Ripclaw is a Native American descended from the ancient Iriqouis Nation of Northeastern North America named Robert Berresford. Despite his ethnic heritage, Robert grew up with very pale skin and in his adolescence began to see signs of a mutation in his hands. It was during a martial arts class when, sparring with another student the issue came to a head and provoked him to confront his father about his unusual traits. He left home, seeking answers, and ended up on an Apache reservation. Initially he fell into trouble and was even hurt seriously when stumbling into a fight. The local Shaman took him in and taught him about his ancestors. What followed was a ceremony where Robert experienced a joining and conversing with the spirits of his ancestors and the spirits of the land, who told him that he was Robert Bearclaw, and not Robert Berresford.
These same spirits foretold his destiny to be that he was to be their warrior and that he was to lead the Indian People back to their true spirit and glory. When he finished the ceremony, which included tribal flesh hooks and war paint, the shaman marked him with his blood, marking his skin, reminding him always of the pain and truth of his spiritual destiny. He was raised primarily by the shaman after that, but also spent time with the Cheyenne, Navajo and Lakota Sioux tribes who taught him how to use his special talents.
Robert developed an ability to assume certain animalistic attributes, such as the teeth and claws of a bear. This physical transformation defies any kind of scientific analysis but seems to involve some sort of manipulation of unstable molecules. Ripclaw is also able to enter the plane of the spirit world. This communion with his ancestors seems to involve some sort of heightened sensitivity which allows him to sense things just beyond the physical boundaries of conventional defined reality, as well as psychic impressions from inanimate objects. Although at this point his story becomes clouded, his next chapter lead him to Cyberdata as a S.H.O.C. After being brought into a local sheriff’s office for attacking a man who had raped an Indian girl on the reservation, Robert’s mutations were noticed, and he was brought to the Attention of Cyberdata. They removed his hands and replaced them with cybernetic replacements. This had to be done under heavy anesthesia, as Robert possesses a superhuman healing factor. The bionic replacements Ripclaw received from Cyberdata became so much a part of him that they too could assume the appearance of claws just like his real hands had done.
Ripclaw has exhibited the ability to manipulate his claws into normal human shape, and then back into claws. Robert was romantically linked with Misery. with whom he fathered a child, though the child died in the womb when Warblade killed Misery. Following her betrayal of their Cyberdata S.H.O.C.s team, he joined Cyberforce after Dr. Corben removed his brainbox. Beyond Cyberforce, Ripclaw has been associated with The Darkness as he was affianced to Jackie Estacado's former love interest, Jenny Romano. and he trained Jackie's sister Capris Castiglione. He has also teamed up with forces such as Warblade, Wild C.A.T.S., the Justice League of America, as well as Wolverine and Psylocke of the X-Men.
Ripclaw participated in the Top Cow Universe Artifacts story. Aphrodite IV infiltrates the Cyber Force HQ and catches Ripclaw mid-air and throws him into a wall just before putting the boots to Velocity and Cyblade. She is subdued by Ballistic. Aphrodite IV tells Cyber Force that a group of individuals are collecting the Artifacts to bring down the end of the world. Velocity asks Ripclaw if he believes Aphrodite IV's story, Ripclaws responds by saying no but it is too risky not to.
Ripclaw personally asks to fight Jackie Estacado because he has experience against the Darkness wielder. Ripclaw and Estacado fight to a draw, during the fighting they have dialogue about why the Artifacts are being collected which everyone is able to overhear. This causes Cyber Force to turn on Aphrodite IV when they determine she is lying to them.
Powers and Abilities
- Metamorphosis: Ripclaw is a cybernetically-enhanced Native-American metamorph who has the ability to assume certain animalistic attributes, most notably the teeth and claws of a bear. This physical transformation defies any kind of scientific analysis but seems to involve some sort of manipulation of unstable molecules. One of the most amazing aspects of this unique ability has been the miraculous discovery that was made after the tragic loss of both hands. The bionic replacements Ripclaw received from Cyberdata became so much a part of him that they too could assume the appearance of claws just like his real hands had done. In issue #19 of the second series, Ripclaw exhibited the ability to manipulate his claws into normal human shape, and then back into claws, but this has rarely been replicated in later issues, so it is unclear whether this was artistic license taken by the writer or if it is simply not addressed in subsequent issues.
- Astral Projection: Ripclaw is also able to enter another plane of existence -- one that he interprets as being a world in which spirits dwell. It is not known how he is able to accomplish this, but it seems to involve some sort of heightened sensitivity which allows him to sense things just beyond the physical boundaries that define what we know as reality.
- Psychometry: He can get psychic impressions from what he considers to be the spirits. This psychometric like ability allows him to gain impressions from things, such as an Aztec ceremonial axe that had been used as a murder weapon.