In comics, it’s common for a hero to have a rogues gallery of villains who they fight on a regular basis. It could be argued that Batman has the most well-known rogues gallery, though Marvel characters have their own share of enemies. Wolverine’s rogues gallery contains a number of deadly villains, with one of the most prolific being Omega Red. A Russian serial killer turned into a remorseless cyborg, Omega Red is a villain that makes a vicious foe for anyone who comes across him.
Created by John Byrne and Jim Lee, Arkady Gregorivich Rossovich was a serial killer who was captured by Interpol and turned over to the KGB. The organisation experimented on him, looking for a way to create a supersoldier that was similar to Captain America. The Soviet government created carbonadium, their own version of adamantium. Omega Red was implanted with a carbonadium tentacles that allowed him to take away the life energy from whoever he touched. This vampiric approach became essential for Omega Red’s survival in order to sustain his immune system.
To stabilise his condition, Omega Red needed a carbonadium synthesizer, a device stolen by Wolverine, Sabretooth and Maverick during their final mission as part of Team X. This began a nemesis-like relationship between Omega Red and Wolverine, as he constantly sought Logan out to find the whereabouts of the C-Synth.
After the fall of the USSR, Omega Red was put into suspended animation, only to be woken up by Matsu’o Tsurayaba, leader of The Hand. Omega Red soon encountered Wolverine and the two of them engaged in the first of many battles. Rossivich worked for other organisations, such as Neocommunists and HYDRA, though he always retained a sense of self-preservation that kept him focused on his ultimate goal of finding the C-Synth. He’s defeated Wolverine and the X-Men on several occasions, with a lot of it being based on his powers.
Omega Red’s primary mutant ability is to secrete pheromones that cause harm to organic life. If someone is exposed to the pheromones long enough then they can die. After he was experimented on and gained carbonadium tentacles, Omega Red was able to direct the pheromones in a deadlier way. Some mutants like Wolverine are resistant to the pheromones, but they can still cause damage over time. Omega Red once engaged Wolverine in a battle that lasted eighteen hours without showing any signs of fatigue, displaying his durability.
Rossivich’s carbonadium implants have also proven useful in battle. Carbonadium has been shown to slow down healing factors, which has helped Omega Red during fights against people with superhuman regenerative capabilities. Coupled with his need to drain life, Omega Red is a formidable villain and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.