The Hulk gets stronger the angrier he gets, but his daughter Lyra has had to learn self-control, since her own super-strength lessens with rage.
“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets!” That famous line sums up the Incredible Hulk’s rage-fueled power perfectly. While Banner might transform into multiple versions of the Hulk, virtually all of them have the ability to turn anger into physical power. This ability even extends to other Hulks, such as his cousin Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk.
However, every family has at least one member who challenges tradition, and for the Hulks, that person is Lyra, Hulk’s daughter from an alternate future. Weird as it may seem, Lyra (aka the Savage She-Hulk) becomes weaker when she gets angrier. Even weirder? She was intentionally made that way by her creators!
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Lyra’s origin was told in the one-shot Hulk: Raging Thunder #1. In the story, it’s revealed that the warrior woman Thundra traveled to the mainstream Marvel Universe from her alternate future timeline. In Thundra’s time, a massive disaster had transformed the world into a wasteland where various tribes of men fought Thundra’s all-woman society, the United Sisterhood Republic. Due to mass sterility, the women reproduced through cloning technology and made sure only to breed genetically superior females.
Seeking to create an even more powerful warrior for their army, Thundra sought out the Incredible Hulk in the present-day Marvel Universe. She encountered the Savage Green Hulk and fought him for a while, and then unexpectedly kissed him, allowing her to obtain some of his DNA that her scientists later extracted with a cheek swab and modified so that Thundra could become pregnant with Hulk’s child. Thundra ended up giving birth to Lyra, a green-skinned girl who was heir to both the Hulk and Thundra’s power.
However, the United Sisterhood Republic was wary of Lyra’s potentially limitless strength and took steps to limit her power by genetically engineering her to grow weaker whenever she got angry. This made Lyra’s childhood very difficult, since the other girls would regularly tease her for having a father (something that made her seem inferior in their eyes). Lyra would fight back, but her anger would drain her strength, giving her opponents the upper hand.
To ensure this Achilles heel would not make Lyra a liability, Lyra’s teachers taught her many meditative and breathing techniques designed to control her emotional state. As a result, Lyra gained the unique ability to remain calm during battle (so she could use her full strength) and became a highly effective martial artist. She even learned she could get stronger by putting herself into a calmer state. Moreover, because she needs to stay clear-headed to be effective, her perceptions become heightened when she stays calm, to the point where she can sense her opponents’ weaknesses and fight in a trance state.
Lyra would eventually travel to the mainstream Marvel Universe where she fought the first She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters, (and exposed her unique weakness when Jennifer made her too angry). She also met her “father,” Bruce Banner, who managed to temporarily remove her anger-fueled weakness and even allow her to morph into a regular human teenager. Eventually, she lost these abilities and went back to her original warrior-woman self.
Banner also tried to reach out to Lyra and build a relationship with the daughter he never knew. However, Lyra told him that she wasn’t interested in identifying as his daughter and later moved on. Considering the difficulty Banner has had in controlling his own emotional state, this is unfortunate. One suspects Lyra could teach the Incredible Hulk a lot about self-control given the self-discipline she had to master in order to gain control of her unique weakness.
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