Doctor Chen Lu specialized in nuclear physics and served as a nuclear physicist for the People's Republic of China. Respected in his high ranking specialist role, Doctor Lu was also well known for his research into how nuclear radioactivity may be in utilized to trigger and grant superhuman powers within humans. After hostile Chinese military presence and occupation in a part of India prompted the Asgardian thunder god Thor to intervene and push back the incursion single handedly, the Chinese government sought various means to able to contend with such superhuman power. Revising its strategies and looking into their military and scientific resources the Chinese government called upon Doctor Chen Lu hoping his expertise with both nuclear physics but more importantly experiments in superhuman enhanced power would be the key to opposing might like the Asgardian Thor. Doctor Lu was more than obliged to his new role, already having his own aspirations to be super powered, and having already spent months exposing himself to dangerous radioactive materials and substances. Immunized by his smaller experiments and now with the support of his government Chen Lu exposed himself to a larger concentration of speciality radiation which suitably mutated his body increasing his size, causing his body to glow an unnatural jade and giving the Doctor super human powers. Demonstrating his newly acquired power to his superiors his experiment was considered a success. Taking the name Radioactive Man, Lu headed to New York City to confront and defeat Thor for his early transgression against the Chinese military. Although briefly contending against Thor in their initial physical confrontation, Radioactive Man was nevertheless outmatched and defeated by the thunder god, who to add insult to injury teleported Radioactive Man directly back to China using his fabled weapon Mjolnir. Initially considered dead after exploding, Radioactive Man had merely gone into hiding after his failure.
Chen Lu, the Radioactive Man, is a Marvel comic book character created by writer Stan Lee, Robert Bernstein, and artist Jack Kirby. The character first appeared as an antagonist to Thor in Journey into Mystery #93 released in 1963. A second Radioactive Man was briefly introduced in Black Panther comics, in a very small role, also known by his real name Igor Stancheck, this Radioactive Man was killed one issue after his debut. He has no known connection to Chen Lu.
Created by the legendary creative team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Radioactive Man holds a certain iconic place in the halls of Marvel's classic villains. A popular theme of the time was to create Communist villains: Radioactive Man is one such character to have been deeply rooted and characterized by his countries politics, patriotism and desire to spread its agendas to surrounding nations. Radioactive Man also owes his roots to the widespread public interest and fear in nuclear radiation and its role as far as mutation that was prevalent at the time. Although the character started off relatively one dimensionally it wasn't before long more complex motivations and characterization was added. Eventually the character would become a charter member of one of Marvels premiere super villain teams the Masters of Evil in a story running in The Avengers #6 released in 1964. Radioactive Man would even play a minor role in helping the formation of the popular Lady Liberators team. His communist origins not ignored, Radioactive Man was also drafted to a team alongside two communist Soviet Union villain characters Titanium Man and Crimson Dynamo collectively serving as super villain group the Titanic Three.
A villain for several years after, Radioactive Man finally found redemption and a shift in writing characterized him as a now reformed villain, he served and was written in the Thunderbolts team and comic New Thunderbolts #1 released in 2005. The character would be greatly expanded upon in this popular series, much of his personality fleshed out and stories centering on the characters ethnicity, past and powers would follow on. Unlike many of the characters who serve as a Thunderbolt after his tenure under that book, Radioactive Man would continue on with his new heroic streak, joining the modern age Chinese superhero team The People's Defense Force, seemingly committed to his new role as a hero. However in more recent years Radioactive Man would once again return to being a villain as of Avengers: X-Sanction #1. A member of the Bastards of Evil, the character Warhead had claimed that Radioactive Man is his father. His claim was proven to have been false, as Warhead had experienced memory tampering as a plan of manipulation. Warhead was killed after exploding at Ground Zero.
Major Story Arcs
Masters of Evil
Radioactive Man had survived his supposed implosion and had gone into hiding after his failure to defeat the thunder god. However a few months later when evil mastermind Baron Zemo becomes aware of Captain America's reappearance thawed from a block of ice by the superhero team the Avengers, he requires extra manpower to defeat his World War II era nemesis. He enlists the Melter, Black Knight and Radioactive Man to help defeat the Avengers, the Masters of Evil being formed in the process. Radioactive Man is outfitted with weaponry that allows him to fire bolts of Adhesive X, a creation of Zemo. After forcing Captain America and Giant Man to the ground, with Adhesive X Radioactive Man predictably attacks Thor, however after seeing that his team mates need his aid, Thor is quick to brush off Radioactive Man and Melter. Radioactive Man reconvenes with Baron Zemo and the rest of the Masters of Evil. They had meticulously planned out their respective revenge against their foes who had bested them, Radioactive Man grateful for a chance to face Thor once again. The Avengers however threw the Masters of Evil a curveball with Giant Man and Iron Man showing up before Radioactive Man, confronting the radiated villain the two scientists used a lead gadget to ensnare and entrap Radioactive Man rendering him neutralized and defeated. The rest of the Masters of Evil would also be defeated. Some time after the groups defeat, another incarnation of the group would emerge, with Radioactive Man taking part in it again. This team was organized by the deadly robotic villain Ultron, but this team also found defeat at the hands of the Avengers.
Radioactive Man makes a daring escape from prison a short time later and heads to Vietnam. After the Avenger Swordsman dies, fellow Avenger Mantis wishes to take his body to Vietnam where she plans to find out more of her history. While accompanied by her fellow Avengers the group eventually come into confrontation with Radioactive Man who is now teamed with Soviet villains Titanium Man and Crimson Dynamo. The three ex communist men going by the name Titanic Three. No longer wishing to obey their former communist masters, they now act as Vietnamese crime fighters. Radioactive Man gloats at the Avengers explaining that not only are they lacking the authority to attack the Titanic Three, but in that time and in that place it is the Titanic Three with the power of authority. Manipulated by the razor blade covered villain Slasher, Radioactive Man and his cohorts attack the Avengers in Saigon. Chen faces off against the archer Hawkeye who uses his trick arrows to defeat the glowing green powerhouse. Once the Titanic Three realize that Slasher was deceiving them they are quick to end the battle and end their business with the Avengers. Titanic Three disbanded when the Crimson Dynamo headed his own separate way, pursuing his vendetta against Iron Man.
New Masters of Evil
Radioactive Man next appeared in his human guise Dr Chen Lu to meet with Egghead. Introduced to the mastermind villain by Dr. Karla Sofen, Egghead was pleased to meet someone of Lu's expertise in radiation. Radioactive Man, Egghead, Moonstone were joined by Tiger Shark, Beetle and Shocker forming a new Masters of Evil. This new incarnation of the team attempts to kidnap Hank Pym during his court trail, but run afoul of the Avengers. Radioactive Man squares off against the She Hulk and seems to struggle against her superior strength, until the cunning doctor uses his ability to manipulate radiation to depower her to her Jennifer Waters form. The rest of the assembled Avengers quickly fall allowing the group to get away. Holding Hank Pym captive, the group underestimates his intelligence, and the lone Avenger manages to defeat the powerful group using his smarts and equipment the Masters of Evil were careless to have left around. Radioactive Man has his radiation dampened by Pym, and after the group is defeated Dr Lu is deported back to his homeland of China.
Radioactive Man would eventually start performing heroic deeds, including assisting many heroes to prevent a nuclear reactor meltdown. Radioactive Man would then attempt a more long term stay of redemption signing up with the Thunderbolts team, offering a chance of reformation. Chen Lu's sincerity in attempting to reform would be noted by superiors and the nuclear physicist would even be called on to aid Mister Fantastic and Hank Pym in the construction of the Negative Zone prison Prison 42 around the time of the superhero Civil War. Radioactive Man as a member of the Thunderbolts would also confront many anti registration heroes during this time. This would extend to the post Civil War period in which the Thunderbolts were tasked with tracking down and apprehending various unregistered heroes. After an incident where Radioactive Man absorbs an exceptional amount of radiation he is forced for a time to wear a containment suit for the safety of those in his proximity. Although the increase in his toxicity would only be temporary, the head operator of the Thunderbolts at the time Norman Osborn would insist that Chen wear the containment suit anyway, to mask his asian features in order to better present him to the American public. Radioactive Man would continue to me a Thunderbolt member for some time, even striking up a strong friendship with Songbird. Chen Lu would eventually depart the team after the Skrulls attempted invasion of Earth in order to help his homeland of China to recover from the aliens attack.
People's Defense Force
Radioactive Man would continue his venture as a superhero, now working and joining what would become China's premiere superhero team the The People's Defense Force, alongside such other Chinese heroes as Collective Man, Most Perfect Hero,Princess of Clouds, the Ninth Immortal, Scientific Beast and Lady of Ten Suns. China suffering from much infrastructure damage would require its heroes and despite his checkered history with his homeland Dr. Chen Lu was more than willing to lend his aid and services in rebuilding. During this time Radioactive Man and the Peoples Defense would encounter near Tibet the powerful former Inhuman King the Unspoken. The incredibly powerful Inhuman would go on to defeat the Peoples Defense Force single handedly, the Mighty Avengers members Quicksilver, USAgent and GRAMPA agent Ban Luck coming to their aid. The former Inhuman King the Unspoken had decided to use a device known as the Slave Engine to enslave humanity, the Slave Engine's mists devolving any exposed to it, though Radioactive Man's powers would prevent him from losing control of his faculties, many of the Peoples Defense Force and Avengers would turn forcing many heroes to fight against their own. The arrival of more and more Avengers would finally sway the odds of the battle with the Unspoken eventually defeated. Radioactive Man briefly fought the Red Hulk and the Avengers as a member of the Lethal Legion, He escaped a Raft transport jet along with Whirlwind and other villains. It is unclear if this is Chen Lu, last seen leaving the US, or Igor Stancheck, although Stancheck is believed to be dead.
Powers and Abilities
Radioactive Man was born as a base level normal human. Slowly building up an immunity to specific types of radiation by virtue of self induced experiments, exposing himself to a massive dosage unlocked and granted him superhuman abilities. Radioactive Man's skin would dramatically alter and he would glow unnaturally with a green incandescence. Radioactive Man's primary power is to absorb multiple types of radiation, even ordinarily dangerously high levels of radiation. He can use this ability to manipulate radiation, even from within sentient beings, potentially being able to deprive power from other radiation powered beings. Radioactive Man typically possesses upwards of 2 tons, with the potential to lift more contingent on his level of his radioactivity energies. More frequently used Radioactive Man is able to generate, radiate and project solid radiation as powerful potent energy blasts. The variety of which can depend on Lu's discretion, from concussive blasts, heat blasts, blinding blasts, projective blasts, force fields and hard radiation, which can sicken, disorientate, confuse and nauseate foes. Radioactive Man can manipulate radiation across the microwave spectrum. Radioactive Man's high levels of radiation coursing through his body grants him superhuman levels of durability and also allows for significantly faster healing.
Radioactive Man's control over his abilities allows him to interact with other humans without threatening their health despite his toxic appearance, however on occasion for various reasons he has been known to wear a containment suit. Radioactive Man is incredibly intelligent, particularly in the fields of radiation and nuclear physics also holding a Ph. D. in nuclear physics. Radioactive Man can lower the radiation in his body to the extent he can appear normal but only for a short period.
Weight: 290 lbs
Eyes: Formerly brown, now green.
Radioactive Man appears in this reality, and also helps form the Masters of Evil. At one stage he would be absorbed by the Asgardian trickster god Loki, however Loki's eventual defeat would expel all the beings who he had absorbed.
In Nocturne's home reality Radioactive Man is a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants along with Cyclops, Rogue, Blob, Hyve, White Dwarf and Beast. In this reality Radioactive Man appears as similar to his mainstream version, with the exception of this realities Radioactive Man wearing a golden armor.
Radioactive Man appears in this reality, also known as the House of M reality. Radioactive Man is part of the Thunderbolts who are a group of humans that fight against mutant tyranny. He fights alongside Baron von Strucker, Flashback, Andrea and Andreas Strucker.
- The Marvel Super Heroes (1966): Doctor Chen Lu appears as Radioactive Man in the 1966 animated television series The Marvel Super Heroes, which features a rotating cast of various Avenger characters. Radioactive Man is voiced by Gillie Fenwick.
- Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (2010): Doctor Chen Lu appears as Radioactive Man in the 2010 animated television series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Radioactive Man appears in the episodes "Hulk Vs the World," "Casket of Ancient Winters," and "Assault on 42." In his first appearance he is shown as an inmate of the Cube. Later on he makes a daring attempt attacking Arc reactor at Stark Tower, where he is defeated by Iron Man, Black Panther and Thor. In his last appearance he is imprisoned in the Negative Zone Prison known as 42. During an inspection by a few of the Avengers including Captain America, Ms Marvel and Thor, the powerful insectoid Annihilus attacks with his army of Negative Zone insects. Significantly outnumbered the Avengers call on the inmates of the prison to fight alongside them for the sake of the Earth and their lives. Radioactive Man is one of the prisoners who fights alongside his one time enemies.
- Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006): Radioactive Man appears in the 2006 video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. He is voiced by James Sie. The character is a member of the Masters of Evil, and that group along with Doctor Doom launch an attack on a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, UNN Alpha. Radioactive Man is a boss character and features special dialogue with both Thor and Captain America. He was voiced by James Sie.
- Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009): Radioactive Man appears in the 2009 sequel to the first Ultimate Alliance which features on PSP, PS2, and Wii video game platforms. The game is loosely based around the Marvel event Civil War. After a Superhuman Registration Act is proposed and enforced after several high profile incidents involving superheroes, many villains are injected with nanomachines, designed to keep them in line and potentially usable as subservient agents. Radioactive Man is among the supervillains and superheroes that are taken over by nanites and united under the banner of the Fold led by a nanite infected Nick Fury. He was voiced by Don Luce.
- Radioactive Man appeared as a playable character in Lego Marvel's Avengers (2016).
- Radioactive Man appeared in The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection from Eaglemoss Publications.
- Radioactive Man was featured in the HeroClix figure game.
- Hasbro produced a Masters of Evil-themed Marvel Universe box set that included Baron Zemo and Tiger Shark. The set was an SDCC exclusive.
- Hasbro produced a Marvel Legends box set alongside Captain America and Ms. Marvel. It was a Target exclusive.