|First appearance||Defenders #35 (May 1976) (as Red Guardian)
Quasar #19 (Feb 1991) (as Starlight)
|Created by||Steve Gerber and Sal Buscema|
|Alter ego||Tania Belinsky (Belinskaya)|
|Team affiliations||Defenders (unofficial)|
|Notable aliases||Red Guardian
Zvezda Syvet ("Starlight" in Russian)
Fictional character biography
Tania Belinsky was born in Leningrad, in the former Soviet Union. Tania became a young neurosurgeon, though after her dissident father Andrei had been sent to Siberia, she adopted a costume and persona similar to the original Red Guardian's, and fought crime and protected dissidents in an attempt to reform Soviet society. She left the USSR at the request of Doctor Strange to perform a brain transplant. She decided to stay in America and join the Defenders as an adventurer. She battled a Plant Man simulacrum alongside Doctor Strange. She was teleported to another dimension alongside Power Man and Doctor Strange, where she battled the original Eel and Porcupine. She also battled an unnamed masked Soviet. She teamed with Valkyrie and Hellcat to battle Doctor Strange as the Red Rajah and Nighthawk, Hulk, and Power Man.
Dr. Belinsky was brought to the lab complex of Sergei Krylov, alias the "Presence", a scientific genius who had become one of the most influential men behind the scenes of the Soviet government. Sergei mentally dominated Tania, and used a Chernobyl-like nuclear disaster to transform Tania into his super-powered thrall with nuclear powers. She battled the Defenders alongside the Presence, and then separated from him. She was later assigned to investigate the Presence's reappearance, and after battling a giant amoeba, she reunited with the Presence. Alongside the Presence, she encountered the Hulk, Darkstar, Crimson Dynamo, Vanguard, Ursa Major, and Professor Phobos. She and the Presence left Earth since their radiation levels were too dangerous for them to remain. Tania and Sergei were eventually revealed to be laboratory subjects on one of the Stranger's laboratory worlds. After regaining their freedom, Tania took the name Starlight, and returned to Earth with the Presence and Jack of Hearts. She battled Quasar and the Fantastic Four, and aided the Presence in his attempt to kill Eon, though she ultimately admitted only doing so because the Presence (the only person who could safely remain around her due to what he did to her, making her radioactive) threatened to abandon her if she did not serve as his henchwoman and lover. She was later seen battling Darkstar and the Black Widow.
Tania was then seen in the company of the Presence as his cosmic companion during his attempts to conquer Russia by mutating its citizens and armies into radioactive zombie-like beings. This included some of the Avengers, who fell under his power. He was defeated by Thor and Firebird, who proved immune to the transformations and Tania offered to restore all those who had been transformed to normal.[volume & issue needed]
Later Tania and the Presence aided the Avengers in battling Kang. The Presence was planning to capitalize on the chaos Kang had sown on Earth by attempting to conquer Russia again once he was defeated, but Tania refused to allow it and this time, it was Tania who threatened to desert him if he did so.[volume & issue needed]
At some point, after the Kang War, Starlight was able to reduce her radioactivity enough to reintegrate within society without fear of causing death to those around her. She later joins up with other Russian heroes to form the Protectorate, serving Immortus as palace guards against the Dire Wraiths. During this time, she falls in love with her teammate Vanguard. When the team manages to banish the Dire Wraith queen back to Limbo, Tania is sucked along with her.
Powers and abilities
As a result of mutation from cobalt radiation, Tania has superhuman strength, stamina, and durability. She can generate nuclear energy for flight at supersonic speeds, and to project radiation blasts. Starlight gives off low levels of nuclear radiation at all times, putting normal human beings to associate with her for any length of time at risk.
- Defenders #35
- Defenders #36
- Defenders #37-38
- Defenders #40
- Defenders #44-45
- Defenders #52
- Defenders #53
- Defenders #55
- Defenders #65
- Incredible Hulk #259
- Quasar #16
- Quasar #19-20
- Marvel Comics Presents #70
- Darkstar & the Winter Guard #2
- Darkstar & the Winter Guard #3
- Starlight at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe