Born and raised in a military family, the young Thaddeus Ross spent much of his early life planning to join the Army, as had his father and his grandfather before him. However, the death of a close friend caused Ross to choose the Air Force instead. He attended West Point and came top of his class, and served bravely in several battles. He met and married Karen Lee, the daughter of his then-commanding officer. The couple had one daughter, Betty, and Ross used his influence to give the child a stable upbringing. However, Karen died of cancer when Betty was young teen, which caused Ross to grow distant with her. He rose quickly through the ranks, eventually obtaining the rank of general. He was assigned to command Desert Base, New Mexico, where Dr Bruce Banner's gamma ray experiments were carried out. He was in control of the base when the accident that caused Banner to become the Hulk occurred.
General Ross was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962). Red Hulk was created by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness and first appeared in The Hulk #1 (2008).
Major Story Arcs
Hunting the Hulk
Following the creation of the Hulk, Ross became involved in hunting the monster down. Simultaneously, he begins to suspect that Banner, who he has always disliked, is engaged in treason due to his frequent unexplained absences. After Banner's identity as the Hulk is revealed, Ross continues to pursue him ruthlessly for years, though his attempts to capture the Hulk are universally unsuccessful. He was later given control of Operation: Greenskin, which was intended to capture and cure the Hulk. During one operation to capture the Hulk Ross is taken prisoner in Russia. After he is rescued, he is relieved of command and placed on leave. Despite this, he maintains his involvement in searching for the Hulk, culminating in a nervous breakdown that is brought on by Moonstone. Soon after his return from his nervous breakdown, the Hulk is pardoned for all his crimes. Gripped by his obsessive desire to destroy the Hulk, Ross forms an alliance with Abomination and MODOK to kill the Hulk. Following this plan's failure and the discovery of his treason by Betty, Ross drops out of his life and is dishonourably discharged from the military. He reappears when Betty and Banner prepare to marry, and attempts to interrupt their wedding. He is prevented from doing so, and hospitalized. Sometime later he participates in an experiment that is designed to give him the powers of Zzzax, but goes badly wrong, resulting in Zzzax absorbing Ross' consciousness. Realizing he has become a monster like the one that he so loathes, the hybrid creature flees, and Ross' consciousness returns to his body, retaining some residual energy powers. He later sacrifices himself to end the threat posed by the mutant Nevermind.
Ross' body is stolen by the Leader, who has Soul Man resurrect Ross' body but not his mind. He uses the mindless husk to act as the new pilot for the Redeemer armour. His body was rescued by the Troyjans, who help to restore his memories and personality to his body. He is returned to the Air Force, and soon reinstated. After his return he encouraged passive non-reaction in dealing with the Hulk, in order to minimize the monetary and human cost of interactions with the Hulk.
World War Hulk and Red Hulk
General Ross played a key-role in the defense of New York City when the Hulk returned to earth and wanted vengeance against the superheroes that had send him off to space. General Ross was the commander of the U.S. forces in the events that would become known as World War Hulk. In the aftermath of these events, it seemed that Bruce Banner was ridden of his Hulk alter ego. However, some weeks after, a mysterious figure identified as Red Hulk emerged, hurting several characters and baffling those who where sent to hunt him. He was ultimately defeated by Thor and the green Hulk working together, though he managed to escape before his identity is revealed. He continued to weather attacks from heroic forces, but his identity remained secret. Later he was contacted by the Collector, who induced him to form a team, dubbed the Offenders, who battled the heroic Defenders. Red Hulk managed to kill the Hulk, and quickly turns on his own team, killing most of the participants in the fight. All of the dead are resurrected by the Grandmaster, who Red Hulk then kills. The Collector ends the battle.
Uncovering the Truth
She-Hulk attempts to uncover the Red Hulk's identity, and discovers at an AIM facility that he was created by MODOK with the help of Ross. Red Hulk attacks the group that is infiltrating the facility, fighting Ben Urich and Spider-Man before being confronted by the Hulk. During their ensuing fight the Red Hulk absorbs all of the Hulk's radiation, preventing him from transforming into the Hulk. Red Hulk possibly has his identity compromised by Domino. He pursues her, eventually acquiring a team, known as Code Red, with which to track her down. The team's pursuit of Domino leads to a confrontation with X-Force, which in turn leads to the arrival of Red She-Hulk, who saves Red Hulk but later attempts to kill him. He is betrayed by his employers, the Intelligencia, who set him up to have his identity exposed in order to humble him.
Fall of the Hulks
Facing off against Ross, Red Hulk appears to kill the general. It is revealed that the Ross who has died is actually a Life Model Decoy, and his apparent death is part of a plot by Red Hulk and Bruce Banner to take down the Intelligencia. He spends a great deal of time attempting to thwart various Intelligencia operations, coming to the rescue of the Fantastic Four, and attempting to rescue T'Challa and Beast, though he is interrupted by the arrival of the X-Men. He confronts members of the Intelligencia on their Hellcarrier, but accidentally aids them when they use his energy to create an army of Hulks. He battles them, but the loss of his energy forces him to revert to his de-powered state, revealing his identity to be Ross. He is attacked by Cosmic Hulk, who accidentally transfers enough energy to Ross to allow him to transform back into Red Hulk. In this form he travels to the White House and destroys a Life Model Decoy of Glenn Talbot, announcing himself to be in charge. He is attacked by Hulk, who defeats him and impels him to remain in his Hulk body before imprisoning him. He then makes arrangements for Red Hulk to join the Avengers.
Having had his ability to drain energy from others taken away due to its detrimental effects on his health, specifically stopping him from becoming human again, Red Hulk joins the Avengers. With them he again becomes involved in opposing the Intelligencia, this time dealing with their mysterious Scorched Earth plan. Ultimately, he is able to defeat the Scorched Earth plans by destroying a MODOK supercomputer, though unbeknownst to him he fails to prevent the creation of MODOK Superior
Joining the Avengers and Fear Itself
Red Hulk joined the Avengers in searching for the Infinity Gems and opposing the Hood. He works with Namor and Thor to locate the Time Gem, and later also acquires the Power Gem. After his actions during the quest, he is formally inducted into the Avengers. Although many of the Avengers felt resentment against the Red Hulk joining them, Thunderbolt Ross accepted the position and became the newest member of the Avengers team. Some weeks later the events of Fear Itself occurred. It was in this time that the Asgardian Serpent God was freed and gave mystical Hammers to some superhumans to become his avatars of destruction. When the Thing acquires a Hammer and became Angrir, Red Hulk defended Avengers Tower against him. The battle was extremely vicious, and Red Hulk sustained some serious injuries, but refrained from using his energy draining abilities. Because of this, he was unable to prevent the Thing from destroying the Tower, the collapse of which seriously injured and trapped him. He was nearly killed by Black Fog, but saved by MODOK, who in turn accidentally drew the attention of the Thing away from Red Hulk. Red Hulk was later located, half-dead, in a crater in Vermont.
The Omegex Saga
Ross is attacked by Omegex, and the pair engage in a lengthy battle. It is briefly halted by the intervention of Zero/One, who inspects Red Hulk's life in the hopes of understanding him. At Red Hulk's insistence he is returned to the fight, but his attempt to drain Omegex's energy fails, and he is again removed from the field of battle. He is returned a third time and, resigned to his death, transforms into Ross, so that he can die as a man. At this, Omegex dissipates, having taken his transformation as indicative of the death of the Red Hulk, which was his mission.
Hulk of Arabia
Ross travels to Qatar after learning that a close friend had died there. The Secret Avengers attempt to bring him home from the war zone, but he resists them. Eventually, the group decides to allow him to remain in Qatar to deal with an arms dealer, Dagan Shah. He and Machine Man infiltrate Shah's headquarters, and Red Hulk is poisoned, forcing him to revert to Ross. He and Machine Man are then captured by Shah, who had been masquerading as the Arabian Knight. They manage to escape, and engage in a fight with Shah before being forced to leave the area due to his city being recognized as an independent nation.
Circle of Four
Red Hulk travels to Las Vegas to hunt down Venom, who has escaped. There, he forms an alliance with Venom, X-2 3 and Ghost Rider to fight Blackheart. He is killed during the fighting by the Evangelist. In Hell, Mephisto offers to give him and his allies their lives back if they manage to defeat Blackheart. Returning to Earth, Red Hulk bonds with the symbiote and the Spirit of Vengeance in order to fight Blackheart. They manage to defeat him, and Red Hulk returns the symbiote and Spirit to their owners. At the arrival of the Secret Avengers, he argues in favour of Flash Thompson keeping control of the symbiote.
Red Hulk becomes haunted by all those who he is responsible for allowing to die. He travels to the Penance Pool to rid himself of these spirits, which brings him into brief conflict with a clan of vampires called The Forgiven. He later becomes involved in confrontations with a variety of monsters in the Monster Metropolis that leads to the revelation that he is still haunted by Leonard Samson. With the assistance of the monsters, he is able to rid himself of this final ghost.
Avengers vs X-Men
Red Hulk fights on the side of the Avengers against the X-Men, taking on such foes as Colossus, Iceman, and Kid Gladiator.
Recently after "Thunderbolt" Ross formed his own team of Thunderbolts made up of lone anti heroes who are all willing to kill when the need arises. This team consists of Ross himself, Punisher, Deadpool, Elektra, and Flash Thompson. How well this team of mostly violent loners will work together only time will tell.
Ross has a bit of a gruff, tough exterior, and has shown to be very sarcastic (especially when he became the Red Hulk.) He usually sees Hulk as a threat, and will stop at nothing to eliminate him. Despite all this, he is a good man inside with good intentions, and he does what he does to protect his country and his loved ones, although his view on Hulk is often highly misguided (that's the case for many, though.)
As a Human
Much as like Bruce Banner, Thaddeus Ross is relatively normal whilst in base human form. However, he possesses a decent amount of strength, speed and agility for a standard human, most likely a result of regular exercise and training. He is also incredibly militarily skilled from his years in the Army and is a master tactician and strategist. He is also very skilled at flying military and commercial planes and is adept at multiple forms of guns and melee weaponry (ex. chains, swords, hunting knives etc.).
Prior to his battle with the Omegex, Ross was also able to absorb external energy forces in order to trigger an immediate transformation event at times of extreme peril and weakness. He was also able to generate high electrical impulses as a side effect of his mental binding with the Zzax creature. This bond remained for a long period of time, and he was able to use it in Red Hulk form to force Zzax to retaliate against MODOK Superior. This ability, as with the energy absorption, has seemingly been nullified ever since.
As Red Hulk/Rulk
Superhuman Berserker Strength and Mega Heat Generation
In Red Hulk form, Ross displays an incredible amount of strength, going as far as even being stronger in base force than the Savage Hulk (although the latter would eventually overpower the former due to his rage factor). As with The Hulk, Red Hulk can lift with incredible ease more than 100 metric tons and have a strength threshold far beyond what has been currently seen, although his strength is hampered by his heat generation and lack of a similar strength building mechanism as his green ancestor.
While as the Green Hulk can build upon his base strength through gamma generation in his cellular structure, Red Hulk has, so far, been seen as being unable to perform a similar feat, most likely due to the complex radioactive and cosmic cocktail that helped create him in the first place. However, he did display prominently an ability to forcibly drain the energy out of an enemy though physical contact (or even close proximity to his body) and use it to magnify his already huge power level. Although this ability has seemingly been short-circuited in an attempt to drain the Omegex, it is unclear whether he still retains the increased power level from his energy vampirism or if it was a temporary injection of force.
A significant downside that Red Hulk has compared to the green Hulk is that his body cannot support the intense heat he generates if his temper flares out of control. Unlike most creatures that would normally just sweat it out, the heat is so intense that every liquid would most likely evaporate instantaneously, essentially baking Red Hulk from the inside-out. This in turn makes him very dizzy, lose conscious control of his body and cause intense pain if allowed to increase further.
He is also shown to have a severe reaction to Negative Energy when absorbed, causing intense pain beyond the threshold for a hulk and possibly generate an allergic reaction within his physiognomy. He is also weak to mental attack, mainly because his rage does not envelop his mind entirely like it does when the Hulk goes into rage mode. But with the help of a mental helmet to block psychic attack, this problem hasn't been much of a problem lately (outside of a brief skirmish with Emma Frost during the Avengers vs. X-men arc.)
Red Hulk can function for extended periods within intake of food, oxygen and water. However, it is seen that he oftentimes eats whole carcasses of cooked animals (ex. deer, cows etc.) and might signify an energy balance factor seen primarily in shrew-like animals, where to maintain an extremely high body temperature and subsequent physical energy, the body requires immense intake of protein. However, as he is not seen to eat in bulk often, it is unsure whether this is the case or not for Red Hulk, or even the Green Hulk for that matter.
Regeneration and Possible "Immortality"
As with the Green Hulk, Red Hulk possesses an incredibly fast hearing factor. However, while his counterpart is able to regenerate more and more with anger, this isn't possible for Rulk as his strength levels cannot increase in rage. This does not mean that he has a less potent healing factor. It just means that it cannot be accelerated as fast as that of The Incredible Hulk.
He is also seen to have a weakness for bladed objects, but this may be due to the fact that Red Hulk is attacked more often with stakes and swords than his counter-part, who often deals more in physical or energy attacks. Despite these very minor differences, Red Hulk can still repair wounds normally permanently debilitating for humans (ex. regenerate new eyes after having them cut open by Wolverine's claws). This regeneration also helps to keep Red Hulk in a semi-permanent mature state. Though it should be remarked that the green hulk would have healed the eye slash far quicker than red hulk, which seems to imply that though red hulks Healing powers are strong, they are not stronger than the Original hulks.
This means that Red Hulk cannot physically age as a standard human can. For him to start resembling someone of old age, he's have to be in hulk form permanently for over a century. His body continually regenerates damaged tissue, meaning he is immune to most known diseases, including the Techno-organic Virus (of which he managed to "sweat out" by increasing his body temperature to destroy the virus.) It is also possible that this regeneration has also caused him to reverse the aging process, essentially making himself physically younger than his real age intends. If Red Hulk does end up surviving all the threats on his person, there is the possibility that he will remain alive for essentially eternity.
Red Hulk has an incredibly durable body, and has physically been able to withstand a direct blow to the face with Thor's hammer Mjolinir, only to laugh it off with only an "X" caved into his face. He has also taken on multiple super-humans at one time, effectively shaking them off and decisively beating them multiple times. Though Powerhouses Such as Hulk and thor still damage him, and in time it may result in a ko.
His skin and muscle, being as thick and dense as it is, allows for Rulk to survive deep sea depth equal to those seen in the Marianas Trench with no ill physical effects outside of the need for oxygen. He can also withstand direct contact with molten lava and can operate in a fiery environment with little worry of external damage. His body is tough enough to survive the conditions of space itself, at one point not only jumping to the moon while dragging Thor behind him, but also leaping back to Earth and surviving unscathed a deep crater-forming impact.
However, unlike the other Hulk, the Red Hulk in particular has a weakness to sharp objects. Characters such as Wolverine and Punisher managed to pierce the Red Hulk's hide.
Rulk has an almost unending supply of stamina, able to theoretically fight for days on end without stopping. He can also force himself to stay awake for several months, functioning solely of adrenaline and lingering stamina. He can also recuperate immensely quickly lost stamina; he'd be able to jump back into the fray of battle, even after being impaled, gutted etc.
Rulk cannot, as stated above, build strength the same way as the Incredible Hulk can. However, he was able to build his immense strength levels further by draining power from enemies and applying it to his own force. Similarly to the way Rogue's absorption abilities work, except that a brush of the skin, unless intentional, does not harm unintended victims and he cannot gain never before seen abilities as she can.
Red Hulk can also release the stored collected energy in his body all at once in an fire-like way, knocking back enemies as well as burning them. He can also, at times, light himself on fire with this same energy when in a rage, seemingly breathing fire as he snarls animalistically at his enemies.
But when Red hulk absorbs too much energy, he overloads, the red she Hulk even described rulk as a " Reactor without a cooling system', there for too much energy makes hulk very tired and dizzy.
While energy absorption appears to be a "former" ability, Red Hulk had held multiple different abilities at one point. During the combined Venom story-arc of Circle of Four, Red Hulk becomes exposed to both the Venom Symbiote and the Spirit of Vengeance. The result is a huge hulking skeleton wrapped in black and red fiery torn musculature and tendrils, edged out with thick toe claws, elongated black nails and angler fish-like set of massive criss-crossing barbed yellow fangs. In this combined Hulked-Out Symbiote of Vengeance, Rulk had, not only all the abilities he possessed as only in Hulk-form, but also those of Venom and Ghost Rider, at one pint web swinging and conducting a Penance Stare at Blackheart (son of Mephisto) at the same time.
Age of Apocalypse
Ross appears as a member of the Human High Council.
Ross is present during the Second World War, and does not agree with Captain America's protest about the atomic bomb. He is later responsible for assigning Nick Fury to head SHIELD, and eventually becomes Chief of Staff for the military.
Ross is the head of Project Cadmus who adopts the clone Spider-Boy and raises him. He is killed by a mugger, spurring Spider-Boy to become a hero.
Ross is the head of SHIELD. He later works as a liaison between the Fantastic Four and the government.
Ross appears as a kinder character who is friends with the Hulk
1602: New World
Ross is an admiral in the Royal Navy, and is sent to Roanoke to attack the Witchbreed.
Ross is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and authorizes the use of nuclear weapons on superhumans. This draws some criticism.
The Incredible Hulk
Ross appears as an antagonist in the 1982 series. He is voiced by Robert Ridgely.
The Incredible Hulk
Ross appears as a recurring antagonist in this 1996 show. He is voiced by John Vernon.
Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes
Ross makes a cameo appearance in the episode "Hard Knocks".
Iron Man: Armored Adventures
Ross appears in the episode "Heavy Mettle".
The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Ross appears in several episodes as both Ross and Red Hulk. Ross is voiced by Keith Ferguson, while Red Hulk is voiced by Fred Tatasciore.
Hulk and the Agents of SMASH
Ross is set to appear in this series.He is shown as hot tempered, cynical, and arrogant, and joins the Agents of Smash in order to regain the respect he had as a general he lost when he became a Hulk. He and Hulk still have a strong dislike of each other, but more as hated siblings rather than deadly enemies. He is shown to be a decent tactician and proficient in most weapons, though he often takes every situation head on. He has also shown to grow hot when he gets angry.
Ross appears as a general who was previously responsible for imprisoning Banner's father due to his dangerous experiments, and distrusts Banner's current work. He is played by Sam Elliott.
The Incredible Hulk
Ross appears as the director of the gamma ray projects. He is played by William Hurt.
Ross makes a cameo in this game based on the film of the same name.
The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
Ross appears as an antagonist in this game. He is voiced by Dave Thomas.
The Incredible Hulk
Ross appears in this game. Red Hulk appears as a bonus playable character. He is voiced by William Hurt.
Marvel Super Hero Squad Online
Red Hulk appears as a playable character.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
Rulk can be played by switching Hulk's costume.