As one of the most popular Marvel characters, Hulk has numerous versions and numerous enemies. At some point, one of Hulk’s greatest nemesis actually did become a version of Hulk; we’re talking about Thunderbolt Ross’ Red Hulk. Today, we’re going to explore the history of animosity between the two characters, how Thaddeus Ross became the Red Hulk, and lastly, compare him to other versions of the Jade Giant.
Red Hulk is none other than Brue Banner’s father-in-law, Thaddeus Ross, more popular as Thunderbolt Ross. During the ‘World War Hulk,’ Thunderbolt Ross, in collaboration with MODOK, Doc Samson, and The Leader, siphoned some energy from the Hulk and used it to transform Thunderbolt Ross into the mighty beast. As Red Hulk, Ross has the ability to siphon radiation in order to make himself stronger but doesn’t have the ability to grow his physical strength the angrier he gets. Red Hulk also has a tendency to overheat in a fight the angrier he gets and is not as durable as other versions of Hulk.
Now that we’ve given you the basic info regarding the Red Hulk, it’s time to analyze it in more detail. If you’re interested in what pushed Thaddeus Ross to become the Red Hulk, stay with us and keep reading!
How is Thaddeus Ross connected to Bruce Banner?
Thaddeus Ross comes from a military family and, as such, has always strived to pursue this career. Thaddeus quickly rose to the ranks, eventually even gaining the nickname “Thunderbolt” for his swift and lethal strategies. He eventually married the daughter of Captain Lee, Karen Lee, and the two would go on to have a single daughter, Betty Ross.
The first time that Ross and Banner met was when Banner was still a child. Bruce Banner built a crude bomb and blamed his “imaginary” friend, The Hulk. Bruce managed to avoid jail time, but he had to move with his aunt in order to escape the consequences. Ross agreed that the boy might go on to create great things in the future, and the military invested in his career.
Later, Bruce Banner did go on to create great things. The two properly met when Banner was assigned to lead the project at Los Alamos, New Mexico, the same project that would eventually result in Banner becoming the Hulk. Ross never liked Banner all that much because Banner never fit the traditional “manly man” image that military personnel out to have.
He also hated the fact that Banner, as a civilian, was leading the project and not him and that same wimpy civilian was dating his daughter, eventually even marrying her.
So, as you can see, Ross and Hulk are connected in more ways than one. They are not only enemies but in-laws as well. There is a long history of uneasiness between them, and things will only become worse once Banner becomes the Hulk.
How did Thunderbolt Ross become the Red Hulk?
Because Banner’s strange “episodes” coincided with Hulk’s episodes, Ross was always suspicious of him. But it wasn’t until Rick Jones mistakenly thought that Hulk was dead and revealed to basically the whole world that Banner was Hulk that Ross finally had the proof to start hunting him. And Ross will spend much of his time thinking about how to take the Hulk down. He went as far as to make a deal with the Abomination and numerous other shifty characters to make it happen.
Following Betty’s death and the hands of Abomination and Hulk’s exile from the world, however, he lost his purpose. He spent his days drinking, and on the night that Captain America was assassinated, he was approached by MODOK and the Leader, who warned Ross that Hulk would eventually return to Earth and that they needed to be ready.
During ‘World War Hulk,’ this came out to be true; however, MODOK, Ross, The Leader, and Doc. Samson had a plan in place. After Hulk was defeated, they took his body and siphoned some gamma energy off of him. They took his body to a secret base where Ross’ transformation into the Red Hulk took place.
So, quite ironically, Thunderbolt Ross became what he hunted the most.
How strong is Red Hulk compared to other versions?
Red Hulk has more or less the same powers and physical abilities as the standard Hulk, but there are some significant differences. Red Hulk can’t gain additional strength as he gets angrier but is able to absorb gamma radiation from the environment to make himself more powerful.
This means that, in theory, the Red Hulk can be stronger than the Hulk in his base form because he can strengthen himself faster and doesn’t have to rely on anger. But overall, Red Hulk is weaker than the Hulk due to several significant weaknesses, such as the ability to overheat the angrier he gets and his weakness to sharp weapons.
Red Hulk can also trigger his transformation at will, which is something that She-Hulk can do, for example, but her downside is that she is a lot more physically inferior to the standard version of Hulk, and by extension, She-Hulk is also weaker than Red Hulk.
Red Hulk is somewhere in the middle when it comes to all possible versions of Hulk. He is a lot stronger than Professor Hulk but also a lot weaker than World Breaker Hulk, Breaker of Worlds, Immortal Hulk, Titan Hulk, and some other versions of the Jade Giant that are known to be incredibly powerful.
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