Roberto da Costa is the son of Brazilian millionaire Emmanuel da Costa and his American wife Nina, an archaeologist. Roberto first manifested his superhuman mutant powers when, at the age of fourteen, he was playing in a championship soccer match for his school team in Rio de Janeiro. Motivated by racial hatred, a boy named Keller and another member of the opposing team knocked da Costa to the ground. The hot-tempered da Costa retaliated by tackling Keller, who began brutally beating him. It was then that, without being aware of what was happening to him, da Costa first manifested his superhuman strength. His body and clothing temporarily turned black in the process, and he inadvertently hurled Keller away from him. Confused and frightened, da Costa sought help, but both the other players and most of the spectators panicked and fled. However, his girlfriend, Juliana Sandoval, who had been watching the game along with Emmanuel, stood by Roberto in his time of need.
Roberto's powers came to the attention of Donald Pierce, the renegade White Bishop of the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club. Pierce sought to murder any superhuman mutants he could find. Pierce's mercenaries failed to abduct Roberto, but kidnapped Juliana instead. The mutant telepath, Professor Charles Xavier, founder of the X-Men, had learned of Pierce's plan to kill Roberto and sent his colleague, Dr. Moira MacTaggert, and the young superhuman mutants, Karma and Psyche, to help da Costa.
Roberto agreed to meet with Pierce's men in order to obtain Sandoval's release, but the mercenaries refused to free her and intended to kill both of them instead. During a fight one of the mercenaries fired at da Costa, who had returned to normalcy again, but Juliana leaped in front of da Costa, taking the fatal bullet herself. Anguished with guilt that Juliana had died protecting him, da Costa vowed to take vengeance on Pierce. Bobby joined Karma, Prof. Xavier, and another young mutant, Wolfsbane, in tracking down Pierce and they succeeded in defeating him.
da Costa agreed to stay with Prof. Xavier and received training in the use of his superhuman powers as a member of the New Mutants, even when it was later discovered that Professor had originally created the because the had been possessed by a Brood Queen egg inside of him seeking young mutants for future embryos. In the Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, the New Mutants were tutored by Professor X and trained in the use of their powers in the Danger Room. A founding member of the New Mutants, Bobby was a mainstay of the junior team for most of its existence and became best friends with his teammate Samuel Guthrie (Cannonball). Meanwhile, Bobby’s father was contacted by the Hellfire Club and became a member of its secret Inner Circle under the alias of White Rook. He was the only person in the Inner Circle without superhuman powers. His performance in that role was almost unnoticed.
Sunspot and Wolfsbane were injected with the same drug that gifted Cloak and Dagger with their powers. Unable to control himself, Bobby attacked the X-Man Colossus until the New Mutant Magik returned the powers to the original owners.
Empath of the Hellions turned Bobby and his teammate Magma over to the Gladiators, where they were forced to battle for entertainment by his former teammate Karma. Later, during a trip to Asgard, Bobby gained a job as security in a tavern. After lifting Volstagg over his head, he befriended the Warriors Three. Bobby seriously entertained the idea of staying, as heroes were honored and worshiped in Asgard and he was hated and feared as a mutant on Earth.
After their adventure in Asgard, the New Mutants found themselves under the guidance of a new teacher, Magneto, a fact that Bobby had a hard time dealing with. After reading Professor Xavier's personal files on himself, speculating that he could one day turn evil due to his arrogance, Bobby took a brief leave of the school.
While watching the Wildways, Bobby was captured by Spiral and Mojo, and mentally controlled by Psylocke into joining a new show, the Bratpack. After a brief battle with the New Mutants, Psylocke was freed from her mind control and freed the others as well. The New Mutants later battled the X-Men after they had been turned to the X-Babies by Mojo, until they were broken of their brainwashing and defeated the spineless one, Mojo.
During a friendly soccer game, Bobby accidently gave Sam Gurthrie a concussion. Believing himself to be danger to his team, Bobby ran away. After living on the streets, Bobby saved a runaway mutant called Chance from a group of thugs. When Bobby's powers failed, Chance abandoned him and fled with an alien girl called Ariel. Bobby was rescued by Warlock, who tried to convince Bobby to return to the New Mutants, but Bobby felt he was not worthy to rejoin the team and wished to be left a pariah. Warlock suggested that they stick together.
Bobby decided to become a villain and rob a church, but found himself unable to go through with it. The pair were found by a duplicate of Jamie Madrox and Siryn, who attempted to return them to the New Mutants. A cyborg called Gomi propositioned Bobby to join the Fallen Angels, a group primarily made up of adolescent mutant thieves organized by the mutant criminal called the Vanisher. Among his recruits were the young mutant Boom Boom, Gomi and his two cybernetically-enhanced lobsters Bill and Don, Chance, Ariel, the duplicate Madroxes, and Siryn.
Vanisher teleported the Fallen Angels to the Valley of the Flame on Dinosaur World, where they were joined by Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur. After Devil Dinosaur accidentally crushed Don the lobster, Gomi spoke of not leaving friends after an accident or tragedy, which struck a cord with Bobby and he began to second-guess his decision to leave the New Mutants. After all of the mutants' powers temporarily went out-of-whack due to Chance, Ariel suggested that they all leave and teleported them to the Coconut Grove, her home planet. The inhabitants of the Coconut Grove and the leader, Unipar, captured the Fallen Angels, intending to experiment on them in order to continue their evolution, but the Angels worked together to defeat them and returned home.
Bobby and Warlock returned to the New Mutants in time to aide the them against Cameron Hodge and The Right. During the battle, Doug Ramsey jumped in the path of a bullet intended for Wolfsbane, killing him. Magneto ordered the children never to use their mutant powers without his permission, a fact that Bobby immediately defied and stated that Magneto didn't give them their powers and they could use them as they pleased.
The mutants did not stay under the care of Magneto, as Cannonball and Mirage decided to move the team out from under Magneto's thumb. Magneto claimed the X-Men and the New Mutants were to be his army against the coming war between humans and mutants, however Magneto allowed the New Mutants to leave, stating that, in time, they would find his ways right and Bobby would be the first to join him. Bobby and the New Mutants were introduced to X-Factor and began to live on Ship, merging with the X-Terminators.
X-Force When his father died Bobby left the New Mutants and went with Gideon, an old friend, to take over his father's business. Gideon, however, was an immortal External who had killed Bobby's father and was looking for the next External. Thinking that it was Sunspot, Gideon had Bobby subjected to various experiments that increased his solar absorption capabilities by 3000%.
Meanwhile, Cable turned the New Mutants into X-Force and Sam Gurthrie was discovered to be the real External of the team. When Sunspot was liberated by X-Force, he found he had the ability to fire energy blasts from his hands.
Shortly after, during a battle with the M.L.F., Sunspot channeled his solar energy around his body, enabling him to fly. Unfortunately, he flew into one of Locus' portal beams and was sent into the time-stream. It was thought that Sunspot had an alternate persona called Reignfire who led the M.L.F., but it became clear that they were separate entities. After Bobby flew into Locus' beam, Reignfire captured him and forged a telepathic link that made Sunspot his puppet. When Cable forced his Askani disciplines into Sunspot to "expunge" Reignfire, he severed that link and Bobby returned to normal. As a result of Cable's actions, Bobby was now fluent in Askani and gained finer control over his powers. He was currently so powerful that he found it hard not to be in his blacked-out "fiery-head" state, but he can power down using the Askani methods. In the final battle with Reignfire, Bobby was possessed by his nemesis, but eventually regained control of his body, and was stronger than ever.
While his best friend Sam Guthrie ("Cannonball") was with the X-Men, Bobby got closer with Sam's girlfriend Meltdown (Tabitha Smith). Things progressed to the point where the teammates kissed, just in time for Sam to burst in and see them. This drove a wedge between the friends that hadn't really healed, although they managed to work together when Sam rejoined X-Force.
Bobby was deported from the U.S. because his student visa was no longer valid since he was not a student anymore. He returned to Brazil, to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, but was restless and found the life of a rich playboy heir boring and meaningless. At that moment, Selene, who had usurped control of the Hellfire Club, approached Bobby and convinced him to help her stop the Deviants in the Damocles Foundation from resurrecting a Celestial Template. Bobby agreed, and met up with X-Force again during the battle. However, Selene didn't give up so easily and put Bobby through a number of illusory situations to force him to her side. Sunspot saw through all of them, so Selene and Blackheart, the new Black King, played their trump card: Juilana Sandoval. Juilana was Bobby's girlfriend before his powers manifested. She was captured along with him by the Hellfire Club and she died to save him from being shot by a HC goon. Blackheart told Bobby that Juliana was supposed to have lived, but someone in Processing messed up. The deal was: Bobby would join the Hellfire Club, and Juliana would get a new start in a recently deceased girl's body. Feeling that he owed his life to Juliana, Bobby had no choice but to accept, and left X-Force to become the third Black Rook.
With Sebastian Shaw's resumption of leadership of the Hellfire Club, Bobby appeared to have been released from his vow. Exactly what occurred and why Shaw would let Bobby get away is still unknown. Bobby then became the head of the Los Angeles X-Corporation branch, and was working with Empath to insure that mutant interests are taken care of. For some reason, Bobby no longer used or had access to his energy-blasting and flight abilities, and now simply operated as "super-strong." In that capacity, Bobby helped Jon Spectre and a reconstituted X-Force battle the Skornn.
Bobby was again contacted by Shaw (and secretly by Sage) and invited to join the Lords Cardinal as the Black King under Shaw, who sought the overarching position of Lord Imperial. However, Shaw's injury at the hands of Donald Pierce put Roberto in position to become Lord Imperial, with Sage as his primary adviser.
As a result of the Scarlet Witch's actions on M-Day, nearly all of the mutants in the entire world were stripped of their powers. Bobby was one of the 198 who retained their powers. He retained his position as Black King of the Hellfire Club until Donald Pierce manipulated a team of Young X-Men into attacking him, believing him to be an enemy. When Pierce was defeated, Bobby became a teacher to these Young X-Men at the request of Cyclops, before rejoining his former teammates and reforming the New Mutants.
New Mutants X-Men Squad Magik later returned, stating that she was from the not too distant future and that the world and New Mutants would die without her intervention. Cyclops allowed Cannonball to reorganize the original New Mutants squad. Their first mission was to subdue a recently returned Legion. After battling their resurrected teammate, Doug Ramsey, and the Hellions, Doug was freed from Eli Bard's control by Warlock wielding Magik's Soulsword and rejoined Bobby and the rest of his former teammates.
Joining the Avengers
After the conflict between the Avengers and the X-Men, Captain America decided that his team the Avengers should've done more to help mutants, and allowed the world to hate them. As a result, he asked for various mutants to be part of the ranks of Earth's Mightiest Heroes as well as forming a team of Avengers lead by Havok. Sunspot joined the main Avengers team in Tony Stark's plan to make the Avengers bigger than ever.
Powers & Abilities
Solar Radiation Absorption
absorbs solar energy and can utilize it for physical strength. The cells of a normal human body convert energy from foodstuffs into a form of energy usable by the body. This energy is stored through converting molecules of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) in the cells into adenosine triphosphate (ATP); the energy is released when necessary by breaking a chemical bond in the ATP molecules, converting them back to ADP. Apparently Sunspot can store solar-derived energy in his cells through the same, or a similar method, and release it when necessary to enhance his physical strength. His body is cloaked in darkness because he drains all the ambient light from his skin.
ability to re-channel the solar energy which his body absorbs, by which he takes the solar energy and uses it for a variety of related purposes.
ability to fly by propelling himself through the air, by force of will, by generating thermal updrafts. Bobby has also refined this ability to be able to hover in the air without leaving a heat trail, and can reach speeds of up to 150 mph maximum without over exerting himself.
When Sunspots cells are powered by solar energy he has the superhuman ability to augment his physical strength. The original limits of his strength was that of 25 tons. Since then however his strength has increased to 50 tons. Before his super human strength could only be accessed when he was in his solar powered form but Roberto has been seen using his strength when out of his darkened form. The limits as to how much strength he is able to access outside of this form are unknown.
Previously not having a heightened sense of invulnerability, with the evolution to his mutant gene, Sunspot has become incredibly resistant. Sunspot can withstand tremendous amounts of impact forces, deflect high-caliber bullets, sustain himself when exposure to temperature and pressure extremes (unaffected by the weather), and powerful energy blasts without injury.
ability to project heat in intense waves when he absorbs and re-channels solar energy from any part of his body to raise the temperature. Roberto can also absorb heat into his body to lower the temperature in his immediate area. He can also project and absorb heat directly into/from people, causing intense discomfort at their fluctuating body temperatures.
Thermokinetic Concussive/Energy Blasts
During Sunspots time with X-Force he was kidnapped by a supervillain named Gideon who performed various experiments on him. Gideon exposed Sunspots body to massive amounts of solar energy in order to test the limits of his solar absorption. After these experiments Sunspots body was overloaded with solar energy and he later gained the ability to fire blasts of heat and concussive force.
ability to project light in intense waves when he absorbs and re-channels solar energy, and absorb ambient wavelengths.
Dark Solar Plasma Blasts
ability to project concussive dark plasma energy blasts from his hands, with about 20 tons of force behind them at their most powerful.
Fire and Heat Immunity
As is the norm with most pyrokinetics, Sunspot is immune to all forms of Heat and Fire as they simply add to his abilities and his mutant metabolism is able to simply convert these two forms and augment his abilities. This includes heat powers that are directed at him as well as heat that is present because of weather conditions. Sunspot has also been seen with the ability to absorb the energy that fire gives off and has remained unharmed while walking through it.
Previously, Sunspot would quickly exhaust his energy if he was not in direct sunlight. This no longer applies to his current state. With his increasing age and experience, he has become able to absorb sunlight even at night if there is a moon, as moonlight is nothing but refracted sunlight.
Roberto is fluent in Portuguese as well as the future language of the Askani. He is a trained pilot and a highly skilled soccer player, formerly playing in his high school team.