SUNSPOT: Page 3 of 5

Publication Date: 28th Aug 2018
Written By: sixhoursoflucy and Monolith.


After disappearing, somehow Roberto was found and taken prisoner by Reignfire. Because of a mysterious psychic link the two of them shared, Reignfire managed to brainwash Sunspot into believing he was actually Reignfire. Reignfire then set his new puppet loose upon the world. Earnestly believing he was Reignfire, Roberto resumed leadership of the Mutant Liberation Front in Reignfire’s place and acted in his stead. For reasons unknown, Roberto—while under Reignfire’s control—viciously attacked the MLF, even killing Moonstar’s beloved Asgardian stallion Blackwind in the process. When X-Force arrived to help, he lifted his mask and revealed to them that Reignfire was, and always was, Roberto DaCosta. Unbeknownst to all of them—including Roberto—he was mistaken. [X-Force Annual (1st series) #3, X-Force (1st series) #43, 79]

Immediately after Sunspot’s revelation, a crystallization wave struck and transformed reality into a demented shadow of itself. At some point after reality was restored to normal, Cable, at great risk to his own life, freed Sunspot from Reignfire’s control— although he believed he was merely purging a deranged alternate persona of Sunspot’s. [X-Men Prime #1, X-Force (1st series) #44]

Once again in control of himself, Sunspot rejoined the ranks of X-Force, although several of his teammates were hesitant to accept his membership after the way he had acted under Reignfire’s influence. Even Sunspot had reservations, since he believed Reignfire was an alternate persona of his, which he feared could reemerge. Cable, however, vouched for the safety of Roberto's presence. Additionally, Roberto soon discovered he could understand and speak Cable’s native language of Askani. He also found himself immune to the Askani Blaquesmith’s telepathic tricks; for instance, he could see the man when his teammates could not and did not succumb to the telepathic suggestions Blaquesmith tried to implant in his head. When pressed, Cable refused to explain how this was possible. [X-Force (1st series) #44-47, Cable (1st series) #29]

After X-Force parted ways with Cable over ideological differences, the team took an extended road trip, which Roberto intended to finance with money from his trust fund. However, on the first leg of their trip, he discovered his account was frozen. According to the waitress who destroyed his credit card, someone had sued his father’s estate, leaving Roberto’s money inaccessible until the suit settled. Roberto was enraged, not to mention humiliated. [X-Force (1st series) #71]

As the team traveled across the country together, the humbled Roberto grew closer with his longtime teammate Tabitha Smith, formerly known as Boom-Boom. While dancing at an outdoor rave, they let their feelings overtake them and shared a kiss. They struggled with how to deal with their emerging feelings after realizing the gravity of what they had done. Unfortunately, before they could figure out how to proceed, Cannonball—Tabitha’s boyfriend and Bobby’s best friend—arrived unannounced and greeted them at the festival. Roberto and Tabitha immediately grew uncomfortable. Roberto, especially, felt like he had betrayed his closest pal. He and Tabitha decided to keep their kiss a secret until they figured out how to tell Cannonball. Unfortunately, they missed their opportunity, as Sam walked in on them during a second kiss. Enraged, Sam left the team and headed back to the X-Men, feeling doubly betrayed. Roberto scolded himself for violating his best friend. The guilt he and Tabitha felt quickly drove a wedge between the two of them, revealing the first cracks in what would become a tenuous, on-again, off-again relationship. [X-Force (1st series) #75-76, 78]

Roberto’s relationship with Tabitha soon became the least of his problems. While hanging out in Boulder, Colorado, a demonic-looking man calling himself Reignfire assaulted Roberto and murdered an innocent bystander. Sunspot was dumbfounded by this man’s existence; he had believed Reignfire to be his deranged alternate persona. Before he had time to comprehend these new circumstances, Reignfire drained all of Roberto’s “heat” and kidnapped him with the help of his associate, Locus.  Sunspot and the other captive members of X-Force were taken to Reignfire’s hideout in Las Vegas and imprisoned. There, they learned the truth about Reignfire: that he was a protoplasmic mutant given a human template thanks to a genetic transfusion from Sunspot, courtesy of Gideon’s employee Dr. Joshua, who also worked for an organization called the Damocles Foundation. Roberto learned that their genetic bond fostered a psychic bond, which allowed Reignfire to control him telepathically. To Roberto’s horror, he learned that Reignfire intended to kill everyone important in his life before killing him and wresting control of Da Costa Industries, thus making him more powerful than ever.

Luckily, one of Roberto’s errant teammates intervened and gave Sunspot and X-Force the chance to break free and retaliate. Thanks to the timely arrival of Dr. Joshua—  who brought with him a molecular disruptor gun capable of destroying Reignfire—Sunspot managed to obliterate his doppelganger, albeit momentarily. However, upon destroying Reignfire’s corporal form, Sunspot was overtaken by the malignant entity’s essence and was once again under its control. He struggled to reassert himself while “Reignfire” battled X-Force—this time for real. By diverting Reignfire’s full attention, Sunspot gave X-Force the chance to separate them by once again using the molecular disruptor gun. Their gambit succeeded; Reignfire’s essence separated from Sunspot and 'Berto reabsorbed the “heat” it had stolen from him, leaving it a withered mass of goo. After the battle, Sunspot happily relinquished custody of Reignfire’s remains to men who claimed to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. For the first time in months, he once again had full control over his enhanced powers and his life. [X-Force (1st series) #78-80]

Unfortunately, when Roberto’s money returned, so did his paternalistic arrogance, much to his girlfriend Tabitha’s chagrin. Although he managed to regain control of Da Costa Industries and restore access to his trust fund, Roberto began behaving in a manner that sapped Tabitha’s interest in him. Things worsened when Cannonball returned to the team, exacerbating the tension. Because Tabitha failed to verbalize what angered her and instead dealt with the situation passive-aggressively, Roberto did not recognize his cocky behavior as source of her ire. They continued bickering with increasing frequency, and eventually, Tabitha broke it off with Roberto before their tattered relationship ruined their friendship. [X-Force (1st series) #80-91, X-Force & Champions Annual ‘98]

Roberto’s bad luck continued, as almost immediately after Tabitha dumped him he was detained by two Immigration and Naturalization Service agents for overstaying his student visa. They claimed he was in the country illegally. Although Roberto and his lawyer tried to fight the charges, they had to submit when the INS produced photos of Roberto with known terrorist Reignfire and threatened him with criminal conspiracy charges. Roberto was deported to Brazil, before he even had the opportunity to tell his teammates. [X-Force (1st series) #91-93]

Once back in Brazil, Roberto was approached by the Hellfire Club’s Selene, who informed him of a task of mutual interest. It seemed the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who recovered Reignfire’s remains in Las Vegas were actually agents of the Damocles Foundation, who now intended to use what was left of Reignfire to animate  a Celestial Gatherer. This did not bode well for life on Earth. Selene wanted to stop them, and correctly presumed Roberto would want to prevent Reignfire’s revival as well. While pursuing this task, Sunspot once again came into contact with X-Force. After chiding them for their indifference toward his departure, they joined forces against the Damocles Foundation and successfully destroyed the Reignfire-possessed Gatherer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Selene then betrayed them all. She captured the entire team and tempted Roberto into becoming the Black Rook of the New York chapter of the Hellfire Club, which she now controlled. Although Roberto managed to resist her offers of adoration and power, he succumbed when she vowed to resurrect his long-dead love, Juliana Sandoval. Much to the disappointment of his teammates, the acquiescent Roberto left with Selene. [X-Force (1st series) #94-98]

Selene made good on her promise and, with the help of her associate Blackheart, resurrected Juliana Sandoval. However, as often happens when making deals with the devil, Juliana’s resurrection had a cruel twist: her soul was restored not into her own body, but into the vegetative body of a comatose girl named Marissa Sebastian who would quickly forget Juliana’s memories. Roberto struggled with whether or not he should even approach his former lover in her new form. Although he vowed to stay away from his resurrected girlfriend so as not to confuse her, he could not completely resist the temptation to keep tabs on her. As luck would have it, while spying on her one afternoon, he accidentally bumped into her and quickly left, heartbroken. He realized that, although he had finally alleviated the guilt he felt for Juliana’s death, he could never again be with her. [X-Force (1st series) #99-100]