Piotr Rasputin met Professor Xavier when he saved his sister from a runaway tractor. Hiding in plain sight in his native Russia, Piotr had no desire to use his mutant powers for anything other than taking care of his family’s farm. Xavier had to talk him into working for a greater world service and it eventually convinced Piotr. Taking the name Colossus, it wasn’t long before the Russian farmboy was flying around the world trying to save everyone that he could. He met a love in the Savage Land and had a kid that he didn’t know about for a year or two. Eventually he was taught loss after dealing with Proteus and the Phoenix, but we’ll get to that.
Rasputin was an artist built like a linebacker. Always sketching and drawing his teammates, while doing his best to learn and educate himself in a way that his parents never dreamed possible. Due to the era in which the character was created, many of the 70s and 80s era storylines tried to drive a demand to appease his Soviet past. By the 90s, these former Soviet masters were replaced by KGB agents and loose hangers-on that wanted to use his talents for a new Russia. You’ll see an image below where Colossus was tricked into becoming the Proletarian during his first encounter with Arcade and Murderworld. Colossus would eventually put away his disgust with the Capitalist bourgeoisie and refocus on saving mutantkind.
With the X-Men, Colossus fought several enemies. However, it was his time fighting Proteus and the Marauders that made the biggest dent on his personality. Proteus was the energy vampire mutant son of Dr. Moira MacTaggert. After awakening from a medically induced coma, he begins trying to force his parents to get back together. This results in the X-Men being called in, as Proteus hops from body to body causing the deaths of many citizens. Eventually, the X-Men confront Proteus after he has taken over his father’s body. Now, he’s started to learn his reality warping powers and is causing the X-Men and Muir Isle mutant staffers to lose their sense of self. That’s when Colossus slips through and kills Proteus. Colossus didn’t mean to kill the kid, he just landed a lucky punch against a kid whose only weakness was…metal.
The Mutant Massacre also took a toll on Piotr. He watched as dozens of Morlocks were murdered and the marauder Harpoon severely injured Kitty Pryde. Piotr freaked out and snapped the neck of Marauder Riptide in retaliation. Colossus then got into it with the full Marauders teams and ended up wounded. It was only due to Shadowcat and Magneto that Colossus wasn’t permanently crippled. Colossus joined the score of survivors over at Muir Isle where he requested that his sister Illyana teleport him to Dallas, so he could be with the X-Men at their apparent deaths. Thus, began the Outback era and everything came with it.
Colossus had two women in his life: Kitty Pryde and his sister Illyana. Well, three…if you count the healer floozy from Beyonder’s World. Four, if you count Nereel and his Savage Land love child. Maybe five, but I don’t know if he actually banged any of the Acolytes aboard Avalon. Let’s start with his sister, since she’s not going to get her own chapter until much later in the Project. Illyana Rasputin’s debut in the X-Universe was tied to her brother saving her from a runaway tractor. As the years went on, we learn that Illyana is a mutant capable of teleportation and that the Rasputins have an older brother who was lost on a secretive mission for some government agency. The less said about Mikhail Rasputin…the better.
Anyhow, Illyana was nabbed by the demon Belasco while the X-Men were recuperating from a mission. The X-Men went to Limbo after Illyana, but there was an accident upon bringing Illyana out of the dimension. The end result was Illyana had aged seven years and was now a teenager. While it had been seconds in our reality, Illyana had developed her mutant powers and became a mid-level Sorceress who now possessed the powerful Soulsword. We’ll save the rest for later.
Kitty Pryde is hard to discuss, as so much of her history is tied to the love that she shared with Colossus. They have been on and off for so long, that they created “shipping” back when the Internet was nothing but ten dudes on a BBS. While it has always bordered on the creep since Kitty is about 5-6 years younger than Piotr, nobody said anything. Piotr and Kitty would grow close again after his resurrection. But, Colossus’s constant desire to sacrifice himself eventually lead to the duo breaking up for good.
After Colossus joined the X-Men in the Outback era, things got odd. He helped them fight in Inferno and then went through the Siege Perilous. When Colossus emerged from the other side of the Siege, he had become a thriving artist in NYC with no memory of his past. Unfortunately, that blank slate status set him up to be controlled by The Shadow King. The Muir Isle Saga happened and one of Claremont’s pet characters was left to the devices of a changing team of hands over the next year. This resulted in the introduction of Mikhail Rasputin, an attempt to deal with the surviving Morlocks, Piotr’s parents being murdered and Illyana dying from the Legacy Virus.
Colossus spent most of the mid 1990s bouncing between allegiances, as he tried to figure out what makes sense. At his sister’s funeral, Magneto and the Acolytes appeared. Somewhere in between the tough talk and Magneto murdering Senyaka in the sky above a child’s funeral, Colossus decided this would be a good time to join up with Magneto. Around the same time, Colossus also learned that his Savage Land love child wasn’t his, but another dude who resembled him and blah blah lame editorial attempt to rewrite Claremont. From there, it’s a quick return back to the X-Books after the Age of Apocalypse. Bouncing around the periphery of second tier characters until Lobdell got the book back and decided to end his master run by tying off plot points.
When Colossus was given the choice to sacrifice himself to cure the Legacy Virus, he agreed to do it. What’s funny is that when you read the issues that follow this decision, everyone keeps making it a plot point to bring up the fact that he should’ve waited. But, then they get into a hypothetical pissing contest about the lives he saved. Kitty scatters Piotr’s ashes in Russia, but it’s not long before the road to resurrection begins. The Beast as part of the Astonishing X-Men team investigates a mutant cure being marketed to the public. While studying the formula, he spots the specific DNA strand that belonged to Colossus. Beneath the HQ of the Mutant Cure facility, Kitty finds the resurrected Piotr being kept in a prison cell. This leads to an awkward reconciliation and carefully crafted scene where they bone.
Colossus would eventually be discovered alive due to the intervention of Ord from Breakworld. The alien had stolen Colossus’s corpse, extracted a cure for the mutant gene from his DNA and then revived him. What Kitty had buried where the cremated remains of an inert clone. The mutant gene was ultimately ineffective, but it served one purpose for Ord. He had wanted to create a means to eliminate the mutant that would ultimately destroy his people. Whedon tried to keep this going during his X-Men run, but ultimately nothing came of it. Well, Kitty got stuck inside of a giant space bullet. But, that’s a story for another time.
Colossus spent most of the later 00s becoming a bigger player in the X-Universe. During the X-Men vs. Avengers standoff, Tony Stark accidentally caused the Phoenix Force to split into five directions. The Phoenix chose Colossus was one of its new hosts and Colossus didn’t exactly reject the offering. Colossus worked with the Phoenix Five to improve the planet, mutant relations with humans and to bring Russia out of the Post Cold War economic funk. It’s when he tried to push Kitty back into a relationship that we saw that power didn’t improve his personality. Somewhere between now and then, Kitty became unstuck from space bullet. You’ll hear this story soon, I promise.
At this same time, Colossus also became the latest avatar of the Juggernaut. While it is similar to many of Colossus’s past efforts to sacrifice himself in order to help others, it also shows a dangerous turn in his personality since resurrection. The push to always wanting to die has alienated Kitty and Illyana from him to the point that he’s beginning to hate all that he once loved. Colossus turned to working with Cable and Wolverine to eventually get himself back in check, but it’s a slow and steady process. Colossus now exists in Cable and X-Force having been relegated to a second tier role once more.