|First appearance||X-Men #31 (April, 1967)|
|Created by||Roy Thomas
|Alter ego||Ralph Roberts|
|Team affiliations||Emissaries of Evil|
The character subsequently appears in X-Men #34 (July 1967), #79 (December 1973), The Incredible Hulk #173-175 (March–May 1974), The Defenders #42-43 (December 1976-January 1977), Hulk: Nightmerica #1 (August 2003), Avengers/Thunderbolts #1 (May 2004), and Civil War #1 (July 2006), in which he died. He appeared posthumously in Marvel Spotlight Civil War: Aftermath #1 (March 2007).
Cobalt Man received an entry in the Marvel Legacy: The 1970s Handbook #1 (2006).
Fictional character biography
Ralph Roberts was an inventor who had been studying the effects of nuclear radiation involving cobalt. He sought to use this as a weapon and built a cobalt suit of armor in imitation of Iron Man's, and called himself the Cobalt Man. At the time, Ralph's younger brother Ted Roberts was dating Jean Grey. Ralph Roberts took Ted, Jean, and Scott Summers on a tour of his lab, and when he showed Ted his armor he became destructive, and when Scott and Jean fought the Cobalt Man he buried them under rubble. As he was becoming more unstable, the X-Men fought and defeated him, and he realized that the armor was too dangerous to use. However, Tyrannus soon kidnapped him to force him to build a giant super-cobalt robot. The X-Men fought Tyrannus and rescued Roberts and returned him to the surface world.
He later achieved superhuman size and power due to radiation. This ends up slowly killing him; addled, he decides to show the world the dangers of nuclear power by destroying himself and the city of Sydney, Australia. In a confrontation with the Hulk, he seemingly dies, safely away from the Earth. While on a mission with Egghead's Emissaries of Evil, he appeared to have been killed in a nuclear explosion.
Some time later he was later revealed to have survived the explosion.
Apparently, the original Cobalt Man was one of the many villains that escaped from The Raft prison during New Avengers #1-3 (January - March 2005). In an appearance which was widely previewed (first in New Avengers: Illuminati #1; May 2006) but which was originally produced as part of Civil War #1 (July, 2006), the New Warriors located Cobalt Man hiding in Stamford with other escaped convicts. The New Warriors were part of a reality show and decided to take down the villains. During the ensuing conflict, Nitro used his powers to demolish the entire neighborhood, causing the death of hundreds of men, women and children, most of the New Warriors, and apparently Cobalt Man as well beginning the events of the Civil War storyline.
Ralph Roberts seemingly returned from the dead in the 2007-08 Captain Marvel mini-series, but it is revealed that this is really a Skrull impostor. When interrogated by Captain Marvel on the Skrull's Secret Invasion plans, the Cobalt Man Skrull tells Captain Marvel that he is not the real Captain Marvel.
During the Dark Reign storyline, Hercules travels to the Underworld and Cobalt Man is among the dead characters in Erebus. Due to outside forces, this section of the afterlife was chaotic and breaking down. It is clarified that Cobalt Man and the other dead had a chance of returning to life by winning at gambling games.
Iron Man impostor
During the 2004 Avengers/Thunderbolts six issue mini-series, Tony Stark infiltrated the Thunderbolts as Cobalt Man to learn their intentions and agenda. Eventually, Stark revealed his true identity and tossed the Cobalt Man armor away.
A group of men in Cobalt Man armor attacked Speedball and a group of trainee Avengers when they visited Stamford. They were all defeated by Speedball who unleashed a powerful energy blast that disabled their armor. A local police officer revealed that the group were some pro-Norman Osborn fanatics who had fabricated copies of the Cobalt Man armor with plans to make the heroes look bad in public.
Powers and abilities
Initially, Roberts wore the Cobalt Man armor to gain Iron Man-like abilities, including flight, superhuman strength (it multiplied his strength 100x) and durability, recoil beams, etc. The armor (at least the second version) also had oxygen tanks and could protect its wearer from the vacuum of space.
- The X-Men #31
- The X-Men #34
- Incredible Hulk #174-175 (May–April 1974)
- Defenders #42-43
- Hulk: Nightmerica #1
- Civil War #1
- Captain Marvel (vol. 7) #1
- Incredible Hercules #129 (2009)
- Avengers/Thunderbolts #1-6
- Avengers Academy #10 (March 2011)