I grew up in the city and have always been a city girl. I don’t know how it happened but I never spent much time at the beach, swimming in the ocean. I used to live in Saint Paul, MN, and went to a total of one beach vacation in my childhood. So, when I started out with blogs, I was always looking for a beach blog. I found a beachy feel to this site, but there’s nothing really beachy about it. It’s just a place to blog about my travels, interests, and experiences.

“Somewhere between the sun and the moon lies the constellation of Ursa Major, the Big Dipper. And in it is a mystery that is both ancient and modern. A myth of the night sky, the Big Dipper is a constellation that is known to all of us in the northern hemisphere, but it is also a symbol of a greater mystery. Of the endless and ancient story of the stars that fills our world with its wonder.” -S_A-

I could find only one more character from the comics in Black Widow, if I missed somebody else, tell me in the usual place. As we find the forgotten and disgraced Red Guardian, he’s locked in a gulag, challenging all the other inmates to arm wrestling. Among the ones who have the bad idea to measure his strength with him, there is a giant he calls Ursa, portrayed by the world’s tallest bodybuilder Olivier Richters. He is the MCU‘s version of another Russian superhero, Ursa Major, who was rumored to appear in a bigger capacity: his comicbook counterpart, however, would have been more than a match for Red Guardian in arm wrestling, and he would have most definitely won the challenge instead of having his arm broken. Let’s see together.

Mikhail Uriokovich was one of the first mutants known to have been born in Russia, and most definitely the first one born in the city of Blagoveschensk. Unfortunately, Soviet Union had only one policy towards its mutant citizens: immediate execution. Mikhail’s mother sent him away as soon as his powers manifested, and he lived for years in the woods, transformed into a bear, hidden among the wildlife. When HYDRA took over his hometown, however, Mikhail came back, and agreed to be a local guide to American Agent Carter and her team to free his mother. The mission was a success, but Mikhail was located and imprisoned by Soviet authorities. The young man was to be killed along with all other mutants, considered an uncontrollable threats by the Soviet government, but one scientist, Professor Piotr Phobos, managed to convince his superiors to see mutants as a potential resource rather than a menace: he was allowed to take the young mutants in his school to train and indoctrinate them, in order to turn them into loyal and powerful soldiers for the regime. By the time his training was over, Mikhail had dropped his old surname and went by Ursus instead, and was also given a super-name, Ursa Major, the Bol’saja Medvedica (the Great Bear) protector of the USSR. It turned out, however, that all the students who had died during training had actually been killed by Phobos himself, who was siphoning their powers to give artificial abilities to himself: he was discovered and he fled, but his three best students, Ursa Major, Darkstar and Vanguard, were nevertheless selected to be the founding members of the Soviet Super-Soldiers, a government-sanctioned super-team. The team accomplished a number of glorious victories for the regime, until they were sent to investigate a radioactive area in Khystym.

The Soviet Super-Soldiers found what they believed was the culprit in The Hulk, a green monster who was hiding the area… but they were terribly wrong: the one responsible for irradiating the area was actually their old mentor, Phobos, who wanted to irradiate all Russia to create more mutants he could siphon powers from. Ursa Major and the others were almost killed by their old “savior”, but got saved by the Hulk, and allied with him to take down Phobos, arrest him and take him to Moscow to stand trial: they learnt the truth about the project that gave birth to them, and albeit they decided to stay together, they promised themselves to never blindly follow orders ever again. Ursa Major stayed with the Soviet Super-Soldiers for years, helping the transition of the team to an independent group, but when Dimitri Bukharin, the Crimson Dynamo, turned out to be a spy, he left the team to join the Siberforce, another team composed only of fugitive mutants. He returned under government’s orders when General Tskarov convinced him and Vanguard to follow his lead in retrieving their teammate Darkstar, who had been abducted by American agents: the heroine, actually, had been kidnapped by Tskarov himself, who was using her to manipulate the two in attacking Americans, and with the help of Black Widow and Daredevil Ursa Major and Vanguard rebelled to the General and freed their friend. Enough was enough, and the three superheroes tried to defect to the United States, but the Supreme Soviets almost killed them to stop them. When he recovered, Ursa Major realized that what he actually wanted was to defend his country at the best of his possibilities, even from its own government if needed: he would have stayed, fighting criminals, aliens, and even American heroes if they somehow endangered his beloved Russia.

Mikhail Ursus is first and foremost a patriot, a soldier devoted to the protection of his country, but sick and tired of his government’s lies and deceits enough to fight also against his own superiors to protect the people and the land. As Ursa Major, he’s a mutant with the ability to transform into a huge anthropomorphic brown bear, retaining his full intelligence and personality (albeit he becomes more and more feral the longer he maintains his transformation); in his transformed state, he has sharp fangs and claws, and he’s much stronger and more durable than an actual bear, able to fight toe to toe with the Hulk and tell the tale. When not intoxicated by vodka, Ursa Major is one of Russia’s greatest heroes and protectors, a man who’s dedicated his life to the country he loves, that he must save from anyone… even from itself.

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