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23rd May 2020


Russia's answer to the Avengers, the Winter Guard was originally formed by combining the government sanctioned operatives of Russia with several formerly persecuted outcasts. As time passed, the Winter Guard was streamlined to an “iconic” four-member roster, with replacements waiting behind the scenes should any harm befall one of the members – all with the public being none the wiser as to the changes. Years later, the roster was expanded once more, bringing back past members and including new ones to bolster the ranks in a new era for the heroes, and the people, of Russia.


Steel Guardian, Vanguard/Red Guardian VII, Darkstar, Vostok, Fantasma, Sibercat, Powersurge, Crimson Dynamo V, Starlight, Ursa Major, Red Guardian VI, Crimson Dynamo XII, Darkstar II, Crimson Dynamo XIII, Darkstar III, Red Widow II, Perun, Chernobog

First Appearance: Iron Man (3rd series) #9


  • Two opposing Russian teams – the outcast Siberforce and the government-controlled People's Protectorate – were in disarray when they last appeared [Starblast crossover]
  • At some point, the Russian government restructured their super-team, inviting former persecuted heroes – Darkstar, Vanguard and Sibercat – to work alongside Red Guardian (now known as Steel Guardian), Fantasma and Vostok. Joining them was Powersurge, and together the seven were rechristened the Winter Guard, with Steel Guardian representing the Motherland, and Vanguard the people.
  • Powersurge had previously encountered the Avengers after escaping a facility in New York where he was receiving treatment for nuclear exposure. [Avengers (1st series) #326-328]


The Winter Guard's baptism of fire came when foreign mercenaries, including Khazaks and even other Russians, aligned themselves with a faction that launched a war from the south of the Ural Mountains. The Winter Guard were aided by a large contingent of the Russian army against the invading forces, although they did not know who was behind this invasion.

Fortunately for the Winter Guard, Iron Man was in the area and, although Vanguard was reluctant to involve the American in their troubles, Steel Guardian was far more welcoming and they soon learned from Iron Man that his longtime enemy the Mandarin was responsible for this invading army. The Winter Guard were invited by Iron Man to join him in taking the fight to his enemy, but the heroes refused to abandon their people and continued to hold the line in the Ural Mountains.

The Winter Guard soon found further assistance when the Avengers arrived in search of Iron Man, who had subsequently been captured by the Mandarin, who was operating from a huge dragon-shaped ship in the air nearby. A team of the most powerful heroes from each group (Darkstar, Vostok and Powersurge from the Winterguard and Wonder Man, Firestar and Justice from the Avengers) was sent to attack the Mandarin's ship. The rest of the Winter Guard continued to keep back the Mandarin's forces, until the Mandarin was defeated by Iron Man, his ship was destroyed and his army were defeated or scattered. [Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10]

When the mysterious Crimson Cowl unleashed meteorological chaos across the world, Russia was not immune and raging sandstorms put the people of Irkutsk in grave danger. Darkstar was able to place a large Darkforce dome around a number of civilians, while Vanguard, Steel Guardian and Powersurge were on hand to assist in getting the civilians to safety. [Thunderbolts (1st series) #25]

Although the Winter Guard do far deftly handled the uneasy politics of their homeland, they were soon beset by intergalactic politics. A group of aliens known as the Ruul managed to convince the intergalactic council of civilized races that the lowly planet Earth had too often interference in cosmic affairs and many threats had emerged from it. The Ruul proposed that the inhabitants of Earth be sequestered from going beyond their planet and simultaneously become a prison for alien threats throughout the galaxy. The intergalactic council voted in favor of this and before long alien criminals began arriving on Earth, including the Russian city of Smolensk. Fortunately for the populace, Darkstar, Vanguard and Powersurge were on hand to keep them at bay. Darkstar, Powersurge and Vostok later took part in an assault alongside the other heroes of Earth, during which the machinations of the Ruul were revealed and the intergalactic council’s decision rescinded. [Maximum Security crossover]

After months spent regaining his power, the diabolical Presence (Darkstar's insane father) finally re-emerged in Khystym, Siberia. Still bent on returning Russia to its former glory of the Soviet Union, he convinced himself that the best way to do this was to transform its citizens into radioactive beings such as himself. The Winter Guard quickly arrived and engaged the Presence in an attempt to stop him, but were eventually overpowered and were transformed into irradiated nuclear beings under the Presence’s control. Only Darkstar escaped her teammates’ fate, after being trapped under a pile of rubble. Fortunately, she was rescued by a team of Avengers who had been monitoring the increased radiation levels. The rest of the Winter Guard soon appeared and, now under the control of the Presence, attacked the Avengers. Eventually, the Presence was defeated by Thor and his companion, Starlight, drained the nuclear energies from the Winter Guard and the Avengers who had also fallen to his touch. The Winter Guard were seen recovering from the ordeal as the Presence was taken into custody. [Avengers (3rd series) #42-44]

[Note: Of the irradiated Winter Guard members, only Vanguard, Steel Guardian and Fantasma are clearly identified, due to their distinguishing features. Sibercat, Vostok and Powersurge are not identified but are presumably among those under the Presence's control, considering the story was written by Kurt Busiek who introduced the Winter Guard back in Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10.]

When Graviton launched an attack on the Earth, many of the world's heroes became trapped in an anti-gravity stasis field, unable to protect the planet from his latest, diabolical plans. Among the trapped heroes were Darkstar, Steel Guardian and Vostok. [Thunderbolts (1st series) #57] A short time later, when the terrorist Flag-Smasher launched a global assault with his Ultimatum forces, Powersurge and Sibercat were seen in Novosibirsk, holding Flag-Smasher's forces at bay. [Citizen  V and the V-Battalion: Everlasting #3]


  • After unexplained circumstances, Sibercat and Vostok left the Winter Guard. Sibercat has not been seen or heard from since.
  • Ever the humanitarian, Darkstar took up dual-responsibility, joining the global mutant outreach organization known as X-Corporation. She was assigned to the Paris branch (to which she could easily teleport from Russia) and worked alongside mutants who were several years younger than her, such as Cannonball, Siryn and Monet. Tragically, during the branch's attempt to control a breakout of the deadly Weapon XII virus, Darkstar became separated from her teammates and was infected with the virus while saving some civilians. She was ultimately shot and killed by the mercenary Fantomex. [New X-Men (1st series) #128-130] Oddly, Darkstar's body was buried at a cemetery in Paris. [New X-Men (1st series) #131]
  • After maintaining low profiles for many years, two of Russia's most notable super beings, Ursa Major and Dimitri Bukharin (the fifth Crimson Dynamo), rejoined their comrades as members of the Winter Guard. Perun, Slavic God of Thunder and former member of the precursor team People's Protectorate, may also have been a member at this time. [Darkstar & the Winter Guard #2]
  •  Once the hero known as the third Red Guardian, who briefly served with the non-team of heroes known as the Defenders, Dr Tania Belinsky was transformed into an irradiated being after the diabolical Presence saw her as his ideal mate, and exposed her to deadly radiation. Sadly, she would remain at his side doing his bidding in the years that would follow, before finding herself joining the Winter Guard in unrevealed circumstances. [Darkstar & the Winter Guard #2]

Chronology Continued:

Darkstar's untimely death caused a rift within the Winter Guard, which resulted in her brother Vanguard, Steel Guardian, Fantasma, Starlight, Perun, Vostok and Powersurge quitting the team. This was not publicly known, and the heroes seemingly vanished without a trace. [Darkstar & the Winter Guard #1-2]

Possibly due to several of the members quitting en masse, the Russian government seems to have decided to restructure the Winter Guard team, stripping the roster down to four members – Red Guardian, Crimson Dynamo, Darkstar and Ursa Major – all of whom could be replaced without fanfare of even the awareness of the Russian populace. This made all four members extremely expendable and replaceable.

While many people could take on the role of a Red Guardian or a Crimson Dynamo, the other two roles were harder to fill. However, the government found a way to infuse Darkstar's DNA with genetically compatible candidates to create viable replacements by imbuing the subject with a facsimile of the Darkforce powers, which they could wield in conjunction with Darkstar's original amulet. This strengthened the replacement's connection with the Darkforce aspect of Laynia's lifeforce, which apparently did not perish when Laynia was killed by Fantomex. Dimitri Bukharin, who was not a young man, decided to take a step back from frontline heroics and became the Winter Guard's administrator. What the government would do if Ursa Major, a mutant, died was never revealed. The new Darkstar was a woman called Sasha Roerich, the new Red Guardian known only as Anton, who claimed to be a former Crimson Dynamo pilot, and the new Crimson Dynamo was Boris Vadim, the twelfth man known to have worn Crimson Dynamo armor. [Hulk: Winter Guard #1]

The new Winter Guard made their public debut shortly after the Hulk and Abomination had rampaged through the village called Dimitri. They arrived shortly after the She-Hulk, Doc Samson and Iron Man arrived, investigating the apparent death of the Abomination, who was seemingly shot by the Hulk. She-Hulk noted that the Avengers' files said Darkstar and Red Guardian were dead, to which Iron Man told her that SHIELD files indicated they were replaced. Red Guardian, Crimson Dynamo and Ursa Major began a fight with the American heroes, which ended when the Russians were defeated. The new Darkstar remained out of the fight and instead she found a survivor, whose words she translated for the Americans. [Hulk (2nd series) #1]

During the Skrull invasion of Earth, the new Winter Guard were dispatched to Tatischevo when a group of Skrull infiltrators launched an attack and soon found themselves alongside War Machine when he flew into Russian airspace. At first, Crimson Dynamo warned the American hero to leave but, when War Machine assisted the Russian super team against the Skrulls, they formed an uneasy alliance. While Ursa Major and Red Guardian maintained the line on the ground, Crimson Dynamo and Darkstar joined War Machine in taking the fight to the invading Skrulls by attacking their battleship. During this fight, the new Darkstar proved that she was already proficient in the use of her newfound powers, being instrumental in teleporting War Machine and Crimson Dynamo into the Skrull vessel so they could blow it up. They returned to help Ursa Major and Red Guardian with the remaining ground forces. Afterwards, Crimson Dynamo defied authorities when the Russian air force went after War Machine as he was departing Russian airspace. Crimson Dynamo warned the air force to keep back and then escorted War Machine to safety. He had realized, like many other Russian heroes before him, that he must serve the people, not the government. [War Machine: Weapon of S.H.I.E.L.D. #34-35]

When a smallm central Asian nation called Marinmer was ravaged by an Earthquake, international aid poured in. However, when the dictatorial “president-for-life” Darqon Par decided to withhold much needed medical supplies and food to the religious minority being affected, She-Hulk and her all-female “Liberators” decided to “liberate” the supplies. However, as Marinmer was an ally to the Russian government, the Winter Guard were dispatched to protect Darqon Par’s property.

The Winter Guard tried to tell the heroines that the supplies did not belong to them and therefore couldn't simply take them. Naturally, a battle ensued, with the two teams physically fighting the philosophical argument of “need vs. order,” with She-Hulk and her allies concerned about getting the relief to the people of Marinmer, while the Winter Guard enforcing law and order. The battle raged until a group of civilian survivors arrived, personally pleading for aid. Despite his earlier resolution to serve the people not the government, Crimson Dynamo warned the survivors to stay back or he would open fire. Red Guardian's common sense eventually prevailed and he ordered Dynamo to stand down. The supplies were then airlifted to the people in need and the Winter Guard worked with She-Hulk and her allies to try and find survivors. When questioned about how he could have waited so long to provide help and to follow orders so blindly, Red Guardian defended himself by explaining that sometimes to try to change things, you can't run from them – you have to work within the rules. Crimson Dynamo and Ursa Major were later seen continuing to assist with the relief efforts. [She-Hulk (2nd series) #34-36]

When the dark god Chthon spread an evil chaos across the world, no corner of the planet was left untouched. Although Red Guardian, Darkstar and Crimson Dynamo found themselves trapped by the chaos, they were eventually freed when a team of Avengers defeated Chthon. [Mighty Avengers (1st series) #22-23]

A short time later, the new Winter Guard found themselves at the mercy of the Presence, who had escaped from incarceration after hearing of the original Darkstar's death. He controlled a tentacled beast that kept Red Guardian, Ursa Major and Crimson Dynamo occupied, while he tortured the new Darkstar, who tried to tell the madman that she served the Winter Guard to honor Laynia's memory. The heroes eventually freed themselves from the creature, but the Crimson Dynamo was swallowed and killed by the creature in the process. Much against her wishes, Sasha was forced to use the Darkforce to banish the creature, while Red Guardian took out the Presence. Red Guardian contacted their administrators and asked them to re-deploy the Crimson Dynamo Mark XII. When the heroes fronted the media shortly after, a new Crimson Dynamo was waiting for them. Once inside their jet, the team met their newest teammate, Galina Nemirovsky, the first female Crimson Dynamo pilot. Meanwhile, Sasha had become quite disturbed following her encounter with the Presence.

While Dimitri Bukharin counseled Sasha following her encounter with the Presence, he encouraged her to rest. Nonetheless, Sasha began to struggle with the fact that she had a dead woman's DNA inside her. Likewise, Ursa Major, Red Guardian and the new Crimson Dynamo, Galina began to debate the “expendability” of the Winter Guard members, with Galina concerned that they were now nothing more than expendable heroes. Dimitri interrupted their discussion when he received word the Remont Six had raided an AIM factory. The team was sent to apprehend the Russian criminals without Darkstar. Galina debuted her new Crimson Dynamo Mark XIII armor during her first mission with the team that pitted them against villains like the Titanium Man, Unicorn and Iron Maiden.

Sasha decided to confront the Presence about the doubt she was having about herself. She discovered from him that he had remolded her genetic structure and she was nothing more than a biological unit housing a power she could never comprehend. To prove her worth, Sasha teleported to her teammates, who were struggling against Remont Six. She defeated the Titanium Man by drawing him into the Darkforce and teleporting him away. In doing so, she absorbed his nuclear energy, which she soon discovered she could not control and which caused her to lose control of the Darkforce as well. Needing to find a solution quickly, Red Guardian leapt into the Darkforce and plucked the medallion from within it, which caused the Darkforce to collapse upon itsef. The Red Guardian nearly lost his life in the process, but Crimson Dymamo pulled him to safety. However, in the process his left arm was destroyed, inadvertently revealing that he was actually a Life Model Decoy. Ursa Major only had a short time to grieve for Sasha, before a new woman dressed as Darkstar joined them in fronting the media with the captive Remont Six members. Dimitri was waiting for the Winter Guard in their aircraft and handed the medallion to the new Darkstar, Reena Stancioff. [Hulk: Winter Guard #1]

Shortly after, the Winter Guard was dispatched to Uzbekistan when the mad King Hyperion appeared. They managed to keep him occupied for a time, but most of them being relatively inexperienced they soon fell. Fortunately, the Blue Marvel arrived and defeated King Hyperion. [Age of Heroes #3]


  • Laynia Petrovna, the first Darkstar, was not satisfied with death and at one point in her afterlife spent her time in Erebus, part of the Greek Underworld, gambling for a chance at resurrection. [Incredible Hercules #129] That resurrection came eventually – sort of – when the mad mutant Selene used the Techno-Virus to resurrect numerous deceased mutants, including Darkstar. As part of Selene's army, Darkstar participated in the attack on the X-Men's home, Utopia, where she battled her old friend Iceman. Although the X-Men defeated Selene and her army, several mutants did not return to death and remained alive. Laynia, however, was not among them. [Necrosha crossover]
  • Meantime, the long-missing Steel Guardian, Vanguard, Powersurge, Starlight, Perun, Vostok and Fantasma had continued their own adventures. Now calling themselves “The Protectorate,” the group began a quest to find the time-lord known as Immortus, as Vanguard in particular was desperate for his sister to be restored to life. When the Protectorate finally found their way to Immortus' Limbo, they discovered his realm had become infected with the Dire Wraiths. They agreed to serve as Immortus' personal guards for one year to help eliminate the Dire Wraith threat from his kingdom and, in return, Immortus agreed to manipulate the Time Stream to return Laynia to life. During this year, Vanguard began a relationship with his father's partner, Starlight, and Steel Guardian was tragically slain by a Wraith. When the Protectorate thought they had finally eliminated the Dire Wraiths, Fantasma was revealed herself to be a Dire Wraith herself and, finding a rip in space-time, she escaped back to Earth. [Darkstar & the Winter Guard #2]

Chronology Continued:

Although their popularity had increased in the nation thanks to their high profile and successful missions, such as defeating some sea monsters with the help of the Agents of Atlas, the Winter Guard were not unlike other heroic teams in that they also faced internal issues. In particular, Galina, the current Crimson Dynamor, began to disagree with the way that the Anton, the Red Guardian, led the team. In an attempt to bond with the young woman, Anton invited Galina into his workshop, where he introduced her to several Crimson Dynamo armors, including the Ultra Dynamo armor. He considerately informed her that he wanted to make similar modifications to her armor, but could not help simultaneously reminding her that she could be replaced. Galina also grew concerned also with the fact that their headquarters, known as the Citadel, once housed Dire Wraiths. Meanwhile, Ursa Major also took it upon himself to mentor the new Darkstar.

The team were forced back into action soon after when a tear in reality was discovered in St Petersburg. As soon as they arrived, they witnessed the long-missing Fantasma falling through the rift and were able to catch her before she fell to possible doom. Fantasma warned the Winter Guard about an approaching threat and the Winter Guard vowed to be ready to stop whatever was coming their way.

After taking Fantasma back to the Citadel, the Winter Guard had some time to relax. Nevertheless, Reena was suspicious about Fantasia’s mysterious return. Before she could investigate further, the team was alerted to the return of Vanguard, Powersurge and Starlight, who were defending themselves against the separatist faction known as “The Sword of Judgment.” The Winter Guard returned to St. Petersburg to meet with the returned heroes, but Vanguard wasn't interested in talking and began a fight with the Red Guardian. During the battle, the new Darkstar attempted to restrain Vanguard, who told her that she was a mockery of everything his sister stood for. Vanguard's savage assault against the Winter Guard continued, until a blast he fired at Red Guardian was deflected against his shield and struck Starlight. He was further brought to his senses when Red Guardian spoke of Fantasma. The Winter Guard listened intently as the Protectorate recounted their recent time with her.

Accompanied by Vanguard and the others, the Winter Guard returned to the Citadel and were shocked to discover it overrun by Dire Wraiths. Fantasma had located within the Citadel a hidden basement, where hundreds of Dire Wraith eggs were waiting to be hatched, an event enabled by her very touch. The Winter Guard and Protectorate worked together to defend the Citadel, with Ursa Major holding the line outside of their base. However, as the others put their plans in motion, the Red Guardian was decapitated and destroyed by a Dire Wraith. Dimitri Bukharin suited up once more in the Crimson Dynamo armor and worked alongside his former teammates during this battle, making his way with Vanguard, who had taken the Red Guardian's shield as his own. Accompanied by Starlight, Dynamo and Darkstar, they located Fantasma, who was mating with the Presence to create a new breed of Dire Wraiths by releasing egg-spores across the planet that would transform the entire Earth. As the Russian heroes launched their attack, Darkstar was struck by a Dire Wraith, who took over her body. The Wraith-controlled Darkstar then damaged a nuclear-powered dimensional displacer that Powersurge was using to upgrade his powers. A furious Vanguard was about to kill the Presence until Fantasma lunged at him – which in turn caused Starlight to tear Fantasma away from Vanguard. The two fought as Powersurge destroyed the egg-spores with the dimensional displacer. Galina used her Crimson Dynamo power to amplify the effect, which tore a rift in space and time – an accessway to Immortus' Limbo. Galina then heroically grabbed Fantasma and flew through the rift into Limbo. Although she managed to escape back through the rift, Starlight was not so fortunate, as Fantasma reached back through and pulled Starlight into Limbo with her before the portal closed.

Vanguard knocked out the Presence, leaving himself, Powersurge and the two Crimson Dynamos as the only heroes left against the Dire Wraiths. To their surprise, the Dire Wraith wearing Reena's body suddenly began to transform again, her entire form altered to back to that of Laynia, the original Darkstar, reborn thanks to the power of Immortus. The tide turned, Darkstar easily defeated the remaining Dire Wraiths. Trouble wasn't over for the Russian heroes, however, as the Presence gathered himself and attacked the heroes with a surge of radiation. Unfortunately, for the Presence, his radiation did not affect Powersurge, who lunged at the Presence, absorbing the radiation and seemingly defeating the Presence in the process. The Citadel exploded a moment later and the only heroes left (both Crimson Dynamos, Vanguard and the original Darkstar) regrouped with Ursa Major and escaped.

In the aftermath, the Russian government relieved Galina of her role as the Crimson Dynamo, citing insubordination. Galina was naturally upset about this, given her excitement at being the Crimson Dynamo. However, for her own personal gain, she salvaged what she could of the Red Guardian's laboratory and took for herself several armors, as well as the Red Guardian's severed LMD head. With this laboratory at her disposal, Galina dubbed herself the Ultra Dynamo. Dimitri Bukharin once again became the Crimson Dynamo, Laynia rejoined the team and Vanguard became the new Red Guardian – and the Russian people were none the wiser. [Darkstar & the Winter Guard #1-3]

The now “classic” line up of Darkstar, Red Guardian, Crimson Dynamo and Ursa Major tracked down the Russian criminal called Red Ghost to Promyshlennyi. Red Ghost was working with other criminals to develop a powerful weapon that they planned to test in 48 hours. The Winter Guard's arrival prompted the Red Ghost to test that device sooner than intended but it worked, after a fashion. Although they survived the blast itself, the heroes were blasted into space. [Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #676]

A short time after returning to Earth, the Winter Guard found themselves infected by a nano-mist which briefly transformed them, and many others around the world, into beings known as Descendants. The infection was reversed a short time later. [Secret Avengers (1st series) #35]

When the mysterious Quiet Man launched an assault on the Earth, setting rampaging monsters across it, some of these winged horrors found their way to Moscow. Darkstar, Red Guardian and Ursa Major were all on hand to keep the monsters at bay. [Fantastic Four (1st series) #643] Moscow fell victim to yet another sort of monster attack when Leviathons began to fall from the sky. Darkstar, Red Guardian and Crimson Dynamo once again defended the people of their homeland from another deadly threat. [Monsters Unleashed (2nd series) #2]

The Winter Guard maintained a low profile for some time but returned to action when it became apparent that the vigilante mutant black ops team called Weapon X had allied with Omega Red to take down S.I.C.K.L.E. – Russia’s counter super- human intelligence agency and answer to America’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Weapon X had recently freed Omega Red, who had agreed to join them if they aided him in his vendetta against S.I.C.K.L.E, which happened to be led by Omega Red’s mutant-hating broker, Director Vassily Rossovich. The Winter Guard fought Weapon X on the S.I.C.K.L.E. mothercarrier stationed above the city of St. Petersburg. The battle was ferocious and only ended when a Russian General named Zaslon (secretly a mutant herself) appointed herself the new director of S.I.C.K.L.E. and announced that Weapon X were friends. The Winter Guard obliged and stopped fighting without much question. [Weapon X (3rd series) #20-21]


  • Whatever plans Galina had as the Ultra Dynamo and the status of the LMD Red Guardian remain unknown. However, at some point, Galina was recruited by the Mandarin as part of an army of armored super beings in an attempt to take down Iron Man. [Invincible Iron Man (1st series) #513, 516, 522]
  • Starlight seemingly remains trapped in Limbo as she has not been seen since being pulled into the portal by Fantasma. 
  • Perun and Vostok eventually found their way back to Earth in circumstances not yet revealed. Their return soon came to the attention of the latest Russian administration. [Avengers (7th series) #10]
  • In typical Russian fashion, a new Fantasma eventually surfaced, a young woman who was an illusionist working for a Ronin within the Dark Ocean Society. She and a new Crimson Dynamo encountered the Black Widow. [Black Widow (4th series) #7-8, Widowmaker #1-4]
  • Apparently, there were further changes within the Russian administration, which led to a souring with the Winter Guard. In circumstances not completely revealed, Ursa Major was placed into a secret Soviet-era corrective labor camp in Siberia and Dimitri Bukharin once again gave up the Crimson Dynamo identity. [Avengers (7th series) #10]
  • The Red Room continued to develop deadly Russian assassins, its latest achievement being a mysterious woman called the Red Widow. [Avengers (7th series) #10]
  • Nicolai Krylenko reverted back to his original Vanguard codename. However, rather than returning to his Vanguard costume, he began wearing a more classic version of the Red Guardian costume. [Avengers (7th series) #10]
  • Chernobog was the Slavic god of chaos and night, who was weakened at some point in the past. Requiring a human host to interact with the modern world, he encountered the Hulk. [Incredible Hulks #621]

Chronology Continued:

The winds of change swept the Russian administration once more. The new government elected to reform the Winter Guard, this time not just with its four core members, but doubling the ranks with both new and familiar faces. Darkstar and Vanguard were sent to convince Dimitri Bukharin to don the Crimson Dynamo armor once more, while Ursa Major received a pardon for his transgressions and was freed from the Siberian labor camp. They were joined by Vostok and Perun, as well as the mysterious Red Widow and the slavic god called Chernobog.

This powerful iteration of the Winter Guard made its debut confronting Namor and his Defenders of the Deep at the undersea biosphere called Hydropolis in the South Pacific, seeking vengeance against Namor for causing the deaths of Russian nationals in the Black Sea days earlier. To complicate matters, the Avengers were also at Hydropolis and a large battle ensued. Although the Red Widow stayed out of the fight, she observed from the sidelines and made reports back to the Kremlin about the new Winter Guard's performance. During the fight, Perun and Chernobog engaged in their own battle against each other and, while the Russian and American teams argued as they fought, Namor and his Defenders of the Deep were able to slip away into the depths of the ocean. When Captain America gave the Winter Guard a warning about the Kremlin betraying them yet again, Ursa Major was quick to point out that they worked for the people. The Red Widow ended the discussion by announcing that the operation had ended, which annoyed Crimson Dynamo as he was the team leader. He was about to argue with her, but the Red Widow claimed that she could blow his suit up in front of everyone. With that, the Winter Guard departed. [Avengers (8th series) #10]

Despite the difficult encounter the Winter Guard had with the Avengers, when the Black Panther held an international summit with super human representatives from several countries to discuss the present dangers the world was facing, the Winter Guard was invited to send a member of the team. However, rather than the team's leader Crimson Dynamo, or the level-headed Darkstar, Ursa Major was sent. He spent his time at the summit being aggressive and trying to convince the other attendees that the Black Panther was spouting lies about offering his resources and the assistance of the Avengers to dangers that faced the other countries. Ursa Major was adamant that the Winter Guard would never offer help to any of the other countries, and was about to attack the Black Panther, before he was teleported away. [Avengers (7th series) #11]

When Tony Stark designed a virtual reality game in which players would wear an Iron Man faceplate, the program became corrupted, leaving its players hostile and violent in the real world. The game was available in Moscow, and several Russian citizens began to act out, rampaging with swords and other weapons. Darkstar, Vanguard and Ursa Major were on hand to prevent harm from coming to any innocents. However, when Ursa Major decided to start tearing off the Iron Man faceplates to end the rampage, Crimson Dynamo arrived in the nick of time to advise against doing that, as he had received reports that doing so would cause irreparable brain damage to the wearer. When Iron Man's ally, Jocasta, projected a signal that would shut down the game, Darkstar and Crimson Dynamo were still on hand monitoring the situation. [Tony Stark: Iron Man #8, 10]

When a resurgence of vampires began to appear across the globe, the Winter Guard were assigned to the Russian/Ukrainian Border to keep watch. Darkstar and Vanguard were paired together and received word from Ursa Major and the Red Widow of a pack of vampires attempting to sneak across the border. When the twins detected someone – or something – approaching, they raced to apprehend the mysterious arrival – and were shocked to discover that it was Count Dracula, seeking political asylum. In exchange for information, Dracula was placed into one of Russia's most secure prisons, Federal Penal Colony No 9 in Sol-Iletsk. The Crimson Dynamo arrived at the prison just after Iron Man managed to sneak in, trying to get information from Dracula. He even suggested to Dracula that the ancient vampire should leave with him, as he could offer a better deal than whatever the Russians could. By happenstance, the other inmates in the prison caused a riot, which forced Crimson Dynamo and Iron Man to work together to quell the chaos. In the end, the Winter Guard arrived and ordered Iron Man to leave, or else they would imprison him with Dracula.

Dracula's imprisonment didn't last long, as Ursa Major and Vostok took him to meet with the Red Widow, who demanded information from him. Dracula offered to reveal who within the Russian administration was faithful to him, but the Red Widow claimed to already know this. Dracula then offered to give the Red Widow the Avengers, to which the Red Widow supposed he would want the Winter Guard's allegiance in return. To her surprise, Dracula was adamant that he only wanted somewhere peaceful to be left alone for the remainder of his days. The Red Widow then revealed she had more than a dozen of Dracula's young consorts, whom she began to kill slowly in front of him until he told her every dark secret of value. Eventually, Dracula gave up his dark secrets, but by then the Red Widow had killed all of his consorts. She instructed Vostok to take Dracula away and, when Ursa Major declined to eat the once proud Lord of the Vampires, they decided to honor his request for somewhere peaceful to end out his days – and Dracula was taken to the Ukraine, specifically the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

It's unknown whether the Crimson Dynamo, Darkstar and Vanguard were aware of this plot of the Red Widow's when they met with the prison's warden after securing the rioters back in their cells. Unfortunately, they didn't see several rats carrying vampire blood enter the prison as part of a plan of several vampires. The rats proceeded to explode and the blood they were carrying drenched the prison, turning the inmates into new vampires. The vampires eventually tracked the Winter Guard down and the lifeless bodies of Darkstar, Vaguard, Ursa Major and the Crimson Dynamo were seen amongst rubble as the Red Widow engaged in discussion with Xarus, one of the leaders of the vampire uprising. She offered him the location of Dracula for her life, but seemingly skulked away when the Avengers arrived. Nevertheless, the vampires who survived the battle with the Avengers eventually made it to Chernobyl. [Avengers (7th series) #14-17]

Darkstar, Vanguard, Ursa Major and the Crimson Dynamo survived any injuries sustained during the vampire attack, and with the Red Widow returned to the mansion the Winter Guard operated out of in Moscow, where Vostok and a butler were waiting for them. But when the butler suggested that the team use this time to align themselves with other enemies of the Avengers, the unimpressed Red Widow killed him and instructed Vostok to take his body to the Red Room to extract what information he possessed that could assist her. [Avengers (7th series) #32]

What plans the Red Widow has for the Winter Guard and their next move against the Avengers remains to be seen. 


Steel Guardian (Josef Petkus)

First Appearance: Captain America (1st series) #352
All Winter Guard appearances: Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10, Thunderbolts (1st series) #25, Avengers (3rd series) #42-44, Thunderbolts (1st series) #57, Darkstar & the Winter Guard #1

Powers: Highly-trained martial combatant, carries a discus shield

Vanguard / Red Guardian VII (Nicolai Krylenko)

First Appearance: Iron Man (1st series) #109
All Winter Guard appearances: Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10, Thunderbolts (1st series) #25, Maximum Security #1, Avengers (3rd series) #42-44, Darkstar & the Winter Guard #3, Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #676, Secret Avengers (1st series) #35, Fantastic Four (1st series) #643, Monsters Unleashed (2nd series) #2, Weapon X (3rd series) #20-21, Avengers (7th series) #10, Tony Stark: Iron Man #8, Avengers (7th series) #14-17, 32

Powers: Bodywide repulsor field that repels any force directed at it, including kinetic impact, various forms of electromagnetic radiation, and gravity so that he can fly, carries a discus shield, formerly wielded a hammer and sickle that act as lenses to focus his repulsive field into energy bolts, and contain gyroscopic circuitry to return to his grasp after thrown

Darkstar (Laynia Petrovna)

First Appearance: Champions (1st series) #7
All Winter Guard appearances: Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10, Thunderbolts (1st series) #25, Maximum Security #1, 3, Avengers (3rd series) #42, Thunderbolts (1st series) #57, Darkstar & the Winter Guard #3, Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #676, Secret Avengers (1st series) #35, Fantastic Four (1st series) #643, Monsters Unleashed (2nd series) #2, Weapon X (3rd series) #20-21, Avengers (7th series) #10, Tony Stark: Iron Man #8, 10, Avengers (7th series) #14-17, 32

Powers: Tap into an extra-dimensional source of Darkforce energy, which she can direct as concussive blasts, protective force fields, solid energy constructs, and inter-dimensional flux that can propel her through the air or enable transportation from place to place by creating portals through the Darkforce Dimension

Notes: Darkstar's body is actually that of a Dire Wraith shapechanged into mimicking her original form. It's unclear whether Laynia has access to the traditional powers of a Dire Wraith anymore.

Vostok (Anatoly)

First appearance: Captain America (1st series) #352
All Winter Guard appearances: Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10, Maximum Security #3, Avengers (3rd series) #42-44, Thunderbolts (1st series) #57, Darkstar & the Winter Guard #1, Avengers (7th series) #10, 16-17, 32

Powers: Merged with alien technology to become a living synthozoid with superhuman strength, durability, flight, cybernetic senses, liquid metal regenerative body, and metal transmutation powers allowing him to animate and control metal objects or machines


First Appearance: Captain America (1st series) #352
All Winter Guard appearances: Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10, Avengers (3rd series) #42-44

Powers: Amnesiac Dire Wraith sorceress locked in human form, capable of levitation, sensory manipulation to cast illusions, disguise appearances, make people invisible and undetectable, block all incoming sensory experiences, and psychometrically link with someone, allowing her to sense their location and perceive through their senses after making physical contact

Sibercat (Illich Lavrov)

First appearance: X-Factor Annual #1
All Winter Guard appearances: Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10, Avengers (3rd series) #42-44, Citizen V and the V-Battalion: Everlasting #3

Powers: Feline mutation providing enhanced strength, speed, agility, endurance, reflexes, hyper-acute senses, and razor sharp claws

Powersurge (Illarion Pavlovich Ramskov)

First appearance: Avengers (1st series #326
All Winter Guard appearances: Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10, Thunderbolts (1st series) #25, Maximum Security #1, 3, Avengers (3rd series) #42-44, Citizen V and the V-Battalion: Everlasting #3

Powers: Radioactive energy being housed in a containment suit that converts his nuclear fusion in physical power for superhuman strength, resistance to physical injury, and radiant energy that disrupts matter at a quantum scale for concussive force or disintegration effects

Crimson Dynamo V (Dimitri Bukharin)

First appearance: Iron Man (1st series) #109
All Winter Guard appearances
: Darkstar & the Winter Guard #3, Secret Avengers (1st series) #35, Monsters Unleashed (2nd series) #2, Weapon X (3rd series) #20-21, Avengers (7th series) #10, Tony Stark: Iron Man #8, 10, Avengers (7th series) #15-17, 32

Powers: Exoskeletal battle suit utilizes Vanko generators for superhuman strength, armored resistance to injury, electrical blasts, plasma bolts, concealed micro-missiles, and boot rockets for flight

Starlight (Dr Tania Belinsky)

First appearance: Defenders (1st series) #35
All Winter Guard appearances: Darkstar & the Winter Guard #2

Powers: Nuclear-based physiology gives her superhuman strength, endurance, reaction time, and durability, flight, fusion-powered blasts of light, heat, and nuclear force, and perpetual radioactivity to contaminate her environment or absorb outside sources of radiation to temporarily cleanse her surroundings

Ursa Major (Major Mikhail Urlokovitch Ursus)

First appearance: Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #258
All Winter Guard appearances: Hulk (2nd series) #1, War Machine: Weapon of S.H.I.E.L.D. #34-35, She-Hulk (2nd series) #34-36, Hulk: Winter Guard #1, Age of Heroes #3, Darkstar & the Winter Guard #1-3, Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #676, Secret Avengers (1st series) #35, Fantastic Four (1st series) #643, Weapon X (3rd series) #20-21, Avengers (7th series) #10-11, Tony Stark: Iron Man #8, Avengers (7th series) #16-17, 32

Powers: Peak human strength and endurance, transmorph able to assume the form of a bi-pedal grizzly bear with great strength, resilience, animal senses, and razor sharp claws

Red Guardian VI (Anton)

First appearance: Hulk (2nd series) #1
All Winter Guard appearances: Hulk (2nd series) #1, War Machine: Weapon of S.H.I.E.L.D. #34-35, She-Hulk (2nd series) #34-36, Mighty Avengers (1st series) #22-23, Hulk: Winter Guard #1, Age of Heroes #3, Darkstar & the Winter Guard #1-3

Powers: Life Model Decoy body possesses mechanical strength, speed, agility, endurance, reflexes, and durability, carries a discus shield

Darkstar II (Sasha Roerich)

First appearance: Hulk (2nd series) #1
All Winter Guard appearances: Hulk (2nd series) #1, War Machine: Weapon of S.H.I.E.L.D. #34-35, She-Hulk (2nd series) #34-35, Mighty Avengers (1st series) #22-23, Hulk: Winter Guard #1

Powers: Implanted genetic material and conduit medallion allow her to tap into an extra-dimensional source of Darkforce energy, which she can direct as concussive blasts, protective force fields, solid energy constructs, and inter-dimensional flux that can propel her through the air or enable transportation from place to place by creating portals through the Darkforce Dimension

Crimson Dynamo XII (Boris Vadim)

First appearance: Hulk (2nd series) #1
All Winter Guard appearances: Hulk (2nd series) #1, War Machine: Weapon of S.H.I.E.L.D. #34-35, She-Hulk (2nd series) #34-36, Mighty Avengers (1st series) #22-23, Hulk: Winter Guard #1

Powers: Exoskeletal battle suit utilizes Vanko generators for superhuman strength, armored resistance to injury, electrical blasts, plasma bolts, concealed micro-missiles, and boot rockets for flight

Crimson Dynamo XIII (Galina Nemirovsky)

First appearance: Hulk: Winter Guard #1
All Winter Guard appearances: Hulk: Winter Guard #1, Age of Heroes #3, Darkstar & the Winter Guard #1-3

Powers: Exoskeletal battle suit utilizes Vanko generators for superhuman strength, armored resistance to injury, electrical blasts, plasma bolts, concealed micro-missiles, and boot rockets for flight

Darkstar III (Reena Stancioff)

First appearance: Hulk: Winter Guard #1
All Winter Guard appearances: Hulk: Winter Guard #1, Age of Heroes #3, Darkstar & the Winter Guard #1-3

Powers: Implanted genetic material and conduit medallion allow her to tap into an extra-dimensional source of Darkforce energy, which she can direct as concussive blasts, protective force fields, solid energy constructs, and inter-dimensional flux that can propel her through the air or enable transportation from place to place by creating portals through the Darkforce Dimension

Red Widow II

First appearance: Avengers (7th series) #10
All Winter Guard appearances: Avengers (7th series) #10, 16-17, 32

Powers: Skilled assassin, swordswoman, and martial combatant

Perun (merged with Valeri Soyloyev)

First appearance: Captain America (1st series) #352
All Winter Guard appearances: Avengers (7th series) #10

Powers: Mortal man bonded with the Slavic Storm God through a mystic amulet, able to displace himself and summon Perun who possesses superhuman strength, endurance, reflexes, resistance to physical injury, flight, immortality, and elemental bio-electricity, allowing him to channel lightning through his body or traditional weapons including an axe, hammer, or sickle


First appearance: Incredible Hulks #621
All Winter Guard appearances: Avengers (7th series) #10

Powers: Slavic God of Chaos and Darkness possessing superhuman strength, endurance, and resistance to physical injury, able to drain the souls of his victims to incapacitate them, occasionally operates through a mortal host