Emery Schaub was employed as a fry cook in his hometown Morganton, North Carolina, through unknown means, he gained complete invulnerability and was drafted into the Initiative program, taking the name Boulder.
He was taken to Camp Hammond, along with Annex, Prodigy (Richard Gilmore), Sunstreak, Gorilla Girl and Batwing. There, he was met with mixed reactions from his fellow new recruits, who found his fan-boyishness, enthusiasm and overly positive attitude somewhat obnoxious and grating. He was quickly able to befriend Batwing though.
He rubbed Taskmaster the wrong way as, while his power of total invulnerability was impressive and he was an enthusiastic and dedicated trainee, his lack of physical strength, skill, and wits made him an inappropriate candidate for the superhero program. Much to the frustration of Taskmaster, no amount of training improved Schaub's physical strength and no amount of discipline modified his behavior or attitude. His powers and attitude pushed the others trainees to peer pressure him. On one occasion, his teammates Sunstreak, Prodigy and Annex whipped him with rags; Batwing was the only one in their group who refused. Batwing was amused by the fact Butterball was unharmed and didn't even wake up during the beating attempt. Butterball soon ended up being slowly isolated from his peers.
Taskmaster was desperate by that point, but neither Yellowjacket or War Machine accepted his request to get rid of such a useful power set. War Machine proposed to use the Kingpin, the Blob and Sumo wrestlers to train him, but Taskmaster reminded them that those guys had strength- Emery did not. Yellowjacket suggested that a near-starvation diet might have some effect- after two or three years. Taskmaster refused to admit failure and put Butterball on a strict diet of vegetables and tofu.
Following a press conference where Prodigy un-enthusiastically declared his backing of the Superhuman Registration Act, Annex led his fellow new recruits, Schaub included, on an unauthorized trip off base, using Schaub as a human shield in order to escape while protected from the base security systems.
While the other members of the group went skinny-dipping, Sunstreak made a pass at Schaub. Sunstreak's heat generating powers prevented her from close physical contact with others, but Schaub's powers made him invulnerable to her heat, and as such, suitable for an intimate relationship. Unfortunately for Schaub, one side effect of his power was that he couldn't feel anything. He became upset that Sunstreak only wanted to use him and was unconcerned with the fact that he wouldn't physically enjoy it and decided to leave. On his way back to the base, Schaub was met by the staff members who had gone out after the missing recruits. Much to his teammates' surprise, who were afraid Schaub would squeal on them, Schaub took the entire blame for the incident. He explained his riding on the car hood by claiming he had put a cinderblock on the gas pedal, and had gone to have something else to eat other than vegetables and tofu.
Just then, four super-villains, Mr. Hyde, King Cobra, Mauler and Firebrand, attacked in an attempt to kill Taskmaster, but the Initiative won handily when Mauler tried to take Schaub hostage and threatened to kill him, unaware of of his invulnerability, which the instructors demonstrated by firing without concern at him after he unsuccessfully shot Butterball in the head, Mauler's teammates then fled.
After the group returned to the base, it was decided that, due to Schaub's inability to increase his strength, he couldn't be taught any effective fighting skills and would have to be washed out of the program. War Machine assured him full Registration privileges and that he had a bright future in many fields of work, including search-and-rescue and hostile environment exploration.
His fate was envied by his promotion colleagues, who wished to be washed out as well, and Batwing asked him to keep contact with them. On his way out, Constrictor and Taskmaster, in a thank-you for his help against the villains, posed for a picture that made it appear as if Schaub had beaten both of them unconscious. He posted this picture in his room and told his mother that Camp Hammond was the best time of his life.
After Norman Osborn took control of the Initiative and relocated it to Camp H.A.M.M.E.R., a former Hulkbuster Base in New Mexico, Schaub was recruited into the Shadow Initiative. In the meantime, he hadn't lost his fanboy habits, and asked for an autograph from the Ringer.
The Taking of 42
The Shadow Initiative, now a team of expandable superhumans, was sent to Prison 42 in the Negative Zone to fight Blastaar and his forces in order to take back the prison. They were promised by Taskmaster to be soon joined by the "big guns", but were in fact sent in first to soften up Blastaar's army for the superhumans deemed more valuable.
He contacted Taskmaster for reinforcements, and consequently learned that they were in fact cannon fodder. With the assistance of Hardball, an inmate, and the arrival of the promised big guns (Penance, Constrictor, Living Laser, Scorcher), the facility was retaken.
Butterball was subsequently used as a propaganda figure, and surprisingly received lot of support from middle America people. Osborn stated that it was because he was "fat and stupid, just like them".
As most of the H.A.M.M.E.R. and Initiative were heading at Asgard, Oklahoma, the Avengers Resistance attacked Camp H.A.M.M.E.R., all of the Stark's Initiative members were confined to quarters by the Hood. As Penance freed himself, smashing his cell and the noise was heard by Butterball, Batwing and Bengal who left their quarters. This last wanted to take a role in the action, but Butterball intended to stick to the guards' instructions, until Penance showed up, convincing him to join Avengers Resistance fight against the Norn Stone-powered Shadow Initiative. They made explode the building, and presented their resignation to the Hood before joining the brawl. Butterball himself battled Badd Axe, helping Tigra. As Loki took back control of the stone's power to power Thor's allies, the Avengers Resistance was able to easily defeat the troops of Camp H.A.M.M.E.R.
Norman Osborn was defeated, the Superhuman Registration Act repealed, and Butterball and Batwing went to the former's hometown, Morganton, and created their own team in order to replace the disgraced and incarcerated U-Foes in the role of North Carolina protectors.
In his files, Steve Rogers repeated War Machine's statement about Butterball having a role in search-and-rescue and hazardous environment exploration. He didn't see Butterball as qualified for active duty with the Avengers, but still considered him to be a potential asset for specific missions.
A dance was held in the Infinite Avengers Mansion for the Avengers Academy students, and other teen or young adult heroes were invited, including the Young Allies and some former members of the Initiative, and Butterball enjoyed himself on the dance-floor with Hazmat. When Veil informed her that Butterball was invulnerable and so unexpected to be harmed by her radiations, which caused the former to be upset about the fact that the people immune to her powers weren't good-looking, causing an argument with Mettle and leading them to a relationship. Emery seemed to particularly enjoy the party, which ended with a battle between Hardball and Speedball's telekinetic bubbles.
About one week later, when magical hammers crashed to Earth, Commander Steve Rogers asked Butterball's former teammate Prodigy to gather heroes on a volunteer basis, to help keep the peace by leading a new Initiative without forced conscription or registration. He gathered the heroes for a meeting at Washington, D.C., among them Butterball and Batwing.
Soon afterward, he was on the field, dealing with riots and drawing fire by having projectiles thrown at him instead of others who were more vulnerable.
He was among the heroes dispatched to Las Vegas to deal with the impact of earthquakes caused by a brawl between Hardball and Gravity, but he wasn't of much use. He was seen looking disoriented, standing still and stating he had always wanted to go to Vegas while the other heroes struggled with the quakes and strove to save themselves, their teammates or civilians. When the Heavy Hitters Hotel and Casino fell, he was buried under it, and found a few days later in the ruins, safe but seemingly shocked.
In the aftermaths of that crisis, Butterball, Batwing and many other heroes were recruited by Jocasta into the Avengers Academy which was relocated to the Avengers Compound, former headquarters of the West Coast Avenger. Butterball was one of the part-time students.
Along with his teammates, he was present to witness Jocasta's body after she was seemingly "murdered", and was here to witness as well the arrival of Magneto and the X-Men who came to help to solve the crime.
After the arrival of Hybrid at the Compound, he proposed to play the new "Crystar, the Crystal Warrior" video game with Reptil who was possessed by his older self and was helping Hybrid in his evil plans. His goal was to leave the timeline and the future unchanged so his daughter would be born. He consequently oriented Butterball to Hybrid, telling him he was a big fan of that video game, for him to capture and fed on Butterball. Hybrid was thrilled by the potential of Emery, whom he stated to be immortal and that he could feed off him forever. When Hybrid was forced to attack the Academy, Butterball was one of the Avengers who kept floating around for him to feed and not of those mind-controlled to battle their teammates, until a magical backlash of White Tiger's amulet allowed him and the other to free from Hybrid's control and to join the fight against him.
Instants later, the campus was visited by Jeremy Briggs and the Briggs Foundation heroes, intending to shut down the Academy. At Briggs' proposal, Butterball refused, astonished that some people with hero potential might prefer be and act as normal persons.
After the Phoenix-powered Emma Frost came to the Avengers Compound to destroy Juston's Sentinel, Giant-Man and Tigra decided to shut down the Avengers Academy for the duration of the Avengers vs. X-Men conflict, and gave a speech, which Butterball assisted.
He rejoined the Academy at some time after it reopened.
Helping the Young Avengers
Immutability/Invulnerability/Immortality: Butterball is invulnerable to numerous forms of physical harm; being shot at, blown up, burned, drowned, electrocuted, etc., along with psychic attacks, allow his body to nullify the effects of others powers against him. He once withstood being whipped with rags by Annex, Prodigy (Richard Gilmore) and Sunstreak while sleeping, without even waking up. It was stated that he was also immune to Hazmat's radiations, though it wasn't demonstrated. If a weakness exist, it still hasn't been found.
That invulnerability come with a few other powers and characteristics:
- Superhuman Stamina/Modified Metabolism: Due to a metabolism different from normal humans, he is stuck in his shape, and doesn't get tired of performing actions available to him: For example, he can run all day without breaking a sweat, albeit slowly. He also can not get drunk. It was speculated that a near-starvation regime could made him lose weight after a couple of years, but Hybrid stated while controlling him that he could feed off him forever, hinting that Emery is immortal and would seemingly never lose weight. While his strength is minimal his endurance is virtually inexhaustible. While lifting 150 pounds would be impossible, he could easily lift and carry 150 one pound objects consecutively without tiring.
- Selective Telepathic Immunity: Emery was even stated to be protected from being harmed by telepaths, but still vulnerable to mind control. However, that statement of Yellowjacket was proven partly wrong as Hybrid was able to not only control him but also to cause him "spiritual" pain.
- Impaired Sense of Touch/Selective Pain Suppression: As he is invulnerable and has an impaired sense of touch, he was thought to be insensible to pain, but Hybrid was still able to cause him "spiritual" pain. He could although sense laser impacts and felt them 'tickling' him.
Encyclopedic knowledge of superhumans.
- Impaired Sense of Touch: As a side-effect of his invulnerability, his sense of touch is impaired.
- Superhuman Stamina/Modified Metabolism/"Frozen" Body: He's also "frozen" at the physical state he was in when his powers were activated, making his body incapable of losing or gaining weight or muscle mass. It was speculated that a near-starvation regime could made him lose weight after a couple of years, but Hybrid stated while controlling him that he could feed off him forever, hinting that Emery is immortal and would seemingly never lose weight.
- Extreme Clumsiness
- Emery stated he couldn't swim, although this might have been an excuse not to go skinny dipping when asked.
- Out of shape and highly unathletic.
- While he intended to use the code-name Boulder, it was immediately changed to Butterball by Taskmaster, and never changed back since, even responding to that name.
- 22 appearance(s) of Emery Schaub (Earth-616)
- 2 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Emery Schaub (Earth-616)
- 2 minor appearance(s) of Emery Schaub (Earth-616)
- 1 mention(s) of Emery Schaub (Earth-616)
- 1 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Emery Schaub (Earth-616)
- 12 image(s) of Emery Schaub (Earth-616)