Published July 7, 2023

Meet Nitro, the Nuclear Man

As Nitro gears up to face off against Carol Danvers in 'Captain Marvel: Dark Tempest,' revisit his devastating role in Captain Marvel's legacy.

Perhaps the most explosive Super Villain in the Marvel Universe, Nitro lives up to his moniker through his unique ability to create devastating explosions. Since his introduction as an enemy of Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel, Nitro has evolved into a major threat against the entire Marvel Universe, even playing a pivotal role in the crossover event CIVIL WAR (2006)

Following Mar-Vell’s death, Nitro has set his sights on the hero's successor Carol Danvers as she boldly forges a new future for the Captain Marvel legacy. With Nitro poised to put her through the wringer in the new miniseries CAPTAIN MARVEL: DARK TEMPEST (2023), Carol is determined to settle the score against this familiar foe once and for all. Here’s everything you need to know about Nitro as the Super Villain sets his sights on Captain Marvel once more.

CAPTAIN MARVEL DARK TEMPEST (2023) #2 cover by Mike McKone
CAPTAIN MARVEL DARK TEMPEST (2023) #2 cover by Mike McKone


Robert Hunter was an unassuming electrical engineer in Scranton, Pennsylvania before the Kree Lunatic Legion genetically experimented on him. Driven insane by the procedure, Roberts started to refer to himself as Nitro. The villain can turn his body into an explosive gas that combusts, then reforms into his normal solid state, unharmed by the blast.

Additionally, Nitro can transform specific parts of his body into the explosive gas while aiming the trajectory of the blast, often using this technique to deliver powerful punches and kicks. Nitro must be completely whole in order to trigger another blast, leaving him vulnerable in his gaseous state. This reformation ability gives Nitro a degree of bodily regeneration, allowing him to quickly recover from even the most grievous injuries.


Created by Jim Starlin and Steve Englehart, Nitro made his debut in CAPTAIN MARVEL (1968) #34, where he was tasked by the Kree Lunatic Legion to steal experimental nerve gas from the American government. Captain Marvel intercepted Nitro, stopping the new Super Villain and preventing him from unleashing the nerve gas. Although Mar-Vell emerged victorious from the skirmish, the cosmic hero accidentally ingested some of the nerve gas, which would later seal his final fate.

Starlin's THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN MARVEL (1982) revealed that Mar-Vell’s battle against Nitro and the ingestion of the nerve gas caused the hero to develop terminal cancer. Though Nitro himself didn’t physically appear in the story, his presence was acutely felt, since he caused Mar-Vell’s cancer. With Mar-Vell succumbing to the disease by the end of the story, the Captain Marvel legacy and Nitro would forever be intertwined moving forward, with Nitro emerging as one of the few Super Villains successful in toppling a Marvel hero.


Following his fight with Mar-Vell, Nitro resurfaced numerous times over the years, battling various heroes without any meaningful success. It wasn’t until the crossover event CIVIL WAR (2006) by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven that Nitro made a splash once again by killing several other Super Heroes when he and his associates were ambushed by the New Warriors in Stamford, Connecticut. Incensed at the prospect of getting bested by low-level heroes who were filming the skirmish for their reality television series, Nitro triggered a massive explosion, devastating Stamford and killing most of the New Warriors in the blast.

The horrifying loss of life from this Super Hero showdown led the American government to pass the Superhuman Registration Act, forcing all Super Heroes to register with the government or face incarceration. Wolverine and Namor tracked down Nitro to punish him for causing the tragedy, as Namor's cousin Namorita was among the New Warriors killed by Nitro's blast. After being held prisoner in Atlantis, Nitro was remanded to American custody, with Penance—the sole survivor of the New Warriors in Stamford—personally handling the transfer.


In CAPTAIN MARVEL: DARK TEMPEST (2023) by Ann Nocenti and Paolo Villanelli, Nitro begins to experience severe headaches and blames it on modern technology. These paranoid delusions extend to Super Heroes, with Nitro believing Captain Marvel to be the cause of his worsening physical condition. 

With his powers and mental health more erratic than ever, Nitro is approached by mysterious benefactor Nada, who claims to be the "little sister" of Infinity, to target an alien planet. In exchange for his services, Nitro agrees to work with Nada, but only if he gets the chance to eliminate Captain Marvel—a term which Nada easily accepts.

Now, Nitro is on the hunt for the unsuspecting Captain Marvel, who is abruptly drawn away from her duties on Earth to confront the man who murdered her mentor and friend. Although Captain Marvel is one of the strongest Super Heroes in the Marvel Universe, Nitro is not a Super Villain to be underestimated, especially if Carol Danvers wants to avoid Mar-Vell's fate.

Witness Nitro's attack on Captain Marvel in CAPTAIN MARVEL: DARK TEMPEST #1, on sale now!

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