Soviet Super Soldiers #1

Issue Date: 
November 1992
Story Title: 
The Red Triangle Agenda

Fabian Nicieza (Writer), Angel Medina & Javier Saltares (Pencilers), Jeff Albrecht (Inker), Michael Higgins (Letterer), Kevin Tinsley (Colorist), Terry Kavanagh (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Captain America watches in sadness as Darkstar, Vanguard and Ursa Major are shipped back to the Soviet Union in stasis. They arrive at a superhuman research facility in Siberia, and two weeks later are liberated by Father Alexi Garnoff and his mutant underground - Sibercat, Iron Curtain, Mentac and Concussion - who are in cahoots with two of the scientists at the facility, Zoya Vasilievna & Arkady Tegai. Darkstar and her teammates are revived from stasis, and although they are disappointed they are back in the Soviet Union, they are thankful for the rescue, and remain with Garnoff and his underground. Colonel-General Shatalov however is angry at Darkstar’s disappearance, and employs the mercenary Firefox to hunt them down. Meanwhile, the Supreme Soviets (Red Guardian, Crimson Dynamo, Perun, Fantasma, Sputnik), continue their role as their nations official heroes, and take down some terrorists, before Crimson Dynamo is summoned to Moscow, where he is given the assignment to bring the original Titanium Man back from the United States. Darkstar is hiding out in the Ukraine along with Iron Curtain, Mentac, Concussion and Stencil, while the others are looking for other safe houses, and are attacked by Firefox. Darkstar opens a teleportation portal for everyone to escape, but only she and Stencil make it through, as Firefox cruelly murders the other three. Darkstar, Vanguard, Ursa Major, Father Garnoff, Sibercat and Stencil are hiding out in Novosibirsk, but are once again tracked down, by the red army this time. The heroes quickly do their best to take down their oppressors without killing them, and Darkstar once more teleports everyone away. The Crimson Dynamo, in the States, releases the Green Liberation Front, and they attack him, before the Titanium Man is freed from the matrix cards, quite insane. The Titanium Man slaughters the Green Liberation Front, before toppling part of the neighborhood they are in, which alerts the attention of the local Police, who are quite powerless to stop his rampage, so the Crimson Dynamo gets his attention, and eventually manages to teleport both of them back to the Soviet. In Leningrad, the Supreme Soviets, sans Crimson Dynamo, are investigating some destruction, which turns out to be a new Unicorn. The Supreme Soviets work well as a team, and their combined efforts result in the Unicorn’s capture. Firefox meanwhile has come across a group of mutants in a farming collective in the Ukraine, and murders them after they claim they do not know where Darkstar is. Darkstar, meanwhile, is with the others on the edge of the Black Sea, in a safe house, with several other mutants. They discuss the possibility of there being a leak in the mutant underground, and Vanguard gets angry when these mutants constantly expect protection from he and the others. The Unicorn has been incarcerated at the Siberian research facility, but escapes. This forces Dr. Zoya Vasilievna & Dr. Arkady Tegai to merge, becoming Synthesizer, to track him down as they do not want him to harm any others. However, they are inexperienced as a super being, and are seemingly destroyed by the Unicorn’s rampant power - the Unicorn is then captured by the Titanium Man. The Crimson Dynamo, meanwhile, has been forced to surrender his armor to Colonel-General Shatalov after the debacle in the States, though the Crimson Dynamo knows that he was set up. Back at the Black Sea, only Sibercat and Stencil are present with the other mutants when Firefox and the red army attack. Stencil displays her power to “mind suck”, and takes out the helicopters, while Sibercat proves resourceful also, though everyone else is killed as Darkstar, Vanguard, Ursa Major and Father Garnoff return a few minutes too late to save them. With Darkstar and the others back, the tide is turned, and Vanguard gives Firefox a beating, but Father Garnoff doesn’t allow anyone to kill him, and instead, forces him to talk to the press and reveal all about the mutant genocide he has been undertaking. Vanguard questions Father Garnoff about their next move, to which Garnoff reveals they are going to fight and hide at the same time. The Supreme Soviets meet with Shelkov, and discuss Perun’s current situation - that his host is not keen to let Perun take over, before Burkharin returns to them, without his Crimson Dynamo armor of course. Burkharin reveals he was set up, so Shelkov reveals that they have created a new armor for him - Airstrike. Some scientists run some tests on the Titanium Man, whose matrix cards are now fully functional. Colonel-General Shatalov meets with Firefox, and they discuss the current situation, before Shatalov reveals that he is the new wearer of the Crimson Dynamo armor, and wants to create a new team, himself, Firefox, the Titanium Man and the Unicorn (currently incarcerated), as Remont 4, to set about returning the Soviet to the glory days of Stalin. The Supreme Soviets, now known as the People’s Protectorate, have a ceremony for the opening of their new headquarters, and Perun’s host form reluctantly allows Perun to take over. Sputnik also changes his name to Vostok. Finally, Darkstar and the others have been able to relax somewhat as they reside in the Siberian lowlands. Father Garnoff, now calling himself Blind Faith, announces that they, as the Exiles, will strike for mutant rights whenever they can, and vows to overthrow the Soviet Socialist Government.

Full Summary: 

Part One: The Three Sided Coin

On the tarmac of John F. Kennedy international airport, New York, three men of great power do something they are not accustomed to, or comfortable with: they do nothing. Captain America, Raymond Sikorsky and the Secretary of Defence watch as three very important mutants are shipped away in stasis, back to their native country, which hates and fears them. ‘There they go’ Raymond Sikorsky remarks, while the Secretary of Defense tells Captain America that he is sorry, adding that they fought as hard as they could to keep them here. ‘I know, Mr. Secretary’ Captain America replies glumly.

Raymond reminds Captain America that they knew going into the extradition hearing that their chances were slim. ‘I know, Raymond’ Cap replies, not once taking his eyes off the jet that is taking away three very special people. As the trio make their way to their limousine, the Secretary of Defense points out that they were asking the Soviets to grant political asylum to three mutants whose powers make them walking nuclear weapons. ‘I know, Mr. Secretary’ Cap replies once more. Raymond remarks that he thinks they impressed upon the Soviet government though the need to better treat their mutant - for that matter their entire super-human - population. ‘I know, Raymond’ Cap replies as they enter the limo.

The Secretary of Defense remarks that they will not get some concessions from them in future treaties. ‘I know, Mr. Secretary’ Cap replies, exclaiming that he is aware of all these things, before declaring ‘I’m just wondering how anyone will be able to explain it to those three young people when they wake up - and realize that we helped their dream turn into a nightmare…’

Siberia, five hundred miles northeast of Norilsk, a chopper descends into a well-guarded facility, an enormous brick fence with a barb-wire trim surrounds the facility, where various workers are going about their business. The helicopter lands on a large platform, which is then lowered down past the ground and into an underground facility. ‘They have arrived, Felix!’ a woman in a white-lab coat exclaims to her small male colleague, who replies ‘I can see that, Zoya, you think I can’t see that?’, both speaking in their native Russian. ‘Are you nervous, Colonel-General Shatalov?’ asks a third, bald scientist. ‘Anticipatory, Doctor Tegai’ the Colonel-General replies.

The Colonel-General reminds the scientists that they have worked for months to retrieve the three defectors. ‘Political ping-pong balls’ Zoya remarks as they approach the chopper. ‘Threats to the State, Zoya Vasilievna’ Shatalov replies quickly. ‘So I see, Comrade’ Zoya replies as the chopper opens, and there, lying in stasis tubes, three of Russia’s most prominent and long-suffering super beings - Darkstar a.k.a. Laynia Petrovna, Vanguard a.k.a. Nicolai Krylenko, and Major Mikhail Ursus a.k.a. Ursa Major - collectively known as the Soviet Super Soldiers!

(Flashback panels - briefly show events in Captain America (1st series) 352-353, narrated by Colonel-General Shatalov)

‘You see fog and call it a dream, Doctor. These mutants sought to defect!’. He explains that the Supreme Soviets deterred them, and the Super Soldiers were left in an apparently self-induced catatonic state. ‘We haggled over the proper diplomatic channels…and were finally able to return them home’


The Super Soldiers are taken away in their stasis tubes, as Doctor Tegai remarks ‘”Home”, comrade? This is a research facility. Hardly a place those three would call home’. ‘Perhaps, Arkady Tegai…perhaps’, the Colonel-General replies, before declaring that until they find out what makes these mutants what they are, and discern a way to use that for the beneficial purposes of the State, this institute is the only place the self-named Soviet Super Soldiers will ever know!

Two weeks pass…and late one night, a supply transport arrives at platform three, as scheduled. Three men step from the transport and approach two security guards, who ask where the regular transport team is. ‘Taken ill. Here is our bill of landing’ an elderly man in a church-like suit replies as he holds out some kind of disc. ‘Well…I imagine this is okay. Where are the supplies?’ one of the guards replies, while the other exclaims that they could kill for some kpepkaya. ‘The supplies?’ one of the elderly man’s associates asks. Suddenly, the elderly mans eyes light up, and he remarks ‘My men are unloading them now. See?’ the elderly man replies as he motions to his companions, who are holding their arms out in front of themselves, as if they are indeed carrying supplies. ‘They’re heavy, too, eh?’ the skinny smoking man exclaims. ‘Very well, bring them on in’ one of the guards replies, allowing the trio to enter the research facility.

Once inside, they quickly make their way to a part of the facility where numerous mutants are being held in stasis. ‘I assured you getting in would be no problem, didn’t I, Mikhail?’ the elderly man remarks to the smoking man. ‘So you did, Father’ Mikhail replies, while the muscular bald man remarks ‘Now, my friends, as for getting out…?’ to which the elderly man calls him Simas and tells him to worry not, as they will get out the way they came in - through polite persuasion. ‘Now you sound like the State speaking’ Mikhail remarks, when, suddenly, guards appear behind them, ‘STOP!’ one of them orders, raising a gun. The Father sighs, ‘Allow me…’ he begins, to which Mikhail interrupts, exclaiming ‘I think it’s my turn, Father…to explain first hand to these guards why you call me…Concussion!’ he boasts as he unleashes a powerful beam of energy, knocking the guards backwards.

The Father remarks that he could have done it more quietly, to which Concussion addresses him as Alexi and points out that his way is more spiritually rewarding. ‘Very well’ Father Alexi replies, before telling Simas, who is currently picking up the stasis chamber with Darkstar inside it, that they are coming to help, when suddenly, a voice exclaims ‘You are running late!’. Father Alexi, Concussion and Simas Androvich all turn to see Doctor Tegai and Zoya Vasilievna standing before them. Zoya exclaims that soon the late shift will be over and the place will be crawling with workers. ‘My wife is justifiably tense, Alexi’ Tegai replies, before he and Alexi shake hands and remarks that even under such circumstances, it is good to see him again.

As Simas collects Vanguard, Father Alexi tells Arkady Tegai that it is good to see him also, ‘And even you, as well, Zoya’ he adds, before remarking that it is a pity they cannot free all the mutants imprisoned here, ‘But Vanguard, Ursa Major and Darkstar serve as something more to the people. In many ways, their freedom serves as a symbol, a rallying beacon of hope for the dreams of mutants - and humans - alike’. With that, Darkstar and her male companions are loaded onto a chopper, and flown away.

Hours later, Darkstar, Major Ursus and Vanguard wake from their sedation. ‘Awake - and alive?’ Major Ursus gasps. ‘But not free - not truly’ Vanguard mumbles, while Darkstar shakes hands with a feline-looking male. Concussion lights another cigarette and remarks ‘As free as you’re gonna get for now, Vanguard’, before introducing the three other men with him - Sibercat, Iron Curtain, who is the large man who helped break into the facility to rescue them, and Mentac, who stands silently, watching the Super Soldiers. Concussion adds that they can call them those names until they learn to trust them. ‘And then what do we call you?’ Laynia asks. ‘Then, Darkstar, you call us friends…’

Back at the Siberian facility, ‘They WHAT??’ shouts Colonel-General Shatalov. ‘Uhm…escaped’ Feliks replies. ‘How? They were in hyperbaric chambers. They were unconscious!’ Shatalov shouts. Feliks remarks that it would appear hat someone helped them, to which Zoya quickly reminds Shatalov, addressing him by his first name, Valentin, that it was his security forces which where responsible for the Super Soldiers’ incarceration. ‘Quite correct, Zoya Vasiliena…as usual’ Shatalov mutters, turning from the scientists. ‘What now, comrade?’ Feliks asks, to which Shatalov replies ‘We find them, we bring them back. And I know just the right man for the assignment!’.

Four days later, in Tagil, which is in the Ural Mountains. A snow-tractor climbs a steep slope, up to a large house, ‘Comrade Andreivitch? Grigori? Are you here?’ a man exclaims rushing from the snow-tractor across the field, past some barren trees towards the house. Suddenly, two beams of energy whip past the newcomer in the forms of a hammer and sickle, and destroy two of the trees nearby. A figure emerges from the smoke, carrying two powerful guns, an elderly man declares ‘You have come to the Firefox for either one of two reason, Valentin Shatalov - either you want to die…to else you want someone else to die!’ Firefox exclaims. ‘Which is it?’ he asks.

The Colonel-General pulls something from his bag, ‘Here!’ he exclaims, handing a photograph of the Super Soldiers to Firefox, he explains that they are mutants and escaped from a special research facility. ‘I want them retrieved, Firefox!’ he declares. ‘Hmmph…mutants…tell me, Valentin…does the GRU want this done neatly…or can it be something worth talking about?’ Firefox asks.

Meanwhile, at a shipyard in Vyborg on the border between the USSR and Finland. Three armed men dressed in black clothing with white boots and gloves make their way through the shipyard, when, suddenly, a red shield with a large white star on it is flung towards them, knocking one of them out. ‘What!?’ gasps one of the men. ‘No, offal, not “what”…who!’ exclaims a large god-like man from above, who flies off a building, alongside three other men. ‘And the answer is…’ remarks one of the other men in red armor. ‘The Supreme Soviets!’ gasps one of the men in black down below.

Landing, the god-like member of the Supreme Soviets exclaims that he hates their team name, while one of the men in black warns him to stay back, otherwise he will shoot. ‘Your gun? Oh my, I fret!’ the well-built super being exclaims, before declaring that perhaps a furious God unleashing an electric storm will help deter him from his frightful act, and proceeds to fry his opponent with an easy blast from his axe. The third man in black begins to run, so the armored member of the Supreme Soviets drops down in front of him and remarks that his teammate with the axe, Perun, is really just their own sweet version of Nu Pogodi.

The man in black bangs in to the armored Supreme Soviet, and falls to the ground. ‘For all their self-proclaimed righteousness, Dynamo, these so-called environmental activists are nothing more than cowards!’ declares the handsome man with the shield to the Crimson Dynamo a.k.a. Dimitri Burkharin. The Crimson Dynamo tells the Red Guardian to try not to sound so much like a politburo speech, when suddenly the fourth man - or rather, android - drops down, announcing that he has scanned the surrounding environs and there is no other questionable activity.

The Red Guardian addresses the android as Sputnik and thanks him, before calling out to Fantasma: ‘Whenever you’re ready? Are you here?’ he asks. An exotic woman suddenly appears, wearing a scant purple costume, and with long flowing hair, she exclaims ‘And there, and everywhere, Josef Petkus’. The Red Guardian turns to her and exclaims ‘Please, while on assignment, please refer to me by my -’ Fantasma interrupts, ‘I know, I know - your childish codenames’. Fantasma approaches one of the activists and assures Red Guardian that she will perform her appointed task. ‘Hello, my little conspirator…talk to me!’ Fantasma exclaims, leaning over one of the activists.

An hour later, the Supreme Soviets have loaded the activists into a truck, and Crimson Dynamo announces that the Propaganda Minister is approaching, along with the media. ‘It is time for us to regale them with tales of our virtue!’ Perun boasts. Red Guardian, Perun and Crimson Dynamo talk to the media and have their photos taken, while Fantasma skulks away to the edge of the dock, not participating, and Sputnik speaks with Colonel-General Fyodor Shelkov, and remarks that the saboteurs were members of the Finish underground who were seeking to destabilize the state’s nuclear submarine program. ‘Does that report suffice?’ Sputnik asks. Quite taken aback, Colonel-General Fyodor Shelkov replies ‘Uhm, quite nicely, Sputnik…thank you’.

Sputnik asks Shelkov if his presence disturbs him, to which Shelkov claims it doesn’t, and quickly excuses himself, before walking over to the Crimson Dynamo and telling him he needs to speak with him. ‘What is it, Fyodor?’ Dimitri asks, while Fyodor lights a cigarette. ‘Talking to Sputnik spooking you again?’ Dimitri asks. ‘What? Hmmm - I remember when I used to call him Anatoly - that’s all’ Shelkov replies, before explaining that he wanted to talk to him about his army service extension to the Supreme Soviets. ‘It has been rescinded!’ Shelkov announces, ‘They either want you or the armor. We’re supposed to be in Moscow in three days to find out which…’. The Crimson Dynamo doesn’t say anything.

The next day, on a small rustic farm house in the Ukraine…Darkstar, Concussion, Mentac, Iron Curtain and an odd bald woman called Stencil are in a living room, lounging about. ‘We have been here for over a week! When will Alexi and the others return?’ Concussion complains as he lies on a couch, smoking. Mentac replies that he had anticipated they would need five days to prepare the new safe house, and states that he does not deviate from his initial calculations. ‘Actually, it is a pleasure to be able to relax and do simple things again!’ Darkstar exclaims as she sits in a chair, and uses a small Darkforce bubble to hold a book up in front of her. ‘Like cleaning a gun, right, Laynia?’ asks the bald woman as she sits at a table, polishing her gun.

‘Do not tease Miss Petrovna!’ Iron Curtain tells the bald woman, calling her Stencil, while he puts another log on the fireplace. ‘As the warrior Darkstar, she has endured -’ begins Iron Curtain about Darkstar, when, a grenade is suddenly tossed through the window, and teargas spills from it. The five mutants leap up, as Mentac announces that they are under attack - when gunfire fills the room and he is shot twice. Concussion calls out to his friend, while Darkstar opens up a Darkforce portal. ‘This way - hurry!’ Laynia urges everyone. Stencil makes her way over and asks ‘What about the others?’. ‘They’re right behind -’ Laynia begins, when suddenly there is a massive explosion.

‘No more running!’ shouts Firefox as he enters the farmhouse, weapons waving. ‘No more hiding! IT’S TIME TO DIE!’ he booms. The teargas continues to spread through the room. Firefox catches up with another - ‘Iron Curtain, right?’ he exclaims as he shoves a gun in Iron Curtain’s mouth. ‘Invulnerable? From the outside him’ Firefox remarks as he fires the weapon twice. Iron Curtain keels over and tries to hold his mouth closed. ‘What about…from the inside in?’ Firefox asks as he leaps over a couch and Iron Curtain explodes. Stencil continues running towards the portal, while Firefox grabs Mentac. ‘You - who are you and what can you do?’ he asks. Mentac introduces himself and explains that he has a fifth-level brain capable of computer-like analysis.

‘So calculate the odds of you and your friends walking out of her alive’ Firefox orders him as he sticks a gun to Mentac’s face. ‘100% against such a probability’ Mentac replies. ‘You’re half right’ Firefox replies, before firing the weapon close range at Mentac’s face. ‘Now you - fire concussive bursts from your hands?’ Firefox exclaims as he chases Concussion - only to blast his hands off! Concussion drops to his knees, gasping as blood pours from the ends of his arms. Firefox declares that he always wanted to see what super-types who fire things from their hands would do if they didn’t have hands any more. ‘Now tell me about this little mutant safe house system your friends have…’ Firefox orders - but Concussion says nothing, and Firefox points a gun at his face.

Meanwhile, in the Kremlin, the seat of Soviet government in Red Square, Moscow. ‘Oh my!’ gasps a woman as the Crimson Dynamo descends into a group of civilians, calling out to Colonel-General Fyodor Shelkov, he asks him who they are seeing. Making their way through the Kremlin, Shelkov explains that they are meeting with the Fifth Directorate head from the GRU, to which Dimitri asks why state security is involved in this. ‘You are an army officer, Dimitri, wearing a walking arsenal - need you ask?’ Shelkov replies as they enter an office. A man in a suit greets them and asks them to come in, introducing himself as Valentin Shatalov. ‘What would you have me do, comrade?’ Corporal Burkharin asks.

‘Direct, aren’t we?’ Valentin remarks, adding that he likes that, and explains that a few months ago, they lost an important agent. ‘I want you to go to New York City to retrieve him’ Valentin explains, revealing that the agent’s name is Boris Bullski. ‘You may remember him…as the original Titanium Man!’ he declares, narrowing his eyes.

One week later in Novosibirsk, a burgeoning city in the Siberian lowlands. Darkstar, Vanguard, Ursa Major, Father Alexi Garnoff, Sibercat and Stencil sit in a room inside a plain apartment building, and staring out the window, Sibercat remarks that it is beautiful outside today, before turning to Father Garnoff and asking him if he is sure they cannot go out and play. ‘And risk being seen?’ Major Ursus asks, cigarette in hand, addressing Sibercat by his true name, Illya Lavrov, adding ‘No, our freedom is best served behind a locked, cramped room, isn’t it?’.

Father Garnoff remarks that Mikhail’s sarcasm is noted, ‘And unappreciated, old friend!’ Vanguard snaps, remarking that they are trying to find a more suitable place than a crowded city to hide in. ‘Why hide at all, huh? Huh? I say we fight back - hit them hard!’ Stencil exclaims. ‘Hit whom, Stencil? Everyone and anyone?’ Mikhail asks. Darkstar announces that she thinks their best course of action might be some strategic inaction’, when, suddenly, there is a loud noise heard outside. ‘Oh…uhm…Laynia…point’s kinda moot now…’ Sibercat gasps as he looks out the window and sees a dozen Soviet helicopters surrounding the apartment building.

Meanwhile, rain pours down upon the Red Square, Shatalov stands in his office and smokes as he stares out the window, while two men in suits sit at his desk, one of them asks how their scheduled operations are going. ‘Well?’ he asks again when he gets no response from the Colonel-General. One of the men declares that Remont Division has allocated sufficient funds to being operations once the targets are in place, and the other man adds that they expect the matter to be settled within the month. ‘Good. And the Crimson Dynamo’s little search?’ Shatalov asks.

One of the men replies that Burkharin has been in the United States for seven days, and with the use of the Matrix Tracer, he has been able to recover approximately sixty percent of Bullski’s missing pieces. ‘We anticipate mission completion by week’s end’ one of the men remarks. ‘Good’ Shatalov declares, before suggesting that the make things harder for comrade Burkharin. ‘I want to see the Crimson Dynamo vilified, not deified!’ he booms, before asking how Project: Spiral Doom is going. ‘Uhm…Spiral Doom?’ one of the officials asks, somewhat surprised. ‘As well as can be expected, comrade’.

Shatalov asks how close they are to releasing it, which causes one of the officials to wipe sweat off his brow, ‘Uhm…releasing? Sir, the subject has yet to elicit any signs of rationality whatsoever!’. Shatalov blows some smoke out of his mouth and grins. ‘All the better then. Activate him - in Leningrad, one day before Dynamo’s mission is completed’ the Colonel-General orders, before dismissing the officials. His telephone rings, and upon answering it, he asks about Firefox, but remarks ‘Nyet, go in without him’, and declares that if the mutants escape again, it makes his case against them stronger. ‘If they are captured, Firefox will be humbled that we did it without him!’. The Colonel-General is pleased with himself, and grins.

Meanwhile, in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, New York, in the United States of America. The Crimson Dynamo enters a run-down old building, which has a surprising amount of high-tech equipment inside it, and speaks to Central Control via a communicator device in his armor, announcing that the Matrix Reader is dancing like the Bolshoi, and while there are some other cards here, he remarks looking at a panel of green cards, he then declares that he has found more of Bullski’s remains. Suddenly, Burkharin triggers some lasers on the floor, and the green panels light up, energy pours from them, ‘I think I have made a mistake…’ Dimitri mutters, indeed, as six green armored beings emerge from the cards, ‘The Green Liberation is free!’ one of them exclaims.

‘What happened to us? How long have we been “carded” one of the others asks as the six surround the Crimson Dynamo, one of them thanks him for freeing them from the teleportation matrix. ‘You are?’ he asks. ‘In much trouble I am thinking…’ the Crimson Dynamo replies, while asking Central Control for information. An information card appears on Dynamo’s system, informing him that this is the Green Liberation, front armored personnel used by the Titanium Man in final operation, with a threat level capacity of 7.5. ‘Multiple that by six, why don’t you?’ Burkharin mumbles, while the Green Liberation also bring up data on their apparent rescuer, learn that he is the Crimson Dynamo, Dimitri Burkharin, a Soviet citizen in the Communist Party and a member of the red army.

‘G.L.F! We know what we need to know…take the Russkie down!’ one of the Green Liberation Front exclaims, smashing the Crimson Dynamo in the face. Burkharin lands in a large computer console, smashing it. ‘Wonderful’ he mutters to himself, ‘A perquisite to every visit I make to the United States seems to be a completely gratuitous battle against people I don’t even know!’ he exclaims, dodging firepower from the Green Liberation Front, then blasting two of them with his own repulsor rays. Dynamo realizes that there are too many of them, and knows that this matrix retriever drains too much of his armor’s energy reserves.

Burkharin realizes that he has no choice, ‘Whether I have all the pieces I need or not - I have to activate Bullski’s matrix card now!’ So he does, blasting energy at the matrix card, there is a thundering sound, and a blinding light. The Green Liberation Front stand in awe, ‘What the -?’ one of them asks, as a mighty green armored being stands before them, power pulsing, ‘The Titanium Man has returned!’ booms Boris Bullski. ‘And may the Lord forgive me…’ Burkharin whispers.

Part Two: The Dissection of a Surrender

‘What has happened to me?’ the Titanium Man demands to know, smashing through the Green Liberation Front. ‘Why am I in such agony? Answer me!’ he demands as he bashes two of the Green Liberation Front together with a powerful force, none of them can escape as he continues to beat them up. ‘He is insane! What have I done!?’ Burkharin gasps, realizing that Bullski’s body has rematerialized from its dormant state within the teleportation card, but that his sanity has not come with him.

The Titanium Man begins roaring, then rips a huge slab of the floor up from the ground which has several of the Green Liberation Front on it. ‘Back off!’ ‘Retreat!’ they shout as he tosses the slab of concrete away. One of the GFL tries to stop him, but the Titanium Man disposes of him with one powerful blast of energy. ‘He’s bringing down the entire block!’ the Crimson Dynamo exclaims with worry, while Bullski continues to blast away at the Green Liberation Front. More power. More. Even more. Bullski doesn’t hold back, as the entire building comes down around them, ‘Who is left? WHO!?’ he shouts, standing over the bloody and broken bodies of the Green Liberation Front.

‘Only me, Bullski…the man who freed you…and who would as soon see you dead as see you destroy another life!’ the Crimson Dynamo declares. Suddenly, Police cars approach, sirens blaring, ‘Both of you hold it right there! This is the Police. You are under arrest!’ the Police announce. The Titanium Man’s eyes just glow….

Back in Novosibirsk, Darkstar soars across the open sky, and flying along with her, is her brash brother. Laynia tells Nicolai that it is good to see him using his mutant abilities in a new fashion. ‘Would that I could repel our attackers as easily as I’ve learned to repel gravity…’ Vanguard mutters, as the powerful twins approach some choppers. Darkstar asks if she can have the first parry, and blasts two of the choppers with intense beams of the Darkforce, causing them to spin towards the ground. Vanguard tells his sister that the Darkforce serves her well, disabling the choppers and gently lowering them to the ground. ‘I have begun to prefer a more visceral approach!’ he declares as he pours sharp energy beams towards the remaining chopper.

Inside the apartment, Father Garnoff asks Sibercat to grant them a ground egress, to which Illyich replies ‘I’m on it, Daddy-O!’ and leaps out of the high-rise window with ease, ‘Oh, yeah, fire away, babe…and let the kitty-cat…do some scratching and clawing!’ Sibercat exclaims as he lands on a Soviet soldier, then bounces from him to another to another and to another, taking down each one as he lands on them. Looking up to the sky, Sibercat sees Darkstar encase an entire chopper in the Darkforce, and he exclaims that he doesn’t even want to know where Laynia teleported the chopper to.

Ursa Major has joined the battle, and in his powerful bear-form, Mikhail tears one of the downed helicopters apart. Vanguard swoops down and collects Sibercat, before flying over to Mikhail, who explains that he is putting the finishing touches on the vehicles Laynia downed, while Sibercat quietly asks Vanguard if anyone has ever told Urkolovitch how bad he smells when he turns into a bear. Vanguard ignores the comment about his best friend and grabs Major Ursus, announcing that they are leaving, ‘Mikhail, please…’ he states.

Mikhail realizes that Vanguard wants him to shift to his human form, so he is lighter to carry, so Mikhail complies, but in doing so is of course naked. As they fly towards the apartment block, Stencil and Father Garnoff watch from the window, and Darkstar hovers overhead, while Stencil remarks that it is unseemly for the rebel idol of millions to depart the battlefield because of a hernia. ‘Quite’ Mikhail remarks, while Darkstar announces that she disagrees, and Garnoff agrees, declaring that he will not allow any of them to shoot the soldiers down in cold blood. ‘Not will you absorb them’ he adds, looking at Stencil.

Darkstar collects everyone inside a blanket of the Darkforce while Father Garnoff remarks that it is better the soldiers tell the tale of how they were defeated to as many in their red army as will hear their words. ‘Laynia, if you will…’ he remarks, to which Darkstar replies that she is accessing a teleport already, then they vanish.
Meanwhile, in Leningrad, turned-over tankers, broken buildings and rubble covering the ground is all that can be seen for miles. ‘I believe, my friends, that we are too late for the party…’ Perun remarks as he walks across the destruction. ‘That’s not funny, Perun!’ Josef declares as he and Fantasma travel behind him in a tank. Josef exclaims that something akin to a walking bomb has attacked this city, so they must find out what. ‘Ah, Red Guardian, in the words of Dimitri, our mysteriously absent friends…”loosen your shorts, lad”!’. Perun replies casually. ‘What would alleviating pressure in his undergarments do to ease our situation?’ Sputnik asks as he flies overhead. ‘Cease your yapping, you silly mechanism!’ Perun booms.

Inside the tank, Fantasma hugs herself, and looking scared, she tells Josef that she doesn’t like the confinement of this vehicle. Josef tells his companion that he is sorry, but that the energy levels he is scanning are too high for the two of them to be outside any longer than they would need to be. ‘Bah! Tis like a summer shower! I feel enticingly refreshed!’ Perun boasts, to which Sputnik declares ‘I call into question your interpretation of the electromagnetic activity present, Perun’. ‘I call into question your warranty!’ Perun snaps back. ‘Really, there is no -’ Sputnik begins to reply, when he is suddenly blasted by an intense beam of bright pink energy, and forced into one of the broken apartment buildings.

‘Children! We have met our opponent!’ Perun shouts as he readies himself. Inside the tanker, Fantasma informs Red Guardian that she is reading their attacker, but that he is confused and nebulous. ‘Perun, report - what do you see?’ Josef calls out via the communicator. Rounding a corner, Perun replies ‘The source of Sputnik’s ulcer! And from the records you always insist I read…I do believe his name be Unicorn!’. Indeed, a deranged man in a green and orange loose-fitting outfit, with a pink beam blowing from his forehead is ravaging more of Leningrad.

‘It is him!’ Red Guardian exclaims as he and Fantasma exit the tank and go over to join Perun, though Fantasma remarks that she reads nothing recognizable about Unicorn. ‘In fact, I cannot gauge a bio-reading from him at all! That’s never happened before!’ she gasps, somewhat concerned. ‘Posh! So the Ebon Witch cannot “read” him! Feh! We can see him, can we not!?’ Perun remarks, before calling out to Unicorn: ‘Ho! Unicorn! Be you friend or -’ Perun doesn’t get to finish his sentence, as Unicorn blasts the trio of Supreme Soviets with a powerful energy beam. ‘Aye, he be foe to you all…but to the God of Thunder he be friend indeed…for he doth give me fair pause to bash him fiercely about the regions of the head!’ Perun exclaims with pleasure as he proceeds to attack Unicorn.

Back in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, ‘Who else?!’ the Titanium Man booms. ‘Who else wishes to test the mettle of the Titanium Man!?’ he bellows as he crushes a Police car above his head with ease. The Crimson Dynamo grabs the larger armored-man around his middle, telling him to stop it, as the Police are only doing their jobs. The Police fire their guns at the Titanium Man, but they have no effect. ‘Might as well be trying spit balls!’ one of the officers exclaims, before ordering the S.H.A.P.E.R. artillery unit to be unleashed. The officers cover their ears as a large tanker approaches, and a massive boom follows, striking Bullski dead-on.

‘Look what you have done!’ Dimitri exclaims as he is repelled off the Titanium Man, before flying back over and telling Bullski that this is enough, they need to end this now with no more bloodshed. Crimson Dynamo steps in between the Titanium Man and the Police, and holding his hands up, he asks the Americans to let them leave. ‘Hold your fire!’ one of the Police officers orders to his colleagues. ‘What’s he saying and why’s he talking funny?’ one of the officers asks, before another one hands him a report, ‘We got a readout!’ he exclaims. ‘Oh, great. They’re Russians! What the fotz do we do now?!’ the Police officer grumbles.

Meanwhile, in Leningrad, the Unicorn fires another beam of energy, wide this time, to touch all three of his opponents - but Perun deflects part of it with his axe, Fantasma becomes intangible so the beam passes through her, and Red Guardian uses his acrobatic skills to leap out of the way. ‘Whoa!’ Perun gasps when he discovers his axe has completely burnt away. ‘Supreme Soviets! The time has come to press the attack!’ Josef shouts as he tosses his shield at Unicorn, smacking him hard in the stomach, Unicorn keels to the ground in a heap.

Perun leaps towards Unicorn, remarking that Red Guardian has no idea how absurd the appelation “Supreme Soviets” sounds. ‘As for you, my emaciated comrade in fisticuffs…learn that the Slavic God of Thunder does not need the affectations of his axe in order to unleash the furies of the storm!’. Indeed, lightning crackles all around Perun in a massive display, while Red Guardian remarks, ‘No, just to channel them…’. The deranged Unicorn is knocked about, and suddenly finds himself surrounded by darkness. ‘Hey - who turned out the lights?!’ he gasps, before bursting into uncontrollable laughter - then he falls to the ground, slamming his head.

‘It is over!’ Fantasma announces as she materializes next to Unicorn and the darkness begins to fade away. Fantasma explains that she was finally able to access his bio-field, and inverted all of Unicorn’s neural functions. Red Guardian congratulates Fantasma, before remarking that they now need to find out who this Unicorn really is and where he came from. ‘Are we required to clean our own mess as well?’ Perun asks. Red Guardian replies that he is more concerned with how they can incarcerate this - whoever or whatever - this is. ‘There is your answer, Josef!’ Fantasma exclaims as she motions to a broken car.

However, the car suddenly morphs, spreading across the space between it and the Unicorn. ‘GAAH! I hate when Sputnik does that!’ Perun declares, before admitting that it is rather effective as Sputnik has transformed the car into a cage. Sputnik drops down from the air above, announcing that he has notified the proper authorities and that Unicorn will be transported to the Siberian met human research facility. Red Guardian thanks Sputnik, before motioning to the hole in his body and asking him if he is unharmed. Sputnik replies that his repair functions are fully operational, ‘As comrade Perun is so fond of pointing out - I am a machine, not a man’. Perun approaches his teammate and declares that he thinks he is both man and machine, and calls him his friend. ‘Whatever makes him happiest’ Red Guardian remarks, before suggesting they clear Unicorn out before he wakes up.

In Brooklyn once more, the Titanium Man shouts ‘It is time to feel pain!’, but Burkharin pushes him backwards, ‘I won’t let you harm innocent militia men!’ he exclaims. The Titanium Man replies that he only wishes for them to feel the same pain that he does. ‘Then wish it upon me, Bullski - for I am responsible for the agony you are enduring!’ the Crimson Dynamo explains. ‘Eh? Then you shall die first!’ Bullski shouts, slamming his fist to the ground, but Dimitri takes flight, so the Titanium Man takes to the sky, chasing him, while the Police begin firing their guns skyward.

The Crimson Dynamo radios Central Control, and informs them that he is luring their quarry away from any populated areas. Glancing back at the Titanium Man as he speeds across the harbor, Burkharin reports that his flight stability is erratic, which suggests Bullski sustained additional injuries in the legs due to the premature reintegration of his body. Burkharin informs Central Control that he is twenty miles over the Atlantic, and announces that he is reactivating the teleport matrix. White blinding light flashes as the teleport matrix is activated, and Burkharin announces that the Titanium Man is trapped within the matrix retriever - then there is a peculiar sound as they armored Soviets are transported back to their homeland. The Crimson Dynamo declares that he will be at the rendezvous point in one hour, and thinks to himself ‘And Lenin help Valentin Shatalov for what he has made me do…’.

The next morning, at a farming collective in the Ukraine, ‘Talk, slug!’ Firefox demands as he holds one of his weapons right up to the face of an unfortunate looking mutant. ‘Tell me where Urkolovitch, Petrovna, Krylenko and Garnoff are!’ he orders. Motioning to other bodies, strewn across the upturned house, Firefox adds ‘Or join your pathetic mutant brothers in death!’. A bowl of soup has been tipped on the mutants’ head, and he replies that he doesn’t know.

‘Why protect them?’ Firefox asks, pointing out that the Super Soldiers and Garnoff have not endeavored to protect him. ‘Where are they?’ he demands. ‘I really don’t know…’ the mutant replies even as Firefox shoves a photo in his face. ‘And I’m really sorry to hear that’ Firefox states, before he blows off the mutants’ face. Walking calmly out of the house, Firefox declares that he will continue to search for them - ‘And even if I have to kill every mutant in this republic…I will find them!’

Elsewhere…’So, gang, what do we do now?’ Sibercat asks as he stands alongside Father Garnoff, Stencil and the Super Soldiers. ‘Good question’ Vanguard mutters as the sextet stand before a group of mostly disfigured mutants, one of whom declares that they can ask the same question of the super heroes, exclaiming that the assassin has decimated the underground mutant safe-system. ‘What do the six of you propose to do about it?’ he demands to know.

Standing in an abandoned warehouse of sorts, Father Garnoff declares that the first thing they have to do is abandon the safe house system, as it has obviously been co-opted, and announces that he believes the information has been leaked by a comrade. ‘It is only a matter of time before this bunker on the Black Sea is discovered as well!’ he remarks. Mikhail declares that they would be mistaken in presuming their hunter is KGB, and reveals that he believes their attacker to be GRU. One of the mutants points out that Soviet military does not handle internal problems though, before another asks what difference does it make who hunts them. ‘What are you going to do about it?’ he asks Vanguard.

Nicolai responds by grabbing the scrawny mutant by his collar and lifting him high in the air. ‘Do what I have done my entire life - fight back!’ Vanguard exclaims. ‘Or do what you have done - run and hide! Or, do neither…do what is easiest for you…give up and die!’ he exclaims angrily.

Three days later at the Siberian research facility, Zoya, Arkady and Feliks are checking on the Unicorn, who is currently in a stasis tube, but Arkady and Feliks are pre-occupied with other matters, so Zoya asks them to tear themselves away from the matters of bureaucracy ‘Remember for a moment that you are researchers!’. Zoya announces that she has some odd readings from their subject, ‘There is something wrong with his head!’ she exclaims. ‘Of course there is’ Feliks replies. ‘This maniac killed over twenty people in Leningrad!’

‘I mean literally’ Zoya replies, motioning the men to a console. Arkady points out that the lasers have cut through the helmet moorings. ‘Let’s pull it up and see what we see!’ he suggests. ‘Dear Lord!’ Feliks exclaims, shocked as the helmet is removed. ‘I thought you were an atheist, Feliks’ a wide-eyed Zoya remarks. Felix replies that he, but that he is an orthodox atheist. ‘Well allow us to join you in prayer then…because that creature is like nothing God ever put on Earth!’ Zoya exclaims, motioning to the grinning Unicorn, who indeed has a horn on his forehead - with an eye at the end of it.

‘The third eye - it’s glowing!’ someone exclaims, moments before there is a blinding flash of energy, and Unicorn breaks free from his restraints, cackling uncontrollably, he leaps upwards to a hole in the ceiling that his explosion created. ‘He’s escaping!’ Zoya exclaims. Feliks begins to put out the fires that began following the surge of power. Zoya tells Arkady that the Unicorn could harm too many people. ‘I know, Zoya - but out secret…’ he mutters. ‘Doesn’t matter if lives are at stake!’ Zoya exclaims. ‘Very well’ Arkady replies, when, suddenly, Zoya and Arkady look at each other, and golden energy rays burst from their eyes, meeting in the middle, they clasp their hands together, and with a blinding light, they merge into one, female figure, entirely golden. ‘It is done. We are merged!’. Feliks watches, confused, he calls out to the Doctors, who reply ‘Neither and both. Arkady’s mind in Zoya’s form. Together, we are Synthesizer!’

Taking flight, Synthesizer announces that they are willing to forfeit their secret - their very lives - in order to stop this madman. Outside the research facility now, Synthesizer lights up the sky as they track the Unicorn. ‘Stop this rampage!’ Synthesizer shouts at Unicorn. ‘Poop. Poop. Doctor Peredovik to the rescue. Blah blah blah!’ Unicorn mutters, before shouting ‘Kill it dead!’.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, at the Kremlin offices of Valentin Shatalov, the Colonel-General has several newspapers laid out before him, all with headlines detailing the Crimson Dynamo’s apparent rampage in the United States. Suddenly, there is a small explosion, and the Crimson Dynamo bursts into the office, shouting ‘You have ruined me, Valentin Shatalov!’. The Colonel-General stands his ground, and replies ‘No, Dimitri Burkharin, I have ruined the Crimson Dynamo’, before telling Dimitri that if he turns the armor over to him, he is free to leave.

Dimitri is silent for a moment, then suddenly removes his helmet. ‘You have gotten exactly what you wanted, haven’t you, comrade’ he replies, calmly, hiding his true feelings. ‘Was there every any doubt I would?’ Shatalov replies, proud of himself.

Back at the mutant safe house on the Black sea, ‘Cut it out, I said!’ the scrawny mutant shouts at Sibercat, who continues to smack him with his yo-yo toy. The scrawny mutant tells Sibercat that he is really annoying him, but Sibercat, swinging from the rafters, ignores him. The scrawny mutant turns to Stencil and exclaims ‘Miss - uhm…Stencil - can you please -’ he begins, only to be interrupted by Stencil, who has her feet up on a table, reading a magazine, and Stencil shouts ‘Not miss you little toad - Viktor’s in charge now. And I think you smell. So stay away from me or I’ll stick you like a pig!’ the bald woman snaps.

Suddenly, there is a blinding light, ‘They have found us!’ the scrawny mutant shouts, rushing to a door, he shouts ‘They have found us and the others aren’t here to protect us!’. Several other mutants gather round, and one of them warns the scrawny one not to open the door - but it’s too late, he does, and an explosion rips through the warehouse, killing them all except for Sibercat and Stencil. ‘You okay?’ Sibercat asks Stencil. ‘Sure. What do we do now?’ Stencil asks as they crouch near a window at the back. ‘Let’s see who’s coming to the party…hmmm…’ Sibercat exclaims as he glances out the window. ‘#$@%!’ shouts Stencil as they see Firefox - and a very large army - tankers and helicopters - waiting for them.

Part Three: Naked Before Tomorrow

‘I have been instructed to offer you the opportunity of an honorable surrender…though I’d rather you show some spine and fight back!’ Firefox bellows. Sibercat mutters that it is what he would like to do too, ‘Sort of be suicidal…wouldn’t it, kid?’ Stencil adds. Seeing bodies of other mutants slaughtered on the dock, Sibercat points out that they are they only ones left. ‘Not necessarily - remember, if you’ve got me, you’ve got a small army!’ Stencil exclaims. Sibercat looks at his companion, ‘Is Stencil back up front?’ he asks. ‘Yup!’ Stencil replies, exclaiming that she can lock onto all the pilots of the choppers at once - and mind-suck them!

Stencil does so, which causes the pilots to lose control of their minds, and crash into themselves. ‘Mutant! What did you do!?’ Firefox bellows as he unleashes fire upon the warehouse, and the choppers crash to the ground, causing numerous explosions. ‘Don’t worry, soldier-boy - Stencil just absorbed the minds of all your pilot friends for dinner. But she won’t touch you - who needs indigestion?’ Sibercat jokes, before tossing a grenade pack at a tanker, ‘But don’t feel left out - here’s desert!’ he exclaims, before leaping out of way as the tanker explodes.

Suddenly, ‘ENOUGH KILLING!’ screams Darkstar as she appears above, with Vanguard at her side, and Ursa Major and Father Garnoff on a Darkforce platform, Darkstar uses the Darkforce to create two very large hands which reach down to the dock and grab up five of the soldiers, before tossing them into the water. Darkstar declares that they have had more than their fill of killing. ‘Speak for yourself, sister…there is still one more who warrants such drastic measures!’ Vanguard tells Laynia as he swoops down towards Firefox, smashing him into a pile of wooden crates, before grabbing his face and exclaiming that they should put an end to the animal’s life.

Ursa Major cautions his friend to watch out for Firefox’s gun. Nicolai grabs Firefox’s gun-arm and snaps it off, thanking his friend and shouting ‘I wish to see this filth stripped of his trappings the way he has stripped us of our dignity!’. With that, Vanguard rips the eye-piece from Firefox’ eye socket, leaving just a gaping hole in his head. Firefox tries to scream, but can only utter ‘Mutie…pig!’. Stencil smiles as Sibercat lunges at Firefox, wrapping his clawed fingers to Firefox’s face and neck, he looks to Father Garnoff for answers. ‘No, Illya. This is not the way!’ Garnoff replies.

‘Then what will be our way, Father?’ Major Ursus asks as he and the others begin to surround Firefox, who has now dropped to the ground. Laynia admits that even she is torn by their need for compassion, and their fight for survival. Stencil asks Father Garnoff to let her absorb him, and promises that she won’t kill him. ‘No, my child!’ Garnoff replies, remarking that action would be far too dangerous for her fragile union, and reveals that he knows more about Firefox than any of them. ‘Dead, alive, or absorbed into Stencil, he would mean trouble for us’. Garnoff declares.

‘Then what, Garnoff? What would you have us do? Fight or hide? What’s it going to be?’ the ever-impatient Vanguard asks. Garnoff just smiles and replies ‘Who is to say that we can’t do both?’

Back out side the Siberian research facility, the deadly battle rages on, ‘Whoopa - whoopa!’ Unicorn screams as he leaps out of range from one of Synthesizer’s blasts. ‘He avoids my most powerful electromagnetic sound emissions!’ Synthesizer exclaims, wondering what hope the approaching aircraft could possibly have then. ‘Keep trying! Boom-boom!’ Unicorn yabbers as he bounces up and down on the ground below. ‘Snap! Crackle! Pop!’ Unicorn sings, before firing an enormously powerful burst of energy at Synthesizer, who screams in agony.

‘All gone with Doctor Shimmer-Shakes. Sorry. Whoops!’ Unicorn mutters before bursting out laughing once more. Suddenly, ‘Not as sorry as you are going to be!’ a voice booms. ‘Whoa…’ Unicorn gasps as he spins around and is confronted by the Titanium Man, who looms over him. The Titanium Man introduces himself, and announces that he has an offer that the Unicorn will not be able to refuse….

Moscow, three weeks later, Red Guardian, Fantasma, Sputnik, and Perun’s human form Valeri Sovloyev sit at a meeting table with Fydor Shelkov. Sputnik remarks that the Colonel-General’s implications indicate that he does not expect to see the Crimson Dynamo back amongst them. ‘I do not, Sputnik’ the Colonel-General replies, before changing the subject by remarking that of greater concern is whether they will ever see Perun again, and turns to Valeri Sovloyev, who points out that this is the first time he has been free in weeks. ‘My wife…’ he begins, to which Shelkov interrupts, ‘I know. I understand how hard it must be’, and explains that they have implored Perun to be more compensatory in the time Valeri is allowed to spend free.

The Red Guardian tells Sovloyev that sharing ones body with an individual as demanding as Perun must be very trying. Josef adds that they know how much his family misses him when he is away, but asks him to try and understand things from their point of view - the Supreme Soviet’s need Perun’s power, especially in light of Dynamo’s absence. Suddenly, a door swings open and Burkharin enters the boardroom, ‘The absence has become far more pronounced, eh, my friends…!’ The Supreme Soviets are surprised to see their friend, who announces that it has been determined, considering his disgraceful “unauthorized” actions in the United States, that he is no longer worthy of wearing the Crimson Dynamo armor in the service of the State.

‘So we have been informed!’ Shelkov exclaims, adding that it was quite the disgrace, before turning to his assistant, Yuri ‘If you would…’ he whispers. ‘Certainly, Fydor’ Yuri replies, before asking Dimitri if he was caught in a KGB trap. ‘For shame…’ he remarks, before announcing that his marketing boys and the technicians have been working very hard. He presses a remote, and a monitor lights up: ‘Incredible!’ Dimitri gasps as he sees the sleek armor displayed on the monitor. Shelkov announces that Supreme Soviets would be more than happy to accept the resignation of the Crimson Dynamo - ‘But not of Dimitri Burkharin - or should I call you Airstrike?’ Shelkov exclaims.

Two months later, at a military testing site in Khimsky, where the Titanium Nan stands hooked up to several tubes, and several scientists bustle about, all in protective clothing. One of them announces that everything is on line, and that the Titanium Man is fully prepared. He remarks that telemetry is normal, and asks if the armor can handle the strain of teleport. ‘Can the man inside handle it? We’ll find out soon enough, won’t we!?’ The Titanium Man then announces that he is ready, and a scientist orders the matrix program to be activated - before a blinding green light fills the laboratory.

Then, Boris Bullsky stands without his armor, a metal “peg” in place of his missing leg, Boris declares that it is lucky for all of them that it appears the teleport matrix process has sufficiently improved. A scientist remarks that they must inspect the matrix card’s encoded engrams to be certain, and Bullski pulls the card from his belt, handing it to a scientist, the scientist analyzes it and announces that it has worked - the armor can now be broken down into the matrix cards without affecting the organics inside of it! ‘Contact comrade Shatalov immediately with the news!’ someone orders.

At that moment, Shatalov is in his office with Grigori Andreivitch, ‘So what do you think?’ he asks the wounded Firefox, whose face is mostly bandaged up. Grigori replies ‘Toys, Valentin. Little boys playing with little toys!’. Firefox adds that he seriously questions the sanity of this unit that Shatalov has assembled. ‘Funny, coming from a man who just weeks ago talked openly to the press about a detailed military operation of mutant genocide!’ Shatalov retorts, to which Firefox replies that the cursed Father Garnoff made him do it, and asks about the other “soldier”, the raving lunatic called Unicorn.

Shatalov switches a monitor on, which depicts the Unicorn in a padded cell, with his third eye amputated. Firefox then remarks that he agrees with Shatalov’s Remont plan - the restructuring of the Soviet system to the glory days of Stalin. ‘But if you plan on using Titanium Man, Unicorn and myself to do it - who will watch over us?’ Firefox asks. ‘Remont? I like the sound of that, Firefox’ Shatalov replies as he presses button on a device inside his shirt, and exclaims ‘Well, the little toys you deride…will help make that question rather moot!’ as his body is suddenly covered with the Crimson Dynamo armor. Firefox questions this, to which Shatalov boasts that the Crimson Dynamo is now in his hands, the hands of a true leader, before asking ‘So tell me now, Grigori - do you still doubt our ability to save the republic from itself…knowing that I am in charge of Remont 4?’.

Seven weeks later, thirty miles outside of Moscow, in a new facility, Colonel-General Fydor Shelkov stands before a assemblage of reporters and camera crews, ‘So, ladies and gentlemen of the international press…you have marveled at the opening of the new facility for the heroes of the Soviet people. Momentarily, I will introduce you to the members themselves!’ Shelkov announces.

Nearby, behind closed doors, Yuri enters a secure part of the facility, ‘Where are all of you?’ he calls out, announcing that he has a room full of reporters waiting for them, ‘Even the 60 Minutes people from America are here!’. Yuri asks what is taking so long, to which the handsome Red Guardian explains that Valeri does not want to change into Perun. ‘What? Do you expect me to introduce this team officially to the world press without him?’ Yuri asks, before turning to Valeri and exclaiming ‘Please! My ulcers!’. Josef turns to Valeri and assures him that they will do all they can to make Perun’s visit a short one. ‘You said that the last time - and the time before…’ Valeri replies, while Burkharin - in his Airstrike armor - and Fantasma - sporting a slightly remodeled costume - stand nearby watching.

‘All right then…very well…’ Valeri mumbles as he touches an amulet around his neck, exclaiming that he wishes he had never found the cursed icon, as it lights up the room, and he is transformed into Perun, who exclaims ‘Ah, has the God of Storm and Lightning been summoned to save the world of mortals yet again?’, as he flexes his muscles. ‘No such fun today, Perun’ the Red Guardian replies, explaining that their new headquarters is being unveiled to the media. ‘So soon?’ Perun asks. ‘So late, actually’ Josef replies as he opens a metal case. ‘Ah, time does fly for mortals’ Perun remarks, while Josef tells him that they have something for him to replace the axe which the Unicorn incinerated.

Josef holds up a hammer and sickle, explaining that they were given to them by the scientific council, and that they will channel Perun’s bioelectric blasts as well as follow his mental commands. ‘Magicks!’ Perun exclaims as he slaps a hand on Red Guardian’s back. ‘Cybernetics, actually’ Josef explains, before Perun asks who needs a thrashing first. ‘Thrashing? Thrashing?’ Yuri asks. ‘Listen you overstuffed kolbass…if you so much as smile impolitely out there - I’ll…I’ll…’ his voice trails off as he waves his finger about. ‘You’ll what, mortal lint?’ Perun asks as he looms over Yuri.

‘Uhm…I’ll see that you are barred from every pub, tavern and bar in the Soviet Union!’ Yuri replies. ‘Ha ha! Well met, friend Trifanov!’ Perun laughs, before suggesting that they go and greet their worshipers. As the five follow Yuri out to where the media are waiting for them, Sputnik exclaims ‘And remember - I wish to be called -’ Yuri interrupts, ‘I know, I know, not Sputnik, the first machine sent into space, but Vostok, the first manned space launch! Though, for the life of me, I don’t see why!’

Several days later, ‘People’s Protectorate?’ shouts Sibercat as he reads a newspaper with the former Supreme Soviets’ photo in it, before shredding it to pieces. ‘They rename themselves to avoid any negative ties to a government system in shambles!’ he exclaims. ‘What a bunch of butt-kissing mealy-mouthed super heroes!’. Walker over to Stencil, who is wearing a dress and long-hared wig, Sibercat asks ‘Why can’t we be accepted the way they are?’

‘Accepted? By whom, Illyich? The People? Why do you let it affect you so much?’ she asks, sitting on a rock. ‘Because it’s not fair, that’s why!’ Sibercat snaps back, before pulling Stencil’s wig off and asking her show she is now. ‘Hey! I’m Maria - give me back my hair!’ Stencil snaps as she chases Sibercat along the grassy path, trees all around. ‘No…last time you were Maria, you turned into Colonel Krychev in mid-sentence - and blamed us for putting the wig and dress on you!’ Sibercat reminds her.

Inside a comfy house, Darkstar sits by a window, and reads a book while watching Illyich and Maria outside. Laynia remarks that it is nice that they are having fun, and remarks that the last weeks here have been restful. ‘I could stay in the Siberian lowlands forever - they are quite beautiful’ she tells her brother, Mikhail and Father Garnoff. Vanguard declares that he would rather stop hiding and fight back against their oppressors as he rips the symbol of the hammer and sickle from his costume. ‘That would not work, Nicolai’ Father Garnoff points out. ‘And why’s that?’ Vanguard asks.

‘Because, my stubborn old friend, the six of us aren’t strong enough to do that!’ Ursa Major exclaims as he lights the fireplace. Darkstar gets to her feet and announces that she agrees with Mikhail. Sibercat and Stencil enter the living area as Father Garnoff announces that winds of change already sweep through this republic, and that they must ride those winds, striking where and when they can - surreptitiously, subtly - for mutantkind and mankind alike.

‘I am Blind Faith…and all of us - Vanguard; Darkstar; Sibercat; Ursa Major; Stencil - all of us know…our eventual goal for the hope of this great land and it’s people - is nothing short of the unilateral and unequivocal overthrow of the Soviet Socialist government…are you all with me?’.

The Beginning….

Characters Involved: 

Darkstar / Laynia Petrovna

Vanguard / Nicolai Krylenko

Ursa Major / Major Mikhail Ursus

Blind Faith / Father Alexi Garnoff

Sibercat / Illyich Lavrov

Stencil / Maria

Concussion / Mikhail

Iron Curtain / Simas Androvich

Mentac the Living Computer

Synthesizer / Dr. Zoya Vasilievna & Dr. Arkady Tegai

Red Guardian III / Josef Petkus

Perun / Valeri

Crimson Dynamo V / Airstrike / Corporal Dimitri Burkharin


Vostok / Sputnik Sovloyev

Colonel-General Valentin Shatalov / Crimson Dynamo VI

Titanium Man I / Boris Bullski

Unicorn II

Firefox / Grigori Andreivitch

Colonel-General Fyodor Shelkov

Feliks Fershov

Yuri Trifanov

Various Soldiers

Various Officials

Underground Mutants

Mutants held in stasis

Environmental Activists


The Green Liberation

American Police

Various Scientists

Captain America

Raymond Sikorsky

Secretary of Defense

In Flashback Illustrative Images:

Darkstar, Ursa Major, Vanguard (all Super Soldiers)

Crimson Dynamo V, Fantasia, Perun, Red Guardian III, Vostok (all Supreme Soviets)


In Photograph:

Darkstar, Ursa Major, Vanguard (all Soviet Super Soldiers)

In Newspaper Photo:

Airstrike, Fantasma, Perun, Red Guardian III, Vostok (all People’s Protectorate)

Story Notes: 

Darkstar, Vanguard and Ursa Major fled the Soviet Union after their government formed a new super team, the Supreme Soviets, to hunt them down and kill them. They were attacked in the States and sought asylum, but as seen this issue, they were denied. [Captain America (1st series) #352-353] This marks their first appearance since those issues.

The Super Soldiers were not left in a self-induced catatonic state following Captain America (1st series) #352-353, the very last page showed them conscious after a desperate battle for their lives.

This issue marks the first appearances of: Stencil, Firefox, Synthesizer, Unicorn II, Colonel-General Shatalov / Crimson Dynamo VI.

As this story takes place sometime soon after Captain America (1st series) #352-353, continuity is a bit tricky, as the Avengers (1st series) #319-324 story (in which the Supreme Soviets are already calling themselves the People’s Protectorate, Burkharin is still in the Crimson Dynamo armor), and was published two years prior to this issue. This story takes place over many months, so it is safe to say the Avengers story takes place shortly after Burkharin returned from the States and before he gave up the Crimson Dynamo armor, and that the team had decided to change their name before it was publicly announced.

Despite the ending, which sets up the Russian characters for numerous stories, and the “The Beginning…” line, whatever plans were had for the characters seem to have been dropped by Marvel, as nothing much comes of the Exiles/Siberforce group, nor the People’s Protectorate. See the notes on the individual characters, below, for further information.

Character notes:

Darkstar appears prominently in the “Starblast” story as a member of Exiles/Siberforce, and makes several appearances throughout the Marvel Universe [Quasar #60, X-Men (2nd series) #17-19, Daredevil (1st series) #369-370], before joining the Winter Guard team as seen in Iron Man (1st series) #9-10. She makes several minor Winter Guard appearances, including Avengers (3rd series) #42-43, before joining the X-Corporation’s European branch for unknown reasons, where she was unfortunately murdered. [New X-Men (1st series) #128-130]. An unrelated Darkstar has recently appeared in the new Winter Guard team. [Hulk #1].

Vanguard plays a major role in the “Starblast” storyline, during which he is killed. He appears, without explanation, in Daredevil (1st series) #369-370, alongside Darkstar and Ursa Major. His resurrection would be explained years later in Avengers (3rd series) #43. Vanguard is part of the Winter Guard team in Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10, and makes minor appearances, before the Winter Guard’s final appearance in Avengers (3rd series) #42-43. He has not been seen since then, and is not part of the new Winter Guard in Hulk #1. His reaction to Darkstar’s death has not been shown either. His current whereabouts remain unknown, but he has been identified as one of the few mutants who have retained their powers following M-Day. [X-Men: The 198 Files]

Ursa Major makes few appearances after this story, appearing alongside his teammates briefly in Starblast #1, then alongside Darkstar and Vanguard in Daredevil (1st series) #369-370, which marked his final appearance for years. Surprisingly, he was not a member of the Winter Guard when it first appeared in Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10. However, he was confirmed as being one of the few mutants to retain their powers following M-Day, and, bizarrely, appears in Hulk #1 as a member of the re-organized Winter Guard alongside Crimson Dynamo, a new Darkstar and an unidentified Red Guardian.

Blind Faith has only appeared once prior this issue, in X-Factor (1st series) #1. Following this issue, he appears, like the other members of Exiles/Siberforce, in Starblast #1, then alongside Darkstar in X-Men (2nd series) #17-19. Following that, the Winter Guard was formed off-panel, but Garnoff was not part of the team [Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10], and when M-Day struck, he was confirmed as one of the mutants who lost their powers. [New Avengers #18]

Previously known as Siberian Tiger, this marks Sibercat’s first appearance since his only prior appearance in X-Factor (1st series) Annual #1. He is later part of the Winter Guard team [Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10], but his current whereabouts are unknown.

Stencil appears only in Starblast #1, and was not part of the Winter Guard line-up. She has never appeared since and her current status remains unknown.

Concussion, Mentac and Iron Curtain remain deceased, and have only appeared prior in X-Factor (1st series) Annual #1.

Synthesizer’s fate remains unknown as she/he has not appeared or been mentioned since this issue.

Red Guardian III is the successor to Tania “Starlight” Belinsky as the Red Guardian. Following this issue he makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him appearance in X-Factor (1st series) Annual #6, and is with the other members of the People’s Protectorate in Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #393. When the Winter Guard is formed, Josef takes the name Steel Guardian, and acts as leader to the new team. [Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10]. He appears in other minor Winter Guard appearances such as Avengers (3rd series) #42-43. His current status is unknown, and there have been subsequent, unrelated Red Guardians appear during this time, including one who now leads the new Winter Guard [Hulk #1].

Perun next appears in Incredible Hulk (3rd series), and plays a large role in the Starblast story [Starblast #1-4, Quasar #54-56]. He has not appeared since those issues and was not part of the Winter Guard.

Crimson Dynamo V is one of the more well-known and long-serving Crimson Dynamo’s in Marvel’s continuity. He was actually once a member of the Super-Soldiers, but differing views about the government forced him to part ways with Darkstar and company. Burkharin, despite getting his new Airstrike armor has not appeared since this issue. He was not part of the re-organized Winter Guard that appeared in Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10. His whereabouts remain unknown.

Fantasma goes on to appear the People’s Protectorate’s other minor appearances [Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #393 and Quasar #54], before the merging of the Siberforce/Exiles team with the People’s Protectorate as the Winter Guard, of which she is a member of [Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10]. She appears in Avengers (3rd series) #42-43, but hasn’t been seen or mentioned since. Her current whereabouts remain unknown, and still nothing is known about her past.

Vostok / Sputnik appears next in the Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #393, and in Quasar #54. He is part of the Winter Guard line-up, and subsequently appears in Iron Man (3rd series) #9-10, and makes brief appearances in the Maximum Security crossover and Thunderbolts #57-58, alongside most of the Marvel Universe.

Firefox appears in Soldier of Fortune #4, and Punisher (3rd series) 5-6, 9-10.

Titanium Man I continues to make numerous appearances throughout the Marvel Universe, though Remont 4 does not remain together as a team for long. It should be noted he was not the Titanium Man that served as a member of the Soviet Super-Soldiers, that was the mutant Gremlin as Titanium Man II.

Unicorn II has no known connection to the previous, more well-known Unicorn. This Unicorn remains a member of Remont 4 for some time, and is the Unicorn that was seen as a member of the Thunderbolts army during the “Civil War”. Little has still been revealed about this Unicorn.

Colonel-General Shatalov makes several appearances in Iron Man and Captain America stories, and was since deposed of his right to be the Crimson Dynamo by the KGB.

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