Anton Vanko (Crimson Dynamo)

Anton VankoThis week another brand new Marvel tv show made its debut: Agent Carter, telling the stories of S.S.R. agent (and future founder of S.H.I.E.L.D.) Peggy Carter. In the first two episodes aired this week we met three new characters to speak about, but let’s start from the beginning. In Now Is Not the End, Peggy is introduced by Edwin Jarvis to a “gentleman” who could help her reading Howard Stark‘s formula, a Russian scientist named Anton Vanko, portrayed by Costa Ronin. We already know the character, since he appeared in an older version at the beginning of Iron Man 2, portrayed this time by Evgeniy Lazarev. We pretty much know his destiny: Vanko will work with Stark on the prototype of the Arc Reactor, but he’ll become greedy and sell its components on the Black Market, so that Stark will have him deported back to the USSR, where he’ll live in poverty and die in misery, after passing on his scientific genius to his vengeful son Ivan. In the comics, his origin and fate are totally different: let’s see together.

Born in Armenia, Anton Vanko proved since his youth a natural disposition towards science, especially physics and engineering. He was one of the most brilliant students of his generation in the Soviet Union, and obtained a Ph.d in Physics with little effort. Vanko gave himself to research and specialised in the possible uses of electricity, becoming renowned all over the world for his work on capacitors. The successes in this field led the USSR crimsondynamocomics1government to hire him in Project: Krasnii Denamit, a secret experiment aimed to create a super-armor to match USA‘s newest superhero, Iron Man. Vanko was also assigned an assistant, Alex Nevsky, but the scientist soon began suspecting Nevsky was actually a KGB agent ordered to control him, so he shared little or no information with him. Vanko managed to create an armor like the one his government wanted in little time, using his studies to give it complete control over electricity and electromagnetic fields; he named it Crimson Dynamo, and presented it to the authorities as his greatest success. In reality, secretly from Nevsky, Vanko had also developed a perfectioned version of the Crimson Dynamo armor, which he had to complete yet, and another heavily weaponized armor, the Unicorn. However, Vanko tested his “public” creation, and demonstrated it was resilient enough to sustain Iron Man’s repulsor rays with no damage at all; during a demonstration in front of the country’s military and scientific authorities, the Crimson Dynamo easily destroyed an Iron Man android, proving its power. The leaders agreed that it was time to test the armor in real combat, and ordered Anton Vanko to eliminate the American agent Iron Man: the scientist, eager to learn his creation’s full potentiality, promptly complied.

After hiding in Tomsk his unfinished experiments, Vanko traveled to the United States piloting his armor, and made his debut on the public scene by interrupting a demonstration of Stark Industries‘s new missiles. He publicly challenged Iron Man, and in the following days he kept sabotaging Stark’s plants and industries. Eventually, the two armored warriors came face to face in a research centre, where Iron Man was completely overpowered by the crimsondynamocomics2Crimson Dynamo’s raw strength and electric blasts. The two fought to a stalemate, with Iron Man unable to damage his adversary and Crimson Dynamo’s electricity nullified by his enemy’s force fields. Eventually, Iron Man came up with a different ideas, and obtained a recording he presented to Vanko during the battle: the tape had Vanko’s leaders speaking about him, saying that they were ready to kill the scientist after his mission and to replace him. Already made suspicious by the blind eye Moscow turned on the massacre of the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, Vanko believed Iron Man, and decided to abandon his mission, surrendering to the American. Perfectly understanding the potential of the Russian genius, Iron Man asked him to defect to the United States and to start working for his employer, Tony Stark, an opportunity that Vanko didn’t lose. With an American citizenship and access to Stark Industries’ resources, Anton Vanko was finally able to finish his research and to complete his Mark II version of the Crimson Dynamo armor, correcting the flaws of the previous version and making the new armor even more powerful. He also perfectioned the Dynamo Sputnik, a solar-powered satellite he had programmed to power both Mark I and II during battle. His researches on electricity also allowed Stark to develop astonishing innovation in the field of experimental energy sources, and in no time Vanko became one of the most esteemed and important scientists in the US. It looked like he had finally found a place in which his genius could be properly apreciated.

Anton Vanko is a brilliant man, a genius ahead of his time deeply loyal to his country (but even more to his people, the Armenians). As the Crimson Dynamo, he controls an extremely powerful armor, far stronger and more durable than Iron Man’s; the Dynamo is able to produce and control electricity in any form and to fly thanks to electromagnetic fields, to deactivate any nearby electronic device thanks to its Disruptor Field or to control them with an override. The Crimson Dynamo is no villain at all: just as Iron Man, he’s a scientist working and fighting for his government and for a cause that he believes is right; with a strong sense of honor and loyalty, however, Anton Vanko is ready to change sides the moment he realizes his moral code is not shared by the people he’s serving.

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3 Comments

  1. […] of supporting Boris Turgenov, the second Crimson Dynamo, in the killing of the first Dynamo, Anton Vanko, who had betrayed their country. Their attempt was foiled more than once by American […]

  2. […] He appears in Iron Man 2 portrayed by Mickey Rourke, and he’s portrayed as the son of Anton Vanko, a Russian scientist who claims to be the true inventor of the ARC Reactor. When his father […]

  3. […] he was chosen to wear in battle the Crimson Dynamo armor, the super-suit originally built by Anton Vanko and assigned to Russia’s top agents after the scientist’s death. After an unspecified […]


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