Early Titanium Man power armor

Titanium Man

(Boris Bullski) (Profile #1 - 1960s and 1970s)


The Titanium Man is chiefly an enemy of Iron Man – logically enough. He has been around since 1965 and keeps returning every few years. That makes him one of the main “bad guy in heavyweight power armour ” characters in the Marvel Universe.

He’s very much a Cold War propaganda character, but more recent depictions of him as a political dinosaur have been workable.

Since the Titanium Man has a lot of appearances and uses lots of complex equipment, we’ve opted for a series of three chronological profiles to keep things manageable.

  1. Titanium Man profile #1 – 1960s and 1970s – this here writeup.
  2. Titanium Man profile #2 – 1980s and 1990s.
  3. Titanium Man profile #3 – current.



  • Real Name: Boris Bullski.
  • Other Aliases: Bullski the Merciless, Boris the Merciless, the Butcher.
  • Marital Status: Married – possibly now divorced.
  • Known Relatives: Unidentified wife, unidentified father.
  • Group Affiliation: NKVD, former member of the Titanic Three, former agent of Half-Face.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 7’1” (often taller, see below). Weight: 425 lbs (often heavier, see below).
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Brown, later dark grey.

Powers and Abilities

Bullski seems to have consequent engineering training. Although he could not have designed the armour by himself, he proved able to maintain it and incrementally improve the design over time.

He’s also a very experienced officer and field operative.

Size matters

Bullski is a giant of man, giving him great strength and authority. He then went through several rounds of embiggening through unrevealed artificial means.

Whatever those were, the were not as good at suspending normal physics as Pym particles. With his size artificially bolstered, Bullski could not physically function under normal gravity conditions without assistance. He had to wear his armour at all times.


This was solved for a time during his association with Remont 4, but his peculiar body chemistry eventually rejected these improvements. He eventually gave up the size enhancements to return to his baseline — yet considerable — size.

His enhanced size was originally presented — in 1966 — as a “hormones treatment”.

Other assets

On numerous occasions, Bullski has survived seemingly fatal wounds and certain death. That occurred so often that in DC Heroes terms it’s simpler to give him Invulnerability — he’s just that hard to kill.

He doesn’t have a superhuman regenerative factor, though. While he will survive impossible odds or wounds, he still has to crawl away and heal, for he is but a man.

Titanium Man (Boris Bullski) forcing prisoners to build his armor

Bullski’s 2011 appearances have depicted him as a highly proficient hand-to-hand fighter. This likely means that his combat performance during his Titanium Man career was his native close-combat competence in action, as opposed to the various fight-by-wire systems used by other power armour users such as Iron Man.

In 1988 a person with MODOK-like enhancements, claiming to be Maria Trovaya-Pym, stated that she had contributed to the “development” of the Titanium Man. Whether any of her claims were true and whether her contributions were to the armour and/or the growth treatment remains unknown.


(The Titanium Man being *so* tied to the Cold War, his entire biography blows apart if set on a sliding time scale. As per our usual policy we’re assuming that events happen per publication date. You can check our article about time and aging in comics for much more.)

Boris Bullski was reportedly a brash young man and idealistic Marxist. He enlisted to serve his country – back then the Soviet Union. He was so talented that the NKVD  requested that the Black Widow (Natalia Romanova) run training sessions for him. Romanova even had him become her field partner.

Bad to the bone

However, his espionage work soon turned Bullski into a bitter, cruel and ruthless man. He craved power and no longer had his youthful idealism. The Widow rejected him and was assigned a similar engineer/strongman/spy to replace Bullski — Boris Turgenov — to perpetuate the successful formula.

Titanium Man (Boris Bullski) about to duel Iron Man for the first time

Over time, even the NKVD and the Communist Party grew disgusted with Bullski’s naked ambition and ruthlessness. The towering and overconfident agent eventually made too many enemies. Thus, he was transferred to an administrative position in Siberia to be rid of him.

As it turned out, this assignment became a boon for Bullski. The work camp now under his management included numerous scientists and engineers condemned for political reasons. Among these were several former collaborators of Anton Vanko, the creator of the Crimson Dynamo power armour.

Transition metal

“Boris the Terrible”, as he nicknamed, ordered the terrified scientists to build him a suit of power armour. His goal was to challenge the American champion Iron Man. In his view, a victory would make him a national hero wielding great influence.

Lacking resources and machines, the engineers at the work camp couldn’t miniaturise most of the components for the armour. Thus, it was huge and very heavy – but Bullski was so strong and massive that he actually could operate the suit without hindrance.

Titanium Man (Boris Bullski) vs. Iron Man cover art

Soon, Bullski sent a telegram to Stark and major US newspapers, challenging Iron Man to a duel. Stark hesitated, since his heart condition was particularly dangerous at this point. But mounting pressure from the press and the Congress, as well as his own pride, made him pick the gauntlet up.

The scheduled fight became a major international news event. Wearing his Titanium Man Suit MkI, Bullski ruthlessly exploited traps strewn about the battlefield to win. The titanic fight nearly left Iron Man (and Happy Hogan) dead, but the Golden Avenger narrowly prevailed.

Revenge !

Humiliated, the Titanium Man rebuilt his armour himself. He greatly improved it and risked his life during tests to demonstrate its sheer power to the Red Army. He even had his body enlarged so he could wear an even bigger, heavier armour.

When the US media reported Iron Man flying toward Washington, the revenge-craving Bullski was loaded into an experimental intercontinental missile and shot at the American capital. There he clashed anew with his nemesis.

This titanic fight was again heavily televised — and Iron Man again narrowly won against his gigantic adversary. The Titanium Man had to disengage to be evacuated by submarine. Howbeit, the scornful captain decided to submerge and sail away rather than take the defeated Bullski on board.

Việt Nam and back

His armour damaged and his jet fuel depleted, the Titanium Man floated helplessly at sea and nearly died from thirst and starvation. He was rescued by agents of the ostracized and disfigured Vietnamese scientific genius, Half-Face (Trung Tuan).

Titanium Man (Boris Bullski) crashing through trees (Marvel Comics)

Half-Face managed to save Bullski’s life and spare him any permanent damage from his ordeal. He also further improved and reinforced Bullski’s armour and body. To repay the scientist, the Titanium Man became his enforcer. This unexpectedly brought another opportunity to fight Iron Man when the American stormed Half-Face’s castle.

With his crushing strength, Bullski badly beat Stark up, leaving the Avenger no choice but to play dead. Iron Man recovered and took Bullski down with a lucky hit. Meanwhile, Half-Face was accidentally reunited with his family. The Vietnamese genius decided to let go of his career as a rogue scientist, leaving Bullski without technical resources.

Somehow repairing his armour, Bullski made it back to USSR. The Soviet government eventually agreed to have him as an agent despite past frictions.

Back in the USSR

They soon sent him after Alex Nevsky, a former engineering aide of Anton Vanko. Nevsky had defected to the US and joined Star Enterprises under an alias.

Unbeknownst to Stark, Nevsky was also out of revenge against Iron Man (whom he thought had betrayed Vanko). Building a Crimson Dynamo suit, Nevsky attacked and nearly killed Iron Man (Eddie March, a boxing champion who briefly replaced Stark).

The relentless Titanium Man invaded Stark Enterprises, ignoring all security. He engaged the new Crimson Dynamo, who was in no condition to fight after his harrowing duel with Iron Man. Bullski forced Nevsky to crawl away from the fight and killed Janice Cord, for whose affections Stark and Nevsky had been vying.

Furious, Iron Man wrecked the Titanium Man suit. But Bullski then magnetically locked their armours together and threw himself into the Hudson river, hoping that they both would drown. The water disrupted the effect, and Iron Man emerged alive.

Back to Việt Nam

Escaping drowning, Titanium Man resurfaced in 1974, having returned to Việt Nam. He, the Crimson Dynamo (Alex Nevsky) and the Radioactive Man operated as the Titanic Three. The Three were a sort of special police group in the Communist Sector – the territory controlled by the Việt Cộng before their conquest of the South.

At the Radioactive Man’s initiative, the three had brokered a deal with the Việt Cộng as they wished to distance themselves from the USSR and mainland China.

Titanium Man (Boris Bullski) ignoring police gunfire

The Titanic Thee confronted the Avengers, requesting that they leave the Communist Sector. The Avengers complied, though Thor had to physically force Iron Man to leave.

Shortly after that, a local villain called the Slasher (later known as Razorblade) manipulated the Three into fighting the Avengers. Titanium Man briefly fought Thor himself before he and his companions realised that they had been tricked. The Three haughtily walked away, leaving Slasher in the Avengers’s hands.

The Titanic Three were then defeated by Kang, who was in 1970s Việt Nam to investigate the Celestial Madonna prophecy. As they retreated, they let the Avengers engage their time-travelling foe.

The Titanic Three broke up some months later. The death of Janice Cord remained a wedge between Bullski and Nevsky, and the Three felt more like prisoners of the VCs than guests. One suspects that, after the fall of Saigon, the Vietnamese no longer needed a group of foreign enforcers.

The battle of Los Angeles

Bullski again negotiated a return to Soviet service, and was put under the authority of the Crimson Dynamo (Yuri Ivanovitch), along with Darkstar (Lainya Petrovna) and international mercenary the Griffin (Johnny Horton).

The team was to kidnap a number of high-profile defectors in the US. Titanium Man was the one who nabbed two of the targets – his former partner the Black Widow and her former instructor Commissar Brushkin.

Thanks to Ivanovitch’s clever strategies, his team took out the disorganised Champions. Bullski even took out Hercules by crashing into him, allowing the capture of a third defector – Black Widow’s chauffeur, Ivan Petrovitch.

Titanium Man (Boris Bullski) crashing through a wall

As it returned to USSR, the team was chased by the US Air Force. Ivanovitch ordered Petrovna and Bullski to disperse their pursuers, but Petrovna now refused to work with Bullski the Butcher. The Titanium Man destroyed all American interceptors chasing their plane, confirming her opinion of him.

The remaining Champions then caught up with the Soviet agents. Hercules defeated the Titanium Man in underwater melee.


Bullkski’s Russian accent is obvious, though he’s presumably trained to disguise it when needed.


Initially, Bullski was a mean, ruthless, overbearing monster of a Communist. He was determined to prove the superiority of the USSR over the USA so he could get promoted back from Siberia. He’s big — even obsessive — about his raw power and especially his strength, whether within or without the Titanium Man armour.

Titanium Man (Boris Bullski) flying with gauntlets charged with energy

The Cold War-era Titanium Man spouted a lot of repetitive, low-grade propaganda about Soviet superiority and capitalist weakness and decadence. Still, his occasional use of repetition was almost poetic.

Heavy metal

As time went by and he survived impossible odds time and again, he became increasingly machine-like in his incredible determination. By the time he tried to apprehend Alex Nevsky, he was willing to sacrifice himself at the first occasion as long as he could bring Iron Man down with him.

The Titanium Man has difficulties not spouting long-winded pseudo-Marxist propaganda. In the heat of combat, he once called Beta Ray Bill a “lackey of capitalism”. Not only did that make little sense, but that gave him away despite his sophisticated holographic disguise.

Early on, Bullski was obviously after sheer power. As time went by and he found himself ostracised, his motivation became hazier, though it was often about resuming his service to his country.


“I’ll crush the spirit of resistance or rebellion just as easily as I crush this iron pipe ! Never forget that !”

Scientist: “The power-assisted controls within the armor will give you greater ease of movement, commissar !”
Bullski: “I don’t even need them ! With my great strength, I can move as easily as if I’m wearing an ordinary overcoat !”

“My armor was created with but one thought in mind… to be able to smash Iron Man ! And once the world knows that I have defeated democracy’s greatest fighter, I shall be undisputed master of the Communist world !”

“Hah ! Once again your decadent capitalistic innocence has betrayed you !”

“This is where my superior strength pays off ! You’ll never break away from me — while you live ! In another few seconds your iron helmet will be reduced to a molten mass of melted ore !”

“Yes !! I live !! But now — I am far more powerful than ever !”

“Brainless American ! You cannot keep that up forever !”

“I am real, puny fools… I am power unparalleled… I am… the Titanium Man ! If you doubt your staggered senses… if you cannot accept the uselessness of your weapons…. then feel the overwhelming onslaught I direct at any who would delay me in the task I must perform… and BELIEVE !”

“Then, turn and see, Alex Nevsky ! Turn and see ! You are wanted by the State, Alex Nevsky ! Exile has not freed you… your talents are theirs to accept or reject at will ! Now they elect to use them… and it is I who will bring you back — whether you choose to come or not !”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Boris Bullski (1960s/1970s)

Dex: 06 Str: 05 Bod: 05 Motivation: Power Lust
Int: 06 Wil: 05 Min: 06 Occupation: Camp administrator
Inf: 07 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 019 HP: 055

Growth: 01, Invulnerability: 07

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Growth is Always On and Already Factored In (see the “Merciless !” section for more about his Growth).
  • The first AP of Growth and Invulnerability are both Form Function.
  • When Bullski uses Invulnerability, all of his Attributes and Skills drop to zero and must be Recovered normally. Invulnerability takes 1d10 Phases to take effect.

Gadgetry: 04, Scientist (Drawing plans): 04, Weaponry (Firearms, heavy, exotic): 05, Weaponry (Titanium Man suits weapon systems): 06

Familiarity (Marxist theory), Language (Russian), Scholar (Titanium Man armour technology).

His work camp (High), the NKVD (Low). He soon lost both Connections, though he later developed and lost a Low Connection with the Titanic Three.

Minor Rage, MIA toward Spouting long-winded propaganda.

Before becoming the Titanium Man, Bullski carried a sidearm in a regulation holster. Since his hands are too big for the then-regulation Makarov, it probably was the old Tokarev TT pistol [BODY 05, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 08, R#03] with a modified winter trigger guard.

If your campaign takes place in the early 1960s and Boris is encountered in his NKVD days, his huge hands and colossal strength would make him a natural for a Stechkin.

Merciless !

  • 1965 — During the first fight with Iron Man, his DEX and his Weaponry Skills were still a 05 (and his Initiative thus one point lower).
  • 1966 — During the second fight in Washington, Bullski is enlarged to wear the MkII armour that he designed. He acquires a second AP of Growth, boosting his STR and BODY to 06. This second AP is accompanied by a MPR making it difficult for him to function outside of his armour under Earth gravity.
  • 1967 — As an agent of Half-Face, Bullski’s physical might had been augmented, and on most panels he indeed seemed to be more towering than before — for a total Growth of 04 (STR and BODY are now 08) and the same MPR as above.
    He wore the Half-Face-enhanced armour, and was still using this armour when he tried to apprehend the Crimson Dynamo (Nevsky) and when he became a member of the Titanic Three.

General notes about the armour suits

The stats stick closely to what was actually demonstrated, without much speculation. One suspects that the armour had more systems that actually demonstrated at any various points. For instance, systems that were present in older versions of the suit but not used.

Conversely, some of the systems written up in this section may have been Omni-Gadgets, being awfully convenient for the situation at hand and never appearing again.

The version numbers have been arbitrarily assigned to the Titanium Man armour suits in order of appearance. In-universe the nomenclature is probably different.

Titanium Man Suit MkI

This is the armour built in the camp, based on the Vanko designs.
/STR/ 12 /BODY/ 12, R#0, Hardened Defenses

Attraction/Repulsion: 08, Bomb: 08, Energy blast: 10, Flight: 07, Lightning: 12, Neutralize: 10, Sealed systems: 06, Shade: 05, Skin armour: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Attraction/Repulsion is effective against ferromagnetic materials only, but is its own AV (+1/+0 depending on your house rules).
  • Bomb (“Impulse rays”) has Range — it is a wide-area attack that fans out of his palm.
  • Lightning is a “shatter ray blast” and likely has Ammo: 06 since it was used sparingly.
  • Neutralize only works against STR, Energy Blast or Lightning — and those have to be technological in nature (say, a suit of power armour). I suspect it also has an Ammo Drawback (05 ?). This is a “power sapper” beam emitted from the chest.

MPR (Running speed is limited to 2 APs, and Vehicles (Exotic or body armour) is capped at 05 APs as the armour is too heavy to be piloted more precisely), MPR (the wearer must have at least STR 05 and precisely one AP of Growth to operate the suit — each AP of STR below 05 is a -1CS to all physical AVs and OVs)


  • RADAR RINGS (x2) [DEX 08 STR (Wrestling only) 12, BODY 08, Flight: 11, Grenade drawback, Limitation : Flight can only be sustained for nine Phases (-2). The Rings will catch up with the target (Flight, DEX) and then Wrestle it toward the ground, as the rings contract around the target and become magnetically attracted toward the ground. The Rings are visibly stored around the Titanium Man’s forearms ; one shot is a train of four rings.]
  • Molecular Scrambler Ray Transjector [BODY 02, Energy blast: 12, R#04, Limitation: Must be powered by the Energy blast Power of the Titanium Man suit. This 10kg, delicate module must be field-mounted on the right forearm shortly before use – and reroutes, amplifies and alters the normal palm energy beams. Presumably, it would be too easy to crush this costly attachment against a rock, a wall, a tree, etc. if it were mounted too long in advance. Mounting it takes about 5 minutes, plus 2 minutes to run the checklist.]

The Titanium Man shooting radar rings at Iron Man

Titanium Man Suit MkII

This is the model rebuilt by Bullski.
/STR/ 14 /BODY/ 13, R#0, Hardened Defenses

Energy blast: 11, Flash (steady illumination): 05, Flight: 09, Laser beam: 17, Lightning: 05, Paralysis: 15, Sealed systems: 07, Shade: 05, Skin armour: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Laser beam are his eyebeams, and only have a Range of 2 APs.
  • Laser beam starts with an EV of 12 ; the EV is increased by one AP for every two Phases of uninterrupted focusing on a given small area. This is a form of Power Loss, where the Loss is not being focused on the same area for successive Phases.
  • Paralysis : the Paralysis Ray mounted at the top of the Titanium Man’s helmet must be constantly shone at its target for the Paralysis to hold ; if that is not done the Paralysis breaks at the beginning of the following Phase.
  • Paralysis only works on electricity-powered technology.
  • Paralysis is an electrical field — it can be disrupted if grounded into earth and the like.
  • Flash and Lightning can be Combined with Paralysis. Flash almost always is, since the beam looks like a searchlight ; Lightning more rarely is, as it requires tweaking the electrical field.
  • Paralysis and its Combined Powers have the Scattershot Bonus.

MPR (the wearer must have at least STR 06 and precisely two APs of Growth to operate the suit — each AP of STR below 06 is a -1CS to all physical AVs and OVs).

REPULSOR-REFLECTIVE LATTICE [BODY 04, Deflection/Reflection: 16, Ammo: 05, Bonus: Reflection/Deflection is its own AV (+0 or +1 depending on house rules) ; Limitations: Reflection/deflection only works on Iron Man’s repulsors and very similar technology (GM’s call). This special coating of the armour is not apparent, but efficiently bounced a maximum-strength repulsor blast at Iron Man, pounding him into the ground like a nail].

Titanium Man Suit MkIII

This is the model rebuilt by Half-Face.
/STR/ 16 /BODY/ 14, R#0, Hardened Defenses

Attraction/Repulsion: 12, Energy blast: 11, Flash: 05, Flight: 09, Laser beam: 15, Lightning: 05, Paralysis: 15, Radio communications: 08, Sealed systems: 08, Shade: 05, Skin armour: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Attraction/Repulsion is effective against ferromagnetic materials only, but is its own AV (+1/+0 depending on your house rules).
  • Attraction/Repulsion has a Range of but 2 APs.
  • Laser beam are his “ocular destructo-beam” (i.e., eyebeams), and only have a Range of 4 APs.
  • Laser beam can only be fired once every five Phases, since it needs recharging.
  • Paralysis : the Paralysis Ray mounted at the top of the Titanium Man’s helmet must be constantly shone at its target for the Paralysis to hold ; if that is not done the Paralysis breaks at the beginning of the following Phase.
  • Paralysis only works on electricity-powered technology.
  • Paralysis is an electrical field — it can be disrupted if grounded into earth and the like.
  • Flash and Lightning can be Combined with Paralysis. Flash almost always is, since the beam looks like a searchlight ; Lightning more rarely is, as it requires tweaking the electrical field.
  • Paralysis and its Combined Powers have the Scattershot Bonus.

MPR (the wearer must have at least STR 07 and precisely four APs of Growth to operate the suit — each AP of STR below 07 is a -1CS to all physical AVs and OVs).

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel comics (mostly Iron Man books).

Helper(s): Eric Langendorff.