Darkstar, commonly known as Laynia Petrovna, was born in Belarus, Russian and is the daughter of a nuclear physicist Sergei Krylov and his wife, who were accidentally irradiated during an experiment. When her mother died during childbirth, Laynia’s father was told that she and her twin brother had died as well. The mutant infants were then taken into custody by the state and, when their superhuman abilities first manifested in adolescence, were turned over to Professor Piotr Phobos, head of a government-run school for training Russian mutants. After being given the codename Darkstar because of her mutant ability to manipulate the extra dimensional energy known as the Darkforce, Petrovna studied at the academy alongside her brother Nikolai, codenamed Vanguard, and trained to become a government agent.
Darkstar was created by Bill Mantlo and George Tuska and first appeared in The Champions #7 (1976).
Mayor Story Arcs
To America and the Champions
After Phobos’s plan to drain the mutants’ powers in order to grant himself artificial mental abilities was discovered by the Red Guardian (Tania Belinsky), Darkstar was dispatched to the United States alongside her lover the Crimson Dynamo (Yuri Petrovich), the Titanium Man and the Griffin, with the task of capturing the perceived defectors Black Widow, the Commissar and Yuri’s father Ivan. Opposed by the Widow’s teammates in the Champions, Darkstar ultimately turned on the Dynamo after the truth about his father was revealed. She later deserted to the United States with the aid of the Widow’s friend Nick Fury, joining the Champions. Alongside them, Darkstar faced a number of enemies such as the alien Warlord Kaa, the Stilt-Man, the Stranger, the Possessor, Swarm, M.O.D.O.K., Magneto, Sentinels and the Vanisher. Laynia’s teammate Iceman utlimately fell in love with her, but the relationship was largely one-sided. When the Champions disbanded, Darkstar told a bitterly disappointed Drake that she did indeed like him but had no romantic interest in him. After the Champions broke up, Laynia returned to Russia.
Back in Russia
Later, Darkstar partnered with Vanguard and a new Crimson Dynamo (Dmitri Bukharin) to investigate a strange, object on the Moon. There they encountered Iron Man and Jack of Hearts, ultimately teaming with them in opposing an attempted invasion of Earth by the alien Rigellians. Later, the trio was tricked by former Russian military General Nikolai Kutzov into believing that the U.S. was set to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Russia, bringing them into conflict with Spider-Man and the Hulk. They later encountered the Silver Surfer during his worldwide search for the Hulk before being dispatched to investigate the mysterious Forbidden Zone, where they were reunited with Phobos, unaware of his earlier deception. Phobos convinced the trio to join him in opposing Belinsky and her ally, the Presence. On learning of Phobos’s earlier deception, and discovering that the Presence was their father, Darkstar and Vanguard turned against Phobos and defeated him with the aid of the Hulk.
Darkstar next became a pawn in a contest of champions between the alien Grandmaster and Death herself. Selected as a member of the Grandmaster’s champions, Darkstar was teamed with American crime fighter Daredevil and the Australian mystic Talisman in opposing Death’s champions Sunfire, the Invisible Girl and Iron Fist. Later, after twice aiding the Galadorian Spaceknights Rom and Starshine against the alien Dire Wraiths, Darkstar and her partners Vanguard, Ursa Major and Gremlin worked with Crimson Dynamo to bring Magneto to justice for his crimes against Russia. A miscommunication pitted them against the Avengers, who also sought to bring Magneto to trial, and the X-Men, who were harboring Magneto at the time.
Darkstar later embarked on a diplomatic tour of the U.S., where she and the Black Widow were targeted by Tania Belinsky, now known as Starlight, as potential mates for a mentally-unstable Presence. Belinsky was quickly convinced to abandon this mad scheme. Later, Darkstar, Vanguard and Ursa Major became disillusioned with their government’s policies, and they sought to defect to America. In an effort to reclaim their “lost property”, the Russian government dispatched another team of operatives, the Supreme Soviets, to return the defectors home. Disguised as the Avengers, the Supreme Soviets attacked and nearly killed Darkstar and her allies. The comatose minds of Darkstar, Vanguard, and Ursa Major then subconsciously merged into a giant bear-like Darkforce construct dubbed the “Great Beast” and attempted to kill the Supreme Soviets.
After Captain America convinced them to call off their attack, the trio regained consciousness and remained in America to recuperate from their injuries while the U.S. Government sought to obtain political asylum for them. These diplomatic efforts ultimately failed, and the trio was deported back to Russia. After being sent to a research facility, Darkstar and her comrades were rescued by the mutant Blind Faith and his team of Exiles, whom they joined in opposing the cyborg assassin Firefox. On a subsequent mission with the Exiles, Darkstar and Blind Faith encountered the immensely powerful psychic Soul Skinner who had taken over the small Russian town of Neftelensk. With the help of the X-Men, the Soul Skinner was defeated.
Later, after the Exiles became Siberforce, Darkstar’s team witnessed an attack on Earth’s moon by the intergalactic Starblasters, who were searching for the mysterious power source known as the Starbrand. Investigating, Darkstar and her brother joined the cosmic Avenger Quasar and other space-faring heroes in opposing the Starblasters. During the battle, Vanguard was killed by Threkker, who in turn was killed by a vengeful Darkstar. Returning to Earth, Darkstar was convinced by the Presence to seek retribution against Quasar, and together they attacked and seemingly destroyed him; however, Quasar had merely used his quantum energy powers to fake his own death.
Maximum Security and X-Men
Soon after, Darkstar was captured by ex-K.G.B. General Tskarov, who sought to use her power in his plot to undermine businesses along America’s east coast. Darkstar was rescued by Tskarov’s other pawns, Ursa Major and a resurrected Vanguard, and the trio teamed with Daredevil and the Black Widow to halt Tskarov’s plan. Subsequently, Darkstar was one of several Russian heroes recruited into the government-sponsored Winter Guard team, who soon found themselves defending their country against an invasion by the army of the Chinese would-be conqueror the Mandarin. After joining Earth’s heroes in opposing the alien Kree’s efforts to transform Earth into a prison planet, Darkstar and the Winter Guard became unwitting pawns in the Presence’s attempt to convert Russia’s citizens into a new, nuclear form of life.
Opposed by the Avengers, those converted were ultimately restored by Starlight in exchange for Thor’s sparing the Presence’s life. Later, Darkstar sought the X-Men’s assistance in capturing the renegade Russian mutant scientist the Black Death.
X-Corperation and Death
Following the establishment of the X-Corporation, a global mutant search and rescue unit, Darkstar joined the organization’s European contingent based in Paris, France. On the team’s first mission opposing the threat of the bacterial consciousness Weapon XII, Darkstar fell under the creature’s sway and, as a result, became an extension of the creature itself. She was shot and apparently killed by the mercenary Fantomex, later revealed to be Weapon XIII, and was subsequently buried in the Pére LaChaise Cemetery in Paris. This was in the company of her former Soviet friends and teammates as well as most X-Men and members of the X-Corperation.
Some months after Laynia's death, the Russian government recruted a new person that was to be the second Darkstar. The role came onto Sasha Roerich, a Russian woman whom received the medallion of Darkstar, granting Sasha the same powers as Laynia had. Sasha soon joined the ranks of the Winter Guard.
Laynia is one of the many mutants resurrected by Eli Bard using the techno organic virus to serve Selene, aiding her cause as she joins a number of mutants who attack the X-Men's Utopia stronghold. However, when Selene was defeated, all the resurected mutants returned to lifeless husks, including Laynia.
When Laynia's succersor Sasha Roerich died in battle, a third Darkstar replaced her. This new person was Reena Stancioff. She joined the Winter Guard, but noticed strange vibes coming from the medallion that was given to her. It was as if something was alive inside the medallion. This was in fact true, since the essence of Laynia had merged with the medallion. When Reena was killed during one of her first missions and transformed into a Dire Wraith, the original Darkstar used the opportunity and connection she had with her medallion to resurrect herself in Reena's body. Now resurrected, Laynia has rejoined the Winter Guard alongside her brother Vanguard, fighting against opponents such as Hyperion.
Powers and Abilities
Darkstar's mutant power allows her to have a split consciousness between her physical body and a Darkforce representation of the same, both symbiotically linked. This gives her control of the Darkforce, an extra-dimensional energy comprising an entire pocket dimension, and thus granting her a number of superhuman abilities. While capable of utilizing the Darkforce for various purposes, Darkstar usually causes it to behave like energy or matter. Most often, it was presented as solid, mentally controlled objects which possessed the density of steel; such objects included pincers, rings, columns, and spheres, or beams of concussive force. However, any constructs will dissipate if Darkstar is rendered unconscious. Darkstar is also able to teleport herself and up to three individuals by opening a portal into the Darkforce dimension and traveling through it. The maximum distance Darkstar can travel in this manner has yet to be revealed, however, teleporting often leaves her disoriented and sensitive to light, making teleportation risky in dangerous situations. Darkstar is also able to levitate and fly at subsonic speeds by creating a virtually invisible portal to the Darkforce dimension along the contours of her body without passing through it.
Darkstar is also a skilled hand to hand combatant, having received training from the KGB and the Black Widow. She is also fluent in both English and Russian.
Darkstar's costume was designed by the Soviet government and made from a synthetic stretch fabric insulated against the cold.
In this timeline, Colossus never joins the X-Men and instead stays in Russia where he joins the Soviet Super-Soldiers and becomes romantically involved with Darkstar. After the two of them assist in defeating Proteus, they eventually settle down and have a child whom they name Illyana.
Earth-58163 (House of M)
Darkstar is seen during the House of M as a member of the Soviet Super-Soldiers who fought against Magneto's forces when he invades Genosha. However, she was not seen again afterward.
In Other Media
In X-Men: The Animated Series, Darkstar appears in the episode, The Red Dawn, where she is initially the mutant enforcer for a group of Russian generals who seek to reestablish the Soviet Union with the aid of Omega Red. However, after witnessing the crimes committed by Omega Red, Darkstar rebels against the generals and sides with the X-Men and Colossus.
In the episode "Secret Avengers" she appears as a part of the Winter Guard (Red Guardian, Ursa Major, Crimson Dynamo and Radioactive Man). She is voiced by Laura Bailey.
Marvel: War of Heroes
Anya appears in several cards in the mobile card game Marvel: War of Heroes. Her cards are:
- [Zvezda] Darkstar
- [Version 2] Darkstar