Robert "Bob" Rickman was a farm equipment salesman from Smallville with the meteor power of persuasion.
Bob was a rather tall, young man, who often wore business suits, and his hair was cut short.
Rickman was a sleazy salesman, perhaps best defined by his complete indifference to the suffering of anyone around him as long as he got what he wanted. He is cunning, manipulative and incredibly amoral as well as sadistic, enjoying inflicting pain and suffering on innocent people. His introduction detailed that he is allegedly responsible for allowing his plant to emit chemicals that gave people cancer, a fact he is unconcerned and somewhat delighted with. Rickman is entirely lacking in ethics and willing to do anything for money, including committing murder. Rickman's psychopathic nature contrasts with his outwardly pleasant and friendly demeanour: He smiles politely while getting people to commit suicide and ruining lives.
Powers and Abilities
- Persuasion: Like Kyle Tippet, Bob acquired the power to bend the will of others, subjecting them unconditionally to any verbal command that he issues for them to hear. To initiate his ability, Bob first needs to shake hands with the intended recipient, and then usually laying his other hand on the target hand; this causes his hands to glow an eerie green light underneath his fingers. The person affected by his power then enters into a trance of sorts where they wear a rather vapid expression on their faces, and seems to be focused on hearing only what Bob has to say, he can then get them to do whatever he wants. The effect lasts until the affected individual accomplishes whatever the command given to them (which could mean that his ability's influence could last indefinitely if the recipient constantly fails to achieve it), and once they do, all memories concerning the time they spent under its effect are instantly wiped out. In comparison to Kyle's, Bob's ability seems to be weaker as Kyle managed to persuade Bob to commit suicide when both attempted to use their powers on each other.
Bob's abilities had no effect on Kryptonians like Clark Kent. Also his partner, Kyle Tippet had the same powers as Bob. He used them to stop Bob from killing both Clark and Kyle through touch in order to kill himself.
Bob and his sales partner Kyle Tippet were trapped in their car for two days during the 1989 meteor shower. According to Kyle, they were not very good salesmen before that day. Afterward they could persuade anyone to do anything.
They made salesmen of the year in 1989, 1990, and 1991, but the two men eventually parted ways when Kyle became scared by his power and sought solitude. Kyle simply asked Rickman to leave Smallville alone.
Bob founded his own company: Rickman Industries. He used his power of persuasion to get the government to set ludicrously low environmental regulations for his pesticide plants.
When Paul Hendrix launched an investigation and threatened to get a restraining order, Bob persuaded him to commit suicide. Bob then made his way to Smallville.
Bob threw a promotional party in order to introduce himself to the local businessmen. He had a notable encounter with his long-time rival, Lex Luthor. While Bob pretended to make peace, Lex harbored pure animosity toward his opponent and refused to shake his hand.
In the course of the evening, Bob persuaded Whitney Fordman to kill his former friend Kyle Tippet, who had earlier threatened to expose his evil plans as a result of him violating their old agreement; although Rickman mocked Kyle's threat, saying that he had been practicing with his powers for years while Kyle had denied his, he notably refused to take Kyle's hand. Whitney's murder attempt failed due to the heroic intervention of Clark Kent. Nevertheless, Kyle was arrested for attacking Whitney. A few hours later, Bob persuaded a deputy to eliminate his foe once and for all and Clark saved Kyle's life for the second time.
Later, Bob used his powers to persuade Jonathan Kent to sell his farm. He later encountered Clark at the Talon with a bright smile on his face. He shook hands with Clark, but his handshake had no effect and Clark almost broke his hand.
After that, Bob paid a visit to Lex who was willing to help the Kents break the contract to sell the farm. Lex finally shook his hand and Bob used his powers to persuade Lex to kill Clark and Kyle. Clark managed to disarm Lex and break Bob's orders. Bob himself had a final encounter with Kyle, as the two clasped hands while wrestling for control of a gun. Despite Bob's greater practice, Kyle's powers won out, and he was able to order Bob to kill himself.