Robert L. Hunter (Nitro)

nitrofilmLast episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been quite a blast… in more than one sense, and it delivered quite a surprise character, who we met before, but definitely not like this. In BOOM, the anti-Inhuman militant Terrence Shockley, portrayed by John Pyper-Ferguson, tries to infect Senator Ellen Nadeer with the Terrigen Mist… and he’s quite shocked to realize he’s the one ending in a cocoon. When he emerges, Shockley literally explodes, recomposing a few moments later, ready to go boom again, and again, and again… His new set of abilities are quite familiar to the comics’ readers, as he’s now apparently the show’s version of Nitro, quite an infamous villain who’s been under the spotlight in recent years for being the one responsible for the most famous (and best) crossover in recent times. Waiting to see whether or not Shockley will adopt the moniker in addition to the powers of Nitro, let’s take a look at the original guy. No, he’s not an Inhuman… but his powers are “cousins” to the Inhumans’ ones, having the same origin.

Robert Hunter was born in ScrantonPennsylvania, and he was a perfectly normal man. He had a wife, Maru, and a daughter, Virginia. He didn’t do anything particularly exciting in his life, but he was an electrical engineer, and he loved his job. When, due to the agency’s policy, Hunter was forced to retire, he started to feel simply useless, and he vented his powerless frustration through the only tool that allowed him to: his radio. His messages were sent to the ether as a general rant, but they attracted an unexpected attention, as they were received by a passing alien ship: the ship was commanded by the Lunatic Legion, a group of Kree supremacists who wanted to overthrow the Supreme Intelligence and to kill the Kree superhero Captain Marvel. Interested in Hunter, the Legion abducted him, and experimented on him modifying his genetic structure, giving him an nitrocomics1immense power: Hunter could now explode in extremely powerful blasts, reforming his body at will. He was now the Lunatic Legion’s top agent, Nitro. While testing his new powers, Nitro unwillingly killed his own wife. This, however, wasn’t an entirely bad thing: now he was a different man, with a new purpose in his life… it was only natural for him to cut ties with his former self. His first mission for the Legion was to steal Compound 13, a secret gas developed by the government: while escaping from the secret facility with a canister of the deadly gas, Nitro was intercepted by Captain Marvel, the Legion’s nemesis. Marvel was caught off-guard by Nitro’s powers, but he soon devised a plan to counter Hunter’s unusual ability, and thanks to the intervention of Rick Jones he managed to prevent Nitro’s regeneration, leaving him in a gaseous form. Captain Marvel recovered the canister, but he inhaled some of the gas in the process: on the long term, this exposure originated a deadly cancer that would have killed him in a matter of time. Nitro may have failed to recover the gas, but he had succeeded in what many others couldn’t accomplish, as he had killed the greatest Kree hero, Captain Marvel.

When he reformed, Nitro was still pretty confused, and he attacked Omega the Unknown mistaking him for Marvel, whom he still targeted. When he realized he had picked the wrong guy, Nitro left, looking for his nemesis in a Stark Industries warehouse, but Omega followed him, and after another battle he managed to disperse Nitro’s atoms in space. It took even more time for Nitro to reform this time, but he eventually did it, just in time to give Captain Marvel, back on Earth after an adventure in space, a warm welcome: the two battled once again, and Nitro was imprisoned in the Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. facility. No prison could hold him for long, and he managed to escape… only to be intercepted and defeated by Spider-Man, who locked him into a containment canister. Nitro couldn’t possibly escape from this new prison on his own, but luckily enough Spider-Man had many enemies, and one of them, the Vulture, freed him. Nitro battled many other heroes from that point on, and he even managed to nearly kill the indestructible Luke Cage while teaming up with the Untouchables. He collected yet nitrocomics2another victory while working for Thanos in his team, the Defenders: along with his teammates (Super Skrull, Titanium ManRhino and Geatar), Nitro obtained the Oracle of Ancient Knowledge for Thanos, then he was sent back to Earth. Following this, Nitro became one of the many muscles for hire around: Kingpin, Count Nefaria and others sent him against their enemies, and he always delivered, although he sometimes failed in killing the target for good. His past with the Kree came biting his back when Genis-Vell, son of the deceased Captain Marvel, hunted him down for the role he had in his father’s death, but he ultimately refused to kill him, wanting to honor Captain Marvel’s legacy. Left alive, Nitro didn’t exactly use this second chance for doing something good of his life, quite the opposite: during a battle with the New Warriors, Nitro detonated in StamfordConnecticut, killing most of the heroes and dozens of civilians, including the children of an elementary school nearby… giving start to a world debate that would have eventually caused the superhero Civil War.

Robert Hunter is a sadistic man, who finds in his new condition a new purpose in life, and uses his gift the best way he can think of: killing people for money. As Nitro, he has the unique power to detonate himself in powerful explosions, later reforming from a gaseous form he can maintain for as much time as he wants. With an extremely destructive ability, Nitro is the ultimate terrorist, a “suicide” bomber who uses an undetectable explosive, and who can walk away from his attacks: definitely the hitman any crime boss would bet his money on.



  1. […] Robert L. Hunter (Nitro) […]

  2. […] Robert L. Hunter (Nitro) […]

  3. […] of CEO was taken by some Walter Declun, an unscrupolous man who later financed the terrorist Nitro. As soon as the mutant Wolverine informed her of what Declun was up to, Hoag fired him, regaining […]

  4. […] The heroes community was soon split in two by the Superhuman Registration Act, that following Nitro‘s destruction of the town of Stamford and the resulting death of hundreds of civilians, […]

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