Roberto Da Costa is the son of Afro-Brazilian millionaire Emmanuel Da Costa and his American wife Nina, an archaeologist. Roberto first manifested his superhuman mutant powers when, at the age of fourteen, he was playing in a championship soccer match for his school team in Rio de Janeiro. Motivated by racial hatred, a boy named Keller and another member of the opposing team knocked Da Costa to the ground. The hot-tempered Da Costa retaliated by tackling Keller, who began brutally beating Roberto. It was then that, without being aware of what was happening to him, Da Costa first manifested his superhuman strength. His body and clothing temporarily turned black in the process, and he inadvertently hurled Keller away from him. Confused and frightened, Da Costa sought help, but both the other players and most of the spectators panicked and fled. However, his girlfriend, Juliana Sandoval, who had been watching the game along with Emmanuel, stood by Roberto in his time of need.
Roberto's powers came to the attention of Donald Pierce, the renegade White Bishop of the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club. Pierce sought to murder any superhuman mutants he could find. Pierce's mercenaries failed to abduct Roberto, but kidnapped Juliana instead. The mutant telepath, Professor Charles Xavier, founder of the X-Men, had learned of Pierce's plan to kill Roberto and sent his colleague, Dr. Moira MacTaggert, and the young superhuman mutants, Karma and Psyche, to help Da Costa.
Roberto agreed to meet with Pierce's men in order to obtain Sandoval's release, but the mercenaries refused to free her and intended to kill both of them instead. During a fight, one of the mercenaries fired at Da Costa, who had returned to normalcy again, but Juliana leaped in front of Da Costa, taking the fatal bullet herself. Anguished with guilt that Juliana had died protecting him, Da Costa vowed to take vengeance on Pierce. Bobby joined Karma, Prof. Xavier, and another young mutant, Wolfsbane, in tracking down Pierce and they succeeded in defeating him.
Roberto agreed to stay with Prof. Xavier and received training in the use of his superhuman powers as a member of the New Mutants, even when it was later discovered that the Professor had originally created the team because he had been possessed by a Brood Queen egg inside of him seeking young mutants for future embryos. At the Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, the New Mutants were tutored by Professor X and trained in the use of their powers in the Danger Room. A founding member of the New Mutants, Bobby was a mainstay of the junior team for most of its existence and became best friends with his teammate Samuel Guthrie (Cannonball).
Meanwhile, Bobby’s father was contacted by the Hellfire Club and became a member of its secret Inner Circle under the alias of White Rook. He was the only person in the Inner Circle without superhuman powers. His performance in that role was almost unnoticed.
Sunspot and Wolfsbane were injected with the same drug that gifted Cloak and Dagger with their powers. Unable to control himself, Bobby attacked the X-Man Colossus until the New Mutant Magik returned the powers to the original owners.
Empath of the Hellions turned Bobby and his teammate Magma over to the Gladiators, where they were forced to battle for entertainment by his former teammate Karma. Later, during a trip to Asgard, Bobby gained a job as security in a tavern. After lifting Volstagg over his head, he befriended the Warriors Three. Bobby seriously entertained the idea of staying, as heroes were honored and worshiped in Asgard and he was hated and feared as a mutant on Earth.
After their adventure in Asgard, the New Mutants found themselves under the guidance of a new teacher, Magneto, a fact that Bobby had a hard time dealing with. After reading Professor Xavier's personal files on himself, speculating that he could one day turn evil due to his arrogance, Bobby took a brief leave of the school.
While watching the Wildways, Bobby was captured by Spiral and Mojo, and mentally controlled by Psylocke into joining a new show, the Bratpack. After a brief battle with the New Mutants, Psylocke was freed from her mind control and freed the others as well. The New Mutants later battled the X-Men after they had been turned into the X-Babies by Mojo, until they were broken of their brainwashing and defeated the spineless one.
During a friendly soccer game, Bobby accidentally gave Sam Guthrie a concussion. Believing himself to be a danger to his team, Bobby ran away. After living on the streets, Bobby saved a runaway mutant called Chance from a group of thugs. When Bobby's powers failed, Chance abandoned him and fled with an alien girl called Ariel. Bobby was rescued by Warlock, who tried to convince Bobby to return to the New Mutants, but Bobby felt he was not worthy to rejoin the team and wished to be left a pariah. Warlock suggested that they stick together.
Bobby decided to become a villain and rob a church, but found himself unable to go through with it. The pair were found by a duplicate of Jamie Madrox and Siryn, who attempted to return them to the New Mutants. A cyborg called Gomi propositioned Bobby to join the Fallen Angels, a group primarily made up of adolescent mutant thieves organized by the mutant criminal called the Vanisher. Among his recruits were the young mutant Boom Boom, Gomi and his two cybernetically-enhanced lobsters Bill and Don, Chance, Ariel, the duplicate Madroxes, and Siryn.
Vanisher teleported the Fallen Angels to the Valley of the Flame on Dinosaur World, where they were joined by Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur. After Devil Dinosaur accidentally crushed Don the Lobster, Gomi spoke of not leaving friends after an accident or tragedy, which struck a cord with Bobby and he began to second-guess his decision to leave the New Mutants. After all of the mutants' powers temporarily went out-of-whack due to Chance, Ariel suggested that they all leave and teleported them to the Coconut Grove, her home planet. The inhabitants of the Coconut Grove and the leader, Unipar, captured the Fallen Angels, intending to experiment on them in order to continue their evolution, but the Angels worked together to defeat them and returned home.
Returning to the New Mutants
Bobby and Warlock returned to the New Mutants in time to aide them against Cameron Hodge and The Right. During the battle, Doug Ramsey jumped in the path of a bullet intended for Wolfsbane, killing him. Magneto ordered the children never to use their mutant powers without his permission, a fact that Bobby immediately defied and stated that Magneto didn't give them their powers and they could use them as they pleased.
Roberto was also among the New Mutants, alongside Rahne, Sam, Dani and Warlock, who was captured by a demon posing as Baba Yaga. After a few days of being fattened into obesity, Roberto and the others were nearly eaten before Colossus managed to save them .
The mutants did not stay under the care of Magneto, as Cannonball and Mirage decided to move the team out from under Magneto's thumb. Magneto claimed the X-Men and the New Mutants were to be his army against the coming war between humans and mutants. He allowed the New Mutants to leave, however, stating that, in time, they would find his ways right and Bobby would be the first to join him. Bobby and the New Mutants were introduced to X-Factor and began to live on Ship, merging with the X-Terminators.
When his father died Bobby left the New Mutants and went with Gideon, an old friend, to take over his father's business. Gideon, however, was an immortal External who had killed Bobby's father and was looking for the next External. Thinking that it was Sunspot, Gideon had Bobby subjected to various experiments that increased his solar absorption capabilities by 3000%.
Meanwhile, Cable turned the New Mutants into X-Force and Sam Guthrie was discovered to be the real External of the team. When Sunspot was liberated by X-Force, he found he had the ability to fire energy blasts from his hands.
Shortly after, during a battle with the M.L.F., Sunspot channeled his solar energy around his body, enabling him to fly. Unfortunately, he flew into one of Locus' portal beams and was sent into the time-stream. It was thought that Sunspot had an alternate persona called Reignfire who led the M.L.F., but it became clear that they were separate entities. After Bobby flew into Locus' beam, Reignfire captured him and forged a telepathic link that made Sunspot his puppet. When Cable forced his Askani disciplines into Sunspot to "expunge" Reignfire, he severed that link and Bobby returned to normal. As a result of Cable's actions, Bobby was now fluent in Askani and gained finer control over his powers. He was so powerful that he found it hard not to be in his blacked-out "fiery-head" state, but he could power down using the Askani methods. In the final battle with Reignfire, Bobby was possessed by his nemesis, but eventually regained control of his body, and was stronger than ever.
While his best friend Sam Guthrie was with the X-Men, Bobby got closer to Sam's girlfriend Meltdown (Tabitha Smith). Things progressed to the point where the teammates kissed, just in time for Sam to burst in and see them. This drove a wedge between the friends that didn't really heal, although they managed to work together when Sam rejoined X-Force.
Bobby was deported from the U.S. because his student visa was no longer valid since he was not a student anymore. He returned to Brazil, to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, but was restless and found the life of a rich playboy heir boring and meaningless. At that moment, Selene, who had usurped control of the Hellfire Club, approached Bobby and convinced him to help her stop the Deviants in the Damocles Foundation from resurrecting a Celestial Template. Bobby agreed and met up with X-Force again during the battle. However, Selene didn't give up so easily and put Bobby through a number of illusory situations to force him to her side. Sunspot saw through all of them, so Selene and Blackheart, the new Black King, played their trump card: Juliana Sandoval. Juliana was Bobby's girlfriend before his powers manifested. She was captured along with him by the Hellfire Club and she died to save him from being shot by a club goon. Blackheart told Bobby that Juliana was supposed to have lived, but someone in Processing messed up. The deal was: Bobby would join the Hellfire Club, and Juliana would get a new start in a recently deceased girl's body. Feeling that he owed his life to Juliana, Bobby had no choice but to accept, and left X-Force to become the third Black Rook.
With Sebastian Shaw's resumption of the leadership of the Hellfire Club, Bobby appeared to have been released from his vow. Exactly what occurred and why Shaw would let Bobby get away is still unknown. Bobby then became the head of the Los Angeles X-Corporation branch, and was working with Empath to insure that mutant interests were taken care of. For some reason, Bobby no longer used or had access to his energy-blasting and flight abilities, and now simply operated as "super-strong." In that capacity, Bobby helped Jon Spectre and a reconstituted X-Force battle the Skornn.
Bobby was again contacted by Shaw (and secretly by Sage) and invited to join the Lords Cardinal as the Black King under Shaw, who sought the overarching position of Lord Imperial. However, Shaw's injury at the hands of Donald Pierce put Roberto in position to become Lord Imperial, with Sage as his primary adviser.
As a result of the Scarlet Witch's actions on M-Day, nearly all of the mutants in the entire world were stripped of their powers. Bobby was one of the 198 who retained their powers. He retained his position as Black King of the Hellfire Club until Donald Pierce manipulated a team of Young X-Men into attacking him, believing him to be an enemy. When Pierce was defeated, Bobby became a teacher to these Young X-Men at the request of Cyclops, before rejoining his former teammates and reforming the New Mutants.
New Mutants X-Men Squad
Magik later returned, stating that she was from the not too distant future and that the world and New Mutants would die without her intervention. Cyclops allowed Cannonball to reorganize the original New Mutants squad. Their first mission was to subdue a recently returned Legion. After battling their resurrected teammate, Doug Ramsey, and the Hellions, Doug was freed from Eli Bard's control by Warlock wielding Magik's Soulsword and rejoined Bobby and the rest of his former teammates.
Supreme Leader of A.I.M.
After a conflict between the Avengers and the X-Men, Sunspot and Cannonball were some of the heroes that joined the ranks of the Avengers as part of the team's plan to expand in numbers. Their first mission involved rescuing the core Avengers team, who had been captured on Mars by Ex Nihilo and Abyss. When Steve Rogers decided to capture the Illuminati for their clandestine activities, Bobby was unwilling to hunt down their friends, no matter what they had done. He left the Avengers, and once the fact that the Earth was in danger due to the incursions was made public, decided to take action. Roberto bought A.I.M., and became their leader after forcefully kicking out the Scientist Supreme. He subsequently used their resources to investigate the incursions from the Savage Land. Due to his progress, Bobby visited Cannonball on Chandilar and asked him to return to Earth.
Some of the Avengers who had left the team after Steve Rogers tasked them to hunt down the Illuminati joined Sunspot's own Avengers team. After helping diffuse the tensions between the Avengers and the Illuminati, Sunspot put A.I.M.'s resources into helping the other heroes investigate and try to prevent the end of the world. When the incursion crisis reached an end, Sunspot set out to overhaul his company. Within eight months, Bobby removed any employee that posed a bad influence and re-branded his new company as Avengers Idea Mechanics, now located on the Avengers Island, with the purpose of helping the world, primarily by funding his New Avengers team. Around this time, Roberto developed the disease known as M-Pox, caused when a mutant entered in contact with any traces of the Terrigen cloud that was slowly being assimilated into the atmosphere. Bobby initially misled people into believing the M-Pox cost him his powers, when in reality he maintained them, but at a much higher level than before, which caused him to age prematurely if he used them.
A.I.M. underwent another rebranding when Da Costa made a deal with General Maverick of the United States Army after a conflict involving hacktivist Rick Jones, whom Da Costa provided with refuge, left A.I.M. in bad terms with S.H.I.E.L.D. A.I.M. was pardoned of the acts of war executed against S.H.I.E.L.D., and in turn became its intelligence division, turning into American Intelligence Mechanics. Sunspot began to lead the U.S.Avengers under the alias of Citizen V.
During the temporary takeover of the government by Hydra's hand, Roberto was shot in the head with an energy pulse by a rogue A.I.M. agent. The injury caused Roberto's powers to flare up, endangering his life. When he was imprisoned by Hydra, Roberto's cellmate and fellow U.S.Avenger Toni Ho managed to create a capacitor headband that regulated his powers. Following Hydra's fall, the new Presidential administration attempted to fully take control of A.I.M. since S.H.I.E.L.D. had been dissolved. Roberto managed to save A.I.M. from this change of order by resigning from his position as Supreme Leader. Because the deal Bobby made with General Maverick concerned him personally, A.I.M. severed any ties with the government once Bobby left. Despite leaving the reins of A.I.M. to Toni Ho, Bobby remained as the leader of the U.S.Avengers.
Shortly afterwards, Citizen V's team joined forces with the main Avengers team and the Avengers Unity Division due to a global crisis caused by a cosmic contest between two Elders of the Universe, the Grandmaster and the Challenger, a game during which the Earth was teleported away from the Solar System. Near the conflict's end, Roberto saw himself forced to switch off his regulator headband and use his powers to help keep a device named the World-Engine running, since it maintained the Earth's conditions and prevented the planet from crumbling. This feat tentatively took many years off Bobby's life, so he decided to disband the U.S.Avengers and return to his roots since he didn't know how much time he had left, and rebranded himself as "Citizen X."
War of the Realms
Somehow Roberto regained full control of his abilities and going by Sunspot again he helped the X-Men bring local civilians to Citi Field which was dubbed as Fort Syndergaard for safety. He teamed up with Multiple Man against the Frost Giants where he ended up throwing a car at one of their heads killing it. Wolfsbane scolded Sunspot about how they needed to capture one of them to interrogate; Roberto responded in that fashion because he had seen a dead Hope on the ground, not realizing that she duplicated Madrox's ability to make dupes. Soon afterward Sunspot and the others were ambushed by a group of Ice Hounds who were led by Sabretooth. Being in cahoots with Malekith, Sabretooth chose Rahne to battle against while Sunspot was left to deal with the wolves.
Getting the upper hand, Hope told Sunspot and the rest of the X-Men to fall back in order to regroup. This gave them enough time to be saved by Mirage and Havok who blasted all the hounds with a plasma burst causing Sabretooth to flee the scene. As Roberto received a hug from Karma, he told her that he has been with the group since leaving New Jersey right after the invasion began. Sunspot wondered where Illyana was at but Karma responded that she thought Magik was with them. He replied that there was only five of them but when Roberto looked around, he noticed that Rahne went missing.
After he was reunited with the X-Men, and everyone was back including Magik, they wanted to use her magic. A magical stone prevented her from utilizing her abilities, a stone which Sunspot later found and attempted to grab. Though it supposedly did no harm, the stone seemingly caused Sunspot to explode in a fiery death. Mirage became aware of the ghosts surrounding them amongst the bodies of the fallen, including Sunspot. Before departing, he told her that he loved her and that she was practically his sister.
Following the foundation of a mutant state in Krakoa by the hand of Charles Xavier and his allies, Sunspot resurfaced as a citizen of the nation, having been presumably reborn by the hand of The Five, a group of mutants capable of combining their powers into a process of resurrection, brought together by Xavier as part of his plans for mutant ascension.
Bobby Da Costa is a mutant with the following abilities:
- Solar Radiation Absorption: He can absorb solar energy and utilize it for physical strength. The cells of a normal human body convert energy from foodstuffs into a form of energy usable by the body. This energy is stored through converting molecules of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) in the cells into adenosine triphosphate (ATP); the energy is released when necessary by breaking a chemical bond in the ATP molecules, converting them back to ADP. Apparently Sunspot can store solar-derived energy in his cells through the same, or a similar method, and release it when necessary to enhance his physical strength. His body is cloaked in darkness because he drains all the ambient light from his skin.
- Solar Re-channeling: He possesses the ability to re-channel the solar energy which his body absorbs, by which he takes the solar energy and uses it for a variety of related purposes:
- FTL Flight: He possesses the ability to fly by propelling himself through the air, by force of will, by generating thermal updrafts. Bobby has also refined this ability to be able to hover in the air without leaving a heat trail, and can reach speeds of up to 150 mph maximum without overexerting himself. Reaching speeds of 750 mph in his over charged state. He can purportedly reach escape velocities by way of breaching planetary orbit and achieve space traversal.
- Enhanced Strength: When Sunspot's cells are powered by solar energy he has the superhuman ability to augment his physical strength. The original limits of his strength was that of 2 tons. Since then, however, his strength level increased to 50 tons. Possibly more, as he was able to deck an alt. universe hulk, drawing blood from him while landing single blow. Presently, Sunspot's strength has increased to uncontrollable levels as a side effect of his M-Pox infection. During the game between the Grandmaster and the Challenger, Sunspot considered himself to be the strongest mutant on Earth, but using that much power would eventually be lethal to him. Ever since his resurrection, Sunspot's powers not only seem to've stabilized but metastasized in odd ways. Once boasting of how he was stronger than majestor Gladiator of the Shi'Ar and proving some merit to his claim by temporarily restraining him as he and the New Mutants battled it out with his Imperial Guard.
- Enhanced Speed: Fast enough to catch a speeding lancet thrown back at Deathbird by Kallark.
- Enhanced Reflexes: Quick in intercepting return fire from Gladiator after the majestor had hurled Cal'syee's own spear back at her.
- Enhanced Agility: Roberto has greater agility, balance, dexterity, flexibility, equilibrium and bodily coordination than that of an Olympic-level athlete. He is able to avoid energy beams in a death trap room using his Danger Room training in his day as an X-Men and did it in human form.
- Enhanced Durability: Sunspot is one of the interesting powerhouses of the Marvel Universe due to the fact that he is one of the only ones that does not have heightened invulnerability. During many of the comics that Sunspot was seen in his teammates would remind him that he was super strong but not super durable. Although Sunspot has not been seen able to deflect bullets, his limited durability does provide his body the needed protection to be able to lift the massive weight that his super strength allows him to. However, this appears to have been contradicted as he has taken a bomb blast from a device latched onto his side and come out of it unscathed, taken blows from Smasher with some discomfort, survived a laser blast to the face from the A.I.M scientist supreme and endure the rigors of interplanetary traversal without suffering ill effects.
- Thermokinesis: Ability to project heat in intense waves when he absorbs and re-channels solar energy from any part of his body to raise the temperature. Roberto can also absorb heat into his body to lower the temperature in his immediate area. He can also project and absorb heat directly into/from people, causing intense discomfort over their fluctuating body temperatures.
- Photokinesis: Sunspot has the underlying ability to project, drain and cast light as intense waves from absorbing and re-channeling solar energy, as well as ambient EM wavelengths. To the extent of which is unknown but he is able enough to use this facet of his powers to nullify photon waves from the scientist supreme of A.I.M. and deal a laser emission back with nearly double the force.
- Thermokinetic Concussive/Energy Blasts: During Sunspot's time with X-Force he was kidnapped by a supervillain named Gideon who performed various experiments on him. Gideon exposed Sunspot's body to massive amounts of solar energy in order to test the limits of his solar absorption. After these experiments Sunspot's body was overloaded with solar energy and he later gained the ability to fire blasts of heat and concussive force.
- Dark Solar Plasma Blasts: He has the ability to project concussive dark plasma energy blasts from his hands, with about 20 tons of force behind them at their most powerful.
- Energy Absorption: Da Costa can absorb various forms of energy available to him beyond just sunlight in order to bolster himself even further, even drawing upon and distilling the harmful effects of a laser blast. He also successfully drew upon the energies of the resurrected Abomination who had been altered to emit vast quantities of Gamma Radiation.
- Self-Sustenance: While in transformed state, Da Costa uses his energy abilities to provide nourishment for himself, allowing him to survive out in the cold of deep space. Using the self sustain ability he can heal himself with the energy he absorbs. 
- Fire and Heat Immunity: As is the norm with most pyrokinetics, Sunspot is immune to all forms of heat and fire as they simply add to his abilities and his mutant metabolism is able to simply convert these two forms and augment his abilities. This includes heat powers that are directed at him as well as heat that is present because of weather conditions. Sunspot has also been seen with the ability to absorb the energy that fire gives off and has remained unharmed while walking through it.
Trained Martial Artist: As part of the X-Men, Sunspot has been trained by the likes of Wolverine and other mutants in combat. Since joining the Avengers, Sunspot received further training. He's further honed his skills by fighting/training against strong opponents such as Captain America, Black Panther, and Daredevil. Sunspot has become a very skilled fighter, by training with the X-Men and Avengers. He has also trained in the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira.
Athlete: Roberto is a very skilled soccer player, and used to play for his high school soccer team.
Multilingual: Roberto speaks English, Spanish, and is fluent in Portuguese. He is also fluent in the future language of the Askani.
Skilled Tactician: Following his acquisition of A.I.M., Roberto has shown to be a proficient tactician, being able to turn a ploy of the Maker to take over A.I.M. against the villain himself, through misdirection, and exploiting the flaws in the Maker's own plans.
Regulator Headband: After being shot in the head with an energy pulse by a dissenting A.I.M. agent, Roberto's powers went haywire. Toni Ho developed a headband so Bobby could regulate his powers.
- According to original character designs by Bob McLeod, Roberto was supposed to be of African/Portuguese descent, another variant for his alias was Solarus and he was supposed to grow to 10' when using his powers. He also had a second design for his powered state that was later used for Magma.
- 550 appearance(s) of Roberto Da Costa (Earth-616)
- 36 minor appearance(s) of Roberto Da Costa (Earth-616)
- 39 mention(s) of Roberto Da Costa (Earth-616)
- 449 image(s) of Roberto Da Costa (Earth-616)
- 41 quotation(s) by or about Roberto Da Costa (Earth-616)
Links and References
- uncannyxmen.net Spotlight On... Sunspot