The X-Men universe has a cast of diverse characters, each with unique abilities, allegiances and desires. While some are far more famous than others, there are many characters that are woven into the fabric of the property and often play crucial roles in some major story arcs. The mutant villain, Omega Red, is one such character.
A relatively modern character compared to some of Marvel's more iconic X-Men villains, Omega Red made his debut in 1992 in X-Men issue 2. He's been heavily associated with the mutant team since 2009, however, and has been a thorn in their side ever since, throwing up a lot of threats to the family of superheroes. He's not as well known but there's a lot to learn about Omega Red. Here are 10 things every fan should know about the character.
Omega Red, also known as Arkady Rossovich, has a murky background at best. There are multiple versions of his background so no-one is quite sure which is the most accurate, due to his secretive past. One story suggests that he was a rogue soldier who committed atrocious murders. He was executed, but somehow survived and was recommended for a special programme.
A more likely origin, however, is that Rossovich was a serial killer, who was quickly recruited by his country for his impressive skills. Whichever origin you choose, their are three core characteristics that define Omega Red: The first is his Russian heritage, the second is his unstable and violent nature, and the third is that gained his powers from the government.
9 CAPTAIN AMERICA EXPERIMENTS
Omega Red is yet another failed attempt to recreate a national symbol like Captain America. After the Super Soldier programme was a resounding success for the United States, Russia wished to replicate this experiment in order to compete with such an advanced weapon. Omega Red is therefore not too dissimilar to Wolverine and other characters who have gone through a Weapon X program, or something similar.
In fact, his origins are in part inspired by Wolverine. With the Russians learning that the mutant's skeleton was coated in Adamantium, they wished to have their own soldier encased in such a protective coating. They created Carbonadium, a far inferior version of the substance. This was used to create tentacles that were bonded with Omega Red, giving him his trademark powers.
Omega Red is an enhanced mutant, meaning he has basic powers that have been added to with brutal experiments. His initial powers were centred around the concepts of life and death. Much like many other mutants, he has a super human healing factor that allowed him to survive nearly insurmountable odds. He also releases pheromones that can kill those around him.
His body has since been advanced, giving him increased abilities such as in his strength and senses. The tentacles that have been implanted in him are used to attack his enemies, but their addition means that he must be constantly draining others' life force in order to survive. He's intelligent a skilled fighter and a great strategist.
There are other versions of this character, though, that are quite different. The Ultimate universe was created to form different iterations of the iconic Marvel characters. This world was designed to tell new stories and to give writers more creative freedom. Sometimes, big changes are made to characters, and Omega Red is one of them.
In the Ultimate universe, Omega Red is actually a Spider-Man villain and has faced both versions of the web-head in the series. The other changes to the character seem to involve his origins, as the tentacles he uses against the heroes of Marvel are actually organic, rather than being synthetic additions to his mutant body.
6 AGE OF APOCALYPSE
The Age of Apocalypse was a huge moment in X-Men history and a defining moment for many characters in the mutant world. With reality being redefined, a lot of these characters took on brand new roles, essentially recreating a world we were familiar with with a twist. Omega Red was one of the characters involved in this story.
During this time, he actually became a very powerful mob boss. His business persona was in stark contrast to the very dangerous villain that he once was. This didn't seem to end too well after he was seemingly killed. However, he survived and started to build a huge army which he intended to use to invade surrounding countries.
Rossovich has been killed in the universe, despite his survival abilities. When Wolverine runs into the mutant criminal in a prison in Russia, it was seemingly the end of the road for Omega Red. A fight ensued between the two, but Rossovich wasn't able to drain the life around him quick enough. A sword to the heart would eventually kill the villain.
His death was finally confirmed when the character was actually seen in hell. For some time it was assumed he would have survived as he always does, but seeing the villain in a version of the afterlife showed that he really had met his demise. At the hands of the mutant that actually inspired his creation, too. A fitting end for the character.
The golden rule of comics is that deaths never last long, and that's especially true for a character that has some kind of control over the powers of life and death. Omega Red's allies enlisted the help of the villainous group known as the Hand. They have a long history of being able to bring people back from dead through complex mystical processes.
The mission was a success, but there was some cost to the process. Omega Red needed to start draining life more than ever before in order to physically survive. There needed to be a way to stabilise this and so his allies tricked the X-Men into helping.
A mutant like Red Omega is in real demand, as many villainous organisations would love to get their hands on such an asset. With his background in Super Soldier programs, it made sense that people would want to recreate the monster. An organisation called White Sky therefore developed their own version of Rossovich.
He was artificially created partially using cloning techniques and his mind was implanted with false memories, in order for the new Red Omega to loyally serve them. Once again, Wolverine was their downfall, with the clawed mutant eventually killing this fake Omega Red and putting a stop to their evil plans.
2 OMEGA CLAN
Why stop there, though? If Omega Red is such a success, why not create some siblings to serve alongside him? This is exactly what the organisation did, creating the Omega Clan, formed of these artificially-created mutants. The team consisted of Omega Red, as well as Omega White and Omega Black, who also had memories implanted into them.
Omega Black was created in order to inflict people with diseases. Her tentacles could generate these terminal illnesses within her enemies and she could even cause cancer! She later joined the Brotherhood of Mutants. Omega White could also drain life force and could create energy constructs that often doubled for his own tentacles.
1 DEADPOOL 2
Although you might not have noticed him, Omega Red has actually made an appearance in numerous X-Men properties over the years. Video games and animated series have both featured the character at some point. But what might be the most surprising is that he's actually appeared in live-action films as well.
Deadpool 2 saw a comic-accurate depiction of the mutant in the prison that Deadpool was sent to. The cameo is pretty brief, but with red skin and an omega symbol tattooed on his forehead, it's pretty obvious which mutant this is. It's a fun cameo and one that definitely gives us a good excuse to go and watch the movie again!