The Green Lantern Corps Podcast

From Russia with love… the Rocket Reds

Posted in Profiles by mrread7 on February 8, 2008

Today, since I’m not feeling that great and I’m at home tonight while my fiancé is out with her cousin. I decided to look at the Rocket Reds. These guys are a fickel bunch that I’ve ever seen. While a few members have been close friends to Guy Gardner and even members of the JLI back in the day and were started by Kilowog to begin with. These days, the Rocket Reds care about protecting their country and only their country. The Rocket Reds have been causing problems for Green Lantern, especially Hal Jordan since the Freedom of Power Treaty. The Rocket Reds are out to make an example of Green Lantern when he approaches their borders. More than likely, the Rocket Reds would not only make an example but also try to exploit the powers of Green Lantern for their own needs and personal greed. Being a red clad military hero isn’t what it used to be.

The Rocket Reds were originally created for the Soviet Union by Green Lantern Kilowog, the Rocket Red Brigade – normal human beings enhanced using “forced evolution” and armoured battle-suits – proudly defended the USSR.
Their abilities included super strength, invulnerability, flight (through rocket packs/boots), the ability to project powerful energy blasts and “mecha-empathy” – the ability to sense and control computers and machines (though to what extent it’s not clear).

Rocket Red #1

Decorated Russian soldier Josef Denisovich was a close friend of the alien Green Lantern Kilowog. He was also the first member of the Rocket Red Brigade. Josef was turned against Kilowog by the Soviet government, and died fighting Kilowog.

Rocket Red #7

The man known as Vladimir Mikoyan turned out to be a Manhunter. Vladmir was the first Rocket Red admitted into Justice League International. During the Millennium event, he was exposed as a Manhunter android and destroyed by Booster Gold (with the assistance of the Justice League and a force of other, human, Rocket Reds).

Rocket Red #4

Dimitri Pushkin (Rocket Red #4), became a member of the JLI after the previously assigned Rocket Red #7 was revealed to be a Manhunter android. A kind-hearted and jolly man with a taste for American culture, Dimitri served with the Justice League International for many years.
When his armor was destroyed by Lobo, he replaced it with a more advanced model made on Apokolips. Dimitri also served with Justice League Europe for a while as well, making friends with Animal Man, aka Buddy Baker, in a similar manner to the friendship of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. Dimitri and Buddy initially bonded over their mutual families.
In Justice League Europe #28 Dimitri was part of the small resistance against Starro because the alien could not take him over through his armor. Though Starro was defeated, Dimitri had surrendered to him when the alien threatened to kill his family, whom it had already taken over.
He was the only European on the team initially. He retired from super-heroics for a long time. He died in The OMAC Project, self-destructing to save the other members of the old JLI. His last words to Booster Gold were; “My wife and children, Michael…tell them I love them.”


Mikhail Denisovitch Arkadin was a nuclear technician at the Chernobyl nuclear power generating plant in Russia. After an accident in reactor #4 caused an out-of-control fire, his metagene was activated. Major Zastrow, leader of the Red Shadows arrived at the scene of the accident and recruited Mikhail.
In 1986 after Gerry Conway’s departure, John Ostrander took over the writing chores on Fury of Firestorm. Ostrander, a more politically aware writer, sought to make Firestorm more relevant to the world. His first major story arc pitted Firestorm against the world, as the hero (acting on a suggestion from a terminally ill Professor Stein) demanded the U.S. and the Soviet Union destroy all of their nuclear weapons. After tussles with the Justice League and most of his enemies, Firestorm faced off against Pozhar in the Nevada desert, where both had an atomic bomb dropped on them.
When the smoke cleared, a new Firestorm was created who was made up of Raymond and Arkadin, but controlled by the disembodied amnesiac mind of Professor Stein. The stories featuring this version of the hero were highly political, with a good deal of action taking place in Mikhail Gorbachev’s Moscow. The Raymond/Arkadin Firestom proved to be a transitional phase, as in 1989, writer John Ostrander fundamentally changed the character of Firestorm by revealing that Firestorm was a “Fire Elemental”. Taking his cue from Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing (a plant elemental), Firestorm now became something of an environmental crusader, formed from Raymond, Arkadin, and a Soviet clone of the previous Firestorm, but with a new mind. Professor Stein, no longer part of the composite at all, and cured of his cancer, continued to play a role as advisor.
Eventually, it was revealed that Stein had originally been intended to be the fire elemental solely by himself: the inclusion of others in the Firestorm entity, such as Raymond and Arkadin had always been by accident. In order to defeat the monster Brimstone, who was threatening to destroy the Sun, Firestorm split into his three parts and allowed Stein to transform into Firestorm. Arkadin then presumably returned to his homeland, depowered.
Mikhail’s niece is Serafina Arkadin (Firebird), she is the leader of Soyuz, the Russian equivalent of the Teen Titans. Mikhail Denisovitch Arkadin returned as Pozhar in Firestorm the Nuclear Man v3 #27, September 2006. In issue #29 Mikhail reveals that he regained his powers after being exposed to the Plutonium released by a dirty bomb.

Russian Mafia

After the Soviet Union collapsed, the other Rocket Reds fell on hard times. Many of the suits ended up on the black market. As seen in the pages of Chase #3, some of the more unscrupulous Rocket Reds began working for the Russian Organizatsiya Mafiya in order to feed their families.

Vandal Savage

Later four of the suits came into the possession of Vandal Savage. He imprisoned three of the Titans, Jesse Quick, Arsenal, and Tempest, plus Supergirl, in them and used them as missiles. He managed to destroy the South American city of Montevideo, Uruguay though Tempest managed to save himself. The other Titans were saved as well before their respective suits could detonate.

Return of the Rocket Red Brigade

Surviving members of the Rocket Red Brigade took their armor back from the Russian Army to fight the world prison break out during the events of Villains United. They also appeared protecting Russia’s border in 52, wearing new, more advanced suits of armor. They were seen again One Year Later protecting Russia while hindering Green Lantern Hal Jordan’s attempt to apprehend an interstellar criminal in Green Lantern #10. After the ensuing situation was resolved, the current Rocket Red #1 is even promoted as a possible Justice League member in the future, should the League plan to expand. Ice was hidden in a suit of Rocket Red armor during her regeneration.
In Checkmate v.2 # 22, it is revealed that Checkmate has since recruited the current Rocket Red # 1, Captain Maks Chazov, as its White Queen’s Knight, with the apparent consent of Chazov’s Russian government superiors.

There you have it, the Rocket Reds.


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