By Marc Strom
Writer Zeb Wells and artist Diogenes Neves bring the gang back together in NEW MUTANTS #1 on May 6, reuniting the original team for all-new adventures in a brave new world. And to celebrate the much-anticipated reunion, Marvel.com takes a look back at the histories of those individual team members from their first appearances to the present.
Continuing today with Sunspot, catch up on anything you may have missed and everything you'll need to know to meet these characters once again when the new series kicks off. Plus, NEW MUTANTS scribe Zeb Wells gives us some insight into Sunspot's motivations and his more lighthearted approach to the character!
From Footballer to New Mutant in 90 Seconds Flat
Even before Roberto da Costa joined the New Mutants, he had a bright future ahead of him.
Roberto excelled as a young soccer player in his native Rio de Janeiro, so much so that recruiters considered placing him on Brazil's team in the Olympic Games. However, those dreams shattered when Roberto's powers revealed themselves during a soccer match.
Catching the attention of Donald Pierce, then a member of the Hellfire Club's inner circle, Roberto soon came under attack as Pierce kidnapped the young mutant's girlfriend, Juliana. While Roberto, along with the help of his future teammates Karma and Dani Moonstar
, managed to save the love of his life, she sacrificed herself by taking a bullet meant for him.
Joining Karma, Moonstar, Cannonball and Wolfsbane, Roberto took the name Sunspot and became a charter member of the New Mutants. During his time with the team, he and Sam Guthrie, aka Cannonball, developed a strong friendship that lasts to this day.
Once the enigmatic Cable took over as the group's leader, transforming them into X-Force, Roberto left his friends and teammates for a time, only to rejoin them after his malicious clone, Reignfire, attacked them.
Some time later, Sebastian Shaw offered Roberto a spot in the Hellfire Club, as the young mutant's father held a position in the group before his death. Sunspot accepted, eventually ascending to role of High Imperial much to Shaw's chagrin.
After the events of M-Day, when most mutants lost their powers, Sunspot left the Hellfire Club to join Cyclops and many of his former teammates in San Francisco. There he, along with Dani Moonstar, helped to train the Young X-Men
The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
Though Sunspot hasn't fought by the side of his original teammates in some time, NEW MUTANTS writer Zeb Wells says that Roberto's role will remain "pretty similar" to what it was when the group first formed.
"He's going to be Sam's really good friend, [but] he's going to be a little cooler than Sam," Wells states. "He's going to be the muscle on the team; he's going to be the support. He's not only going to be the hothead, but he's also the ladies' man."
In the time since his first appearance, Sunspot has gone through a number of changes, from New Mutant to member of X-Force to his time under the possession of Reignfire and as the leader of the Hellfire Club. But at his core, Wells sees Roberto as a character motivated by a very profound loss.
"I think what drives him at the end of the day is that his girlfriend, the love of his life, was killed when he was young because of his mutant powers," the writer analyzes. "I think it's interesting to see how he dealt with that and how maybe him being a ladies' man, or very protective of women, ties into all of that.
"There's something fun about him in those early NEW MUTANTS issues where he was kind of a witty flirt, or more of a jocular character, and I kind of want to get back to that."
And taking into account Sunspot's time as Lord Imperial of the Hellfire Club over, Wells wants to take the opportunity to move the character forward into new directions.
"[His tenure as Lord Imperial] was something that was a natural progression for his character because of what his father had done, and I think that his time in the Hellfire Club pretty much brought that whole [story]line to a satisfying conclusion," explains Wells. "So for me, it brings him to a great place to start exploring other aspects of his character. I don't feel that at this point in time he needs to sit around brooding about his father or the Hellfire Club. I feel like, at least for him, he has processed all of that and moved on."
Leaving off on a lighter note, Wells jokes that he hopes to utilize Roberto's athletic abilities to help sales overseas.
"He is a bit of a football player, or soccer, [as we call it] in America, so maybe we'll have him playing soccer on a cover later on to spike those international sales."
Visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited for more Sunspot. And be sure to come back tomorrow as New Mutants Week comes to a close with a focus on Magma and more preview art from NEW MUTANTS #1!
Check out the official Marvel Shop for everything X-Men!
Download episodes of X-Men: Evolution now on iTunes!