Nitro is a fictional character, a supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe. He first appeared in Captain Marvel #34 (September 1974) and was created by Jim Starlin.
Nitro is best known for being part of the tragedy that started off Marvel's Civil War crossover. He is also known by comic fans for playing a part in the death of the Kree superhero Mar-Vell.
Fictional character biography
Robert Hunter was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania
. He was an electrical engineer. Due to genetic alteration carried out on him by the Kree Lunatic Legion
, Robert gained the ability to explode and reform himself at will and became a professional criminal. Some time later, he exposed Captain Marvel
to a carcinogenic nerve gas
; this encounter ultimately caused Marvel's fatal cancer. Since then he has clashed with Earth's superhumans, who have found creative ways to defeat him, including using the "fractioning (separation) of his exploded mass" against him (essentially, if he can't reform himself after an explosion, he can't explode again).
Nitro later battled and was defeated by Omega the Unknown. He later escaped from Project: Pegasus, and then battled and was defeated by Spider-Man. He was later freed from his containment canister by the Vulture in Albany, New York. He battled Skids of the New Mutants, and was unable to re-form body within Skids' force field.
One such appearance where a foe took advantage of his limitations was in Iron Man, v3 #15, where he was hired to kill Tony Stark. A fight occurred between Nitro and Iron Man. Iron Man, whose sensors and telecommunications gear had been recently upgraded, noticed that every time he exploded, a high-frequency pulse was emitted by his body. Experimenting, Iron Man duplicated the pulse, causing Nitro to explode. After he exploded several times in a minute, he passed out from exhaustion (presumably, it takes energy to explode, and he could only spare so much before he passed out). Iron Man handed him over to S.H.I.E.L.D., along with a recommendation on constructing a null-harness. He was sent to prison.
On another occasion, when Nitro's lawyer had him released from captivity, the villain immediately escaped, attempting to rob a bank for money to travel to San Francisco to kill Captain Marvel. He was opposed by Spider-Man, who defeated Nitro by webbing a barrel of tear gas to his body right before he exploded. As Nitro reformed, the suddenly evaporated tear gas mixed with his own molecules, leaving him violently ill and unable to fight back. Again, Nitro was arrested and sent to jail.
Later, Nitro is hired as a hit-man to kill Matt Murdock. He almost succeeds, killing several innocent people. Daredevil and the police work together and capture him..
Civil War and beyond
The New Warriors
performed a videotaped raid of a house containing the Cobalt Man
and Nitro, who had recently escaped from prison during the Ryker's Island Incident
. The New Warriors attacked each member, with Namorita
's cousin) going after Nitro. Slamming him into a school bus, Namorita
continued to taunt him until Nitro let off a massive explosion. This explosion apparently killed Namorita, Night Thrasher
, and the supervillains he was with during the raid, along with sixty children at the nearby elementary school and the surrounding neighborhood in the town where the fight took place.
Nitro escaped in the back of a pickup truck, and Wolverine soon began hunting him. Eventually Wolverine and a group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents caught up with Nitro. The agents perished in the battle. Atlantean agents show up and capture Nitro for Namor and Wolverine follows them to New Pangea in an Iron Man armor to find Nitro has killed his interrogators in an attempt to escape. Wolverine captures Nitro and slices off his arm, leaving Nitro a prisoner of Atlantis.
Namor used Nitro in the destruction of New Pangea after moving his civilization to Latveria, a nation ruled by Doctor Doom. Nitro was held prisoner in Latveria until Penance brought him back to America after forcing him to suffer for the Stamford explosion; leaving him in critical condition and close to death.
Powers and abilities
As a result of genetic re-engineering by the Kree, Nitro can transform his body into a gaseous state and explode (with a maximum force equivalent to 250 lbs. of TNT) and reconstitute himself. He can also explode discrete portions of his body; for instance, he can channel his explosive power to his hands in the act of punching, thereby delivering a great impact force equal to 10 lbs. of TNT. He can use his superhuman power to explode in a particular direction, reassembling himself when his particles lose forward momentum, and repeating the process as necessary. While in his gaseous state, he cannot reform if any fraction of his body is separated from the rest, and he must completely reform his body from a gaseous state before he can detonate a second time.
- Nitro appears in the animated TV series Wolverine and the X-Men. He is depicted as a mutant who willingly accepts confinement in a government mutant prison due to his lack of control over his powers. He is forcibly removed by the Brotherhood of Mutants, who want to use his destructive powers to their benefit. They use Psylocke (who can barely telepathically block his powers) to keep him in control.He establishes an understanding with the sympathetic Rogue due to her own uncontrolled powers and her disagreement with the Brotherhood's ways of handling him. His powers almost cause him to destroy both the Brotherhood and the X-Men, though Storm is able to suspend him in the air while he detonates. The Brotherhood realizes that he is too dangerous to have around and Nitro willingly returns to confinement.