Robert Hunter was born in Pennsylvania and spent decades as an electrical engineer. He was forced to retirement due to his old age, something he resented. Robert felt he was still strong enough to work. He operated a ham radio for a while, broadcasting his frustration. That is how the Kree located him. Due to genetic alteration carried out on him by the Kree Lunatic Legion, Robert gained the ability to explode and reform himself at will.
Nitro made his first appearance in Captain Marvel volume 1 #34, in 1974. He was created by Jim Starlin and Steve Englehart.
In his first appearance, he exposed Captain Marvel to a nerve gas which ended up giving him a cancer and causing his death. Since then he has clashed with Earth's superhumans.
Major Story Arcs
The New Warriors performed a raid of a house containing the Cobalt Man, Speedfreek, Coldheart and Nitro (who had recently escaped from the Ryker's Island Incident) The New Warriors attacked each member, with Namorita ( Namor's cousin) going after Nitro. Slamming him into a school bus, Namorita continued to make fun of him until Nitro let off a massive explosion. This explosion supposedly killed Namorita, Night Thrasher, Microbe, and the supervillains he was with during the raid, along with some odd amount of children at the nearby elementary school and surrounding neighborhood in town where they all fought. the aftermath was picked up by the superhero teams, who were already split over the issue of superhero registration, none more so than Spider-Man, who was recently recruited by Iron Man to join and serve by his side. Wolverine began hunting Nitro after he saw him escape in the back of a pickup truck.
Recently, Nitro was found by Wolverine and a group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but Nitro used his powers to kill the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Wolverine. Nitro then took a phone call to a government official who may be involved in the Stamford Incident. After the phone call Nitro found himself in the grip of a nearly fully regenerated, (and very very angry) Wolverine. As Wolverine beat the ever loving crap out of Nitro (theorizing correctly that Nitro's powers cannot affect anyone or anything in very close proximity) Nitro revealed that he had been taking Mutant Growth Hormone to increase his powers. Nitro also hinted that there was someone bigger behind the events of Stamford, but before the name was given the two were confronted by the three mystery agents. They were revealed to be Atlantean royal guard sent by Namor to apprehend Nitro for the murder of his cousin). He was imprisoned and tortured by the Alanteans. His secret benefactor turned out to be Walter Declun, the CEO of Damage Control.
After the War of Heroes
Nitro would later appear as a member of the Hood's Gang during Secret Invasion and Dark Reign story arcs.
Powers & Abilities
Nitro can cause himself to explode and reform from a gaseous to solid state at will. He can also channel his explosive powers into his hand and smash walls with ease. The flaws in his power is that he must gather his gaseous form before becoming solid again. If a part of his gaseous form is somehow contained or separated from him, he cannot turn solid until he merges with it. His explosive powers also do not affect those in very close proximity of him.
Weight: 235 lbs.
Nitro appears in the Hoods incarnation of the Masters of Evil. He joins the team and ends up robbing a sentinel parts processing plant. During the robbery he breaks himself and the other members into the factory with his blast power and then takes out the last of the human destroying sentinels.
Wolverine and the X-Men
Nitro appears in Episode 8 of Wolverine and the X-Men, titled "Time Bomb". In this episode, Nitro goes to the Mutant Response Division (or MRD) willingly since he can't control his powers. In this it appears that he explodes at regular intervals, although before he does his body starts to crackle with electricity beforehand. The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants capture him so that he can be used as a weapon, but the X-Men stop them, as he will destroy Genosha if he is taken there. At the end of the episode, Nitro is locked away in the MRD facility once more.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
Nitro appears in a cinematic of the game Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.
In the cinematic, Nitro explodes at a town and causes the U.S. government to pass the Superhuman Registration Act. Because of the law being passed, the Avengers split up and the Civil War started.