Here are the backstories for the characters, except Vulnapedzka (Waverider).
Captain Ukraine Profile
Real Name: Vladyslav Shevchenko
Age: 52 (born in 1960)
Height: 6’1”/1.85 m
Weight: 227 lbs/ 103 kg
Vladyslav Shevchenko came from a military family in Kyiv and always knew he was destined to carry on the tradiition. Impressed by his superhuman IQ, he was accepted to the top military academy in the USSR, the Voroshilov Military Academy. Despite graduating first in his class, he declined to become a staff officer and informed the brass that he instead wished to join the Spetsnaz, the elite special forces unit. They first sent him to Larisagrad first, as he was deemed a worthy candidate for the Directorate Black-12 program (the country’s secret super-soldier program). The program’s treatments made him into a super-soldier. Although he was not considered the greatest accomplishment of the Black-12 program, he survived the process and came out stronger so the Soviet military sent him off to Spetsnaz training.
Shevchenko proved to be a great asset on the battlefields in Afghanistan, but the KGB and High Command determined him to be politically unreliable when he refused to commit war crimes. Not wanting to discard their investment, the authorities to make him into a propaganda tool. They made him instead an official superhero and gave him a questionite shield, giving him the new name of Red Shield. He served in the People’s Legion until the fall of the USSR, then quit the team to focus on mentoring the newly-independent Ukrainian security forces and heroes. He changed his costume and name to Captain Ukraine and became the country’s most beloved superhero.
As Captain Ukraine, he found himself fighting some of his old comrades although none he cared much for. He grew attracted to the ideals of democracy, freedom, and justice for his homeland and became a public advocate for such concepts. Then in 2011, he was invited to Moscow to join the new super-team known as the Russian Defenders. Despite his doubts and suspicions, he agreed out of a sense of duty to his old teammates who had come out of retirement to join the team.
Quote: “You may kill me, but as long as there is the spark of liberty in my fatherland, my example will live on.”
Captain Ukraine considers himself to be a moral example not only for the Ukrainian people, but also its neighboring peoples. He doesn’t lie, cheat, take advantage of others, and always protects the innocent. He will only behave dishonorably when he has no other choice. This high moral code has earned him a reputation for political unreliability. Consequently, he’s been subject to constant surveillance not only by the Russian government, but also his own Ukrainian one.
He’s also an ardent champion of democracy, which will put him on a crash course with not only the Russian government but also some of his teammates. He values the ideals of freedom and liberty; and hopes that they will finally take root in his beloved homeland. He’s criticized the Russian and Ukrainian governments for their turn into corruption and authoritarianism. He often gets into arguments with Mammoth, Steel Wolf, and The Whip due to their differing political views. Despite those disagreements, he won’t hesitate to give his life for those comrades.
Captain Ukraine’s costume is in the national colors of Ukraine: yellow and blue. His boots, gloves, and vest is blue while his shirt and pants are yellow. He has the gold trident symbol of Ukraine on his chest. He carries a questionite shield (the Champions Universe version of Adamantium) emblazoned with the flag of Ukraine. He doesn’t hide his identity behind a mask or cloak.
Vladyslav Shevchenko is incredibly muscled with the body of a man far younger than his years and he’s showed little if any signs of aging. He typically wears Ukrainian military uniforms in his civilian identity in the rare times he’s not fulfilling his duties as Captain Ukraine.
Real Name: Alexei Andropov
Age: 63 (born in 1948)
Height: 6’4”/1.92 m (radiation form, approximately)
Weight: 175 lbs/80 kg (radiation form)
Eyes: Glowing Orange
Once one of the Soviet Union’s most noted scientists, Alexei Andropov met disaster the day his employer, the Chernobyl nuclear plant, suffered a catastrophic meltdown. While everyone else was trying to escape from the plant, Alexei knew that it would do no good. He had to find a way to shut down the reactor or the radiation from the core would contaminate the surrounding lands.
Thinking quickly, he donned a radiation suit and waded into the control room, by then flooded with radiation, and began his desperate way to shield the core. Driven by the need to save the unsuspecting civilians that lived by the plant in the city of Pripyat (including his family), Alexei pushed himself past the point of collapse. While he did not manage to save the plant, he did help contain the damage. Unfortunately, by the time he had finished, his body had absorbed a lethal dose of radiation.
Racked with pain, the man collapsed at the controls and was on the verge of death. But something strange happened: the radiation that coursed through Alexei’s body mutated him into a being fused with radioactive energy. Once he woke up, he gradually realized that he was no longer human and he didn’t understand why his family and others fled at the sight of him or why the police and KGB shot at him, without any effect. Eventually, he comprehended what occurred to him, and fled from the scene in shame. He acquired a reputation initially as a villain, as he couldn’t control his powers. Eventually, he was cornered by the Soviet super-team known as the People’s Legion and realized that his body constantly emitted lethal radiation. He was delivered to Larisagrad, where the scientists and engineers built him a special battlesuit that would contain his radiation. He became a member of the People’s Legion in 1989, but kept a low profile given his reputation and anxiety.
After the disbanding of the People’s Legion, Erg refused to go quietly into retirement and became a wandering hero who travelled about Russia and the former Soviet Union for several years until returning to the Ukraine in 1996. He made his new home in Chernobyl’s Zone of Alienation, from which he knew the Russian and Ukrainian governments would fear to send their agents. He has continued to occasionally travel to Kharkov, to check on and keep a watch over his pensioner wife and two children. During those trips, he will use his superpowers to rescue and protect innocent civilians; but always exits before the authorities can arrive. He has remained a loner ever since; and has been something of a provisional member of the Russian Defenders.
Quote: “Your survival is statistically improbable against me. It would be logical for you to surrender.”
Erg is a quiet and shy individual, with a strong sense of duty to protect other human beings. He is driven by an insatiable curiosity and desire to return to human form, as he strongly misses his lost family, hates being confined to a metallic radiation-resistant battle-suit, and misses his ability to interact with the world without poisoning everything around him. For obvious reasons, Erg is very lonely and longs for human contact which his current form denies him.
Erg’s radiation suit is one large, gray, shiny suit of metallic armor standing at about seven feet tall and weighing eight thousand pounds. It has only one small plate of radiation-proof glass, allowing its wearer to see. In his natural form, Erg is a hairless, almost featureless humanoid creature constantly glowing with radioactive energy.
Real Name: Nikolai (Nikolos) Bolkvadze
Age: 50 (born in 1962)
Height: 5’11”/1.80 m
Weight: 170 lbs/ 77 kg
Tiblisi had no shortage of work for economics graduates at the start of the 1980s. Nikolai Bolkvadze, a budding and jovial economist with a penchant for running side hustles of a somewhat shady nature, made his home there. Then he encountered a meteor shower, a kelvarite meteor shower that landed right by him and bathed him in a green glow. He was rushed to the hospital. By the day after, he was feeling better until the KGB took over his treatment and put him on a transport to Larisagrad. There they told him that he had been exposed to a rare substance called Kelvarite, which was responsible for creating superhumans across the World.
Over the next months, he started manifesting and honing a talent for super-speed. An experimental biofeedback and meditation protocol in another lab gave him a suite of martial-arts-like powers which would work in concert with his super-speed, complementing his knowledge of his homeland’s martial art of Khridoli. He was inducted into the Peoples’ Legion. Now the Soviet superhero Kometa, Nikolai was living the life he had always dreamed of back in Tiblsi. He was *somebody* now! And then, the Soviet Union collapsed. The team tried to stay together, but there just wasn't the will or budget to make that work. Nikolai was no longer somebody, and his standard of living was gone in the reality of the fallen USSR.
Great obstacles sometime force people to do great things. On other occasions, they can force people to do horrible things. Nikolai ended up splitting the difference between those extremes by monetizing his superpowers. He became a mercenary-for-hire, and found a sweet spot using his super-speed and martial-arts talents for smuggling black-market items. By the turn of the millennium, he built up a small fortune then parlayed that into a larger fortune investing in gambling, real estate, and high-tech.
He was celebrating his fortune at wild party when suddenly an old flame of his from the team showed up. The Whip told Kometa that the Russian government was aware of his criminal activities, and he had two options: join the Russian Defenders or become a wanted criminal. He chose the former with some reluctance. Since then, he’s tried his best to juggle his business activities with superheroics.
Quote: “Too slow, too bad!” He then punches the target.
Nikolai has always wanted to be somebody, and the fact that he used his superpowers for his own selfish gain doesn’t bother him. As he was originally empowered in his early 20s, Kometa has never matured personality-wise. He likes to show off, doesn’t focus, and never takes anything superheroic seriously. These days, he does tend to get annoyed when having to use his powers interferes with setting up another business deal. For someone who basically has gone through a girlfriend a month for the better part of 20 years, the fact that he now feels romantic stirrings for The Whip has surprised him.
Kometa wears a utilitarian metallic jumpsuit with the image of a comet emblazoned on his chest. He hates this particular costume, preferring to wear flashier attire but Captain Ukraine and Steel Wolf have vetoed his ideas. As a civilian he dresses in expensive designer business suits.
Real Name: Kseniya Zhukovskaya
Age: 55 (born in 1957)
Height: 5’10”/1.78 m
Weight: 160 lbs/ 73 kg
It was the site of a 19th century Belarussian village where a young blacksmith was approached by the shimmering ghostly figure of Ilya Muromets, the great hero of Russian folklore. The bogatyr told the blacksmith that he was worthy of his power and that his family would be tasked with serving as the mythic protectors of the Czar’s realm. The entity blessed the blacksmith’s anvil and hammer, then the blacksmith himself. This blacksmith was an ancestor of Kostya Zhukov, a mechanic who would become the Soviet hero Kuznya during the darkest days of the Great Patriotic War. Kostya carried on the mantle of Kuznya until he grew too old to wield the sacred hammer and passed it along to his daughter, Kseniya.
His daughter never wanted any privilege or favored positions, preferring to toil with her hands and to make her own way in life. This is what made her worthier than her brothers, who enjoyed plum assignments in the Soviet bureaucracy. She took her father’s hammer and built her own suit of armor, and then put on the various mystic items that her father had found over the years or constructed by his own hands. She joined the People’s Legion under the tutelage of the group’s designated mystic expert Gveroy Vedun (“Hero Wizard”) as the others came from worlds of science and the military. The two bonded over their shared backgrounds and interests, along with their disillusionment with the increasingly corrupt and incompetent Soviet regime. They also fought the dark fey villain Eretsun together several times before their antagonist went into hiding.
She stayed with the team after her friend’s departure, but decided to go into retirement from superheroics after the Legion disbanded. Gveroy Vedun visited her in 2003 and their intimacy became physical. Later that year, she bore a son despite her age but his father couldn’t commit his life to her due to his magical responsibilities and many enemies.
She spent the ensuing years working and raising her son Ilya. Belarus enjoyed greater stability than its neighbors to the east at the cost of less political freedom than its neighbors to the west. She heard about the establishment of the Russian Defenders, comprising many of her old comrades in the Legion. Then, her son disappeared in 2012. Despondent she turned to the bottle like her parents, and only the intervention of her old friends in the Defenders made her assume the mantle of Kuznya. She’s now out to not only uphold her family’s reputation but also to save her son.
Quote: “Brothers and sisters, protectors of the Slavic people, give me strength!”
Kuznya’s a reluctant hero, but knows that she has a responsibility to carry on the family legacy. She puts on a tough act to conceal her emotional vulnerabilities, but will confide in them to the members of the team that she trusts. She suffers from alcoholism as the drink helps relax her and cheer her from her sorrows.
Kseniya is a tall, slightly buff woman with brown eyes and medium-length brown hair often tied back in a ponytail. She wears until she picks up her magic sledgehammer and puts on a suit of mail armor that resembles that of Medieval Russian knight, complete with other enchanted items. She can summon forth a blacksmith’s shop from an extradimensional pocket, including a great anvil.
Real Name: Hovhannes Lenskiyan, Ivan Lenskii
Age: 65 (born in 1947)
Height: 6’6”/1.98 m
Weight: 440 lbs/ 200 kg
Hair: Black with flecks of White
Hovhannes Lenskiyan is the Armenian name (Ivan Lenskii is the Russian) of the superhero who grew up in the shadow of his famous and often-absent father, General Zima. His father was a beloved Russian superhero from the Great Patriotic War while his mother was a secretary for the Soviet Army. General Zima decided on marrying on a prettier and politically-connected wife, so Hovhannes/Ivan’s mother took him to her hometown in Armenia. Still, his father would secretly visit from time to time as well as send secret sums of money to support his ex-lover and son (out of 7 that he had altogether, both legitimate and illegitimate).
The young man’s powers manifested when he managed to singlehandedly a stop a tank from accidentally running over his comrades in mandatory basic training. He grew as he pushed against the behemoth vehicle. The Soviet government quickly realized his usefulness and ordered him to special training to prepare him for service in the People’s Legion, the USSR’s official super-team. The authorities quickly realized his parentage when he discovered he could summon an instant blizzard around himself and had the same vulnerabilities as his father. Ivan took upon the name Mamont, or “Mammoth,” representing his ability to grow to mammoth size.
Ivan’s father was happy to have his son under his wing; instructing him how to use his powers. Sadly, General Winter died in battle stopping an invasion by the alien Gadroon. Sad and depressed by his father’s death, he vowed to carry on his father’s name. His determination earned him a place as the leader of the People’s Legion. Unfortunately, even his presence couldn’t uplift the team’s spirits as the USSR crumbled in the late 80s; and the death of his friend Earthquake sent him into a disgusted retirement.
Mammoth spent the ensuing years in a dacha in Crimea and tried to stay in touch with his old comrades. Despondent over what had happened to his old homelands, he drowned his sorrows in vodka. Unlike too many residents of the former USSR, he had the superhuman constitution to resist alcohol poisoning. Finally, Steel Wolf paid him a visit and told him of the new super-team’s creation in 2011, dubbed the Russian Defenders. Mammoth agreed to join the team, even if he was no longer the leader.
Quote: “My father was General Winter. He spoke of great society and the glory of the Motherland. I wish to see. Wish to have seen. Great sadness overcomes me and I fight to bring back!”
Personality: Mammoth is a nostalgic figure, often invoking the “good old days” of the USSR and when the People’s Legion was at its height. He has a strong code of honor: always keeping his word, protecting those that can’t help themselves, loyalty to his teammates, obeys just authority, fights fairly, and doesn’t hesitate to sacrifice his life for others.
Appearance: Hovhannes/Ivan wears a black fur coat over a red, blue, and orange costume with blue pants and black boots. He has the image of a double-headed eagle (the coat of arms of Russia) on his chest on a gold star. He also typically wears an ushanka on his head that matches his coat. In the rare times he dresses in civilian clothes; he wears old clothes from previous decades including old Soviet uniforms.
Real Name: Natasha Rykov
Age: 23 (born in 1989)
Height: 5’4”/1.63 m
Weight: 115 lbs/52 kg
Natasha Rykov’s father Laurentiy, the first Zemletspyasenee (“Earthquake,” or more colloquially, “Quake”), was one of the Soviet Union’s leading superheroes in the 1970s and 1980s and a leading member of the renowned People’s Legion. With his vast earth-moving powers and quick wit, Earthquake defended the motherland and regularly interfaced with other heroes around the Soviet Bloc. He and his wife had six children between 1980 and 1992, when he was tragically killed in combat against the Dark Seraph in Siberia (one of the last missions the demoralized People’s Legion undertook).
One of these children was Natasha (born in Gorky/Nizhny Novgorod), who spent most of her childhood growing up around the families of other metahumans in Russia. Her mutant powers, which duplicated those of her father’s, manifested when she was only ten years old; she accidentally destroyed several government-issued automobiles by accidentally digging up the driveway in front of her home. The government handlers assigned to the People’s Legion quickly set up a developmental program for her along with other children who had developed mutations.
Natasha was originally groomed to join the People’s Legion, but after it broke up in 1993; she worked briefly for various government agencies before becoming an “independent” heroine (albeit one who frequently responded to government “requests” for assistance). As the second Zemletspyasenee, she benefits from her father’s good reputation; she wears a costume similar to his and is a celebrity despite her natural shyness.
Quote: “Okay, but I’m warning you- it’s going to be a big mess.”
Zemletspyasenee grew up in a hurry after her father’s untimely death. She has a highly-developed sense of responsibility, not only to her family but to her country and her father’s good name. There aren’t many former Soviet superheroes that retain the respect and even adoration her father still has nearly a decade after his death, and she feels the weight of living up to his example every day.
So far the Vasalov government hasn’t asked her to do anything ethically questionable, she’s far too valuable as a symbol to waste on “dirty tricks,” and her powers lend themselves to rescue missions and disaster relief rather than espionage. Thus, she frequently winds up in Russian newspapers as the kindly face of a new Russian superhero generation. Since she sees no alternatives, she’s determined to remain helpful to the government in the hope it will let them stay together and watch out for each other.
Quake is an attractive young 20-year old woman with long brown hair and a slight but athletic build. Her costume consists of an emerald bodysuit with darker green highlights, complete with a full facemask that covers the top of her head and face but is cut to allow her hair to flow out the back. On her chest is a stylized Cyrillic letter “Zeh,” which looks like a backwards “3.” When using her “stony shield” protective power, she’s surrounded by a field of chunks of rock that “orbit” her body and deflect incoming attacks.
Real Name: Yelena Lidinovitch
Age: 62 (born in 1950)
Height: 5’7”/1.70 m
Weight: 130 lbs/59 kg
Yelena Lidinovitch was born in Moscow to a scientific family, a physicist father and a chemist mother who worked for the Soviet government and Peoples’ Friendship University, respectively. They were proud atheists, and taught their young daughter that there was no God, and religion was simply “the opiate of the masses” used by the capitalist classes to manipulate the masses. Still, Yelena’s natural curiosity made her wonder if perhaps there was some kind of cosmic or spiritual force guiding the universe.
Yelena learned early in life to keep those questions to herself, given the Soviet regime’s official policy of state atheism and repression of various religious faiths. She was able to advance quickly through the ranks of society given her natural intelligence and her parents’ political and scientific connections. She graduated with high honors in astronomy and physics from Moscow State University; and joined the USSR’s space program. Looking to the stars, she was eventually selected as a cosmonaut.
Thus, Yelena found herself on a fateful space flight in 1983 to test an experimental space fighter (although she didn’t find out till later about the military elements of her mission). Her flight went well until it was interrupted by a radioactive meteor shower that disabled her craft, sending it plummeting back to Earth. Yelena was working on the communications system when she was irradiated, which left her briefly unconscious and blacked out.
When she woke up, she found herself in a Soviet hospital where the personnel notified her of her miraculous survival. She discovered she had changed: she now had the ability to lift objects using her mind (manifesting a silver light while she did so). Yelena saw this development as a blessing, naming herself “Syeryebro” (“Silver/Miss Argent). The KGB verified her loyalty and decided she was best suited for the work of the official super-team The People’s Legion.
She quickly struck up friendships with the more liberal and reformist elements of the team. She clashed with the more hardline and Communist members, preferring to focus on fighting supervillains rather than defending the Soviet government’s political interests. She was the only member of the team willing to publicly criticize the Soviet government during the Perestroika years, which led to her losing her honors, medals, and monetary perks. Those were reinstated after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but proved to be of only fleeting benefit given the collapse of the USSR.
After the team’s disbandment, Silver decided to become an independent superheroine. She reached out to Orthodox Christian church and told them that she wished to have the church’s sanction to operate. She told the bishops that she saw a divine vision while she was in her coma; and had always believed her powers had been bestowed on her cosmically from a higher power. She was given lodging in the reconstructed Kazan Cathedral in Moscow, and assigned a priestly handler, Father Hilarion. She became something of a spiritual protector to many Russians, especially devout Orthodox believers. St. Peter’s Star has travelled to various parts of Russia to foil schemes by evil mystic villains. This earned her the enmity of the terror cult known as DEMON.
She was invited by Steel Wolf and Quake to join the new Russian Defenders super-team, as the latter heroine looked up to her as a role model. She took to the new team with gusto, happy to work with a group of genuine heroes. She is proud to serve her nation now that it has embraced its old faith but she’s a little troubled by its backsliding into authoritarianism. She serves as something of a diplomatic force on the team to help keep it together, as well as the team’s spiritual counselor.
Quote: “Even though we fight against great odds and all seems lost, I know with God’s blessing we will triumph!”
Silver is an extremely devout woman who prays daily and always attends church whenever she can. Even though some of her teammates may find her overbearing, they appreciate the optimism that her devotion brings to the team and know that they can always confide in her. She’s always dependable and is the first to try to resolve and ameliorate any infighting on the team. She will restrain her teammates when fighting any “redeemable” villains, but won’t get in the way against particularly malevolent ones.
Silver’s aging has been slowed since the incident that gave her superpowers, and she looks at least twenty years younger than her current age. Despite her beauty, she tends to dress conservatively both in-and-out of costume. When she activates her powers, her body produces an aura of silver light. Her costume is a padded silver jumpsuit with a matching cape.
Steel Wolf Profile
Real Name: Grigory Mitvol
Age: 58 (born in 1953)
Height: 6’2”/1.89 m
Weight: 187 lbs/85 kg
After a mid-air collision and a faulty parachute in Afghanistan left him paralyzed from the waist down, a despondent Grigory Mitvol volunteered for a top-secret Directorate Black 12 project run out of Larisagrad. The project’s scientists created a neural interface path using nano-cables to link his damaged nervous system to an experimental suit of power armor. This not only restored his mobility but made him into a fearsome combat machine.
The Soviet government assigned Mitvol to the People’s Legion with the code name Stalnoy Volk (“Steel Wolf” in Russian). He soon became one of the team’s field leaders thanks to his military discipline and solid sense of tactics. For several years he was one of the Soviet Union’s most prominent and visible superheroes. He encountered many of the West’s major heroes and villains, including the Sentinels, the Ultimates, Triad, Dr. Destroyer, and the New Knights of the Roundtable. Happy in his new role and thrilled to be able to fly once more, Stalnoy Volk largely ignored the obvious signs of decay in his team and country just before they came crashing down around him.
When the People’s Legion fell apart, with the remnant forming the People’s Legion, Stalnoy Volk stayed with the team and was the last member to abandon the mission after the government ordered the team disbanded. He volunteered his services directly to the Russian Army, and worked as a superhuman agent for it since 1994. He expressed interest in forming a new super-team with new members, but he found his commanders uninterested in the idea. He sometimes works with old teammates, and has formed an unofficial partnership with the new Zemletspyasnee, the daughter of his old comrade. Both have joined the new Russian super-team known as the Russian Defenders, now that the Vasalov Administration has approved.
Quote: “Keep moving you idiots! I’ll draw the creature’s fire and meet you on the other side!”
Steel Wolf is a born soldier. He prefers the regimens and espirit de corps of military life to the more complicated civilian world. He affects a standoffish attitude most of the time and has a strong fatalistic streak. He tends to assume the worst-case-scenario, believing this keeps him from having to deal with unpleasant surprises. While this can annoy his compatriots, it’s usually outweighed by his obvious bravery and commitment to saving innocent lives. He will kill, if necessary, as a soldier does, but he doesn’t enjoy it and will exhaust non-lethal options first.
Without his armor, Stalnoy Volk is confined to a wheelchair. He revels in the freedom the suit gives him, and keeps it on most of the time. He fears that at some point the suit will break down (the government maintains it, but no longer devotes the resources to it that it once did). If that happened, and if he were faced with the prospect of never flying again, he might consider turning to outside sources for help.
Steel Wolf’s powered armor is large, bulky, and painted a utilitarian battleship-gray. The large, red hammer-and-sickle that once graced its chest has been replaced by the Russian white-blue-red flag. The suit’s forearms are particularly large, and clearly house some of the most complicated technology in the suit (small armored cables connect from the arms to the back of the suit, though they allow plenty of play and don’t restrict his motion). His helmet resembles that of a fighter pilot, with tinted goggles and a breathing mask all integrated into the design.
Real Name: Boris Kutnevich
Age: 47 (born in 1964)
Height: 6’0”/1.83 m
Weight: 183 lbs/ 83 kg
Boris Kutnevich was born in Yakutsk, Siberia; the son of a Russian mining engineer and a Yakut woman. When he was 21 years old that his mutant powers manifested. He was out exploring the Siberian taiga when he discovered that he could transform himself into various animals, and even hybridize animal and human features into a tougher combination. He also realized that he could speak with, control groups of animals, summon animals, and even see through the senses of animals from range. The KGB discovered his powers, and decided to recruit him as an official superhero. He was given the code name Taiga, became the youngest member of the People’s Legion, and served as the team’s designated animal expert and wilderness scout. He became good friends with White Wolf, a werewolf on the team, who possessed a similar affinity for animals and the wilderness.
Taiga’s metamorphic powers proved themselves invaluable to the team on various missions, and his ability to communicate with and control animals helped them gain superior intelligence to their opponents. Taiga mostly stayed in the Soviet Union as he preferred to use his powers to defend the Motherland, but travelled a few times outside when ordered by his superiors. While in all of his animal forms, he retained his human intelligence, personality, and ability to speak.
After the People’s Legion was disbanded in 1993, Boris stuck around to keep his beloved motherland safe. However, he was disintegrated in a terrorist attack on Moscow by the supervillain team Eurostar. He was given a funeral with full honors, his old teammates performed eulogies, and his surviving family received a government pension. However, he wasn’t permanently dead, simply discorporated. His body’s incredible regeneration powers would reform him over the course of 5 years. However, his resurrection was not without consequences, as he came back slightly feral and without any of his memories. Taiga would spend the next decade in a secret government research institution with his identity and backstory kept from him.
Then, his old teammate The Whip found him when she gained access to a secret database. She reached out to her new Russian Defender colleagues and the team paid him a visit. They made a deal with the FSB that they would rehabilitate and control the forgotten hero. Taiga has tagged along with them in the hope he can prove himself to his old comrades.
Quote: “If you dare trespass on Mother Russia’s lands, you face full fury of her Taiga!”
Boris tends to be fairly quiet and reserved with other heroes, and quite shy around other humans. He is more comfortable around animals rather than humans. He cares for his old and new comrades out of a protective instinct and perhaps some lingering fondness. However, his feral nature sends him into a berserk rage if he takes a bleeding wound.
Taiga is a handsome, young-looking man in his mid-forties. He has curly black hair and dark brown eyes, along with tanned white-almond skin and a mix of Asiatic and European facial features. He usually wears his old tattered uniform complete with the hammer-and-sickle, a mix of Russian-Siberian, Buryat, Tyumen, and Tatar folk costumes, or a fur cap, jeans, and t-shirt. He can transform into a variety of Siberian animals such as moose, sea eagle, red fox, reindeer, bear, owl, wild boar, and wolverine. His preferred animal form became that of a large, anthropomorphic bear.
The Whip Profile
Real Name: Ekaterina Azimbayeva
Age: 49 (born in 1962)
Height: 5’6”/1.68 m
Weight: 128 lbs/58 kg
Ekaterina Azimbayeva was born and grew up in Kazakhstan on a collective farm, which she found tedious. As soon as she turned 18, she volunteered to join the KGB which was a prestigious and promising escape from her home region. Due to her athletic ability, beauty, intellect, and political reliability, she was accepted into the Soviet spy organization. Her handlers decided she’d make a good candidate for the Directorate Black-12 program as they were working on making super-spies besides super-soldiers. She was sent off to Larisagrad for her training, which subjected her to constant scientific experimentation as well as arduous military and intelligence classes.
Luckily for her, she not only survived the process but came out with superhuman reflexes. The training hardened her mentally and emotionally, removing most of her empathy and sense of compassion. She discovered that she had a particular fondness for the whip given the weapon’s intimacy, silence, reach, and versatility. Ekaterina adopted the new code name of The Whip, which she kept ever since. Once her handlers deemed her ready, she passed the more rigorous entry process the KGB gave her. They dispatched her on espionage, counter-intelligence, and assassination missions- all of which she excelled at. Unlike the supers who joined the Peoples’ Legion, The Whip had no qualms about committing criminal acts for the glory of the Motherland. She even kind of enjoyed the thrill of it, especially when it came to acquiring secrets and manipulating others.
Those that crossed her earned her vengeance, which was served hot or cold depending on the authorization from the KGB. Then suddenly the Cold War was over, and shortly thereafter, the Soviet Union dissolved. Without and a job and purpose, The Whip turned to mercenary work for the next few years until the Kazakh NSC hired her. She spent the next decade working for the government, who mostly confined her to a comfy desk job unless she was needed in the field. Bored with the more limited opportunities in her homeland, she reached out to the Russian FSB (the successor to her old employer). Once a deal was worked out between the FSB and NSC (which was easily done given the close ties between Russia and Kazakhstan), she headed to Russia to enjoy her new dual citizenship, pay increase, and field assignments.
With Russia embarking on a different political direction in the 2000s than the reformist 1990s, The Whip found herself back on the same missions as before. Plus it gave her the opportunity to exact vengeance on some old foes from the 1980s. Her proudest accomplishment was exposing UNTIL’s operations in the former Soviet Union as being compromised by infiltration by criminal and terrorist. This not only gave the UN a nasty black eye, but ensured the successful eviction of the troublesome international law enforcement body from most of the former USSR (with the exception of the Europhile Baltic states).
She reacted with some amusement when she watched the announcement of the new Russian super-team known as the Russian Defenders. The Whip knew all about old Soviet heroes and even the young Quake. The Russian President, an old KGB handler of hers named Yuri Vasalov asked her personally to join the team in order to keep an eye on it. She happily agreed, looking forward to the new opportunity for manipulation and intrigue; and even volunteered to recruit the Georgian speedster Kometa to the team. Since joining the team a year ago, she’s continued to issue reports on the team’s members, their capabilities, and their politics. Time will tell whether or not which way The Whip’s unpredictable nature goes.
Quote: “Let’s see if you can handle my whip. The last man I encountered could not.”
The Whip has learned to be secretive and compartmentalize any information she finds, revealing it only when it provides a benefit to her. She enjoys manipulating others into carrying out what she wants them to do or whatever her colleagues in the FSB would like to see them do. She’s utterly ruthless when it comes to executing any mission and any emotion she shows is entirely calculated. She also likes exacting vengeance against anyone that wrongs her or gets in her way. Sometimes she’ll get her revenge hot, other times she’ll wait and wait until the time is right to strike to get it perfectly cold.
The Whip has one weakness: she has a ferocious temper if her sex/gender, or ethnicity/heritage is insulted. She utterly loathes it when people exhibit prejudice against her given traumatic memories of her childhood and adulthood where others abused her physically, verbally and emotionally with those kinds of remarks. If she loses her temper, she loses her ability to behave and fight tactically- which is her biggest strength. However, anyone hit by her whip probably won’t be able to take advantage of this.
The Whip dresses in a form-fitting black catsuit, knee-high heeled boots, and domino mask complete with her metallic whip made out of questionite (the Champions universe version of Adamantium). Her whip also has several modes that can be triggered by buttons on the handle. She wears her hair in a ponytail or lets it cascade down to her shoulders. When she goes around in the identity of Ekaterina Azimbayeva she dresses in professional attire or fancy evening dresses with heels.
Russian Winter Backstories.docx