Rictor

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Not to be confused with RICTOR.
Rictor
Rictor 002.jpg
Rictor (as seen in X-Factor v.3 #1)
Art by Ryan Sook.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance X-Factor #17 (Jun 1987)
Created by Louise Simonson
Walt Simonson
In-story information
Alter ego Julio Esteban "Ric" Richter
Species Human Mutant
Team affiliations X-Factor Investigations
Purifiers
X-Factor
X-Terminators
New Mutants
Weapon P.R.I.M.E.
X-Force
X-Corporation
Abilities Capable of releasing seismic energy through his fingertips, using it to create earthquakes, shockwaves or otherwise transport earth matter.

Rictor (Julio Esteban "Ric" Richter) is a fictional comic book superhero in the Marvel Universe, who appears in the X-Men family of books published by Marvel Comics. He was created by writer Louise Simonson and artist Walt Simonson and first appeared in X-Factor #17 (June 1987). In subsequent years, the character was featured as a member of the original New Mutants team and the original X-Force team, and continued to appear in various X-Men franchise publications thereafter. In comic books published in the 1980s and 1990s, Rictor's mutant powers were to generate seismic energy and tremendously powerful vibrations in any nearby object, inducing earthquake-like phenomena and causing objects to shatter or crumble. When the character was reintroduced in 2005, it was as one of many depowered mutants adjusting to civilian life. The character remained depowered until a 2011 comic.

Introduced in the late 1980s as a supporting character in X-Factor, Rictor appeared in Marvel comics for ten years under the pens of a number of different writers; much of his character development in this period came from Fabian Nicieza's run on X-Force. The character returned to publication in 2005 with the X-Factor vol.3 and has been written by Peter David continually since then. Responding to fan interest in the gay subtext surrounding the character in Jeph Loeb's X-Force run, Rictor's kiss with teammate Shatterstar in the pages of X-Factor vol.3 in 2009 became the first depiction of a same-sex kiss in a mainstream Marvel Comics publication. Since then, Rictor has been written as an out gay man who is fully accepting of his sexual identity, and one of few gay superheroes in the Marvel Universe.

Publication history[edit]

Created by writer Louise Simonson and artist Walt Simonson, Rictor first appeared in X-Factor #17 (June 1987). Rictor was introduced in the late 1980s under Louise Simonson's run on X-Factor. X-Factor owed its early popularity to reuniting the five original X-Men characters. As the series continued, it needed to distinguish itself from the earlier X-Men stories. New characters were introduced to the series, and Simonson's run introduced Mexican earth-manipulator Rictor as one of several young wards to the senior X-Men characters. These characters would be spun off into their own title, Simonsons's X-Terminators, in 1988. Simonson would later transfer Rictor to the cast of The New Mutants, during her run on that series, when she made sweeping changes to the existing cast and folded several of the X-Terminators into the New Mutants team.

Later, under Rob Liefeld's run on The New Mutants, Rictor would abandon the team in the final scenes of The New Mutants #98 (1991). At this point in the character's history, he was popular enough to feature in Marvel Illustrated: The Swimsuit Issue vol.1 #1, also in 1991. In the next issue, Liefeld introduced one of several of his "edgier" additions to the series, namely Shatterstar, a swashbuckling warrior from another dimension. With help from writer Fabian Nicieza, who provided the dialogue for Liefeld’s plots, Liefeld transformed the New Mutants into X-Force in The New Mutants #100, the book's final issue. Liefeld and Nicieza launched X-Force in August 1991. Later in X-Force, Liefeld brought Rictor back; he appeared in X-Force #10 and joined the team in X-Force #15. Introduced to Shatterstar for the first time, Liefeld's issues — a high-octane, gritty run typical of 1990s comic book trends — would establish the characters' friendship.

After his time on X-Force, departing in X-Force #28, the character made appearances in issues of Cable, Excalibur, New Warriors and X-Men (vol. 2). Fabian Nicieza brought the character back for X-Force #38, and wrote a story in X-Force #43 depicting Rictor's attempts to take Shatterstar to a nightclub and try to understand humans better immediately prior to Jeph Loeb's run, which as a subplot explored the characters' relationship, mostly by way of subtext. Loeb's intention to write the characters into a relationship was not followed-up by his successors writing the character, and the romantic connection between the characters was not made explicit. Rictor then made periodic guest appearances in Marvel titles until X-Force #64 in 1997, which would be the character's last appearance for five years.

In 2002, the character returned in the pages of New X-Men as a member of Professor Xavier's X-Corporation. Following the House of M company crossover event storyline in 2005, which saw the character lose his mutant abilities, Rictor returned to the X-Factor title with Peter David's third volume of the title. X-Factor vol. 3 began with Rictor extremely depressed and suicidal over the loss of his powers, joining as a civilian member of Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man)'s team of superhero detectives, X-Factor Investigations. David's run would explore the character's romantic relationship with Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair), as first visited in the Liefeld run, and later made comic book history when the character was reunited with Shatterstar in X-Factor #45 (2009), which saw the two characters kiss. Storylines since, in the renumbered X-Factor #200 and onwards, have focused on the pair's explicitly romantic and sexual relationship. Marvel continued to depict Rictor as powerless until Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6 (2011), in which the Scarlet Witch restored his abilities.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Origins: X-Factor and New Mutants (1980s)[edit]

In his introductory story in X-Factor #17, Rictor is a captive of the anti-mutant organization called the Right, who connect him to a machine that amplifies his already uncontrollable power of earthquake generation to wreak havoc in San Francisco. Rictor is freed by X-Factor and accepted by them as a trainee member.[1] During the chaos, he is assisted by Boom Boom, who talks him out of a severe emotional crisis. He becomes very emotionally attached to her as a result, later describing her as "like a sister".[2] He is recaptured by the Right shortly afterwards, but is again freed by X-Factor.[3]

Rictor and his friends take up residence on X-Factor's base, the sentient craft named 'Ship'. When X-Factor wards Artie Maddicks and Leech are kidnapped by N'astirh's demons, Rictor joins his fellow X-Factor trainees in a mission to rescue them. During the mission, they adopt the name X-Terminators.[4] Following two successful team-ups with the New Mutants,[5] Rictor and Boom Boom both join the group.[6]

Rictor develops romantic feelings for Wolfsbane while on the team. Rictor and friends travel to Asgard and battle Hela, where he assumes a protective role over her, even helping her pass by Garm.[7] Rictor is chagrined when Cable, who he mistakes for the man who killed his father, steps in as mentor of the New Mutants. He initially rebels against Cable's authority, but acquires some respect for him when he spies him practicing in the Danger Room by himself.[8] Alongside the New Mutants, he assists Cable in fighting Stryfe and the Mutant Liberation Front.[9]

Rictor is captured alongside Storm, Boom Boom, Wolfsbane, and Warlock by forces of the island nation Genosha. Only he and Boom Boom escape. They spend nearly a full day as fugitives on the streets of Genosha's capital until being reunited with the X-Men, X-Factor, and New Mutants. During the adventure, Rictor shares a heartfelt kiss with Wolfsbane and is later heartbroken when she chooses to stay behind.[10]

Rictor leaves the New Mutants with the intent to bring Wolfsbane back from Genosha.[11] Rictor is by then convinced that Cable — from whom Stryfe had been cloned — is the man who killed his father, and he agrees to join the Canadian government's Weapon P.R.I.M.E. team.[12] The team's sole purpose is the apprehension of Cable, but thanks to both Cable and the New Mutants now known as X-Force, this is averted.[13]

X-Force (1990s; 2002)[edit]

Rictor joins X-Force, and aids them in saving Sunspot from Gideon.[14] When Stryfe, posing as Cable, shoots Professor X, X-Force is hunted by the X-Men and X-Factor. Wolfsbane has since joined X-Factor. She disbelieves Rictor when he says he doesn't know where Cable is, and shows no hesitation in apprehending him personally, driving a further wedge between the two. X-Force are held captive in the X-Mansion, before being officially released after Cable is cleared of blame in Professor X's shooting.[15] Alongside X-Force, he rescues the captive X-Force members from Gideon and the Externals.[16] The team uses the Mansion for a time as their headquarters.[volume & issue needed]

Rictor later leaves X-Force when his cousin and uncle are shot during an arms deal,[volume & issue needed] only to return when his close friend Shatterstar is undergoing an identity crisis.[volume & issue needed] Shatterstar decides to accompany Rictor to the Richter home in Mexico to try to end Rictor's family's arms-dealing business.[volume & issue needed] Both characters have since appeared separately so one assumes they succeeded. These stories show scenes from young Rictor's childhood, showing how he was forced to watch his father, an arms merchant, being killed by Stryfe.[volume & issue needed]

After a five-year absence from comic books, Rictor appeared in two issues of New X-Men in 2002. These issues reveal Rictor is one of several mutants (amongst them other former members of X-Force) who joined Professor X's restructured X-Corporation. X-Corporation's confrontation with Weapon XII is a catastrophe, leading to the death of one of their members, Darkstar.[17][18]

X-Factor Investigations (2005–2013)[edit]

Powerless detective[edit]

In 2005, Marvel launched the X-Men-centric crossover limited series House of M. That storyline's climax brought a new status quo the Marvel universe, wherein most mutant characters on the planets suddenly lost their powers; stories following this so-called 'M-day' were continued under the bannerhead Decimation. Rictor is one of many mutants who lost their power. His Decimation narrative thread was started in the relaunch of X-Factor v.3. This series marks the first time Rictor had a starring role in eight years.

In the first issue of X-Factor, Rictor once again attempts suicide but is overcome by confusion and doubt. A rogue duplicate of Jamie Madrox nearly kills him but his life is saved by Monet St. Croix, a former member of Generation X. After some convincing from Monet and a gentle nudge from Layla Miller, he joins X-Factor Investigations under the employ of Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man. He also finds Siryn after she has been attacked and kidnapped and becomes extremely mistrustful of Layla Miller.

Marvel's 2006-2007 Civil War storyline would crossover into X-Factor. When the Superhuman Registration Act is introduced, Rictor and Monet sign up willingly but side with the rest of X-Factor against the pro-registration heroes.

Continuing the storyline from House of M follow-up series Son of M, Quicksilver features in X-Factor for a time. In that series, Quicksilver goes to desperate lengths to reacquire his lost mutant powers, and acquires an ability to restore the powers of other former mutants. Rictor visits Quicksilver, who takes an interest in Rictor being depowered and discusses the possibility of getting his powers back. When Madrox brings Pietro up, Rictor jokes about having had a sexual relationship with him. Madrox then makes a joking comment about making Shatterstar jealous, causing Rictor to become flustered.[19]

Quicksilver later manipulates Rictor, empowering him, in a plan to give other ex-mutants their powers. Unfortunately the process is unstable and several of these ex-mutants explode. Rictor confronts Quicksilver again, ending up with Rictor apparently depowered one more time and the mutagenic Terrigen Crystals in Quicksilver's body destroyed. Afterwards, Wolfsbane and a distraught Rictor share a sexual encounter, but this new aspect of their relationship is marred by multiple arguments. During that time Rictor had several Terrigen Crystals embedded in his back (the remnants from the exploding crystals from Quicksilver), which helped him to defeat Josef Huber.[20]

During the X-Men: Messiah Complex crossover storyline, Rictor is asked to infiltrate the Purifiers, as he is still depowered. In an effort to gain the trust of the Purifiers, he, as planned with X-Men, saves them from an attack from Wolfsbane. Rictor then informs the X-Men that the Purifiers' base extends beyond New York and all over America. He also catches the New X-Men sneaking around in the Purifier base and when they are ambushed by the Reavers, he helps Pixie to focus while using a teleportation spell.[21]

As part of the X-Men: Divided We Stand crossover storyline, while walking down the street, he sees a prostitute who looks just like Layla. When he tries to follow her thinking she is Layla, he gets into a fight with an ex-mutant with horns in his head. He kicks him in the crotch and eventually gets into a fight with the prostitute's pimps until Strong Guy steps in.[22] He is later escorted to the hospital where he learns that a lot of fights have been breaking out all over Mutant Town. He is the last to learn that Rahne has left and ends up captured by Arcade when he tries to leave X-Factor.[23] He eventually frees himself and finds that the person who hired Arcade is Taylor, the Purifier who he tricked into letting him into their organization.[24] He later relocates with the rest of X-Factor to Detroit.[25]

Scarlet Witch restores Rictor's powers

In the pages of X-Factor v. 3, after finding out a dupe of Madrox's has been living in New England as a priest, Rictor and Strong Guy take a road trip to visit him, hoping to find out where Madrox had disappeared to. While traveling, Rictor brushes off Guido's questions of his mental state, but acknowledges his reaction to Madrox's absorption of his baby may not have been the greatest. The two question Father Maddox on Jamie's disappearance, but in the middle of this, a masked man crashes through the window, swords pointed toward Rictor. Guido manages to grab the attacker and pull off his mask before being thrown out the window, revealing the masked man to be a possessed Shatterstar. After a brief fight, Shatterstar is broken out of his trance-like state.[26] Upon recognizing Rictor, the two grab one another and finally share a kiss.[27]

Powers restored[edit]

In the 2010-2011 miniseries Avengers: The Children's Crusade, a fully restored Scarlet Witch, who had been responsible for the original M-Day, is asked if she would re-power former mutants. The group invites X-Factor Investigation and ask them to bring former mutants who wish to be re-powered. X-Factor refuses, but Rictor volunteers. During the process, the building shakes, nearly bringing it down on top of them. Jamie blames Wanda, but Rictor replies "It wasn't her... It was me. That tremor was me."[28]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Rictor is a mutant capable of generating and releasing seismic energy and tremendously powerful waves of vibrations in any nearby object, causing objects to shatter or crumble. When used against objects with a larger surface, the effects are much like an earthquake.[volume & issue needed] Rictor's powers appear to affect organic objects in much the same way as inorganic ones; he is depicted using them to explode a cactus plant in X-Force #25. Rictor himself is immune to the harmful effects of the vibrations he creates.[citation needed] He has expressed reluctance to use his powers in tectonically unstable areas, for fear that he could not control the effects, as when he visited the fictional island of Madripoor, which is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, in New Mutants #93 (September 1990). In New X-Men #130 Jean Grey also states that Rictor has some kind of telepathic defense against Weapon XII's infestation. In issue #1 of the 2005 relaunch of X-Factor, he is depicted as suicidal, lamenting the loss of his power after M-Day. During the series he talks about how he had some sort of empathic connection with the earth itself and misses it. His powers are restored six years later in Avengers: The Children's Crusade.

During the 2005-11 period when Rictor was powerless, he worked as a detective. Of the X-Factor Investigations team, he is the most skilled at using computers, a trait he utilized during his time with that agency to compensate when he did not have his seismic abilities.[29] In one storyline during this period, Rictor's body briefly had Terrigen Crystals (as used by the Inhumans) embedded in his back, small fragments left over from when Quicksilver's crystals had exploded.[20] In a confrontation with the Isolationist, Rictor was shown to be immune or resistant to the various powers the Isolationist manifested because of these crystals.[volume & issue needed] Physical contact with Rictor reversed the villain's Colossus-like transformation, a direct assault with Cyclops-like optic blasts had no effect, and an Iceman-style ice construct melted around Rictor.[volume & issue needed] According to writer Peter David, these crystals burnt out subsequently.[20]

Sexual orientation[edit]

Rictor and Shatterstar kiss. Art by Marco Santucci.

In early comics featuring Rictor and Shatterstar together (most notably Jeph Loeb's X-Force), there was a persistent subtext that the two were in a relationship together.[30] Over the 1990s, Rictor certainly developed a close—and somewhat ambiguous—relationship with Shatterstar.[31][32][33][34][35] Although Shatterstar was introduced by creator Rob Liefeld as an asexual killing machine, writer Peter David reflects that the character's "prolonged exposure to humanity" changed this.[30] X-Force writer Jeph Loeb hinted that Shatterstar had romantic feelings for Rictor and was planning on making the two a couple, but he left the title before this could happen.[36] Though the romantic subtext between the characters was never quite explicit in Loeb's series, fans nevertheless picked up on it.[30] Over the course of the characters' appearances, Rictor and Shatterstar's relationship would evolve from a subtext in 1990s X-Force comics to Marvel naming them one of the company's top ten supercouples in 2010.[37] In 2011, writer Peter David won a GLAAD Award for the portrayal of Rictor and Shatterstar's relationship in X-Factor.[38]

In 2007, a joke in Peter David's X-Factor v. 3 #14 features Rictor insinuating to Madrox that he and Quicksilver might have been romantically or sexually intimate, which he later denies only on account of Quicksilver being "evil". This was the first explicit hint of Rictor's ambiguous sexuality. With regards to this scene, as the writer continued to develop Rictor's personal relationships, David expressed the idea that:

Although creator Louise Simonson did not conceive of the character as being gay or indeed non-heterosexual, canonically, Rictor has had romances with men and women.[40] In X-Factor v. 3, under the pen of Peter David, Rictor dated both Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane)[41][42] and Tabitha Smith (Boom Boom).[41] Although in X-Factor #21 in 2007, Rictor had begun a sexual relationship with Rahne,[42] she later left the team "under abrupt circumstances" because editorial had decided to move the character to another book. This created an opening for David to bring back Shatterstar. David was drawn to revisit Loeb's unresolved Rictor-Shatterstar romance because of fans' requests for Shatterstar to return "and to see Rictor and Shatterstar pick up where they left off."[43] David remarks it was the storyline he got the most requests to write. Because neither character is a "household name", David was given more freedom by Marvel to interpret the characters and write the storyline as he wished; there was no trouble getting the storyline approved.[40] David writes Rictor's embrace of his love for Shatterstar as a maturation for the character, whom he sees "fully committed to the gay lifestyle... honest about it both with others and himself."[40]

In X-Factor #45, in 2009, Rictor kissed Shatterstar.[44] The two characters' first on-panel kiss became the first male-male kiss between two mainstream male superheroes in mainstream Marvel comic book history.[40] X-Factor editor Jody Leheup knew that the kiss would make "a cool moment for the fans" but stated it had not occurred to him that it would be such an important scene to gay and straight comic fans. He also remarked on the need to not over-hype the scene as he and David "really want[ed] things like this to be seen as normal."[40] David felt this was an interesting direction to take Rictor in, which particularly allowed the character — currently, emotionally vulnerable — to deal with the abruptness of Rahne's departure without having to have Rictor so much as break the fourth wall and resign himself to Rahne being in another book.[43] Shortly after X-Factor v.3 #45, Peter David confirmed Rictor's same-sex sexuality in his blog and expressed his desire to develop the relationship between Rictor and Shatterstar further.[45][46][47] In X-Factor #210 (2010), Rictor seems to suggest he has always known deep down that he was gay and was in the closet.[44] Explaining Rictor's prior straight relationships, David compares him to real-life "women who eventually decided they were lesbians had involvements with men that they ultimately considered unfulfilling."[40]

For David, the relationship opened up other avenues for character development in the series. For example, he was able to explore Strong Guy's "liberal hypocrisy":[48] his socially liberal personal values alongside his discomfort around gay people, in that character's reaction.[43] Peter David expressed that he does not want the relationship to become boring by having no problems. However, he wishes to avoid killing off either character; he opines that both characters are too well-established to fall into the pattern of killing off the more minor character to elicit angst in the more major one. One major facet of the relationship is that this is Shatterstar's first real relationship, meaning the two men might want very different things.[48] As David sees it, newly out bisexual Shatterstar is "like a kid in a candy store", whereas Rictor is ready to fully commit.[40] David feels that these issues are interesting because they are new to superhero comic books; he does note, however, that the view he brings to the characters comes from the perspective of a heterosexual writer and his own personal experiences, and might not be the same as a gay writer's.[48]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Rictor appears in the X-Men episode "No Mutant is an Island." He, alongside Rusty Collins, Skids, Boom-Boom, and Taki Matsuya, were shown as orphans that were adopted and mind-controlled by Purple Man in a plot to take over the government. Cyclops manages to rescue the orphans and defeat Purple Man.

References[edit]

  1. ^ X-Factor #17-18
  2. ^ New Mutants #79 and 88
  3. ^ X-Factor #22-23
  4. ^ X-Terminators #1-4; New Mutants #73
  5. ^ X-Terminators #4, New Mutants #73 and 76
  6. ^ New Mutants #77
  7. ^ New Mutants #77-80, 82-86
  8. ^ New Mutants #89-91
  9. ^ New Mutants #93-94
  10. ^ New Mutants #93-94; Uncanny X-Men #270-272; X-Factor #60, 62
  11. ^ New Mutants #98
  12. ^ X-Force #10
  13. ^ X-Force #11-13
  14. ^ X-Force #15
  15. ^ Uncanny X-Men #294-295; X-Factor #84; X-Force #16-17; X-Men Vol. 2 #14
  16. ^ X-Force #24
  17. ^ New X-Men #128 (August 2002)
  18. ^ New X-Men #130 (October 2002)
  19. ^ X-Factor # 14
  20. ^ a b c "X-POSITION Week 21: Peter David". Comic Book Resources. 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  21. ^ X-Men #205
  22. ^ X-Factor #28
  23. ^ X-Factor #28 & 29
  24. ^ X-Factor #30
  25. ^ X-Factor #33
  26. ^ X-Factor #43 (May 2009)
  27. ^ X-Factor #45 (June 2009)
  28. ^ Various (i)Avengers: The Children's Crusade 6 (August 2011), Marvel Comics
  29. ^ Peter David (w), Leonard Kirk (a). X-Factor v. 3, 226 (December 2011), Marvel Comics
  30. ^ a b c Masaki, Lyle (2009-12-10). "Superheroes in Love: When Rictor Met Shatterstar". AfterElton.com. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  31. ^ Cable #22
  32. ^ X-Force #56
  33. ^ X-Force #59
  34. ^ X-Force #60
  35. ^ X-Force ’99 Annual
  36. ^ Cronin, Brian (2007-10-18). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #125". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  37. ^ "Revel in the romance of some of Marvel's most powerful pairings". Marvel.com. 2010-02-19. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  38. ^ Armitage, Hugh (2011-05-17). "Marvel's 'X-Factor' wins GLAAD award". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2011-05-18. 
  39. ^ Murphy, Ian (2007-02-10). "Interviews: Peter David". LiveWire Review. Livewire World. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  40. ^ a b c d e f g Mckenzie, Chaos (2010-02-25). "Peter David's "X-Factor": Earth Moving, Star Shattering". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  41. ^ a b New Mutants[volume & issue needed]
  42. ^ a b David, Peter. X-Factor v.3 #21. 2007.
  43. ^ a b c Masaki, Lyle (2009-12-10). "Superheroes in Love: When Rictor Met Shatterstar". AfterElton.com. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  44. ^ a b David, Peter. X-Factor v.3 #45. 2009.
  45. ^ "STASH WEDNESDAY – June 24". PeterDavid.net. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  46. ^ "STASH WEDNESDAY – June 24". PeterDavid.net. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  47. ^ "Liefeld ‘can’t wait to someday undo’ Shatterstar development | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment". Robot6.comicbookresources.com. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  48. ^ a b c Masaki, Lyle (2009-12-10). "Superheroes in Love: When Rictor Met Shatterstar". AfterElton.com. p. 3. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 

External links[edit]