Ralph Roberts as Cobalt Man
|First appearance||X-Men #31 (April, 1967)|
|Created by||Roy Thomas|
|Alter ego||Ralph Roberts|
|Team affiliations||Emissaries of Evil|
The character subsequently appeared in X-Men #34 (July 1967) and #79 (Dec. 1973), Hulk vol. 2, #173-175 (March–May 1974), The Defenders #42-43 (Dec. 1976-Jan. 1977), Hulk: Nightmerica #1 (Aug. 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 studying the effects of nuclear radiation involving cobalt. Seeking to weaponize this, he built a cobalt suit of armor in imitation of Iron Man's, and called himself Cobalt Man. At the time, Ralph's younger brother Ted Roberts was dating Jean Grey, secretly of the mutant superhero group the X-Men. Ralph took Ted, Jean, and Scott Summers on a tour of his lab. He showed Ted his armor and became unstable and destructive. The X-Men defeated him, and he realized the armor was too dangerous to use. However, the subterranean despot Tyrannus soon kidnapped him to force him to build a giant 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 that slowly begins killing him; addled, he attempts 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. Later, while on a mission with Egghead's Emissaries of Evil, he appears to have been killed in a nuclear explosion, but in actuality survived.
Cobalt Man was one of the many supervillains who escaped from the prison The Raft. The superhero team the New Warriors, stars of a reality-TV show, located Cobalt Man hiding in Stamford, Connecticut with other escaped convicts. A powerful explosion during the ensuing conflict killed hundreds of people, apparently including most of the New Warriors and Cobalt Man.
During the “Dark Reign” storyline, Hercules travels to the Underworld and finds Cobalt Man among the dead in Erebus. There Cobalt Man and the others have a chance of returning to life by winning at gambling.
Cobalt Man somehow reappears alive and retired in Deadpool & the Mercs for Money, which has the eponymous characters capture him at the behest of a company called Umbral Dynamics.
Tony Stark as Cobalt Man
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 the superhero Speedball and a group of trainee Avengers when they visited Stamford, Connecticut. A local police officer revealed the group was 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, Ralph 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.
In other media
- A version of Cobalt Man appears in Avengers: Ultron Revolution. This iteration is a robot with the ability to teleport, and presumably created by Ultron. In the episode "A Friend in Need", he fights the Avengers by teleporting away from attacks until the Vision arrives. Vision is able to disable Cobalt Man's teleportation device enough for the Avengers to defeat the android.
- The X-Men #31
- The X-Men #34
- Hulk vol. 2, #174-175 (May–April 1974)
- Defenders #42-43
- Hulk: Nightmerica #1
- New Avengers #1-3 (Jan.-March 2005)
- New Avengers: Illuminati #1 (May 2006) but which was originally produced as part of Civil War #1 (July 2006)
- Civil War #1
- Captain Marvel (vol. 7) #1
- Incredible Hercules #129 (2009)
- Cullen Bunn (w), Iban Coello (p), Iban Coello (i), Guru-eFX (col), VC's Joe Sabino (let), Heather Antos and Jordan D. White (ed). Deadpool & the Mercs for Money v2, #3 (Sept. 7, 2016), United States: Marvel Comics
- Avengers/Thunderbolts #1-6
- Avengers Academy #10 (March 2011)