Gavril Ivanovich, the current Rocket Red. Art by Aaron Lopresti.
Justice League #3 (July 1987)
Justice League: Generation Lost #4 (August 2010)
Steve Englehart (writer)
Joe Staton (artist)
Judd Winick (writer)
Joe Bennett (artist)
|Full name||Dimitri Pushkin
|Team affiliations||Justice League
Rocket Red Brigade
|Notable aliases||Rocket Red #4|
|Abilities||Super strength, flight, invulnerability, energy blasts, mecha-empathy|
Rocket Red is a fictional character and comic book superhero from the DC Comics universe. Created by Steve Englehart and Joe Staton, he first appeared in Green Lantern Corps #208 (January 1987), appearing shortly afterward in Justice League in issue #3 (July 1987); Rocket Red was inducted into the Justice League in Justice League #7 (November 1987).
The term "Rocket Reds" refers to any member of the Rocket Red Brigade; the name in the singular is used to refer to the three individual characters named Rocket Red who were members of the Justice League. These comprise the original Rocket Red #7 (later revealed as an android), Dmitri Pushkin (Rocket Red #4) and Gavril Ivanovich.
Fictional character biography
Dmitri Pushkin (Rocket Red #4) became a member of the Justice League International after the previously assigned Rocket Red #7 was revealed to be a Manhunter android. A kind-hearted and jolly man with a taste for American culture, Dimitri served with the Justice League International for many years.
When his armor was destroyed by Lobo, he replaced it with a more advanced model made on Apokolips. This happened during a small-team Justice League mission to save Mister Miracle. He also suffered the destruction of his battle suit while facing Time Commander in Animal Man #16 (Oct 1989), when Dimitri served with Justice League Europe. During this time, Maxwell Lord made arrangements with the Russian government for Dmitri's wife, Belina, and his two children, Mischa and Tascha, to live with him at the League's Paris embassy. He also became friends with Buddy Baker, in a manner similar to the friendship of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. Dimitri and Buddy initially bonded because they both had wives and children.
In Justice League Europe #28, Dimitri was part of the resistance against Starro because his armor prevented the alien from controlling his mind. Dmitri was neutralized when Starro threatened to harm his family. He willingly surrendered to the alien's control in order to keep them safe. Other Justice League members eventually defeated the menace.
Dimitri was the only European on the team initially. He retired from super-heroics for a long time before dying in The OMAC Project, self-destructing to save the other members of the old JLI. His last words to Booster Gold were "My wife and children, Michael ... tell them I love them."
In the Booster Gold series, Rocket Red's grandfather, Dr. Sergei Pushkin, was a Russian scientist working with the U.S. on the space race in 1952. Task Force X was given a mission to expose Pushkin as a traitor to the American cause. Thanks to Pushkin, the launch was ahead of schedule, and the Russians were conducting a flight to outer space that night. Booster Gold traveled through time to stop it, giving a diversion to Task Force X to apprehend Pushkin without exposing him. Pushkin became more careful, and the space program started to lag behind until he was exposed by Frank Rock as a traitor in 1954. Because he was a valuable source, the U.S. placed him under house arrest where he worked on the Rocket Red armor in secret until he was sprung in 1957 by the Soviets. He did not live to see his work completed, and it was up to his son, Dimitri, to finish the suit. The legacy of the Rocket Reds was secure until 1962.
The 2010 ongoing series Justice League: Generation Lost introduced a new Rocket Red named Gavril Ivanovich. In this title, several members of the erstwhile JLI, pursuing a group of OMACs controlled by the resurrected Maxwell Lord, encounter a fight among a group of Rocket Reds, whose infighting was triggered by renegade Rocket Red (Gavril Ivanovich), who remains loyal to the old Communist cause and is resistant to the capitalist values of the modern Rocket Red brigade. He also sports a bulkier, outdated suit of armor that resembles Pushkin's armor rather than the sleek, modern suits worn by the other members of the brigade. The Justice League members intervene to prevent collateral damage, and Ivanovich joins the group (somewhat to their initial reluctance) in a move that paralleled Pushkin's choice to join the original JLI years earlier. Gavril cements his membership in the new group during a fight against the Checkmate organization, suffering serious injuries but earning the team's respect. While the team deals with the apparent loss of Blue Beetle, Gavril bonds with Fire. He shares his insecurities about being thought of as a joke by his teammates due to his poor grasp of the English language, and the two grow close, eventually sharing a passionate kiss. During the final battle against Lords' army of OMACs, Gavril's armor is heavily damaged. Once Lord is temporarily defeated and the battle ends, the injured Gavril sets out to repair his suit.
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Gavril is reintroduced in the ongoing series Justice League International as a member of a United Nations-assembled superhero team led by Booster Gold. He immediately clashes with August General in Iron, the team's Chinese representative, but their relationship evolves into an escalation of patriotic posturing leading to their mutual respect. After helping to repel an invasion by the alien conqueror Peraxxus, Gavril is killed in an explosion during a press conference introducing the team.
Powers and abilities
The Rocket Reds were originally created for the Soviet Union by Green Lantern Kilowog and the Rocket Red Brigade —normal human beings enhanced using "forced evolution" and armored battle suits— proudly defended the USSR.
Their abilities included super strength, invulnerability, rocket-powered flight, the ability to project powerful energy blasts, and "mecha-empathy"—the ability to sense and control computers and machines.
In other media
- Rocket Red is seen briefly in various Justice League Unlimited cartoons, notably in the episodes "The Return" and "Panic in the Sky". Though his personal name is not given, his armor is the same as Dmitri's (Rocket Red No. 4) second suit. In "The Return", Rocket Red is one of the many heroes mobilized to defend Earth against the threat of Amazo. He is assigned to the second line of defense in the upper atmosphere, along with Supergirl, Fire and Red Tornado. The team is attacked by Amazo during his subsequent search for Lex Luthor. After a head-on collision with Amazo, Supergirl becomes the first casualty of the battle and falls, unconscious, into the ocean. Rocket Red then attempts to stop Amazo by firing a barrage of missiles from his suit. When this has little effect, Rocket Red opens fire with his shoulder-mounted Gatling gun and tries to retreat. However, Amazo pursues him and rips the gun from his armor. Later that episode, Rocket Red reappears briefly to carry the unconscious Fire out of the losing battle, moments before the last member of the team, Red Tornado, is destroyed by Amazo. He is also seen helping in the rescue efforts of the league after their weapon system is overtaken by Lex Luthor and fired at Cadmus Headquarters.
- The Dmitri Pushkin version of Rocket Red appeared in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Crisis: 22,300 Miles Above Earth".
- Rocket Red was released as a single packed action figure in Mattel's Justice League Unlimited DC Superheroes toy line.
- Rocket Red has also become part of Mattel's DC Universe Classics-based Signature Series, as a distinctly larger figure available through Mattel's online outlet at MattyCollector.Com
- Captain Atom Annual #2 (1988)
- Justice League Europe #52 (December 1992)
- Booster Gold (vol. 2) #20 (July 2009)
- Blackest Night #3 (September 2009)
- Justice League: Generation Lost #4 (August 2010)
- Justice League: Generation Lost #8 (September 2010)
- Justice League: Generation Lost #21 (March 2011)
- Justice League: Generation Lost #24 (April 2011)
- Justice League International (vol. 3) #1 (September 2011)
- Justice League International (vol. 3) #5 (January 2012)
- Justice League International (vol. 3) #7 (March 2012)