Robert Farrell was the oldest child of seven. When his parents died, he was left in charge of his siblings. Being gifted, Farrell created a jet-powered skateboard along with some technological weaponry. He became the criminal known as Rocket Racer.
Rocket Racer was created by Len Wein and Ross Andru and first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man issue 172 (1977).
Major Story Arcs
When a villain named Jackson Weele hired him to steal evidence that could incriminate him, Robert used this to blackmail Weele instead. Jackson could not take the abuse anymore and had the Tinkerer build him a machine. Jackson named himself the Big Wheel (Robert used this name to insult Jackson). Jackson chased Robert all over New York until Spider-Man assisted Robert and they defeated Jackson.
Rocket Racer's career as a criminal did not go too well. He fought against the police and Spider-Man several times. Farrell even had to serve a short jail sentence. Realizing that crime wasn't the answer, Farrell turned his life around and started educating himself. He even earned a scholarship to attend Empire State University and has occasionally assisted Spider-Man in fighting crime. Eventually, Robert became a part of the Outlaws. This was a team of former criminals turned to superhero led by Spider-Man and funded by Silver Sable. Altough the team did a lot of good, it eventually disbannded.
Robert was not seen for some time, but eventually resurfaced after the superhuman Civil War. He became a registered hero of the Initiative. With an ailing mother and repossession of their house, MODOK attempted to persuade Farrell to return to a life of crime. It was later revealed that Robert was a mole working for SHIELD, who would provide him the money needed to solve his problems in exchange for the hypernova. Robert failed in retrieving it. It's presently unknown what the consequence of his failure will be.
Second Rocket Racer
A criminal named Henry Sleeman, was hired by an unnamed employer to steal Farrell's gear. As "Troy" he became Farrell's best friend. Finally he stole his technology but left him alive, despite being ordered to kill Farrell. He later tried fighting with Spider-Man, but he was defeated when a restaurant employee Harry Sloan, opened a door at just the right time for Sleeman to run into the door and knock himself unconscious.
Powers & Abilities
Rocket Racer has no powers, but uses various weapons and gadgets either of his own design, or created for him by the Tinkerer. His primary gadget is a rocket-propelled skateboard. This board is controlled by a cybernetic helmet device. The board is capable of reaching great speeds and has gyroscopic wheels that allow it to race up the sides of buildings. Rocket Racer also had gloves that are able to fire small but powerful missiles, or allow him to deliver a rocket-powered punch.
Rocket Racer would be involved in several stories taking place in the Marvel Adventures comics which are standalone stories and does not take place in the current Marvel Universe continuity.
Rocket Racer would team up with Stilt Man and Leap Frog to commit various crimes for the Tinkerer and come into conflict with Spider Man.
Spider-Man (1990's animated series) With the goal of helping his sick mother, Rocket Racer tried to rob a jewelry store using gyroscopic technology he recovered from a battle between Spider-Man and a gang of high-tech thieves. Rocket Racer quickly comes to his senses and uses his new found powers to help Spider-Man beat The Big Wheel and his gang. Voiced by Billy Attmore.
Spider-Man the New Animated Series (2004): A character named Turbo Jet, presumably based on Rocket Racer was a thief who stole from the rich and gave to the poor.