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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Chen Lu
Radioactive Man
of the Masters of Evil and Thunderbolts

Dr. Chen Lu is best known as the "Radioactive Man." He was for a long time a Communist and a super-villain. He was a member of the Masters of Evil that successfully infiltrated the Avengers Mansion and once defeated the Avengers team of superheroes.

Later the Radioactive Man joined the Thunderbolts, a team of former supervillains-turned-heroes. The Radioactive Man has become a hero in his own right and has become a trusted ally of American superheroes such as Tony Stark (Iron Man), Hank Pym (Giant Man) and particularly Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic).

The current incarnations of the Thunderbolts includes in its membership a number of non-reformed super-villains who are being coerced to serve on the team. Since this change was made, the Radioactive Man chose to remain on the team, of his own accord and as a display of diplomatic good will between the United States and China.

Originally the Radioactive Man displayed no religious preference aside from Communism. In recent years the Radioactive Man has identified himself as a Buddhist. It is questionable whether he retains any loyalty to Communism as a philosophy, but he does remain a loyal citizen of China.

From: "Radioactive Man (Comics)" page on Wikipedia.org website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_Man_%28Marvel_Comics%29; viewed 25 April 2007):

The Radioactive Man is a fictional character in the Marvel Universe. The character was a supervillain who has since reformed to become a superhero and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Radioactive Man first appeared in Journey Into Mystery vol. 1, #93.

Chen Lu was born in Lanzhou, People's Republic of China. As an adult, Dr. Lu is a nuclear physicist in the People's Republic of China who is ordered to find a way to defeat the Thunder God Thor after the hero thwarts the Red Army's invasion of India. Hiding away in a laboratory, Lu exposes himself to small doses of radiation until he is able to withstand a massive barrage. Becoming a living "Radioactive Man," Lu displays his new found powers to his superiors and travels to New York City to battle Thor. While the newly-named Radioactive Man is able to initially match Thor, the Thunder God creates a vortex to transport Lu back to China, where he apparently self-detonates.

Tired of the constant defeats, Lu attempts to reform and joins the Thunderbolts, a team comprised almost entirely of reformed supervillains. The Commission on Superhuman Activities notes Lu's efforts to reform and allows him to assist Mr. Fantastic and Yellowjacket in building a holding prison for dissenting super-powered beings during the Civil War...

...[Radioactive Man is listed on Wikipedia's page of] Fictional Buddhists


Discussion

From: Doug Tonks, "A Higher Power", posted 22 October 2006 on "All New! All Different! Howling Curmudgeons: Two-Fisted Comics Commentary and Criticism!" blog website (http://www.whiterose.org/howlingcurmudgeons/archives/009995.html; viewed 25 April 2007):

The never-identified but usually heeded "they" claim that there are two topics you should never talk about: religion and politics. But since Mike already brought up religion... I'll follow it up with a link to this page [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html], which lists the religious affiliations of various comic book characters...

Posted by Doug at October 22, 2006 7:12 PM


[Comments posted by readers of this page:]

...And why the Sam Hill are they saying that the Radioactive Man, who was a pretty prominent operative of Communist China and an agent of the communist government of Vietnam (remember the Titanic Three?), is a Buddhist? The Radioactive Man (the original one; not the blonde "Xenia Onatopp" one from Marvel's MAX line) gets listed as a "lapsed Communist" (Communism's a religion?) but the Radioactive Man doesn't? The compilers of this list aren't even following their own internal logic!

Posted by: Ron Dingman at October 23, 2006 1:57 AM


I think the site is using a very general definition of religion to mean a comprehensive metaphysic and its consequent ideology, discipline, or practice, not necessarily "worship." Not many might seem like religion, but neither is Buddhism from a purely theistic perspective... If the ideology has an eschatology, then I'd say yes.

In this sense "Objectivist" and "Communist" would qualify...

Posted by: Chris Durnell at October 23, 2006 2:18 PM


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Webpage created 25 April 2007. Last modified 25 April 2007.
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