Betty Ross is the only child of General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross and was the girlfriend of Bruce Banner. Her youth was spent under her father's strict army hand. Thunderbolt Ross had always hoped for a son to follow in his footsteps, and his adversity at having a daughter was reflected in the way that he raised her. Betty's mother had died when Betty was still a teenager, and she was placed in her father's care. He decided that an army base was no environment for a girl, so he sent her away to boarding school.
After graduation, she returned to her father's side on the base. By then Thunderbolt Ross was in charge of a top-secret project to create a new type of weapon involving gamma radiation. The head scientist on the project was Bruce Banner whom her father abhorred. Despite this, an attraction between Betty and Bruce began to grow. When she took an interest in Bruce, her father grew further uninterested with her. Regardless of this fact, Betty eventually married Banner.
However, Betty's constant exposure to the Hulk gave her gamma sickness. The poisoning was so strong that she nearly died. Banner was able to invent a cure using his own blood. However, the Hulk's nemesis the Abomination swapped his blood sample with his own blood before the transfusion. The untreated blood transfusion worsened Betty's condition, causing her to appear to die from the radiation and she was placed in cryogenic suspension.
At the instigation of Thunderbolt Ross, the Leader and MODOK later revived Betty and subjected her to a process that transformed her into the Red She-Hulk, granting her vast superhuman power.
Betty Ross was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Incredible Hulk #1 in May 1962. Betty's alter-ego the Red She-Hulk first appeared in Hulk Issue #15 (2009).
Major Story Arcs
After the Bomb
When the experiment to develop a gamma bomb went explosively wrong, not only was Banner transformed into the Hulk, but Betty was severely injured too. Recovered from her injuries, Betty remained emotionally wounded. She felt sad for her love who had been transformed into the Hulk. As the years passed, Betty struggled to find a cure that would stop Banner from turning into the Hulk. It seemed that she alone could still see the man she loved still deep-down inside the Hulk.
Years later Betty was kidnapped by MODOK who sought to create a new weapon to use against the Hulk. So MODOK took the one woman who continued to love Banner and transformed her into another green monstrosity. In order to create a creature that could spar with and defeat the Hulk, MODOK infused Betty with more gamma radiation than Banner had been exposed to. The result was a deadly creature filled with a lust to destroy Hulk. She was green with talons and monstrously large wings, so Betty was given the name Harpy.
Inevitably, Harpy found the Hulk and immediately attacked. Typically, Hulk fought back, unaware of who his foe really was. As they fought, Harpy took delight in revealing her true identity. The information startled the Hulk, causing him to hesitate and allowing Harpy the upper hand. Ultimately, Thunderbolt Ross recognized his daughter and tried to convince her she was not a brutal beast. The Harpy later reverted back to Betty Ross with intervention from Bi-Beast.
Married Life & Death
Enjoying life as a normal woman again, it wasn't long before Betty married Bruce Banner. However, their life of happily married bliss was soon cut short as Betty's constant exposure to the Hulk gave her gamma sickness. The poisoning was so strong that she nearly died. Banner was able to invent a cure using his own blood. However, the Hulk's nemesis the Abomination, swapped his blood sample with his own blood before the transfusion. The untreated blood transfusion worsened Betty's condition, causing her to die from the radiation, but her body was put into cryogenic stasis by her father.
Having spent most of his life hating both Bruce Banner and the Hulk, General Ross blamed the Hulk for his daughter's death. Aware of what was happening around him, Banner fled and General Ross began to hunt him once more. While on the run, he was able to discover how Betty died. Confronted with the truth, the General confessed to Hulk that he no longer blamed him for Betty's death.
Betty or no Betty
Many months later, in a later retconned storyarc, Betty was seemingly revived by the Leader and had underwent surgery which considerably altered her appearance. She was also granted superhuman strength and for a time aided her fugitive husband Bruce Banner as his shadowy contact, Mr. Blue. Bruce Banner, while he was on the run, never truly saw this Betty but heard her on his radio. It was the Hulk whom first saw her in person and figured out the uncanny resemblance this woman had to Betty and thought it was her, returned to life.
In a story named "The "Tempest Fugit" it is explained that Betty's resurrection was a reality-distorting hallucination created by Nightmare, and also introduces Betty's daughter Daydream, supposedly magically conceived when Nightmare had intercourse with this fake Betty. This version of events was confirmed in stories by later writers
The Return of Betty Ross: Red Hulks
Many years later Betty Ross and Colonel Glenn Talbot were sighted visiting the grave of her father, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross. The revelation that the two were still alive was over-shadowed by Betty's new secret identity. When the Red Hulk believed that his secret identity had been compromised by Domino, he collected a group of mercenaries known as Code Red to assassinate her. When Code Red came into conflict with Domino's team X-Force, they paired off into a series of one-on-one fights. Wolverine managed to blind the Red Hulk with his adamantium claws, and was about to deliver a killing blow when he was blindsided by a new combatant. The Red She-Hulk appeared. She had protected her male counterpart long enough to challenge Wolverine. Blinded, the Red Hulk had no idea who had come to his aid, and Thundra was forced to explain that it was a female counterpart who looked just like him. However, no-one on the battlefield seemed to know who the Red She-Hulk was.
During her fight with Wolverine, she spitefully boasted how she had killed Elektra and Domino. Her taunts enraged Wolverine, who managed to electrocute her by using his claws as a conduit. The charge of energy only managed to stall her and she managed to retaliate by spitting yellow acid. After her fight, she dragged the Red Hulk underground to escape. During their journey through the New York tunnels, the Red She-Hulk's mood seemed to change. The Red Hulk told her the story of three blind men examining an elephant, which seemed to enrage her. She screamed that the last man who told her that story was dead to her.
Just as the Red Hulk was about to trust the Red She-Hulk, she double-crossed him. After stabbing him with Elektra's stolen sai, the other members of Code Red led by Doc Samson ambushed the Red Hulk. As the paid-for mercenaries distracted themselves, the Red Hulk's eyesight had begun to heal. Seeing his female counterpart, he seized the element of surprise and pushed her through the subway wall. Their fight raged through subway trains and ended on the top of the Empire State Building. There, he nearly killed the Red She-Hulk by throwing her off the building. However, she called his bluff and when he set her down on a railing she turned on him once more. She kicked him down to the street below, knowing that he would survive.
Fall Of The Hulks
Later Red She-Hulk and Lyra were revealed as agents working for the Intelligencia. However, despite the fact that they worked for the same employer, neither of the female Hulks liked each other. She also had issues with being kept in line due to her disagreements with Lyra and Doc Samson. MODOK had so far kept her in check, much to her displeasure.
World War Hulks
During a battle with Skaar, A-Bomb and Korg, the Red She-Hulk was run through with Skaar's sword. Critically wounded, she reverted back to her true form. Her true identity was finally revealed; the Red She-Hulk was in fact Betty Ross. As Bruce begs Betty to change to her Hulk form, she tells him she simply wants to let go - she'd rather die than have to transform again. It is only when Leonard Samson arrives and angers her that she unwillingly transforms back into her Hulk form, saving her life. It is also at this point that the brainwashing done to Betty by the Leader and MODOK begins to crumble and Betty's own persona begins to fight for control.
After the events, Betty reverts to her human form along with Banner, Jen, Skaar and Lyra and travels with them. Banner tries to reconnect with Betty and fix their marriage. Betty tells Bruce that they're not married because she died. Bruce still tries to put Betty's wedding ring on. The stress of this causes Betty transform into Red She-Hulk. She-Rulk then runs to a nearby town and starts causing destruction. Bruce tries to calm her down but She-Rulk attacks him saying how much Betty enjoys being a Hulk. Skaar tries to Banner, who has just become the Hulk. Red-She Hulk then jumps off away from the Hulk. Skaar tells the Hulk he's sorry. Hulk says that something was going to get broken. Hulk tries to also calm She-Rulk because the fight is drawing attention to them and Hulk doesn't want to put Skaar in danger. During the fight a tidal wave is caused, sweeping up Skaar, but he is saved by She-Rulk. She-Rulk then helps Hulk attack the shuttles going to attack Hiro-Kala, who is coming to destroy the Earth. The Hulks then, using the Sakaarian Stone Ship, travel to stop Hiro-Kala themselves. While traveling to stop Hiro-Kala, Skaar and Korg take Red She-Rulk aside telling her when the time comes she must be ready to do what is needed. After destroying most of the K'ai space army, Red and normal She Hulk are sent to destroy the source of the power that is moving K'ai towards Earth. When they teleport to the spot they find guardian warriors of the Worldmind who begin to attack them.
Following the freeing of Cul, The Serpent, the Hulk was chosen to house the spirit of Nul, Breaker of Worlds. Unable to fight Nul, a small group of Avengers were able to fight Nul off until he was summoned by Cul to stop Thor. Thor knocked Nul into orbit and he landed in the Vampire Nation where he was later defeated by the Forgiven. Betty in the mean time was given a sword forged with uru metal and repulsor technology, which she used to become one of the Mighty. Following the defeat of the Serpent, she kept the sword, but now had to use it to stop Nul, who was freed from his hammer following the destruction of Worldbreaker by the Hulk.
Hell Hath No Fury
Betty Ross/Red She-Hulk has become deadly determined to shut down a new government issued super-soldier program by Echelon.
Powers & Skills:
(Although all of the Red She-Hulk's powers and skills have yet to be revealed, there are a few details that can be presumed.)
Just like with the other members of the Hulk family, the Red She-Hulk has an exceptionally large physique and has been endowed with over-sized muscles. Although it has yet to be established just what her maximum strength is, she is visibly imbued with super strength, beyond that of the average athletic body builder. She is tough enough to go toe to toe with the Hulk himself. She is strong enough to lift a truck with zero effort.
During the heart of the monster arc, she absorbed energy from gamma bombs. As a result, she became 50 feet tall.
As with many of the other Hulks, the Red She-Hulk's strength gives her an advantage during close quarters combat. She appears to be agile and confident, and is therefore a challenge to any experienced veteran in unarmed combat.
Like the Red Hulk, the Red She-Hulk has bright red skin and brighter yellow blood. It seems that her yellow eyes have a sparkling flared effect at all times indicating a source of strength within her body. Another sign of this was the acidic saliva that she spat at Wolverine. Like her blood, the saliva was bright yellow, and seemed to burn Wolverine's skin instantly on impact.
In her battle against Wolverine, the Red She-Hulk withstood many attacks that would have killed the average person (and many super-humans, too). She survived being electrocuted and didn't seem phased when Wolverine stabbed her with three of his adamantium claws.
In her first appearance, the Red She-Hulk was seen brandishing Domino's automatic weapon. She holds it confidently, demonstrating that she has training and experience with firearms.
The sai is not a common weapon, and it is wielded by those with years of training. Although the Red She-Hulk claimed to have stolen Elektra's sai, she clearly wielded it with confidence and experience.
Without a doubt, Betty Banner is the epitome of a loyal and devoted wife. For years before they were married, she followed him around the country in the belief that the man she loved could be returned to her. Fiercely independent, she wasn't afraid to stand up to her father. She may have desired a quiet life with Bruce, she was willing to fight for her dreams.
She was created by the Leader. Both prior to and since her transformation she has continued to exhibit symptoms of mental instability and high anxiety. She has many other mood disorders as well including being bipolar and signs of depression. In battle she has been seen to enjoy the graphic nature of dominating over others violently. However, while walking through the sewers with the blinded Red Hulk, she grew quiet, reflective and almost morose. Although she would try to cover her emotional swings as if it was an act, she continued to display extreme mood swings.
Since it was originally announced at the San Diego Comic Con in 2009 that there was going to be a Red She-Hulk her identity immediately became a matter of great debate. When she was first revealed, one of the few details provided was that she had some sort of connection to Domino. Some fans debated that she was really the green She-Hulk, yet she was seen wielding Elektra's weapon of choice (the sai), and wore Domino's leather catsuit which fueled the rumors. As the stories were gradually published, it was revealed that she stole those items from Elektra and Domino.
Later Marvel revealed that Red She-Hulk would participate in the World War Hulks storyline, alongside She-Hulk and the Savage She-Hulk (the daughter of Thundra). Therefore those identities were also ruled out. Therefore, the mystery surrounding the Red She-Hulk's true identity was only heightened.
The revelation that she was actually Betty Ross surprised many, while others had suspected her true identity since the start. However, along with the revelation of the Red Hulk's true identity it explains the character's reaction to the story he told her in the subway tunnel; as the last person who told her that story was her father.
Betty was played by Jennifer Connelly in the 2003 film Hulk. Betty worked with Bruce Banner on a device that involved gamma radiation and Nano-Med technology, capable of great change in the world of medicine. When one of their colleagues accidentally armed the Gamma Sphere while it was still open, Bruce protected everyone in the lab from the blast by putting himself in front of it. Miraculously he survived, but soon began to transform into the Hulk whenever angered or injured.
Bruce's father was involved with why Bruce was changing, and retaliated against Betty's interference by sending mutant dogs to kill her. Beaten and angered, Banner turned into the Hulk and raced to Betty's home to fight off the dogs. Successfully defeating the dogs, Bruce changed back. However, out of fear Betty called her father in hopes that he and the military could help him.
Contained by the military the Hulk emerged again and broke out of the base. At the same time, Betty confronted Bruce's father. Knows that he would revert to Banner if he saw her, Betty raced back to help control the Hulk. Banner was taken in along with his father, who had also acquired powers of his own. Both transformed after a confrontation which escalates into a massive brawl. Betty's father was forced to destroy them both with a special missile. Assuming Bruce was dead, Betty continued her life. She confronted her father telling him that if Banner had survived then she wouldn't reveal his location because of her love for him.
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Betty was played in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk adaptation by Liv Tyler. She worked as a microbiologist and had apparently moved on with her life, and had begun dating Doctor Samson. When Banner returned to the college where she worked, she discovered him and took him home.
The next day, Samson tipped off General Ross who continued his attempts to stop the Hulk. During a fight with the military, Hulk managed to save Betty from being hit by friendly fire from a gunship. However, she was left unconscious. Hulk took her with him to a cave where she could recover in peace. The next day they went to a hotel and almost rekindling their relationship. However, they were forced to keep moving in order to locate Samuel Sterns, who had the potential to find a cure for Banner's transformations.
While discussing Banner's condition, Sterns revealed he has mass produced Banner's gamma irradiated blood. Banner demanded that his blood samples should be destroyed. However, before a decision could be made Blonsky and General Ross's men detained Banner, despite to Betty's great disdain for her father's actions. However, Blonsky went rogue and transformed into the Abomination. The helicopter that Betty and General Ross were in was caught in the crossfire between the Abomination and Hulk. The chopper went down, but before Abomination could kill them they were saved by Hulk. He was about to beat the Abomination to death when Betty intervened. She appealed to the Hulk and told him to stop tells Hulk to stop. Looking at her one last time, the Hulk fled the city leaving Betty to watch him go.
Marvel Super Hero Squad Online
Betty is a playable character in the game in the Red She-Hulk persona.
Her description says: With yellow eyes and a sneer on her face, Red She-Hulk is tougher than anyone in Super Hero City without Hulk in their name.
Marvel Avengers Alliance
During Special Operation 15: Game On, during a fight between Hulk and Red Hulk, Betty is mentioned when the Red Hulk asks "Want me to say goodbye to Betty for you, freak? Not that she'll miss you"
Marvel: War of Heroes
Red She-Hulk is part of the mobile card game Marvel: War of Heroes. Her cards are
- [Hit the Beach] Red She-Hulk
- [Raging Beauty] Red She-Hulk
- [Like Father, Like Daughter] Red She-Hulk
- [Merry Merry] Red She-Hulk
- [Uru Upgrade] Red She-Hulk
- [Collateral Damage] Red She-Hulk
- [Power Couple] Hulk & Red She-Hulk