Russell Collins was the son of a sailor who died in a war. After his mother died, he was sent to live with his Uncle Ted and worked at his hardware store. Rusty's uncle considered him a whiner and shipped him off to the Navy when he turned sixteen. Docking at the San Diego Naval Yard after months at sea, Rusty's mutant pyrokinetic powers activated when kissing a prostitute named Emma la Porte in an alley. Causing her serious burns, Rusty fled but was captured by military police. While in custody his superior, Chief Jack Fisher, attempted to kill Rusty when his powers erupted again, freeing him. Afraid Rusty would report him, Fisher notified X-Factor, who the world believed were mutant exterminators but were actually the original X-Men in disguise. After an initial battle, X-Factor took Rusty into their care.
Rusty began his training under the tutelage of X-Factor. He found it frustrating at first, but he gradually learned to control his power. He developed a crush on Marvel Girl. After an accident during a training session, Rusty left X-Factor and was captured by Frenzy, but Artie Maddicks mentally alerted X-Factor and he returned to the Complex.
While attempting to warn X-Factor of an attack from Freedom Force, Rusty encountered Skids, a runaway girl and member of the Morlocks. Before Freedom Force could take them in, a mob of humans attacked Freedom Force. Skids tried to get Collins to the safety of the underground home of the Morlocks, The Alley, but the Freedom Force caught up with them. X-Factor arrived and saved them, but not before Rusty was greatly injured by the Blob. Skids asked to stay with him as the Marauders were beginning to massacre the Morlocks community. Rusty and Skids developed a crush on each other, as they both believed that they could never get close to anyone due to their powers.
Upon learning that Emma was being transferred to a New York hospital, to undergo further treatment for the severe burning he was responsible for, Rusty cut a deal with Masque, a dangerous member of the Morlocks. Rusty would sacrifice his looks to Masque's whims, if Masque restored Emma's face to beauty. Boom-Boom, Skids, and Artie Maddicks aided Rusty to the hospital, where Boom-Boom destroyed a wall to escape, and they brought Emma to the Alley. Masque held his end, but when Emma learned of the deal, she insisted her looks not come at such an expense. Rusty and Skids fought Masque and he undid his morphing of both Rusty and Emma, before retreating back into the sewer tunnels.
After an incident where Iceman's powers went out of control in Central Park, Rusty decided to use his powers to melt the mountain of ice. Rusty and the X-Factor kids worked together to clean up the mess and left a message: "By Their Deeds You Shall Know Them - Mutants Were Here". Later, they were captured by The Right to be used as weapons and learned that Cameron Hodge was the Commander, until X-Factor rescued them.
After X-Factor defeated Apocalypse, his Ship crash landed on their Complex. X-Factor went public and began living on Apocalypse's sentient Ship. Rusty and the X-Factor kids found themselves in the role of celebrities. They were given Christmas gifts as donations from New Yorkers who saw them as orphans, but they decided to give them to the children who lost their homes during X-Factor's battle. After finding out that they were going to be sent to a boarding school, Freedom Force showed up and ordered Rusty and X-Factor to register. Rusty declined, stating that he would not run anymore and turned himself into the Portsmouth Naval Prison.
While in prison, Rusty was rescued by the students of X-Factor to rescue Artie and Leech who had been kidnapped by demons. They chose to take the name X-Terminators after the group X-Factor pretended to be while they were still operating under the guise of mutant hunters. Battling the hordes of demons that began invading Earth, Rusty and the others met up with the New Mutants.
X-Factor returned and the New Mutants began to live on Ship, as Professor X's mansion had been destroyed. The X-Terminators merged with them to become the new New Mutants. Due to his part in stopping the demonic invasion, Rusty was released into X-Factor's custody until his trial.
Mutant Liberation Front
Freedom Force again came after Rusty, accusing him of trying to cause a fire in Manhattan. The fire had actually been caused by Mirage, who had been possessed by an evil entity created by Hela, and by the visions of Destiny. If Rusty reached the X-Factor's Ship, a future of darkness would fall about all mutants, including them. X-Factor was unavailable to help as they were in outer space, and the other New Mutants had been transported to Asgard. Freedom Force locked him up and charged Skids with helping Rusty resist arrest. While making their prison break, Rusty and Skids fought the Vulture in a plot involving Nitro. They were successful in stopping both foes, but because they fought them instead of fleeing the scene, they were captured by Freedom Force a second time. The Mutant Liberation Front came for them and broke them out with the false pretense of giving them their freedom, but instead they were then brainwashed by MLF's leader, Stryfe. A lot of their comrades thought that they had simply switched sides.
Magneto eventually broke them free of their mind control and the two teenagers subsequently joined his Acolytes in gratitude. As a member, Rusty was on board Avalon when they spotted a floating ice cocoon in space. The Acolytes took it on board, and it turned out to be the Age of Apocalypse survivor, Holocaust. Holocaust drained the life of many Acolytes, including Rusty.
Powers and Abilities
Pyrokinesis: A pyrokinetic, Rusty Collins could psionically generate and manipulate heat and flame. The fires he generated often began as flames emanating from his own body, but he could also start fires remotely or shoot jets of flame from one area to another.
Once his fires ignited, he controlled their size, shape and intensity with great precision, and could mentally manipulate his fire's movements. He sometimes used hand gestures such as pointing to help direct his flames, but he could manipulate them without physical gestures if necessary since his power was mental, not physical. His flames were hot enough to burn through concrete, stone or steel with ease, and he could even ignite and manipulate flames underwater.
With concentration, he could generate heat fields without open flames, such as a wall of intense heat around himself to melt incoming projectiles, or focusing enough heat through his hands to cook food (often making popcorn this way). He could heat most metals enough to reshape them by hand -- for instance, twisting iron bars into a metal cable in moments.
While using his powers, he instinctively generated a super-thin, invisible psionic energy field around himself that protected him from heat and flame, but not from other forms of injury.
Trained in teamwork and unarmed combat by X-Factor, Rusty was a capable and diplomatic leader.
- 74 appearance(s) of Russell Collins (Earth-616)
- 8 minor appearance(s) of Russell Collins (Earth-616)
- 3 mention(s) of Russell Collins (Earth-616)
- 30 image(s) of Russell Collins (Earth-616)