- Name: Julio Rictor
- Code Names: Rictor
- First Appearance: X-Factor #17 (June ‘87)
- Powers: Seismic Wave Generation
- Team Affiliation: X-Factor, X-Terminators, New Mutants, X-Force
A big part of being a young adult is discovering who you really are. For many people, it is the first time they are away from their family, the first time they must make choices by themselves. You get to find out new facets of your personality that you never knew before. If you come back home, you might notice that it doesn’t feel the same anymore and people you once were so close with feel like strangers. Sometimes you grow together, sometimes you grow apart. Julio Rictor was forced as a young adult to challenge who he thought he was, and the result was a well-rounded character.
Julio Esteban Rictor was born to a troubled family in Guadalajara. They were gun runners and it made them enough to get by. Trouble was never far behind and it caught up to the family when Julio’s father was murdered in front of him. He never got a name, but he remembered that chiseled face and pale hair as he swore revenge for his father. Julio wandered after that, bouncing between gangs and the street until his mutant powers emerged. He discovered that he had the ability to shake the very foundation of the Earth. Unfortunately for him, so did that anti-mutant paramilitary organization known as The Right.
Soldiers of The Right captured Ric and created a machine to harness his immense powers. They aimed him at San Francisco in an attempt to discredit the mutant team known as the X-Terminators (who were actually the original five X-Men reformed as X-Factor in some nonsensical plot to help mutants). X-Factor was able to rescue Rictor and have him train with their other young mutant wards. Rictor was hot-headed and didn’t see how mutant powers could do anything but harm, causing tension in the ranks. Eventually, the teens began to work together as one unit and joined forces with the New Mutants after the events of Limbo.
Rictor grew close to his new teammates, but none closer than the young Wolfsbane. The innocent, Scottish mutant was smitten by Rictor’s take charge attitude and his unwillingness to back down from a worthy fight. The two were captured by Cameron Hodge and taken to Genosha to be turned into mindless mutant slaves alongside other members of the New Mutants. Rictor and Wolfsbane were able to escape but Rahne decided to go back for her teammate Warlock, while Rictor left for help. The shared a kiss and parted ways. Rictor was distraught to discover that Rahne failed in her mission. Warlock was killed and Rahne turned into a mutate slave. After Hodge was overthrown, Rahne decided to remain on Genosha to help rebuild, leaving Rictor to return to the New Mutants on his own.
Worse was the New Mutants fresh field commander, the man named Cable. Rictor had seen that face before, it was the face of the man who killed his father, but he bid his time. He had to be sure. Regardless, Rictor had no desire to be trained by Cable and began acting more and more impulsively. With Wolfsbane gone, and Cable still there, Rictor decided that the New Mutants was no longer the team for him. He left without a word.
While wandering, Rictor was found by Garrison Kane, a Canadian special forces operative forming a task force known as Weapon P.R.I.M.E. They believed Cable was the leader of both the New Mutants (now going by X-Force) and the extremist group known as the Mutant Liberation Front. Wanting revenge, Rictor joined them and attacked his former friends to try and get to Cable. The mysterious man escaped, leaving X-Force on their own and Rictor decided to rejoin his old team. He proved his loyalty on many missions and was even able to bury the hatchet with Cable when he discovered that it was actually Cable’s evil twin Stryfe that murdered Julio’s father.
There was only one person in X-Force who really understood Rictor, and his name was Shatterstar. Star was a warrior from another world and he struggled to adapt to human culture. They expressed their deepest fears to each other, Shatterstar even learned Spanish to better communicate with Rictor. They became intimate friends and Shatterstar help calm Rictor’s fierce temper. Again, Rictor knew that his place wasn’t with X-Force. He returned home to Mexico to put an end to his family’s gun trade, and Shatterstar came with him.
Somehow, the two drifted apart and Rictor resigned himself to a life of working for the newly established X-Corporation in Paris. That is, until M-Day. Rictor was not counted among the lucky few to retain their powers and he felt helpless and depressed. He decided to end it all by jumping off a building in the mutant ghetto of New York. Jamie Madrox and Wolfsbane were able to talk him down and get him to take a job at Jamie’s new detective agency, X-Factor Investigations. Rictor was suspicious of X-Factor’s new young ward, Layla Miller, but began to rekindle his bond with Rahne. She helped him work through his depression after losing his powers and they finally consummated their relationship. Rictor was enlisted to go undercover in the mutant hate group known as the Purifiers during the hunt for the first mutant born after M-Day and Wolfsbane went to hunt down the child. He waited for her to return to the team, but all he got was a “Dear John” letter.
Rictor’s luck turned around when X-Factor battled an agent of the criminal mastermind Cortex. It was Shatterstar, alive after so long. He had been mind controlled by Cortex and Rictor wanted, desperately for his friend to snap out of it. He grabbed him and tried to jog his mind, reminding him of all the good times they shared. He told him everything would be OK. Years of feelings flooded back to him and Shatterstar responded with a kiss.
Rictor had found happiness for the first time in years. He finally felt like he knew who he was. Things weren’t perfect, however. Rictor wanted to settle down with his new boyfriend but Shatterstar wanted to explore his new-found sexuality. The men sat down and talked, just like the old days, and found boundaries for their relationship that they were both happy with. Rahne came back into his life, claiming to be pregnant with his child, but even when the deception was revealed he was empathetic to his friend. Thanks to the Scarlet Witch, Rictor was even able to regain his lost mutant powers. After years of anger and frustration, Rictor was finally alright.
As X-Factor fell apart in the Hell on Earth War, Shatterstar and Rictor were transported to Mojoworld and found out the bizarre truth about Shatterstar’s history. Shatterstar was his own grandpa, which Rictor took rather well. They helped ensure that Shatterstar’s personal timeline was as stable as it could be and returned to the present day. They led a low-key life together after that. They joined the other mutants in New Tian during the Hydra takeover of the United States, but more importantly, they grew matching mustaches. Rictor was happy just living out life with Shatterstar, it was more than enough for him.
Rictor at the start of X-Factor was a man who was lost. Him coming to terms with his mutation and finding his place on the team led to some great stories. The entire run of X-Factor, for which Rictor is a mainstay, is filled with great little moments, even if there aren’t huge standouts. Check out the first issue on ComiXology and keep on reading.
Rictor is a fun character who means a lot to a ton of people. You can tell engaging stories with Rictor that you just can’t with other characters. I don’t think he is the best of the X-Factor kids but I do think he is the more interesting member of his couple. Wolfsbane has been better written historically but I like him better than Skids. He has a more defined character than Lila Cheney but the adorable moppets of Artie & Leech are characters I would rather see again. That places Rictor as our new number 55 in the Xavier Files.
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Next week we dig into the X-Terminators with Taki the Wiz-Kid! See you then!