The pride of mother Russia. The Soviet Sentinel. The Crusader of Communism. For a time, the Rocket Red Brigade held such titles and praise. In a post-communist Russia, the heroes of the era before find new meaning in what they do. So what’s a Rocket Red and what’s their relationship with so many American heroes? Let’s find out!
Rocket Red #7
The Rocket Red program were a group of power-armored individuals working as a team for the glory of Soviet Russia. When the Justice League International were looking for members, Russia sent its best of the brigade. Rocket Red #7, it turned out that his inhuman skills were due to not being human but from the alien android army, the Manhunters. When revealed for his true purpose to wipe the team out, he was stopped and soon replaced with the best human Rocket Red available.
Back in the 1950’s Dr. Sergei Pushkin would be working with the United States for trying to get into space first. It would be revealed that Sergei was really working for Russia and imprisoned for his traitorous acts. While in prison, he would begin work on an early version of the Rocket Red armor, it would take his grandson, Dmtri to finish the suit of armor years after Sergei was dead.
A family man in a powerful suit of armor, Dmtri Pushkin was everything his predecessor on the JLI was not, incredibly human. Caring and outspoken, he would work with his team to protect them and the people of Earth as best he would his own family. His armor just made him more powerful, he could lose his armor and build a new one better than before if necessary. He’d travel to Apokalips and make an even better armor with New Gods technology. He’d become fast friends with Animal Man since they were both away from their families while adventuring.
If things came down between saving himself or saving his family, Dmtri would always choose the latter. When Starro attacks Earth and thanks to his armor, Dmtri is able to resist being possessed from Starro’s appendages. But when Starro threatens to kill an enslave Pushkin family, Dmtri willingly gives himself to be controlled to stop this from happening. Eventually Dmtri would retire to be with his family, only going back into action when the Observational Metahuman Activity Construct, OMAC, came to be a threat to the world, dying trying to stop it. His last words were to tell his family that he loved them very much.
Struggling to deal with the modern views of the Rocket Red Brigade, Gavril still was a devout communist who fought almost as much with his fellow Rockets as he did enemies. He joins the JLI to help the deal with the OMAC attacks. He’d bond with fellow teammate Fire after the loss of then Blue Beetle, Ted Kord. By the end of the OMAC battles, his armor would be broken and in need of repairs, Gavril would begin a new life with his JLI colleagues.
In the New 52, Gavril is the Rocket Red of the U.N. formed Justice League International. He’d butt heads with the Chinese representative at first but the two would become friends when they realized their patriotism made them more alike than different. He would die in an explosion during the teams press conference to be introduced to the world at large.
There you have it! Rocket Red has a cool armor and Dmitri was such a sweet heart. Gavril brought uncertainty that Dmtri never seemed to worry about. Both were worthy of the name Rocket Red. I hope we get a new Rocket Red to step into the metallic boots of those before them. Maybe we could get a woman as Rocket Red, that’d be cool. See you next time!
Justice League #3
Justice League: Generation Lost #4
Justice League International