Real Name: Illyich "Illya" Lavrov

Identity/Class: Human mutant, Russian citizen

Occupation: Government operative;
   formerly rebel, fugitive

Group Membership: Formerly Siberforce/Exiles (Blind Faith/Alexi Garnoff, Darkstar/Laynia Petrovna, Stencil, Ursa Major/Mikhail Ursus), Underground Mutant Safe System (Father Garnoff's unidentified mutant cell (Blind Faith/Alexi Garnoff, Concussion/Mikhail, Darkstar/Laynia Petrovna, Iron Curtain/Simas, Mentac, Stencil, Ursa Major/Mikhail Ursus, unidentified flier), "Holy Grail," others), Winter Guard (Darkstar/Laynia Petrovna, Fantasma, Powersurge/Illarion Ramskov, Steel Guardian/Josef Petkus, Vanguard/Nikolai Krylenko, Vostok/Sputnik)

Affiliations: Avengers (Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff, Captain America/Steve Rogers, Firestar/Angelica Jones, Justice/Vance Astrovik, Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff, Wonder Man/Simon Williams), Iron Man (Tony Stark) 

Enemies: Doppelganger (Wolfgang Heinrich), Firefox (Grigori Andreivitch), Mandarin, ULTIMATUM (Underground Liberated Totally-Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind);
   formerly G.R.U. (Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye/Main Intelligence Directorate: Valentin Shatalov, others), Peoples' Protectorate/Supreme Soviets (
Crimson Dynamo/Dimitri Bukharin, Fantasma, Perun, Red Guardian/Josef Petkus, Sputnik)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Siberian Tiger, "Siber"

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
  formerly the Garnoff House, Siberia

First Appearance: (as Siberian Tiger) X-Factor Annual I#1 (October 1986);
   (as Sibercat) Soviet Super-Soldiers#1 (November 1992)

Powers/Abilities: Sibercat possesses superhuman strength (low level), speed, agility and endurance. He is capable of leaping headfirst out of a tenth story window and dropping to the ground to land safely on his feet, and has an acrobatic fighting style that utilizes both kicks and his sharp clawed fingers; he also possesses fangs, though he's not been seen to bite opponents, suggesting it's not something he normally does. He likely has enhanced senses like many with animalistic powers, but if so hasn't been shown to use them. 

Height: 5'7" (by approximation)
Weight: 155 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Green
Hair/fur: Orange with black stripes

X-Factor Annual I#1 (fb) - BTS) - Illyich Lavrov was a Russian mutant with visibly catlike features including tiger-striped fur, claws and fangs, and pointed ears. Unfortunately for him, Russia never had a sterling record when it came to mutant rights, even before biological weapons scientist Dr. Wolfgang Heinrich (secretly himself a mutant, Doppelganger) informed the Russian government he could find a way to duplicate mutant genes in order to create a superhuman army. At his behest the KGB began the widescale rounding up of mutants for his dissection experiments. A mutant underground formed, and Illyich joined a cell (see comments) run by Father Alexi Garnoff under the codename Siberian Tiger. Despite this, Illyich retained a positive nature, getting into Western rock and roll bands and even learning rudimentary English from their music.

   At some point, and at the cost of a number of their members' lives, the underground discovered Heinrich's secret, that he was a mutant preying on other mutants for his own ends, and the location of his facility, but realized it was too heavily guarded to risk a rescue attempt.

   When the American mutant-hunting company X-Factor was invited to Moscow to advise on their methods of catching mutants, Garnoff's cell decided to kidnap at least one of them, intending to use the hostage as a bargaining chip to free their fellow mutants. The group's first attempt (which Siberian Tiger was not involved with) failed, but later they were informed by a contact that Heinrich's KGB men had themselves just snatched one of X-Factor. Waiting nearby for just such an opportunity, Garnoff and cell member Iron Curtain snatched the prisoner for themselves and brought him to their cell's hideout.

(X-Factor Annual I#1) - A their prisoner began coming round, Siberian Tiger's fellow cell member Concussion made it clear he felt it would be acceptable to use violence to make him tell them what X-Factor was doing in Russia, but Siberian Tiger reminded him that Garnoff had prohibited this and told Concussion to lighten up. Garnoff began to question the prisoner in English, but to all their surprise he revealed he too was a mutant, Iceman, and that X-Factor was a front, designed to trick mutant haters into directing them to endangered mutants rather than potentially sending real mutant hunters after them. With the revelation of Iceman's true nature, Garnoff realized that Heinrich had abducted Iceman so he could impersonate him, infiltrate X-Factor and lead them into a trap. Now aware Iceman could be a valuable ally, Garnoff introduced each of his cell by their codenames to Iceman, and asked him to assist them in rescuing not only Heinrich's captives but also X-Factor.

   The group headed out of the city to Doppelganger's facility's isolated location, arriving in time to see an energy blast that Iceman identified as his teammate Cyclops' optic blast blow a hole in the roof. Following a plan devised by the computer-brained cell member Mentac, the Russians and their ally swiftly breached the compound's gates, and while Iceman rushed off to find and assist his teammates, Siberian Tiger and the others dealt with the guards and other security measures to free the surviving prisoners. As they evacuated them, carrying those who couldn't walk, they were joined by X-Factor, who had defeated Doppelganger and his security chief Crimson Dynamo.

(Soviet Super-Soldiers#1 (fb) - BTS) - Garnoff's cell recruited a new member, Stencil, who could absorb other people's minds. As a result she had multiple personalities that sometimes took over her body. Normally bald and wearing combat pants as Stencil, one time her Maria personality took over and donned a wig and dress, only for her militaristic personality Colonel Krychev to suddenly take control mid-sentence, and blame the cell members, Sibercat included, for putting the wig and dress on "him."

   Even with Doppelganger gone, the Russian government's anti-mutant stance had further repercussions. Three members of the Russian national superhero team, the Soviet Super Soldiers, were mutants, tolerated because of their value to the state, but after they tried to operate outwith governmental control they were deemed fugitives and ultimately forced to defect to the USA. Unfortunately for them the Russian government succeeded in extraditing them back home and locked them up in a research facility intending to (once again) figure out how to reproduce their mutant powers. Two weeks later Garnoff, Concussion and Iron Curtain broke them out, initially hiding them all with their cell in a farm house in the Ukraine. Rightly believing they needed to keep on the move, Garnoff split the group, taking Sibercat and others with him to set up a new safe house. Unfortunately, before the others could be sent for the farmhouse was found an attacked by the GRU's brutal cyborg Firefox, sent to track and retrieve the escapees but permitted to slay anyone else who got in his way. A few of those at the farmhouse escaped, but Iron Curtain, Mentac and Concussion were killed, the latter after he had been forced to give up information on the mutant underground's safe house system. 

(Soviet Super-Soldiers#1) - A week after this massacre the remainder of the cell - Sibercat, Garnoff and Stencil - were hiding in the Siberian city of Novosibirisk with the three former Soviet Super Soldiers - Darkguard, Ursa Major and Vanguard. Having been cooped up for days, Sibercat jokingly asked permission to go outside to play in the nice weather, unintentionally triggering a debate among his roommates as to whether they should continue to lay low there, find somewhere more suitable than a crowded city to hide in, or take the fight to their enemy. Glancing out the window Sibercat informed the others that the point was moot, as he spotted army helicopters rapidly approaching the apartment block they were staying in. While Darkstar and Vanguard disabled the choppers and Stencil opened fire on soldiers closing on the building from the ground, Garnoff ordered Sibercat to clear a ground exit for them. Acknowledging this, Sibercat leapt from their apartment's window, dropping headfirst at least ten stories to attack the soldiers and swiftly put them out of commission. Having forced down all the helicopters, Vanguard retrieved Sibercat from the ground and Darkstar teleported the entire team away.

   Garnoff's cell relocated to a warehouse on the edge of the Black Sea that was also being used by other remnants of the mutant underground, learning from them that Firefox had decimated their network while hunting his targets. Confronted with this reality, Sibercat asked awkwardly what they should do now, and listened as Garnoff declared they needed to abandon the clearly compromised existing system of safe houses. 

(Soviet Super-Soldiers#1 - BTS) - Garnoff and the three former Soviet Super Soldiers left Stencil and Sibercat in charge while they went to find a new safe house.

(Soviet Super-Soldiers#1) - Sibercat amused himself by hanging from the warehouse rafters and pinging the other mutants below with elastic bands, but this down time was abruptly ended as floodlights lit up the building, revealing that their hideout had been discovered. Ignoring Sibercat's warning, one of the panicking mutants started to open the doors, and he and all the other mutants bar Stencil and Sibercat were gunned down in seconds. Having been smart enough to take cover, Sibercat and Stencil peered outside to confirm that their assailant was Firefox, backed by a contingent of soldiers, helicopters and a tank. Sibercat wanted to fight, but Stencil pointed out that him doing so would be suicidal. However, her main personality was back in control of her body, which allowed her to lock onto the minds of the helicopter pilots and suck them dry, causing them to crash into one another. Unsure of what they had done but sure it was the mutants who had caused this, Firefox angrily began shooting, but with the odds improved Sibercat leapt from the building and threw a pack of explosives under the tank, destroying it. Before the fight could continue the rest of the cell returned; Darkstar immediately subdued the remaining soldiers while Vanguard overpowered Firefox and ripped out his cybernetic implants. Sibercat then took the assassin by the throat and asked Garnoff's permission to eliminate the man who had slain his friends, but Garnoff insisted that was not the way. Instead Garnoff hypnotized Firefox to tell the press about the Russian government's military operation of mutant genocide.

(Soviet Super-Soldiers#1 - BTS) - Firefox did as ordered, and caused a major scandal that left the government in shambles. Meanwhile Garnoff's cell, now apparently the only remaining members of the mutant underground, took up residence in a new safe house...

(Starblast#1 (fb) - BTS) - owned by Garnoff...

(Soviet Super-Soldiers#1 - BTS) - in an isolated location in the Siberian lowlands.

(Soviet Super-Soldiers#1) - A few weeks later while enjoying some fresh air outside the safe house Sibercat read in the newspapers that the Supreme Soviets (the group that had replaced the Soviet Super Soldiers) had been renamed the People's Protectorate. Disgusted that they had merely renamed themselves to avoid being tied to the recent scandal, Sibercat ripped the paper apart in disgust, and asked the nearby Stencil why they couldn't be accepted the same way the superheroes of the Protectorate were. Stencil asked him why he cared, and Sibercat responded that he just felt it to be unfair. Grabbing the wig Stencil was wearing off her head, he asked his friend who she currently was; responding that she was Maria, she demanded the wig back, but he refused and ran off with her in pursuit, teasing her by reminding her of the incident with Krychev. Returning inside to join the others, Sibercat gave Stencil her wig back, and listened to Garnoff declare to the group, whom he now dubbed Exiles from mainstream life, should free their land by overthrowing its repressive government.

(Starblast#1 (fb) - BTS) - The group renamed themselves Siberforce.

(Starblast#1) - Sibercat was present when Garnoff learned via taps on government satellite transmissions that the moon was moving out of orbit and heading closer to Earth. Having visited the moon previously, Darkstar and Vanguard volunteered to teleport there to investigate, and Garnoff agreed, but told them to return immediately if it turned out Siberforce's entire team was needed.

(Starblast#3/Quasar#60 - BTS) - Darkstar and Vanguard didn't enlist Siberforce's aid, and Vanguard died.

(Avengers III#43 (fb) - BTS) - Despite having been a wanted fugitive, Vanguard was interred as a state hero (see comments), until his father, the radioactive Presence, revived him.

(Iron Man III#9 (fb) - BTS) - Under unrevealed circumstances (see comments), at least some of the Exiles stopped being considered fugitives and were inducted into the Winter Guard (the new name for the People's Protectorate).

(Iron Man III#9) - In Russia's Ural Mountains near Chelyabinsk the Winter Guard assisted the Russian army in battling an invading army of mercenaries working for the Mandarin. Flying by on the way to confront the Chinese warlord, the American hero Iron Man dropped down to assist for a few moments and inform the Guard of who was behind the enemy forces, but then departed to go after the Mandarin's command center, leaving the Winter Guard to continue their battle.

(Iron Man III#10 (fb) - BTS) - The Winter Guard were soon joined by Iron Man's ally Black Widow, who had been tracking her friend and followed intent on helping him, but had stopped to assist upon seeing the Winter Guard were facing overwhelming odds.

(Iron Man III#10) - Soon afterwards the Avengers arrived, called in by Black Widow and having received permission to assist from the Russian authorities. Moments later things took a turn for the worse as the Mandarin's flying dragon-shaped command ship arrived overhead. Those heroes who could fly took to the air to attack it, leaving the others, Sibercat included, below to deal with the ground forces.

(Iron Man III#10) - While everyone outside fought a pitched battle, Iron Man destroyed the command ship from within, causing it to explode and crash, ending the battle. Afterwards the Winter Guard and Avengers stuck around to help search through the wreckage looking for the Mandarin's body (which was never found, as he'd escaped) and Iron Man, who was finally located alive, albeit badly injured.

(Citizen V and the V-Battalion: The Everlasting#3) - Looking more feral than before and now showing a cat-like snout, Sibercat joined the Winter Guard in Novosibirsk battling ULTIMATUM forces.

(A+X#10 - BTS) - DNA from Sibercat was spliced into a Red Room Black Widow trainee, "Koshka," giving her powers similar to Illyich (see comments).

Comments: Created by Bob Layton and Brett Breeding.

   Thanks to David Zuckerman for providing the digital version of the main image. Interestingly, when you compare the coloring of the original his face was the same color as his hair, suggesting the fur extended over his face too, but by the time he reappeared in Soviet Super-Soldiers his face was definitely a lighter tone.

   In X-Factor Annual I#1 Garnoff describes his team as his "cell group," which suggests there are other cells; this would make sense for an underground organization designed to help fugitive mutants evade the authorities and we see further evidence of this in Soviet Super Soldiers#1 when we meet the survivors of the Underground Mutant Safe System. However, the fact that Garnoff and co. know where Doppelganger's facility is but only make an attempt to break in once they have Iceman with them yet simultaneously call in no other back-up from other cells would suggest that Garnoff's cell might be the only one with combat-capable powers.

   Sibercat suffers from a real dearth of full or even near full body shots. The one from his first appearance used as this profile's main image remains the closest we've got of a "handbook" usable pose, and the only full body action shot is the one used above.

   How Sibercat, Ursa Major, Vanguard and Darkstar all went from being hunted fugitives to members of their nation's national superhero team remains undisclosed. We did see that Vanguard, who had been a member of the fugitive Siberforce when he died, was given a state internment as a hero of the nation, so it seems that between his demise and his being put on public display, something changed, and presumably whatever changed his status also did the same to his teammates. A good possibility would be that during the Starblast storyline Darkstar and Vanguard teamed up with various heroes including Perun, who was part of the People's Protectorate that had been hunting them - he was presumably left with a favorable impression of their heroics deeds and Vanguard's sacrifice, and if he vouched for them that might have carried some weight at the Kremlin. Additionally, given at the same time the People's Protectorate were renamed the Winter Guard, while the Red Guardian was (temporarily) rebranded the Steel Guardian, suggests some sort of change of personnel in the corridors of power at the Kremlin; this may have been the long term fallout of Garnoff forcing Firefox to publicly reveal what the Russian government had been doing to their mutant population, presumably resulting in the anti-mutant people being ousted by others who were, if not pro-mutant, at least more pragmatic about not wasting a national resource.

   As evidenced in the Soviet Super Soldiers one-shot where the experiments were still ongoing and confirmed by the several subsequent occasions now where Russian mutants have had their powers duplicated artificially, Doppelganger's research was continued and ultimately completed despite X-Factor's intervention.

   Though the Winter Guard have had several appearances since Citizen V and the V-Battalion, Sibercat hasn't been seen among them since, nor, afaik, have any of his teammates ever mentioned why. He might have been present in Avengers III#42-44 as one of the radioactive people possessed by the Presence, as most of the Winter Guard were present and in the "zombified" state individuals were harder to recognize, but that's about it in terms of appearances. Perhaps he died in combat or quit. Or, given his face had become noticeably more catlike in his last appearance, maybe his mutation had started to change him, either a natural progression or (my bet) as a result of experiments to increase his powers; if such a progression continued, he could easily have become to animalistic to be able to function on the team. Whatever the cause for his disappearance, since he's a mutant, maybe we'll now see him turn up on Krakoa, perhaps alongside his resurrected Exiles companions? I've always had a fondness for the character, so I'd certainly like to see him again, and preferably used for more than a panel or two cameo like his last three appearances.

   Did Sibercat lose his powers on M-Day, when the vast majority of mutants were depowered? Though he wasn't listed in the U.S. government's 198 Files as still being a mutant, there is circumstantial evidence that he retained his powers. In Uncanny X-Men I#490/2, Beast confirms that even DNA already extracted from depowered mutants had been similarly depowered. However, we saw in A+X#10 that someone had been given similar powers via having his DNA spliced into them; if Sibercat had been depowered, then that spliced DNA should also have lost its power. Since it didn't, it seems feasible Sibercat retained his powers.

   This profile was completed 09/27/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary's celebratory event.

Profile by Loki.

Sibercat has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
X-Factor Annual I#1, p23, pan2 (main image)
Soviet Super Soldiers#1, p63, pan5 (headshot)
Soviet Super Soldiers#1, p27, pan3 (acrobatic fighting)
Iron Man III#9, p11, pan3 (as part of the Winter Guard, in new costume)
Citizen V and the V-Battalion: The Everlasting#3, p4, pan1 (more feral appearance).

X-Factor Annual I#1 (October 1986) - Bob Layton (writer, pencils), Brett Breeding (inks), Bob Harras (editor)
Soviet Super-Soldiers#1 (November 1992) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Angel Medina, Javier Saltares (pencils), Jeff Albrecht (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Starblast#1 (January 1994) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Herb Trimpe (pencils), Ralph Cabrera (inks), Michael Rockwitz (editor)
Iron Man III#9-10 (October-November 1998) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Sean Chen (pencils), Eric Cannon, Sean Parsons (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Citizen V and the V-Battalion: The Everlasting#3 (June 2002) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Lewis LaRosa (pencils), Udon Studios (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)

First Posted: 09/28/2021
Last updated:

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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