited by the Hood to join his organization who is in cahoots with Norman Osborn as well. The U-Foes would come into conflict with the Avengers on several occasions.
The U-Foes would be involved in several stories taking place in the Marvel Adventures comics which are standalone stories and does not take place in the current Marvel Universe continuity.
After the current members of Gamma Flight quit in protest of Henry Gyrich's assigning them to hunt down Hulk and all gamma mutates, the U-Foes were hired as Alpha Flight's new Gamma Flight members.
In the 2008 Incredible Hulk game The U-foes are lead by a Professor named Utrecht. Prof. Utrecht is a ruthless business man as well as being a Professor. Utrecht convinces three other people to join him in his quest to recreate Dr. Banners experiment. In the game Banner says he was tempted to go and speak to him when he first began working on the project. The army realizes what Utrecht is doing and sends a group of soldiers to arrest go an arrest him. Playing as the Hulk you must reach them and destroy them before they get to Utrecht because Banner needs to talk to him. A man named Rick Jones is an alley with you and radios you and tells you that there is a gamma radiation level coming from the top of Utrecht's apartment and if you don't destroy the dish then it could be a very bad thing for the city. Still playing as the Hulk you must rush to the apartment and destroy the satellite dish that is drawing the gamma energy. After doing so a small cut scene of the Hulk destroying the rest of the building shows and then the ufoes stand up and are amazed with the Hulk but decide he is a threat to them and he must be stopped. They will come at you by twos and try to kill you. They have all renamed themselves, Utrecht has named himself Vector. The others are named Vapor,Ironclad, and X-Ray. After finally defeating them a video will play of Vector promising that if the Hulk ever interferes again he must be killed. You will meet them randomly throughout the city later on.
In the 2012 turn based RPG social network game, Avengers Ultimate Alliance, the U-Foes are reoccurring enemies in chapter 4: You, Foe. Part 1 of chapter 4 has Ironclad and Vapor as bosses, Part 2 has X-Ray, part 3 has Vector, and Vapor is the last U-Foe to appear in the chapter in part 4, as a main boss, as the closing boss fight for chapter 4 part 5 features Doctor Doom as the boss rather the a member of the U-Foes.
The U-Foes made their animated debut on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. They first appeared on Micro Episode #10 as inmates of the Cube. They later appeared again in Episode 12: Gamma World (Part 1) where they were freed by The Leader and attacked the Avengers and Dr. Samson when they entered the Cube.