Ann Darnell was a life support specialist and love interest for a millionaire named Simon Utrecht. The American industrialist had plans to expose himself to cosmic rays in order to gain super powers like the Fantastic Four. Ann agreed to accompanied her love Simon Utrecht, along with her younger brother, Jimmy Darnell who was the fuel propulsion engineer and pilot Mike Steel. Bruce Banner witnessed the launch from the desert floor near Utrecht Industries and realized the crew was headed into a cosmic storm area. Ann and the rest of her companions were heavily bombarded by cosmic rays but their trip was interfered with when Dr. Banner reprogrammed the flight control computers to bring them back to Earth. Utrecht's ship crashed back to the desert floor and all four members emerged with super powers. Ann Darnell had cracked the life-support cylinders as she was bathed with cosmic rays and the mixture of gases flooded her suit and lungs. Ann now had the ability to transform her body into any gas imaginable and named herself Vapor. The other members consisted of Ironclad, X-Ray and Vector and they called themselves the U-Foes.
Vapor and the rest of the U-Foes blamed Banner for interfering with the flight program and it brought back the crew before they could absorb even more cosmic rays which would make them more powerful. The U-Foes attacked Banner and Vapor turned into a noxious gas and began to fill his lungs. Ironclad then held Banner in his clutches while X-Ray radiated him. Suddenly Banner transformed into the Hulk and broke free from Ironclad's arms. During the fight, Vapor tried to suffocate the Hulk by transforming her body into mustard gas. Vector wanted to help but he accidentally deflected Vapor away from the Hulk. She was heading towards her brother so she shifted from her poison gaseous state into simple hydrogen. However Vapor in her hydrogen form caused her to burst into flames when she came into contact with X-Ray's super hot, radioactive body. Ann regained control of her gaseous form and the fire was out. She felt so uneasy and realized she could not get close to Simon as he tried to comfort her. Suddenly all members of the U-Foes began to lose control of their powers. Ann began to shift into her vapor form against her will. Ann started dissipating and was blown apart by the breeze.
Vapor first appeared in Incredible Hulk #254 in December 1980 and was created by Sal Buscema and Bill Mantlo.
Major Story Arcs
Sometime later, X-Ray regained control of his powers when he was exposed to cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere. Jimmy sought out the others and boosted their power control. Vapor saved Vector by surrounding him in an oxygen cloud. The three remaining members reunited with Ironclad at Utrecht Industries and vowed revenge on the Hulk. As a member of the U-Foes, Vapor would clash with the Hulk on numerous occasions and other heroes as well. Vapor and the U-Foes would encounter members of the West Coast Avengers during the Acts of Vengeance and other teams like the Pantheon and Heroes for Hire. Vapor had a brief stint away from the U-Foes when she was asked to join Superia and her group the Femizons. Ann would eventually return to the U-Foes and be forced to register under the Superhuman Registration Act when the U-Foes are captured by the Thunderbolts. Vapor and the U-Foes are revealed as members of the Initiative's North Carolina team.
During the superhuman Civil War, Vapor joined the Thunderbolts army along with the other U-Foes. Later, the Hood recruited the team to join his criminal organization.
When Norman Osborn took over running superhuman affairs in the wake of the Secret Invasion by the Skrulls, the U-Foes are revealed as the superhero team for North Carolina under Osborn's version of the 50 state Initiative scheme.
When Osborn, keen to engineer a conflict with Asgard, chooses to provoke the bumbling Norse God Volstagg, he selects the U-Foes including Vapor to battle him. The resulting fight causes a massive explosion in Soldier's Field, Chicago and the deaths of thousands of fans in the stadium. The incident is then used by Osborn as an excuse to launch an attack on Asgard, which he perceived to be a national security threat, thus beginning the Siege event. The U-Foes join the attack along with other villain teams planted by Osborn in the Initiative.
Vapor 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.
Powers & Abilities
Vapor can transform her body into any form of gas, either pure elements or complex compounds. She can only return to solid form for brief periods. She is vulnerable to any chemical interaction that would affect the chemical-form she is currently in. On one occasion, the Hulk defeated her by spraying her with oxygen while she had taken the form of hydrogen, turning her into water. While generally immune to physical harm, she could still be harmed by different types of energy, such as Thor's winds and lightning, or the sonic booms the Hulk produces by clapping his hands together, and even X-Ray's radiation.
In Other Media
Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (2010)
Vapor appears in the episodes Gamma World Part 1 and 2 as a gamma powered villain who faces the Hulk and the Avengers. She takes orders from the Leader and works with fellow U-Foe team members Vector , X-ray, and Ironclad.
- Vapor (alongside the other U-Foes) appears in The Incredible Hulk video game voiced by Rachael MacFarlane. If the player defeats the other U-Foes before Vapor, she will make a statement akin to fear at being left to face the Hulk all by herself. The video game differs from the comics in that rather than copy the Fantastic Four, they seek to emulate the Hulk's gamma radiation experiment. Prior to her transformation into Vapor, when Simon Utrecht is attempting to duplicate the Hulk's experiment, she is impressed and asks Utrecht to refer to her as Ann, implying a limerence between Simon Utrecht and Ann Darnell.
- Vapor appears in Marvel Avengers Alliance, a Facebook game. Every boss villain in the game has a hero counterpart, which the player has to team up with. Luke Cage is the team-up character for Vapor. Vapor appears in Chapter 3: "Enter Doom"