Real Name: Pieter Phobos

Identity/Class: Human technology user;
Russian citizen

Occupation: Mad scientist

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Formerly Darkstar, Snow Leopard, Ursa Major, Vanguard

Enemies: Darkstar, Hulk, Presence, Red Guardian (Tania Belinsky), Russian/Soviet government, Soviet Super-Soldiers, Ursa Major, Vanguard

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Teacher

Base of Operations: Currently unknown;
    formerly the Forbidden Zone, Khystym;
    formerly the Super-Soldier School, in the heart of Siberia

First Appearance: Incredible Hulk II#258 (April, 1981)

Powers/Abilities: Via technological means and energies usurped from other mutants, Professor Phobos possessed a number of mental powers. He could transmit his thoughts to others and form mind-screens to prevent others from reading his mind, levitate objects weighing tons, fire concussive force blasts, and disrupt energy fields. His suit also made him immune to many forms
    He is a genius inventor, having devised the means to absorb energies from others, as well as the suit which granted him his powers.

(Incredible Hulk II#259 (fb) - BTS) - Rumors of powerful mutants being born in the USA had prompted the Soviet authorities to re-think their past policy of mutant extermination at birth. The authorities decided instead to train these mutants for service to the state.

(Incredible Hulk II#259 (fb)) - Decades ago, Professor Phobos ran the ultra-secret Soviet research project called the Super-Soldier School. He was to train young mutants for the first 16 years of their lives.

(Incredible Hulk II#259 (fb)) - In reality, Phobos plotted to steal his wards' powers and use them to attack the state. He secretly drained their mutant energies to cybernetically create his own, artificial, mind-powers.

(Incredible Hulk II#259 (fb) - BTS) - Professor Phobos took in the young mutant Mikhail Ursus as a student.

(Incredible Hulk II#259 (fb)) <19 years before the main story> - KGB agents brought the mutant twins, Laynia and Nikolai, to Professor Phobos. When one of the men commented that they should have been destroyed as the devils they are, Phobos filled the man's mind with pain, and then the seven year old Mikail transformed into his bear form and chased them away.

(Fury / Black Widow: Death Duty (fb) - BTS) - Phobos took in Issa Koblev, the mutant who would be code-named Snow Leopard.

(Incredible Hulk II#259 (fb) - BTS) - Several mutant children did not survive the rigors of their training, and Phobos drained their powers as well.

(Incredible Hulk II#259 (fb)) - Phobos's secret activities were discovered by the Soviet state, who sent their agent, the Red Guardian (Tania Belinsky), to bring him in.

(Incredible Hulk II#259 (fb) - BTS) - Phobos overpowered the Red Guardian, but knew he had to flee.







(Incredible Hulk II#259 (fb)) - On graduation day, Phobos gifted Laynia with a gem (a "Darkstar") to help her control her powers and named her Darkstar. He gifted Nikolai with a hammer and sickle to help focus his power to turn an enemy's might back against him, naming him Vanguard. To the shape-shifting Mikhail, he gave the gift of leadership, naming him Ursa Major.  In reality, the gem and the hammer & sickle transmitted portions of the mutants' power to Phobos so he could use it for his own purposes.
    Informing the others that he must leave, Phobos fled that night, burning all of his notes on his gifted students and vanishing into the frozen wastes of Siberia.

(Incredible Hulk II#259 (fb) - BTS) - The Russian government separated Ursa Major, who would become an agent of the Russian army, from Darkstar & Vanguard, who would become field agents in the Soviet Super-Soldiers.

(Fury / Black Widow: Death Duty (fb) - BTS) - The Snow Leopard and "many of his kind" were left to rot at the former Super-Soldier School.

(Incredible Hulk II#259 (fb) - BTS) - More recently, Phobos began to cause the radioactive region of Khystym known as the Forbidden Zone to expand. He intended it to engulf and destroy Russia and then the rest of the world, and at the same time to produce many more mutants and mutates whose powers he could absorb.

(Incredible Hulk II#258 (fb) - BTS) - The Russian government's instruments detected a power surge in the radioactive region of Khystym known as the Forbidden Zone, as it began to expand.

(Incredible Hulk II#258) - One month later, Col. Yuri Brevlov sent the Soviet Super-Soldiers (Crimson Dynamo, Darkstar, Ursa Major, Vanguard) to the Forbidden Zone to stop its expansion before it might engulf all of Russia. Brevlov suspected the Presence to be the cause.
    Meanwhile, the Hulk arrived in the Forbidden Zone after falling from the sky while fighting Russian jets in Afghanistan. Phobos detected the Hulk, wondering if the Hulk would affect his well-laid plans. As the Hulk discovered the Presence and the Red Guardian, the Super-Soldiers arrived, and Phobos fired a blast into the Hulk's back, starting a fight between the Hulk and the Super-Soldiers. Vanguard saw Phobos fleeing in the shadows and pursued him. Vanguard confronted him, but Phobos named Vanguard's real name and then struck him down, overcoming Vanguard's ability to turn assaults back on their wielder. Vanguard then recognized his voice and greeted his old mentor. When Darkstar was knocked out in battle with the Hulk, Phobos secretly carried her to safety.
    Noticing the disturbance at last, the Red Guardian and the Presence drained energy from the Hulk and Ursa Major, reverting them to their human forms: Bruce Banner and Mikhail Ursus. The Crimson Dynamo had been incapacitated by the Hulk earlier.



(Incredible Hulk II#259) - The Presence and Red Guardian left Bruce Banner in a stasis field, but Phobos then mentally dissipated the field and freed them, and Mikail greeted his former tutor. Phobos explained to all that he had had to leave before to prevent the state form killing him or forcing him to manipulate his students to the state's will. Phobos blamed the Presence and the Red Guardian for the expansion of the Forbidden Zone, and he sent Darkstar, Vanguard, and the powerless Mikhail Ursus to distract the Presence and the Red Guardian while he and Banner worked to devise the means to turn the Presence's instrumentation against him. The Super-Soldiers assaulted the Presence and the Red Guardian, but found that while the two beings were vastly more powerful, they made no move to harm them, only to stop their interference. Phobos and Banner completed their weapon, allegedly intended only to bind the two beings within a field of their own power. As the the Presence and the Red Guardian approached, Phobos had Banner fire the switch, and the device began to drain their power.
    Phobos then roared his triumph, allowing his mind-screens to drop so that the Red Guardian could read his mind and recognize him. Phobos admitted his true motives all along, and then rapidly struck down Vanguard and Darkstar, using their powers against them, and then used his armor's strength to swat Mikhail to the ground.
    Phobos taunted his foes, revealing the Presence to be Darkstar and Vanguard's father, the children having been stolen from him by the state who told him they had died. The Presence then restored the Hulk and Ursa Major's powers, and Phobos turned up the power on his weapon, draining his victims' power more rapidly. However, the bestial minds of the Hulk and Ursa Major proved immune to Phobos' mental control, and they grabbed Phobos and tore his armor from him. Removing the gem Phobos had given her, Darkstar gained full control of her powers and used it to free the Presence and Red Guardian, who pulled all of the radiation of the Forbidden Zone into themselves. They then transported themselves out into space where they would turn themselves into inert matter.
    As Phobos grasped futilely at his destroyed machinery, Ursus stated that he would stand trial for threatening Russia and for bringing about the deaths of the Presence and Red Guardian.

(Fury / Black Widow: Death Duty (fb) - BTS) - The Snow Leopard was found in the wilds by Yi Yang, who joined forces with him, making Phobos' former school their base, and renaming it Xandu.

Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema.

    Back in the day, Hulk#258-259 were some of the first non-Avengers or Amazing Spider-Man comic books I ever read. I loved them! Great stories.

"Soviet Union - The Soviet government had long practiced genocide towards any Russian child that exhibited mutant abilities. This policy remained in effect until Professor Pieter Phobos convinced the government that mutants could be an asset, not a liability to the Soviet people.

From the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Teams 2005: Winter Guard entry:
In 1948, Trofim Lysenko's bizarre theories dominated the USSR, coloring perception of natural sciences, and the Soviets developed the atomic bomb a year later; these developments may have led Coldsteel to launch a genocidal campaign against Russia's mutants, killing many in infancy.

In the X-Men Index on page 101, Olshevsky speculated that Phobos' school started somewhat earlier than Xavier's. However, Olshevsky also stated that Phobos was himself a mutant, "the only known survivor of the Stalin era, when mutants were hunted and destroyed by the MVD and NKVD. The political climate under Krushchev leaned more toward exploiting mutants for the State rather than outright destruction....."
  "It was Phobos, incidentally, who gave Darkstar and Vanguard their civlian identities Laynia [Sergeievna] and Nicolai [Sergeievitch] Krylenko......"
  Olshevsky also stated that Phobos lived to stand trial for his crimes against the State.
--John McDonagh

Profile by Snood.

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images: (without ads)
Incredible Hulk II#259, p4, panel 1 (main image)
        p6, panel 4 (younger Phobos giving amulet to Darkstar)
        p16, panel 1 (face)
            panel 3 (wearing cybernetic helmet)
        p19, panel 1 (vs. Hulk & Ursa Major)

Incredible Hulk II#258-259 (April-May, 1981) - by Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (artist), Steve Grant (plot assist), Al Milgrom (editor)
Fury/Black Widow: Death Duty (February, 1995) - by Cefn Ridout (writer), Charlie Adlard (artist), Richard Ashford (editor)

Last updated: 04/28/13

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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