Arkady Gregorivich Rossovich was known to be a cruel and violent man who served with the USSR’s Spetsnaz in early 1960’s. Rossovich had a secret hobby: raping young girls whenever the opportunity presented itself. However his crimes were eventually discovered, which lead to his supposed execution. Surviving a fatal gunshot to the head thanks to his newly-discovered mutant abilities, Rossovich was court-martialed and forced into USSR’s own Super Soldier Project after the potential of his abilities was noticed. Rossovich underwent years of experimental torture and enhancements that not only turned his skin chalk-white, but transformed into a deadly cyborg who soon took the name Omega Red. He needed the material known as Carbonadium Synthesizer (C-Synth) to help stabilize his condition, so that the implants he gained didn't turn against him. However, his quest for C-Synth was foiled whenWolverine, Maverick, and Sabretooth took the C-Synth and hid it where Omega Red would never be able to obtain it.
Even the lack C-Synth didn’t stop the USSR using their new Super Soldier as a new operative for theKGB. Yet the lack of C-Synth took a different effect on Omega Red, who was forced into a form of vampirism to sustain himself. Betrayed by his own government, Omega Red later escaped custody and hid in Europe where he began committing several murders. He soon gained the attention of both Sean Cassidy (Banshee) and Eric Lehnsherr (Magneto), and was captured after being shot by Cassidy, who was seeking revenge for the death of his associate Magrite Deveraux. Returned to USSR authorities, they concealed Omega Red’s crimes and kept him in suspended animation because of his inability control his death spores.
Omega Red was created by John Byrne and Jim Lee in January 1992 and first appeared in X-Men # 4 (vol. 2).
Major Story Arcs
Back against Wolverine
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Omega Red was revived by Matsu'o Tsurayaba, the leader of a renegade ninja clan known as The Hand, Omega Red then joined The Hand as a warrior serving under Tsurayaba. Around this time he was told that Wolverine knew the location of the Carbonadium Synthesizer. His attempt to get the device from Wolverine led him into conflict with the X-Men several times. His confrontations with the X-Men almost invariably resulted in failure and defeat for Omega Red. Though he occasionally bested Wolverine and various other X-men, his victories were always short lived. His loyalty to The Hand, like his loyalty to the Soviet government, eventually faltered, and he left the organization. He later worked for Neo-Communist groups and the Russian gangster Ivan Pushkin.
Sabretooth recruited Omega Red, along with Lady Deathstrike, to attack the family and friends of Wolverine, with the promise of giving them information on most of the world's mutants. However, Sabretooth betrayed them both.
Omega Red later became a crime lord, posing as a legitimate businessman to disguise his true work. He remained consumed by his quest to find the Carbonadium Synthesizer. He eventually located Agent Zero, who allegedly to knew the device's location. This led Omega Red to a confrontation with Wolverine, who eventually bested him and placed him in SHIELD custody.
Soon after, the Russian Black Ops group known as the Red Room purchased Omega Red's freedom in the hopes of manipulating him to their own ends. He managed to escape from their influence, however, and came back into conflict with Wolverine, this time accompanied by Colossus and Nightcrawler. Due to genetic experiments performed on him by the Red Room, Omega Red displayed an enhanced healing factor. However, despite this, he is again defeated and turned over to SHIELD custody.
For more information: Wolverine Origins
Omega Red is transferred to Vutluga Prison in Russia where he begins to drain the energies of his fellow inmates. He is served dinner by an AIDS victim who asks Rossovich to kill him before delivering him a message to which Arkady promises him he'll be dead by dawn. Wolverine is tricked into heading towards the prison after following Victor Hudson. Arkady breaks out of his cell and kills all the guards before attacking Wolverine. Powered by the energy he drained from the prisoners, Omega Red is able to beat Wolverine easily by blinding him first. Wolverine manages to knock free the Carbonadium Synthesizer from Arkady and slams an iron gate down into his chest. Wolverine leaves him for dead but is attacked by Wild Child. Omega Red finds them as Wild Child is about to lower Wolverine into a vat of molten iron. Arkady stabs Wild Child through the throat before tossing him into the molten iron. Wolverine escapes and heads to where he keeps his Muramasa blade but is followed by Rossovich. Wolverine turns and throws the Muramasa blade through Omega Red's chest which appears to have killed him.
Powers & Abilities
Originally Omega Red only possessed the mutant ability to rapidly heal from fatal injuries, similar to the healing factor possessed by both Wolverine and Sabretooth. Omega Red’s major mutant ability is the ability to secrete pheromones that could cause any organic life, mostly humans, to weaken and eventually die. The effect of the released pheromones depends on the exposure time, the endurance of the victim, and his distance from the victim. The closer somebody is to Omega Red, the more powerful the pheromones have an effect onto them. In some cases, mutants and meta-humans prove more resistant towards Omega Red’s pheromones than normal humans, but it is still eventually deadly if they are exposed for long enough.
After gaining implants and being transformed into a cyborg, Omega Red gained enhanced strength, endurance, stamina, reflexes, and agility. Omega Red could perform continuous fighting and/or exercises for almost 20 hours with little or no fatigue at all. The experimentation also caused Omega Red’s body tissue to hardened and prove much more resistant than his normal human state, however the experiment also caused his epidermis to alter into a chalk-white color.
One major feature that Omega Red gained were his cybernetic implants within both arms, retractable tentacles that he can control through will alone. Placed underneath the wrists of his arms, each tentacle can extend to a maximum of six feet. Made of radioactive Carbonadium, this material would prove to be more malleable than and almost as strong as adamantium. However, without the use of C-Synth, his radioactive implants cause Omega Red to fall victim towards his own mutant powers. As a substitute, Omega Red must drain the life force of a victim on a daily basis or suffer from the devastating effects of his pheromones. After receiving further experimentations that increased Omega Red’s healing factor, it’s possible his condition with the C-Synth was stabilized as well. Omega Red naturally uses his tentacles as a weapon against his enemies and victims. With his tentacles he could ensnare an enemy and drain their life force as well, use them as whip, or use them for other offensive methods.
Omega Red usually wears an armored exoskeleton that increases his resistance against injury. Trained in the Russian military and the KGB, Omega Red is an experienced fighter, strategist, and an experienced armed and unarmed fighter. Aside from his criminal history as a brutal murderer, Omega Red is a successful and feared criminal leader.
Weight: 425 lbs.
Unusual Features: Pale Skin, Cybernetics showing, retractable whips protruding from his wrists, and red eyes.
Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610)
Omega Red appeared as a villain of Spider-Man. His tentacles are organic, rather than made of carbonium, and they originate from above his hand, rather than below his wrist. It is unknown if he has the "Death Factor," but Wrecker noted that Omega Red might have spread toxins in a vicinity. After his fight with Spider-Man at Roxxon Industries he was captured by SHIELD but escaped along with the Green Goblin. In this universe Omega Red works as a hit man, and when Spider-Man defeated him his clients stopped going to him. Consequently he blamed the Daily Bugle because of the humiliating article that was written by J. Jonah Jameson. In retaliation Omega Red went to the Daily Bugle and attempted to destroy the building before being defeated once again by Spider-Man.
Age of Apocalypse (Earth-295)
The Omega Red of Earth-295 is similar to his mainstream counterpart, but he is weaker, wears a blue uniform and is involved in the black market. He is killed by Domino who was looking for information of a powerful telepath (X-Man).
X-Men: The Animated Series
Omega Red appeared in two episodes of the series, first appearing in Red Dawn while attempting to conquer the Soviet Union. He is eventually defeated by the combined efforts of Wolverine, Storm and Colossus. He reappeared in the episode A Deal with the Devil, where he is once again defeated by the X-Men. He also appeared in some flashbacks and Danger Room scenes in the series. He was played by Len Doncheff.
Omega Red appears in the episode Target X where he was sent by Hydra to capture X-23. He died at the end of his appearance. He was voiced by Richard Newman.
Hulk vs Wolverine
Omega Red appeared as a member of Weapon X, along with Sabretooth, Deadpool, and Lady Deathstrike. He was played by Colin Murdock. He shares a highly antagonist relationship with Deadpool, whose antics greatly frustrate him. He, like the other Weapon X members, hates Wolverine. He is eventually defeated by Wolverine and the Hulk.
In the film, Omega Red does not exhibit his "Death Factor" ability, and rather than draining the life force of his opponents, he is instead able to electrocute his enemies via his tentacles.
Marvel Anime: Wolverine
Omega Red appears in the Wolverine Anime as one of the primary antagonists. He is an old foe who wants revenge on Wolverine and allies himself with A.I.M. He is defeated twice by Logan.
Omega Red appears in Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter where Lon Doncheff reprises his role from X-Men: the Animated Series. He also appears in X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, where he is voiced by Steven Blum.