Marvel Comics has announced the Winter Guard is getting their own miniseries, which could hint at them getting an MCU debut in Black Widow!
Russia’s version of the Avengers are going on the run in a new Winter Guard miniseries by writer Ryan Cady and artist Jan Bazaldua. Marvel has long recognized the potential synergies of tying in its comics with the latest MCU blockbuster release, and with Black Widow finally coming out in July it’s no surprise the comics are increasingly focusing on Russian characters.
There have been hints Black Widow would introduce Russia’s version of the Avengers, the Winter Guard, with David Harbour recently sharing a post on social media where he said “Ursa, Yelena, Nat, CD, Sputnik, I and all the rest of the winter guard look forward to sharing a popcorn bag and a big ole screen in a dark theater with ya on July 9.” In addition to Natasha Romanoff, Yelena Belova, and his own character Red Guardian, he name-dropped the mutant bear Ursa Major, the exo-armored Crimson Dynamo, and the synthezoid Sputnik – naturally leading to speculation they’ll all be making their MCU debuts. This theory appears supported by a recent push by Hasbro to release Marvel Legends figures inspired by members of the Winter Guard, including an Ursa Major Build-A-Figure.
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Now it seems Marvel Comics is getting in on the act too, with Syfy revealing the publisher will be releasing a four-issue Winter Guard miniseries by Ryan Cady (Hyperion & the Imperial Guard, Infinite Dark) and Jan Bazaldua (Loki, X-Force). The series will launch in August and will see Yelena Belova and the Red Guardian pursue redemption – with their former associates in the Winter Guard initially assigned to take them down. “Fans of the Black Widow movie should find our Yelena Belova and Red Guardian pretty familiar,” Cady explained in an interview, “though in this cat and mouse series, they’re the ones on the run. They’ve crossed back over the border, and now they’re Russia’s most wanted; the top of the Winter Guard’s hit list.“
According to Cady, Yelena Belova and Red Guardian aren’t just aiming at their own personal redemption; they want to turn their homeland upside-down. They’ll find themselves going up against the current incarnation of the Winter Guard, who include Vanguard, Crimson Dynamo, Darkstar, Ursa Major, and the two Slavic gods Perun the stormbringer and Chernobog of blood and darkness.
“Ostensibly, these are the good guys – and they’re trying to be,” Cady noted. “You’ve got classic heroes like the Crimson Dynamo, the siblings Darkstar and Vanguard (Red Guardian’s spiritual successor), and of course, everyone’s favorite Russian Mutant – no, not Colossus – Ursa Major! He’s a drunk who turns into a bear, and I love him with all my heart. There are also two Slavic deities on the team, Perun the stormbringer and Chernobog of blood and darkness, and as any Marvel fan will tell you, it’s always a bad idea to put two gods on one team.“
But in the Winter Guard, everyone has their own agenda – and it sounds as though several of them are sympathetic towards Yelena and Red Guardian. Some sort of catastrophe hits the Winter Guard in the first issue, and they find themselves struggling to trust anyone – especially their boss on the Russian Security Council, Red Widow, who’s taking the situation personally. This has the potential to be one of the most fascinating and enjoyable superhero spy comics in quite a while, given the Russian government and its superheroes have been playing a major role in both the X-Men and the Avengers books of late. It’s going to be fascinating to see what Marvel has in store for the Winter Guard.
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