Sunday, April 30, 2006

Profile: Betty Ross-Banner

Betty Ross-Banner
First appearance: 1962 in the Incredible Hulk #1 (first volume. The second one grew out of Tales to Astonish)

Current status: may have turned up alive and under the influence of Nightmare in 2004, when the Hulk experienced a bizarre adventure on an island in the sea.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: her first husband, Glenn Talbot, had dealt her quite a few beatings when he realized that she loved Bruce Banner, the Hulk, more than she loved Glenn, she was even turned into a creature called Harpy at one point by MODOK, she went through at least one miscarriage, and then, in 1998, to cap it all off, she was secretly poisoned to death by Emil Blonsky, the Abomination.

What’s wrong with how this was done? The Hulk’s own world may be a dark one, I’ll admit to that. But they still went way too far, capped off with the death Peter David put her through in 1998, which may have been done as an act of revenge upon Marvel’s own editorial for some complications they’d caused him earlier. Why couldn’t Betty have some children and at least lead a good enough life, as a wife, mother, and even sidekick to the Hulk, Bruce Banner? It was uncalled for, to have her rubbed out, and this was a real nadir in an otherwise very good run David had on the Hulk for 11 years.

It’s possible that she may have recently returned to the living world (as of this writing, David himself returned to writing the Hulk again in 2004), but they really hammered Betty’s own problems away much too hard, right down to one point where what would seem to be her spirit (?) is seen shouting at the Hulk in the third volume to stay away from the people he cares about, because he always seems to end up hurting them, however unintentional.

Which is just sledge-hammering an already moot point about the green goliath.

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