Ursa Major (comics)

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Ursa Major
URSAMAJOR the bear.jpg
Art from X-Men 198 Files 0.N.E.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Incredible Hulk #258 (Apr 1981)
Created by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema
In-story information
Alter ego Mikhail Uriokovitch Ursus
Species Human Mutant
Team affiliations Winter Guard
Soviet Super-Soldiers
Notable aliases Большая Медведица (Bolsaja Medvedica, "Great Bear"), Major Ursus

  • Transformation into a brown bear
  • Superhuman strength and durability

Ursa Major (Mikhail Uriokovitch Ursus) is a fictional character, a mutant in the Marvel Comics universe, and a former member of the Soviet Super-Soldiers.

Publication history[edit]

His first appearance was in Incredible Hulk #258, and the character was created by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Born in Blagoveshchensk, Mikhail Ursus was one of the first known mutants born in the Soviet Union in the 20th Century to survive past childhood. Up until the time of his birth, the Soviet government had killed all mutants at the first manifestation of their superhuman powers. In Mikhail's case this was at a young age and he was abandoned in the mountains, growing up amongst the animals of the forest and presumably using his shape-changing power to survive.

Due to the efforts of scientist Piotr Phobos, the government was made to see the potential value of superhumans serving the state and Phobos soon opened a private school to train mutants. Mikhail Ursus was among the first of the many mutants trained by Professor Phobos. Unknown to both his students and the Soviet government, Phobos had built a device to siphon off energy from his students to give himself artificial powers of his own. The process tended to kill the subjects after a time, and Phobos explained their deaths as training casualties. When the second Red Guardian discovered Phobos's scheme, he managed to overpower her and went into hiding, but not before giving two of his students, Darkstar and Vanguard, graduation 'gifts' through which he could continue to siphon their power.

Following certain field work, Mikhail, Darkstar and Vanguard (the three best-trained students of Phobos's school) were reunited and organized by the government into the elite Soviet Super-Soldiers, a team of Soviet government agents. Ursus was given the code name Ursa Major (though he is also known as 'Major Ursus'). The first mission of the Soviet Super-Soldiers was to investigate the contained radioactive area of Khystym known as the Forbidden Zone and to stop the Presence. There they encountered the Hulk, and discovered that their former teacher Professor Phobos was engaged in a project to radioactively contaminate all of the Soviet Union in order to foster the birth of more mutants whose powers he could eventually siphon. The Soviet Super-Soldiers, aided by the Hulk, thwarted Phobos's plan and brought him before the government to stand trial.[1]

Although the Super-Soldiers resolved to remain together as a team, they vowed to never again unquestioningly serve the state.[volume & issue needed] They have subsequently undertaken one government mission,[volume & issue needed] but generally act independently. They were based in a scientific fortress in the region of Khystym.

Ursa Major later battled the Red Ghost alongside the Soviet Super-Soldiers.[2] With the Soviet Super-Soldiers, he was dispatched to capture Magneto, and battled the X-Men and the Avengers.[3] With Vanguard and Darkstar, Ursa Major later attempted to defect to the United States, but they were beaten comatose by the Supreme Soviets.[4]

Later, Ursa Major followed Vanguard into the employ of General Tskarov, a communist sympathizer who wanted to undermine American business along the East coast. They only agreed, however, in order to find the missing Darkstar, who (as Ursa later discovered) was in fact being experimented on in Tskarov's own laboratory. Ursa, Darkstar, and Vanguard then joined the Black Widow and Daredevil in defeating Tskarov.[volume & issue needed]

Ursa Major is one of the few mutants in the world to retain their powers after Decimation.[volume & issue needed] Ursa Major returns as part of the Winter Guard, helping them and War Machine fight off a Skrull attempt to steal Russian nuclear bombs. Despite orders to the contrary, the entire Guard assists War Machine in killing or driving off the invaders.[5]

He was later seen in a Russian gulag, forced to battle Bucky Barnes, who had been surrendered to the Russian government for alleged crimes as the Winter Soldier, convicted in absentia. When asked by the prison warden why Ursa Major had been incarcerated, Colonel Rostov replied "it's not too difficult to find treason or corruption charges on any government agent."[volume & issue needed]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Ursa Major has the mutant ability to transform himself into a large anthrophomorphic bear. While in this form, Ursa Major retains his human intelligence, personality and ability to speak, though his personality does become more feral and he begins to lose control over his human intelligence if he remains in his transformed state for several hours consecutively. Ursa Major was trained by the Soviet Military, and trained in the use of his powers by Professor Phobos, being a graduate of Professor Phobos's mutant training school.

While transformed, Ursa Major possesses superhuman strength, stamina and resistance to physical injury to a much greater degree than an actual bear of similar size possesses. His strength is sufficient to allow him to engage in a one-on-one battle with The Hulk and survive. His senses are also heightened to a superhuman degree, particularly his sense of smell, which he can use to track a target by scent. Also, like a real bear, Ursa Major possesses non-retractable claws. These claws are relatively blunt, as they are with an actual bear, but can be used as effective weapons when coupled with his great strength.

Other versions[edit]

Civil War: House of M[edit]

Ursa Major is seen as a member of the Soviet Super-Soldiers in the House of M.[6]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

In the Marvel Zombies universe, Ursa Major works as a guard for the Kingpin's human clone vats. He attacks the Earth-616 Machine Man and tries to bite his head off. Machine Man extrudes spikes from his head, killing Ursa Major.[7]

In other media[edit]


  • Ursa Major appeared in the Avengers Assemble episode "Secret Avengers". He appeared as a member of the Winter Guard, but did not speak during the episode.


  1. ^ Incredible Hulk #258-259
  2. ^ Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions #1
  3. ^ X-Men Vs. the Avengers #1-3
  4. ^ Captain America #352
  5. ^ Iron Man: Director Of S.H.I.E.L.D. #34-35
  6. ^ Civil War: House of M #2
  7. ^ "Marvel Zombies 3" #3 (2009)

External links[edit]