Rickard Romanoff was a force-grown male clone of the spy Natalia Romanova, better known as Black Widow, after observing that the latter had been such a prominent success in the process in which they involved her - the Red Room academy. He was provided with the prefabricated memory that he was once an Olympic athlete until a rival athlete had tried to arrange his death before an event and forced him into hiding. Rickard underwent extremely intensive training in combat, espionage and assassination from the moment that he could walk, developing full fluency in every single language on Earth by the time he was twelve years old and mastering every single form of combat - long and close range - known to man by the time he was fifteen. He developed the peak of the human physical potential, that of an actual Olympic athlete of the highest calibre, and became an intellectual genius and master strategist before he was even twenty years old.
As per the process, he was physically enhanced, but only in a sense that he had an enhanced healing factor and was physically resistant to a dramatic level of impact, enabling him to survive substantial falls and offensive blows, and maintain physical strain for a long time. He was introduced to the ability to kill at a disturbingly young age, and was psychologically hardened to believe that his mind was the only oasis and the only reliable ally that he could possibly rely on, making him the perfect independent assassin. He was finally released into the world and sent to assassinate a series of powerful political figures across the globe, including rock stars, politicians, military commanders, business entrepreneurs and even leading members of the CIA and SHIELD itself, with his own identity being kept entirely a secret.
However, he was finally exposed as a threat when he attempted to assassinate the President of the United States of America in a Russian summit. He managed to stage a scenario where he would fire from a series of angles to confuse the security forces as to where the shot was fired, but when it actually came down to the kill the President's life was saved at the last second by Nick Fury, who tackled him to the ground to avoid the bullet. A SHIELD helicopter photographed him killing security guards amidst his escape, and with that a whole series of his previous assignments was brought to SHIELD's attention, identifying him as a gigantic security threat to peace and to anybody who was theoretically too powerful for their own good.
Hunted by SHIELD
His exposure as a threat by SHIELD led to them commencing a manhunt for him, while Nick Fury scoured the SHIELD files for further information about him, discovering that all files relevant to Rickard were either non-existent or classified a level above him. Rickard, in the time it took for SHIELD to even come close to pinning time, succeeded in eliminating a number of politicians that supported SHIELD, including SHIELD government spokesmen, endangering the position of the organisation altogether. Eventually, SHIELD commissioned Natalia Romanova, Black Widow, against him, completely unaware that Romanova was in fact his mother.
Black Widow enlisted Hawkeye's assistance in pinning down the assassin, and the two of them cornered him in London, where they orchestrated a trap for him, intending for Rickard to be boxed in between the London police and MI6, and Black Widow and Hawkeye themselves. The moment the trap was sprung, Rickard eluded his pursuers and suddenly appeared holding a pistol to the back of Hawkeye's neck. Demanding to know who he was, Rickard held Hawkeye at gunpoint, but Hawkeye struck out, only to be disarmed by the assassin, who prepared to gun him down, before Black Widow arrived and separated them. Hawkeye fired a flashbang arrow at Rickard, which he caught in one hand and endured due to the adapted sunglasses he was wearing. Rickard retreated and Black Widow pursued him on foot. She chased him through London, stunned at how he hadn't tired yet and that he seemed to know the streets of London like the back of his own hand.
The chase ended when Black Widow narrowly caught up with him and tried to pull him down, but Rickard stunned her by grabbing her side with her shock gloves, incapacitating her and rendering her unconscious, before escaping. In the process, he disappeared completely from SHIELD's scanners. When he returned to his employers, they wiped his memory of meeting Black Widow and ordered that he eliminate her and her teammates. At the same time, SHIELD contacted Charles Xavier and asked that he used Cerebro to locate Rickard, and they pinned him down again in New York.
Assassinating Nick Fury
Rickard arranged to kill Nick Fury again, disguising himself as Phil Coulson and following Nick on board the Helicarrier, where he waited until he had Nick alone in the corridor, before he undid his belt and revealed a four-inch blade on the buckle to stab Nick in the throat. He grappled the man from behind and drove the blade into the back of the head, killing him. However, he soon realized that the man was wearing a plastic mask and was in fact not even Nick Fury at all. The real Nick Fury blindsided him and held a stolen HYDRA pistol to the small of his back, revealing that he had intercepted the attempt on his life. Nick sent a distress signal to alert the Avengers, only for Rickard to kick him in the groin, stunning him, and then turning the blade-belt towards the man's chest. Seconds before he could, Iron Man appeared and sent Rickard flying back with a repulsor blast. In mid-flight, Rickard produced a collapsible SIG Sauer and shot Nick in the chest several times, before firing just above his collar in the knowledge that Nick could be wearing bulletproof attire.
Getting up from the repulsor blast, Rickard made his escape whilst Iron Man protected Nick. Captain America was alerted and pursued Rickard through the Helicarrier, confronting him on one of the runaways, where the two of them engaged in a brutal fist fight, with Rickard matching his opponent completely, being the only one able to land a single blow. The fight was broken up when a Quinjet fired at them, separating them. Taking the opportunity, Captain America hurled his shield at Rickard, striking him in the head and throwing him off the edge of the aircraft. Rickard used a magnetic grapple to abseil back up underneath the Helicarrier, where Black Widow blindsided him and grappled with him angrily. Producing a comb that concealed the blade of a knife, Rickard fought her off and the struggle took them off the Helicarrier and into the open sky, where they free-fell whilst wrestling violently.
Rickard realized that they were falling into the East River and pulled a cord on his waist that activated an inflatable flotation device on his back, which swelled and gave him a harmless landing atop the river's surface, only for Black Widow to land on top of him. Rickard swam to the riverside, on to a street, and tried to catch his breath, before Black Widow emerged and pulled a gun on him. She made to fire, but he threw the comb-blade at her and it lodged into the nozzle of the gun, causing the gun to explode. Rickard then spear-tackled Black Widow and she clamped her hands on the sides of his head with her Widow's Bite, electrocuting him but he held out, shockingly immune to the electricity. She kicked him off of her and flipped to her feet, and the two of them battled hand-to-hand, completely matched, until Black Widow tore off his disguise and she saw his face for the first time.
The two of them locked eyes for a long time, somehow recognizing one another. Impervious to her shock, Rickard suddenly picked up his second SIG Sauer and aimed at her, but a Quinjet appeared and, from the open ramp, Hawkeye fired an arrow into Rickard's pistol, splitting it in two and striking Rickard in the heart, whilst Iron Man swooped in and carried him and Black Widow on to the Quinjet.
A Prisoner of SHIELD
Powers and abilities
|Power Grid |
- Kinetic energy absorption: Rickard's main superhuman power is the ability to absorb the energy caused by a kinetic impact, to a substantial extent. While this power did have limits, Rickard could survive a 10 story fall, survive falling from a crashing car without breaking wrists, endure being thrown into a passing van and even being struck on the back of the head by Captain America's Vibranium shield.
- Healing factor: Rickard has a prominent healing factor which enables him to repair damages, including broken joints and concussive blows and injuries, rapidly. This includes blows from Vibranium objects like Captain America's shield.
- Master combatant: Rickard has mastered every single form of hand-to-hand combat known to man, making him an extremely skilled and drastically unpredictable opponent. He was intensely trained under the exact same training regimes and techniques as his mother Black Widow, which made him a solely individual and independent fighter, completely willing to use anything around him to win in a fight. He incorporates karate, judo, street-fighting techniques, taekwondo, taijutsu and kickboxing into his own personal fighting style that utilizes the weapons, weaknesses and shortcomings of his opponents, as well as his own environment, to his advantage. With this, Rickard has become one of the best martial artists on the planet, matching Captain America blow-for-blow and even going toe-to-toe with his own mother Black Widow for a prolonged and intense brawl.
- Expert marksman: Rickard is completely adept at wielding every single type of firearm in human history, including sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and machine-pistols, though he prefers to wield dual pistols. He is extremely accurate with firearms, able to precisely strike two seperate targets whilst falling from a height upside-down. He was able to outshoot Hawkeye and hit weak points in the Iron Man suit.
- Super-Genius Intelligence: As a result of his training, his gifted intellect and his broad understanding of strategy, physics, technology and biology, Rickard has the intelligence of a super-genius. He is a master tactician, capable of orchestrating apparently impossible plans of attack when on missions. His intellect shocked Tony Stark, who did not expect a gun-for-hire to possess such keen technological understanding, and he was able to deduce a series of scenarios from which to carry out assassinations and abductions, incorporating his own limitations and the personality traits of his opponents into the equation, as well as including the key pieces of his environment as means of achieving his goals.
- Expert spy: He is an expert in the field of espionage thanks largely to his Red Room training and his skills of assassination. He is highly skilled in stealth, demolitions, survival, deducing other persons ways of thinking and other fields. He was able to infiltrate both SHIELD and HYDRA headquarters and remain undetected and unperturbed in his goals until it was too late to do anything to stop him.
- Master swordsman: He has trained extensively with a sword, until he mastered kenjutsu and fencing, making him a master swordsman.
- Expert staff-wielder: He was a prodigious staff-wielder, since he overpowered seven highly-trained SHIELD agents wielding nothing more than a mop. His training obviously included Japanese Bojutsu, so he is obviously an expert in this field.
- Weapons expert: Through his martial arts training, he has become an expert on virtually all types of weaponry. As such, he is extremely proficient with most melee weapons due to his mastery of Okinawan Kobudo. He was trained and became proficient in all arms. He soon learned expanded melee weapon techniques and he has learned expanded weapon/device sciences. He still practices during his combat sessions to keep his skills intact, though he prefers unarmed combat.
- Escapologist: He has perfected the ability to escape from any confinement, including the most violent of mechanical traps and the most constricting of straitjackets, in record time.
- Psychology: He is, for a human being, surprisingly capable of remaining in his own mind in dangerous situations, through meditation techniques taught to him during training. He can also use his knowledge of the human psyche to his advantage by manipulating opponents against each other and convincing them of certain truths and lies that work to his benefit. This also makes him an excellent interrogator.
- Acrobat/Athlete: Rickard is an Olympic class athlete, gymnast, acrobat and aerialist capable of numerous complex maneuvers and feats.
- Peak human condition: He is physically extremely light and nimble on his feet. The speed at which he reacts allows him to dodge fast-moving projectiles such as arrows and bullets. He can usually out-react even the fastest humans, no matter how well-trained - he has caught the arrows of Hawkeye and intercepted blows from Captain America. He can leap large distances and he can dodge point blank projectile fire and has done so many times. He can exert himself at peak capacity greater then any human could. He can also endure way more physical and mental stress than normal humans. While this is a result of his intense training, it must be noted that without his strong will power none of this would have been possible. His stamina and endurance is incredible, since he was able to be pursued by Black Widow and Hawkeye through an entire city, including having to dodge and combat with a series of obstacles, and still remain ahead of them the entire time.
- Paracord shoelaces: Capable of being manually removed and used to saw through handcuffs.
- Wristwatch: Rickard's wristwatch is able to communicate wirelessly with Scar base if he rotated the big hands in Morse code, as well as prime and detonate explosives that Felix keeps on his person most of the time.
- Magnetic yo-yo: Comes with an extremely strong wire that enables him to abseil up and down vertical surfaces.
- Belt: Rickard's belt is built with a buckle that has a four-inch retractable blade attached.
- Jacket: Rickard normally wears a hooded, long-sleeved jacket which is impervious to bladed weapons and acids, but is only considerably resistance to high-velocity bullets and lasers.
- Comb: He normally carries a black comb which is in fact the hilt to a metal switchblade - the material is resistant to metal detectors, enabling him to carry it on his person without arousing suspicion.
- Solar ring: He is sometimes seen wearing a ring that is built in with microscopic solar panels that charge the built-in flashlight.
- Sunglasses: Rickard wears black-rimmed bulletproof glasses with built-in night vision, thermal-imaging and X-ray vision, as well as a camera that directs back to HQ. It also comes with a triangulation imaging system that enables him to see through visible sound-waves emitted by phones and other electronic devices.
- Sun lotion: Rickard sometimes carries sun lotion when visiting hot locations, which in fact render him virtually impervious to extreme heat for a protracted amount of time.
- Pistol: Rickard normally carries two SIG Sauer P226 pistols which are noted to be extremely accurate and very easy to conceal. They come with a number of different bullets, including diamond-tipped bullets, blunt bullets designed only to knock out a person and not kill them, bullets that spray quantities of smoke or tear-gas, bullets that come with tracking devices which enable him to track the target through the receiver in his sunglasses, and microchip-bullets that can hack immediately into computer systems.
- Shock gloves: His gloves can expel a 500 volt shock to incapacitate an opponent.
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