The Presence

Real Name: Sergei Krylov
First Appearance: Defenders 52
What's His Problem? A mad scientific genius who became the most influential behind-the-scenes man in Russia, Krylov sought physical power to match his intellectual and political might by mutating himself into a superhuman radioactive being. The experiment worked, though it also left him more insane than ever.
Powers: Krylov's body constantly generates lethal radioactive energy sufficient to poison or kill any unshielded individual who remains in his presence for too long. He can also harness this energy for such powers as augmented strength and durability, force blasts, flight, energy constructs, telepathy and mind control. His radioactive energies presumably power the floating chair he's taken to sitting in since his transformation. Given his ego, he probably considers it a throne of sorts.
Favorite Quote: "I admit it is rare indeed to find the attributes of poet and potentate in one man. Such a man must be extraordinary. Such a man is Sergei--The Presence!" (Defenders 53. A boastful Krylov struts for his captive prospective paramour, the Red Guardian. When she shook off his mind control long enough to reject his affections (Defenders 55), he made a somewhat more accurate self-assessment in a rare moment of insight: "Despite all my power, I am a very small man. And very lonely.")
Heroes He Keeps Running Into: Krylov's destructive nuclear experiments and enslavement of Tania Belinsky (the Red Guardian) brought him into conflict with the original Defenders. He later developed a nasty recurring enmity with Quasar after a misguided attempt to murder Quasar's mentor, Eon.
People Who Think He's Not So Bad: The Presence's long-lost mutant children, Darkstar and Vanguard, became pretty fond of their dad despite his mental failings and occasional criminal acts. Darkstar even joined his vendetta against Quasar when they came to wrongfully blame the cosmic avenger for Vanguard's death. As for poor Tania Belinsky, AKA Starlight, once the heroic Defender known as the Red Guardian, the Presence has messed so thoroughly with her head for so long that she now seems unable to leave him no matter how insanely evil he is. She stands by him as his brainwashed "wife" to this day, years after her initial abduction and transformation at his hands.
Most Despicable Act: Krylov's past is replete with atrocities ranging from Chernobyl-esque nuclear disasters to unspeakable acts of personal cruelty and perversity. Transforming Tania Belinsky into his radioactive love slave was pretty low, as was a subsequent attempt to enslave the Black Widow and his own daughter, Darkstar, as part of a proposed harem of Russian super-women. He also threatened to kill Quasar's family and friends if Quasar himself did not submit to execution at Krylov's hands, forcing Quasar to fake his own death and flee Earth lest the Presence learn of his survival and threaten his loved ones.

by Sean McQuaid

Mug Shots!

Defenders 55

Quasar 20

Quasar 60

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