You are a natural born leader, my son. One day you will show the world you have the fire inside you. I know you will do great things."
Roberto "Bobby" da Costa, better known as Sunspot, is a Marvel Comics character created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod, first appearing in Marvel Graphic Novel #4: The New Mutants (dated September 1982).
A wealthy Brazillian mutant with the power of absorbing and channeling solar energy, Bobby is notable for being a founding member of the so-called "new mutants" from Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, primed to become the next generation of X-Men for their amazing abilities.
Bobby in particular became known for his impulsive personality, often acting first and thinking later, as well as his friendly demeanor. He grew especially close with fellow teammate Cannonball during their formative years, and they've since become one of the most popular pairs in all of superhero comics, rarely seen without the other. They even joined The Avengers together!
Though most commonly associated with the X-Men, he spent much of The New '10s as an Avenger, having joined the team (with Cannonball, as mentioned above) during Jonathan Hickman's time with the franchise.
During this time, he even bought out the villainous organization A.I.M., transforming them from Advanced Idea Mechanics to the international rescue squad Avengers Idea Mechanics; later, he again rebranded them as the US government-contracted American Intelligence Mechanics. As their leader, he also dropped his original codename and adopted the moniker of Citizen V, formerly held by super-villain Baron Zemo while masquerading as a heroic figure with the Thunderbolts. After the events of Avengers: No Surrender he resigns as leader of A.I.M. and changes his moniker to Citizen X, a reflection of his return to his mutant roots.
Outside of comics, Sunspot has appeared in live-action and animation. He's most notably appeared in the X-Men Film Series twice: as a minor character in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past, portrayed there by Adan Canto, and a co-leading role in 2020's The New Mutants, as played by Henry Zaga. He also showed up as a recurring figure in the animated X-Men: Evolution, voiced by Mike Coleman. As well, the character Marcos Diaz ("Eclipse") on FOX's The Gifted is essentially an expy of Sunspot, specifically based on a version of him from an alternate universe.
Sunspot has appeared in:Notable Comics
- New Mutants vols. 1 & 3 (1982 — 1991; 2009 — 2012)
- Fallen Angels (1987)
- X-Force vol. 1 (1991 — 2001)
- Jonathan Hickman's Avengers (2012 — 2015)
- New Avengers: A.I.M. (2015 — 2016)
- U.S.Avengers (2017)
- Avengers: No Surrender (2018)
- New Mutants (2019)
- X-Men Film Series (2014, 2019):
- X-Men: Evolution (2000 — 2003), voiced by Mike Coleman
Sunspot provides examples of:
- 10-Minute Retirement:
- A bit of roughhousing during a football game leads to Roberto giving his friend Sam a concussion. While moping about it he discovers that Xavier expects him to become evil like his father, which causes him to freak out and leave the New Mutants before he can hurt any more of them. This leads into the Fallen Angels mini-series, and seven issues later Roberto returns to the team.
- After the New Mutants get a new leader in Cable and Mr. da Costa dies, Bobby leaves the team. He still shows up in the rebranded X-Force, and eventually rejoins about thirteen issues into the series.
- Aborted Arc: At the end of X-Force, Roberto is forced to make a deal with Selene and join with the Hellfire Club. The next time he's seen is in X-Treme X-Men, working for Xavier's Corporation with no seeming ties to the Club. Then Shaw approaches him and he rejoins the club, then with Sage's help ousts Shaw as the Lord Imperial and takes his place. This also doesn't lead anywhere besides a single altercation with some of the X-Men, as Roberto rejoins Xavier's school right afterwards.
- Artistic Age: Roberto was fourteen while with the New Mutants, but you really couldn't tell from the way some artists depicted him. It gets worse in X-Force, where he's roughly 18-20 but doesn't look much different from older teammates like Siryn or Warpath.
- Ascended Extra: At the start of Avengers he's one of Those Two Guys with Sam, and has little bearing on the overall plot. During Time Runs Out he upgrades to the leader of a third faction in the civil war between the superheroes, and then gets his own team to lead in New Avengers and its Sequel Series U.S.Avengers.
- Ascended Fanboy: Like most children in the Marvel Universe, Roberto idolized the Avengers. Then he grew up and was offered a spot on the team alongside his best friend Sam.
- Badass Boast: Two in succession to the Supreme Leader of A.I.M., after the Leader mistakenly believed he could take his company back from Roberto:Supreme Leader: Your ego gets the best of you, mutant. Did you really think you could simply buy me out?
Roberto: I didn't "think" anything. I did buy you out. And I'm here to let my staff know that there are going to be some changes around here. I'm also going to kick your ass.
Roberto: Greetings, A.I.M. employees— I know it's not the best of circumstances, but allow me to introduce myself. My name is Roberto da Costa, and I'm a dashing, super-powered billionaire, an Avenger, and your awesome new boss. This guy right here? He's trespassing on my property.
Supreme Leader: Adorable, Mr. da Costa. I suppose you think this is some kind of threat?
Roberto: No. That was just me talking. This is a threat: Get the hell off my property before I make you.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Roberto's wardrobe sometimes includes a fancy suit as part of his upper-class upbringing, but in New Avengers and U.S.Avengers he's constantly decked out in a suit and tie while leading the team and manipulating the field.
- Badass in Distress:
- At the start of X-Force he and Gideon are held as political prisoners by Black Tom. It isn't until X-Force storm the building that they can make moves to free themselves.
- In U.S.Avengers he's hit with an energy blast that makes his powers go haywire, leaving him helpless for Hydra to capture him. Toni has to make a headband to regulate his power before either of them can escape.
- Benched Hero: In New Avengers and U.S.Avengers, due to the M-pox messing with his powers, Roberto steps back from being an active team member and instead operates as their leader back at mission control.
- Beneath the Mask: On the surface Roberto is an arrogant, self-absorbed, charming playboy. Underneath that he's a clever businessman with a bigger heart than people give him credit for. And under that are some deep-seated issues relating to his dead girlfriend and father, and his worries that he can't match up to the bravado that he presents to the world.
- Benevolent Boss: Roberto is a great boss to his A.I.M. employees, paying them handsomely and remembering them all by name despite them being Faceless Goons. His acquisition of A.I.M. works in part because the employees side with him over their previous boss, who was a jerk.
- Birds of a Feather: He and Boom-Boom are attracted to each other's spontaneity and fiery personality. Funnily enough, both Boom-Boom and Bobby's next girlfriend Magma have powers relating to fire or heat like Bobby does.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Back in his New Mutant days Roberto was an impulsive jerk who'd pick fights with his teammates and openly show derision towards adults like Xavier and Magneto (sometimes for good reason, sometimes just to be contrarian).
- Broken Pedestal:
- Roberto used to be close with his father, to the point they were practically best friends, until it was revealed that Mr. da Costa was a greedy opportunist and member of the Hellfire Club.
- He used to be a fan of the obscure stunt group Team America, particularly of Wolf, until he met them and discovered that Wolf was a Jerkass who cared little about endangering the life of Bobby's teammate.
- Brought Down to Badass: After Secret Wars, his Mutant powers were apparently removed by exposure to the Terrigen mists. This didn't mean Roberto had lost any of his athletic skills, or his intelligence. It later turns out Roberto still has his powers, but they come with a severe drawback.
- Cast from Lifespan: As a result of exposure to terrigenesis after Secret Wars, Berto's powers still work, but using them burns up his life.
- Catchphrase: During New Mutants, especially in the early issues, he would often invoke the 'blessed saints' or 'blessed Madonna' when surprised. In X-Force he switches to droga.
- Character Development: He's introduced in New Mutants as a hot-headed Casanova who's terrified that he might become evil like his father. Over time he mellows out and starts putting his father's fortune to good use, and by the time he gets his own Avengers team he's a chessmaster par excellence who's married to the job and having fun with people's perception of him as a supervillain.
- The Charmer: He's a smooth talker even at the precocious age of fourteen. His dance instructor at Xavier's describes him as 'nearly irresistible', and later on in life he uses his charm to help infiltrate A.I.M. and keep the Avengers together when they split into two.
- The Chessmaster:
- In one Astonishing Tales story, Mojo kidnaps Roberto and Sam and forces them to make movies for him. Roberto manages to manipulate the terms of the contract so that he'll have full rights to the movies, and then has fun stringing Mojo along until the reveal.
- During the Time Runs Out arc of Avengers, Captain America and Iron Man split into two groups: Steve with the Avengers, aiming to take Tony down, and Tony with the The Illuminati, who are going to desperate lengths to prevent the world's destruction. Roberto's reaction is to gather intel on both sides via people he has on the inside (Spider-Woman and Black Widow on Steve's side, Beast on Tony's), gather a group of the most powerful Avengers to deal with the world-ending threat at its source, and then create his own faction to push the warring sides back together.
- Come New Avengers (2015), he manages to outwit both SHIELD and an alternate Reed Richards repeatedly. Any time it seems like he's being backed against a wall, it's either part of his plan or something he manages to manipulate his way out of.
- Chick Magnet: He's a charmer with good looks, and knows how to use them. In one issue of New Mutants he wins a Bar Brawl and gets surrounded by an entire mob of appreciative women.
- Color Motif: All of his costumes feature red and/or yellow to some degree, which not only matches with his solar power, but also his fiery personality.
- Commonality Connection:
- With Dani Moonstar, who realises that she and Bobby have the same difficulty with swallowing their pride and admitting when they have problems.
- He and Caliban become friends during X-Force since both of their powers (at the time) prevented them from passing as human like their teammates.
- Complexity Addiction: By the time of Avengers he's coming up with crazy plans for every scenario. At the end of New Avengers he buys Wiccan and Teddy an apartment and then sends them to it under the guise of it being the headquarters of rogue A.I.M. agents.Wiccan: He can't even say goodbye without turning it into an intricate scheme.
- Conspiracy Redemption: Attempted with the Hellfire Club, didn't go too well. His stint as their leader was short-lived before he was made to return to Xavier's school.
- Crazy-Prepared: The amount of preparation he puts into his New Avengers is ridiculous. To wit: his champagne-providing robot doubles as a miniaturized EMP that can knock out any team member, he has a giant robot stashed away with a specially-made gamma power source (which turns out to be a perfect counter for the American Kaiju they fight), he has an entire second base hidden away in case his first one is compromised, every single member of A.I.M. is trained with psychic defences he learned from Xavier, he has a triple agent delivering him information on SHIELD, and he has the New Mutant Warlock hanging around his base just in case something goes wrong.
- Crimefighting with Cash: Zig-zagged, since he ducks in and out of having cash to work with. His father is a multi-billionaire, but Roberto couldn't access the funds after discovering his father was evil. Then his father passed away, leaving Roberto his fortune, but other complications rose to stop him abusing it in X-Force. By the time of the Avengers he has full access of his funds, and uses them to buy out A.I.M. and re-purpose them for the Avengers needs... and then he bankrupts himself during the end of U.S.Avengers in order to give a proverbial middle finger to a bigoted senator.
- Deadly Upgrade: The M-Pox alters his solar absorption so that it's much more powerful than before, giving him strength comparable to the Hulk, but using it at that level burns out his body and causes him to age prematurely.
- Deal with the Devil: Makes one with the sorceress Selene and the son of Mephisto; they give his dead girlfriend another chance at life, and in return he serves them as the Black Rook of the Hellfire Club.
- Depending on the Artist:
- Sunspot is of Afro-Brazilian descent (though his mother is white, his first appearance has a fellow Brazilian bullying him due to his African heritage) but a lot of artists seem to forget this and simply make him look like the stereotypical American depiction of a "Hispanic" person. His skin tone varies wildly, as do his facial features and hair texture.
- Whether his hair is still visible when in his Sunpot form, or whether it merges with his Kirby Dots and becomes a trail off his otherwise bald-looking head. Also in Avengers World his Sunspot form is stylised so it appears that lightning is crackling off of him.
- Drama Queen: He sometimes reacts to situations with more drama than is necessary. This is especially true in Fallen Angels, where he constantly bemoans his 'evil' nature at every opportunity."Warlock... I do not know what good act I have performed in this wasted life of mine... to deserve as true a friend as you. If Jamie Madrox does not consider himself sullied by the company of such pariahs as we... I shall consider myself honored."
- Dumbass No More: After spending his youth as a hothead who punched first and asked questions later, Bobby wised up during a Time Skip in Avengers and emerged a chessmaster who could give the Avengers, SHIELD, and alternate Reed Richards a run for their money.
- Eccentric Millionaire: Roberto loves using his extravagant wealth to have fun and shower gifts upon his friends and employees. In one side story it's revealed that he bought his own film studio and produced his own action film, just because he could.
- Energy Absorption: Primarily he absorbs solar energy from the sun, but he's also been shown to absorb related energies, like radiation or laser light.
- Every Man Has His Price:
- In Avengers he's able to convince A.I.M. employees to work as his double agents simply by buttering them up and offering them ludicrous amounts of cash.
- During Time Runs Out he's able to access classified information on the world's incursions by bribing the right politicians.
- Evil Doppelgänger: He has an evil version of himself in Reignfire, who was a test subject infused with Bobby's DNA to give him Bobby's appearance and powers. During X-Force Reignfire sets out to ruin Bobby's life by freezing his funds, leaving destruction in his wake, and then tries to kill his friends.
- Existential Horror: After a run-in with The Beyonder, Roberto suffers an existential crisis, questioning what's the point of becoming a hero if someone as powerful as the Beyonder can erase his efforts at a moment's notice. He gets better after he and She-Hulk rescue a civilian from an accident.
- Faking the Dead: In New Avengers Ulysses has a vision of everyone at Roberto's funeral. It's later revealed that Roberto faked his death to lure rogue A.I.M. personnel to his funeral and get them arrested.
- False Friend: Gideon served as one to Bobby, presenting himself as a Childhood Friend while in reality he murdered Bobby's father and then kidnapped Bobby to experiment on his power.
- Fanboy: Of Magnum, P.I.. In his early days he would ask himself what Thomas Magnum would do in a troublesome situation, and he still has the Magnum PI theme as his ringtone.
- Flying Brick: He possesses the ability to fly by propelling himself through the air and generating thermal updrafts.
- Flying Firepower: Gideon enhances his solar absorption so he can use the energy for flight and energy beams. Afterwards he alternates between offering fire support from the air and getting in close with his Super Strength.
- Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: He encounters some hostility from the rest of X-Force after he's possessed by Reignfire and nearly kills them. They're willing to let him back on the team, but take a while to trust him again.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Downplayed when Magneto noted that Roberto's jerkass tendencies made him the least popular of the New Mutants. Sam, conversely, was one of the most popular, so when Bobby hurt him by accident the others were quick to turn on him. This has mellowed out now that they've all matured and grown into True Companions.
- Friendly Scheming: To cheer up Thor, who's been closing himself off, Roberto drops a line to his enemies and lures them to his base, prompting Thor to fight them off and regain his spirit.
- Future Me Scares Me: One future showed a Roberto that had helped create a caste society where humans were persecuted. The revelation disconcerted him, especially since he already had ongoing concerns about growing up to be evil.
- The Gadfly: Called one by the Maker. He realizes and enjoys that his audaciousness rubs some people the wrong way.
- Gadget Watches: He procures one by the time of U.S.Avengers, which can be used as a phone or to call up holographic images.
- Gallows Humour: In Avengers he ribs Sam about his relationship with Smasher, but only because an intense battle is coming up and it's easier to deal with when he's joking around.
- Ghost Memory: Cable reached into Roberto's memory to seal off the Reignfire personality, but in doing so he left some of his own memories behind. Most notably this taught Roberto how to speak Askani.
- Glass Cannon: Early on he was super-strong but did not have a comparable level of invulnerability the way other heavyweights do. Eventually he gained that power.note
- Good Running Evil: He buys out A.I.M., weeds out all the villains, and re-purposes the remainder into the Avengers science division. Though this does result in multiple characters questioning whether he is good.
- Gratuitous Spanish: His speech is often peppered with random Spanish exclamations, especially in the early days. What makes it especially gratuitous is that he's from Brazil, and should be speaking Portuguese instead.
- Guilty Pleasures: Amara reveals to the other New Mutants that Roberto likes listening to Rihanna and Shakira, much to his embarrassment.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: While in charge of A.I.M.. Running a former terrorist organization does not do much wonders for your reputation, and both the U.S. military and SHIELD wait for him to do something so they can arrest him.Dum Dum Dugan: Kid— you're supreme leader of a secret cult of science crazies. You live on an artificial island in international waters with a private army and a fleet of super-weapons. You're damned right we're keepin' an eye on you.
- Heroic Build: Justified in that he was a star athlete before he discovered his mutant powers, so Roberto has good reason for his musculature beyond being a superhero.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In Avengers: No Surrender he uses his Cast from Lifespan power to help keep the Earth in place, which shaves years off his life and leaves him unsure how long he has left to live.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Sam Guthrie/Cannonball, his fellow New Mutant. The two grew close as the only guys on the original New Mutants team, and they've stuck together more than any of the other members. In the transition between New Mutants and Avengers, Roberto breaks up with his girlfriend off-screen and instead takes Sam on a Hawaiian vacation with him.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Calls out the Supreme Leader of A.I.M. for giving Roberto the energy he needs to win the battle.Roberto: You're really gonna try and kill the guy who can turn light energy into power with a laser?
- Honor Before Reason: At the end of U.S.Avengers he gives up his job and all of his fortune in order to spite a bigoted politician who was trying to take control of it all. It's not the smartest move, but it does make him feel good.
- Hot-Blooded: At first. By his Avengers days, he's mellowed out considerably.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: At the climax of New Avengers he finds himself alone with the Maker, with none of his super-powered teammates on hand. He reveals to the Maker that he has a particular secret he kept close to his chest up until that point: the M-Pox didn't take away his mutant powers. Cue him stomping the Maker into the ground.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Selene gets him to join the Hellfire Club by giving him the one thing he can't refuse: a chance for his girlfriend Juliana to be reincarnated as a new person. He meets with her once, and then decides it's better if he doesn't get involved with her new life.
- Immediate Self-Contradiction: When Wolverine calls Bobby and Sam while they're on vacation, Bobby vehemently orders Sam to turn down his offer... until Sam specifies that they're being offered a place on the Avengers, not the X-Men, and then Bobby instantly agrees to join.
- Immune to Mind Control: Xavier taught him some techniques to resist a psychic takeover. When Secret Empire kicked off he was able to resist the effects of Dr. Faustus' hypnotism and get a warning out to his team so they could do the same.
- In-Series Nickname: Most often called 'Bobby' or 'Berto' by friends.
- In the Blood: Roberto's father was a member of the Hellfire Club, leading some (including Xavier) to suspect that Roberto would follow down that path and become evil himself. While Bobby did eventually become a Hellfire Club member, it was part of his ploy to try and redeem the club, and ultimately he's defied the idea that he's 'destined' to become evil.
- Incurable Cough of Death: Develops one during Ewing's New Avengers, thanks to Terrigenesis exposure. It's not ultimately fatal, but it doesn't help at all.
- Interclass Friendship: With all of the New Mutants, but it's especially notable with his best friend Cannonball. Sam is a modest Kentucky farmboy while Roberto is a multi-billionaire in charge of multiple companies, but the two of them are thick as thieves.
- Irony: Many characters speculated that Roberto was the New Mutant most likely to turn evil (though his stint with the Hellfire Club did not help in that regard). Despite this, he's proven to have an undying loyalty to Xavier's cause.
- It's All About Me: He can be egotistical at times. And not always in a way that he enjoys, as he blames himself for situations that he couldn't have had any influence on.Roberto: I'm totally self-absorbed. Honestly, I'm not even listening when most people are talking.
Sam: Even me?
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: When he was younger Roberto could be temperamental and pig-headed towards his teammates. He steadily grew out of it and nowadays is much more amicable.
- Kirby Dots: When in his powered-up form, he appears as a flat black silhouette with motes of blackness drifting from his skin.
- The Lancer: When Sam and Dani were co-running the New Mutants, Roberto served as the headstrong, rash foil to their more collected leadership.
- Latin Lover: He's a Latino man and depicted as quite the handsome flirt.
- Latino Is Brown: Probably one of the most notable and contentious examples of this trope in comics, as discussed here. He's the child of an Afro-Brazilian father and a white Brazilian mother, and his very first appearance showed him facing racism from other children because of his black skin. Over time, however, his African facial features and curly hair were phased out, and his skin was often lightened as well, seemingly because the artists and colorists had a more stereotypical idea of what a Latino character looked like in their minds. This even carried over to his live-action portrayals, as neither X-Men: Days of Future Past nor The New Mutants cast an Afro-Latino actor to play him.
- The Leader: Of the New Avengers and U.S.Avengers. With his new leadership role came a more collected, tactical Roberto, who relied on his smarts and money instead of his strength.
- Leeroy Jenkins: One of his major flaws during his time with New Mutants and X-Force was his tendency to leap into situations instead of sticking with the plan, or giving his teammates time to make a plan. Cable eventually calls him out on it, and he strives to do better.
- Likes Older Women: During his time with the Avengers he goes through a phase of being attracted to older women, including Maria Hill and a future version of Jocasta.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Roberto's father goes down a dark path and consorts with villains, and his mother is never in the house due to her archaeological work, leaving Bobby disconnected with his family. It's also implied that he didn't have much friends before the New Mutants- besides his girlfriend, who died after he discovered his mutant power.
- Lots of Luggage: His idea of 'just enough to get by' is a full duffel bag and suitcase.
- Luckily, My Powers Will Protect Me: Take a drink every time it's mentioned that Sunspot is strong but not invulnerable while using his power. Lampshaded at one point when he starts describing his power, then cuts himself off because he doesn't need to explain it again.
- Meaningful Rename:
- He switches codenames from Sunspot to Citizen V while acting as leader for the U.S.Avengers. The M-Pox affected the use of his Sunspot powers, and Citizen V better fit with the patriotic theme that the team had going for them.
- Upon deciding to quit the Avengers and get back to his life as a mutant, Roberto switches from Citizen V to Citizen X.
- Mixed Ancestry: His father is a black Brazilian while his mother is a white Brazilian. His powers surfaced in part because a racist boy called him a slur in relation to his mixed ethnicity.
- Moment of Weakness: In U.S.Avengers Roberto suffers a brief moment of panic due to the combination of Sam's apparent death and Captain American giving him a dressing-down. This renders him vulnerable to one of his employees betraying him, which in turn lets Hydra Steve move forward with his plan uninterrupted.
- Mr. Fanservice: Roberto is a handsome boy, and comics haven't shied away from showing it off. Particularly notable in Avengers: No Surrender, where he always strips his shirt before using his power even though it isn't necessary.
- Mr. Vice Guy: He's very prideful, and, at times, lecherous, but he never once strays from the side of good.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Fallen Angels kicks off with Roberto accidentally hurting Sam during a football match. He feels so regretful for what he's done that he leaves the team, declaring himself a villain who doesn't deserve friends.
- My Greatest Failure: The death of his first girlfriend, Juliana, which he blames himself for since she took a bullet that was meant for him. Any time afterwards that he fails to save someone, or otherwise suffers a great failure, Juliana is where his mind goes.
- Next Tier Power-Up: After Gideon infuses his body with more solar power than he should've been able to handle, Roberto finds that he has extra applications for his power, namely flight and energy beams.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: With Sam, who's more upstanding and righteous compared to Roberto's devil-may-care recklessness. Best shown when they're asked why they couldn't tell someone was lying; Sam is non-judgemental and wanted to believe they were being honest, Roberto is self-centered and wasn't paying attention.
- Non-Idle Rich: At one point he's forced to return to Brazil and live an average rich boy lifestyle. He hates how vapid everyone is and how little there is to do, and quickly finds a way to get back to superheroics.
- Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: His dealings with A.I.M. and the Hellfire Club lead some to suspect that he's turned from the side of the angels. In both instances he was trying to reform them, and is still unambiguously a good person.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: During New Avengers, he appears to be an overly-enthusiastic manager whose approach to everything is throw money around and see what happens. The truth is he's hiding a dangerously clever mind, capable of out-thinking damn near everyone, and preparing for almost every eventuality.
- Odd Friendship: Warlock is a naive, sweet, and socially lacking alien, whereas Roberto is a hot-tempered, smooth-talking socialite. Despite this Roberto is Warlock's closest friend (besides his soulmate Doug), with the two going off on their own adventure in Fallen Angels and Warlock coming to Roberto's aid after a long absence in New Avengers.
- Offscreen Breakup: Roberto and Amara started dating in the third New Mutants volume. Next time Roberto is seen he's with the Avengers, with no mention of Amara, and his only relationship comment being that he's married to his job, implying they broke up at some point between books.
- One Steve Limit: Averted with Robert Drake/Iceman over in the X-Men, who like Roberto commonly goes by the nickname Bobby.
- SHIELD makes a play to invade New Avengers HQ, but Roberto outplans them and evacuates everyone to his second base. But then it's revealed that the Maker has the place bugged and knows Roberto's every move. But then it's revealed that Roberto not only knew about the bugs and was feeding the Maker false information, but had sent his own bug to the Maker's base.
- He keeps tabs on Domino after selling her some weapons, so when an infiltration mission comes up he conscripts her into it in exchange for cancelling her debt. After the mission she reveals that she was the one who leaked intel on the mission in the hopes that he would hire her for it and allow her to cancel her debt.
- Parental Betrayal: He learns that his father is evil and working for the Hellfire Club after his dad puts out a hit on his mother. He then confronts his father about it, and essentially disowns himself.
- Phlebotinum Battery: Sunspot's powers are charged by sunlight, and he can 'store' a certain amount for when there's no sun available. Naturally, he often finds himself running low on power at night or in a cave.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Back when he was a New Mutant there was much attention drawn to the fact that Bobby was one of the smallest on the team, being only 5'4, but was their biggest bruiser due to his power giving him Super Strength.
- Poly Glot: English, Portuguese, Spanish, classical Latin, Chinese, and Askani.
- Power Limiter: To keep his M-Pox affected powers from killing him, Dr. Toni invented a snazzy headband for Roberto to wear that restrains his power to a manageable level.
- The Power of the Sun: His power comes from sunlight, and could be exhausted if he overuses it, especially at night or otherwise in darkness (he could gain slight power from stars or the moon, but not enough to make much of a difference).
- Power Palms: In U.S.Avengers he 'borrows' a schematic from Tony Stark: a watch that can transform into a palm-mounted laser blaster.
- Power-up Full Color Change: When using his powers Sunspot's body becomes pitch black. This is explained as him draining the 'ambient light' from his skin to charge up his solar power.
- Pride: One of his defining flaws. He's a naturally arrogant person who has great difficulty admitting when he has problems out of a fear of being seen as 'weak'.
- Psychic Link: In X-Force he has a telepathic link with Reignfire, who uses it to take control of Bobby and attack the rest of X-Force. Afterwards Cable uses his telepathy to try and sever it, but only manages to do so temporarily, allowing Reignfire to recover and use it to merge his body with Bobby's and take him over.
- Psycho Serum: He and teammate Rahne were forcibly injected with the same drug that gave Cloak & Dagger their powers. In Bobby's case he gained the power of the Darkshroud, able to teleport and trap people in his shroud of darkness, but it also turned him into a monster that fed on people's hope.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: In a Thunderbolts issue he attempts to punch out the Red Hulk. Hulk's response is to give him a Death Glare, and then send him hurtling through the air while he sputters out an apology.
- Pure Energy: He absorbs solar energy from the sun, which he can then dispel to fly around or in the form of an energy blast.
- Raised Catholic: Roberto is Catholic, and there's a few hints to it- his various 'blessed saints' and 'blessed Madonna' proclamations, and the occasional sighting of a cross necklace.
- Reality Ensues: Roberto being part of the outlaw X-Force team comes back to bite him in his ass when I.N.S forcefully deports him from the country, as he no longer has the student visa that allowed him to stay at Xavier's school.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives a verbal beatdown to Gideon after the Eternal kidnapped his friends and tried to bargain them for Cannonball."Funny, isn't it? You and your band of sad, old men claim to be immortals— well I've got news for you. We just feel you aren't worth our time."
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The impulsive, hot-tempered Red Oni to Sam's more relaxed Blue Oni. Xavier specifically hoped that Sam would be a calming influence on Roberto when they became friends.
- Refuge in Audacity: His acquisition of A.I.M., a longtime villainous organisation, by simply buying them out is so off the cuff that the other Avengers have no idea how to respond.Captain America: Sunspot bought A.I.M.?
Captain Marvel: Uh-huh.
Captain America: He bought A.I.M..
Invisible Woman: That's... That's... Well, kind of brilliant.
- Retcon: Reignfire was originally intended to be an older, more unstable Roberto after Locus teleported him through time. This was revised later so that Reignfire was instead a genetic clone of Bobby that was telepathically connected to him.
- Revisiting the Roots: At the end of Avengers: No Surrender, Bobby decides to step down from his Avenger role and get back to his mutant roots.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: In Avengers, Bobby manages to convert a few rank-and-file members of A.I.M. to double agents by getting them drunk and promising to pay them really well. Later, during the eight month time skip before Time Runs Out, he actually purchases all of A.I.M. and restructures it to be a helpful organization that supports his new, independent Avengers team.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: He has his team of New Avengers rescue Rick Jones from SHIELD custody, knowing full well that it'll get them branded as international terrorists, because 'a call for help is a call for help'.
- Secret Public Identity: At one point he changes codenames from Sunspot to Citizen V, but the latter is very rarely used in favour of his normal name (in part because Roberto isn't a fan of his new codename in comparison to his previous one).
- Secret Weapon: He reveals a succession of these when the Maker tries to invade his base; his chief scientist Toni has a Rescue armour suit, techno-organic alien Warlock has been hanging around the base in secret, and Roberto himself still has his mutant powers after everyone assumed his M-Pox got rid of them.
- Ship Tease: He had some with Dani in the early days of New Mutants. Their similar personalities meant they got along well, and Dani once expressed frustration that he didn't flirt with her like he did the other girls on the team. They've never been more than good friends, though.
- Shirtless Scene: Has received them constantly throughout the years, sometimes a result of his clothes getting wrecked during battle, sometimes just to show his muscles off.
- Skunk Stripe: Develops one during New Avengers, when he reveals he can use his powers, but that there are drawbacks.
- Speech Bubbles: After the Reignfire incident Roberto's power got a boost. This was reflected in his speech, which went from the typical white bubble with black text to red bubble with white text.
- Straight Man and Wise Guy: Played the Straight Man to Caliban's Wise Guy during X-Force. He even compared their relationship to Bugs and Daffy.Roberto: Why do you refer to yourself as "Caliban this" or "Caliban that"?
Caliban: Because that is Caliban's name!
Roberto: No. What you should say is "It is my name".
Caliban: "Sunspot" is Sunspot's name! Maybe, Sunspot should not spend so much time upside-down!
Roberto: Madre de dios...
- Super-Power Meltdown: In X-Force, Gideon forces Roberto through a series of tortuous experiments to amplify his solar absorption. He ends up absorbing too much and explodes, but not before Cannonball arrives to safely carry him away from civilisation.
- Super Strength: Sunspot has ability to absorb solar energy and convert it for use as physical strength. The original limits of his strength was that of 2 tons. Since then however his strength has increased to 50 tons.
- Survivor Guilt: Reveals in the third New Mutants volume that he feels tremendous guilt for his girlfriend taking a bullet for him, and would often pray that God would somehow let him take her place.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: After hurting his best friend Sam, Roberto becomes convinced that he's meant for evil and so leaves the New Mutants. His first act of villainy is to break into a church, which immediately makes him feel terrible. By the end of Fallen Angels he's come to accept that he's not good at being evil, and so he returns to superheroics.
- There Are No Therapists: Xavier notes in his evaluation of Roberto that he's deeply troubled by the death of his girlfriend and the evil turn his father has taken, and may walk the same path as his father if he doesn't resolve his issues. It never seems to occur to Xavier to get the boy professional help instead of leaving him to deal with it himself.
- Those Two Guys: With Sam in the beginning of Avengers. They were practically attached at the hip, and most of their time was spent making witty banter and getting up to wacky antics.
- Throat Light: When using his solar powers, Roberto's skin turns pitch black and his eyes and mouth are replaced with an inner yellow glow.
- Traumatic Superpower Awakening: His powers first manifested during a soccer game, when the racist opposition started to beat him up for being mixed-race and black.
- What the Hell, Hero?: When he injures Sam during a football game, the New Mutants all call him out and tell him to get lost- except for Sam himself, who realizes he started it by injuring Bobby first, and Warlock, who's more forgiving and follows after Roberto instead.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: Mrs. da Costa works as an archaeologist which, much to young Bobby's dismay, means she's away from home a lot.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: On top of his normal tactics and careful preparations, Roberto has shown an aptitude for rerouting his plans on the fly. When the Maker escapes his base, which he didn't expect, Bobby responds by having Hulkling disguise himself as Roberto and intercept SHIELD at the base, while Roberto disguised himself as the President and Warlock as Air Force One, allowing them to intercept the Maker before he kidnapped the real President.