"Regardless of if I did or didn't love him anymore, I would still try to help him. Not just because I blame myself either, but because it's the right thing to do."Born in 1977, Elizabeth "Betty" Ross was the daughter of noted military General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross. Due to her father's devotion to his military career, she was mostly raised by her mother, who divorced the general at some point in Betty's childhood. This did not deter Betty from developing a loving, if somewhat emotionally distant relationship with her father, and Thaddeus on more than one occasion expressed his pride in his daughter, even when she chose not to follow him into the military, going to Medical School instead.
It was here at Empire State University, while finishing her graduate degree in pediatrics and biology, that Ross first met Bruce Banner. The two kindred spirits quickly became friends, and within a few months that friendship turned to romantic interest. Betty was initially reluctant to tell her father about her relationship, given that Banner was a few years older than her. She also was trying to fend off the advances of another ESU faculty member by the name of Calvin Zabo. However the relationship became known when Banner and Ross were drafted by her father to help on a project to ostensibly protect soldiers from radiation (though in reality it was part of a larger project to duplicate the Super Soldier Serum from Project Rebirth). Thunderbolt Ross was initially distrustful of Banner, but did not directly interfere in his daughter's life. However, he regretted that decision after Banner tested the radiation procedure on himself, triggering his transformation into the monstrous Hulk. Betty was inadvertantly injured in Banner's attempt to escape from custody, something she more blamed on her father than on Bruce.
Over the next four years Betty lost complete contact with her lover and fiance. She continued to research a cure for Bruce should he ever come back, though her research fell by the wayside due to work demands. She was almost ready to give up on ever seeing Bruce again, when he wandered back into her life while laying low with his cousin Jennifer Walters. The two instantly reconnected as if no time had passed at all, and Betty rededicated herself to trying to help Bruce cure himself. After helping him elude capture from her father's Hulk Task Force on Long Island, she took him to see Dr. Samuel Sterns at ESU, when he claimed to have a possible cure. While the initial tests are promising, upon learning that Sterns has tried to duplicate Banner's blood for experimental purposes, they wanted nothing to do with him. Banner, however, was then tranquilized and captured by Ross' father. Despite being told that she was not being arrested specifically because who she was, Betty immediately told her father not to speak with her again.
Afterwards, General Ross was forced to release Banner to fight the Abomination on the streets of Harlem, saving the situation from further blowing up in his face. Betty Ross returned to her work at ESU, with a renewed vigor at trying to find a cure for Bruce. However her resolve starts to falter when she sees Banner seemingly embracing his role as a hero by working with the Avengers during the Battle of New York. After several years of waiting, Betty seemed ready to move on with her life, going on a series of blind dates (including a disastrous one with SHIELD agent Glenn Talbot) and renewed admorations from Zabo, before settling into a relationship with her colleague, psychiatrist Dr. Leonard Samson. The two were engaged after just a few months together. Betty attended a conference with her fiance, and seemed happy, when she was suddenly contacted by Talbot, looking for Banner, who had gone missing following events in Johannesburg. It was at this time that Betty came clean about her previous relationship with Banner to Samson, who supported her decision to go with Jennifer Walters to find Bruce in the Nevada desert.
Upon tracking him down to the home of Rick Jones, Betty was intiailly awkward around her former fiance, as Bruce had no idea about her and Samson. However she proved instrumental in trying to get Bruce to safety when Talbot's forces came in an attempt to capture him. Their plans were thwarted by Zabo, whose obsession had led him to try and kidnap Betty in broad daylight. This triggered Bruce's transformation into the Hulk, and his escape from the scene, injuring Walters in the process.
Betty then castigated her father and Talbot not only for dragging this nonsense back into Bruce's life, but also for involving Samuel Sterns. However she quickly warmed to the idea of Sterns being there, unknowingly being affected by Sterns' mental powers of persuasion. She actively helps Talbot capture Bruce by distracting him, thinking that Sterns may have found a cure for the Hulk after all. Samson quickly makes her see the error of her ways, breaking the hold Sterns had on her. Unfortunately the whole affair ran afoul of a deal that Banner had made with the personality of the Hulk, causing the Hulk's anger to be virtually uncontrollable. Betty could only watch as Banner destroyed much of Las Vegas' strip in a fight with Zabo, mutated into the monstrous Mr. Hyde, and tried to calm Bruce when the Hulk approached Samson to fight him. At that time, however, Sterns (having previously been incapacitated by She Hulk) had stolen a Quinjet and fired on the assembled crowd, and in the crossfire Betty is hit and dies on the scene, triggering the Hulk to enter his angriest state to date and leading to the ennaction of the final protocol to send him off-world.
Powers & Abilities
- Scientific Training: As a professor of science (though her exact discipline is unstated, her work with Project Rebirth suggests something to do with physiology) she has more than adequate medical training and knowledge of human anatomy. She is also adept in some advanced technology, being able to use Samuel Sterns' gamma inhibitor's with little to no training.
Ross' love for Bruce Banner was always a weak spot, even when she had potentially moved on with her life and become engaged to Dr. Leonard Samson. She didn't cover her tracks well, and was prone to being used as bait to catch Bruce in traps, hence why Bruce kept his distance for as long as he did. She also possessed no special powers of any kind, and had the same weaknesses as a normal human, dying from gunshot wounds.
Betty Ross appears in the following films within the Earth-11584 continuity. In all cases she is portrayed by actress Liv Tyler.
- The Incredible Hulk (2008)
- The Incredible Hulk 2 (2015)