Radioactive Man (comics)
The Radioactive Man on the cover of Thunderbolts: International Incident (Apr. 2008).
Art by Marko Djurdjević.
|First appearance||Journey into Mystery #93 (June 1963)|
|Alter ego||Chen Lu|
|Team affiliations||People's Defense Force|
Masters of Evil
|Abilities||Genius nuclear physicist|
Armored suit grants:
Superhuman strength and durability
Flight via boot jets
Computer and radio transmitter and receiver
Backpack rocket launcher
Fictional character biography
Chen Lu is a nuclear physicist and Communist agent in the People's Republic of China. He first appears in Journey into Mystery #93 (June 1963). Ordered to find a way to defeat Thor - who thwarts the Red Army's invasion of India - the character exposes himself to small doses of radiation until he is able to endure a massive barrage, becoming a living "Radioactive Man". He plans to eventually take over the world.
Traveling to New York City, Chen battles Thor who is first defeated when Chen hypnotizes Thor into throwing the hammer away. But Donald Blake is able to recover the hammer from a river, and defeats the villain by creating a vortex, sending Chen back to China, where he apparently explodes.
Radioactive Man becomes a recurring foe of the Avengers, being coerced by Baron Zemo to join the original Masters of Evil in a bid to destroy the Avengers. He is the first to confront the Avengers, and sticks Captain America and Giant-Man to the pavement with an adhesive, which Thor dodges. He is defeated by Giant-Man and Iron Man when they imprison him in lead coils. He is then deported back to China. The character reappears with the new Masters of Evil, organized by the robot Ultron. The villains, however, are betrayed by the Black Knight. Radioactive Man and his teammates appear once again during a Halloween parade and are defeated by a coalition of superheroines called the Lady Liberators.
Chen escapes and travels to Vietnam, where he joins Soviet villains Titanium Man and Crimson Dynamo as part of a team called the Titanic Three. Acting as crime fighters in Vietnam, the trio is duped by a con man and petty thief called the Slasher and end up battling the Avengers until the deception is uncovered. After an encounter with Iron Man, the characters go their separate ways. After a humiliating defeat by time-traveling villain Kang the Conqueror in Giant-Size Avengers, Chen joins another incarnation of the Masters of Evil - led by Egghead - but is defeated by Ant-Man and deported back to China.
Radioactive Man continued to feature in Iron Man, and is employed by Iron Man's arch-enemy Mandarin. Chen is employed in his civilian capacity as a physicist by Stane International (taken over by Obadiah Stane).[volume & issue needed] Radioactive Man appears in the graphic novel Deathtrap: The Vault, among other supervillains attempting to escape from the Vault. Chen, however, aids the heroes in preventing a nuclear reactor meltdown. Radioactive Man also features in an issue of Sensational She-Hulk and once again in Avengers.
After appearing in the second volume of Avengers that takes place in an alternate universe and briefly in Thunderbolts, the one-shot Heroes Reborn: Masters of Evil, the third volume of the Avengers, and alternate universe title Exiles, Radioactive Man features in the limited series Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Chen attempts to reform and in New Thunderbolts joins the Thunderbolts, a team composed almost entirely of reformed supervillains. During the Civil War storyline, the character aids heroes Mister Fantastic and Yellowjacket in building a holding prison for dissenting superpowered beings, and also battles the anti-registration heroes. A major development occurs in the title Thunderbolts when the group encounters the Elders of the Universe member the Grandmaster; the Radioactive Man absorbs an excessive amount of radiation and is forced to wear a radiation suit at all times. The radiation eventually subsides, but industrialist Norman Osborn convinces the character to retain the suit to distract the American public from his clearly Asian features and quell any lingering fears about his radioactivity. The Radioactive Man is featured in the one shot Thunderbolts: International Incident, the limited series Avengers/Invaders, one shot King-Size Hulk, and Thunderbolts: Reason In Madness before appearing briefly in the Secret Invasion storyline.
As part of the Thunderbolts, Radioactive Man fought Spider-Man and Anti-Venom during the New Ways to Die storyline; during the fight, Radioactive Man had a portion of his radiation powers drained by Anti-Venom. He continued with the team however, going after the super-hero Moon Knight. Radioactive Man was one of Songbird's strongest allies within the team, often supporting her when she fought against Osborn.
Ultimately, following the events of the Secret Invasion, Norman Osborn and Moonstone began the process of neutralizing the members of the Thunderbolts who would oppose Osborn in his plan to exploit the invasion for his own personal agenda, in order to gain more power. Osborn arranged for Chen to be deported back to China, leading to a bittersweet departure involving himself and Songbird.
The Radioactive Man reappears in The Mighty Avengers as part of People's Defense Force, China's indigenous group of metahumans. The Radioactive Man demonstrates that at close proximity he can safely absorb the radiation of Inhuman Xerogen crystals and presumably safely absorb Terrigen Mist. However, the People's Defense Force is largely defeated by an invading entity known as The Unspoken, a deposed former king of the Inhumans. The Unspoken is defeated in China by the Mighty Avengers.
During the Heroic Age storyline, a young man named Warhead appeared as a member of the Bastards of Evil, claiming to be the son of Radioactive Man. He has been shown to have similar powers, but killed himself in a mass explosion that killed hundreds of people.
Radioactive Man later released a Chinese dragon made of magic in the Federal Bank Reserve. While Captain America, Iron Man, the female Thor, and Vision fought the Chinese dragon, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, and Nova encounter Radioactive Man. The senior Avengers managed to destroy the dragon, but upon reuniting with their wards, they learn they let Radioactive Man escape. The young heroes explain they were forced to leave Radioactive Man alone as there was a man that needed to be rescued. The senior Avengers are proud of what the young heroes did as heroes are meant to protect people first and foremost and welcomes them to the team.
Featured in the fourth volume of Black Panther, Igor Stancheck is a Russian mutant and is one of several mercenaries (including Rhino, Batroc, and the Vatican Black Knight), orchestrated by Klaw into invading the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda. The group makes an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the huge mound of the metal vibranium located at the heart of Black Panther's kingdom. He was killed in battle by Shuri.
Powers and abilities
Chen Lu was a normal human until exposed to excessive amounts of radiation, which changed his skin coloring to an iridescent green, and allows him to manipulate radiation across the microwave spectrum. Abilities include radiation emission as heat, "hard" radiation (inflicting opponents with nausea, dizziness, and radiation poisoning), and hypnotic light. He can also absorb nuclear radiation without harm and convert it to energy for personal use such as strength enhancement or to cauterize wounds, create force fields, and emit electromagnetic radiation to deactivate machinery. He has shown the ability to leave behind "radiation pills", i.e. infusing a single individual with enough radiation to give him severe radiation poisoning and let the contamination spread in a large population. While it was briefly implied that his radioactive makeup along with some further enhancements of his powers had left him radioactive and unable to have contact with unshielded people, he was retconned to have always been in full control of his abilities. Even so, during his tenure in the Dark Avengers, Norman Osborn had his original costume replaced with a customized radiation suit, hiding his Asian features and quelling every lingering fear about his radioactive makeup. Chen Lu holds a Ph.D. in nuclear physics.
Igor Stancheck has the same powers.
House of M
The Radioactive Man makes an appearance in the House of M reality, on the team of villains who attempted to break Baron von Strucker out of prison. They were stopped and apprehended by Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), the Kree army, and Major Erik Josten.
In other media
- The Chen Lu version of Radioactive Man appears in the Captain America segment of The Marvel Super Heroes voiced by Gillie Fenwick. He appears as a member of Baron Heinrich Zemo's Masters of Evil.
- The Igor Stancheck version of Radioactive Man appears in the Black Panther animated series, voiced by Rick D. Wasserman. He is sent to Wakanda by Klaw and is killed in battle by Princess Shuri.
- The Chen Lu version of Radioactive Man has non-voiced appearances in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. In the episode "Hulk Vs. The World", he makes a cameo as a prisoner of the Cube. He reappears in the episode "The Casket of Ancient Winters", where he fights Iron Man, Thor, and Black Panther at Stark Industries for the Arc Reactor's energy. Radioactive Man is defeated by the Avengers when Thor blows up the building's water lines, washing out the villain and the reactor. In the episode "Assault on 42", he (along with other villains) volunteers to fight the Annihilation Wave, strategically allowing Absorbing Man to absorb his radiation, thus they were able to wipe out a massive swarm of the Annihilation Wave. He is apparently killed when the Annihilation Wave crushes a walkway, dropping him into the Negative Zone.
- The Igor Stancheck version of Radioactive Man appears in Avengers Assemble, voiced by Roger Craig Smith. This version is shown to be associated with the Winter Guard and sports Chen Lu's costume and design. At some point, he was apprehended by HYDRA and placed in a radiation-proof capsule in order to be used as a power source. In the episode "Secret Avengers", Crimson Dynamo had obtained the key to the capsule so that Winter Guard could free him. When the destabilized Russian facility threatened a nearby village and the S.H.I.E.L.D.-affiliated Avengers worked with the Winter Guard to save the village, Crimson Dynamo and Falcon freed Radioactive Man who then dissolves the facility.
- The Chen Lu version of Radioactive Man appears as a mini-boss in the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by James Sie. He is seen as a member of Doctor Doom's Masters of Evil and takes part in the attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier U.N.N. Alpha. Radioactive Man fights the heroes alongside Winter Soldier. A simulation disk has the Invisible Woman battle Radioactive Man in the Helicarrier.
- The Chen Lu version of Radioactive Man appears as a boss in the PSP, PS2, and Wii versions of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, voiced by Don Luce.
- The Chen Lu version of Radioactive Man appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel's Avengers.
- The Chen Lu version of Radioactive Man appears in Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2.
- Journey into Mystery #93 (June 1963).
- Avengers #6 (July 1964)
- Avengers #54 - 55 (July - Aug. 1968)
- Avengers #83 (Dec. 1970)
- Avengers #130 (Dec. 1974)
- Iron Man #73 - 74 (Mar & May 1975)
- Giant-Size Avengers #4 (June 1975)
- Avengers #228 - 230 (Feb. - Apr. 1983)
- Iron Man #179 - 181 (Feb. - Apr. 1984)
- Deathtrap: The Vault (1991)
- Sensational She-Hulk #24 (Feb. 1991)
- Avengers #400 (July 1996)
- Avengers vol. 2, #8 - 9 (June - July 1997)
- Thunderbolts #9 (Dec. 1997)
- Heroes Reborn: Masters of Evil #1 (Feb. 1999)
- Avengers vol. 3, #0 (July 1999)
- Exiles #42 (May 2004)
- Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes #3 (Feb. 2005)
- New Thunderbolts vol. 2, #1 (Jan. 2005)
- Civil War #1 - 7 (July 2006 - Jan. 2007)
- Thunderbolts vol. 2, #106 (Nov. 2006)
- Thunderbolts vol. 2, #112 (May 2007)
- Thunderbolts: International Incident (Apr. 2008)
- Avengers/Invaders #1 (July 2008)
- King-Size Hulk #1 (July 2008)
- Thunderbolts: Reason In Madness #1 (July 2008)
- Secret Invasion #1 - 8 (Apr. - Dec. 2008)
- Amazing Spider-Man: "New Ways To Die" #568 - 569 (Oct. 2008); #570 - 572 (Nov. 2008); #573 (Dec. 2008)
- Moon Knight vol. 4, #24 - 25 (Jan. - Feb. 2009)
- Thunderbolts #126 (Jan. 2009)
- The Mighty Avengers #27 - 28 (Sep. - Oct. 2009)
- Age of Heroes #2 (Oct. - 2010)
- Young Allies vol. 2 #1
- Free Comic Book Day 2015 Avengers
- Black Panther vol. 4 #5
- Black Panther vol. 4 #6
- Avengers Vol.2 #8
- New Thunderbolts #11
- "Secret Avengers". Avengers Assemble. Season 2. Episode 17. May 10, 2015. Disney XD.