Top 10: Gamma Characters for She-Hulk by Jerry Whitworth
When it was announced She-Hulk would be getting her own Disney+ series, fans’ thoughts immediately went to Dan Slott’s critically-acclaimed run with the character combining science fiction and legal comedy while mining Marvel’s rich history. Early reports appear to indicate the adaptation will certainly borrow from this run, but rumors also emerged the series could be a means to introduce gamma-empowered characters in lieu of a new Hulk movie. With this in mind, lets take a look at some of the characters that could make their debut.
Daughter of the Hulk and the time traveling Femizon Thundra from the future, Lyra journeyed to the past to save her mother’s people. However, when the cost came to be too high for her to commit, she remained in the past as a member of A.R.M.O.R., S.H.I.E.L.D.’s multiversial arm. Unlike her father, Lyra becomes weaker the more angry she becomes. Despite becoming a popular reoccurring character after her introduction, Lyra’s possible appearance in the She-Hulk series is complicated by the fact her mother has yet to emerge in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Further, while time travel has been established prominently in the MCU, it could over complicate a series already juggling several genres.
Son of the Hulk and Caiera the Oldstrong and twin brother of Hiro-Kala the World Breaker, Skaar emerged from a cocoon following his father’s leaving the planet Sakaar in his campaign to seek revenge against the Illuminati for the death of his wife. Aging rapidly, Skaar became a barbarian warrior on his home world that came into conflict with Galactus who wished to consume Sakaar. Caiera’s spirit empowered her son with the Old Power but when he planned to use it to save Sakaar at the cost of countless other worlds, Caiera not only stripped him of it but exiled him from the planet. Journeying to Earth, Skaar sought to kill his father over the fate of Sakaar. However, meeting him in battle, the youth’s heart changed and he chose to live on Earth. Becoming a prominent character in Marvel after his debut, it’s likely should he appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe he might be saved for a Hulk film rather than streaming series.
Present during the accident that transformed Bruce Banner into the Hulk, General John Ryker hunted the Hulk in hopes of a cure for his wife’s cancer. Performing atrocities in this pursuit so severe that Thunderbolt Ross was even compelled to offer aid to the Hulk over them, Ryker relented when it appeared a transfusion of the Hulk’s blood saved his wife’s life. However, when her cancer returned, he blamed the Hulk and assembled a unit called Gamma Corps. Finding a group of people whose lives were seemingly negatively impacted by the Hulk, Ryker’s Gamma Corps were soldiers empowered by the Hulk’s DNA and gamma radiation. Lead by Grey (Brian Talbot, the younger brother of Ross’ right-hand Glenn Talbot), Gamma Corps included Griffin (Clown of the Circus of Crime), Mess, Mr. Gideon (Falcon’s older brother/Jim Wilson’s father), and Prodigy. However, when it came to light most of the members’ lives were not impacted by the actions of the Hulk, the unit fell apart. Later, when Ryker sought to harvest the DNA of She-Hulk, he assembled Gamma Corps: Black adding Aberration, Axon, and Morass. Gamma Corps has excellent odds of turning up in the She-Hulk series but given their backstories being so steeped in Hulk’s history, it’s likely a season or so maybe needed to set the stage for them.
Originally Betty Ross turned into a gamma-empowered avian humanoid by MODOK, the Hulk cured Betty of being the Harpy shortly after that transformation. Later, the Leader kidnapped Rick Jones and his wife Marlo Chandler, turning them into gamma-empowered agents to be used against the Hulk. Chandler became a new version of the Harpy, the couple eventually broke free of the Leader’s mind control and became the Hulk’s allies. What complicates the appearance of Marlo as the Harpy for the She-Hulk series is that Rick Jones has yet to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Created by General John Ryker as part of his obsession with the Hulk, Private Benjamin Tibbets was the sole survivor of an Army platoon exposed to a gamma bomb becoming the monstrous Flux. Physically and mentally misshapen, Flux proved no match for the Hulk until Ryker exposed him to psychological torture forcing him to revert to a childlike state. During Flux’s subsequent battle with the Hulk, Thunderbolt Ross stepped in to stop Ryker and his creation. Ryker later had Gamma Corps kill Flux as something of a trial run to take on the Hulk.
A psychiatrist exposed to gamma radiation siphoned from the Hulk, Dr. Leonard Skivorski, Jr. was transformed into a muscular man with long green hair assuming the name of Doc Samson. The super powered psychiatrist went on to be a longtime ally and sometimes foe of the Hulk, trying over the years to help him with his transforming affliction which has often times backfired. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dr. Leonard Samson is portrayed by Ty Burrell and was the boyfriend for a time of Betty Ross.
Saved by Bruce Banner during a gamma bomb test, Rick Jones was the catalyst for the scientist becoming the Hulk. Jones’ guilt saw him follow Banner for years trying as best as possible to help the man who saved him. After a while, Jones however felt it was becoming too dangerous to remain in the Hulk’s life and so became something of a professional sidekick, pairing over time with Captain America, Captain Marvel, and Rom: Spaceknight. Eventually, Jones reunited with the Hulk and authored a book about his life as a sidekick leading to his meeting his future wife Marlo Chandler. The Leader, Hulk’s nemesis, kidnapped Rick and his wife, turning them into gamma-empowered agents against the Hulk. Rick was transformed into an Abomination-like being called A-Bomb for short. Eventually, Rick and Marlo broke the Leader’s mind control to become allies again to the Hulk. Despite being one of the most prominent members of the Hulk’s supporting cast, Rick Jones has yet to emerge in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He was, however, mentioned to be an acquaintance of Bruce Banner attending Culver University.
The long time love interest of Bruce Banner and daughter of Thunderbolt Ross, Betty Ross lived a turbulent life between her love of Banner and her father’s obsession with capturing or killing the man she loves. Eventually, the Abomination initiated a plot that nearly killed Betty. Thunderbolt Ross entered into an alliance with the Leader and MODOK to transform into the Red Hulk and have his daughter healed and turned into the Red She-Hulk. Brainwashed into a weapon against the Hulk, Betty eventually overcome her mind control to become his ally again. Betty Ross is portrayed by Liv Tyler in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
One of the smartest people on Earth, teenage Amadeus Cho was once saved by the Hulk prompting the genius to offer aid to the hero. Along the way, Cho became close friends with Hercules and then closely associated with the Greek gods. Eventually becoming the gamma-empowered hero Brawn, Cho is a popular young hero who has been part of or affiliated with a remarkable number of hero teams in his brief comic book existence. A novelization of the Incredible Hulk (2008) identified actor Martin Starr’s unnamed character in the film as being Amadeus Cho but Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige has since come out to say he was in fact Roger Harrington from the Spider-Man film series. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) introduced a character named Dr. Helen Cho who bears the same name as Amadeus’ mother. If the rumors of part of the Disney+ Marvel series goal being to establish the Young Avengers, chances are very good Brawn could have a high likelihood of emerging.
One the Hulk’s longest running foes, General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross of the US Air Force oversaw Bruce Banner’s gamma bomb test that lead to the scientist becoming the Hulk. Heading up the Hulkbusters, Ross hunted the Hulk for years. When it appeared the Hulk caused Ross’ daughter Betty to be dying, the father aligned with the Leader to save her life and to be transformed into the Red Hulk to inflict vengeance against their mutual foe. As the Red Hulk, Ross tore across the Earth and its heroes and villains. Eventually, Ross realized he was being used as a pawn by the Leader who was trying to take over the United States but after the villain’s defeat, the Red Hulk decided to conquer the country himself. Finally, the Hulk was able to beat his crimson counterpart and when Ross’ sanity returned to him, he chose to employ his power for good. The Red Hulk has aligned with several hero teams in his brief comic book existence. William Hurt has been featured prominently in the role of Thunderbolt Ross in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rumors of Ross becoming the Red Hulk in the MCU have persisted for years with more recent rumors suggesting the turn will be part of an establishment of the team the Thunderbolts.
Honorable mentions: Riot Squad, Ravage, Maestro, Red Leader, Weapon H, Geiger, Patchwork, and the Outcasts.