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Richard Bloom's mother died when he was three years old. From that time on he was raised by his father. His father, David Bloom, owned and operated Bloom Industries, a weapons company that he built from the ground up. When Richard graduate with an engineering degree, his father gave him a job in the company. However, the recession of the late 1980s struck Connecticut particularly hard. While companies like Electric Boat and Pratt and Whitney were laying off people by the thousands, Bloom Industries tried to keep as many people as possible (laying off only a few hundred) by swallowing major losses. He managed to keep the 12,000 or so employees at Bloom Industries, but the company spiraled into debt.
As far as the police and the FBI could tell, David Bloom died in crossfire between two super-powered combatants. While they told Richard that there were few clues and no real leads, Richard believed that they simply didn't care to investigate super-powered crimes. Bloom decided to take it upon himself to find his father's killer, using the hand print on a twisted telephone pole as his only lead. Richard began seeing a therapist (Casey) to work through his grief.
David had left Richard complete control of the company, including the passwords to his protected files. Richard learned that his father, in his desperation to save the company, had been compiling data on companies like Stark International, The Power Brokers, and Roxxon. In other words, he had been dabbling in super-power technology. It was then that it occurred to Richard that his father may have been intentionally targeted by one of these groups. Richard decided that all super-beings -- "heroes" and "villains" -- were a threat to ordinary people.
Bloom became convinced that these super-powered "monsters" had to be stopped, and began planning a methodical, scientific approach to eliminating all super-beings. It was then that he discovered that there were millions of dollars to be made in capturing and executing super-beings. Bloom conceived the Tracer, a man with temporary super-powers custom-designed for each mission. Bloom enlisted some of the best scientific minds for his "Tailor Group" (so-called because Tracer was to be "tailor-made" for each individual mission) and screened them to make sure that they shared his views on super-beings. So that no technology would fall into the wrong hands, the entire project was kept secret, and the Group's base of operations was surreptitiously constructed 200 feet beneath the Bloom Industries complex.
Bloom underwent a series of painful implant surgeries that would allow his armor to modify him as necessary, while the Tailor Group developed invisible sensor drones which would collect data on targets, and a simulation chamber to virtually test the new technologies. The weapons systems themselves would be constructed by unsuspecting Bloom Industries employees. A year and a half after he began, Richard Bloom and the Tailor Group were ready take on their first mission.
(It should be noted at this time in his life, Richard had stopped going to therapy, but was dating his former therapist, Cassandra. She felt the entire Tracer exercise was just acting out his internal aggression. Bloom insisted that "acting out his internal aggression" was just a pleasant perk of cleaning up society and making enough money to save his company.)
After three months of data collection, the project closest to completion was the Deathlok mission, so Bloom decided to make that the armor's inaugural run. Tracer attacked Deathlok (Michael Collins) as he returned to the Coney Island location he shared with Jesus Badalamente. Having learned his infant daughter was ill mere moments before being attacked, Deathlok repeatedly tried to run and get to the hospital. Bloom thought it was peculiar that the "robot" kept fighting when its computer was supposed to be offline, and that it kept trying to run. After finally putting down Deathlok (with his own gun no less), Tracer noted that his hand print was not a match to the man who killed his father, and began "cyberscanning" Deathlok's system. It was then that Tracer was horrified to learn Deathlok was not a robot as his employer (Ryker) had claimed, but a man with a family who was killed for making a stand and transformed into a living war machine. Bloom decided the kindest thing to do was to put Collins out of his misery. It was then that Deathlok finally recovered enough to strike back, causing his bionic eye to overload just after he ripped it out and threw it at Tracer. Tracer decided to make things right by dropping Collins off at St. Joseph Medical Center (where he informed Deathlok his daughter was in room 225 being treated for the croup). Apologizing for the whole incident, Bloom told Collins there'd be a tech team waiting to repair him at Coney Island when he went back. When he returned to the Tailor Group, Al tried to convince Bloom he just didn't have the killer instinct to be a mercenary, and implored him to put the technology to better use. Bloom ignored his criticism.
Later, the Chameleon (then disguised as Detective Terry Martin) hired Tracer to attack Spider-Man. Spider-Man had flown into a rage after learning that his newly-returned (and no-longer dead) parents, Richard and Mary Parker, were in fact just disguised robotic Spider-Slayers. Having learned that the Chameleon was behind the whole episode, Spider-Man was brutally interrogating local gangs for leads. Realizing that Spider-Man would soon find his latest hideout before he had time to enact the next stage of his plan, Chameleon hired Tracer as a stalling tactic. Tracer was able to disorient Spider-Man with gas pellets enough to capture him in a steel net. Spider-Man webbed Tracer's eyes and managed to rip one of his guns off his suit (which he then broke over Tracer's head). When Tracer fired all of his artillery at once, both combatants fell through the roof they were standing on. Peter attacked Tracer savagely, trying to take him out before any innocents could get hurt. In light of major armor malfunctions,
Anne Kerry (communicating with Bloom from the Tailor Group mission control) tried to get him to withdraw from the fight. Bloom ignored her, and attacked Spider-Man with a nearby electrical cable. He managed to shock Spider-Man a bit, but suffererd a complete system failure after Spider-Man knocked him through a wall. When interrogated by the Chameleon, Bloom told Spider-Man that he didn't work for the likes of super-beings. Once reminded that the Chameleon could assume any identity he wished, Bloom was able to confirm via a database search that the real Terry Martin was dead. Tracer directed Spider-Man to Chameleon's hideout (which he had had time to abandon), and was picked up in a Tailor Group shuttle.
Bloom has programmable implants throughout his body which allow him to attain temporary abilities and "powers." However, most of this power is acquired from his armor.
- Armor: Tracer uses armor which he fully customizes according to the needs of each contract and target. This armor has been shown to incorporates:
- Mini-radar vision
- Helmet-mounted cameras and microphones, which allow him to remain in constant contact with the Tailor Group
- Flight (granted by his armor, but through unknown means and of unknown propulsion methods), Tailor Group Shuttle
Past weapons have included:
- Stun rays in his gauntlets
- Smart-targeting Gas pellets
- Plasma rifle (which he appears capable of over-charging to act as a powerful explosive)
- High-velocity darts which allow him electronic access to penetrated computer systems. This has been done to upload a heuristic virus program capable of disrupting any computer system it strikes (even one as advanced as Deathlok's computer), and of "cyberscanning" an affected system to quickly process all contained data.
- Various sizes and types of artillery
- Steel Nets Launchers
- Deathlok Vol 2, Annual 2 shows that the Tailor Group was initially considering running it's inaugural mission against Deathlok (entry code 0193834), Wonder-Man, Namor, Hulk, Titania, Wrecker, Wizard
- David Bloom's tombstone reads "David Joshua Bloom, 1937-1991, Beloved Husband, Father"
- Richard Bloom's car is registered in Connecticut with plate number 362-DRN.
- 3 Appearances of Richard Bloom (Earth-616)
- Media Richard Bloom (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 2 Images featuring Richard Bloom (Earth-616)
- Quotations by or about Richard Bloom (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Richard Bloom (Earth-616)
- Deathlok Vol 2, Annual 2 (1993)
- SpiderFan.org's review of Spectacular Spider-Man Vol 1, No. 211
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