Someone yell for some Kool-Aid?
General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross was overseeing the testing of the gamma bomb when Bruce Banner raced out onto the testing grounds to save teenager Rick Jones. For Banner's pains, he was blasted with gamma radiation, turning him into the Hulk
Ross became the Hulk's most persistent enemy, initially because of the Hulk's attacks against the U.S. Army; as time passed, it developed into something more personal, an obsession. Even as Ross sought to bring the Hulk down, he envied and coveted the power the Hulk possessed.
In the end, the death of Ross' daughter Betty at the hands of the Abomination, the Hulk's betrayal by the Illuminati, and the assassination of Captain America
plunged Ross into the depths of despair, where the Intelligencia, a cabal of Mad Scientist
supervillains, found him. They made Ross an offer:
the power to "rescue" America, and the chance to have Betty brought back from the dead
. He accepted, and by combining cosmic energy with gamma radiation siphoned off from the Hulk, the Intelligencia transformed him into the Red Hulk.
The Red Hulk persona first appeared in Hulk
vol. 3 #1 (March, 2008), created by Jeph Loeb
and Ed McGuinness. The Red Hulk's first mission was killing the Abomination, and from there he proceeded to run amok across the MU, kicking a lot of dogs
and getting on the bad side of a lot of major players - culminating in his stripping Banner of the Hulk.
There was at least some method behind the rampage: the Red Hulk was working with the Intelligencia on a coup to overthrow the United States government in the hope of making a better world. Finally, his treatment at the Intelligencia's hands led him to break ranks with them, teaming with the Hulkless Bruce Banner to bring them down in Fall of The Hulks
In the end, believing he'd been let down by both sides, the Red Hulk made his own bid for power - only to be stopped by a re-Hulkified Banner. Now, even after joining the ranks of The Avengers
, Ross is discovering that when you become a Hulk, there are certain consequences...
The Red Hulk's powers are somewhat different from the original's:
- Voluntary Shapeshifting - typically has full control over his transformation, though he sometimes reverts when he sleeps.
- Super Strength, though he can't reach the levels Banner can.
- Healing Factor - when he sleeps or transforms.
- Energy Absorption and Super Senses - able to see various forms of energy, including gamma radiation and cosmic energy, and absorb them to boost his strength. He's even able to use this on living beings, allowing him to permanently rob gamma mutates of their powers. However, doing so runs the risk of burning him out, forcing him into Shapeshifter Mode Lock.
Unlike Banner, getting angry causes the Red Hulk to overheat and collapse. He also lacks Banner's Split Personality
, retaining his identity in both forms.
Had his own title, officially taking over the Hulk
series while Incredible Hulk
was focused on Banner's story, up until issue 58, where the title was renamed and taken over by Red She-Hulk, his daughter Betty. The Red Hulk was further announced to be moving into a relaunched volume of the Thunderbolts
, alongside other antiheroes such as Deadpool
, and The Punisher
Ross has made frequent appearances in other Hulk-related media. The Red Hulk made his cross-media debut in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
, and is part of the main cast in Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
. The Red Hulk is also available as an alternate skin for the Hulk in Marvel vs. Capcom 3
and as his own playable character in Marvel Avengers Alliance
. He also appears as a free-roam boss fight and unlockable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes
This comicbook character provides examples of: