Betty Ross was Dr. Bruce Banner's love from before he was transformed into the Hulk. That transformation complicated matters since Betty's father, Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, became bent on stopping the Hulk. Their relationship has only gotten more complicated since then. The latest issue introduces a brand new complication in the form of a new gamma transformation for Betty. SPOILERS for Immortal Hulk #18 by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, and Paul Mounts follow.
Over the years, Bruce and Betty somehow made things work, at least for a while. At one point, Betty suffered a nervous breakdown after being told Banner was dead. This wasn't true, but AIM took advantage of the situation. The terrorist organization capture Betty and infused her with gamma radiation. This transformed her into Harpy, a monstrous and insane creature capable of going toe-to-toe with the Hulk.
Banner was able to reverse the effects of the transformation and they remained married for a time. That marriage was annulled when Betty was believed dead and Hulk married an alien. After the Abomination killed Betty, her father put her in cryogenic sleep and then eventually convinced AIM to resurrect her and once again transform her, this time into the Red She-Hulk.
Betty later ordered the assassination of Bruce Banner, on behalf of the mysterious Order of the Shield, before he could become responsible for an extinction-level event. Hulk was then healed using Extremis technology, effectively killing Banner but leaving Hulk's new super-intelligent personality, Doc Green, active. Doc Green set out to depower the numerous gamma-powered monster heroes that had popped up throughout the Marvel Universe. He enlisted Rick Jones' aid in depowering Red She-Hulk, reverting her to Betty Ross once again.
Later, when Doc Green allowed Bruce Banner to reemerge, Betty apologized. They parted on pleasant if not intimate terms. When Hawkeye killed Bruce during Civil War II, Betty was furious and petitioned her father to launch a revenge mission. She rescinded those plans after hearing the tape that Bruce recorded before her death.
But now Bruce and the Hulk have reemerged in Immortal Hulk. Hulk took a trip to Hell and discovered more about where the Hulk truly comes from than he ever knew. Upon returning to Earth, he called Betty and begged to come home. Betty was still struggling with the recent death of her father, but she agreed to meet with Banner.
But Shadow Base had Betty under surveillance. When Betty met with Bruce. the group's sniper broke rank and shot at Banner. It turned out he was aiming at the wrong target and shot Betty in the head instead.
Betty's body disappeared from the wreckage. Immortal Hulk has taught fans that Hulks don't die. It seems that's the case with Betty as well. When reporter Jackie McGee returns to the ruins of Betty's home to investigate, Betty greets her in a new form mixing Harpy and the Red Hulk.
The Red Harpy perhaps? Whatever her moniker, Betty's form seems to resent Hulk for all of the destruction he's caused in her life. How she channels and directs that rage remains to be seen.
What do you think of Betty's new transformation? Let us know in the comments. Immortal Hulk #18 is on sale now.