Betty Ross

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Not to be confused with Betsy Ross. ‹See Tfd›
For the Golden Age Betty Ross, see Golden Girl.
Betty Ross
Betty Ross as herself (left) and as Red She-Hulk (right) on the cover of Red She-Hulk #58 (October 2012), her first self titled issue.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962) (as Betty Ross)
The Incredible Hulk #168 (1973) (as Harpy)
Hulk vol. 2 #15 (2009) (as Red She-Hulk)
Created by Betty Ross:
Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
Harpy:
Steve Englehart
Herb Trimpe
Red She-Hulk:
Jeph Loeb
Ed McGuinness
In-story information
Full name Elizabeth "Betty" Ross Talbot Banner
Team affiliations Defenders (as Red She-Hulk)
Notable aliases Elizabeth Ross-Talbot, Harpy, Red She-Hulk, She-Rulk
Abilities

(As Harpy)

  • Superhuman strength, speed, stamina and durability
  • High speed flight via bird-like wings
  • Nuclear energy blasts
  • Razor sharp talons

(As Red She-Hulk)

  • Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and durability
  • Regenerative healing factor
  • Energy-absorption

Elizabeth "Betty" Ross (later Betty Talbot and then Betty Banner) is a fictional character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. She made her first appearance in Incredible Hulk #1 (1962) as a romantic interest of the Hulk (Dr. Bruce Banner) and is the daughter of General Thunderbolt Ross.

The character turns into the antiheroine Red She-Hulk (or She-Rulk) in Hulk vol. 2 #15 (2009).

She was portrayed by Jennifer Connelly in the 2003 film Hulk and by Liv Tyler in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk.

Publication history[edit]

Betty Ross debuted in The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962) by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. She was an on-and-off supporting character in the Hulk's various series for decades, serving as his most long-running love interest. In 1989, Betty Ross Banner received an entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update '89 #1.

Stan Lee originally portrayed Betty Ross as a strong willed and independent-minded yet conventionally polite woman. Mid-1980s Incredible Hulk writer/artist John Byrne portrayed her as more willful and confrontational, characterizations which would remain in place during Peter David's long run as the series's writer.[1] Betty has a miscarriage in The Incredible Hulk vol.2, #360. Though this occurred during David's run on the series, the issue was instead written by editor Bob Harras. David recalled, "The reason I refused to do it was because Betty was really losing her child to editorial fiat. It was decided by the powers-that-be that Betty and Bruce were not to become parents because that would make the characters seem ‘too old’ to the younger readers. My run on the book almost ended with that issue; I nearly walked over it. But there were so many stories I still wanted to tell that ultimately I stayed with it, even though I fumed about it for quite a while."[2]

In Hulk vol. 2 #15 (September 2009), she for the first time appears as Red She-Hulk, who was created by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Ed McGuinness. Loeb said, "We've been very careful with the creation of this character. We wanted to make sure she didn't come off as silly -my memory of the introduction to [the original] She-Hulk- before anyone had read a page. But the character was a completely different take on the Hulk, a Hulk we'd never seen before. Jen [Walters] is a wonderful character. Our intention is [that] Red She-Hulk will make an equally important impression on the Marvel Universe [sic]."[3]

Red She-Hulk is also present in the "Chaos War"[4] and "Fear Itself" storylines[5] in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Red She-Hulk becomes a member of the superhero team the Defenders in Defenders vol. 4 #1 (December 2011) by writer Matt Fraction and artist Terry Dodson. Fraction said, "The way I write her is somewhere between Indiana Jones and Johnny Knoxville; after a lifetime of being fought over and treated like a human football, she's [now] seven foot tall and 62-52-62 or whatever and bulletproof. She goes around leaving these Betty-shaped holes in the wall."[6] The series was discontinued in November 2012, after 12 issues.

In October 2012, as part of Marvel NOW!, Hulk was retitled Red She-Hulk' starting with issue #58 by writer Jeff Parker and artist Carlo Pagulayan. About the series Parker said, "She's become convinced of a threat to humanity which is essentially, all people like her. She's conflicted over losing her own human side, and she's acting out on a large scale based on that. But the thing is she may well be right."[7]

Fictional character biography[edit]

The first appearance of Betty Ross in The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962).

The only daughter of General Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt" Ross, Betty spent her formative years firmly under her father's strict supervision. After her mother died during Betty's teenage years, she was sent away to boarding school.[citation needed] After graduating, the introverted young woman returns to her father's side while he is in charge of a top-secret project to create a new type of weapon involving gamma radiation, known as the Gamma Bomb. The head scientist on the project is Dr. Robert Bruce Banner. Betty is immediately captivated by Banner's intellect and soft-spoken manner. However, less than an hour after their first meeting, Banner is caught in a test detonation of the Gamma Bomb and becomes the Incredible Hulk.[8] Banner's efforts to keep his condition a secret from Betty only serve to alienate her from him. She is then romantically pursued by Major Glenn Talbot, the new aide attached to her father's Hulkbuster task force.[volume & issue needed]

After his dual identity becomes public knowledge Banner becomes a hunted fugitive. But with the help of Reed Richards, Banner is able to gain control over his transformations. Banner is pardoned and later proposes to Betty. But during the wedding ceremony, the Hulk's archenemy the Leader causes Banner to transform back into the savage Hulk, and Banner, once again, becomes a fugitive. General Ross is seriously injured when the Hulk runs amok while battling the Rhino, and Glenn Talbot promises Betty that the Hulk would pay for it.[citation needed]

Finding him in the aftermath of a battle as the Hulk, Betty hears Banner mumble, "Jarella... my love..."[9] After Banner seemingly disappears from Earth forever, Betty accepts a marriage proposal from Glenn Talbot. While Betty and Talbot are on their honeymoon, her father is captured and sent to a Soviet prison. Talbot takes part in a successful rescue mission, but is captured in the process, held prisoner by the Gremlin at Bitterfrost (a top secret Soviet installation in Siberia), and believed dead.[citation needed]

Harpy[edit]

Betty Ross as Harpy on the cover of The Incredible Hulk #168 (1973).

The villain MODOK kidnaps her and subjects her to gamma radiation, at a higher level than Banner had been subjected to, transforming her into the insane and lethal Harpy creature. MODOK tells the Harpy where to find the Hulk and she flies off in search of him. She ambushes him, and after a lengthy fight knocks him out with a ray blast.[10] Before she could take the Hulk back to MODOK, they are abducted by the Bi-Beast to his city in the sky. Banner agrees to repair the machines that cause the city to float in exchange for permission to use the advanced equipment to cure Betty. MODOK comes to the island and instigates a fight just as Banner starts the equipment.[11] Banner nonetheless manages to escape the collapsing city with a now-cured Betty.[12]

Return[edit]

Talbot is eventually rescued by General Ross, Clay Quartermain and the Hulk.[volume & issue needed] During his time in captivity by the Gremlin, Talbot was made into a mindless husk. In order to unblock Talbot's mind, Doctor Leonard Samson has the Hulk (who was Banner under control by a special helmet) unblock what was keeping him in a mindless state. The process is a success. However, The Talbots' marriage later becomes strained.[volume & issue needed]

When General Ross suffers a nervous breakdown, Talbot returns to the military as a Colonel and it is revealed that he had fired a ray gun that sent the Hulk to the Sub-Atomic universe after the Hulk stormed into Gamma Base looking for Jarella. This incident proves to be the last straw in Talbot's already deteriorating relationship with Betty, and their marriage later ends in divorce. Blaming the failure of his marriage on Banner, whom he also tried to have court-martialed, Talbot dies in Japan while trying to destroy the Hulk piloting the War Wagon prototype. Betty admits to Rick Jones afterwards that she had never stopped loving Banner all the while she was married to Talbot.[volume & issue needed]

When Betty learns that her father had conspired with MODOK to kill the Hulk, she accuses him of treason. Realizing Betty was right, Ross nearly commits suicide and then disappears.[volume & issue needed]

Banner again achieves a state in which he can control his transformations and maintain his normal personality and intelligence while in the form of the Hulk. But Betty is upset because she wants Banner to be rid of the Hulk, not to control him, and leaves him once again.[volume & issue needed] When the Hulk disappears from Earth for an extended period, Betty begins dating a man named Ramon. Upon learning that the Hulk had been sighted on Earth once again, Betty leaves Ramon and returns to Gamma Base, where the Hulk is subjected to a process that splits Banner and the Hulk into separate entities. Believing himself finally cured, Banner proposes to Betty, and she accepts. Betty's father appears at the wedding, armed with a gun and demanding that the marriage not take place before shooting Rick Jones, who tries to stop him. Betty confronts her father, accusing him of domineering her throughout her life, as well as calling him out on his hostility towards Banner over the years, and cows him into surrendering the gun. Finally, Banner and Betty are pronounced husband and wife.[13]

However, Banner begins dying as a result of being physically separated from the Hulk. The two are secretly merged once more. Betty soon discovers this. General Ross later dies before his daughter's eyes, sacrificing his life to destroy an unnamed mutant that nearly killed both Betty and Banner seeking a strong host to be parasitically linked to.[volume & issue needed]

Betty becomes distraught on learning that Banner had sometimes consciously triggered his transformation in the past and is willing to become the Hulk in order to deal with very menacing threats. Betty leaves her husband and returned to Ramon, but then changes her mind and abandons Ramon as well. She is then captured by the Leader, who sets her free after learning that she is pregnant with Banner's child, but after being tormented with terrible nightmares by the demons Nightmare and D'Spayre, Betty loses her unborn baby.[14]

She is eventually reunited with Banner, but soon afterward the Hulk seemingly perishes in a tremendous explosion at Gammatown. Believing Banner and the Hulk dead, Betty leaves for New York City, where she eventually begins training to become a nun. Betty spends some months in a convent to recover from the ordeal, but eventually reunites with Banner. They spent years living together as fugitives until the Hulk's enemy Abomination uses his own blood to poison Betty, which would appear to be the work of the Hulk himself (due to the high levels of gamma radiation present in both of their bodies). Betty is placed in cryogenic suspension by her father.[volume & issue needed]

In a later retconned storyarc, Betty is seemingly revived by the Leader, undergoes surgery which considerably alters her appearance, is granted superhuman strength; and for a time aids her fugitive husband as his shadowy contact Mr. Blue.[volume & issue needed]

Her resurrection is later revealed as a reality-distorting hallucination created by Nightmare, who supposedly raped her in her sleep to conceived his daughter Daydream.[15][16][17]

Red She-Hulk[edit]

Betty Ross as Red She-Hulk on the cover of Hulk vol 2. #16 (2009). Art by Ian Churchill.

During the 2010 "Fall of the Hulks" storyline, Betty Ross is revealed to have been resurrected by the Leader and MODOK at the urgings of their new ally, her father Thunderbolt Ross, who had previously kept her body in cryonic stasis. She also underwent the same process that had turned her father into the Red Hulk, which granted her superhuman physical power. The now villainous Doc Samson also helps Leader brainwash Betty into an extremely confused and aggressive state.[volume & issue needed] Ross's allies, aware of his intentions to betray them, send Betty, as the "Red She-Hulk", to help assassinate her father, who is hunting the mercenary Domino, after she witnesses him transform from his human form. Their encounter ends with Red She-Hulk kicking Red Hulk off the Empire State Building.[18]

After Ross fakes his own death, Betty also appears as herself at his "funeral", accompanied by a Life Model Decoy of Glenn Talbot to constantly monitor and control her, and expresses distrust of Bruce due to his recent marriage to Caiera on Sakaar and his subsequent attack on Manhattan.[19] During the 2010 "World War Hulks" storyline, after Skaar stabs her with his sword, the new She-Hulk reverts to her human form, exposing her true identity.[20] Betty explains how she was brought back to life, and asks that Bruce allow her to die. But when Samson arrives, Betty's anger at his betrayal transforms her back into the Red She-Hulk, thus healing her injuries.[21] Now once again in control of her own mind, Betty (as Red She-Hulk) helps Bruce/Hulk to reconcile with his son Skaar.[22] When Bruce gains the upper hand in the ensuing final battle against Ross, Betty becomes worried for her father, which, combined with her heightened aggression when transformed, leads to conflict with the original She-Hulk, who prevails. After Ross is defeated and imprisoned, Betty convinces Bruce to grant her father an opportunity for rehabilitation and redemption.[23]

In the aftermath of the Leader's attempted takeover, Betty tells Bruce that they are no longer married, since she was declared legally dead and everyone else knows that Bruce had married Caiera.[24] But in the last series, the Hulk family defeats Fin Fang Foom. Afterwards, Betty and Bruce resume their romantic relationship.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Harpy[edit]

As the Harpy, Betty had superhuman strength, stamina, speed and durability with which were enough to fight the Hulk. She also had big bird-like wings from her back that she used to fly at high speeds through the air and perform aerial attacks. In addition, she could project blasts of nuclear energy and had razor sharp talons which were strong enough to cut through metal or carry heavy objects.

Red She-Hulk[edit]

As the Red She-Hulk, Betty has enormous superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and durability, and a healing factor that allows her to easily survive what would normally be fatal injuries to humans, such as stab wounds to the leg and abdomen by Wolverine's claws.[25] Similar to her ex-husband, Betty's strength level is so vast that it warps the laws of physics even further than standard for other characters in the same fictional continuity, for example allowing her to punch her way through dimensional barriers between different universes.[26] However, she was defeated easily by the original She-Hulk.[27] She shares the Red Hulk's ability to absorb energy, such as the gamma radiation from other Hulks, thereby reverting those beings to human form, and at least temporarily boosting herself. According to Banner, there were plans to remove this ability through the same process that removed the Red Hulk's based on the fact that this ability would eventually kill her.[28] Also like her father, Red She-Hulk has yellow blood, produces yellow energy from her eyes when angry,[25] and can discharge energy by touch.[29] Red She-Hulk can be returned to human form if she is suddenly startled or frightened, though she can revert to her Hulk form at will.[30] As Red She-Hulk, she still maintains control of her humanity, though if extremely angered she can become "pure Hulk", further increasing her strength but losing control of her mind.[31]

Red She-Hulk carries a great sword that she affectionately calls her "big ass sword". The sword, forged by Tony Stark, is made of Stark Industies repulsor technology and enchanted uru metal from Asgard and was first given to Red She-Hulk during the "Fear Itself" storyline along with similar weapons given to other heroes in order to defeat Cul "The Serpent", Odin's long-forgotten brother. While the other weapons are eventually returned and melted at the end of the storyline, Red She-Hulk manages to hold on to hers.[32] The sword is later taken by a massive global machine called "The Terranometer" during the "Hell Hath No Fury" story arc and is held there until Red She-Hulk is able to stop the U.S. government from inadvertently creating a dystopian future in which gamma enhanced super-soldiers take over the Earth.[33]

Other versions[edit]

"Heroes Reborn"[edit]

In the "Heroes Reborn" Universe created during 1996–1997 storyline by Franklin Richards in the aftermath of the Onslaught crisis, Betty, known as Liz Ross, served as the head of security for Stark International. As a result, she took Iron Man's apparent appointment as Tony Stark's personal bodyguard as a personal insult, and was also present when Bruce Banner was exposed to the gamma radiation that would turn him into the Hulk (The same accident that resulted in Stark donning the Iron Man armor in the first place). Shortly before the heroes returned to their world, it was revealed that Liz was dying of cancer as a result of the gamma exposure, Banner being particularly affected by news of the disease to the extent that he turned back from the Hulk to embrace her as Banner after learning about her condition.

"House of M"[edit]

In the alternate universe seen in the 2005 "House of M" storyline, Betty Ross is married to Major Glenn Talbot.[34]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Betty Ross is still the daughter of General "Thunderbolt" Ross. She was the college roommate of Janet van Dyne. She earned a degree in communications at Berkeley and dated Bruce Banner until his failed attempts at cracking the super soldier problem turned him into the Hulk.[35]

When the Ultimates were assembled, she became their Director of Communications/Public Relations Officer. After being spurned by Betty, Bruce responded by injecting himself with a version of the Hulk formula that incorporated the recently discovered Captain America's blood, and went on a rampage as the Hulk, during which he killed more than 800 civilians. During his trial, Betty declared her love for Bruce, who was eventually convicted, and sentenced to death, but Bruce escaped the nuclear bomb intended to execute him by turning into the Hulk and escaping.[36] Bruce returned during the Ultimates 2 miniseries after Fury, the President of the United States, Washington D.C. and New York had been captured by the Liberators. Bruce, now exhibiting greater control over his transformations, helped repel the Liberators, and Betty was seen tending to an exhausted Bruce after the battle with the Liberators and Loki in Washington DC.[37]

In the Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk miniseries, Nick Fury sends Wolverine to find and kill the Hulk, but their battle was interrupted by She-Hulk after Betty injected herself with the Hulk serum.[38][39] Fury reveals that S.H.I.E.L.D. is working to keep her transformations under control,[40] and imprisoned in the Cube.[41]

Collected editions[edit]

Title Material collected Publication date ISBN
Red She-Hulk: End Times Red She-Hulk #58–62 April 2013 0785165312
Red She-Hulk: Route 616 Red She-Hulk #63–67 September 2013 0785184465

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Film[edit]

Video games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shayer, Jason (February 2014). "Hulk Smash More!: The Incredible Hulk in the 1980s". Back Issue (70) (TwoMorrows Publishing). p. 58. 
  2. ^ Shayer, Jason (February 2014). "Hulk Smash More!: The Incredible Hulk in the 1980s". Back Issue (70) (TwoMorrows Publishing). p. 61. 
  3. ^ Storm, Marc (July 25, 2009). "SDCC 2009: Introducing Red She-Hulk". Marvel.com. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ Incredible Hulks #618
  5. ^ Matt Fraction (w), Stuart Immonen (p), Wade Von Grawbadger (i). "Thor's Day" Fear Itself 7 (December 2011), Marvel Comics
  6. ^ Beard, Jim (July 25, 2011). "SDCC 2011: Defenders". Marvel.com. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  7. ^ Dietsch, TJ (July 13, 2012). "SDCC 2012: Red She-Hulk". Marvel.com. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  8. ^ The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962)
  9. ^ The Incredible Hulk (vol. 2) #150 (April 1972)
  10. ^ The Incredible Hulk (vol.2) #168 (October 1973)
  11. ^ The Incredible Hulk (vol.2) #169 (November 1973)
  12. ^ The Incredible Hulk (vol.2) #170 (December 1973)
  13. ^ The Incredible Hulk (vol.2) #319 (May 1986)
  14. ^ Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #360
  15. ^ The Incredible Hulk vol. 3 #81
  16. ^ World War Hulk #3
  17. ^ Incredible Hulk vol. 3 #110
  18. ^ Loeb, Jeph. Hulk vol. 2 #15–17 (November 2009 – January 2010)
  19. ^ Fall of the Hulks: Gamma (December 2009)
  20. ^ Incredible Hulk #609
  21. ^ Incredible Hulk #610
  22. ^ Incredible Hulk #611
  23. ^ Hulk vol. 2 #24
  24. ^ Incredible Hulks #612 (September 2010)
  25. ^ a b Loeb, Jeph. Hulk vol. 2 #16 (December 2009)
  26. ^ Incredible Hulk #607
  27. ^ Hulk #24
  28. ^ Loeb, Jeph. Hulk vol. 2 #22 (July 2010)
  29. ^ Incredible Hulk #24
  30. ^ Matt Fraction (w), Terry Dodson (p), Rachel Dodson (i). "Breaker of Worlds Part 2: The Prize of New Avalon" Defenders v4, 2 (March 2012)
  31. ^ Red She-Hulk #60–61
  32. ^ Fear Itself #6–7
  33. ^ Red She-Hulk #61–67
  34. ^ Hulk: Broken Worlds #1
  35. ^ Ultimates #3
  36. ^ Ultimates 2 #5
  37. ^ Ultimates 2 # 13
  38. ^ Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #3
  39. ^ Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #4
  40. ^ Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #6
  41. ^ Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #7
  42. ^ "Extensive Cast of Voice Actors Unveiled for Super Hero Squad Online". Retrieved February 12, 2012.