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Quote1 Officers, I'm no bomber... I'm a bomb! A LIVING BOMB! Quote2


Early life[]

Robert Hunter was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania.


Robert Hunter was a capable but eccentric retired electrical engineer, whose hobby was being a ham radio operator. A band of renegade Kree scientists monitored Hunter's transmissions and chose him to become an agent of their Lunatic Legion, an alien criminal organization based on Earth. The Kree promised Hunter great power in exchange for his services in their criminal activities. After he agreed, they removed him to an orbiting genetics laboratory where they genetically and atomically bioengineered Hunter into Nitro the Exploding Man.[9] These alterations gave him the ability to explode and reform himself at will.[10][11]

Captain Marvel[]

The Lunatic Legion sent their agent, Nitro, to steal a top-secret government nerve gas called Compound 13. He is confronted by Captain Marvel who defeated Nitro by having Rick Jones hit his Nega Bands together at the moment Nitro exploded, augmenting Nitro's concussive force with his own transformational energy, causing Nitro's essence to be scattered over Northern Indiana.[12][8][5] The gas canister ruptured in the explosion and Mar-Vell successfully resealed the container.[13] However the exposure to the nerve gas ultimately lead to Mar-Vell's cancer.[14]

Omega the Unknown[]

After months of effort, Nitro reintegrated his molecules and went searching for Captain Marvel to enact his revenge.[15] Mistaking the hero Omega the Unknown for Mar-Vell, Nitro attacks him before realizing that it's the wrong person. Angered by the villain's attack, Omega chased him to a warehouse filled with Stark Industries technology where Nitro hoped to draw out Iron Man, and Captain Marvel. Omega engaged him in battle and ended it by clamping a titanium tube over Nitro just before he explodes, causing him to shoot his atoms up into the sky, but also causing the ceiling to collapse on Omega.[16]

Return of Captain Marvel[]

Captain Marvel returned from space and resolved to find some kind of life for himself now that he is separated from Rick Jones only to end up battling a revenge-seeking Nitro.[12]


Upset about her father's unlawful containment in the Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. Facility, Virginia got a court order for Nitro's release into her custody. However, as soon as Nitro's gasses recombined he escaped, taking Virginia and her attorney Emerson Bale hostage. Nitro robs a bank, stealing travel money to reach Denver, Captain Marvel's new home, in pursuit of revenge. He is intercepted by Spider-Man, who tricks Nitro into exploding while webbed to a canister of nausea gas. Nitro's vapor form bonds with the gas, binding it to his molecules when he reforms. Wracked with nausea and unable to concentrate enough to explode, Nitro is apprehended and transported to Bellevue Hospital, where he remained hospitalized for a couple of years.[1][17][5] Spider-Man later met Quasar in a secured ambulance transporting Nitro to Project Pegasus, where they talked while the ambulance continued its journey. They were however called away due to an attack on Empire State University by Lightmaster.[18]


During Nitro's stay in Bellevue Hospital's prison ward, another villain was briefly held alongside him: the Vulture (Adrian Toomes).[17] Toomes grew angry that Nitro remained feared even in his weakened state while he himself was considered a joke. While incarcerated in a maximum security prison, Toomes formulated a revenge plan: he would free Nitro from his containment and prove himself worthy of fear.[19] Escaping the same day Nitro's trial began, the Vulture stole Nitro's containment tank from the New York State Court of Appeals and blew out the nausea gas using a device supplied by the Tinkerer. Swiftly recovering, Nitro blasted himself free before getting caught in a fight with Rusty and Skids of the New Mutants. Skids expanded her perpetual force field to encompass Nitro, containing his next explosion and redirecting the force back at him. This temporarily shattered his molecular bonds, disintegrating Nitro when he attempted to re-form.[20][5]


He joined Hardcore's team the Untouchables. He sent Nitro, Kickback, and Tombstone to fight Luke Cage and capture Dakota North.[21] However, Kickback chose this time to attempt a rebellion which proved unsuccessful. Hardcore blew up the Black Hole in Colorado after almost killing Cage.[2]

Secret Defenders[]

Nitro joined Thanos' Defenders, an organized group of supervillains questing to find and obtain the Oracle of Ancient Knowledge.[22] They apparently disbanded after the mission was successful. Instead of returning to Earth with Rhino and Titanium Man, Nitro chose to take the escape pod from their destroyed ship and explore space. [23]


Nitro piloted his shuttle to Hala in search of the Kree Empire, where he then battled Legacy (Genis-Vell), who wanted to kill Nitro for his part in his father's death. However, Legacy decided to instead arrest him after reading a quote by his father on a display in the Hall of Justice: "Defeat your enemy, do not become your enemy." After his defeat, Nitro was then imprisoned on Titan.[24]

Heroes for Hire[]

The Heroes for Hire battled Nitro at the Atlantic Coast Rail Yards. Hercules defeated Nitro by throwing a tanker of natural gas at him, forcing Nitro to explode and subsequently scattering his particles. Nitro later reformed and attempted to blow up the New York Stock Exchange, where he was once again confronted by the Heroes for Hire.[25] Iron Fist countered an explosive punch from Nitro with a punch of his own, heavily damaging Nitro's hand. Then, before Nitro could retaliate, Black Knight stepped in to protect Iron Fist. Nitro attacked the Knight, but by using his Shield of Night, Dane absorbed the energy of the blow, redirecting it through the Sword of Light to blow up the ground beneath Nitro, knocking him out with shrapnel in the process. Iron Fist and Nitro were then both taken to a hospital.[26]


He was hired by the Kingpin as one of many assassins to launch a carefully planned attack on several New York crime bosses including Hammerhead, Don Fortunato, Silvermane, and Caesar Cicero. Nitro's target was Norman Osborn; however he survived the attack.[27]

Iron Man[]

When Nitro was hired to kill Tony Stark, a fight developed between him 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, who then sent to prison.[28]

Nitro battled Iron Man along with Count Nefaria's Death Squad and Whiplash. Nitro now wore a defensive scrambler to keep Iron Man from remotely activating his powers as before, but Iron Man shot it and set Nitro off, using him against his own side, who swiftly retreated.[29]


Nitro was hired as a hitman to kill Matt Murdock, but was apprehended by police.[30]

Stamford, Connecticut[]

Namorita Prentiss (Earth-616) and Robert Hunter (Earth-616) from Civil War Vol 1 1 0001
Robert Hunter (Earth-616) from Civil War Vol 1 1 001

The New Warriors performed a videotaped raid of a house in Stamford, Connecticut, where the Cobalt Man, Speedfreek, Coldheart, and Nitro were living after having escaped the Raft during the Ryker's Island incident.[31] The New Warriors attacked each member, with Namorita going after Nitro. Slamming him into a school bus, Namorita continued to taunt him until Nitro let off a massive explosion.[32]

This explosion apparently killed Namorita, Night Thrasher, Microbe, and the supervillains he was with during the raid, along with sixty children at the nearby elementary school and the surrounding neighborhood in the town where the fight took place.[32] The aftermath of the tragic incident was picked up by the superhero teams, who were already split over the issue of Superhuman registration; this, in turn, led to the superhero Civil War.[33]

Hunted by Wolverine[]

Knowing that Nitro's explosive power could not be that great (at least not under normal circumstances), Wolverine began hunting him after he escaped in the back of a pickup truck.[32][34] Eventually, Nitro was found by Wolverine, alongside a S.H.I.E.L.D Superhuman Restraint Unit.[35] In response Nitro explodes, using his powers to kill the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and seemingly Wolverine; leaving nothing but the mutant's adamantium covered skeleton. He then made a phone call to an unknown government official who may be involved in the aforementioned Stamford Incident.[3]

Robert Hunter (Earth-616) from Wolverine Vol 3 43 001

After the phone call, however, Nitro found himself in the grip of a nearly fully regenerated and enraged Wolverine. As Wolverine pounded on him, theorizing correctly that Nitro's powers couldn't affect anyone or anything in very close proximity, Nitro revealed that he had been taking Mutant Growth Hormone to increase his powers, which was why he was able to cause the disaster in Stamford.[36] Nitro also hinted that there was someone bigger behind the events of Stamford, but before the name was given, the two were confronted by the three mystery agents. They were revealed to be Atlantean Royal Guard sent by Namor to apprehend Nitro for the murder of Princess Namorita.[7]

James Howlett (Earth-616) from Wolverine Vol 3 43 001

During his battle with Namor, Wolverine was knocked unconscious and the Atlanteans took Nitro to New Pangea for torture and interrogation. Wolverine pursued them in the Iron Man Armor Model 35 and "negotiated" with Namor to see Nitro, only to find that Nitro had killed his interrogators. Wolverine cut off Nitro's right arm below the elbow. As Nitro begged for mercy, Wolverine recanted on his promised protection. He allowed Namor to do what he wanted with Nitro, who then stayed as a "guest" of Atlantis. His secret benefactor was revealed to be Walter Declun, the CEO of Damage Control.[37]

Robert Hunter (Earth-616) and Namor McKenzie (Earth-616) from Sub-Mariner Vol 2 1 001

New Pangea[]

Cell-13, an Atlantean splinter cell lead by Namor's son Kamar, had been siphoning Nitro's power to create weapons in order to attack the surface world.[38] Namor then decided that the city had been compromised and he had enough of any involvement with the humans. He decided to evacuate the city through old tunnels running through the ground, where the civilians would live amongst the humans and not in one city anymore. He made the preparations for the destruction of Atlantis, where he would use Nitro, who was still in his jail cell, to blow up the entire city like a time bomb while chaining his son to the throne in order to die with Nitro and the city as punishment for his betrayal.[39] The city was evacuated and then blown up, resulting in it being completely destroyed with only some wreckage left behind. Namor and his army, however, soon found refuge in Latveria.[40]


Robert Hunter (Earth-616) from Penance Relentless Vol 1 5 001

Nitro escaped Atlantis to the sewers with a few Atlantean terrorists. He was later captured in Latveria and held in Castle Doom's dungeons by Doctor Doom. Penance later attacked Latveria and forced Doctor Doom to release Nitro, who Penance tortured and almost killed to the point of even forcing Nitro to wear the painful costume.[41] He was found by the Thunderbolts, many of whom were shocked at the level of the injuries. It can be assumed that Nitro was arrested by the Thunderbolts.[42]

The Hood's Gang[]

Nitro joined up with the Hood's Gang. They stole a treasure from an Arabic diplomat, then had a celebratory party where the Hood showed them how he's the leader as well as the process he used to delegate the job.[43] Nitro then attended Sabretooth's party in Madripoor.[44] Nitro and a group of villains battled Spider-Man on a submarine.[45]

Pleasant Hill[]

At some point, Nitro was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. and imprisoned in Pleasant Hill. S.H.I.E.L.D. used the Kobik project on him which turned him into a Pleasant Hill inhabitant named Roger.[46]

Secret Empire[]

He later joined Baron Zemo's Army of Evil to aid the operations of Hydra and its leader, an alternate reality Captain America.[47] He participated in the Army of Evil's attack on Manhattan in order to lure as many of America's superheroes there as possible and knocked out many of his enemies after blowing himself up. He and the rest of the Army of Evil were teleported away so Baron Zemo and Blackout could trap most of Manhattan and the superheroes lured there in an impenetrable Darkforce dome.[48]

After Hydra took over the United States,[49] Nitro and the rest of the Army of Evil were placed in stasis by Hydra's Supreme Leader Captain America who was wary of what they could do if they remained free.[50] When Hydra's regime collapsed,[51] Nitro was likely freed from stasis and taken into custody.

Kingpins of New York[]

After the Hood replaced former crime leader Diamondback, he called a meeting of a group of 24 villains, including Nitro, to work under him as the new Kingpins of New York, with himself being the Kingpin of Kingpins. Each villain was to be assigned their own territory along the eastern seaboard. Before this could happen, the Hood's meeting was interrupted by the Defenders and a number of other heroes.[52]


Power Grid[59]
:Category:Power Grid/Fighting Skills/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/Single Type: Medium Range:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Regenerative:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Superhuman:Category:Power Grid/Strength/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Intelligence/Normal


  • Self-Explosion: Nitro possesses the superhuman ability to literally turn himself into a living bomb.[35] Nitro can blow up his entire body at will and exists in a sentient, gaseous form until he reconstitutes himself. Typically, Nitro's maximum blast force is equal to about 250 lbs of TNT, about the power of a World War II German V2 rocket warhead. He can also choose to explode specific parts of his body; for example, he can choose to detonate only his hand, delivering an explosive punch equivalent in concussive force to 10 lbs of TNT.[9] However, while this is the average extent of his powers, while taking Mutant Growth Hormone, his power was enhanced far beyond his original limits, sufficient to level the city of Stamford, Connecticut.[7][35][4]
    • Reconstitution: After he explodes, he can reconstitute himself at will[35] and can remain in this gaseous form for an indefinite period of time.[5] Nitro also generates a type of kinetic field around his body that also allows himself to reconstitute the clothes he wears at the time he explodes.[53]
    • Regeneration: Nitro's body can regenerate damaged or destroyed tissue by "pulling itself back together", to an extent that he can regrow severed limbs[54] and even return from near-death.[2]


  • A high-frequency pulse is emitted by his body each time he explodes. Iron Man duplicated the pulse, causing Nitro to explode. After he exploded several times in a minute, he passed out from exhaustion.[28]
  • If separated or dispersed, it will be longer or impossible to reform.[5] He cannot reform if partially trapped within a force field.[20]
  • During an encounter with Wolverine, it was discovered that while Nitro was taking Mutant Growth Hormone, if an individual could get close enough to Nitro, less than a few feet, it would nullify Nitro's ability to explode and leave him as vulnerable as any ordinary human to physical assault.[36]
  • Formerly missing half of his right hand, which was hacked off by Wolverine.[7]



  • Mutant Growth Hormone: During the Civil War, Wolverine discovered that the supervillain Nitro used Mutant Growth Hormone to increase his power level, which allowed him to annihilate Stamford, Connecticut.[7][35][4]
  • Null-Harness: Tony Stark constructed the Null-Harness which keeps Nitro from exploding whilst in custody.[28]


  • After telling his daughter Virginia that he was hearing voices from outer space (the Lunatic Legion), Virginia tried to have him committed.[5]
  • Tony Stark has stated that 'Nitro's insanity is the only thing holding him back from being one of the most dangerous super-villains on Earth.[55]
  • Wolverine has remarked that "nothin's standard when dealing with Nitro.", before alluding to the deaths of Captain Marvel[13] and The New Warriors[32] at the hands of Nitro.[3][56]
  • While looking through a S.H.I.E.L.D. folder, Deadpool remarked that Nitro was "the lamest villain ever!"[57]

See Also

Links and References


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #55
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Cage #4
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Wolverine (Vol. 3) #43
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Dark Reign Files #1
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z: Update #4
  6. Daredevil (Vol. 2) #27
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Wolverine (Vol. 3) #45
  8. 8.0 8.1 Civil War: Battle Damage Report #1
  9. 9.0 9.1 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #8
  10. Captain Marvel #38
  11. Captain Marvel (Vol. 3) #2
  12. 12.0 12.1 Captain Marvel #54
  13. 13.0 13.1 Captain Marvel #34
  14. Death of Captain Marvel #1
  15. Gamer's Handbook of the Marvel Universe #3
  16. Omega the Unknown #8
  17. 17.0 17.1 Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #56
  18. Marvel Team-Up #113
  19. New Mutants #83
  20. 20.0 20.1 New Mutants #86
  21. Cage #23
  22. Secret Defenders #12
  23. Secret Defenders #1314
  24. Cosmic Powers #4
  25. Heroes for Hire #2
  26. Heroes for Hire #3
  27. Spider-Man #95
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Iron Man (Vol. 3) #15
  29. Iron Man 1999 #1
  30. Daredevil (Vol. 2) #2627
  31. New Avengers #4
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Civil War #1
  33. Civil War: Front Line #12
  34. Wolverine (Vol. 3) #42
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 Civil War Files #1
  36. 36.0 36.1 Wolverine (Vol. 3) #44
  37. Wolverine (Vol. 3) #47
  38. Sub-Mariner (Vol. 2) #1
  39. Sub-Mariner (Vol. 2) #5
  40. Sub-Mariner (Vol. 2) #6
  41. Penance Relentless #4
  42. Penance Relentless #5
  43. Dark Reign: The Hood #1
  44. Wolverine (Vol. 2) #304
  45. Marvel Knights: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #34
  46. Avengers Standoff: Assault On Pleasant Hill Alpha #1
  47. Captain America: Steve Rogers #13
  48. Secret Empire #0
  49. Secret Empire #1
  50. Secret Empire #9
  51. Secret Empire #10
  52. Defenders (Vol. 5) #10
  53. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition #2
  54. Starbrand & Nightmask #1
  55. New Avengers Most Wanted Files #1
  56. Wolverine (Vol. 3) #48
  57. Deadpool GLI - Summer Fun Spectacular #1
  58. All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z: Update #4
  59. All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z: Update Vol 1 4