Elizabeth “Betty” Ross

bettyrossfilmOn with casualgamer‘s request, we find another supporting character, this time a love interest: Betty Ross, the fiancée (and later wife) of Bruce Banner. Betty made her live action debut in Hulk, portrayed by Jennifer Connelly, where she’s a cellular biologist working with Banner, and later trying to help him with his “condition” after the incident that transforms him into the Hulk. She acts as his only ally and friend while he’s on the run, despite her father, General “Thunderbolt” Ross, uses her as a bait to find Banner. She also appears in The Incredible Hulk, portrayed by Liv Tyler: she’s always Banner’s ex girlfriend, trying to help her beloved despite her father’s effort to capture him. Oddly enough, she’s the only love interest of one of the Avengers who didn’t make any appearance in a Marvel movie after her debut, and she was never even mentioned; hopefully, with her father coming back in Captain America: Civil War, she’ll eventually resurface as well… in the meanwhile, we can see together who she is in the comics.

Elizabeth Ross was born the daughter of Army Genearl Thaddeus Ross and of his wife Karen Lee. The Ross family moved from California to New Hampshire, where they were looking for a nice place to raise Betty in, and the idea worked out pretty well, with the girl growing up as happy and serene as she could be. When Betty was twelve, however, Karen got cancer, and she died in a matter of months, leaving behind a grieving husband and a distraught daughter. The relief and support Betty so desperately needed couldn’t be found in General Ross, as he completely closed himself, even from his daughter, and dedicated all his time and energies to the Army, leaving her totally alone. It wasn’t much time before the General decided that a military base wasn’t a suitable place for a girl, and that he sent her to a boarding school. Despite being now surrounded by girls her age, Betty was still pretty much hurt emotionally, and she grew up to be an introverted young woman, brilliant but not exactly the social one. bettyrosscomics1Eventually she graduated and she came back home, only to find out her father had become even more authoritative than before: despite her efforts of recover a father-and-daughter relation, Betty suffered greatly seeing how much her father had grown distant from her, to the point that he seemed to be completely uninterested in her. She nevertheless followed him in his new residence, Desert Base in New Mexico, where Ross had been assigned to the top secret Gamma Bomb Project. In Desert Base, Betty met the creator of the bomb itself, scientist Bruce Banner, who immediately intrigued her with his mild manners, so different from her father’s ones, and his incredible intellect. The attraction was mutual, and the two grew closer day by day… much to General Ross’ dislike, as he despised Banner seeing him as weak and frail. This resulted in Betty distancing even more from her father, but now she had found somebody else she could truly relate to.

During one of the very first tests of the Gamma Bomb, Bruce Banner was hit by the explosion in the effort of saving a kid in the area: Betty lived with anxiety the scientist’s time in the local hospital, but incredibly he survived the blast, and came back soon after. Betty hoped that they could resume their rising relation as soon as he got well, but much to her surprise Bruce started to keep her at distance, often disappearing without a reason, refusing the intimacy they had just started to experience. In the meanwhile the General, who still despised Banner seeing how much his daughter cared for him, had called in Glenn Talbot, an Army Major he saw as a “real man” and that he wanted Betty to date instead of the scientist (actually, Talbot had been summoned to take charge of a task force to hunt for the Hulk, a monster that roamed the base, but the secondary goal was nearly as important as the primary one to Ross). Betty didn’t like Talbot, but grew constantly wary of Banner’s secrets and rejections; plus, for some reason, the brutish Hulk seemed to like her to a certain bettyrosscomics2extent, as he never tried to hurt her, quite the opposite. When from the underground kingdom of Subterranea the warlord Tyrannus kidnapped Betty in order to use her to blackmail General Ross not to try and stop him when he would have become his invasion of the surface, it was the Hulk who looked for her and saved her, bringing her back home safely. Everything became clear the moment it was revealed that Bruce Banner and Hulk were one and the same, and Betty finally understood the reason behind the scientist’s weird behavior. Despite Banner was now deemed a traitor and forced to live as a fugitive, Betty was still devoted to him, and tried her best to help him escape from her father’s forces. When Reed Richards finally allowed Banner to control his transformations, he was pardoned and immediately proposed to Betty, and the two got engaged… but, during the wedding, The Leader made him come back to his savage state, forcing him on the run once again. Betty Ross, however, would have always waited for her man to come back to her, and she would have always supported him despite the world seeing him as a monster.

Betty Ross is a brilliant young woman, who had to hide her remarkable intellect and her many skills, oppressed by her father’s lumbering personality. Betty is introverted and shy, but she’s finally learning to show her true colors by challenging the General for the first time in her life, the moment he forced her to chose between him and the man she loves. Years of military discipline and unwanted distance made Betty much harder and stronger than she looks, and she’s ready to show the world what she’s really capable of.