- There will always be a Red Guardian... It just won't always be Anton here.
- -- Ursa Major
Appearing in "Prologue"
- Winter Guard
Synopsis for "Prologue"
The Winter Guard have been dispatched to the Forbidden Zone where the Presence has turned Igor Drenkov into a gamma irradiated monster. The Presence considers the new Darkstar an impostor and while the other members of the team are busy with the Drenkov monster, the Presence overpowers her. The Presence considers using his powers to transform Darkstar into an identical version of his daughter, the original Darkstar. However, Red Guardian manages to break free from the creature and knocks the Presence aside with a single punch. Darkstar then uses his Dark Force powers to free the Crimson Dynamo and Ursa Major. As they resume their attack on the creature, Drenkov consumes the Crimson Dynamo.
With the Dynamo now dead, Red Guardian orders Darkstar to use her powers to shunt the creature into the Dark Force dimension. Although she isn't sure if she can handle opening a portal that big, she follows orders anyway and the Drenkov monster is swallowed up in the dimension. With the battle over, the Red Guardian informs their superiors that the Crimson Dynamo died in battle and asks for his replacement and then the press. After the new Dynamo arrives, the Red Guardian tells their victory to the reporters before Winter Guard departs in their jet. Once away from the cameras, the new Crimson Dynamo removes her helmet and introduces herself as Galina Nemirovsky. As they head back to base, Ursa Major asks Darkstar how she is doing. She tells him that she is fine, but her mind is troubled as she begins to see the memories of her predecessor and her own encounter with Igor Drenkov.....
Appearing in "The Closing Circle"
- Igor Drenkov
- People's Protectorate
- Leader (Samuel Sterns) (Only in flashback)
- Abomination (Emil Blonsky) (Only in flashback)
- Juggernaut (Cain Marko) (Only in flashback)
- Doctor Doom (Victor von Doom) (Only in flashback)
- M.O.D.O.K. (George Tarleton) (Only in flashback)
- Thanos (Only in flashback)
- Gargoyle (Yuri Topolov) (Mentioned)
- Crimson Dynamo Armor MK III
- Doctor Doom's Armor (Only in flashback)
- Doomsday Chair (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "The Closing Circle"
Igor Drenkov, after years of being haunted by the day the Hulk was born, wakes up to find himself in the ruins of Los Diablos Missile Base. He is reliving the moments where he and Bruce Banner were going to set off the gamma bomb. To his surprise, Banner is here with him, although he is massive in form. After Banner berates Igor for not having his mind focused on the job he looks out onto the test site with a pair of binoculars. He then notices a boy out near the Gamma Bomb. He tells Igor to hold off the countdown until he can get back. Standing in front of the abort button, Igor's mind races over how he was originally on the base as a Russian spy and how he allowed the bomb to go off in the hopes of killing Banner and stealing the secrets of the Gamma Bomb. However, as the clock counts down, Igor struggles to make a decision and it's his indecision this time that prevents him from stopping the bomb. Just as before, he is suddenly blinded by the flash through the view screen as the Gamma Bomb apparently goes off.
Meanwhile, aboard a ship piloted by the People's Protectorate, the woman known as Fantasma begins to scream. At that moment she had been scanning Drenkov's mind when she was struck with his sense of anguish. Red Guardian tells his time to shape up, as they have been sent into American airspace to track down Igor Drenkov who was kidnapped from Washington, D.C. while on a diplomatic mission. It is imperative that they get him back as a recent political shift has left the Russian government feeling particularly vulnerable. Suddenly, the Protectorate's ship is attacked by Hector of the Pantheon, who damages the wing of the ship, forcing the Russian superheroes to make an emergency landing in the middle of the desert. Red Guardian, Perun, Vostok, Fantasma, and the Crimson Dynamo get out of the ship unscathed. They are confronted by Ulysses, Ajax, Atalanta and Hector of the Pantheon. As the members of the People's Protectorate charge at the Pantheon, they are suddenly teleported away.
While back at the missile base, Igor struggles with his sanity as he wanders around the base, reliving his past. Spotting the cabin where Bruce Banner used to reside, he goes inside thinking he will find his notes on the Gamma Bomb. As Igor begins to tear apart the cabin, in walks the Hulk and Rick Jones. Just like years before, Drenkov pulls a gun and tries to shoot the Hulk but to no avail. As Bruce begins to toss Igor around and berate him for the evil he unleashed, Rick Jones decides that this re-enactment have gone too far. He tells the Hulk to stop before he kills Igor. However, Bruce Banner has years of built up anger to direct toward the former Russian spy responsible for his transformation into the Hulk. As Rick and the Hulk argue, the Crimson Dynamo rips the roof off the cabin, and he orders they turn over Drenkov. Hulk complies by throwing the frightened Russian high up into the sky.
When the Crimson Dynamo flies up to recover Igor, the Hulk leaps up after him. However, he is blasted out of the sky by Fantasma and then attacked by the other members of the People's Protectorate. The Pantheon then arrive on the scene, and Atalanta manages to knock out Fantasma with one of her energy arrows. While the Hulk fights it out with Perun, Ulysses battles Red Guardian, while Vostok fights Ajax. Soon the Crimson Dynamo returns with Igor and joins the frey. Ultimately, each member of the People's Protectorate is overpowered, allowing the Hulk to once more direct his rage at Igor Drenkov. The Hulk takes Drenvok out to ground zero where he makes the Hulk sit right where the bomb went off. When the two groups finally catch up to the Hulk, he tells them that this is very spot where the Hulk was born, thanks to the meddling of Igor Drenkov. It's then that Red Guardian realizes that this is the anniversary of the Gamma Bomb test. The Hulk explains that he brought Drenkov back to make him face what he had done.
To everyone's surprise, Igor begins to laugh manically as he believes he is going to heaven for saving the world. This confused the Hulk, and Igor explains that although the Hulk has caused untold damage himself, he thinks about all of the various evil beings the Hulk has defeated over the years. Igor then asks that if he is to be held responsible for all the bad the Hulk has done, he asks can he not also be praised for the good the Hulk has done as well? Drenkov then breaks down into tears Suddenly, his mind snaps and he begins to rave about how died the day the Gamma Bomb went off. When nobody can answer him, Igor Drenkov then goes utterly mad.
Appearing in "The Winter Guard"
- Winter Guard
- Igor Drenkov (Death)
- Presence (Sergei Krylov)
- Remont 6
- Doctor Phobos (Recap)
- Champions (Recap)
- Vanguard (Nikolai Krylenko) (Recap)
- Fantomex (Recap)
- Winter Guard Headquarters
- AIM Facility
- Ghost Rider's Motorcycle (Recap)
Synopsis for "The Winter Guard"
... After the experience, Darkstar tells Winter Guard director Dmitri Bukharin about the experience. He thanks her for telling him, as he was there when the incident happens and the information is invaluable. However, after the experience, Darkstar questions if helping her country as a member of Winter Guard was the best opportunity to do so. When Dmitri asks what she means, she tells him that she thinks that she herself is part of the problem. Bukharin doesn't understand, pulling out her file and determining that she passed the physical and psychological examinations before she was given the mantle of Darkstar after the original had died. However, she explains that her uneasiness is because she has the DNA of a dead woman in her body and she can feel it moving around inside her. Dimitri won't decommission her, but he will have her sit out on the next mission while he orders more tests run to find out if there is anything wrong, at least to give her peace of mind.
Elsewhere in the facility, Red Guardian, and Ursa Major play pool with the new Crimson Dynamo to learn more about her. As she beats the Guardian at a game of pyramids, she tells them that she is thinking of using the Ultra-Dynamo armor while in the field, however, she decides to settle on the Mark XIII armor instead. The Guardian warns her that training to be a Dynamo is difficult and they are the most commonly replaced member of their team. Galina learns that the members of Winter Guard are "eternal", when one dies in battle they are replaced with a suitable candidate to keep maintain their legacy. They are interrupted by the arrival of Dimitri who has their next mission, he tells them that they are going to be going in without Darkstar as she will be sitting this mission out. En route to a captured AIM facility, the members of Winter Guard learn that the facility had been taken over by Soviet loyalists known as Remont 6. While the Red Guardian fights Iron Maiden, the Crimson Dynamo clashes with the Titanium Man, and Ursas Major clashes with Volga. However, the added addition of Unicorn gives Remont 6 an unfair advantage.
Meanwhile, back at Winter Guard headquarters, Darkstar's mind is flooded with memories of her predecessor. She sees when Darkstar was given a medallion by Professor Phobos to help her control her powers. Darkstar's time with the Champions, the discovery that she is two life forms between two beings, and her induction into Winter Guard with her brother Vanguard. Lastly, Sasha sees how the original Darkstar died at the hands of the mercenary known as Fantomex. She wakes up from these dreams and thinking that this must be the work of the Presence, she goes down to the holding cell where he is being held and demands answers. At first, he mocks her and she attacks him. The Presence then backs off and tells her that he isn't sure without further examination. He then focuses on her and senses that his daughter's life force was bonded to the medallion that Darkstar now wears on her brow and that is the cause of the memories and she has no idea that power she wields.
Needing to prove that she is every bit the hero as her predecessor, Darkstar storms out of the prison and goes to see Dimitri. She tells him that she is ready for battle and soon teleports into the middle of the scene against Remont 6. Seeing Ursas Major in trouble causes Darkstar to lose control of her power. The gamma irradiated form of Igor Drenkov has affected her Darkforce and she is consumed by it. It beings then swats away the members of Remont 6 with its massive dark tenticles and begins to rampage. Seeking a way to stop the creature, Red Guardian sees the medallion in the center of the creature. He then leaps up into the creature and manages to pull the object out of the darkness, dispelling the creature away. With Sasha apparently dead a replacement Darkstar is brought to the scene and the press is soon called in to report on the situation. Back at base, Dimitri welcomes the new Darkstar to the team, giving her the medallion that is worn by the hero. No sooner has she put it on does she start to hear the echos of the original Darkstar's memories.
Hot on the heels of their acclaimed series 'High Moon', David Gallaher and Steve Ellis unite to reveal the secrets behind Russia's elite superhuman strike force! Red Guardian, Crimson Dynamo, Ursa Major & Darkstar -- As the Winter Guard, they have sworn to protect the people of Russia. But, who will protect them when The Presence's schemes threaten to claim one of their own? Featuring an oversized all-new story and reprinting the classic Peter David and Dale Keown tale from INCREDIBLE HULK #393!
- Numerous moments in the life of the original Darkstar are recounted in this story:
- The fact that Laynia is the daughter of the Presence, and her tutelage under Professor Phobos (when she also got the medallion) was revealed in Incredible Hulk #258-259.
- She became involved with the Champions between Champions #13-17 and ultimately left the group, as seen in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #17-18.
- The discovery that Laynia's life force was shared between two beings was revealed in Rom #45-46.
- She became a member of Winter guard in Iron Man Vol 3 #9-10.
- Lastly, her death at the hands of Fantomex were depicted in New X-Men #128-130.
- However, after this story the original Darkstar is resurrected as seen in Darkstar and the Winter Guard #1-3.
- The Red Guardian states that the Crimson Dynamo is the most commonly replaced member of his team. At the time of this story, there had been 12 other Dynamos including Anton Vanko, Boris Turgenov, Alex Nevsky, Yuri Petrovitch, Dimitri Burkhiran, Valentin Shatalov, Gennady Gavrilov, Boris Vadim, and four others unidentified individuals.
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