Black Widow and Yelena argue over the Winter Guard in #1 preview

Winter Guard #1 excerpt
Winter Guard #1 excerpt (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Seemingly ripped from the script pages of Marvel Studios' Black Widow, Yelena Belova and the Red Guardian are on the run from the Russian government in the upcoming comic book series Winter Guard. Writer Ryan Cady and artist Jan Bazaldua are bringing the revitalized Winter Guard from the pages of Jason Aaron's current Avengers run in to hunt two of their own.

In this upcoming four-issue series, the Winter Guard are sent by the Russian government to stamp out former members Yelena Belova (White Widow) and Alexei Shostakov (Red Guardian). Why? Because the two are investigating state secrets that the Russian government doesn't want anyone to know."

Check out this four-page unlettered preview of Winter Guard #1:

Cady describes Yelena and Alexei as "two disillusioned super-spies who want to kind of 'redeem' their homeland in ways that the standard 'find villain, punch face' approach can't handle."

While fans know Yelena and the Red Guardian well, for some this four-issue Winter Guard series will be an introduction to these other Russian superheroes (although one had a brief cameo in the Black Widow film).

"Ostensibly, [the Winter Guard] are the good guys - and they're trying to be. You've got classic heroes like the Crimson Dynamo, the siblings Darkstar and Vanguard (Red Guardian's spiritual successor), and of course, everyone's favorite Russian Mutant - no, not Colossus - Ursa Major!" Cady says in the series' announcement. "He's a drunk who turns into a bear, and I love him with all my heart. There are also two Slavic deities on the team, Perun the stormbringer and Chernobog of blood and darkness, and as any Marvel fan will tell you, it's always a bad idea to put two gods on one team."

Note: The Ursa from the Black Widow film is a lot different - basically not an actual bear - like in Marvel Comics.

While the current Winter Guard might be sympathetic to Yelena and Alexei as former team members, their boss, Red Widow, "seems "seems to be taking this mission a little personally…" says Cady.

No mention is made of Yelena and Alexei's MCU allies Black Widow and Melina Vostokoff - although in comics Vostkoff (played by Rachel Weisz in the movie) is much much different, as the villain Iron Maiden.  

Toni Infante has drawn the primary cover to Winter Guard #1, with variant covers by Todd Nauck (a 'Headshot' variant), Kim Jacinto (a Notorious Comics exclusive), and Ken Lashley. Check them out here:

Winter Guard #1 (of 4) goes on sale on August 25.

Winter Guard will be available simultaneously in print and on digital platforms. For the best digital comics experience, go through our recommendations for the best digital comics readers for Android and iOS devices. 

Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)