Leonard Skivorski, Jr. was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was of Jewish descent and regularly attended yeshiva. He was the son of Dr. Leonard Skivorski, Sr. a successful psychiatrist in his own right. His father specialized in treating young women and had affairs with them. His was nicknamed "Samson" by his wife because of his long hair. Leonard at first wanted nothing to do with psychology, but in college like his father he gained a PhD in psychology.
He came to General "Thunderbolt" Ross with a plan to cure Ross's daughter Betty, who had been transformed into a crystalline form through a blood transfusion with Sandman. Samson had technicians devise a Cathexis Ray projector that would drain off gamma particle energy and psionic energy from Bruce Banner as he transformed into the monstrous Hulk whom General Ross had long hunted. Samson theorized that as a result of this process, Banner would be cured of the physiological instability that continually transformed him into the Hulk. Hoping to save Betty and to be cured himself, Banner willingly participated in the experiment. The cathexis ray succeeded in turning Betty Ross back to normal, employing Banner's psionic energy.
However, most of the psionic energy drained from Banner (as well as a considerable amount of his excess gamma radiation) remained within the cathexis ray projector. Motivated by scientific curiosity, and probably by a subconscious desire to gain superhuman powers for himself, Samson irradiated himself with the energies remaining within the projector. The result was that the slim, brown-haired psychiatrist was transformed into a massively-muscled, green-haired superhuman with Gamma-boosted strength. Banner himself seemed permanently cured, but he broke emotionally under the strain of seeing Betty, the woman he loved, being romanced by Samson. Banner then exposed himself to Gamma radiation, thereby undoing the cure. Samson then fought the Hulk, being defeated in his first real superhero combat, but Betty sympathized with the weaker Samson much to the Hulk's chagrin.
Samson later lost his superhuman physique and power when he took a blast of concentrated gamma radiation intended for the Hulk. However, months later Samson regained his gamma-mutated form and superhuman strength when he was bombarded by intensive radiation from an exploding gammatron, an experimental gamma-ray generator. He has remained in this form ever since. "Doc" Samson, as he has been nicknamed, has long sought to capture and permanently cure the Hulk. Samson worked as a teacher at the Evanston campus of the Northwestern University during the recent time that the Hulk was traveling through different dimensions, unable to return to Earth. However, Samson often neglected his academic duties and returned to his pursuit of the Hulk once the monster reappeared on Earth.
During the Superhuman Civil War Samson joined the Registered heroes and fought against the Secret Avengers. Shortly afterwards, the Hulk returned to seek revenge on the Illuminati, who exiled him to space. Doc Samson helped evacuate the people of New York. Then he battled the Hulk and the Warbound. He was defeated by the Warbound and imprisoned.
Following the Skrull invasion, Doc Samson led a support group meeting with those that had been replaced by Skrulls. Later, on Air Force One, he attempted to disclose the full activities of Norman Osborn within Thunderbolts Mountain to the new United States President. Before Samson was able to play the evidence, Osborn's new Thunderbolts hijacked the plane: the Ghost took the evidence, Eric O'Grady implanted a gamma-emitter on the back of Samson's neck causing him to grow angry and more powerful in a Hulk-like manner, and someone wearing the Green Goblin's costume attacked the airplane. Samson's increased anger caused him to attack the President, but he was phased out of the plane by the Ghost. Osborn reasoned that, in his enhanced state, Doc Samson probably survived the fall, and released a global warrant for his arrest, suggesting that Samson attempted to kill the President.
A new Red Hulk appeared, and revealed that Bruce was no longer comatose, and was being imprisoned by the US military. However, the Helicarrier crashed near New Jersey. Tony Stark ordered Maria Hill to investigate and search for survivors. Clay Quartermain's corpse was found mangled and ravaged, and the area bathed with gamma radiation. General Ross and Samson's bodies were missing. Leonard's coat was found ripped and shredded in a Hulk-like fashion, exhibiting higher Gamma Radiation values than every other item in the wreckage.
M.O.D.O.K. placed Samson under mind control producing a split personality. This led to a powerless Leonard who was defined as the good one and an evil Samson whose abilities are greater than She-Hulk's. Samson shot Rick Jones and dragged him away after he attempted to reveal who the Red Hulk really was. He then engaged She-Hulk in combat but it was cut short by M.O.D.O.K. who fired a laser, knocking both unconscious and reverting Samson to Leonard. A battle between Red Hulk and Hulk caused an explosion. After the Red Hulk depowered the true Hulk, Samson double crossed Red Hulk to punish him for his disobedience. Afterward, Samson's darker persona took control once again, under M.O.D.O.K.'s surveillance. Reverted, Doc Samson was killed attempting to help a returned Hulk contain all of the Gamma radiation from the Hulked-Out Heroes.
Doc Samson was among the many deceased resurrected during the Chaos War, along with Glenn Talbot, Hiroim, Jarella, Rebecca Banner, the Abomination, and Brian Banner, who had the ability to transform into a replica of the Devil Hulk at will. They returned to the realm of the dead afterwards, with the exception of the Hulk's mother.
Samson eventually returned to life due to his nature as a gamma mutate and their connection to the mysterious Green Door. Tormented by the meaning behind his return and feeling purposeless, Samson kept a low profile and refrained from contacting his closest friends. During this time, the second superhuman civil war took place and Bruce Banner died at the hands of the archer Hawkeye as part of a form of assisted suicide. Following the death of RIck Jones, Samson contacted Betty Ross.
Banner returned to life again not long afterward, and Samson set out to find him in search for answers regarding his own immortality. Moments after Betty had been shot by an operative of the covert Shadow Base, Samson confronted the Hulk at the scene, meeting latest alter in control, the meticulous and vicious Devil Hulk, who shared with Samson his vision to tear down the human world for their abuse of the environment. Together with the Hulk, Samson investigated Shadow Base and the disappearance of Rick Jones' body. When they reached the abandoned Shadow Base Site A, Samson was shot down by Bushwacker, the operative who had killed Betty. He returned to life after the Hulk had collapsed the facility and left, and was picked up by the task force Gamma Flight on their way to investigate the Hulk. Samson joined Gamma Flight in tracking down the Hulk, and at the scene of a battle between the Hulk and a mutated Rick Jones, they retrieved the mutagenic Gamma-Activated Tissue after the Hulk dug up Rick from it.
In order to retrieve the gamma tissue, the Shadow Base's commander, Reginald Fortean, assaulted Gamma Flight and killed Samson in the process. After Samson had returned, Gamma Flight retaliated against Shadow Base, involuntarily joining forces with the Hulk and his allies when his raid on Shadow Base coincided with Gamma Flight's incursion. In the aftermath of the confrontation, Banner seized command of Shadow Base and repurposed it for his and Devil Hulk's vision. Doc Samson defected from Gamma Flight in order to keep an eye on the Hulk. As part of his efforts, the Hulk waged war against Roxxon. Samson aided him in fighting giant monsters unleashed by Roxxon in Phoenix, Arizona, and also in stopping Xemnu's mind control over the United States.
Following Xemnu's defeat, the Hulk's popularity skyrocketed, but he eventually fell to the scheeming of the Leader, who had already taken control of Rick Jones. The Leader also took control of Del Frye, a gamma mutate in custody of Shadow Base, and used it to wreck havoc while the Hulk was away. Using Frye, the Leader killed Samson, plunging him into the Below-Place, a layer of Hell where Gamma mutates passed through between death and resurrection. The Leader had used the Green Door to take control of Jones, Frye and the Hulk. When Samson's own Green Door manifested, the Leader somehow affected it to turn it into a Red Door, preventing Samson's return to the land of the living. When the Leader was distracted from controlling so many beings at once, Samson took the opportunity to strike him with a piece of debris, inflicting a severe head injury. As Leader cursed him, Samson ran off.
|Power Grid |
- Gamma Radiation Enhancements: Doc Samson possesses great superhuman strength, endurance, and resistance to injury. The gamma radiation that transformed Doc Samson fortified his cellular structure, added roughly two hundred pounds of enhanced muscle, bone, and connecting tissue to his body, and turned his hair green (The source of Samson's added mass is unknown, but probably extra-dimensional). Nick Fury's intel classified him as power level 8.
- Superhuman Strength: While not exposed to a dosage of gamma radiation as great as the Hulk, the Abomination, or even the She-Hulk, Samson was granted great superhuman strength. As a result of his gamma ray exposure, he possessed sufficient superhuman strength to lift about 70 tons. Samson's strength doesn't fluctuate with surges of adrenaline during periods of heightened emotional states, such as the Hulk does while angry, and as a result he is far less powerful. His strength was dependent upon the length of his hair: the longer it was, the stronger he was. His great strength also extends into the powerful muscles of his legs, allowing him to leap great heights and distances, though far less than the Hulk or Abomination. Samson has been known to leap approximately 580 feet straight up into the air, and to a maximum reported distance of 910 feet. His strength no longer depends on the length of his hair, but it may still be affected by it.
- Superhuman Stamina: As in the case of the Hulk, She-Hulk and Abomination, the gamma ray exposure has dramatically increased the efficiency of Samson's musculature, though not as greatly. As a result, his musculature produces considerably less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of a normal human. Samson can physically exert himself at peak capacity for about 24 hours before the build up of fatigue toxins in his blood begins to impair him.
- Superhuman Durability: Samson's gamma ray enhanced physique is much harder and more resistant to physical injury than a normal human. Samson's skin is able to resist penetration wounds from high caliber bullets or blades composed of most conventional materials. Samson is also physically durable enough to withstand multiple blows from the Hulk, while in an enraged emotional state, and sustain little to no injury. His bones and muscles are strong and resilient enough to be able to survive a fall at terminal velocity reached after free-falling 4,000 feet in a feet-first attitude at 145 miles per hour against sidewalk concrete, provided he lands upright. Even if he doesn't land upright, Samson wouldn't sustain serious physical injury.
- Retained Consciousness: Samson still contains his memories and cognitive abilities. Samson's superhuman physique isn't the physical manifestation of an alternate personality brought about by exposure to high levels of gamma radiation, whereas the Hulk is an alternate personality of Bruce Banner. This is also a factor as to why Samson doesn't revert to a non-superhuman form.
- Self-Resurrection: Samson has recently obtained the ability to self-resurrect himself after dying by passing through the Green Door. According to Gen. Fortean, the time it takes for Samson to resurrect himself shortens after every death.
- Telepathic defenses: Doc Samson has learned to recognize when his mind is being probed by telepathy, as well as having learned techniques to forcefully shock someone out of his mind by bringing his Gamma induced feelings of rage to the forefront of his thoughts, thus overwhelming the telepath and forcing them to retreat from his mind.
Doc Samson is a skilled psychiatrist, said to be one of the most renowned on Earth. He is also an M.D. as well as a PhD. He has used a nutrient bath to separate Banner and the Hulk and placed a rem-integrator in the Hulk's head to put him to sleep. While he's had no formal training, his powers make him a formidable hand-to-hand combatant. He typically uses street fighting techniques that allow him to make full use of his strength.
- Doc Samson is partly based on the biblical hero Samson, sharing a name and having the same relation between their strength and their hair's length.
- Samson is considered the leading expert on the effects of gamma radiation on both the body and mind. As of She-Hulk Vol 2 #19 he had published 38 peer reviewed papers on both the psychotropic and physiological aspects of gamma transformations.
- 325 Appearances of Leonard Samson (Earth-616)
- 22 Minor Appearances of Leonard Samson (Earth-616)
- Media Leonard Samson (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 112 Images featuring Leonard Samson (Earth-616)
- 14 Quotations by or about Leonard Samson (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Leonard Samson (Earth-616)
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