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Roberto da Costa as seen in The New Avengers (vol. 4) #14 (July 2016).
Art by Paco Medina.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceMarvel Graphic Novel #4: The New Mutants (September 1982)
Created by
In-story information
Alter egoRoberto da Costa
SpeciesHuman mutant
Team affiliationsNew Mutants
Costa International
Fallen Angels
Hellfire Club
Mutant Liberation Front
New Avengers
Young X-Men
Notable aliasesLord Imperial, Black Rook, Black King, Citizen V
AbilitiesSuperhuman strength
Solar absorption and rechanneling
Heat and light manipulation
Concussive blasts
Plasma emission

Sunspot (Roberto "Bobby" da Costa) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is most commonly associated with X-Men-related groups, the New Mutants and X-Force.

Classified as a mutant, Sunspot possesses the ability to absorb and channel solar power into physical strength. His personality is idealistic and impulsive, but despite this he is considered a close friend by many of his teammates. He is initially portrayed as an important member of the X-Men's 1980s-era junior team and its reincarnation X-Force. He later retires as Sunspot and garners a massive fortune that allows him to buy out the Advanced Idea Mechanics organization, which he re-brands to Avengers Idea Mechanics. He then operates under the code name Citizen V.

Adan Canto portrays the character in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Henry Zaga portrays the character at a younger age in The New Mutants. Gui Agustini voices the character in X-Men '97.

Publication history

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Art by Diogenes Neves.

The character of Sunspot was created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Bob McLeod. The hero first appeared in Marvel Graphic Novel #4: The New Mutants (September 1982).[1] Immediately after this appearance, the character became part of the regular cast of The New Mutants, as part of the titular super group.

He was a member of the Avengers in the 2012 relaunch of the Avengers title.[2]

Sunspot is one of the main characters in the U.S.Avengers series.[3]

Fictional character biography


Sunspot, or Roberto da Costa, is a Afro-Brazilian, the son of wealthy Afro-Brazilian businessman Emmanuel da Costa and white American archaeologist Nina da Costa.[4][5][6] In The New Mutants #7, his father is described as a very driven man, who "grew up [...] a barefoot houseboy", was "by age 20 [...] a millionaire [and] by 30, an economic and political force to be reckoned with." Emmanuel constantly pushes his son to reach for both his physical and intellectual peaks. Thanks to his father's encouragement, Roberto rises to the position of star soccer player at school[7] and is considered by recruiters for the Olympic Games.

When Roberto is playing a soccer game with his team, racist members of the opposing team assault him. While taking a brutal beating, his mutant powers manifest, suddenly transforming him into a creature of solid black solar energy. Surprised and terrified, everyone abandons the stadium except for his girlfriend, Juliana.[7]

New Mutants

Soon after Roberto discovers his powers, a mutant-hating faction of mercenaries led by Donald Pierce, called the Hellfire Club, kidnap Juliana and use her as bait to lure Roberto into a trap. He engages the kidnappers, but is eventually defeated when the solar power he absorbed runs out. A telepathic mutant named Professor Xavier hears about Pierce's evil plan and sends two young mutants called Karma and Psyche to rescue Roberto. During the following battle, Juliana sacrifices her life for Roberto, jumping in front of a bullet meant for him.[7]

Roberto joins Karma and Psyche in pursuit of Donald Pierce. The three are joined by Wolfsbane, and after the battle by Sam Guthrie (Cannonball), one of Pierce's misguided mutant hirelings, despite initial reservations from the others. Professor Xavier offers to train the five teenagers to control their new mutant powers. They accept the offer and become the founding members of the New Mutants, a group of junior X-Men.[7] Although Professor X's intentions are for them to only be students, over the course of the New Mutants series, they grow into superheroes and travel to space, Asgard, and the Amazon, as well as the past and the future. During Roberto's tenure with the New Mutants, he and Sam become best friends.

He is at some point reunited with his parents, and then with the New Mutants, when he visits Nova Roma.[8] Some time after, Sunspot and Woflsbane are injected with the drug that helped create Cloak and Dagger and he briefly becomes a monster.[9] He then encounters the White Queen and her Hellions for the first time.[10] He is later abducted and forced to serve as one of the Gladiators.[11] On another adventure with the New Mutants, he visits Asgard.[12] Alongside the New Mutants, he fights Warlock's father, the Magus.[13] He also battles Cameron Hodge and the Right.[14] With the New Mutants, he battles Freedom Force.[15] He also falls in love with the alien Gosamyr.[15]


When the time travelling antihero Cable takes over the New Mutants and turns them into the paramilitary group X-Force, Sunspot parts ways with the team.[16] During this time, Sunspot is tutored by Gideon of the Externals, an old business partner of Roberto's father (who has since died), who suspects Sunspot to be a fellow External.[17] Gideon experiments on Sunspot, granting him new powers such as flight and the ability to fire blasts of solar energy.[18] For a time, Sunspot becomes lost in the spacetime continuum after interfering with the teleportation powers of Locus.[19] During this time, a villain called Reignfire appears, with a remarkably similar appearance to Sunspot.[20]


Main article: Reignfire

The villain Reignfire first appears[21] before Sunspot's mysterious disappearance in X-Force #28 (1993), and assumes command of the Mutant Liberation Front. Dani Moonstar, who has infiltrated the MLF, sees Reignfire without his mask and believes him to be Sunspot,[22] and in a battle with X-Force, Reignfire removes his mask to reveal himself as Sunspot.[23] The moment is interrupted by the Age of Apocalypse[24] and when reality is restored, Cable 'heals' Sunspot of this persona dominating his body,[25] transferring some of his Askani knowledge into Sunspot, allowing Sunspot to speak the Askani language and know of their meditation techniques.[26] When X-Force reconnects with their former teammate Skids, it is discovered that Reignfire is actually a protoplasmic mutant symbiote injected with Sunspot's blood.[27] Reignfire is defeated when Sunspot leaches him of his powers, reducing him to his original protoplasmic state which is then claimed by S.H.I.E.L.D.[28]

X-Force Roadtrip

Roberto joins the rest of the X-Force on an extended road trip, separating themselves from Cable. Along the way, they have several problems, including Roberto's money being tied up in litigation, forcing the team into doing a variety of odd jobs, including providing protection for a small businessman being hassled by the mob. During this time, Roberto has a short fling with Sam's girlfriend Tabitha Smith, a teammate.[29]

Hellfire Club

Later during his X-Force career, Roberto is approached by Selene of the Hellfire Club. She offers Roberto his deceased father Emmanuel's seat in the club's Inner Circle, as the seats are inherited.[30] She promises Roberto that she will resurrect Juliana if he joins and he agrees.[volume & issue needed] Selene does bring back the spirit of Juliana, but put it into the body of a comatose girl.[volume & issue needed] Possibly because he feels obliged to fulfill his promise, Roberto decides to stay, becoming Selene's Black Rook.[volume & issue needed] Roberto attempts to contact the resurrected Juliana, but seeing she has no memory of her previous life, he decides to leave her alone.[31]

Roberto next surfaces in the title X-Treme X-Men as the head of the Los Angeles branch of X-Corporation, along with former New Mutant Magma and former Hellion Empath.[volume & issue needed] Roberto's ties to the Hellfire Club are not severed, as Sebastian Shaw approaches, having taken over the position of Hellfire Club's Lord Imperial and wanting Roberto as his Black King. Shaw claims that he is trying to turn the Club into a force of good, so Roberto accepts, though he keeps his involvement with Shaw a secret.[volume & issue needed]

Soon after, Shaw is injured in battle by Donald Pierce.[volume & issue needed] His injuries make him incapable of overseeing the Hellfire Club. Roberto takes over as Lord Imperial.[volume & issue needed] At his side is Sage, who leaves the X-Men to make sure Roberto is not corrupted by the power he wields.[volume & issue needed] After the events of M-Day, Cyclops calls for the shutting down of all branches of the X-Corporation to better pool the resources of the X-Men.[volume & issue needed] In Endangered Species, Sebastian Shaw is thinking of reclaiming his place and is angry at Sunspot.[volume & issue needed]

Secret Invasion

During the Secret Invasion storyline, Sunspot is among the several X-Men helping to fight off the Skrulls during their invasion of San Francisco.[32]

Young X-Men

Sunspot, who remains Lord Imperial of the Hellfire Club, is revealed by Cyclops to belong to the newest incarnation of the Brotherhood of Mutants along with Danielle Moonstar, Cannonball, and Magma.[33] However, while battling members of Cyclops' new team of X-Men alongside Cannonball, there is confusion after Rockslide makes reference to the two mutants' membership in the Brotherhood. During the battle, Sunspot is seriously wounded by Wolf Cub, who slashes his face and stomach with his claws.[34] It is eventually revealed that "Cyclops" is in reality Donald Pierce, the former White King of the Hellfire Club, who is posing as the X-Men leader using an image inducer.[35] Pierce's reasons for recruiting these "X-Men" is unknown, but it appears that his primary focus is to eliminate the Lord Imperial and he created the ruse that Sunspot and his allies formed a new Brotherhood to convince the former Xavier students to attack their former teachers and allies.

Later on, Sunspot leaves the Hellfire Club and joins the X-Men in San Francisco, as noted by Sebastian Shaw, who is currently looking for a replacement. Cyclops later asks Sunspot and Danielle Moonstar to help train the Young X-Men and both accept.[36]

Reforming the New Mutants

After receiving an anonymous tip in Colorado about a young mutant endangering a small town, Dani and Shan are sent to investigate and calm the locals. During their mission, Magik reappears back at the X-Men's base in San Francisco after teleporting into the future after the events of X-Infernus. Upon her return, she informs Sam and Roberto that Shan and Dani are in fatal danger. Sam assembles a team with Sunspot, Magma, and Magik to go find them. Sam and Roberto come across a tied-up and comatose Shan in the back of a bar, while Magik and Magma are tricked into freeing Legion from a box, who apparently has Shan's personality imprisoned inside of him.[37] Roberto and Sam approach Shan's body but when Roberto gets too close he almost gets pulled into Legion's mind. After they leave the bar, they find they're surrounded by police; Roberto and Sam fly away to the jail to find Dani.[38]

When they arrive, Legion is trying to kill Dani. After Roberto and Sam repel him, Legion comes back and Roberto fights him. Cannonball soon joins him and they fend Legion off and regroup.[39] During the fight, Legion takes on Magma, Cannonball, and Roberto, who gets seriously injured when Legion slashes him with a shard of metal.[40]


After the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, Roberto and Sam are offered membership in the Avengers by Captain America and accept.[41] The two become involved in a time travel plot involving the Next Avengers, children of the Avengers from an alternate future, but their memories of this event are wiped by Maria Hill.[42]

During an eight-month time-skip, Roberto engages in a hostile takeover of Advanced Idea Mechanics and gets rid of the villainous upper management.[43] He uses the resources of A.I.M. to intervene in the conflict between the forces of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Illuminati, while also sending a team of Avengers to deal with the multiversal threat of the Incursions.[44]

New Avengers

After the events of Secret War, Roberto re-tools A.I.M. into Avengers Idea Mechanics, hiring various superheroes as a new Avengers team consisting of Hawkeye, Songbird, Squirrel Girl, Hulking, Wiccan, Power Man and White Tiger. S.H.I.E.L.D. sends two operatives, Dum Dum Dugan and Hawkeye, to keep on eye on the team. Despite orders to spy on the new A.I.M., both men reveal their mission, as they have come to respect Sunspot.[45] His new team faces off against W.H.I.S.P.E.R., an organization run by the Maker, the Ultimate Universe's version of Reed Richards. The Maker's plans cause trouble for the Avengers all along the time stream.[46] During the events of Avengers: Standoff, Roberto orders his Avengers team to free Rick Jones from S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. In response, the American government sends the American Kaiju to attack A.I.M. Island. Roberto, having seen this coming, has the island evacuated, and the American Kaiju are depowered by Avenger-5, a giant mech suit.[47] As a result, Maria Hill decides to try and shut down A.I.M., at the same time the Maker launches his own attack. However, Roberto also sees these attacks coming, aided by Songbird playing double agent, and manipulates both sides so that W.H.I.S.P.E.R. is destroyed and the Maker imprisoned. It is also revealed that Roberto has become exposed to a cloud of terrigen mist, which is toxic to Mutants, and every use of his powers now accelerates Roberto's aging. With the Maker captured, Roberto strikes a deal with the U.S. government to round up the remaining rogue branches of A.I.M.[48] The operation is successful. In the middle of this, Roberto presents Wiccan and Hulkling with a parting gift of an expensive apartment.[49]


Following the deal that would get the Avengers Idea Mechanics to merge with the U.S. government as the American Intelligence Mechanics, Sunspot leads the U.S.Avengers under the alias of Citizen V.[50] Their first mission takes place at the Secret Empire's floating volcanic island base. Red Hulk crash-lands into the floating volcanic island base, destroying it. The team is approached by a future version of Danielle Cage as Captain America, who tells them that her nemesis, the Golden Skull, came to their timeline to steal all its wealth. In Miami, Florida, the team crash a charity gala only to discover that the wealthy CEOs were kidnapped and replaced by robots. During the battle, the team manages to defeat and capture the Golden Skull. Danielle then goes back to her timeline with the Golden Skull as her prisoner. Sunspot sends Red Hulk to confront and defeat an out-of-control American Kaiju, who was attacking Europe.[51]

During the "Opening Salvo" part of the Secret Empire storyline, Captain America, whose memory has been altered by Red Skull's clone using the powers of Kobik, has a meeting with Roberto and tells him that he is no longer in charge of the team. Roberto then sees footage of the supervillain attacks in Manhattan, deep space, and in Europe.[52] Roberto assembles the team but is attacked by one of his scientists who has allied with Hydra. He's later seen in a prison cell, nearly dead, by Red Hulk and Toni Ho. Toni heals Roberto just in time when Hydra soldiers show up at their cell. Roberto uses his powers to defeat the guards and free Red Hulk from the nanites controlling him, taking control of the prison.[53] In the aftermath, Roberto, during a meeting with the team's new congressional liaison in the White House, resigns from his position despite objections from the senator. He meets Izzy Kane, Cannonball's wife, who tells him that Cannonball, who went missing in action during the takeover and was presumed dead, is still alive on another planet.[54]

While travelling through space, Smasher and the U.S.Avengers are attacked by space pirates known as warpjackers. After a brief fight, the pirates tell them that Glenbrook is actually a planet named Kral X ruled by the ruthless Ritchie Redwood.[55] Arriving on Kral X, the heroes help Cannonball and the planet's rebels overthrow Redwood, and head home.[56]

On return to Earth, Roberto redubs himself Citizen X. He assists Agent Jimmy Woo with his investigations into the mysterious Eternity Mask.[57]

War of the Realms

After the Age of X-Man sends most X-Men members to an alternate reality, Sunspot reappears to assist Mirage and the remaining X-Men in repelling Malekith's invasion of Midgard.[58] In a ploy to allow Magik to teleport the invading horde to Limbo, he breaks a cursed amulet blocking Mirage's powers, and in doing so, is vaporized, joining the fallen Valkyries in their journey to the afterlife.[59]

Dawn of X

Roberto is resurrected on the newly established Mutant nation of Krakoa. He invites Cannonball, still living in Shi'ar space, to join him, and talks several of the New Mutants into accompanying him.[60]

Later, at the Hellfire Gala, Sunspot, disappointed at not having been chosen to join the X-Men team, decides after a few drinks with friends to create a new, secret team.[volume & issue needed]

Sunspot is contacted by Lady Deathbird about a threat to Empress Xandra's life. Sunspot has saying he is the leader of the X-Men and the Empress needs their help. Sunspot tells Cannonball that he wants to create a team and already has its members lined up: himself, Cannonball, Banshee, Boom-Boom, Armor, Tempo, Marrow, and Strong Guy. After this new team and Forge accept the mission, Sunspot reveals that it is for The Shi'ar Empress. Sunspot and Cannonball meet with Gladiator, who reveals that many people have betrayed the Empress because she is considered too young to lead. They also tell the team that Deathbird and the Empress are missing. Sunspot leads his team into space, and Forge makes them matching outfits. During their travels, they are attacked by Sidri bounty hunters, but Banshee repels them. Forge creates an algorithm to find Deathbird's ship. Using Tempo's powers, they can run the program thousands of times in a few minutes. The group arrives on the planet and meets with the Empress, Deathbird, and two advisors. After a brief talk, they are attacked, and Deathbird is hit with a teleport mine. Sunspot, upset that his target was hurt, uses his ability to destroy the ship of his assailants. As the Secret X-Men leave, the Empress erases their memories of Deathbird's disappearance.[61]

Powers and abilities

Sunspot's energized state.
New Mutants (vol. 4) #6
Art by Diogenes Neves.

Sunspot is a mutant whose cells have the ability to absorb solar energy and convert it for use as physical strength. He is also able to create thermal updrafts for flight, project heat and light, and create concussive blasts of solar energy.[62] At will, he is able to take on a superhuman "powered up" form that is entirely nonreflective black, save for his eyes and teeth which turn a solid bright white. The color black optimizes solar absorption, but he absorbs solar power at all times, not only in his "powered up" form. If he has not absorbed sufficient amounts of solar energy in normal form, he will be too weak to "power up". Likewise, when not in direct sunlight, use of his superhuman strength rapidly exhausts the stores of energy within his body.[63]

In his solar form, Sunspot has a corona effect, an aura that has been depicted in multiple ways, though two predominant conventions exist for its portrayal: the air close to him manifests black globes of various sizes, reminiscent of Kirby dots, or his aura is a unified field glowing bright yellow or white. Although Sunspot can absorb energy from stars and reflected solar energy from the Moon, the amounts that reach him on Earth are too minuscule to add significantly to his power. In other regions, such as Asgard, his power is significantly enhanced, allowing him - with much effort - to lift Volstagg off the ground for a few seconds before suffering a backache.[64]

Originally, Sunspot's superhuman power was limited solely to superhuman strength and enhanced durability, and only in his solar form. Unlike many superhumanly strong heroes, Sunspot's physical resistance to impact only increased somewhat when he employed his superhuman strength, and he was not bulletproof. The phrase, "Careful Bobby, you're strong, not invulnerable!" or variations was seen many times. Sunspot's powers have radically changed and grown since the character was introduced; he can now withstand the force of a speeding eighteen-wheeler traveling at speeds of 100 mph, and survived an A.I.M explosive charge attached to his side.[65]

Sunspot maintained his original powers for roughly the first ten years of his appearances, remaining a super strong but vulnerable individual throughout the entire New Mutants series. During the mid-1990s in X-Force his powers begin to change, under writer Fabian Nicieza. Nicieza had the supervillain Gideon capture Roberto and subject him to experimentation where the limits of his power absorption are tested by feeding him immense amounts of solar power. Sunspot is rescued by X-Force, but the overload permanently alters his powers so he is able to release concussive blasts of solar energy, with considerable heat and light projection; this experimentation also makes him immune to all types of heat and fire. He can also absorb other forms of energy; such as heat, light or radiation in a manner similar to photo/radio- or thermokinesis.[66][67] Sunspot has some capacity to manipulate light-based energy effects, but it remains a largely unexplored aspect of his mutant power.[67]

In X-Force #28, Sunspot uses the concussive solar blasts as a means of propulsion, flying by blasting in the opposite direction of where he wants to go – initially he leaves a slight trail behind him, but in later years, he learns to use the propulsion more subtly – appearing to hover in place with no blast wake at all other than his usual "powered up" corona effect. His capacity to fly has similarly been enhanced as he is able to breach planetary orbit and reach Saturn's belt with relative ease.[68]

Sunspot has the rituals and ideas of the Askani inside his head, due to telepathic contact with Cable. He is strongly influenced by this for a while, but the memories seem to fade.

His non-superhuman abilities include business administration; he owns and runs a multibillion-dollar international conglomerate. He is an Olympic-class athlete as the result of being trained in combat by the X-Men and Cable. He is fluent in many languages and has other minor talents such as piloting aircraft. He was trained in swordsmanship by the Gladiators, and is also an excellent soccer player.


Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

Sunspot was in the X-Ternals with Jubilee, Strong Guy, and Gambit. They take money from Apocalypse and give it to the poor. Magneto sends them to the Shi'ar Galaxy to steal the M'Kraan Crystal.[72] Sunspot dies after absorbing too much energy in an attempt to help his teammates escape.[volume & issue needed]

Days of Future Past

In an alternate future in Days of Future Past, a war between mutants and humans, started by the latter, results in a mutant victory thanks to an alliance between Xavier's Institute and the Hellfire Club. Magma and Sunspot become the Chief Arbitrators of the Lords Cardinal, and create an idyllic state for mutants, while regular humans are left to fend for themselves. Mutants born to humans are taken from their parents and those who oppose Magma and Sunspot are brainwashed by the Hellfire Club's agents.[73]

Days of Future Now

In this reality, Sunspot is the leader of the Gene Nation.[volume & issue needed]

Mutant X

Sunspot is part of a murderous team of 'Marauders', which consists of Jubilee, Wolfsbane, Cannonball, and Husk.[volume & issue needed]

Ultimate Marvel

The Ultimate Marvel version of Sunspot is an angry vigilante. Originally coming from Harlem in this continuity, he sees the X-Men as decadent Uncle Tom figures and accuses them of living in an ivory tower, considering themselves separate from "second-class muties" like himself. He harbors a deep hatred for Magneto and his followers because of the anti-mutant hysteria that followed the Brooklyn Bridge's destruction at the hands of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.[volume & issue needed]

He joins Emma Frost's Academy of Tomorrow, a school for gifted beings. Initially, Roberto is confused by his admission as he knows his grades are not impressive. Frost assures him that grades (or mutant powers) do not always classify a person as 'gifted'.[volume & issue needed] Soon after Roberto is accepted into the school, fellow student Lorna Dane is framed and imprisoned for the murder of several dozen people. He is approached by Alex Summers (Polaris's boyfriend) and is convinced to help assist in breaking Lorna out, working with Northstar and Cannonball. The team relies on Roberto's knowledge of New York City, but because Roberto had rarely been outside of Harlem, the team gets lost. The X-Men attack them, and Roberto is subdued and removed from the fight.[volume & issue needed]

Magneto has him killed in Ultimatum, along with the rest of the Academy of Tomorrow except Havok.[volume & issue needed] He is buried on the grounds of the X-Mansion.[74]

What If?

In "What if Some of the X-Men Had Stayed In Asgard?", Sunspot is one of the X-Men and New Mutants members who choose to remain in Asgard. When Hela attacks Storm, Sunspot aids Storm, and is killed by Hela before he can land a blow on her.[75]

In other media



Adan Canto as Sunspot as he appears in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Video games


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