Kate Waynesboro appeared in 1983-1984 The Incredible Hulk comics.
She unexpectedly returned 24 years later as a more modern, stronger character.
- Real Name: Dr. Katherine Waynesboro.
- Former Aliases: Ms. MODOK.
- Known Relatives: None.
- Group Affiliation: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D..
- Base of Operations: An undisclosed S.H.I.E.L.D. lab, then the Northwind Observatory (in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York), the Baxter Building and Mexico City.
- Height: 5’8″ (1.72m). Weight: 135 lbs. (61 Kg.).
- Eyes: Hazel. Hair: Black.
Powers and Abilities
Dr. Waynesboro is a noted researcher in biophysics.
She has remarkable intellectual and scientific skills, and solid people skills.
During her work with Banner, she acquired some skills in astrophysics, medicine, agricultural science and veterinary medicine. She also learned to operate Reed Richards’ tech.
She’s a fairly good shot with S.H.I.E.L.D. ordnance, trained with S.H.I.E.L.D. espionage gadgets, and can keep herself together under pressure. She even received some hand-to-hand combat training.
Having spent months with Banner (including repeated intimate contact), Waynesboro is slightly gamma-positive. This was still the case even in 2008. Thus, finely-calibrated gamma sensors will detect her.
History (part 1)
As a graduate student, Ms. Waynesboro avidly read Dr. Banner’s work on gamma radiation. As a young PhD, she wrote noted biophysics monographs on the subject.
S.H.I.E.L.D., who regularly clashed with gamma-powered mutatesA person mutated after birth, as opposed to a born-this-way mutant, secretly recruited her as a consultant.
She then joined full-time, and received the basic combat and field operation training all S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel get.
Waynesboro was on a first name basis with the likes of Nick Fury and Gabe Jones. They likely worked together during unchronicled cases.
Now with 10% less green
In 1982, after Bruce Banner gained full control over his Hulk form, he earned a Presidential pardon.
Dr. Banner resumed his scientific work in an isolated lab in upstate New York, the Northwind Observatory. This was supported by Stark International and S.H.I.E.L.D..
Banner worked alone.
- In part by inclination.
- In part because everybody was still afraid of the Hulk.
- In part because few people could understand his work.
Doctor Banner, I presume
S.H.I.E.L.D. sent Waynesboro to Northwind.
- As a secret agent she had the necessary training to monitor Banner.
- As a scientist she was one of the few who could grokIntuitive yet robust understanding of how something works. his research.
- And that she was a beautiful and elegant woman wouldn’t hurt.
Banner and Waynesboro resumed research on the mutagenic effects of ambient gamma micro-exposure. This was one of Banner’s life’s works. They also confirmed that background gamma radiation from space was steadily increasing.
Another line of work established the medical potential of gamma treatment.
A definite level of mutual attraction also emerged.
Their only aide was the “recordasphere”, a small Banner-built AI drone. Unexpectedly, Banner’s interest in Waynesboro made it jealous.
This was exacerbated as Katherine helped Bruce fit back into society (with help from undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. agents) and get over Betty Ross having left him.
Kate piled up the clues about her interest, which Banner did not always catch. But the envious recordasphere, having discovered that Dr. Waynesboro was a spy, tried to kill her. It locked Waynesboro’s steering wheel as she and Bruce were driving near a ravine.
But Bruce didn’t turn into the Hulk to save himself. He stayed in, then transformed after the crash to rush Kate to their medical lab. Kate recovered before Bruce reached the lab, and kissed him.
The petty murder attempt of the recordasphere had utterly failed.
The recordasphere threatened Dr. Waynesboro with a laser while Dr. Banner was asleep. However the Abomination (Emil Blonsky), tortured into obedience by MODOK, attacked the observatory.
The recordasphere attacked the Abomination to defend Banner, and was smashed.
Kate was forced to break cover and use S.H.I.E.L.D. ordnance to hold the Abomination at bay. The attacker was knocked out by the Hulk.
Kate more or less convinced Bruce that she hadn’t betrayed him. But the Abomination recovered, grabbed Dr. Waynesboro and leapt away.
Unsure of his feelings toward the biophysicist, Banner gave chase.
Laurie Anderson’s Big Science album was released one year before Kate Waynesboro appeared. It’s so fitting.
History (part 2)
While the Abomination was in the field, AIM revolted against MODOK.
The rebels had the upper hand, but they needed an anti-MODOK weapon ASAP.
AIM identified their captive as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent from her wrist communicator. Dr. Waynesboro was therefore turned into a duplicate of MODOK, under the rebels’ posthypnotic control.
The terrified agent was transformed just before the Hulk came in. But “Ms. MODOK”, a different person from Kate Waynesboro, refused to obey AIM. She dispersed the rebels.
At that point, MODOK swept in to claim Ms. MODOK as a bride. After a brief telepathic contact, Ms. MODOK agreed.
Maudlin Organism Designed Only for Kissing
The Hulk argued against this strange romance. He claimed that wherever Dr. Waynesboro’s consciousness was, Ms. MODOK couldn’t take decisions in her stead.
In response MODOK lashed out, seemingly destroying the cowering Abomination as a show of power.
Ms. MODOK rejected MODOK for his cruelty. Apparently, she also was fighting against the re-emerging consciousness of Kate Waynesboro.
MODOK hurled Ms. MODOK back into the machine that had created her. He then reprogrammed it within seconds.
The machine recreated Dr. Waynesboro in her normal body and mindset. Apparently, MODOK did this as a gesture of love toward the now-destroyed Ms. MODOK. Perhaps he saw Waynesboro as an imperfect shadow of Ms. MODOK’s mind.
Shocked by the ordeal, Waynesboro resigned from S.H.I.E.L.D.. Kate and Bruce’s plan was to peacefully live together.
The couple was recruited by biophysicist Prof. Hernandez. They joined the faculty of the Universidad de la Ciudad de México .
Hernandez was using their early experiments into gamma enhancement of crops and livestock. He hoped to help with Mexico’s undernourishment problems.
The couple was uneasy about his lack of caution. But Hernandez explained that Mexican children were dying every day, and that he had to forge onward.
In Mexico, Kate and Bruce accidentally ran into the Circus of Crime. They hypnotised Banner into becoming the Hulk. Dr. Waynesboro took down the Ringmaster and broke the hypnosis. But Banner was left shaken by the forced hulking out.
Once their work was done, Waynesboro and Banner returned to New York. Significant results had been achieved, but not as much as hoped.
… yoo de lay hee hoo
Back then, the Fantastic Four had left the Baxter Building. Reed Richards let the couple do what most scientists would murder for – live in the Baxter Building with full access to his labs.
Kate also helped Bruce deal with his Hulk nightmares. Banner thus took weeks off to repair some of the damage caused by the rampaging Hulk in previous years.
Returning to Northwind Observatory, Banner and Waynesboro developed a prototype gamma rays treatment. This procedure could strengthen the wounded, the sick, the aged and the infirm. It endowed patients with a tiny bit of the Hulk’s regenerative durability.
Obviously, Kate and Bruce were wary about side effects. Initial testing was done on a dying dog named Sirius. The procedure seemed successful, opening the door to enormous medical potential.
Aged gangster Max Stryker coveted the nascent Banner-Waynesboro treatment. However, Banner refused to experiment on human beings.
Stryker had the mercenary Boomerang (Fred Myers) busted out of prison. He sent him to kidnap Dr. Waynesboro to force Dr. Banner’s hand.
Whilst Kate was detained in New York City, Banner reluctantly agreed to irradiate Stryker at Northwind.
However, Dr. Banner then disappeared within an alien structure that had just materialised in Central Park.
While he was gone, Kate remained a prisoner. Stryker set up himself as a healer, using the untested Banner-Waynesboro treatment on desperate people flocking to Northwind Observatory.
When Banner returned from the Secret Wars, he was struggling to retain his intelligence. But he remembered having to free Kate. And he found her before he got too savage.
Things go wrong, and green
They returned to Northwind, finding a long queue of people waiting to be healed by Stryker.
This infuriated Banner. Especially after his worst fears were confirmed by the dog Sirius becoming an enraged monster. But thanks to Waynesboro, Banner remained in control.
Stryker, on the other hand, went berserk. And thus the Hulk finished reverting to his savage state whilst battling this powerful opponent. Desperate and having no way to cure the people irradiated by Stryker, Dr. Waynesboro had but prayer left.
As in answer, Rom the Spaceknight came in. He had detected the deluge of gamma energy at the Observatory.
Dr. Waynesboro enlisted his help, and Rom’s Neutralizer negated the patients’ gamma charge.
Dr. Waynesboro then convinced Rom to try Neutralizing the Hulk and Stryker, who were still fighting. But that didn’t work, and the Hulk was now mindless. After hitting Rom and Kate, he left in a rage.
Emotionally crushed and physically wounded, Dr. Waynesboro had to be evacuated by the Spaceknight.
The savage Hulk
Kate was picked up by a S.H.I.E.L.D. anti-Hulk task force commanded by Gabriel Jones. Since most S.H.I.E.L.D. forces were busy battling Dire Wraiths, Waynesboro was reinstated as a uniformed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to second Jones.
(By this point, Dr. Waynesboro had invented a type of gamma ray gun meant to neutralise the Hulk. When she designed it is unclear. It may precede her actual appearances.)
Their attempt to take down the Hulk using the experimental Waynesboro gamma gun failed. Kate, feeling that she was betraying the man she loved, then tried to talk. He did revert to Banner, but that lasted for but seconds. The monster returned and again bashed her away.
Jones and Waynesboro made another stand in the Lincoln Tunnel to defend Manhattan. The results were identical. The battered Jones and Waynesboro were dragged out of the burning tunnel by their agents.
Don’t yield – back S.H.I.E.L.D. !
Dr. Waynesboro was not seen again for two decades (though of course she barely aged during that time). Apparently, she spent that time working for S.H.I.E.L.D..
One remark implied a past romantic relationship with Gabe Jones. This may have started after the Hulk disaster in Manhattan.
An obscure, third-hand reference hinted at a temporary reversion to Ms. MODOK. This is not confirmed – at all.
S.H.I.E.L.D. senior brass “Dum-Dum” Dugan once said Waynesboro had a proven track record with the subtle approach. This hints at successful ops after the Hulk one.
What presumably happened
Dr. Waynesboro was presumably S.H.I.E.L.D.’s foremost gamma specialist after Doc Samson. We can thus imagine that she was working behind-the-scenes in S.H.I.E.L.D. cases involving gamma mutates.
She also seemingly acquired experience with extraterrestrials. Dum Dum Dugan specifically picked her to interrogate the captive Miek. And Waynesboro seemed comfortable with space aliens when dealing with the Warbound.
Dr. Waynesboro survived the severe upheavals that hit S.H.I.E.L.D. during those decades. Perhaps she was with a secure lab whose ties to S.H.I.E.L.D. had been thoroughly obscured.
(Taken together, these elements suggest that Dr. Waynesboro may have been detailed to S.W.O.R.D. while she was off-screen.)
Waynesboro’s eyes are of an unusual, striking hue of hazel. Almost amber. Though as always the colouring isn’t 100% coherent. Or even 80%.
She is usually seen wearing a Serious Scientist’s Serious Lab Coat, and with an upper class haircut.
Kate is a warm, caring, nice, serious researcher. She’s a bit stiff and formal in her manner.
Though she dresses in a respectable, upper middle class 1980s fashion, she also drives an expensive, macho sports car. This was unusual back then, hinting toward her passionate nature.
Though she appears proper and collected, Dr. Waynesboro has a passionate temper. She obviously chose science out of curiosity about the world. She retains her sense of wonder about that. She also throws herself whole-heartedly into her romantic relationships.
And of course she signed up with S.H.I.E.L.D. to defend democracy. Though she does so from her lab and not by toting huge guns, three days’ worth of stubble and an eye patch.
Dr. Waynesboro isn’t comfortable with deception. She will do spy stuff, but that can’t last too long as it gnaws at her morale. She’ll also avoid outright lying.
Bruce Banner was the love of her life. She admired him as a scientist and a man – occasionally to the point of near-worship. She evidenced a certain blindness toward his faults.
Kate was very supportive of Bruce, to the point of downplaying her own skills and achievements. She almost scuttled her S.H.I.E.D. career over this relationship. Seeing Banner disappear under the Hulk persona was a severe and lasting shock for her.
Part of Waynesboro’s attraction toward Banner was that she understood and appreciate his genius-level scientific work. Not too many people do.
She even threw some shade about how Betty Ross couldn’t see this side of Bruce. But Kate is too nice, sentimental and proper to make actually snide remarks.
After the disastrous end of their relationship, Waynesboro’s idealised view of Banner swung the other way. She vaguely convinced herself that Banner had always been a monster, presumably to deal with her lasting grief. She remained bitter about this era of her life.
(Amused as she first meets Banner between transformations) “Who is Bruce Banner… and does he always go for long walks about the countryside dressed only in a very becoming pair of purple shorts ?”
“I… know how bitter you feel — how distrustful you are of people ! But I’m with you because I *want* to be with you ! Because you’re a brilliant scientist, and a beautiful man, who deserves some happiness after all the horror fate has heaped upon you !”
“Bruce sounds so at ease, so carefree ! He’s put the curse of the Hulk behind him ! He’s happy at last !”
“Bruce, what’s wrong ? What’s the matter with you ? You’re acting savage — like the old Hulk again ! Where’s the gentle genius that I love ?”
DC Heroes RPG
Dr. Waynesboro (1980s)
|Dex: 02||Str: 02||Bod: 02|
|Int: 03||Wil: 04||Min: 03|
|Inf: 03||Aur: 03||Spi: 03|
|Init: 010||HP: 005|
Charisma (Persuasion): 04, Gadgetry (Identify Gadget): 04, Martial Artist: 03, Medicine (Treatment): 02, Scientist: 07, Thief (Concealment): 03, Vehicles (Land): 03, Weaponry (Exotic, Firearms): 03
Expertise (Gamma radiation), Familiarity (Gamma-powered Earth beings, Astrophysics, Reed Richards tech, Agricultural science).
S.H.I.E.L.D. (Low) and possibly Gabriel Jones (Low).
MIA toward Bruce Banner, Secret ID (at some points of her S.H.I.E.L.D. career), Misc.: Slight but detectable gamma charge.
Uphold the Good.
Biophysics researcher, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D..
When she was reinstated as an agent, Kate had the usual Beta Cloth uniform and S.H.I.E.L.D. plasma handgun.
During the Northwind mission, Waynesboro used :
- Ion Disruptor [BODY 03, AV 06, Paralysis: 20, Ammo: 01, R#03, Miniaturisation: 02, Drawback: No Reload in the field]. This blasterA gun shooting energy, like in Star Wars. pistol, apparently a one-shot defensive weapon, projects an ionic field which immobilises its target. It can hold even a “Class 100” opponent for some time. It may have been intended for self-defense against a hostile Hulk, hopefully giving her enough time to flee.
- Watch Communicator [BODY 02, Radio communications: 09, Miniaturisation: 02]. The traditional radio hidden in a wristwatch, set to contact the Helicarrier’s bridge.
Later on she drove something resembling a convertible 1984 Cadillac Eldorado.
Dr. Waynesboro has but a few panels as Ms. MODOK.
- She had a sort of hoverchair similar to MODOK’s [BODY 06 and Flight: 07, maybe].
- She could fire force bolts from her headband, just like MODOK (perhaps Mental blast: 12).
- She could perform some basic telepathic feats.
There’s no reason to assume that she didn’t simply have slightly watered-down versions of MODOK’s abilities. Though he definitely had her beaten on Hero Points.
I am assuming that her work on the anti-gamma man-portable cannon was of the Scientist (Draw Plans) kind, not of the Gadgetry kind.
Speaking of which, there isn’t enough data about this prototype. It did not work on a mindless Hulk, but that doesn’t mean much
Kate may have learned a bit of Spanish while in Mexico City. And she likely picked up more Familiarities and even Expertises – she seemed good at this.
Source of Character: Marvel Universe (Hulk books).
Writeup overhauled on the 14th of November, 2019.