Red Star (comics)
Red Star from Teen Titans #38
|First appearance||Teen Titans #18 (December, 1968)|
|Created by||Len Wein
|Alter ego||Leonid Konstantinovitch Kovar|
|Team affiliations||Teen Titans|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, speed and stamina, pyrokinesis|
Red Star (real name Leonid Konstantinovitch Kovar) is a fictional Russian superhero in the DC Universe. A former member of the Teen Titans, he first appeared under the name Starfire in Teen Titans #18 (Dec. 1968). He is not to be confused with the female DC character Starfire.
Fictional character biography
While still a young teenager, Leonid Kovar and his father Konstantin (an archaeologist) investigate a spaceship that has crashed into the Yenesi River; during their investigation the ship explodes. It imbues Leonid with energy and gives him super-strength, speed, and pyrokinesis. Being a Russian patriot who believes in communism, he offers his services to his country and becomes the first official Russian superhero in the DC Universe; taking the name Starfire. He does not reappear until New Teen Titans (vol. 1) #18 in 1982. A new character named Starfire is on the team at this point, and Leonid subsequently changes his codename to "Red Star". He is one of the heroes that assemble to fight the Villain War in Crisis on Infinite Earths, although his politics cause friction with both Hawk and Negative Woman, a Soviet defector.
In New Titans #76 (1991), Red Star joins the Teen Titans. After two years, Red Star leaves the Titans with Pantha and Baby Wildebeest to form a family. They eventually move to the Soviet locale called 'Science City'.
He is not seen again until the JLA/Titans miniseries in 1999. He makes a few minor appearances over the next few years and is featured in Infinite Crisis #4, in which he is frozen solid by Superboy-Prime after witnessing the brutal murder of Pantha and Baby Wildebeest. In the Infinite Crisis hardback collection, he is seen several hours later at a mass for fallen heroes.
He joins the Titans during the one year jump, but leaves the team for unknown reasons. He helps them in their search for Raven. Since his last appearance he has stopped an invasion of Russia by the aliens from his origin, and been appointed State Protector. He is now based in a ship similar to the one that exploded, hovering over Moscow.
Red Star later greets Tim Drake, a former teammate of his during the one year jump, when he comes to Russia for a meeting with Viktor Mikalek, a powerful business tycoon with suspected ties to the criminal organization known as the Society. When the meeting is interrupted by a vengeful female vigilante named Promise, Red Star intervenes and rescues Mikalek. After finding Tim in the midst of a discussion with Promise, Red Star mistakenly believes that they are working together, only for Tim to reveal Mikalek’s dealings with the Society. Red Star claims that he is well aware of Mikalek’s criminal activities, and states that they are a necessary evil needed to rescue Russia’s failing economy from total collapse. He attacks Tim, who breaks into Red Star's alien ship and discovers a stockpile of nuclear warheads. Following an adventure in the Undernet, Red Robin is allowed to leave.
During the final battle between the Teen Titans and Superboy-Prime's Legion of Doom, Red Star and a group of other former Titans arrive to help turn the tide. He attacks Prime himself, angrily blaming him for the death of his family. Although he does manage to hurt Prime, Red Star is quickly overpowered by the villain, but is rescued by the other Titans.
Powers and abilities
Red Star is empowered by unknown alien energies that have caused chain reactions within his molecular structure, altering his physical abilities and reflexes. Over time, these abilities have changed and he has developed from merely having augmented strength and speed to being equipped with an array of different powers.
Red Star's abilities include superhuman strength, speed, invulnerability, and endurance. Red Star can also morph into a form that is composed of fire-like energy that allows him to form and redirect energies as well. It seems his powers have the same effect on Kryptonians as his namesake, as he uses them against Superboy-Prime during the Sinestro Corps War.
In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Red Star is a member of the H.I.V.E. council. He voted for innocent civilians to live in Western European between Aquaman and Wonder Woman before using nuclear weapons to end the war.
In other media
- Red Star features prominently in the Teen Titans episode "Snowblind," voiced by Jason Marsden. He assists Starfire during a mission in Russia and quickly becomes a friend and ally to her and the Titans. The origin of Red Star's powers is explained via flashback as one nearly identical to that of Marvel Comics's Captain America, wherein a lowly yet patriotic citizen is recruited to a secret government project led by Professor Chang to be transformed into a supersoldier. He is one of the few superheroes in the series to be acknowledged by his real name, being addressed as "Captain Kovar" by Raskov, a former General suggested to be in charge of the program. Red Star is granted superior strength, stamina, and the ability to generate radiation thanks to the government experiment. He lacks control over his radiation, which builds up in proportion to his emotional state. For this reason, Red Star has been living in voluntary exile in an abandoned Siberian nuclear power plant, where he uses the facilities to funnel his excess radiation into liquid capsules whenever the energy builds up too much. A leakage in the containment unit made the radiation melt up the snow outside which seeped into a pond, where it eventually created a plasma monster which wreaks havoc on the surrounding settlements, acting out Red Star's latent resentments. Red Star gets blamed for the creature's actions, partly because of the destruction he had inadvertently caused when his powers went berserk the first time. Red Star spends a lot of time with Starfire during the episode, perhaps in reference to his character's original codename. Encouraged by Starfire to embrace his powers instead of fighting them back, Red Star fights the creature and destroys it by pumping it full of an overdose of radioactive energy. However, this causes energy within his body to rises to uncontrollable levels, leading him to ask Starfire to take him into space, where his power is released in a gigantic explosion. Before his departure, the Titans make Red Star an honorary member, and his people (who previously shunned and feared him) now see him as a hero. Red Star reappears alive in "Titans Together" along with Starfire and Bumblebee in the headquarters of the Brotherhood of Evil to help the Titans fight the assembled supervillains. How he survived the outburst of his energy is never explained, though his newly acquired flight ability would allow him to return easily after the explosion. He also acquired the ability to create fire from his hands, like his comic book counterpart.
- New Titans (vol. 2) #114 (September 1994)
- Red Robin #18
- Red Robin #19
- Teen Titans (vol. 3) #99
- Teen Titans (vol. 3) #100
- Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint #1 (June 2011)