Wednesday, January 11, 2012
4186. Rocket Red
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 Justice League No. 3 (July 1987). His first DC Universe canon appearance was in Green Lantern Corps No. 208 (January 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, No. 7, later revealed as an android, Dmitri Pushkin and Gavril Ivanovich.
Dmitri Pushkin (Rocket Red No. 4) became a member of the JLI after the previously assigned Rocket Red No. 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 No. 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 Animal Man, also known as 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.
Dmitri is featured in the second Captain Atom annual, helping to defend the country of Bialya from various threats.
In Justice League Europe No. 28, Dimitri was part of the small resistance against Starro because the alien could not take him over through his armor. Dmitri was neutralized when Starro threatens to harm his family. He willingly surrendered to the alien's control in order to keep them safe. Other JLA members eventually defeated the menace.
Later, Dmitri and most of the Reds are taken over by the sound-using criminal Sonar. In the same issue, Russian government reports have him listed as retired.
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. The Task Force X's mission was to expose Pushkin as a traitor to the American cause. Thanks to Pushkin, the launch was ahead of its 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 didn't live to see his work completed, and it was up to his son, Dimitri, to finish the suit. So the legacy of the Rocket Reds was secure until 1962.
In Blackest Night No. 3, Rocket Red was reanimated as a member of the Black Lanterns and is shown attacking the Rocket Red Brigade.
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.