Colossus (comics)

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AstonColossus Colossus
Art by John Cassaday.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975)
Created by Len Wein
Dave Cockrum
In story information
Alter ego Piotr “Peter” Nikolaievitch Rasputin
Species Human Mutant
Team affiliations X-Men
Notable aliases Rasputin, Peter Nicholas, The Proletarian
Abilities Ability to transform his body into “organic steel” granting him superhuman strength, stamina, and durability

Colossus (Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin) is a fictional character, a superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by writer Len Wein and illustrator Dave Cockrum, he first appeared in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975). A Russian mutant, the character is a member of the X-Men, and is by far the physically strongest X-Man. Even without his powers he still cuts a physically imposing figure. Throughout the series he has been portrayed as a quiet, shy character, honest and innocent. He’s now a man without a family, having lost all whom he’s ever loved including his parents, brother, sister and even Kitty Pryde, his primary romantic interest. He has had a fairly consistent presence in X-Men-related comic books since his début. Also a talented artist, he only reluctantly agrees to use his powers in combat, feeling it is his responsibility to use his abilities for the betterment of human and mutant-kind. Daniel Cudmore portrays the Russian Superhero in X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand.


  • 1 Publication history
  • 2 Fictional character biography
    • 2.1 Background
    • 2.2 Joining the X-Men
    • 2.3 Excalibur
    • 2.4 “Death”
    • 2.5 Return
    • 2.6 Colossus: Bloodline
    • 2.7 Breakworld
    • 2.8 World War Hulk
    • 2.9 Messiah Complex
    • 2.10 Divided We Stand
    • 2.11 The Last Defenders
  • 3 Powers and abilities
  • 4 Relationships
    • 4.1 Anya Makarova
    • 4.2 Betsy Wilford
    • 4.3 Nereel and Shakani
    • 4.4 Zsaji
    • 4.5 Kitty Pryde
    • 4.6 Callisto
    • 4.7 Others
  • 5 Other versions
  • 6 In other media
  • 7 See also
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links

Publication history

A mainstay of the X-Men comic book series until the 1990s, Colossus then went on to appear regularly in the first series of Excalibur. While a member of the team, he had his own self-titled one-shot which depicted him and his teammate Meggan battling Arcade at his new Murderworld facility.

After returning to the X-Men alongside Excalibur teammates, Shadowcat and Nightcrawler, he stayed with the title until his death. He was later resurrected and has become a regular in the third series of Astonishing X-Men, written by Joss Whedon. He also has a limited series, Colossus: Bloodlines which had him journey back to Russia.

It was incorrectly believed that co-creator Dave Cockrum drew inspiration for Colossus’ powers from Ferro Lad of DC Comics’ Legion of Super-Heroes.[1] To note, #2 of Unlimited Access has The Legionnaires ending up in “The Days Of Future Past” era. During a team up between them and the X-Men, Colossus and Ferro team together against a Sentinel.

Fictional character biography


180px Piotr Saving Sister Colossus

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Colossus’ first appearance from Giant-Size X-Men #1. Art by Dave Cockrum.

Piotr “Peter” Rasputin was born on a Soviet collective farm called the Ust-Ordynski Collective near Lake Baikal in Siberia. He lived there with his mother Alexandra, father Nikolai, and sister, Illyana. His older brother, Mikhail, had been a Russian cosmonaut and had apparently died in a rocket accident (the 2006 comic mini-series Colossus: Bloodline established that the family was descended from a real-life historical figure Grigori Rasputin).

Peter’s superhuman powers manifested during his adolescence while saving his sister from a runaway tractor. At first, Peter was content simply to use these powers to aid the other people of the collective; however he was soon contacted by Professor Charles Xavier, the founder of the X-Men. Xavier was recruiting a new team of X-Men to rescue the original team, most of whom had been captured by the sentient mutant island Krakoa.

Joining the X-Men

Peter was part of the second generation of X-Men, formed by Charles Xavier to save the original X-Men from the living island Krakoa. He agreed to leave the farm community in which he was born to go to the United States with Xavier. Xavier gave him the name “Colossus.” After the battle was won, Colossus remained in the United States with the new X-Men.[2]

Colossus is typically portrayed as being peaceful, selfless, reluctant to hurt or kill anyone, and always putting himself in danger to protect others. When the X-Men storm Hell to save Nightcrawler,[3] Colossus pries open the gates of the city Dis and the demons flee in front of him. Doctor Strange remarks, “…according to Dante, only one figure could open these unholy gates by force.”[4] However, this version of Hell is later shown to be an illusionary construct, and not the actual Hell.

In some of his earliest missions, he first battled the Shi’ar Imperial Guard,[5] and first visited the Savage Land,[6] where he met Nereel.[7]

Peter’s family always remained in his thoughts and he frequently wrote letters home. Shortly after joining the X-Men, a woman known as Miss Locke kidnapped many of the team’s loved ones to use as hostages in order to force the X-Men to aid her in freeing her employer, Arcade, from captivity by one of Doctor Doom’s robots. Among her captives was Colossus’ younger sister Illyana, whom Locke had kidnapped from the Siberian collective farm and transported to the United States. Arcade brainwashed Colossus into becoming “The Proletarian,” and he battled the other X-Men until they countered the brainwashing.[8] The X-Men freed Illyana from captivity, and she went to live with her brother Peter at Xavier’s mansion. Due to her later captivity in a dimension known as Limbo where she spent years while only mere moments elapsed on Earth, Illyana became the adolescent sorceress known as Magik.

When the X-Men fought the evil mutant Proteus, Colossus thought he had killed Proteus on coming into contact with his metal skin.[9] During his early career with the X-Men, Peter started what was arguably his most significant relationship with fellow X-Man Shadowcat.[10] Although they were only together as a couple for a short while, the relationship provided the foundation of a deep and lasting friendship.

During the Dark Phoenix Saga, Colossus was forced to battle the Dark Phoenix. He punched the Dark Phoenix, temporarily stopping the Phoenix so that Cyclops could kill her.[11] He then battled the Imperial Guard again, in an attempt to save Phoenix’s life.[12]

Colossus was later turned to unliving metal, but was returned to normalcy by the Morlock Healer.[13] He soon ended his relationship with Kitty Pryde, and then battled the Juggernaut one-on-one.[14]

During the Mutant Massacre, Colossus became heavily involved in the X-Men’s efforts to save the Morlocks from the Marauders. When Kitty was severely injured by Harpoon, Peter gave into his rage and snapped Riptide’s neck.[15] He tried to fight through his pain and anger, but eventually passed out from previous wounds inflicted by Riptide. Magneto, with the aid of Shadowcat, used his powers to heal Peter’s armored form, but the process left him paralyzed. He was sent to Muir Island along with Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and the surviving Morlocks to recuperate.

Over time, Colossus’ wounds healed, but he could only retain his human form with the utmost concentration. When he saw the X-Men in Dallas during the Fall of the Mutants, he had his sister teleport him to the battle, where he became a wild card, as Destiny had not seen him in her vision of the X-Men’s demise. When the team decided to sacrifice themselves to stop the Adversary, Colossus went along, dying to save the world. Like the rest of the X-Men, he was revived by Roma and decided to let the world believe him dead while he and the X-Men worked out of an Australian base.[16]

Following the Inferno event, Illyana was returned to her original Earth age. Colossus decided it would be better for Illyana if she went back to live with their parents in Russia.

In time, Colossus was reunited with Nereel in the Savage Land, and met her son.[17] He also battled the Cold Warriors during this period.[18]

After the X-Men began falling apart with Rogue vanishing, Wolverine taking off, Longshot quitting, and Storm apparently killed, Psylocke telepathically prodded the remaining three to disband and travel through the Siege Perilous to gain new lives.[19] Peter emerged in New York with no memory of his past life, inventing a new persona for himself as ‘Peter Nicholas’, where he quickly became a successful artist. He battled the Genoshan Magistrates.[20] He began having visions of a beautiful model, who turned out to be Callisto transformed by Masque. The two were kidnapped by the Morlocks, though Peter had no memory of his time with the X-Men.[21] He resumed his armored form and defeated Masque.[22] He was saved by Forge, Banshee, and Jean Grey, who decided it better that he live his new life rather than be dragged back into theirs.[23]

Unfortunately, Peter was psychically dominated by the Shadow King and sent to hunt down Stevie Hunter and Charles Xavier.[24] Xavier had no choice but to destroy the Peter Nicholas persona to break the Shadow King’s hold.[25] Colossus joined in the battle of the Muir Island Saga, and rejoined the X-Men as a member of Storm’s Gold Strike Force.

Not long after, Peter’s parents were slain and Illyana kidnapped by the Russian government, who hoped to genetically evolve Illyana to the point where she would have the use of her powers again, to defeat the mutant known as the Soul Skinner. Colossus, with the help of the X-Men, saved Illyana and brought her back to the Mansion.

The X-Men later found themselves in another dimension where they discovered Colossus’ brother, Mikhail, was alive and acting as a messiah to the population of that world. Mikhail returned to Earth with the X-Men, but was distraught with having been responsible for the deaths of the original crew from his first trek into the other dimension. Mikhail established himself as leader of the Morlocks and transported them to another world. Peter was disappointed by his brother’s abrupt departure and blamed himself.

Later, Illyana became an early victim of the Legacy Virus and died from it. The loss of his immediate family, as well as brain damage that forced him to remain in armored form, caused Colossus to rethink his position with the X-Men and join Magneto and his Acolytes, who had offered him an alternative to the X-Men’s pacifist philosophy of peaceful mutant/human coexistence. Colossus would eventually recover from the brain damage, but decided to remain with the Acolytes of his own volition, hoping he could temper the Acolytes’ extremist methods with what he had learned from Professor Xavier.


His stay with Magneto was not long once he realized that Avalon was not the place for him, either, particularly after Magneto was left brain-dead and the space station was destroyed by Holocaust. He left in search of the only person he felt truly cared for him, his former love and teammate Shadowcat, now a member of Excalibur. Colossus traveled to England, where he found Kitty in the arms of her new love, Pete Wisdom. Colossus, exhausted, mentally ill, and enraged, attacked Wisdom, and although the battle was short, Peter nearly killed him. Colossus was subdued by Capt. Britain and Meggan, later cured of his illness by Moira MacTaggert.

Colossus accepted Shadowcat’s new life and chose to become a member of Excalibur. Although Colossus, along with the rest of the team, soon accepted Kitty’s relationship with Wisdom, Kitty’s pet dragon, Lockheed, did not, and was often seen trying to reunited Kitty with Peter who he much preferred. One such example being snatching away the garter during Meggan and Captain Britain’s wedding and dropping it into Colossus’ hand, who was then required to place it on Kitty’s leg, who had previously caught the bride’s flowers. With Excalibur, he participated in many adventures, including helping to save London from an ancient demon. Excalibur eventually disbanded, and Colossus returned with Nightcrawler and Shadowcat to the X-Men. But as soon as they returned, they faced a group of imposters following Cerebro, in the guise of Professor X. During this time, he repaired his friendships with Wolverine and Storm, that were broken when he had joined the Acolytes. He also created a deep friendship with Marrow. Peter again found his long thought-dead brother Mikhail, but unfortunately lost him again when Apocalypse collected The Twelve in his quest for power.


180px Death of Colossus Colossus

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Colossus’ shocking death from Uncanny X-Men #390. Art by Salvador Larroca. Ink by Danny Miki..

Using thoughts and notes from the recently murdered Moira MacTaggert, the X-Men’s resident scientist, Beast, claimed to have found the cure for the Legacy Virus. Unfortunately, it could only be made airborne with the death of its first user. Rather than wait for a safer version and allow others to die as Illyana had, Colossus injected himself with the cure. By using his powers and sacrificing himself, Colossus enabled the release of an airborne cure, effectively eradicating the disease. His body was cremated, and Shadowcat took his ashes back to Russia to be strewn on his native soil.


Colossusreturn Colossus

The surprising return of Colossus and Shadowcat’s shock in Astonishing X-Men #4. Art by John Cassaday.

Nearly 2 years later, it was brought to the attention of the X-Men that a medical company, entitled Benetech, had developed a mutant cure. After gaining a sample of the cure, Dr. McCoy discovered a string of DNA hidden deep within the recesses of the formula. After matching the DNA, Beast and the other X-Men set out to investigate the truth behind Benetech. During their infiltration, they discovered that Ord, an alien from the Breakworld, was responsible for the means with which the company was able to develop the cure. While the team was separated, Kitty descended into a hidden complex beneath the Benetech building and was able to unlock the true secret behind the cure: shortly after Peter’s self-sacrificing death, Ord had captured his body and left a duplicate that the X-Men had cremated.

After reviving him, Ord had used the Legacy Virus cure in Peter’s blood stream to develop his mutant cure. After unknowingly releasing Peter from his cell, Kitty rejoined him with the X-Men and together they subdued Ord as he tried to escape Earth. Since reuniting with his friends, Peter has returned to fight with the X-Men as Colossus, and he and Kitty have been able to resume their romantic relationship.

Colossus: Bloodline

During the Colossus: Bloodline mega-series, Colossus made a trip to Russia in response to a call for help from his cousin, journalist Larisa Mishchenko. Her research had established that their family descended from Grigori Rasputin, and that their relatives were being systematically murdered. Rasputin is established as having been a powerful mutant, whose power and life essence had been passed down to his descendants. As his descendants are murdered, his great power is invested in greater measure in the remaining descendants. When there is only one descendant left, Rasputin will be re-born within that individual. Mister Sinister, an old ally of Rasputin, is revealed as the man behind the murders. Larisa is also murdered by Sinister, but Colossus and his brother Mikhail foil Sinister’s plot, and Mikhail banishes himself to a dimension where he can never die, but from which he can never return. If Sinister were to murder Colossus, Rasputin would be re-born in Mikhail, but locked in a dimension on his own. However, all those involved remained unaware of Colossus’ son, Peter, in the Savage Land, whose presence could severely alter the situation. Colossus returned to the X-Men, a man without family.


During an attack on the institute, Colossus engages Sebastian Shaw, although “Shaw” turned out to be an illusory attack by Cassandra Nova. It was also revealed that Colossus is the mutant destined to destroy Breakworld according to the Breakworld’s precogs. However, on a mission to the Breakworld, the X-Men discover that this was not an actual prophecy but an elaborate scheme created by Aghanne, the insane leader of a Breakworld reform cult, intended to bring about that world’s destruction. Colossus is chosen for the prophecy as his unique organic steel form would allow him to destroy the planet’s power source, initiating a chain reaction that would destroy the entire world. Realizing this, Colossus refuses to kill the planet although he does threaten to seize power and rule it if the Breakworld destroys the Earth as planned.

World War Hulk

Colossus is one of the X-Men members that tries to defend Professor Xavier against the Hulk, who has come looking for Charles as he is one of the members of the secret Illuminati that exiled him away from Earth. They battle in issue #2, with the Hulk commenting on Colossus’ bravery and mentioning that to his previous incarnations, Colossus might have made a “decent opponent” for him, before breaking his arms.

Messiah Complex

Colossus was with Wolverine, Angel and Nightcrawler when it came to hunting down some Acolytes in their search for Exodus. He was also involved in a battle with The Marauders. During the fight, he faced off against Frenzy, Unuscione, Arclight and Omega Sentinel all at once.

Divided We Stand

Colossus returns to Russia with Wolverine and Nightcrawler along for the ride. The trio are captured by the Russian government, who wish to find out why all their mutant agents succumbed to M-Day, and Colossus did not.

The Last Defenders

Colossus was briefly a member of the 50 State Initiative team called The Last Defenders alongside Nighthawk, She-Hulk and Blazing Skull.[26]

Powers and abilities

Colossus is a mutant that has the ability to transform his entire body into a form of ‘organic steel’, with properties analogous to osmium but of still unknown composition. Colossus cannot transform only a single portion of his body into this armored state; he must either transform completely or remain within his normal state. When he transforms, he gains around a foot in height and his weight is at least doubled. In his armored form, Colossus possesses superhuman levels of strength, the upper limits of which are unknown, and superhuman stamina and durability. His physical strength is currently greater than when he first joined the X-Men, since he was a teenager at the time. While in his armored form, Colossus requires no food, water, or even oxygen to sustain himself, and is extremely resistant to injury. He is capable of withstanding great impacts, high caliber bullets, falls from great heights, temperature extremes of hot and cold, electricity, and certain magical attacks. [27]

Colossus is also an excellent hand-to-hand combatant, having received training from Wolverine and Cyclops. He also has had training in acrobatics and sword fighting from Nightcrawler. In his human form, he is exceptionally strong and fit, though not superhumanly so. He has also completed college-level courses at Xavier’s school.


Anya Makarova

Not long after Piotr joined the X-Men, he witnessed a girl being kidnapped. After saving her, he learned that she was also from Russia. Her name was Anya Makarova, a ballerina who had defected to the U.S. After spending some time together, they started to like one another. After she saw Piotr transform into Colossus, she was shocked and no longer trusted Piotr, running away from him.

Betsy Wilford

While celebrating their first Christmas with the X-Men, Piotr met an attractive flight-attendant named Betsy Wilford, with whom he often double-dated with Nightcrawler and Betsy’s friend, Amanda Sefton. However, while Kurt and Amanda started a full relationship, Betsy and Piotr were nothing more than close friends.

Nereel and Shakani

While in the Savage Land, Piotr had an encounter with two native women, Nereel and Shakani, who wished to make love with him after Colossus saved them from a thunder lizard. Nereel wished to bring new blood into their tribe. Piotr made love for the first time. The fruit of their union was a son, Peter, born long after Piotr, the elder, left the Savage Land. Colossus is unaware that Peter is his son, despite having met him.


During the first Secret Wars event, all the X-Men but Kitty Pryde were summoned, with other heroes, to another world by the Beyonder. Colossus was injured there, but was healed by an alien girl named Zsaji, whom he fell in love with despite her apparent interest in the Human Torch. After Doctor Doom used the cosmic power he’d stolen from the Beyonder to kill the heroes, Zsaji died exhausting her healing powers to save Colossus. This left Piotr heartbroken after he managed to restore Reed Richards, who subsequently managed to revive their allies. After returning to Earth, Piotr confessed to Kitty and ended their relationship, though eventually they repair their relationship to the point where they are good friends. Eventually, Kitty moved to England with Nightcrawler to join the British superhero team Excalibur, after believing the X-Men to be killed during the Fall of the Mutants.

Kitty Pryde

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Colossus and Shadowcat on the cover of Astonishing X-Men #6. Art by John Cassaday.

When Shadowcat first met the X-Men at age 13, she had a crush on Colossus from the start. Peter and Kitty became close, though at the time, while Kitty made little secret of her attraction to Peter (once kissing him and telling him “hi, sexy!” in front of everyone in the mansion, making him blush), he was too reserved and shy to follow through. However, during an incident with the alien Brood, in which she actually propositioned him, he indicated definitively that the attraction was mutual, while being mindful of her age. After Piotr’s life was in danger, Kitty promised Caliban of the Morlocks that she would stay with him forever in exchange for his aid in defending the X-Men, although later Caliban released her from that vow. Soon after this, even though Kitty had acted out of love to save him, Piotr started to question the time she was spending with Douglas Ramsey. One problem in their relationship was that Kitty was a devout Jew and Colossus was raised as an atheist.[28]

Besides the religious differences, there were several other reasons for Colossus and Kitty not pursuing their mutual attraction for each other further at that time. One was due to their respective ages. Colossus, who was nineteen years old at the time, was a legal adult, whereas Kitty was fourteen, which in the United States and several other countries qualified her as a minor child. Thus, for him to actually engage in a romantic relationship with her would have been most highly inappropriate and furthermore illegal (see statutory rape). This is why, in X-Men #165, page 19, when Kitty propositioned Colossus, he refused, saying, “However, little one, you are not older.”

Another, albeit related, reason resulted from the X-men (except for Kitty) being transported by the Beyonder to another world and Colossus thus meeting–and falling in love with–a beautiful alien healer named Zsaji. Recalling that Kitty was but fourteen years old, it should not come as a surprise that Colossus might fall for another person, presumably closer to his own age. While his informing her of this did break her heart, they resumed their friendship later in X-Men #197.

Jim Shooter, the editor-in-chief at the time, also disapproved of “the idea of a 19 years old boy sleeping with an underage girl.” [29] This is due to not just statutory rape laws, but also a general cultural repulsion in many countries for anything hinting at child abuse. Given that children were and are a major target market for Marvel comic books, this is an especially strong consideration.

Following his return from the dead, Colossus and Kitty resumed a romantic relationship, finally consummating it in Astonishing X-Men #14 (2006).

This reunion is however short lived, as Kitty is forced to sacrifice herself, binding herself to the Retaliatior, a giant, hollow missile-like bullet of alien alloy shot by the Breakworlders in retaliation for Colossus perceived invasion and destruction of their world. As Kitty uses her powers to phase the bullet and avoid any damage to planet Earth, she’s now lost in space. Colossus still tries asking other superheroes for help in finding Kitty, and bring her back on Earth [30], but after the Messiah Complex again he’s depicted as having lost any hope, understanding he has nothing to hope, as starvation or impact with space debris would spell her death at every moment.

Ironically enough, Colossus’ resurrection didn’t bring the lovers any closer in the long term, just reversing the terms of their separation, with Kitty now being the presumed dead, and Colossus the mourning survivor.


When the Morlock Masque altered Callisto’s appearance to that of a beautiful woman, she became a supermodel for a short-time in New York during the period Colossus had re-emerged from the Siege Perilous with amnesia. The artist in him became enamoured by Callisto’s billboard and magazine ads. Eventually the two met when Colossus discovered her being attacked by a gang of street hoodlums wearing X-Men masks near his loft apartment. After rescuing her the two dated for the remainder of his period of amnesia. After breaking up, Colossus returned to the X-Men, and after the death of his sister joined with Magneto. Callisto and Colossus would reunite after Asteroid M was destroyed and they joined forces to defeat Marrow. Before leaving, Callisto and Peter share a final kiss.


Colossus has had other relationships, or potential relationships, develop over the years, such as Meggan, who in fact had developed feelings for him, but eventually ended up marrying her long-time love Captain Britain shortly before Excalibur disbanded; Marrow; and Rogue, with whom he shared some brief kisses after learning Rogue’s powers didn’t work on him in his metal form. This was something of a retcon since in one early issue Rogue absorbed an injured Colossus’ power in order for the Morlock healer to save his life and again after Selene disintegrated his gloves in a battle against Nimrod.

Other versions

Alternate versions of Colossus

In other media

Colossus in other media

See also

  • List of Russian superheroes


  1. ^ Comics Should Be Good! » Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #51!
  2. ^ Giant-Size X-Men #1
  3. ^ X-Men Annual #4
  4. ^ X-Men Annual #4, page 25, panel 8
  5. ^ X-Men (vol. 1) #107
  6. ^ Uncanny X-Men #114
  7. ^ Uncanny X-Men #115
  8. ^ Uncanny X-Men #123-124
  9. ^ Uncanny X-Men #128
  10. ^ they met in Uncanny X-Men #129
  11. ^ Uncanny X-Men #136
  12. ^ Uncanny X-Men #137
  13. ^ Uncanny X-Men #177-179
  14. ^ Uncanny X-Men #183
  15. ^ Uncanny X-Men #211
  16. ^ Uncanny X-Men #227
  17. ^ Uncanny X-Men Annual #12
  18. ^ Marvel Comics Presents #10-17
  19. ^ Uncanny X-Men #231
  20. ^ Uncanny X-Men #259
  21. ^ Uncanny X-Men #262
  22. ^ Uncanny X-Men #263
  23. ^ Uncanny X-Men #264
  24. ^ Uncanny X-Men #277
  25. ^ Uncanny X-Men #279
  26. ^ Last Defenders #1-3
  27. ^ Uncanny X-Men #188
  28. ^ Uncanny X-Men King Size Annual (1980)
  29. ^ : Welcome to UXN – For the Fans, by the Fans :
  30. ^ Giant Size Astonishing X-Men

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