Cover to Captain Marvel #34, by Jim Starlin.
|First appearance||Captain Marvel #34 (Sep 1974)|
|Created by||Jim Starlin
|Alter ego||Robert Hunter|
|Abilities||Immense self-detonation, after which he exists as a diffused gaseous form
Ability to reform at will
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.[volume & issue needed] 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 his body within Skids' force field.
Much later, when the Kingpin was plotting his return to the New York underworld, he hired Nitro as one of many assassins to launch a carefully planned simultaneous attack on several New York crime bosses, including Don Fortunato, Hammerhead, Caesar Cicero, Silvermane, and many others; Nitro's target was Norman Osborn, who emerged relatively unscathed.
One such appearance where a foe took advantage of his limitations was in Iron Man vol. 3 #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.[volume & issue needed]
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.[volume & issue needed]
Civil War and beyond
The New Warriors performed a videotaped raid of a house containing the Cobalt Man, Speedfreek, Coldheart and Nitro, who had recently escaped from prison during the Ryker's Island Incident. The New Warriors attacked each member, with Namorita (the Sub-Mariner's cousin) going after Nitro. Slamming him into a school bus, Namorita taunted Nitro until he caused a massive explosion. This explosion killed Namorita, Night Thrasher, Microbe, and the supervillains he was with during the raid, along with sixty children at the nearby elementary school and some 600 people in the surrounding neighborhood in Stamford, Connecticut, 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 350 lb (160 kg) of TNT - which can however be multiplied under influence of MGH - 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 lb (4.5 kg) 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. He does not possess any enhanced self-healing capabilities outside of reassembling after an explosion, as shown when Wolverine cut off his hand.
House of M: Masters of Evil
In other media
- Nitro appears in the Wolverine and the X-Men episode "Time Bomb", voiced by Liam O'Brien. In this series, he is depicted as a mutant who willingly accepts confinement in a government mutant prison due to his lack of control over his incredibly destructive abilities. When they try to lock him in a cell, he resists, saying he cannot be around other people. He then flees the building until he is far enough away to avoid harming anyone with the massive energy blast that follows. However, this entire spectacle is observed by the mutant Toad, who informs Quicksilver about Nitro's destructive abilities. He is then forcibly removed by the Brotherhood of Mutants, who want to use his destructive powers to their benefit. They first use him to destroy the Mutant Response Division's archives, then prepare to bring him to Genosha as an offering to Magneto. 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.
- Nitro appears in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (which is based upon the Civil War storyline), voiced by Steven Blum. When Namorita subdues Nitro, he explodes destroying a neighborhood in Stamford, Connecticut. 
- Nitro is featured as a boss in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- Cage #3
- Captain Marvel #34
- Omega the Unknown #8
- Spectacular Spider-Man #55
- New Mutants #86
- Peter Parker: Spider-Man #95
- Daredevil vol. 2 #26
- Civil War #1
- Wolverine vol. 3 #42
- Wolverine vol. 3 #43
- Wolverine vol. 3 #44
- Wolverine vol. 3 #45
- Sub-Mariner #6
- Penance - Relentless #2
- Penance: Relentless #5
- Dark Reign: The Hood #1
- Wolverine Volume 3 #45
- House of M: Masters of Evil #1
- House of M: Masters of Evil #4
- Wolverine e os X-Men (Wolverine and the X-Men) Ep. 8
- Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2