Real Name: Josef Stalin

Identity/Class: Deceased, soul-enhanced by magic (World War II, Post-World War II, modern era);
   former citizen of Soviet Union (Georgian ethnicity)

Occupation: Agent of Satannish;
   former "lieutenant-in-charge-of-torture-operations" in Mephisto's Hell
   former Soviet leader

Group Membership: Lethal Legion (Axe of Violence, Cyana, Zyklon)

Affiliations: Hangman (field director), Mephisto, Satannish;
(as Stalin) Colonel Fong, Klaus Fuchs, Georgi Malenkov, People's Republic of China (Communist Party including Mao Zedong), Ivan Petrovich, Sonya Petroya, Red Guardian (Aleksey Lebedev), Taras Romanoff, "Soviet Spacemen", Jacob Stalinov

Enemies: Avengers West Coast (Hawkeye/Clint Barton, Mockingbird/H'rpra, Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff, Spider-Woman/Julia Carpenter, US Agent/John Walker, War Machine/James Rhodes), Mephisto;
(as Stalin) Bob Brant and the Trouble-Shooters (Bomber, Daffy, Feathers), Professor Frobish, August Gottlieb, Adolf Hitler, Third Reich, USA

Known Relatives: Ekaterina (first wife, died three years after their marriage), Yakov (son by Ekaterina), Nadya (second wife), Vassily and Svetlana (children by Nadya)-see Real World History

Aliases: Joe (possibly, See Comments), Man of Steel, Commissar

Base of Operations: Satannish's Hell, formerly Mephisto's Hell, Russia @ 1940s-50s

First Appearances:
(Stalin): (Timely) Human Torch I#5b (Fall 1941);
    (Atlas) Adventures Into Weird Worlds#3 (March 1952);
    (modern Marvel) Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos#51 (February 1968)
(Coldsteel): Avengers West Coast#98 (September 1993)

Powers: Stalin's physical abilities were all enhanced by the demon Satannish. He possessed an immense, solid steel frame with great superhuman strength. His powers could be augmented or drained by Satannish as the demon saw fit

History: Josef Stalin was notorious for his iron-handed communist rule of the Soviet Republic during and after the time of World War II. He was particularly known for ordering the murder of Russian peasant farmers who did not obey his orders. Real World History

(Black Widow: Deadly Origin#1 (fb) ) - <1938> Stalin encountered Ivan Petrovich and Taras Romanoff in a park in Moscow. Ivan had just asked Romanoff to take in young Natalia. Stalin supported the idea and wanted Natalia Romanova in Taras' training school.

(Namor Annual#1 (fb) <chronology uncertain>) - Stalin appointed a brave Soviet citizen who had risked his life to save people in a burning building as the Soviet patriotic hero the Red Guardian.

(Human Torch Comics#5b) - Stalin learned of the great battle going on between the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner.

(Invaders I#32-33) - Stalin was observed during World War II. Due to a Nazi device, Hitler was able to reach into Asgard itself and pull Thor into Nazi Germany. Hitler coaxed Thor into fighting for the Germans against the Communists and sent him to kill Josef Stalin. Thor battled and trounced the Invaders. However, Thor then learned that Hitler did not truly worship him. Thor offered an apology to the Avengers and then left for Asgard. He erased the memory of this incident from the minds of the Invaders.

(Human Torch Comics#12/2) - Stalin personally thanked sniper Sonya Petroya for killing a Nazi Marshall in Pograd and sent her to visit the US for a radio show and a lecture tour as a guest of the Russian Relief.

(Sgt. Fury#51 <December 1943>) - Stalin attended the Teheran conference, where he was protected by the Howling Commandos from Third Reich assassin Jorgen Kline.

(Human Torch Comics#14/5) - Stalin was observed when the Sub-Mariner undertook a mission to Moscow in which he faced an enemy agent called the Cobra.

(Captain America Annual#13 <April 30, 1945>) - Stalin dispatched the Red Guardian to join various American operatives on an attack on the Red Skull's bunker. Thanks to a spy named Klaus Fuchs, Stalin knew that Hitler had entrusted the Red Guardian with a special strongbox. However, the Red Guardian revealed in a meeting with Stalin that he had not acquired the strong box. Stalin blew smoke in his face, telling him that only his role as a great patriotic hero saved the Red Guardian from being shot for failure.

(Namor Annual#1 <July 6th, 1945>) - The first atomic bomb tests took place in the New Mexico Desert. Simultaneously in Potsdam, Germany the leaders of the United Kingdom, USA, and USSR were meeting alongside their respective heroes the Invaders Captain America and The Sub-Mariner for the UK and USA with Red Guardian for the USSR.

(Namor Annual#1 < July 17th, 1945>) - Red Guardian, Captain America, and the Sub-Mariner defeated General Brinkhaus from taking over the minds of the Allied leaders leading to victory for the Third Reich. They saved the Allied Leaders, and General Brinkhaus killed himself.

(Police Action#7) - <1946-1950> During the Chinese Communist Revolution Stalin aided the communists. The Communist Party had complete control over the country by September, 1949. In February, 1950 Stalin and Mao Zedong signed a mutual aid treaty. (see comments)

(Suspense#6 - BTS) - Afraid the Americans were building a robot army the Soviet leaders sent spy Jacob Stalinov to sabotage the US' endeavors. He was killed by the robot Sgt. Blue after destroying the rest of the robot army.

(Astonishing#19) <November 1952> - The ghost of Czechoslovakian August Gottlieb, who died due to the Stalinist purges, returned from the grave to seek lethal revenge on the Soviets and Stalin. Carrying a sword he ended up face to face with Stalin.

(Marvel Tales I#111) <published February, 1953> - When American Professor Frobish met with Stalin in Moscow to warn him that Satan was hiding in his country, Stalin sentenced him to death. Stalin's shadow showed the outline of horns indicating he was Satan.

(Battle#17) <published February, 1953> - Stalin sent an order from Moscow to Korean Colonel Fong to destroy Colonel Stark's regiment and conquer the entire valley beyond Sim-Po Hills for the Soviets, but Fong failed.

(Kent Blake of the Secret Service#13/4) <published May, 1953, but presumably taking place at least a few months earlier> - An enraged Stalin listened angrily to a broadcast by a guerilla fighter.

(Man Comics#27) <June, 1953, but presumably taking place at least a few months earlier> - Stalin addressed his underlings, including a general, about the plan for the Soviets to launch shuttles to the moon to set up missile silos. This plan was thwarted by Bob Brant and the Trouble-Shooters.

(Captain America Annual#13 (fb) - BTS) - Stalin died in March, 1953. Eventually Georgi Malenkov became leader of the Soviet Union and appointed Albert Malik as the Communist Red Skull.

(Avengers West Coast#100 (fb) - BTS) - After his death, Stalin was consigned to Hell, specifically a branch controlled by the demon Mephisto.

(Adventures into Weird Worlds#21) <August 1953> - The ghost of Adolf Hitler was in Hell, attempting to get out of eternal damnation. The Devil offered him an out, if he could present a soul to vouch for him. However, Napoleon I, Julius Caesar, and Alexander the Great refused to defend Hitler. So, Hitler tried to get in touch with Stalin in the world of the living. However, to his horror, Hitler discovered that Stalin had died, and had descended to Hell to assume a place of power there, going by the name Joe, in turn. (Of course, this is currently purely conjecture. This agent of Satan may have also been Joe or somebody else.)

(Uncanny Tales#17/4) <February 1954> - Satan's lieutenant who ran torture in Hell fretted because Satan had been unimpressed by his recent efforts. Though he attempted to create innovative forms of punishment, the lieutenant found out that someone with greater talent had replaced him. In the last panel, the lieutenant is revealed as Hitler, the replacement, Stalin. - Stalin replaced Adolf Hitler as "lieutenant-in-charge-of-torture-operations" in Hell.

(Avengers West Coast#98) - Another Hell-lord demon, Satannish, stole Stalin's soul, along with four others to create his Lethal Legion in an effort to gain vengeance on the Avengers West Coast for their previous defeat of him. Satannish imbued Stalin with power, transforming him into Coldsteel, and promised him and his allies they could return to true life if they could bring him the souls of the Avengers West. Coldsteel participated in two brutal beating of US Agent.

(Avengers West Coast#99) - Coldsteel and Zyklon attacked Mockingbird and US Agent at Sunset Medical Center. He nearly beat US Agent to death, but was stopped by War Machine. He returned with the rest of the Lethal Legion and Mockingbid to Satannish's realm.

(Avengers West Coast#100) - As Satannish had planned, this drew the Avengers to his realm, where the Legion and Hangman defeated them. However, Mephisto had sneaked into Satannish's realm within the form of Hawkeye, and attacked Satannish, demanding the stolen souls back. Stalin and the other members had their powers drained by Satannish to return himself to full power to battle Mephisto. Powerless, they were easily rounded up by the Avengers. However, Stalin and the rest of the Legion had their souls destroyed as both Mephisto and Satannish struggled to obtain them.

Comments: Stalin adapted by Hank Chapman, Carl Burgos, Bill Everett, and Jack D'Arcy (script) with the middle two also providing art; in addition Mike Roy, Harry Sahle, and George Kapitan also provided art. Coldsteel created by Roy Thomas and David Ross.

    Why is there a listing for a Human Torch#5b? Due to a numbering error, both the summer and fall 1941 issues of Human Torch were numbered #5.

The chronology of Stalin's appointing the original Red Guardian is hard to place, since the original Red Guardian's origin was only shown in a one-panel flashback. The Third Reich invasion of the Soviet Union started on June 22, 1941, but the first confirmed appearance of the original Red Guardian occurs in 1945-so when he began his activities remains unclear.

Stalin also made quite a few Atlas appearances. Often he was not even specifically named. Often an interstellar space alien, demon, or other weird entity set on a global hegemony would reveal himself in the last few panels as Stalin. Sometimes stories involving Communists or "Commie stories," which turned up quite a few times at Atlas, would have Stalin in the denouement. One story names Stalin as the special agent of Satan on Earth (which aren't considered canonical but easily could be given Coldsteel's history--Kyle).

Menace#4 (June 1953) -  1st story - takes place on alternate Earth-5306 - Awakening after centuries, an unidentified vampire finds humanity is no longer terrified of vampires and knows how to destroy them. Returning to his human form, he infiltrates humanity in Russia, his age and experience allowing him to progressively achieve a position of power...but he ages in his human form and knows he will eventually grow old and die as opposed to being destroyed if he remains in his giant bat-hybrid form which is he ages and becomes more of a leader, it becomes clear from the picture that he is Stalin. He could survive in daylight in his human form. Menace #4 (1953) "A Vampire is Born"

Shape-changing aliens impersonated Stalin and Soviet Troops in the story "The Things That Waited" @ Adventures Into Weird Worlds#3 (March, 1952) written and drawn by Joe Maneely.

Thanks to Per Degaton for the Kent Blake#13/4 (Atlas) appearance.

These information are discussed in "Adventures into Weird Words" / by Pat S. Calhoun. p. 10-11 in Comic Book Marketplace, no. 13 (May 1992). Also, much thanks to Dave O'Dell.- information provided (once again) by Per Degaton

Coldsteel harbored a hatred for his teammate Himmler/Zyklon, who was part of the Nazi Reich he fought bitterly against during his real-life. He would take every opportunity to physical or verbally attack him and profess his hatred.

I think either Mephisto or Satannish could have duped the other and hidden the souls somewhere for future use.

Thanks to Per Degaton for expanding Stalin's Marvel Universe history
--some of the info is adapted from the defunct Marvel: The Lost Generation website.

Real World History, Courtesy of Per Degaton:
Actually, Coldsteel (Stalin) was an ethnic Georgian.
Nadya, Stalin's second wife, had two children, Vasily and Svetlana.
His first wife, Ekaterina, died three years after their marriage, leaving a son, Yakov
mentions Stalin's relatives:
Vissarion Dzhugashvili - A Georgian shoemaker, and Stalin's father
Nadezhda Alliluyeva - Stalin's second wife, and the mother of Vasily and Svetlana. She killed herself in 1932.
Yekaterina Svanidze - Stalin's first wife, and the mother of Yakov. She died in 1907.
Svetlana - Stalin's only daughter
Vasily - Stalin and Nadezhda's son, he became a dissolute playboy.
Yekaterina (maiden name Gheladze) - Stalin's mother. She urged her son in his education, in the hopes that he would
become a priest.
Yakov - Stalin's son from his first marriage, he was executed by the Germans during World War II.

Yevgeni Dzughasvilli, an alleged grandson.

He went to a symposium with the grandchildren of Churchill and Roosevelt, but other descendants contest his claim.

There is even info on Stalin's great grand-children:

One is a filmmaker, one a poet, and the one who is achieving the greatest international prominence, Jacob Dzhugashivili, is a painter.

Koba - Stalin's name during his early years as a Marxist
(Koba was a Georgian folk-hero. No word on whether he exists in the Marvel Universe.)

The result of an illegitimate liaison during one of Stalin's Siberian exiles:
A previously unknown grandson of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin has been discovered living in Siberia.

Russian Independent Television NTV showed pictures of Yuri Davydov in his office in Novokuznetsk.

I was re-reading the Coldsteel profile, and it dawned on me that nowhere does it say clearly that the nickname "Stalin" meant "Man of Steel". Note that (according to the wikipedia) "Stal" means "steel" and the suffix came from "Lenin". It's a minor point, but what would the Appendix be without minor points?

In Daredevil#249, on page 1, Wolverine was investigating Bushwacker's mutant stalking rampage, and he stopped to recall that Stalin in "Russia" (either the Russian Federated Socialist Republic or the Soviet Union) and Zedong in the People's Republic of China targeted mutants who were talented and creative. Evidently these governments had especially precise mutant detecting equipment if they could detect mutants similar to Bushwacker's victims, who were somewhat similar to Forge and Cypher in the power department per Bushwacker's Update '89 entry. It is not clear how these mutants differ from normal non-mutants. Other than that, I would guess that Kro could have supplied such technology.
--Per Degaton

Actually, I think Wolverine's point wasn't that Stalin and Zedong targeted mutants (although no doubt they did in the MU), but that Stalin and Zedong targeted people with talent and creativity, PERIOD. Because, of course, in real life that's apparently exactly what they did, and they didn't need any mutant-detecting technology to do it.
--Ronald Byrd

Though Police Action#7 recounts the history of the Chinese Communist Revolution the story was told like a gangster story. Check out Atlas Tales for more information.
--Markus Raymond

Thanks to Ron Fredricks for the image from Man Comics#27.

Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims

Coldsteel, Josef Stalin's soul and Satannish's agent, should not be confused with:

  • Coldfire, Luke Cage's brother and enemy @ Cage#3
  • Coldheart, Spider-Man foe @ Spider-Man#49
  • Cold Warrior, 3-D Man foe @ Marvel Premiere#37
  • Steel, John Henry Irons from the Distinguished Competition, whom Coldsteel resembles
  • Steel Hawk, Spitfire foe (New Universe) @ Spitfire and the Troubleshooters#3
  • Steel Raven, Fortress agent and mercenary @ Marvel Comics Presents#150
  • Steel Serpent, Iron Fist foe (NOT DAVOS!!) @ Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu#10 (magazine format)
  • Steel Slammer, industrial spy/art-thief and Green Goblin/Phil Urich foe @ Green Goblin#7
  • Steel Spider of EMC2, Spider-Girl character and adventurer @ Spider-Girl#32
  • Steel Vengeance, Ghost Rider and Blaze foe, mercenary sister of Steel Wind @ Spirits of Vengeance #2
  • Steel Wind, Ghost Rider and Blaze foe, mercenary sister of Steel Vengeance @ Ghost Rider II#75
  • Any other characters with "cold" or "steel" in their name

Joe, one of Satan's agent @ Adventures into Weird Worlds #21 (August 1953), may or may not be:

  • Coldsteel, Josef Stalin's soul and Satannish's agent
  • Joe, a malevolent--something! @ Crypt of Shadows#4, fourth story

images: (without ads)
Avengers West Coast#99, p14, pan6 (Coldsteel)
Captain America Annual#13, p20, pan1 (Josef Stalin)
Man Comics#27/3, p2, pan5 (addressing underlings)

Human Torch Comics#5b (February, 1941) - Carl Burgos, Bill Everett, Jack D'Arcy & Hank Chapman (writers), Carl Burgos, Bill Everett, Mike Roy, Harry Sahle & George Kapitan (artists)
Human Torch Comics#12 (Summer 1943) - Harry Sahle (artist), Vince Fago (editor)
Human Torch Comics#14/5 (Winter 1943-44) - Carl Pfeufer (artist), Vince Fago (editor)
Suspense#6 (January, 1951) - Bill Everett (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Adventures into Weird Worlds#3 (March, 1952) - Joe Maneely (writer/artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Marvel Tales I#111 (February, 1953) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Joe Maneely (artist)
Battle#17 (February, 1953) - Stan Lee (writer), Werner Roth (artist)
Kent Blake of the Secret Service#13/4 (May, 1953) - John Rosenberger (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Man Comics#27 (June, 1953) - Carl Hubbel (artist)
Menace#4 (June 1953) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Fred Kida (artist)
Adventures into Weird Worlds#21 (August 1953) - Sam Kweskin (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Uncanny Tales#17 (February, 1954) - George Roussos (pencils), Stan Lee (editor)
Police Action#7 (November, 1954) - Werner Roth (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Sgt. Fury#51 (February, 1968) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), John Severin (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Invaders I#32-33 (September-October, 1978) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Alan Kupperberg (pencils), Frank Springer (inks)
Namor Annual#1 (1991) - Dana Morehead (writer), Phil Hester (pencils), Don Hudson (inks)
Avengers West Coast#98-100 (September-November, 1993) - Roy Thomas (writer), Dave Ross (pencils), Tim Dzon (inks), Nelson Yomtov (editor)
Captain America Annual#13 (1994) - Roy Thomas (writer), Arvell Jones (pencils), David & Dan Day (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)

First Posted: 09/03/2001
Last updated: 03/19/2017

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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