|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man #172 (Sep 1977)|
|Created by||Len Wein (writer)
Ross Andru (artist)
|Alter ego||Robert Farrell|
|Team affiliations||Avengers Academy
Wears gauntlets armed with mini-rockets
Rides a cybernetically-controlled, rocket-powered magnetic skateboard
The first Rocket Racer appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #172 as a super-villain. He returned in issues #182 and #183 in a battle against the Big Wheel. His origin was finally revealed in Spectacular Spider-Man #104.
Rocket Racer appeared as a supporting character in Avengers Academy in issue #21 (Jan 2012) and issue #26 (April 2012).
Fictional character biography
Robert Farrell, born in Brooklyn, New York, was the eldest of seven children. He became responsible for his younger siblings when his mother Emma Johnson Farrell died. Robert was a scientific prodigy, and when he realized he couldn't earn enough to support his family, he turned to a life of crime as the Rocket Racer. He developed a super-powered skateboard which is propelled at great speed by small rockets and cybernetically controlled by a crude walkman-like device. He wore a weapon-equipped costume, including rocket-powered gloves which give him the ability to hit an opponent with a "rocket-powered-punch."
Rocket Racer hires Tinkerer to redesign his skateboard after his first defeat by Spider-Man. At one point he is hired by Jackson Weele to steal evidence that might incriminate him. Robert uses the evidence to blackmail Jackson. Weele wishes to commit suicide but Robert stops him. Even then, though, he mocks Weele, calling him Big Weele. This is enough for Jackson to hire the villain the Tinkerer to create a literal 'Big Wheel', to chase Robert around town with. Spider-Man assists and Jackson seemingly falls to his death in the Hudson River. Later, Rocket Racer was saved by Spider-Man from the Bounty Hunter.
Repeated defeats at the hands of Spider-Man and several brushes with the law, including a short jail sentence, convince Robert to reform.[volume & issue needed] He goes through a high school equivalency course and his extremely high marks gain him a scholarship to Empire State University. This doesn't go well as his first few days are full with combating the efforts of a hate-group on campus. Though assisted by Spider-Man and sometimes, by other students who oppose the racism, Robert still struggles with his own rage during the entire ordeal.
Later, Robert attempted to prove Spider-Man innocent of a crime; and first encountered Silver Sable and The Outlaws. He joined forces with Spider-Man to stop the white supremacist, Skinhead. He was hired as a freelance operative for Silver Sable International to prevent two youths from stealing the victims' weapons at the Bar with No Name, the site of the Scourge massacre. He was again hired by Sable to stop the Speed Demon. He joined Spider-Man and the Outlaws against the Avengers and the Space Phantom, He was again hired along with the Outlaws to retrieve a Symkarian nuclear device in England. He was hired by Sable to stop a runaway subway maintenance robot. Rocket Racer finally formally joined the Outlaws, to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Canadian official.
Robert is identified as one of the 142 registered superheroes who appear on the cover of the comic book Avengers: The Initiative #1. As a registered hero, he reported to Camp Hammond for training. Despite this, he needed money to support his comatose mother and prevent repossession of their house, so he was seen working for MODOK. He appeared to have been tempted back into crime, and reduced to a state of stuttering nervousness by the situation. He turned out to have been working for S.H.I.E.L.D. all along, with a deal that they will give him the money he needs in return for the Hypernova - he failed in this and it's unknown yet what's happened with his mother.
Rocket Racer is part of the new class of students when the Avengers Academy moves to the former headquarters of the West Coast Avengers. Rocket Racer later leaves the Avengers Academy alongside Machine Teen to join child genius Jeremy Briggs.
Another Rocket Racer first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man (vol.2) #13 (January 2000).
The second Rocket Racer was hired by an unnamed employer to befriend Robert Farrell and steal his Rocket Racer gear. He did so, taking the name "Troy" and posing as Farrell's friend for months. When Farrell finally showed him where he kept the gear, 'Troy' tied him up and stole it, pursuing Spider-Man with the intention of fighting him, only to be defeated when restaurateur Harry Sloane opened a door at just the right time for 'Troy' to run into the door and knock himself unconscious.
Powers and abilities
Robert Farrell has a gifted intellect, but no superhuman powers. He wears gauntlets furnished with explosive mini-rockets, and utilizes a cybernetically-controlled, rocket-powered magnetic skateboard, which he designed and was later redesigned by the Tinkerer.
Outside of mainstream Marvel continuity, Rocket Racer has appeared as a super-villain in Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. In another series Rocket Racer is a socially withdrawn patsy of the supervillain called 'The Tinkerer', and his rocket gear is simply used to showcase the man's technological genius to potential clients.
In other media
- Rocket Racer appeared in the Spider-Man: The Animated Series episode "Rocket Racer" voiced by Billy Atmore. This version is depicted as a teenager in a crime-ridden neighborhood where he was constantly in trouble with the police and whose mother owned a store that is harassed by criminals demanding protection money. Robert had great skill in gyro mechanisms due to working at the Science Center taught by Peter Parker. He stole parts of his technology from Jackson Weele (the criminal mastermind behind the Big Wheel) and used them to create a cybernetically controlled, rocket-powered magnetic skateboard which he travels with and can attain speeds of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). He can also scale walls. After Robert was thought to have stolen some jewels, he was chased by Spider-Man. Rocket Racer escaped but Spider-Man planted a tracer on him and found out his identity. Spider-Man and Rocket Racer were then attacked by Jackson Weele's gang where Jackson operated the Big Wheel vehicle. Spider-Man and Rocket Racer were able to stop the Big Wheel when Rocket Racer had Spider-Man electrocute the Big Wheel with two electric wires. The criminal was arrested. This taught Robert that education, not crime, would help him in the world to overcome his problems. Later in the night when the criminals demanding protection money came to the store owned by Robert's mother, Spider-Man and Robert arrived where they defeated them.
- Amazing Spider-Man #172
- Amazing Spider-Man #182-183
- Spectacular Spider-Man #104
- Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. pp. 30–33. ISBN 1-4165-3141-6.
- Web of Spider-Man #56-57
- Web of Spider-Man #50
- Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #10
- Marvel Tales #242
- Spectacular Spider-Man #169-170
- Excalibur #36
- Marvel Tales #250
- Amazing Spider-Man Annual #25; Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #11; Web of Spider-Man Annual #7
- Avengers: The Initiative #1 Character Map
- Anthony Flamini & Ronald Byrd (w). Civil War Battle Damage Report one-shot (March 2007), Marvel Comics
- Super-Villain Team-Up/MODOK's 11 #1 (September 2007)
- Super-Villain Team-Up/MODOK's 11 #4 (December 2007)
- Super-Villain Team-Up/MODOK's 11 #5 (January 2008)
- Avengers Academy #21 (Nov. 2011)
- Avengers Academy #26
- Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 2) #13 (January 2000)
- Spider-Man's Tangled Web #16
- Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #4 (May 2006)
- Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man #21 (January, 2007)