COBALT MAN

Real Name: Ralph Roberts

Identity/Class: Human mutate, former technology user

Occupation: Former nuclear physicist; former owner and head of Roberts Research Laboratory (aka Roberts Research INC);
former employee of Stark Industries

Group Membership: Egghead's Emissaries of Evil (the Rhino and Solarr)

Affiliations: Creator of the Super-Cobalt Robot;
    former ally of the X-Men (as Roberts)

Enemies: Defenders, Egghead, Hulk, New Warriors (Microbe, Namorita, Night Thrasher, Speedball), Tyrannus and the Tyrannoid subterraneans, X-Men;
    saw Tony Stark and Iron Man as rivals (he did not know them to be one and the same).

Known Relatives: Ted Roberts (younger brother)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Formerly Roberts Research Laboratory

Education: Metro College graduate

First Appearance: X-Men I#31 (April, 1967)

 

 

 

Powers/Abilities: Initially, Roberts wore the Cobalt Man armor to gain Iron Man-like abilities, including flight, superhuman strength (Class10--it multiplied his strength 100x) and durability, flight, recoil beams, etc. The armor (at least the second version) also had oxygen tanks and could protect its wearer from the vacuum of space.

Later, he was mutated into a massive, blue form, with superhuman strength and durability of his own. His inherent abilities in that form were undefined, but when wearing a modified version of his armor, perhaps just to harness his abilities, he had Hulk-like (Class 100) strength and durability, as well as his other previous abilities, which were all greatly magnified as well.

While Roberts was a benevolent genius, with extensive knowledge in nuclear physics, as the Cobalt Man, he usually ended up pretty much crazy, power-mad, or with a much duller mentally. He designed the Cobalt Man armor, the Super-Cobalt Robot, and the Earth-Borer craft.

His "thing" was that every time he powered up, he ran the risk of causing a nuclear explosion. The armor itself, if worn for over 2 hours, starts producing the deadly Cobalt 60--and would turn the wearer into a walking C-Bomb.

Height: (originally) 5' 8"; (mutated) 6' 1"
Weight: (originally) 156 lbs.; (mutated) 276 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown with gray temples

 

History:
(X-Men#31 (fb)) - Ralph Roberts was an alumnus of Metro College, where he set the school  record for both pole-vaulting  and touchdown passes in football. After graduating, he worked at Stark Industries for a short time, where he experimented with cobalt, among other things.

Roberts was interested in the Iron Man armor, but Stark refused to divulge the secrets of the armor. He decided to branch out on his own, and he formed Roberts Research Lab. His top priority project was the development of a suit of armor, patterned after Iron Man's, but made of a cobalt alloy. Once successful, he planned to turn the blueprints over to the US government.

(X-Men#31) - Ralph visited his younger brother, Ted, who was also a student at Metro College. Once together, their rivalry led them into a pole vaulting competition, during which Ralph's pole broker, and he smacked his head against the bar. After recovering, he took his brother Ted's would-be girlfriend, Jean Grey, and Scott Summers on a tour of his lab.

Ralph took his brother aside and showed him his armor. He put the armor on and began demonstrating its powers, smashing the roof of his building in the process. When Ted questioned his behavior, Ralph became violent. After punching Ted out, he then found the molds for the armor and destroyed them, so that no one else could match his power.

The commotion caused by Ralph drew the attention of the other two present at the lab, and soon Marvel Girl and Cyclops confronted the Cobalt Man. Roberts attacked them, and after a short battle, buried them under tons of debris. His mind becoming progressively more unstable from his minor concussion, the energies of the armor, and his anger towards Stark, he decided that his next mission would be to destroy "the traitors' nest that is Stark Industries."

Marvel Girl and Cyclops got free, contacted Professor X (who contacted the other X-Men), and stowed away in Ted Roberts car as he followed his crazed brother. With Stark out on a date that night, it was up to the X-Men to protect the new Stark Industries plant. After being activated for nearly two hours, the armor began to glow with radioactive energy. The X-Men teamed up to keep the Cobalt Man off balance, while Iceman froze over his power pack, and then Cyclops melted some of the ice into the pack, shorting it out. His power cut, the Cobalt Man dropped instantly, and only the Angel saved him from falling into a river and sinking to the bottom. Once they removed the armor, Ralph quickly came back to his senses and realized it was too dangerous to be used again.

 

(X-Men#34 (fb)) - Ralph was showing Ted his new super-cobalt alloy, which he had designed in order to build a craft that could travel to Earth's core. However, his lab was invaded and he was kidnapped by the subterranean ruler, Tyrannus.

(X-Men#34) - Tyrannus forced Roberts to construct a giant Super-Cobalt Robot for him, with which he could conquer his rival, the Mole Man, who had built a giant robot out of diamond. Under threat of death, Roberts acquiesced, but he refused when Tyrannus demanded he build an army of such robots, and was thus thrown into a dungeon. The Super-Cobalt Robot, under Tyrannus' control, destroyed the Mole Man's diamond robot, but was in turn destroyed by the X-Men. Roberts had sabotaged the robot by mixing the Super-Cobalt alloy with substances with low heat resistance. Knowing he would be slain for his defiance, Roberts punched out Tyrannus, but before he could escape, he was nabbed by a group of Tyrannoids. However, he was rescued by the X-Men and returned to the surface with them in his Earth-Borer.

(Incredible Hulk#174 (fb)) - During a test of his old Cobalt armor at Roberts Research Labs, Ralph was exposed to a nearly fatal bath of radiation. The doctor told him that this exposure, combined with the radiation he had already picked up from his work, would kill him within a year.

(Incredible Hulk#174 (fb)) - A month later, Roberts, now feeling quite fatalistic, decided to show the world the true danger of nuclear energy by destroying a major city in a nuclear explosion as the Cobalt Man.

(Incredible Hulk#174, 175) - Five months later, Roberts arranged to be aboard a radiation-shielded ship that was going to be close to the detonation of an above-ground nuclear explosion (by the French, I think). Roberts had made the arrangement by having plans to wear his Cobalt armor for protection. However, when the explosion occurred, he stood on the ship's deck, sans armor, and soaked up a butt load of hard radiation. Of course, the radiation mutated him into a giant blue form, and he then donned his armor and began to rampage. As luck would have it (luck being the writer of the story, of course), old hard-luck Bruce Banner happened to be on that very same ship, and soon the Hulk and the all-new, all-different Cobalt-Man were going at it. The potent radiation given off by the Cobalt Man weakened even the radiation-spawned Hulk, and he turned back into Banner and collapsed, right after throwing the Cobalt Man through the bottom of the ship.

 

All hands abandoned the sinking ship, and a lifeboat containing both Banner and Ted Roberts (who had come along in hopes of stopping Ralph's mad plan) tried to rescue the Cobalt Man. Maddened, Ralph swam off at super speed, and then took to the air and flew to Australia, where he planned to sacrifice Sydney. Upon reaching the city, he went on a big rampage, but, of course, the Hulk somehow ended up in Sydney, too, and they fought again. After a short struggle, the Cobalt Man grabbed the Hulk and flew him into the upper atmosphere, planning on dumping him in space. However, the Hulk grabbed the Cobalt Man and wouldn't let go. As they struggled, the Cobalt Man's time ran out, and the power he had intended to use to destroy Sydney built up to the point of no return, and he was destroyed in a miniature nuclear explosion...

...or so it would seem...

(Defenders I#42 (fb)) - The explosion didn't consume the Cobalt Man after all, but rather smashed him into a state of suspended animation, where he was found by Egghead, who took his body and planned to use it in one of his mad schemes.

(Defenders I#42) - A month later, Egghead released the Cobalt Man, who, seething with energy, burst through the ground below a park bench on which sat...the Hulk! The Hulk and his allies, Power Man/Cage and the Valkyrie, joined forces and punched out the Cobalt Man. However, Egghead then activated a delayed nuclear breakdown within the Cobalt Man, which would lead to an atomic explosion, killing the Defenders and leaving Egghead free to locate the Star of Capistan.

(Defenders I#43) - Nighthawk put the kibosh on Egghead's plan by getting the Hulk to dump the Cobalt Man in the river, where the cool waters slowed the nuclear reaction, keeping it below the critical level. Clea then used her powers to establish a mental link between the damaged brain of the Cobalt Man, and the Red Guardian (Tania Belinsky), who was also a neurosurgeon. Belinsky was able to help him, and the Cobalt Man regained his senses long enough see Egghead get punched through the wall by Cage. Furious at Egghead for using him, the Cobalt Man grabbed him, and then set off a localized mini-nuke that vaporized the two of them.
Well, Egghead was later revealed to have teleported away at the last second, but the Cobalt Man ain't been resurrected yet. 26 years and counting...though, actually, who knows when and if this appearance below took place.

 

(Hulk: Nightmerica#1) - On the streets of a small town, the Hulk fought an unmasked Cobalt Man, eventually smashing him underneath a car.

(Civil War#1 (fb) - BTS) - Cobalt Man survived, was caught and imprisoned at the Raft, but eventually he escaped during a mass breakout.

(Civil War#1) - Cobalt Man hid out in Stamford, Connecticut together with Coldheart, Nitro and Speedfreek. They were found by the New Warriors, who were filming the second season of their reality show. Cobalt Man was defeated by Microbe before he could even enter the fight. He was seemingly killed moments later when Nitro exploded.

(Thunderbolts II#112 (fb) - BTS) - Navajo Bobby Lame Wolf found a set of Cobalt Man armor. Wearing it as the Cobalt Tomahawk, he threatened to kill everyone in a casino unless they gave him all their whiskey and made his girlfriend love him again. He was defeated by the American Eagle, though he destroyed the Eagle's suit in the process.

Comments: Created by Roy Thomas, Werner Roth, John Tartaglione, and Sam Rosen--Stable Elements All!

    With regards to Nightmerica, I have no idea if it was modern continuity or supposed to represent a past tale. It seemed to me like it should take place somewhere b/t Incredible Hulk II#130-250, based mostly on the Hulk's behavior, but his behavior has been totally inconsistent from one appearance to the next ever since Peter David left the series. If it was a modern tale, then either Ralph survived his apparent death and returned to menace the Hulk, or it was a new Cobalt Man altogether. He didn't speak a word in his two pages of appearance in this story, and it was primarily to establish that everywhere the Hulk went he was attacked by someone.

    Did you know/remember that the Cobalt Man's younger brother, Ted, was once Cyclops rival for Jean Grey's affections?

It should be mentioned... Iron Man posed as Cobalt Man while infiltrating the Thunderbolts in the Avengers/Thunderbolts mini-series...--Markus Raymond

Cobalt Man has an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1970's Handbook.

I assume the mass breakout was the one from New Avengers#1-4.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Cobalt Man has no known connection to:

The Earth-Borer should not be confused with:


Super-Cobalt Robot

 

Ralph was forced to build this robot by Tyrannus. The alloy was many times stronger than steel, and its melting point was twice that of normal cobalt. The preliminary reports of the alloy were learned of by Tyrannus, who abducted Roberts and forced him to build his robot. His robot succeeded in destroying the Mole Man's diamond robot, but Roberts had sabotaged his robot by mixing the alloy with substances with low heat resistance. When the X-Men encountered it, they knocked it off balance after blinding it with a magnesium flash, and it was destroyed when it fell into a lava pit.

 

The robot was about 25' tall, and likely could lift at least 50 tons. It was durable enough to shatter diamond, but it was vulnerable to heat, due to a deliberate design flaw.

 

--X-Men I#34

 

 

 

 


Earth-Borer

 

It was constructed by Ralph Roberts from of a Cobalt alloy that was many times stronger than steel, and its melting point was twice that of normal cobalt. It was intended to travel to Earth's core, and Ted Roberts led the X-Men to use it to travel to Subterranea to rescue Ralph after he was kidnapped by Tyrannus. The craft brought them safely down, and then back up again after they had completed their mission.

 

The Borer was highly durable, had a frontal laser to "blast through dirt and rocks ahead like they were cobwebs," had suction-tipped treads to allow it to climb up or down sheer rock at a controlled rate, and was equipped with a "Geiger-scope" to measure its depth.

 

A Geiger scope, eh? A Geiger COUNTER is named for the 20th Century German physicist who developed it as a means to measure radiation. I guess it sounded good at the time...

 

--X-Men I#34

 

 

 

 


images: (without ads)
(Cobalt Man main image)
(Cobalt Man Iron Man-like armor)
(Ralph Roberts)
X-Men I#31, Cover (Cobalt Man VS X-Men)


Appearances:
X-Men I#31 (April, 1967) - Roy Thomas (writer), Werner Roth (pencils), John Tartaglione (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
X-Men I#34 (July, 1967) - Roy Thomas (writer), Dan Adkins (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Incredible Huk II#174-175 (April-May, 1974) - Roy Thomas & Gerry Conway (#174) (writers), Herb Trimpe (pencils), Jack Abel (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Defenders I#42-43 (December, 1976 - January, 1977) - Gerry Conway (writer/editor), Keith Giffen (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks)
Hulk: Nightmerica#1 (August, 2003) - Robin D. Laws (writer), Brian Ashmore (artist), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Civil War#1 (July, 2006) - Mark Millar (writer), Steve McNiven (pencils), Dexter Vines (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Thunderbolts II#112 (May, 2007) - Warren Ellis (writer), Mike Deodato Jr. (artist), Molly Lazer (editor)


Last updated: 08/03/07

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™  and 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:
http://www.marvel.com

Back to Characters