Presence (Marvel Comics)
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|First appearance||Defenders #52 (Oct 1977)|
|Created by||David Anthony Kraft and Keith Giffen|
|Alter ego||Sergei Krylov|
Manipulation of nuclear energy
Fictional character biography
As a younger man, Sergei was a Russian nuclear physicist born in Minsk, Soviet Union. His twin children, Nikolai Krylenko and Laynia Petrovna, were taken from birth by the Soviet government to be trained as soldiers, after their mutant natures manifested.
Sergei eventually became one of the most influential men behind the scenes of the Soviet government. However, despite being a scientific genius, he was also quite mad. He caused a Chernobyl-like nuclear disaster in the "Forbidden Zone" using cobalt radiation baths and a nuclear blast, which transformed Tania Belinsky into his super-powered thrall as the second Red Guardian. The nuclear energy transformed Sergei into a superhuman being as well, and he could now generate nuclear energy within his own body for various uses. Sergi began calling himself "The Presence". The Presence and Red Guardian battled the Defenders when they came to find her. The Presence left when she regained her free will and spurned him. Soon after, the Presence battled a giant mutated amoeba in the "Forbidden Zone", and was then reunited and reconciled with Red Guardian.
The government now wanted the threat of the Presence eliminated. His own children had been trained by the government as super-powered soldiers and, unaware of their true relationship, were sent to kill him. Alongside the Red Guardian, Presence encountered the Hulk, Professor Phobos, and the Soviet Super-Soldiers in the "Forbidden Zone". Darkstar and Vanguard learned that the Presence was their father and turned against the Soviet regime, and saved the Presence from Phobos. In order to save the Soviet Union from the dangerous, spreading radiation of the so-called Forbidden Zone, an irradiated Soviet wasteland, the Presence and the Red Guardian absorbed all the radiation into themselves and left for outer space, where they claimed they would transform themselves into inert matter. The twins became agents on their own, fighting for the good of the people, and sometimes working with their father.
The Presence was revealed to be held prisoner with Red Guardian (now calling herself Starlight) on the Stranger's laboratory world. The pair returned to Earth with the Jack of Hearts. The Presence attempted to kill Eon, but was instead trapped in the "Quantum Zone" dimension by Quasar. It was revealed in flashback how Maelstrom had persuaded the Presence to attack Eon. The Presence was eventually rescued from the "Quantum Zone" by Neutron, and teamed with him to seek vengeance on Quasar. The Presence learned of the Soviet Union's collapse, and returned to Russia with the intent to create a "new order". Later, the Presence sent Starlight to capture the Black Widow and Darkstar.
Vanguard was ultimately killed in a battle while he and Darkstar were aiding the cosmic hero Quasar. Darkstar blamed Quasar for her brother's death and fled back to Russia. When she encountered her father, Darkstar shared her feelings with him, and the Presence forced Quasar to flee Earth on the threat of killing Quasar's loved ones. Sergei visited his son's memorial and sought to revive him by shifting his atoms to microscopically enter Vanguard's body. There he discovered a trace of Vanguard's mutant energy remained, keeping him faintly alive. The Presence managed to use this energy to resurrect his son, but nearly exhausted his own power, and was cast adrift in the subatomic reality he had entered.[volume & issue needed]
While in subatomic exile, the Presence discovered new aspects of his power and atomic particles, and, when he had sufficiently regenerated, resumed his normal size and returned to the Forbidden Zone. There, he embarked on a plan to unite all of the former Soviet Union by transforming its people into a race of zombie-like radioactive beings living under a communal mind. He managed to convert several Siberian scientists, Vanguard and the rest of the Winter Guard, and the Avengers, who investigated the disturbance, leaving only Thor and the seemingly-immortal Firebird to stand against him. As Thor threatened to kill the Presence, Starlight, as the Presence's companion, ultimately offered their surrender and used her own power to revive those who had been transformed and remand herself and the Presence to Russian custody; she didn't share his vision, but their powers meant that they would only ever have each other for company, and so she wished to keep him alive. In the final struggle of the Kang War, the Presence and Starlight aided in the struggle to destroy Kang the Conqueror's Damocles Base space station, with Starlight blackmailing the Presence for assistance by threatening to leave him if he attempted anything more than simply doing his job and subsequently returning to his cell.
In the 2010 Darkstar and Winter Guard limited series, The Presence was apparently destroyed permanently when the Russian superhero Powersurge sacrificed his life to defeat him after he once again tried to conquer Russia after Starlight left him for good to join the People's Protectorate, where she fell in love with his son, Vanguard.[volume & issue needed]
In Deadpool and the Mercs for Money, the Presence is briefly revived by Umbral Dynamics (a corporation secretly led by Caroline Le Fay) by harvesting the power of several superhumans with radiaction-related powers. After a fight with the new Mercs for Money and Deadpool, the Presence is killed again by Negasonic Teenage Warhead who drains out all his power.
Powers and abilities
The Presence gained superhuman powers as a result of mutation through exposure to nuclear radiation. This granted him superhuman strength, stamina, and durability. He is capable of the generation of nuclear energy within his body and the ability to manipulate it for various effects, including force blasts, the creation of force fields, and the power of flight at near-warp speed through air or outer space. He subsists on radioactive decay, and hence does not require food, water, or oxygen. He possesses telepathic abilities enabling him to control the minds of others and to locate people by detecting their brain patterns.
The Presence created for himself an armored battle-suit of unknown composition.
Krylov possessed advanced knowledge of genetic engineering, and has a Ph.D. in nuclear physics.
The Presence suffers from mental illness, giving him delusions of grandeur, to the point where he proclaimed himself to be a god during his confrontation with Thor, only for Thor's retaliation to prove that the Presence was not as powerful as he believed himself to be. He gives off low levels of nuclear radiation at all times, putting normal human beings at risk in his presence.
In other media
- Presence appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2. Captain America, She-Hulk, and Thor encounter him at a Siberian facility where radiation was high. When Captain America gets infected, Presence controls him and the infected workers until She-Hulk and Thor contain the radiation and free the infected. Before being beaten up by She-Hulk even when the Winter Guard, Presence states that they don't know what is coming.
- Defenders #52-55
- Defenders #61-63, 65
- Incredible Hulk #258-259
- Quasar #16
- Quasar #19-20
- Quasar #23
- Quasar #45-46
- Marvel Comics Presents #70
- Avengers (vol.3) #42
- Avengers (vol.3) #43
- Avengers (vol.3) #44
- Avengers (vol.3) #52
- Avengers (vol.3) #53
- Gourley, Jim (April 20, 2010). "The Sword and Script Interview: David Gallaher". Sword and Script. Archived from the original on May 21, 2010. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
- Mahadeo, Kevin (May 21, 2010). "Gallaher Thaws Out the Winter Guard". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
- Rogers, Vaneta (May 25, 2010). "From High Moon to DARKSTAR: Zuda Alums Talk Russian Heroes". Newsarama. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- Deadpool and the Mercs for Money vol. 2, #4-5
- "Characters". IGN Database. Retrieved 13 January 2018.