Ursa Major (comics)

Ursa Major (comics)


caption=Art from X-Men 198 Files 0.N.E.
character_name=Ursa Major
real_name=Mikhail Uriokovitch Ursus
species=Human Mutant
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="Incredible Hulk" #258 (Apr 1981)
creators=Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema
alliances=Winter Guard Soviet Super-Soldiers Siberforce
aliases=Balshoy Medyved ("Great Bear"), Major Ursus
*Transformation into a brown bear
*Superhuman strength and durability|

Ursa Major (Mikhail Uriokovitch Ursus) is a fictional character, a mutant in the Marvel Comics universe, and a former member of the Soviet Super-Soldiers. His first appearance was in "Incredible Hulk #258".

Fictional character biography

Born in Blagoveshchensk, Mikhail Ursus was one of the first known mutants born in the Soviet Union in the 20th Century to survive past childhood. Up until the time of his birth, the Soviet government had performed euthanasia on all mutants at the first manifestation of their superhuman powers. In Mikhail's case this was at a young age and he was abandoned in the mountains, growing up amongst the animals of the forest and presumably using his shape-changing power to survive.

Due to the efforts of scientist Piotr Phobos, the government was made to see the potential value of superhumans serving the state and Phobos soon opened a private school to train mutants. Mikhail Ursus was among the first of the many mutants trained by Professor Phobos. Unknown to both his students and the Soviet government, Phobos had built a device to siphon off energy from his students to give himself artificial powers of his own. The process tended to kill the subjects after a time, and Phobos explained their deaths as training casualties. When the second Red Guardian discovered Phobos's scheme, he managed to overpower her and went into hiding, but not before giving two of his students, Darkstar and Vanguard, graduation 'gifts' through which he could continue to siphon their power.

Following certain field work, Mikhail, Darkstar and Vanguard (the three best-trained students of Phobos's school) were reunited and organized by the government into the elite Soviet Super-Soldiers. Ursus was given the code name Ursa Major (though he is also known as 'Major Ursus'). The first mission of the Soviet Super-Soldiers was to investigate the contained radioactive area of Khystym known as the Forbidden Zone. There they discovered that their former teacher was engaged in a project to radioactively contaminate all of the Soviet Union in order to foster the birth of more mutants whose powers he could eventually siphon. The Soviet Super-Soldiers, aided by the Hulk, thwarted Phobos's plan and brought him before the government to stand trial.

Although the Super-Soldiers resolved to remain together as a team, they vowed to never again unquestioningly serve the state. They have subsequently undertaken one government mission, but generally act independently. They were based in a scientific fortress in the region of Khystym.

Later, Ursa Major followed Vanguard into the employ of General Tskarov, a communist sympathizer who wanted to undermine American business along the East coast. They only agreed, however, in order to find the missing Darkstar, who (as Ursa later discovered) was in fact being experimented on in Tskarov's own laboratory. Ursa, Darkstar, and Vanguard then joined the Black Widow and Daredevil in defeating Tskarov. Presumably, Ursa returned to the mother country to continue his fight there.

Ursa Major is one of the few mutants in the world to retain their powers after Decimation. However something happened to him as he went crazy, as he had to be taken down by The Order in Issue #2 of that series.

Powers and abilities

In the space of a few seconds, Ursa Major can, at will, turn himself into a bear-like creature, larger and more anthropomorphic than an ordinary ursine. In this form he possesses super-strength and animal-like senses while retaining his human intelligence and speech, although his behavior and personality become more beast-like.

While Mikhail's bear-form is obviously more durable than his human one, he is not a lycanthrope (in other words, there is nothing supernatural about his transformation) and so cannot magically regenerate from injury.

Other versions

Ultimate Marvel

A possible version of Ursa Major in the Ultimate Universe may be seen in the Ultimate Fantastic Four storyline "Ghosts".

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