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BORIS

Real Name: Boris, last name unrevealed

Identity/Class: Human;
    citizen of Russia

Occupation: Mercenary

Group Membership: Partner of Ninotchka

Affiliations: Princess Azir, Jeryn Hogarth, KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti/Committee for State Security), Halwani royal guard, Elyena Sorodin, Sumi

Enemies: Black Tiger, Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff), Brillalae, Abe Brown, Daredevil (Matt Murdock), Iron Fist (Daniel Rand), Peter Penkowsky, Power Man (Luke Cage)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Ol' Boris" (nickname used by Power Man)

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    formerly London, United Kingdom;
    formerly Kamillabad, Halwan;
    formerly mobile throughout the world

First Appearance: Power Man and Iron Fist I#77 (January 1982)

Powers/Abilities: Boris possesses no known superhuman powers. His size and bulk offer him increased strength and stamina, which combined with advanced combat training, makes him a fast and formidable fighter. Boris can take on at least five men in unarmed combat and even hold his own against super powered opponents like Luke Cage. Boris has experience trailing people, though his size and natural lack of subtlety make it difficult for him to blend into a crowd. Known to carry a grudge, yet fiercely loyal to his friends and especially partner Ninotchka, Boris has a recorded history of making her safety a bigger priority than the mission at hand.

 

Height: 6'9" (by approximation)
Weight: 300 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: White (with black moustache)

 

 

 

History:
(Power Man & Iron Fist I#77 (fb) - BTS) -  At some unrevealed point, Russian strongman Boris met the elegant, KGB trained ballerina turned mercenary codenamed Ninotchka. Impressed with each others abilities and feeling an almost immediate kinship, they decided to become partners. Operating as "Boris and Ninotchka," the duo offered their services to whoever could afford it.

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#77 (fb) ) - Boris and Ninotchka were hired by the Russian government to make sure famous Russian ballerina Elyena Sorodin would not defect to the United States during her scheduled tour there, performing Zhukov's "Daystar" with the Empire Ballet Troupe. Chances of the 15 year old Elyena defecting were considerable, since she was is in love with her American dancing partner, Peter Penkowsky. Twisting the arm of the ballet's director A.J. Herbst, the Russian government made sure Boris and Ninotchka were hired to work on the tour. The agile Ninotchka joined the company, while Boris acted as a bodyguard.

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#77 - BTS) - Realizing romance was blooming between Peter and Elenya, Boris and Ninotchka decided to "talk" some sense into the lovebirds. Ninotchka violently attacked Peter while Boris went after Elenya who ran out into the streets.

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#77) - As luck would have it, Elyena bumped into Daredevil and the Heroes for Hire who were at the ballet trying to force A.J. Herbst to rehire Tammilu Shipman, a dancer who had been fired after she broke her leg. Sensing Elyena's distress, Power Man & Iron Fist looked after Elenya when the giant, imposing figure of Boris came around the corner looking for her. At the same time, Daredevil's acute senses picked up Peter's anxious screams as Ninotchka continued her assault. Boris was surprised by Iron Fist's agility and Power Man's brute strength, calling Cage "strong as a tractor," while promising Luke he'd crush him. As the fight continued, Boris and Ninotchka reunited inside the theater, but the conflict was interrupted by Herbst, who was furious about the fact his theater was being destroyed. He himself was interrupted by Foggy Nelson who presented him with legal papers regarding the firing of Tammilu. Herbst revealed he had no choice: the only way he could hire Russian star ballerina Elyena was by giving Tammilu's spot to Ninotchka, who laughed at the insinuations they were with the secret police. Boris confirmed their status as free agents, working for a hefty paycheck before he and the others were ordered out by Herbst who wanted to continue rehearsal. Ninotchka, who was forced to take part in the practice, told her partner to shadow Power Man and Iron Fist to see what they were up to.

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#77 - BTS) - Daredevil became aware the not too subtle Boris was keeping tabs on his allies but could not get close enough to warn them without tipping Boris off. Over the weeks that followed, Iron Fist and Cage acted as Elenya's bodyguards while Boris made himself scarce, yet was never too far away. Right before opening night, Ninotchka decided to mess with Elenya by forcing herself on Peter, making sure the young girl saw them kissing, figuring that would end their relationship. Elenya saw the two and became distraught, yet went on stage with him later that night.

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(Power Man & Iron Fist I#77) - Watching the performance from the wings, Boris was unaware of his beloved Ninotchka's strategy and grew furious when she once again forced herself on Peter. When Peter's dance took him to the edge of the stage, Boris yanked him off and threatened to smash him for two timing Elenya and his partner. Peter's screams alerted Power Man and Iron Fist, as well as Daredevil who was attending the performance. The three heroes involved themselves in the fight which spilled out on the stage. Daredevil got Elenya to safety, while Ninotchka tried to disable Power Man by hitting his neural pressure points. Meanwhile, Iron Fist took on Boris and managed to stun him. Boris was so dazed, he couldn't dodge the massive stage lights that Peter had decided to drop. At the last possible moment, Power Man was able to catch the falling object, saving Boris' life. In the aftermath, Elenya decided to go back to Russia, disgusted by what Peter had tried to do. Ninotchka lovingly took care of the still smarting Boris, telling him that despite his objections, her methods had obtained the results they desired. She followed that up by offering to teach him a few kicks and holds for their next assignment, to which he agreed. As a result of Elenya's departure, Daredevil and Foggy's client Tammilu was rehired by Herbst.

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#82 (fb) - BTS) - Once again hired by the Russian government who had a vested interest in benefiting from the socio-political tensions between the neighboring countries of Halwan and Murtakesh, Boris and Ninotchka were sent to Halwan to prepare for the arrival of the Russian diplomat Stolveski. They soon befriended both the Halwan royal palace guard and princess Azir.

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#81) - Aware Abe Brown, the former Black Tiger (who was Murtakesh' national hero) had acquired the services of the Heroes for Hire, Ninotchka shadowed Power Man, Iron Fist and their associate Jeryn Hogarth as they traveled to Halwan in order to exonerate Brown. She watched how Hogarth was taken into custody as soon as their plane landed in Halwan, before returning to Boris at the royal palace.

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#81) - When Iron Fist and Power Man made their way to the palace, surprising Ninotchka, Boris came storming in. Excited to see his old enemy Power Man, the Russian strongman immediately engaged, pulling a scimitar and vowing to kill him. However, he was temporarily taken out of the fight when Cage covered him in a pile of silk. The American heroes briefly escaped Boris, but the Russian mercenary and the Halwani palace guards under his command quickly caught up with them. Boris remained eager to prove himself against Cage, their battle was interrupted by Iron Fist who once again blinded Boris with a piece of fabric. This time, however, Boris and his men chased the Heroes for Hire into an area of the palace that contained a spike trap over a mote too large to jump across, effectively trapping them.

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#82 (fb) - BTS) - Figuring Iron Fist and Power Man could only have been hired by the Black Tiger, the Halwani sent a telegram to Abe Brown, claiming to be Cage, luring him to fly to Halwan where he was quickly captured. Brown was sent to the Halwan palace torture chambers where both Princess Azir and Ninotchka were waiting for him.

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#82) - Iron Fist was thrown over the trap by Luke Cage, before Cage surrendered to Boris and his forces. Princess Azir ordered Boris to take Cage to the same torture chamber Abe Brown was waiting in, along with Ninotchka. 

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#82 - BTS) - Cage and Abe Brown were about to be tortured for information, with Princess Azir and Ninotchka present. Cage broke his bonds, freeing Brown as they made their way outside.

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#82) - Cage and Brown reached the palace grounds just as Boris was welcoming the arriving Russian diplomat Stolveski. Moments after he had entered the palace, everyone on the court was surprised by the arrival of the Black Tiger (actually Abe Brown's old associate Brillalae) and a small army of Murkatesh mercenaries intent on starting a war with Halwan by wiping out its royal family. Cage and Boris teamed up to fight off the invaders, with Luke protecting the somewhat headstrong Boris from a lethal barrage of bullets, though the invulnerable Power Man was impressed by the Russian mercenary's ability to fight off over half a dozen men at once.

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#82 - BTS) - While Boris was fighting off the Murkatesh army, Ninotchka tried to keep Iron Fist from interfering with "comrade" Stolveski's closed door meeting with the Halwani rulers. A ferocious fight broke out, with Iron Fist realizing he was in a ballet instead of a battle when all his blows failed to connect. She figured to land a killing blow by covering Danny in a curtain, but the Fist rolled with the punches, avoided her attack and was able to hit her because the self assured Ninotchka didn't expect any opposition. After taking her out, Danny used his iron fist to breach the palace's inner sanctum. There, to his surprise, he found Jeryn Hogarth had already finalized a lucrative trade agreement between Halwan and Murkatesh that would also prove beneficial to both the US and Russia, effectively preventing a war between the two countries.

(Power Man & Iron Fist I#82) - Boris cared for the slightly dazed Ninotchka, making sure she was alright before both left to continue their career as mercenaries.

(Black Widow V#3 - BTS) - Boris and Ninotchka were hired by a man who called himself Sumi to help him take down the Black Widow (Natasha Romanova). Eager to prove herself against one of her fellow Red Room trainees, Ninotchka accepted, and the duo traveled to London where they waited for the Widow to arrive.

(Black Widow V#3) - Moments after Sumi (actually a robotic duplicate controlled by Imus Champion), firebombed the Widow's location, he confronted her along with Boris and Ninotchka, who called her "puny little Natasha." While Ninotchka boasted that the Widow couldn't touch her,  the Widow hit Boris on the head with a piece of pipe, effectively knocking him out. Ninotchka battled on, killing Ned, the man Widow had come to see for some intel, and giving Romanoff a hard time by trying to hit her neural pressure points. However, she got briefly distracted when the raging fires threatened to claim Boris, allowing the Black Widow a prime opportunity to take her down as well.

Comments: Created by Joe Duffy (writer), Kerry Gammill (pencils), Ricardo Villamonte (inks).

    If ever there was a character that better encapsulated the late 1970s/early 80s stereotypical Russian strongman, it'd have to be Boris. He's a loving pastiche of all the traits commonly associated with that particular archetype. From the boorish manners, passionate outbursts and broken English, it's all there and it works. Even though he looked noticeably and inexplicably different when writer Marjorie Liu (re)introduced the mercenary duo back in 2010's Black Widow miniseries, watching Boris on panel makes you want to dig into a steaming bowl of beef stroganoff, along with a shot or two of potato vodka. I'll drink to that...  Na Zdorovie (На здоровье)!

Profile by Norvo.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Boris should not be confused with


images: (without ads)
Power Man & Iron Fist I#77, p3, pans 1&2 (main image)
Power Man & Iron Fist I#82, p5, pan9 (closeup)
Power Man & Iron Fist I#77, p20, pans 3&4 (Boris taken out by Iron Fist)
Power Man & Iron Fist I#82, p11, pan2 (welcomes ambassador Stolveski to Halwan)
Black Widow V#3, p20, pan3 (confront the Black Widow)


Appearances:
Power Man & Iron Fist I#77 (January 1982) -
Joe Duffy (writer), Kerry Gammill (pencils), Ricardo Villamonte (inks), Denny O'Neill (editor)
Power Man & Iron Fist I#81 (May 1982) - Joe Duffy (writer), Denys Cowan (pencils), Ricardo Villamonte (inks), Denny O'Neill (editor)
Power Man & Iron Fist I#82 (June 1982) - Joe Duffy (writer), Denys Cowan (pencils), Carl Potts (inks), Denny O'Neill (editor)
Black Widow V#3 (August 2010) - Marjorie Liu (writer), Daniel Acuña (pencils & inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)


Last updated: 07/08/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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