red_guardian-android-initial.jpgred_guardian-android-robotface.jpgRED GUARDIAN android

Real Name: None;
    he was patterned after Alexi Shostakov

Identity/Class: Android (see comments)

Occupation: Agent of Russian agents

Group Membership: Project Red Guardian IV (see comments)

Affiliations: Dr. Yuri Kiev, Katrinka, Zamatev

Enemies: Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff), Ivan Petrovitch Bezukhov

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Alexi;
    it is referred to as a 
Life Model Decoy, a golem, a man-machine, and "chilovyek machina," chilovyek mashina"

Base of OperationsDerenski Clinic, Moscova (Moscow) University, Moscova, Russia

First Appearance: Black Widow: The Coldest War (1990)

Powers/Abilities: The Red Guardian android possessed the appearance, abilities, memories, and personality of the Red Guardian (Alexi Shostakov), although these may have been altered somewhat by Dr. Kiev's programming.

    As such, he would have extensive training in hand-to-hand combat and martial arts, as well as being an accomplished pilot.red_guardian-android-widowsbite.jpg

    Unlike Shostakov, the Red Guardian android possessed bionic musculature granting him some degree of superhuman strength (presumably "enhanced human," lifting perhaps between 1000 to 4000 lbs.). Its metallic form had superhuman durability (including immunity to the Black Widow's Widow's Bite electrical blast, although it did seem to further damage the android's form once it was already deactivated/partially destroyed) and did not require oxygen or food, and presumably had resistance to temperature extremes. It presumably did need to be recharged, although the details, such as frequency and power type, are unrevealed.

    The android was limited by its need for the Life Model Decoy master matrix chip, and it was vulnerable via the port on the back of his neck, from which the chip/cartridge could easily be ejected (providing one could get close enough to him), disabling it.

    It is unrevealed if, like Shostakov, his costume was lined with unidentified materials and a metal disc on his belt that could be thrown at opponents and returned to him via magnetic devices inside the disc and belt.

Height: 6'2"
Weight: Perhaps 220 lbs. (he was meant to be a replica of Shostakov, but it is unrevealed whether he had the same mass in addition to the same appearance)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Red

red_guardian-android-cables.jpgred_guardian-android-energized.jpgHistory
(
Black Widow: The Coldest War (fb) - BTS) - Following the apparent death of the Red Guardian (Alexi Shostakov), Dr. Yuri Kiev spent 10 years working on an android replica (Kiev preferred the term man-machine") of Alexi as part of "PROJECT RED GUARDIAN IV" (see comments). Kiev believed the Russians were superior in terms of bionics, but American "microchip processing technology" remained superior to the Russians'. As a result, despite Kiev have programmed the Red Guardian android with Alexi's bio-patterns and memories, it remained of limited function.

(Black Widow: The Coldest War (fb) - BTS) - Seeking to enhance the android's activity, Kiev's allies Katrinka and Zamatev plotted to manipulate the Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff, Alexi's former wife and apparent widow at the time) into stealing SHIELD (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division)'s newest Life Model Decoy master matrix chip.

(Black Widow: The Coldest War - BTS) <February 3, just before midnight> - Katrinka and Zamatev met with Natasha, showing her a recent picture of Alexi Shostakov with the Russian premiere allegedly taken a week before in Moscow.

(Black Widow: The Coldest War - BTS) - Katrinka and Zamatev showed Natasha a video of Alexi from within the last 2 months, followed by films allegedly taken by Chinese troops 24 hours after Alexi's apparent demise, showing of the apparent recovery of Alexi's body and his being airlifted to Moscova (Moscow). Continued footage showed Alexi at the Derenski Clinic, receiving its full resources, with Dr. Yuri Kiev spending months rebuilding Alexi's body via countless operations (internal and skeletal reconstruction, costing millions of ruples). Alexi was allegedly restored to his previous physical condition, but he seemed largely amnesiac, with the mental development of a five year old; only his memory of Natasha seemed intact, and he constantly asked for her.

    They further told Natasha that Alexi had remained in the clinic under Dr. Kiev's care for several years, but that funding was becoming progressively limited, and that they feared for the project's (and, as a result, her husband's) termination unless she performed a small service for the Russian government, stealing a memo about a pending US trade agreement. Wishing to know the truth, the Widow agreed, but Katrinka and Zamatev recorded the theft and blackmailed her into stealing computer control chip (a large cartridge) of the master matrix for SHIELD's latest LMDs; Natasha recorded this meeting but saw the agreement through.red_guardian-android-electrocuted.jpg

    <February 9, around 7 AM> - Natasha brought the control chip with her to the Derenski Clinic, where "Alexi" greeted her before destroying the detonator on her failsafe device holding the chip and stunning Natasha with a blow from his hand.

    Dr. Kiev then inserted the chip into the Red Guardian android, fully activating it, after which Katrinka ordered it to kill Natasha and Ivan. They dodged his initial charge, which nearly flipped the limousine he instead struck, after which "Alexi" taunted Natasha for being ruled by her heart and mocking a memory of a previous romantic encounter. After a brief struggle, the android pinned her to the ground, but Ivan smashed it in the head with a board and knocked it to the floor. The android grabbed Ivan and began throttling him until Natasha shocked distracted him with her Widow's bite. Further mocking memories of her and Alexi's past relationship, he advanced on her, noting her attack to be harmless to him. In return she turned her blast on a pair of powerlines, which fell and electrocuted him, temporarly incapacitating him at 7:14 AM.red_guardian-android-destroyed.jpg

    Natasha and Ivan fled, but the Red Guardian android caught up to them in Red Square at 7:31 AM, its speech mechanism somewhat damaged but otherwise still strong. Natasha sent Ivan to try to reach the British embassy when she tried to hold "Alexi" off, but her Bite continued to do nothing, and he repeatedly battered her, taking her strongest strikes, while accusing her of betraying him. Katrinka used her credentials to prevent authorities from interfering with the fight, and "Alexi"pummeled her until she left into an embrace and told him "Alexi...no more..." As he began to fatally crush her, he told her that death would bring them together, but she reached around and ejected the chip cartridge from the back of his neck <at 7:40 AM> as she told him she could not embrace death, even if she did believe it would bring them together, which she did not. The android then overloaded and seemed to partially melt. 

    Natasha then destroyed the chip before electrocuting the android's remains; Nick Fury then showed up with Russian authorities, who arrested Katrinka for her unauthorized activities based on the Widow's recordings of her meeting with Katrinka in her penthouse.

Comments: Created by Gerry Conway and George Freeman.

    At the time this was written, the main part of the story took place in 1987, while there was an epilogue that took place in 1990, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, the sliding timescale renders all of that topical, as even if we given the modern era of comics (starting with Fantastic Four I#1) 15 years, that would mean it started with 2002 as of 2017...
    Anyway, if the main story took place 8 years ago in the Marvel Universe, the first segment probably took place only 9 months before the epilogue (in line with comics coming out in 1987, as opposed to actually 3 years before the epilogue).
    At any rate, events involving the Red Guardian android would all be associated with Russia, not the USSR.
    However, it is still relevent that Fury was involved with SHIELD (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division) in the main story, but that the epilogue was taking place after that incarnation's dissolution.

    Though it lacked the name in the title, this book was a Marvel Graphic Novel

    Project Red Guardian IV presumably is a reference to the fact that at the time of this story, there had been 3 characters to go by the name Red Guardian (Shostakov, Belinsky, and Petkus); within 1 year of this story, Lebedev was revealed to have pre-dated Shostakov, making the numeric designation no longer accurate, which is why I try to avoid such designations like the plague. Perhaps we could interpret this designation as the 4th such incarnation of a project to design an android, or this was the mark IV attempt...or something.

    The flashback reguarding Alexi's survival may or may not have had some reality to it, as the real Alexi later showed up alive.

    I don't think the Red Guardian was a true LMD (Life Model Decoy). While that's an appropriate description, LMDs were a specific type of android developed by SHIELD, while the Russians designed their own android. They did use the Life Model Decoy master matrix chip/cartridge to grant if full function.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Red Guardian LMD was a replica of:


red_guardian-android-chip.jpgred_guardian-android-chipremoved.jpgLife Model Decoy master matrix chip/cartridge
(Black Widow: The Coldest War (fb) - BTS) - Seeking to enhance the android's activity, Kiev's allies Katrinka and Zamatev manipulated the Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff, Alexi's former wife and apparent widow at the time) into stealing SHIELD (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division)'s newest LMD (Life Model Decoy) master matrix chip.

(Black Widow: The Coldest War) <February 8, 10:06 AM> - The Widow broke into SHIELD's LMD research control center and stole the chip.

    The Widow brought the chip with her on her flight to Moscow, holding it in a briefcase cuffed to her wrist and attached to a detonator that would go off if anyone tried to take the case from her, destroying the chip and anything else within 100 yards.

<Feb 9, around 7 AM> - At the Derenski Clinic, "Alexi" greeted Natasha before destroying the detonator on her failsafe device holding the chip and stunning Natasha with a blow from his hand.

    Dr. Kiev then inserted the chip into the Red Guardian android, fully activating the android.

<7:40 AM> - The Widow ejected the chip cartridge from the back of the android's neck. The android then overloaded and seemed to partially melt. 
    Natasha then destroyed the chip before electrocuting the android's remains.

--Black Widow: The Coldest War

images: (without ads)
Black Widow: The Coldest War, story pg. 48, panel 3 (android greeting Natasha);
    pg. 49, panel 2 (chip/cartridge);
        panel 3 (android connected by cables);
    pg. 50, panel 1 (energized);
    pg. 53, panel 5 (resisting Widow's Bite);
    pg. 55, panel 5 (electrocuted, metal exposed);
    pg. 58, panel 6 (Widow removing disc/cartridge);
        panel 9 (melted form);
    pg. 59, panel 8 (melted form)


Appearances:
Black Widow: The Coldest War (1990) - Gerry Conway (writer), George Freeman (penciler), Ernie Colon, Mark Farmer, George Freeman, Mike Harris, Val Mayerik, Joe Rubinstein (inkers), Kelly P. Corverse (assistant editor), Terry Kavanaugh (editor)


Last updated: 06/04/17

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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