Who Is Red Hulk? General Thaddeus E. Ross - Comic Years
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Who Is Red Hulk? General Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross

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BY November 1, 2022

Red Hulk is a character published by Marvel Comics. His name is General Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross. He represents a fictional anti-hero and is a bitter enemy of the Hulk. He is mainly known as Thaddeus Ross, but there are other versions. Almost all are obsessed with pursuing and terminating the original Hulk, who Ross considers a monster.

Who is Red Hulk?

Red Hulk Image via Marvel Comics

Red Hulk was born from the idea of Joe Quesada in 2008, who proposed to create a new Hulk with a red color. The most important thing at that time was that no one would know his identity. Thus, fans found themselves with a Hulk similar to the original, with similar appearance, powers, and abilities. However, this new Hulk came to demonstrate that there were things that differentiated them.

Red Hulk is an innate strategist, intelligent but evil, unlike the Green Hulk. Because of his eagerness to catch the original Red Hulk, he caused destruction and death in his path.

Red Hulk’s Biography

General Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross is the father of Betty Ross and the father-in-law of Bruce Banner. He is a military officer in the United States. His first appearance was in 1962, in Incredible Hulk, Vol. 1, and then in Hulk, Vol. 2 #1 of 2008.

The creation of the character is the hand of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, who gave life to Thunderbolt Ross. Jeph Loeb and Ed McGioness create Red Hulk. In either case, he stands out as an expert military strategist with access to high technology and weapons. His powers and abilities are very similar to the original Hulk.

General Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross

Thunderbolt Ross Image via Marvel Comics

The first incarnation of the Red Hulk, also known by his alias Rulk, appeared in the 2008 Hulk series. However, in 2010, the story World War Hulk unveils General “Thunderbolt” Ross. This General belongs to the United States Army, demonstrating a long career serving his country. For this reason, he was assigned to the gamma bomb project, which allowed him to transform into Red Hulk.

“Thunderbolt” Ross has a daughter named Betty, who falls in love with the scientist Banner. So he is Bruce Banner’s father-in-law and is a long-time nemesis of the original Hulk. Ross has a terrible obsession with chasing the Hulk.

His Time in the Military

Ross has known the military since he was born and was in touch with the military world during his growth. Both his father and grandfather belonged to the Army. So it was not strange that the young man went towards that profession. He performed impeccably, reaching the General rank in the United States Army. As a result, the Army assigned him to essential projects, such as the gamma bomb, which he shared with scientist Bruce Banner.

At that time, his daughter Betty Ross fell in love with Bruce Banner, which made Thaddeus furious and generated a deep rejection towards the young scientist, considering him a “weakling.” Still, this did not prevent the relationship from taking place.

Transformation to Red Hulk

Thaddeus Ross as Red Hulk Image via Marvel Comics

General Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross‘ transformation into Red Hulk was of his own free will. His obsession with catching the Hulk and capturing him led him to commit treason against his core values. That led him to ally himself with the Abomination, MODOK, and The Leader, to destroy the Hulk. When he was discharged from the military, he showed up at the wedding of his daughter and Bruce with a gun, shooting RThisones.

That leads to Clay Quartermain, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, recruiting Ross to merge with the electric creature Zzzax. This process gave Ross superpowers but also made him mentally unstable. He later reverted to his human form but retained some residual power-generating powers.

Powers and Abilities

Red Hulk claims to have powers similar to his arch-enemy Hulk. Therefore, he stands out for his resistance, durability, and superhuman strength. He also can absorb radiation, thanks to the fact that his body metabolizes it and uses it as energy to increase his power.

One of the differences with the Hulk is that Bruce Banner gets angry and increases his strength. On the other hand, Red Hulk cannot do that. He does not become more vigorous but emits more heat. Although the upper limit of temperature he can withstand is unclear, we know it is quite a lot.

Red Hulk Heat Image via Marvel Comics

There’s evidence of that the first time the Hulk and Red Hulk fought. Red Hulk’s heat created an aura of light around the two, melting the desert sand where a glass disk was located. But that’s not all; Red Hulk also increases power levels when he absorbs other types of energy, such as gamma radiation. He can emit heat through his eyes at will without the need to be enraged.

The colors of these two characters are different. While Hulk is green, Red Hulk is red. Likewise, when the Hulk is unconscious, he returns to his human form, Red Hulk does not. Similarly, the color of Red Hulk’s blood is fluorescent yellow, not green like the Hulk’s, and it remains that color even when he regains his human form.

Other Versions of Red Hulk

Another version of the Red Hulk existed in U.S.Avengers in 2017. Four-star General Robert Maverick is the second Red Hulk. Unlike General Thaddeus Ross, Maverick only turns into a variation of Red Hulk for one hour approximately every day and a half. Additionally, Maverick still wears his mustache and glasses after transforming into Red Hulk.

Red Hulk’s Appearances

Red Hulk’s appearances have been diverse, appearing on television, in movie theaters, and video games.

On Television

Among the appearances of the character on television, we have:

  • He had his first animated appearance on the small screen in The Marvel Super Heroes as Thunderbolt Ross. In that case, the voice was Paul Kligman.
  • In the 1996 television series The Incredible Hulk, General Ross’s voice was that of John Vernon.
  • We can also see General Ross in Iron Man: Armored Adventures in the episodes “Heavry Mettle” and “The Fury of the Hulk,” voiced by Eric Bauza.
  • General Ross and Red Hulk are introduced in The Avengers: The Mightiest Heroes on the Planet. At that time, Keith Ferguson voiced Ross.
  • There are several Marvel cartoons on Disney XD where General Ross and Red Hulk appear, played by Clancy Brown.

In Movies

In the 2003 film Hulk, Sam Elliott plays Ross, which Ang Lee directed. This version shows a four-star General Ross at Desert Base, later known as Gamma Base. That was in the 1970s; at the time, he served as Banner’s colleague.

Similarly, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, William Hurt portrayed Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, and we saw him in:

  • 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. General Ross pursues Bruce Banner after an experiment in super-soldier genetics goes wrong, turning Banner into the Hulk.
  • 2016, Captain America: Civil War. This film shows a much more mature Ross, who is no longer a general. After suffering a heart attack while playing golf, he decides to resign. He became the Secretary General of the United States. There they decide to recruit powerful crime fighters, which divides the Avengers into two groups.
  • 2018, Avengers: Infinity War. Ross appears as Secretary of the United States.
  • 2019, Avengers: Endgame. Ross appears at Tony Stark’s funeral in 2023, 5 years after the events of Infinity War.
  • 2021, Black Widow. The film takes place in 2016 after the events of the Civil War. It features Ross and his men making a chase against Natasha, where she manages to escape.

In Video Games

In video games, he has several appearances, both as General Ross and Red Hulk. We mention just a few of them:

  • Hulk (2003)
  • The Incredible Hulk Ultimate Destruction
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2
  • Marvel Super Hero Squad Online
  • Marvel: Avengers Alliance
  • Lego Marvel Super Heroes
  • Marvel: Contest of Champions

We recently learned of the unfortunate physical loss of actor William Hurt, who played the Red Hulk for a long time. Also, we know that Harrison Ford was confirmed to take his place. There is no confirmation as to which movies Red Hulk will be in. Rumors claim Ford will play a small part in Captain America: New World Order. Also, he may appear in Thunderbolts, officially scheduled for 2024.

What is certain is that fans are incredibly excited about what is to come with this character. They primarily trust the quality of Harrison Ford’s roles in Hollywood.



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