Artist: George Pérez and Various
Publisher: Marvel Comics (1980 and 1986)
Includes: The Avengers #197-199 and The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #10
First Appearance: Godzilla (1977) #6
Red Ronin: is a gigantic humanoid robotic construct (a mecha) in the Marvel Comics universe. Originally created by writer Doug Moench and artist Herb Trimpe as a foil for Godzilla, the robot went on to be a menace to other Marvel characters such as the Avengers and Wolverine.
Publication History: Red Ronin's design was influenced by those of the super robots that were the staple of anime during the 1970s. Super robots first came into the notice of American pop culture in the form of the Gigantor (Tetsujin 28) anime series that was imported into the United States from Japan during the 1960s. Mattel's line of imported Shogun Warriors toys became popular in the United States during the late 1970s, the same time period that Red Ronin first appeared in Marvel Comics. Indeed, then Marvel Editor-In-Chief Archie Goodwin admitted that Red Ronin's basic design was inspired by the super robots of anime.
Origin: Red Ronin was developed with the assistance of Stark International by engineers and scientists Tamara Hashioka and Yuriko Takiguchi. It was intended to be used by S.H.I.E.L.D. against the monster Godzilla. Before it could be utilized for this purpose, the robot was stolen by Takiguchi's twelve year old grandson Rob. Originally referred to as SJ3RX, the robot was named Red Ronin by the youngster. After an initial attempt to control the robot failed, Rob succeeded in piloting Red Ronin into battle with Godzilla, in an attempt to drive the beast off. Rob wished to prevent the radioactive creature from being harmed and his attempts to ward the monster off were designed to actually preserve his life. He succeeded in doing so and it was discovered that Ronin had been imprinted with Rob's brain patterns, making the robot useless without him to pilot it.
S.H.I.E.L.D. eventually rebuilt the robot with the aid of Stark technicians. One such technician, Earl Cowan, altered the robot so it would only respond to his brain patterns, similarly to how it had previously been linked to Rob Takaguchi. Cowan intended to use Ronin to orchestrate a series of events that would set off World War III. Fortunately, Cowan was completely ignorant of the shortest aerial route to the USSR and went eastward instead of going north and passed over New York City. This allowed the Avengers to intercept and defeat Red Ronin, and the robot's remains were carried off by S.H.I.E.L.D.
Stane International eventually gained possession of the remains. A scientist named Karaguchi Inoyawa rebuilt the robot, hoping to use it as a force for good. The robot was displayed by Stane at a trade show at the Pontiac Silverdome. While there it was commandeered by vengeful ex-Stane employee Joe Kilman who caused it to go on a rampage. This time Inoyawa guided the Wasp in deactivating Ronin.
Ronin eventually wound up in the hands of Fujikawa Electronics. It was altered to look even more like a samurai in appearance. Numerous military and criminal organizations such as the Hand attempted to gain possession of the mechanoid, but were foiled by Wolverine and Sunfire. When Red Ronin next appeared, it was used by Henry Peter Gyrich to lure the Avengers into a battle with the Thunderbolts. At some point before this time, the robot's appearance had been restored to its original form. Red Ronin has since "joined" the Thunderbolts during the Civil War series. Tony Stark mentioned in the "Civil War Files" one-shot working on that version and that the Fixer is likely all over it, though he was never seen in any battles during the event. Some time prior to this, it also clashed with the Inhumans and the Sentry as revealed in a flashback in New Avengers #24.
Powers: Red Ronin is over 100 ft. tall and weighs in excess of 23 tons. Red Ronin is controlled by a human operator who wears a "cybernetic helmet" and sits within its head. Red Ronin possesses immense strength and is highly durable. The robot can fly at subsonic speed using the propulsion units in its feet and is armed with a solar powered laser-blade sword and pulsating "rotary discus" shield that doubles as a laser gatling gun. The gatling gun is capable of firing blasts that generated concussive force equivalent to 100 tons of TNT. Additionally, the shield is capable of firing missiles, which Red Ronin used during its battle against Yetrigar in the Grand Canyon. The shield can also be used as a detachable thrown weapon and contains a homing device that enables it to return to the robot. Red Ronin's left hand has the ability to convert to an energy cannon that projects energy blasts. Ronin later gained the ability to detach its hands from its body and retain control of them while detached.
Other Versions: A version of Red Ronin appeared on an Earth visited by the dimension-hopping heroes known as the Exiles (Earth-3752). On this Earth, Red Ronin was the chief weapon of a group of monster hunters known as the Science Squad, and was invented by one of the Squad's members, Bolivar Trask. This version of Ronin was destroyed by its reality's version of Fin Fang Foom.
Red Ronin also appeared in the Mega Morphs mini-series, when Doctor Doom had Doctor Octopus reprogram it so that Doom could control it remotely. After easily taking down the Mega Morphs of Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider, Red Ronin was defeated by the Incredible Hulk, whom Doom had previously taken over to assist in the prison break of Doctor Octopus.
In the universe of Earth-X, Red Ronin, after being decommissioned, was given to Tony Stark by president Norman Osborn. Stark eventually used the designs of the robot as the base for a towering final Iron Man armor.
Dork Note: I would luv to have the first appearance and early stuff of Red Ronin in the 1970's Godzilla comics from Marvel collected into a TPB, but I am sure there is some type of copyright issue.