Quote1 But, inevitably, the truth has a way of eventually triumphing --- even when the truth is ugly-- alien-- and deadly dangerous! Quote2
-- Presence src

Russian nuclear physicist Sergei Krylov (Russian: Сергей Крылов), later known as the Presence, is the father of twins Laynia Petrovna and Nicolai Krylenko who were taken from birth by the then-Soviet government to be trained as soldiers after their mutant natures manifested. It was not until many years later that father and children were reunited. This scientific genius became the most influential behind-the-scenes scientist in Soviet Union. Krylov sought physical power to match his intellectual and political might by mutating himself into a superhuman radioactive being.[2][3]

During the Cold War, the government of the Soviet Union contacted scientific experiments in the area of Kyshtym. Sergei Krylov was a young geneticist who was employed there. He contacted experiments in genetic engineering, but was also placed in the forefront of nuclear research. In 1957, Krylov was responsible for a fatal mistake with radioactive waste disposal. The fatal error destroyed the town of Kyshtym.[1] The Soviet Union created the Forbidden Zone in part to hide another result of Krylov's experiments. He had accidentally created a giant amoeba which fed on atomic energy.[1]

Sergei Krylov (Earth-616)

Sergei, before transforming himself into the Presence

Sergei forced Dr. Tania Belinskya, the scientist and hero known as the second Red Guardian, to return to the Soviet Union to help perform the experiment. Krylov had also selected Belinskya as the woman he believed most worthy to be his mate once he had achieved his goal of transforming himself into a superhuman being.[2] Krylov placed Belinskya's mind under his mental domination. Through exposure to cobalt radiation and a nuclear explosion, Krylov transformed both himself and Belinskya into super humans capable of generating nuclear energy and using it in various ways.[4]

The experiment worked, though it also left him more insane than ever. Calling himself the Presence, he and the entranced Red Guardian battled her erstwhile teammates, the Defenders. Belinskya succeeded in regaining control of her mind during the battle, and demanded that Krylov leave her, claiming that he did not truly love her, and was trying to force her into his own image. Krylov really did love her, but departed, crushed. Since in her new form Belinskya emitted harmful radiation constantly, she allowed herself to be taken into custody by the Soviet government, which kept her in a chamber at a research institute.[5]

But later, the Presence was sighted back in the radioactive Siberian area called the Forbidden Zone, where he had detonated a nuclear bomb in order to transform himself into his superhuman state.[6][1] The Red Guardian, released to investigate, found him battling a gargantuan life form created by Krylov's past genetic engineering and mutated by nuclear waste. In fighting the life form beside Krylov, Belinskya began to fall in love with him, and she chose to remain in the Forbidden Zone with him.[7]

Later, the renegade Soviet scientist Professor Pieter Phobos used means of his own to drain energy from the Presence and the Red Guardian in order to extend the Forbidden Zone’s radiation over all of the Soviet Union. In order to thwart this plan, the Presence and Red Guardian absorbed the radiation of the Forbidden Zone into themselves. They then left Earth, claiming that they would transform themselves into inert matter once they were far from this planet.[8]

Instead, at some point the two were captured by the enigmatic alien known as the Stranger and placed on his planet for the Stranger's own mysterious reasons. The Presence and Starlight were inadvertently freed by the Avenger Quasar, who had traveled to the Stranger's world for his own purposes.[9]

Later, Vanguard and Darkstar were asked by Quasar for help in defeating the threat of the alien Starblasters, who coveted the power of the mysterious Starbrand, hosted in the body of Quasar's girlfriend. Vanguard was killed in battle. A grieving Darkstar blamed Quasar and fled back to Russia. Later encountering her father again, Darkstar shared her feelings with him, and the Presence forced Quasar to flee Earth or risk his vengeance.[10]

The Presence visited the memorial to his son and sought to revive him. He shifted his atoms to microscopically enter the body of his son and discovered a trace of his mutant energy remained, keeping him faintly alive. The Presence nearly exhausted his own power, but managed to resurrect his son.[11]

The Presence, in the meantime, had been cast adrift in the subatomic reality he had entered through his son upon resurrecting him. There, he discovered new aspects of his power and atomic particles, and, when he had sufficiently regenerated, resumed his normal size and returned to the Forbidden Zone. There, he embarked on a plan to unite all of the former Soviet Union by transforming its people into a race of zombie-like radioactive beings living under a communal mind. He managed to convert several Siberian scientists, Vanguard and the rest of the Winter Guard, and the Avengers, who investigated the disturbance. The Presence's companion, The Red Guardian who later changed her name to Starlight, ultimately offered a surrender and used her own power to revive those who had been transformed and remand herself and the Presence to Russian custody.[12]

Mentally unstable, the Presence has acted as an altruistic adventurer at times but is usually a menace motivated by selfish ambition and irrational animosity.


The Presence is capable of generating and manipulating vast amounts of nuclear energy. He can harness this energy for such powers as augmented strength, stamina and durability, force blasts, flight, energy constructs, telepathy, mind control and survival in space.


The Presence is an inventor of genius level intellect. Despite his mild insanity, he retains an excellent theoretical and practical knowledge of mechanics, physic, and biology.

Strength level

The Presence possesses superhuman strength enabling him to lift (press) approximately 1 ton under optimal conditions.


After exposing himself to deadly radiation, Krylov's body constantly generates lethal radioactive energy sufficient to poison or kill any unshielded individual who remains in his presence for too long. This is why he wears an armored body suit.


  • Following his mutation, the Presence's physical form is always covered in a golden body armor.


  • A hover chair.

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