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Quote1 Passport! Papers! Bah! Use your guns on me! They cannot stop me! Nothing can! Quote2
Radioactive Man[src]

Dr. Chen Lu, Ph.D, (Chinese:陈露) aka Radioactive Man (Chinese:放射性人) was a Chinese Nuclear Physicist working for the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China.[3] He was exposed to high levels of radiation and mutated into a superhuman with the ability to control and emit deadly forms of radiation. Now a Chinese superhero his nationality lead into conflict with many American heroes.[4] He was a founding member of the Masters of Evil who were created to destroy the Avengers.[5] He later joined the People's Defense Force, charged with protecting his homeland.[6]


Early Life[]

Chen Lu's Private Lab from Journey Into Mystery Vol 1 93 0001

Dr. Chen Lu was a respected nuclear physicist for the People's Republic of China. After the thunder god Thor thwarted a Chinese military incursion into India, the Chinese government called upon its scientists and military strategists for a way to retaliate against Thor. Chen Lu had already been experimenting for several years with a way of harnessing nuclear radioactivity to induce superhuman powers in human beings. Chen Lu, concealing his own aspirations of world conquest, volunteered to become China's human weapon against Thor.[4]


Chen Lu (Earth-616) from Journey Into Mystery Vol 1 93 0002

Radioactive Man's first appearance

Having already spent months immunizing himself against the harmful effects of radiation, Chen Lu exposed himself to massive doses of specific-particle radiation, thereby mutating his body. After impressing his superiors with a demonstration of the new superhuman powers he had gained, Chen Lu, calling himself the Radioactive Man.[7] There are two different accounts as to what happened next. In the original account, the Radioactive Man was smuggled into New York City where he battled Thor. Thor used a massive vortex to send the Radioactive Man back to China before he could reach critical mass and explode.[4] The second account states that the Radioactive Man attacked Thor along the India/China border. During the battle the Radioactive Man forced Thor to recall how he was banished to Earth, causing a brief reversion back to Donald Blake. However Blake regained his hammer and defeated the Radioactive Man. In the aftermath of the battle the American government -- through Tony Stark -- thanked Thor for his assistance, but their ability to make a connection between Donald Blake and himself did not sit well with the thunder god.[8]

Masters of Evil I[]

In fact however, the Radioactive Man went into hiding until Baron Heinrich Zemo located him and enlisted him in his criminal organization, the original Masters of Evil. By this time, the Radioactive Man was no longer serving China's Communist leaders. The Avengers defeated the Masters of Evil.[5]

Masters of Evil II[]

Years later the Radioactive Man joined a new Masters of Evil organized by the Crimson Cowl who was revealed to be the robot Ultron. This second Masters of Evil was also defeated by the Avengers, and the Radioactive Man was imprisoned in a cell designed especially to restrain a being with his powers.[9][10]

Titanic Three[]

After breaking out of prison, the Radioactive Man fled to Communist controlled Vietnam, where he briefly teamed up with the Titanium Man and the third Crimson Dynamo as the Titanic Three, champions of Eastern Communism. These three former Communist agents had decided to serve their former masters no longer and wanted no longer to be considered criminals. In Communist controlled Vietnam, the Titanic Three instead acted to punish criminals.[11] However, the Titanic Three later broke up under circumstances that have yet to be revealed.[12][13][14]

Masters of Evil III[]

Eventually, the Radioactive Man was contacted by criminal scientist Elihas Starr, otherwise known as "Egghead", and agreed to join yet another incarnation of the Masters of Evil.[15] But after Dr. Henry Pym defeated the group single-handedly, the Radioactive Man was deported by the United States government.[16]

Solo activities[]

He later entered the service of the Mandarin, who sent him up against James Rhodes, the second Iron Man.[17]

Radioactive Man captured Spider-Man for his experiments, and discovered his radioactive powers could temporarily cancel the wall-crawler's own. However, Spider-Man was rescued by Iron Man.[18]

Radioactive Man was one of the many villains imprisoned in the Vault.[19]

He also clashed with the She-Hulk and Death's Head.[20] Radioactive Man, along with many other villains, battled the newly formed Thunderbolts.[21]


Chen Lu joined the Thunderbolts after they declared their intention to stop Fathom Five, Atlantean terrorists who had attacked China.[22] The Radioactive Man helped the Thunderbolts when Hydra staged a major attack on New York City.[23]

Lu became very close to Songbird, who succeeded MACH-IV as leader of the Thunderbolts. They made a deal with the Commission on Superhuman Activities to test the New Avengers (who refused to work under government jurisdiction, making them loose cannons).[24][25][26][27]

Civil War[]

During the Civil War Chen Lu helped Hank Pym and Reed Richards build a holding prison for dissenting super powered individuals. He and his team also battled the Anti-Registration Underground.[28] The team encountered the Elders of the Universe member the Grandmaster, whose manipulations of the Wellspring of Power critically limited their manpower, reducing the existing roster of Thunderbolts to three.[29]

Chen Lu (Earth-616) from Thunderbolts Breaking Point Vol 1 1 001

New Costume

The Thunderbolts reformed after Civil War as both the Colorado branch of the Initiative and the CSA's official unregistered superhuman hunters. Lu remained with the Thunderbolts voluntarily, unlike many of their members, on loan from the Chinese government. He wore a radiation suit as part of his costume as part of public relations maneuvering to make him seem more threatening while disguising his Asian features to improve the team's approval numbers in the more racist parts of America. He helped the Thunderbolts bring in various unregistered heroes such as Jack Flag and the Steel Spider.[30]

The Radioactive Man was disheartened to learn that his activities with the Thunderbolts were not just a "good will" mission -- Beijing actively wanted him away from China to avoid any further deaths or instability due to his powers. His ally the Collective Man told Lu he was still a favored son of China, but was not welcome home.[31]

Chen and the team battled Spider-Man and Anti-Venom. But during the fight, Chen had a portion of his radiation drained by Anti-Venom.[32]

Chen continued with the group however, going after the superhero Moon Knight.[33][34]

Secret Invasion[]

During the Secret Invasion of the Skrulls, Osborn and Moonstone (Karla Sofen) began a plan to neutralize the Thunderbolts who would oppose him in his planned to exploit the invasion for his own personal agenda, in order to gain more power.[35] Osborn arranged for Chen to be deported back to China, destroying his relationship with Songbird. Melissa was forced to let him go without much of a goodbye because Bullseye was secretly threatening her with a knife during Lu's departure.[36]

People's Defense Force[]

He joined China's People's Defense Force a group of superhumans created to protect his home country.[6] Radioactive Man demonstrated that at close proximity he can safely absorb the radiation of Inhumans; Xerogen Crystals and also, presumably, safely absorb Terrigen Mist.[37] However, the People's Defense Force is largely defeated by an invading entity known as The Unspoken, a deposed former king of the Inhumans. The Unspoken is defeated in China by the Mighty Avengers.[38]

Thunderbolts Return[]

Hydra's leader Baron Zemo and Mayor Fisk came up with a plan to deal with the Punisher once and for all. Along with other villains, Chen Lu was recruited by Zemo to join a new incarnation of the Thunderbolts. He was introduced at a press conference with the other members as Citizen V pronounced that they will end the Punisher's reign of terror and restore order to the city of New York.[39]


Power Grid[48]
:Category:Power Grid/Fighting Skills/Some Training:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/Multiple Types:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Superhuman:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Strength/Superhuman (800 lbs-25 ton):Category:Power Grid/Intelligence/Genius


Radiation Absorption & Manipulation: Exposure to high levels of radiation has mutated Chen Lu's body. As a result, Lu's primary superhuman power is the ability to absorb and manipulate high levels of radiation for a number of purposes and effects. In the case of other beings that have received powers based from exposure to radiation, Lu can manipulate the radiant energies of those individuals usually for the purposes of temporarily shutting down their powers. Lu can also purposely lower the levels of radiation within himself. Although he can only do so for short periods of time, he can cause his skin to look normal.[40]

  • Energy Blasts: Lu can expel radiation from himself in a number of ways such as firing blasts of solid radiation in the form of powerful concussive blasts or emitting radiation in the form of intense heat that, at maximum temperature, is said to be hot enough to incinerate a city block. Lu can also purposely generate radioactive energy for the purposes of generating extremely bright light, bright enough to cause at least temporary blindness.[40] More creatively, Dr. Chen once used his powers in order to revert Jen Walters to human form.[41]
    • Radiation Breath: Prof. Chen learned he could also discharge radiation as an oral projection.[42]
  • Persuasion: Through the power of his radiation emissions Lu can lull people into a state of suggestibility. These waves are potent enough to compel even the Prince of Thunder himself, The Mighty Thor.[4][8]
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: In the same venue that Chen can redistribute radioactivity in order to bolster physical sinew, he can also use it to greatly magnify his resilience enough to resist greater blunt force trauma.[42] Making him bullet proof, slash proof, larrup proof, even making him immune to the high concussion force of Lu's own nuclear blasts.[4]
  • Phasing Negation: Radioactive man can use his rad control to determine and manipulate the frequency at which a ghostly body turns solid again. Rendering the immaterial tangible within dense matter the very second it passes through.[43]
  • Atomic Discharge: In the past, the Radioactive Man would self-detonate with the force of a nuclear bomb if struck with great enough force.[4] Likewise if Mr. Chen were to absorb either too much rad energy or temper it to initiate critical mass, he will run the risk of triggering self-detonation.[44]
  • Radiological Constructs: Dr. Lu is an adept manipulator of solidified radiological energies, when properly empowered by them the Radioactive Man can give physical shape to the nucleic force his body emits in order to increase the versatility of his ability use.
    • Force Fields: Lu can manipulate the radioactive energy of his body to generate solid force fields around his body. While in these fields, Lu is very well protected from most forms of attacks. The force fields are powerful enough to withstand multiple hits from Thor's enchanted hammer Mjolnir.[40]
    • Entity Creation: The Prof. can utilize his energies to create massive simulacrum of himself in order to aid in battle. The titanic doppelgangers made are incredibly strong and impervious to physical harm, while smaller ones can take more rudimentary to complex shapes like samurai or the like to act on his behalf.[42]
    • Tendril Generation: In the same vein Chen can manifest effigies of himself or others to act on his behalf. He can even manifest sprawling coils which carry lethal radiation burns upon any/all whom they make contact with.[42]
  • Hard Radiation: Lu can also emit high levels of "hard" radiation from his body toward others. This has the effect of causing extreme disorientation and nausea in other people and, if he chooses to do so, Lu can emit high enough levels of hard radiation to facilitate radiation poisoning.[40]
  • EMP Emission: With enough concentration Radioactive Man can emit a wide arcing electromagnetic pulse potent enough to cover vast expanses.[45]
  • Superhuman Strength: Lu can channel the radioactive energies in his body for the purpose of temporarily increasing his strength to superhuman levels. At his peak, Lu can increase his strength sufficiently to lift at least 2 tons.[40]
  • Underwater Breathing: Dr. Lu can apparently operate and talk underwater for long periods of time without any impediment.[46]
  • Infection: Dr. Lu in the past has created a form of radiation poisoning capable of spreading from person to person in Atlantis through breathing. He can also poison someone with a form of dormant radiation that becomes active after a predetermined amount of time has passed.[46]


  • Genius Intelligence: Chen Lu is an expert on radiation and nuclear physics. He is among the world's foremost authorities on the effects radiation has on human anatomy.[40]


  • Lu emits nuclear radiation at all times and can only remain in the presence of other individuals for short periods of time if he's wearing his null-radiation body harness. Also, absorbing large quantities of radiation can affect his emotional state.[40]
  • Radioactive Man would often go off like a nuclear warhead should he be struck with sufficient force. This was in part due to the unstable nature of his initially volatile powerset having yet to properly subsidize.[4][8](Formerly)


  • Doctor Lu kept a count of the people he killed over the course of his life due to his powers, those he has killed both intentionally and unintentionally.[46]
  • Doctor Lu had unrequited feeling for his teammate Songbird.[36]

See Also

Links and References


  1. New Thunderbolts #14
  2. New Thunderbolts #12
  3. All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #9
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Journey Into Mystery #93
  5. 5.0 5.1 Avengers #6
  6. 6.0 6.1 Mighty Avengers #27
  7. Journey Into Mystery #93 & Thor: First Thunder #4. Journey Into Mystery #93 states that Radioactive Man was created in response to Thor's clash with Chinese forces, while Thor: First Thunder #4 states that Radioactive Man's creation happened prior to the battle. Also, elements of the story in Journey Into Mystery #93 are subject to the Sliding Timescale. Namely, the conflict along the border between India and China is told in a narrative in which the Cold War was still on going. This should be considered a topical reference relative to the date of publication. Thor: First Thunder #4 modernizes this plot element by stating that the border was in dispute. Another topical reference in Journey #93 is the depiction of Chairman Mao as the ruler of China in the story. This is another topical reference in relation to the year of publication.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Thor: First Thunder #4
  9. Avengers #5455
  10. Avengers #83
  11. Avengers #130
  12. Iron Man #7374
  13. Giant-Size Avengers #4
  14. Iron Man #135
  15. Avengers #228229
  16. Avengers #230
  17. Iron Man #179181
  18. Iron Man #234
  19. Avengers: Death Trap, The Vault #1
  20. Sensational She-Hulk #24
  21. Thunderbolts '97 #1
  22. New Thunderbolts #34
  23. New Thunderbolts #56
  24. New Thunderbolts #1318
  25. Thunderbolts #100103
  26. Amazing Spider-Man #533
  27. Thunderbolts #104
  28. Civil War #34
  29. Thunderbolts #105109
  30. Thunderbolts #110115
  31. Thunderbolts: International Incident #1
  32. Amazing Spider-Man #568573
  33. Moon Knight (Vol. 5) #22
  34. Moon Knight (Vol. 5) #2425
  35. Thunderbolts #124125
  36. 36.0 36.1 Thunderbolts #126
  37. Mighty Avengers #2829
  38. Mighty Avengers #3031
  39. Punisher (Vol. 12) #13
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 40.4 40.5 40.6 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #9
  41. Avengers #228
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 Deadpool & the Mercs for Money (Vol. 2) #2
  43. Thunderbolts #124
  44. Thunderbolts #123
  45. Iron Man: Legacy #5
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 New Thunderbolts #9
  47. All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #9
  48. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Vol 1 9