5703 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Ruby Thursday (Marvel Comics)

Ruby Thursday


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

“That woman is… disturbing. What is she doing ?”
– A creeped-out A.I.M. scientist looking as Ruby Thursday works.


Context

Ruby Thursday is one of the coolest “mad scientist” types in the Marvel Universe, and sorely under-used. She appeared in 1976 as one of Steve Gerber’s Defenders villains. She’s still appearing to this day, though sadly she’s often thrown about as a random mook in such appearances (seriously people don’t do that, it’s terrible IP management).

She’s a genius, a super-engineer, a super-powered fighter and an amoral eccentric with a rather unusual approach of life.


Background

  • Real Name: Thursday Rubinstein
  • Other Aliases: Headgirl (her IM handle), Angela Jagger (one of her numerous fake IDs for scams)
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: A daughter (name unrevealed)
  • Group Affiliation: Headmen
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile (formerly Las Vegas, formerly Cleveland)
  • Height: 5’6” or more Weight: 125 lbs
  • Eyes: None Hair: None


Powers and Abilities

Ruby is an extremely skilled scientist and engineer. She’s a genius pushing the accepted boundaries of science and relentlessly pursuing knowledge about the unexplained. She works extremely fast, and operates well either alone or as part of a R&D team — assuming she can find a team who can keep up with her.

Ruby Thursday explaining things

Her most notable work is engineering pliable, amorphous plastic computers of extraordinary power. She also developed techniques to read organic brains, and fully recreate them in one of her artificial encephala. Ruby’s plastic computers being extremely durable, a person whose brain has been transcribed into one is essentially immortal.

Ruby Thursday once operated with a powerful robot called the Dibbuk. Though it’s never stated, we have assumed that it had been built by Ruby, as its body material seems broadly similar to Ruby’s head. Our game stats for Ruby Thursday thus include robotics skills.

Getting ahead, part 1

Ruby Thursday replaced her entire head with a sort of red plastic sphere. This sphere is composed of her plastic computer stuff. It thus houses her transcribed brain patterns and high-density memory banks.

Ruby can animate her plastic head pretty much as she wishes. For instance she often turns it into four octopus-like tentacles or longer, finer, featureless tendrils (in DC Heroes RPG terms that’s Extra Limbs, Stretching). She has a very fine control of her head, and has turned it into a wide variety of shapes —

  • bird-like wings to fly
  • volleys of arrows (charged with plasma)
  • big tentacle-arm ending with a medieval shield or a hammer head
  • a series of spiked flails or whips
  • a wheeled platform to carry an unconscious Hulk
  • or even a large rotor-like fan that might have been powerful enough to extinguish the Human Torch

She can also extrude multiple cables ending in a working hand, usually to use several computer keyboards simultaneously. Plugging her head directly into her workstation is faster, but not always possible.

Getting ahead, part 2

Ruby mentioned that the limbs and other structures extruded from her head were computer-guided, and could analyse and counter the fighting style of her opponents. She is indeed a proficient fighter and can counter a very skilled combatant such as the Valkyrie. On the other hand she never managed to hit Spider-Man.

Ruby’s head quickly regenerates expended mass (possibly from dust in the atmosphere), and can also heal much like living tissue. Since Thursday has built structures about as large as her body using her head, she might be able to temporarily add mass – or perhaps it was clever use of hollow tubes.

Due to its malleable nature, Ruby’s head can absorb even a punch from the Hulk. But it is much more vulnerable to energy attacks, and the Wasp damaged Rub’s head with one of her bio-electric “stings”. Since she was able to club the Human Torch with a giant hammer-headed arm-stalk, her head seems fireproof.

She’s very fast and quite precise with her attacks. She once mentioned that it was because her computer allowed her to calculate and anticipate movements.

Somehow, Rubinstein appears able to change her clothing, not just morph her head into new shapes, when she disguises. Perhaps her head includes some sort of holographic projector like the ones used by some X-Men (“image inducer”).

When you change with every new day

At some unclear point, Ruby Thursday started using artificial bodies to bear her plastic head. All these bodies so far have looked human, though with centrefold-grade aesthetics. These bodies may use the same technology used to build the Dibbuk.

It apparently takes superhuman senses to realise that her body is artificial. One assumes they perform all the functions of a normal woman’s body – though it wouldn’t be surprising if Ruby Thursday changed some things she didn’t like.

For instance these bodies seem unable to tan, making her skin unusually pale. She also seemed surprisingly resilient to blows, but not superhumanly so.

This seems to have changed after one such body was “killed” by Bullseye. Subsequent bodies started evidencing superhuman abilities and durability. She now seems faster and she’s definitely more durable and regenerative, largely ignoring slashing and impaling wounds.


History

Thursday Rubinstein was a genius scientist with eccentric ideas about improving people. Between her last name and her choice to call her most sophisticated robot “Dibbuk”, it is possible that she is Jewish.

During the first half of the 1970s she replaced her head with a super-advanced computer, and was ostracised for it. The scientific community rejected her, and persons outraged by what they saw as an unnatural act attempted to murder her. She became an outcast.

When and why she became known as “Ruby Thursday” is unrevealed. This may have been a nickname given to her when the Rolling Stones released their hit Ruby Tuesday song in 1967.

Arthur Nagan (aka Gorilla-Man) recruited Rubinstein into the Headmen, a band of grotesquely deformed scholars. Although Nagan’s colleague Jerome Morgan (aka Shrunken Bones) was horrified by the technological perversion that was Ruby, he eventually accepted her.

They started working on assisting the fourth Headman, Chondu the Mystic. Chondu recently had had his brain transplanted into the body of Nighthawk. Ruby was instrumental in transferring Chondu’s consciousness to a monstrous body built by Nagan, which she outfitted with an artificial plastic brain in which she transferred Chondu’s mind.

President Thursday, part 1

The Chondu incident was but a delay in the Headmen’s overall plot to take over the world. As part of this plan Ruby Thursday became a candidate to the Presidency of the USA – under the name Ruby Thursday, but with her head morphed into a normal-looking one.

Ruby’s platform was apparently a feminist and hedonistic one. She also promised “a new head for everyone”, though people assumed that she meant a head of state.

Ruby Thursday as a Presidential candidate

This California-based candidacy was remarkably successful, as the Headmen sabotaged other parties and had them run into strange problems.

The plot coincided with another world-domination plot led by the alien Nebulon. He had built two surreal yet influential international organisations – the Celestial Mind Control Movement and the Bozo movement. Nebulon was using mental powers to influence the Earth population into being more susceptible to this sort of agitation.

President Thursday, part 2

Nebulon’s influence mostly benefited the Headsmen. That was especially true as they kept crippling organisations that might compete with Ruby Thursday, including Nebulon’s. The Headsmen were using the mind-controlled Defenders as their agents, which was difficult to counter.

With all these weird influences, Ruby Thursday became the favourite for the 1976 Presidential race. However, Defenders ally Jack Noriss somehow managed to break the mind control — and the Defenders put an end to all the conspiracies mentioned above. The Hulk himself defeated Ruby Thursday.

Thus, the sensational pipe-smoking Presidential candidate, who was especially popular among women, disappeared without a trace. This political mystery is presumably still discussed in the Marvel Universe.

Death in Vegas, part 1

Ruby eventually escaped, and started rounding up funds. She headed for Las Vegas, where she started targeting big winners. Ruby approached them as a floozie wanting to celebrate their victory with them, then took them out and absconded with the cash.

She eventually had enough to built a pet robot, the Dibbuk. Then she kept repeating her scam until she stole from “Gramps”, a friend of the alien Omega the Unknown. Omega gave chase and attacked Ruby as she was driving away.

Seeing a superhuman assault a woman for no apparent reason, the police opened fire and Ruby’s robbery ended with the death of Omega the Unknown.

Death in Vegas, part 2

A few days later Ruby, disguised as a policewoman, entered the Las Vegas City Morgue to steal Omega’s corpse. She had deducted that he was some sort of alien artificial being, and wanted to study it. The Dibbuk teleported the corpse to her lab, but as she was about to dissect it it was inexplicably replaced by a boy called James-Michael Starling.

Frustrated, Ruby decided to dissect Starling instead to determine if he hosted the same energies as Omega. However, aliens were looking for Starling to kill him. And these were themselves pursued by a mixed crew of Defenders and Avengers.

The aliens reached the lab first. They did not fare well against Ruby, Starling and the Dibbuk, but minutes later Hellcat, the Valkyrie and the Wasp attacked as Starling fled.

The plastic-headed researcher and her robot fought their new opponents toe-to-toe. But the Wasp cracked Ruby’s head open, as she thought that she was wearing a helmet. The crying Dibbuk teleported out with his wounded mistress, but Ruby Thursday repaired her head with no apparent lasting consequences.

The Headmen plot anew

Ruby returned to the Headmen to help return Chondu to a more normal body. They hired Mysterio to capture She-Hulk and cloned a body of the glamorous gamma amazon for Chondu’s head to be mounted on. But Spider-Man derailed their plans and he and She-Hulk arrested the Headmen.

The Headmen did not stay in prison for very long, however. As Chondu constantly ranted about wanting the body of Spider-Man (young, male and powerful) to host his head, the Headmen tracked Spidey down and tried to capture him. The Human Torch intervened, turning already poor odds into a one-sided fight, and the Headmen returned to prison.

Ruby Thursday vs. Spider-Man

In 1991, Ruby and several other sophisticated cyborgs were kidnapped by the entity called Mechadoom – Ruby Thursday may have been captured in her prison cell. Mechadoom was soon defeated by Deathlok (Michael Collins), and his prisoners, including Ruby, all escaped.

Rubinstein was reunited with the Headmen, as they were briefly seen caught in a brawl in a Bar With No Name, which was ended by Angar.

New world order

At some point during the 1990s she spent two months in Paris. There she had a relationship with another super-villain, the Answer, but left him without a word.

In 2001, Rubinstein and the rest of the Headmen launched another strange world domination initiative. This one was even more successful than their 1976 one. They stole the alien idol summoning the all-powerful space god Orrgo, and used it to take control of the entire planet.

As the Headmen indulged in their strange passions, Thursday hooked up her head to the world’s most powerful computers. She silently designed seven-dimensional solids and simulated their likely behaviour in a three-dimensional space.

A few days later, the least powerful Defenders put an end to the Headmen’s reign, with Hellcat destroying the idol. Orrgo returned to space.

Precious and fragile things

Thursday returned to her normal life. She launched a series of scams against A.I.M., selling them imaginary weapon systems and disappearing with the advance payment.

However she got too predictable, conducting the exact same scam with seven different identities at once. As a result A.I.M. hired Bullseye to take her out. Unable to locate her, Bullseye instead found her ex-lover, the Answer. He hunted him down to force him to tell him where he could find Ruby Thursday.

The Answer, still in love with Ruby, subtly lied to Bullseye. He told him that Ruby’s backup systems were now in her chest and not in her head – building on disinformation Ruby herself had spread in previous years.

Bullseye killed Ruby by throwing a Rolling Stones CD into her sternum. But as soon as he left the Answer saved her life by simply ejecting her head from her dying body. Bullseye was now off his back, and he got to keep Ruby with him forever, in a duffel bag.

Late 2000s

Ruby eventually resumed her normal activities in her normal state. Presumably, she convinced the Answer to let go of her.

She was next seen in perplexing conditions. Ruby was fleeing from Hellcat after a bank heist, using a mundane getaway car and a banal handgun. She was easily stopped by the Two-Gun Kid. What let to those uncharacteristic events is unknown.

Ruby later appeared in one of those things where everyone is out of character and there is a large, graphic bodycount of obscure characters for no reason whatsoever.

Don’t question why she needs to be so free

In 2010, Wolverine got Ruby Thursday out of prison and recruited her as part of his multi-layered plan. Wolverine’s enemy Romulus then strong-armed Ruby into betraying the Canadian by locating and threatening her daughter.

Furthermore, Wolverine was being manipulated by the Answer, who used him to get his beloved Ruby out of prison. Logan eventually deciphered the situation, and had his ally Cloak (Tyrone Johnson) teleport Ruby back to his cell. Logan did not seek revenge against the Answer – as he empathised with him being in love with Ruby Thursday, a woman incapable of loving him back.

Ruby Thursday doing exercises while using computers

Ruby briefly escaped the following year. She repelled pursuing Avengers Academy students, but was stopped cold by Dr. Henry Pym and presumably recaptured.

A few months later there was a breakout at the Raft prison, and Ruby Thursday took charge. The X-Men Rogue and Mimic responded. Though Ruby knew what Rogue could do and had the would-be escapee adjust their tactics, Rogue convinced several prisoners to loan her their abilities, and put an end to the breakout.


Description

When morphing her head into a female head, Ruby generally prefers to be red- or blondish-red-haired. She enjoys showcasing her centrefold-grade bodies, which are built for high sex-appeal.

Her body language is odd, though, unless she is disguised. She prefers to grow arms, hands and tentacles out of her head rather than use her actual arms and hands, which just hang there.

For some reason I kept hearing Ruby’s undisguised voice as that of the AI GladOS  in the video game Portal. Because there is science to be done.


Personality

Ruby is insanely rational. That is, she does things that make perfect sense and are very efficient, without any regard toward her own humanity or social common sense. Her mind is a computer in every sense. She has very, very little sense of humour, and isn’t interested in installing one. She also feels a certain contempt for ordinary intellects.

Ruby largely funds her work through scams, and she’ll conduct the same basic scam over and over and over again. It’s the optimal path leading to the higher dollar-per-hour output while taking risk into account, and Ruby is all about optimisation. Her behaviour has a mechanical, detached, emotionless quality.

Ruby Thursday vs. Rogue

In her younger, more idealistic days she wanted to make everybody overcome their repulsion. She wanted them to see how much better things would be if everyone had a head like hers – by force if necessary. She eventually gave up on that lofty aspiration, and concentrated on accumulating money to sustain an affluent lifestyle and conduct strange scientific experiments.

Ideals

Her original political platform was apparently feminist and hedonistic, wanting people to enjoy themselves and have sex free from social and gender-based constraints.

Ruby Thursday is chiefly interested in research, much of it being purely abstract work. When she obtained unlimited power, all it meant to her was getting more, and more powerful, computers to develop better mathematical models about imaginary geometries.

She seems to be genuinely loyal to the Headmen, despite the crazed and dysfunctional nature of that group. She even keeps addressing them as if they were respected scientists.

As a Headperson, she seems okay with just letting Nagan lead and follow his orders. Perhaps the odd dynamics of the Headmen and Nagan’s insanity give her opportunities to explore really strange situations.

Beauty’s in the head of the beholder, part 1

Despite all her mechanical efficiency, Ruby seems to have some sort of neurotic hairball in her mind about beauty and seduction. She honestly sees her featureless plastic head as beautiful, and goes to considerable lengths to “wear” and show off a perfect, idealised body.

She also evidences a strong sex drive and always seem interested in having casual sex with athletic, handsome men.

Her mix of frank sexual interest and her generally unemotional behaviour combine to make her somewhat creepy, like some kind of sexual butterfly collector. If prevented from having sex for a while — say, due to incarceration — she’ll be quite determined to catch up.

Beauty’s in the head of the beholder, part 2

At the same time, she’s dead-set against relationships and seems afraid of falling in love. As soon as she started developing genuine feelings for the Answer she dumped him, and the Answer commented that “leaving is what she does”.

Ruby’s relationship-avoidant behaviour seems accompanied with a tendency to betray and hurt the lovers whom she abandoned, presumably to make sure that they do not love her. It is possible that she’s just thoroughly self-centred, but things are probably more complicated.

This behaviour and her fixation on artificial beauty leave one supposing that she may originally have been very plain, or afflicted with a deformity such as a cleft lip. This might have been the roots that turned Thursday Rubinstein into the strangely detached and neurotic Ruby Thursday.


Quotes

“This head was my own creation. And it’s better than any of yours — featureless, beautiful in its simplicity — and a mass of malleable organic circuitry. It’s all brain… and computer-quick. And I want every human being to have one.”

“It is upsetting… but there is no need to panic. If we can locate Chondu’s EEG in the deer’s brain, I can salvage him. Wanna stick around and watch how it’s done, handsome ?”

“Pity. For all his ineptness, he is rather an enticing specimen… in a vulgar, unpolished sort of way. * sigh *”

“And consider, Morgan : what is the unknown, but science yet to be discovered ?”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Ruby Thursday

Dex: 03 Str: /// Bod: 03 Motivation: Power (and SCIENCE!!)
Int: 08 Wil: 08 Min: 07 Occupation: Criminal scientist
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 009
Init: 022 HP: 040

Powers:
Chameleon: 07, Data storage: 15, Enhanced initiative: 04, Flame immunity: 15, Full vision: 04, Radio communications (Encrypted): 08, Self-manipulation: 08, Shrinking: 05, Skin armour: 20, Stretching: 02, Superspeed: 02, Systemic antidote: 07, Telepathy: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Shrinking is Always On. Thus:
    • Ruby has no intrinsic movement speed, but when she uses Self-Manipulation for movement Powers the APs of speed are not diminished by her Shrinking.
    • Ruby’s OV against many attacks and Perception rolls is increased by 5 — unless her head is mounted on a humanoid body, which is usually the case.
  • Chameleon takes a full Phase to set up
  • Self-Manipulation is restricted to shapes and appendages not including moving parts
  • Radio communications allow her to connect to cellular base stations – basically she has a cell phone in her head
  • Superspeed only to perform tasks faster and increase Initiative
  • Systemic antidote only applies to airborne toxins (or anything she would absorb through her head)
  • Telepathy has No Range and only works on computers
  • Enhanced Initiative, Superspeed, Systemic Antidote, Stretching, Telepathy and Chameleon are Contingent on Self-Manipulation
  • Note: Ruby often uses Self-Manipulation to duplicate Extra Limbs — the exact number of limbs (often four) is cosmetic and does not necessitate her investing APs of Self-Manipulation into separate Limbs
  • When emulating Projectile Weapons with her Self-Manipulation, Ruby can use the Autofire and/or Scattershot Advantages at will if desired

Skills:
Accuracy (Self-Manipulation): 08, Artist (Actress): 05, Charisma (Persuasion): 06, Gadgetry (Identify gadgets): 08, Gadgetry (Robotics): 08, Medicine: 06, Scientist (including Computers)*: 08, Vehicles (Land): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 03

Bonuses and Limitations:
Accuracy (Self-Manipulation) is a Powered Skill – specifically computer guidance.

Advantages:
Expansive H.Q., Familiarity (Rolling Stones songs, yoga), Genius, Iron Nerves

Connections:
Headmen (High), Answer (Low), Underworld (Low)

Drawbacks:
Strange Appearance (Ruby is a red plastic sphere), Attack Vulnerability (-1CS OV/RV against attacks on her sense of self-worth and attractiveness).

Equipment:

  • BODY [DEX 03 STR 02 BODY 04]. An artificial but completely lifelike body with no head, with connectors in the neck stump. More recent bodies are more powerful and durable, see below.
  • Her robot the Dibbuk has its own entry.
  • Her Expansive HQ will have lots of cutting-edge computers and networking equipment. There is usually no big super-science equipment, except when she was operating along with the Dibbuk (part of my reasons for assuming that it was a robotics project of her).

Warheads

Ruby Thursday has used a number of very powerful attacks from her head, but each was only used once and during her original 1976 appearances. It is possible that she no longer has enough room in her head to install these large systems. These three “one-shot” attacks were :

  • ANTI-GAMMA PULSE [BODY 04, Energy blast (area of effect 2 APs): 18, Sharpness (Energy blast): 08, Grenade Drawback, Limitation: Sharpness only against gamma-powered creatures, Energy blast only against living creatures.
    This special configuration of Ruby’s head makes her head silently explode with a burst of special energy that could take out the assembled Defenders (including the Hulk !) ; in the following Phase the fragments reassemble and the resulting sphere rolls and hops back on her neck stump. She never used that potent weapon again — it is possible that using it exposes her to harmful radiation or some such.]
  • PINK GOO [BODY 09, Glue (area of effect 2APs): 12, Grenade Drawback, Bonus: Glue is tested against DEX/DEX. This is a reservoir of pink goo that expands when exposed to air, and can gunk up a small crowd. No amount of sheer strength can break the goo (the Hulk could not) ; unless one has such superhuman reflexes and mobility as to avoid the discharge altogether, a long crawl out of the goo is necessary. Like the anti-gamma pulse, this potent special attack was never seen again — perhaps she had to forego it as new developments took up the reservoir’s space in her head.]
  • FLYING HEAD [DEX 12 BODY 03, Flight: 06, Energy blast: 08, Skin armour: 20, Sharpness (Energy blast): 14, Limitation: Sharpness has No Range and only apply against gamma-powered creatures. This is another special head configuration Ruby used once — it sends her head flying at very high speed and maneuverability, shooting explosive energy blasts at its opponent.
    It can emit a weaker form of anti-gamma pulse at very short ranges – Ruby chose to have the flying head punched by the Hulk so she could wrap around his fist and bombard him with the special energy. Ruby could presumably not use her body as her head was zooming around, due to the lack of perception ; it also seemed she could not use the full, normal plasticity of her head while flying — she did not use her usual tentacles, for instance.]

Who could hang a name on you/ When you change with every new day

Ruby apparently continued to improve on her abilities. Here is what was observed during her 2010 appearance in Wolverine Origins:

  • She now has a Dependant – a previously unknown daughter. This girl is said to be wracked by nightmares, and it is vaguely hinted that Ruby feels that it is her fault. Rubinstein is protective of her daughter, and has made it sure that nobody knows about her and that she’s practically untrackable.
  • Her new BODY’s DEX seems to be about 06, her BODY seems to be a 10 or so, and it is possible that her STR has been slightly enhanced (perhaps a 04). She has Regeneration: 06 (possibly more), Kinetic Absorption (Structural Only): 06 and Stabilisation – her body could be badly slashed or impaled without lasting consequences or significant bleeding.
    APs of Invulnerability are also likely, and she has Life Support (does not eat/drink, possibly others). The artificial nature of her body – and the fact she has the ultimate poker face – prevented some forms of lie detection based on scent, heartbeat, etc. from working.
  • She evidenced greater power, speed and accuracy with the various appendages and projectiles she would extrude from her head. Self-Manipulation and Accuracy are up one AP to 09 APs, and she has two more APs of Enhanced Initiative (Initiative is now 027 when counting her new and improved DEX).
  • Her ability to regenerate mass was greater than ever – she could emit many kilos of solid projectiles from her hand and ignored having head tentacles cut off, as she could just grow new ones. She may have worked a dimensional gateway into her body, based on the same principles people with Growth use in the Marvel Universe.
  • Ruby added an energy projector as a secret weapon within her head. It apparently takes about six Phases for this secret weapon to build up a charge – then it can be fired as Energy Blast: 12. It likely has no AV (use her Accuracy instead) and a reduced Range (maybe 4 APs).
  • The Iron Nerves Advantage, which was slightly tentative before, seems confirmed by an exchange with Romulus.
  • She had about 50 HPs (and spent it all)

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Marvel comics

Helper(s): Darci

Writeup updated on the second of November, 2012.

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