Publication Date: 7th Mar 2013


Laynia Petrovna was born in Minsk, USSR to Sergei Krylov and his young wife, Marya Krylova. Sergei was a brilliant Soviet scientist who had accidentally irradiated both himself and Marya prior to the conception of their children, Laynia and Nicolai. Tragically, Marya died giving birth to the twins. The newborns were immediately taken away by the KGB, who told Sergei that they too had died shortly after their birth.

For years, the Soviets had euthanized any mutants born in the USSR. Shortly before Laynia’s birth, news of mutants being born in the United States prompted the state to re-evaluate this practice. The Soviet powers began to view mutants as a resource to be culled and harnessed. Despite feelings that such abominations should be killed, the KGB had their orders and took Laynia and her brother to Professor Pieter Phobos, who had established the Super-Soldier School. Phobos raised Laynia and Nicolai, along with Mikhail Ursus, into their teens. The two were unaware that they were siblings and were told only that their parents had abandoned them.

Laynia and Nikolai’s powers manifested while they were still infants and as they grew older, Phobos trained them in their use. In addition, they received training from the KGB. Laynia developed the power to control the powerful Darkforce, a dark and mysterious energy that seemed linked to her consciousness. When they reached their teens, the group “graduated” and Phobos presented them with gifts and codenames. Laynia became Darkstar and was given an amulet that Phobos claimed would improve her control of the Darkforce.

That very night, Phobos left his charges. Unbeknownst to them, Phobos had been secretly draining their mutant powers to grant himself formidable mental abilities that he planned to use against the state. Phobos’ plot was discovered by the second Red Guardian and he fled the school. Darkstar would not learn Phobos’ true motivations or that Nicolai was her brother for many years. The Soviets divided the young mutants, sending Darkstar to America, while Vanguard and Ursa Major were drafted into the army. [Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #259]

Laynia soon began a romantic relationship with the third Crimson Dynamo (Yuri Petrovich), who had accompanied her to the United States. Along with Griffin and the original Titanium Man, Darkstar and the Crimson Dynamo were assigned to bring back perceived defectors including the Crimson Dynamo’s father, Ivan Petrovich and the Black Widow, who had recently joined the Los Angeles based team known as the Champions. The group easily captured the Black Widow and Darkstar's former teacher, Alexi Bushkin aka The Commissar. However, Darkstar clearly did not approve of her allies’ methods of doing things and began to think that there was more to their mission than she was told.

Eventually, Darkstar learned that the Russian government and the Titanium Man had been involved in “kidnapping” Yuri Petrovich  when he was a boy and training him to be a zealous agent of the motherland. Laynia tried to reason with Yuri and tell him the truth of how he had been used and manipulated but he was unwilling to face reality. The Black Widow’s capture inevitably led to a battle between Darkstar and her Soviet allies and the Champions. Following her conscience, Darkstar freed the Widow and Bruskin and helped the Champions defeat her former allies. Laynia found herself faced with the difficult choice of what to do with her defeated lover, but decided to allow him to escape. As the Crimson Dynamo fled to Russia, he vowed revenge. [Champions (1st series) #7-10]

Thanks to Nick Fury of SHIELD, Darkstar was allowed to remain in the States by special permission of the US government. Though it appeared to others that Laynia had defected, this was not the case. Darkstar joined the Champions which resulted in a mix of reactions. Iceman was delighted and made it no secret that he was romantically interested in her. The Black Widow thought Darkstar was presumptuous to join without an invitation but also realized that she might be jealous of the powerful younger woman. Ghost Rider was even more envious because the others had embraced Laynia and offered their implicit trust to her, yet they still were uneasy around him. [Champions (1st series) #11]

Darkstar consistently proved herself a valuable member of the team while aiding them against the Shadow Soldiers of Warlord Kaa, the Stilt Man, and the Stranger. During their conflict with the Stranger, the Champions learned of a powerful space bomb that engulfed all that it encountered. The Stranger sent the Champions to retrieve the only known object capable of stopping the bomb, the rune staff of Kamo Tharn. Unfortunately, it was not at the location they were sent to - Kamo Tharn's realm,  where the Champions were forced to battle Kamo Tharn, who sought revenge against Hercules.

Fortunately, Laynia discovered a way back to Earth and used her Darkforce to transport herself through the portal. She was followed by Iceman and the two of them found themselves in a void along with the imprisoned Stranger. With the Stranger’s help and guidance, Darkstar acquired Kamo Tharn’s powerful rune-staff and used it to amplify the power of the cosmic bomb. It grew so massive that it exceeded its programming and dissipated harmlessly. Her actions saved the universe and the Stranger returned her and her fellow Champions home. [Champions ​(1st series) #12-13]

Though Darkstar seemed content as one of the Champions, her brief time with them was not without some conflict. Ghost Rider continued to resent and mistrust her and rebuffed any attempts she made to connect with him, going so far as to insist that she not help him during the team’s battles. Iceman continued to pursue Laynia’s affections and they went on a casual movie date but she realized that she still had feelings for the Crimson Dynamo. [Champions (1st series) #14-15]

During a battle with a new incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, new and unexpected aspects of Darkstar’s powers were revealed. She used her Darkforce to repower the remains of the Vanisher’s  reprogrammed Sentinels and when the Vanisher attempted to make his escape, Laynia used her powers to stop him mid-teleportation. Her teammates couldn’t help but wonder about Darkstar’s true nature and the scope of her mysterious powers. [Champions (1st series) #17]

Before any investigation into Darkstar’s abilities could be made, the Champions abruptly disbanded. Laynia decided to return to her homeland, claiming that she missed Russia and wished to go home. Iceman was left heart-broken as Darkstar made it clear that she did not feel more than friendship for him. [Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #17]