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Darkstar and the Winter Guard: Red Dawn

David Gallaher brings back Russia's top team in DARKSTAR AND THE WINTER GUARD

DARKSTAR AND THE WINTER GUARD #1 preview art by Steve Ellis
By TJ Dietsch

Following their return to the public consciousness in HULK and the HULK: WINTER GUARD one-shot, Marvel's premiere Russian heroes will be stepping out on their own in DARKSTAR AND THE WINTER GUARD, a limited series by the Harvey Award-winning duo of writer David Gallaher and artist Steve Ellis beginning this week

"The biggest element [carried over from the one-shot] is the central concept that the Winter Guard are the 'red shirts' of the Marvel Universe," Gallaher explains. "This is a high-risk job, which is why the Winter Guard use a rotating pool of candidates to replace the Russian heroes who may have fallen in battled, quit, or were fired. Currently, they are on their seventh Red Guardian, their third Darkstar, and the thirteenth Crimson Dynamo. That's a big part of the [series]."

Jumping into a book with seemingly so much history might seem overwhelming to new readers, but Gallaher want fans to know this series will work as a standalone just as well as part of the Winter Guard pastiche written by a big fan of the concept.

"What's the old adage?" the writer asks. "Every comic is somebody's first? Well, these characters were in the first batch of comics I started collecting and they really had a tremendous impact on me. I was a teenager growing up in the Cold War and here I was reading about these great

DARKSTAR AND THE WINTER GUARD #1 preview art by Steve Ellis
heroes in other countries. It was eye-opening to be sure. Years later, when Kurt Busiek and later Jeph Loeb brought more exposure to the team, I thought I'd take an opportunity to pitch some stories with them."

In addition to the characters already mentioned, Gallaher will also be including perhaps the Winter Guard's most iconic character, mammoth talking bear Ursa Major, whose love of fish, the writer jokes, will lead directly to a conflict between Russia and Krang of Atlantis.

"Ursa Major is a giant were-bear," Gallaher notes. "Krang is essentially fish man. And, if I remember correctly from my Zoology class, bears like to eat fish."

All joking aside, the conflict will escalate pretty quickly once the Agents of Atlas get involved.

"Krang kidnaps Namora, hoping to spawn with her off the Russian coast," the writer says. "This doesn't sit well with the Agents of Atlas, who find themselves teaming up with the Winter Guard to stop him. What happens as a result is where the story truly kicks into high gear!"

DARKSTAR AND THE WINTER GUARD #1 preview art by Steve Ellis
DARKSTAR AND THE WINTER GUARD doesn't just feature the return of the team, but a reunion for Gallaher and Ellis.

"Over the last few years, Steve and I had the opportunity to [work together] on a number of creator-owned properties and he's really an amazing collaborator," Gallaher says of his artist. "But, working with him on DARKSTAR AND THE WINTER GUARD has been absolutely incredible. He gives such tremendous thought to the page and conveying action in that Mighty Marvel Manner. If you think Steve's done some great work before, I urge you to check this out."


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      BAGROVYI or BAGRYANYI DINAMO( Crimson/Purple Dynamo ) in Russian means you can have at least 4 CRIMSON DYNAMOS at a time. GORGUL'YA( Gargoyle ) in Russian and CHERTENOK( Gremlin ) in Russian( add 2 DOTS over the SECOND E ). Since this is how you say KRASNOGVARDEETS/KRASNOGVARDEITSA( Red Guard ),I wonder if KRASNOOPEKUN or KRASNOKHRANITEL' or KRASNYI OPEKUN or KRASNYI KHRANITEL' is how you say RED GUARDIAN in Russian?




      Y'know, if Marvel thinks Darkstar is a viable character, maybe someone should've prevented Grant Morrison from stupidly using the original character as cannon fodder just to make his cliched and dreary tough guy Fantomax look badazz.Because of course when a group of characters are up against a threat where survival depends on not being touched by a group of mind-controlled zombies, it would be the character who could fly, teleport, surround herself with an impenetrable energy cocoon and fire energy blasts from her hands that gets touched. Makes perfect sense to me.The original Darkstar would actually be one of the easier characters to resurrect, since I thought it was established once that her consciousness could travel into the Darkforce dimension. So her consciousness is out there, just needs her body to be cloned or something.


      Actually, he joined Red Hulk's: "Offenders". Is it just me, or does the Winter Guard kind of resemble a mixture of Alpha Flight/Avengers? (And by "kind of", I mean "exactly"! LOL)


      No! Krang joined the Defenders! Lame.