- "Parts of me will always be human. But I have gained so much more with this new form. Strength. Immortality. How's that for a cool origin story, bro?"
- ―Anton Ivanov to Phil Coulson
Anton Ivanov, known to his subordinates as the Superior, was the leader of the Watchdogs and a former member of the SVR who sought revenge against S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson for indirectly causing the executions of his unit members and for being the alleged root of Earth's extraterrestrial problems. After being crippled by Quake, his head was severed by Aida and placed in a jar, but he also gained the power to remotely control numerous robotic duplicates of himself so he could protect the Framework. Despite serving Aida's instructions to not kill the agents, Ivanov attempted to use the Darkhold's wisdom to create a new world in which all of the Inhumans were feared and hated by the world. However Ivanov's plans were stopped by the combined efforts of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Ghost Rider, who destroyed more of Ivanov's robotic bodies and killed Aida while Ivanov escaped.
Six months after S.H.I.E.L.D.'s disbandment, Ivanov's head was acquired by General Hale, forcing him to serve HYDRA to combat an impending alien invasion. Lacking the ability to create more Life-Model Decoy bodies for himself after Aida's death, Ivanov instead created Sleeper Mechs under his control to aid Hale's agenda. Ivanov's desire to test the Particle Infusion Chamber led him to personally search for it, with his human head attached to a robotic body. However, that turned out to be a fatal mistake when a duel with a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Yo-Yo Rodriguez cost him his life.
- "My father worked an oil drill. He was a son of a bitch, but he worked hard for not much, so I admired him. The richest man in my town, on the other hand, inherited his money from his father who built airplanes. He wore furs, was entitled. When I saw my father with this man, complimenting him, licking his boots, my admiration for my father evaporated."
- ―Anton Ivanov to Jeffrey Mace
Raised in Russia, Anton Ivanov's father was a strict and cruel man, described by Ivanov himself as a son of a bitch; however his father's great dedication and hard work on an oil rig allowed Ivanov to greatly respect him. However, Ivanov lost all respect for his own father upon seeing him suck up to another man from their town who had never worked for his fortune. His moment reinforced Ivanov's view that money and power was something that should be earned through hard work, not inherited or stolen.
Encountering Phil Coulson
- "They were killed for not retrieving the object stolen from our soil. When I looked for who did, I found S.H.I.E.L.D.. And after years of looking behind S.H.I.E.L.D., I found you. That face. The man there at the very beginning. What a coincidence."
- ―Anton Ivanov to Phil Coulson
While working for the SVR, Anton Ivanov and his unit were sent to collect the Russian 0-8-4 from an old military compound called the Burkov Mining Facility, however upon arriving at the facility they found Phil Coulson was already there, claiming he had been sent to be investigated a bio-hazard leak, although Ivanov's commander remained highly skeptical of his true reasons for agent Coulson being there.
However, while they were speaking, Melinda May, then seemingly betrayed her partner Coulson and stole the 0-8-4 for herself before escaping, causing Ivanov's commander to take Coulson captive, with Ivanov looking at his hostage as he closed the doors of the van. However Ivanov and his unit were soon attacked by May who freed Coulson and escaped, as a direct result, Ivanov's unit were tortured and executed for the failure, although Ivanov managed to escape the same punishment. Ivanov went on to directly blame Coulson and all of S.H.I.E.L.D. for the incident which killed his allies.
War with Inhumans
Leading the Watchdogs
Anton Ivanov built his fortune working as an industrialist and spent much of his cash on military antiques, including a submarine. Upon learning of the new Inhuman Outbreak, Ivanov was disgusted by the notion of Inhumans gaining power they did not earn and he funded the Watchdogs in their mission to eliminate them, gaining the title of the Superior. As part of his mission to wipe out the Inhumans, Ivanov organised the Blackout Attack which was thwarted by S.H.I.E.L.D.. Ivanov supported the work of Senator Ellen Nadeer, but gave her an order to execute her own brother when he underwent Terrigenesis. Nadeer at first refused, so Ivanov sent Tucker Shockley to complete the work until Nadeer shot and seemingly killed her brother as ordered.
Work with Holden Radcliffe
- "The old ways are better, simple, built to last like this submarine. Modern machines all software, no hardware, you put too much faith in them. Man is the superior machine, and I, am the superior man. I'm told you refuse to talk, and that you welcome pain, I too love pain, and I love to make others feel it, using the old ways."
- ―The Superior to Billy Koenig
With the assistance of Holden Radcliffe, the Superior learned of the location of the Darkhold which could help their war against all the Inhumans. Having kidnapped the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Billy Koenig who had hidden the book, Ivanov had Radcliffe pretend to be held hostage beside Koenig and greeted them both. Ivanov soon made it clear that they were to cooperate with him or die a horrifically painful death, while he drank some vodka and discussed its taste.
Ivanov told Koenig that S.H.I.E.L.D. put too much faith into machines and that man was the superior machine, removing his jacket while claiming that he was the superior man. Ivanov then noted how he had been told that Koenig refused to talk and welcomed pain, so he smashed his glass and prepared to cut out his eye while Radcliffe watched, telling him that he enjoyed causing people pain. However Radcliffe stopped him, reminding Ivanov that Senator Ellen Nadeer had promised that Koenig would not be harmed in a way that would cause permanent damage during the interrogation.
While Ivanov watched as Radcliffe then used the Framework to scan Koenig's mind. When Ivanov questioned if the Darkhold was truly worth all this work, Radcliffe assured him that it held the answers to wiping out the Inhumans and would also help Radcliffe build a better world. While both Ivanov and Tucker Shockley became impatient waiting for the machine to finish its work, Aida assured them it would be done soon and Radcliffe questioned their hatred of Inhumans. Ivanov explained he hated how the Inhumans gained great power without earning it which had personally enraged him.
Just as Ivanov vowed to destroy the thing that brought the Inhumans to them, Aida then revealed that the scan was complete. Shockley removed Koenig while Radcliffe wore the Framework and began searching for the answers about where the Darkhold was. Despite false alarms and seeing Koenig hand the Darkhold over to Sam Koenig, eventually Radcliffe learned it had gone back to him and it was stored in the Labyrinth. However, unconvinced by Radcliffe's faith with machines, Ivanov got his knife and prepared to torture the information out of Koenig using his own torturous methods.
However, just as Ivanov ordered Radcliffe and Aida to be removed, Aida fought back and used superhuman strength to kill Leo Babikov by punching through his stomach and ripping out his insides before she proceeded to crush Shockley's hand. As Ivanov then furiously confronted Radcliffe for bringing an Inhuman onto his submarine, Radcliffe corrected him and revealed that Aida was in fact his Life-Model Decoy robot. Ivanov was now highly impressed by Radcliffe's creation and when Radcliffe yet again ordered that the submarine be turned around, Ivanov agreed with a nod of the head.
Gaining the Darkhold
Having returned to his submarine having completed their mission to successfully steal the Darkhold book away from S.H.I.E.L.D. at the Labyrinth, Ivanov drank vodka with both Doctor Holden Radcliffe and Tucker Shockley, complimenting them on their successful mission. Taking the vodka, Radcliffe noted that Ivanov was correct that it did taste better when drunk with some onions, with Ivanov once again noting that the old ways were still always the best.
When Radcliffe questioned Ivanov about the thing that brought the Inhumans to Earth that he mentioned earlier, Ivanov revealed he was referring to Phil Coulson, who had been at every recent major event involving an alien attack over the last few years, including the battle at the Labyrinth the night before. Ivanov also blamed for the recent Chitauri and Kree attacks against Earth, noting how he had even somehow returned from the dead. Radcliffe then confirmed that Coulson was not dead and agreed to assist Ivanov in his mission to find and kill Coulson and finally end the alien threat.
Ivanov allowed Radcliffe to continue his own work on the Framework and, while Radcliffe slept during the night, Ivanov read the Darkhold, being told the way to wipe out the Inhumans was through Radcliffe. Once Radcliffe and Aida returned, Ivanov revealed what he had done much to Radcliffe's horror, as he had insisted on being the only one to examine the Darkhold. Ivanov however explained that he had only glanced at the pages and been told that Radcliffe was the solution to his and the Watchdogs' own plans for create a better world without Inhumans once they had wiped them from the Earth.
They discussed destroying S.H.I.E.L.D. and Radcliffe informed Ivanov that although Inhumans were difficult to come by, he had a solution, revealing that he had a stockpile of Terrigen Crystals which he had obtained during his recent time with Hive who he explained had the opposite goals to Ivanov. Radcliffe explained that he had improved the compound so the Terrigen Mist within was completely harmless to humans but would cause Terrigenesis in any potential Inhumans exposed to it, with Ivanov then noting that they were counting on that being the case in order to continue their own plans.
Ivanov sent Tucker Shockley to use their Terrigen Crystals against Senator Ellen Nadeer in order to see if she was an Inhuman. However this seemingly triggered an explosion which had killed Nadeer and her staff. Once Shockley returned having someone survived, Ivanov furiously confronted him over Nadeer's death. Shockley claimed Nadeer had undergone Terrigenesis and had exploded, blaming it on Holden Radcliffe's crystals being faulty, although he said he could not remember how he survived the blast. When Ivanov asked how he could trust him, Shockley said that Ivanov was his superior.
Accepting this, Ivanov let Shockley go and hugged him, claiming that was all he needed to hear. Ivanov then informed him that he intended to leave the United States of America as he knew Radcliffe would soon be found by S.H.I.E.L.D. and therefore it was too dangerous for him to stay. While Ivanov left to return to the Watchdogs Submarine to hide out, Shockley volunteered to stay behind in order to confront S.H.I.E.L.D. when they arrived, vowing to soon kill them all. Ivanov accepted this and left, leaving his men to be captured by Quake and other agents while he and the others soldiers got away.
While on the road, Ivanov was contacted by Shockley who made a confession, that Nadeer had not been the one who had undergone Terrigenesis, but he had, becoming the Inhuman he despised so much. Although Ivanov instantly rejected Shockley as a result, he was told that Shockley still intended to be a soldier fighting for the lives of the Humans, so Ivanov then continued to listen to him. Shockley then vowed to bring S.H.I.E.L.D. to the Watchdogs and help them attack, using his new powers to destroy a cafe to attract S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attention while Ivanov and his men came to him.
As part of the plan, Shockley had a showdown with Quake, in which she used her powers to continually cause him to explode, all as a tactic to distract her while the Watchdogs made their approach to confront and kill Quake. However their convoy was attacked by Patriot, who used his incredible strength to stop Ivanov's jeep in its tracks. While Shockley was being captured by Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, Ivanov greeted Patriot and ordered all his men to take the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. into their custody, using their Taser Rods to then subdue him while Ivanov watched on.
Testing a Director
With Director Jeffrey Mace now as his hostage, Ivanov removed his Patriot Suit and had it taken to Nome where it would be discovered along with his obsessive wall depicting the actions of Phil Coulson throughout his years. While Coulson followed his leads, Ivanov continued with his own plans in his base, looking over his men and the Watchdogs Submarine, ensuring that everything was still running smoothly for his men.
Returning to his submarine, Ivanov found Holden Radcliffe in a sleep state while locked inside the Framework. When Ivanov attempted to pull Radcliffe out of the Framework to speak with him, Aida appeared and stopped him by grabbing ahold of his arm, warning that this could damage his brain. Ivanov demanded to have his arm back so he could speak to Radcliffe, refusing to talk to Aida at all, forcing her to comply with her commands and unlock Radcliffe's mind for the Framework, much to Radcliffe's annoyance until he realized Ivanov was also there wishing to speak privately with him.
With Radcliffe now free, Ivanov told him he spent too much time inside the Framework while Radcliffe argued that he worked better when left alone, noting that he had completed much of the work required by Ivanov and the Watchdogs. When Radcliffe noted that Aida was on hand to assist, Ivanov reminded him that he did not made a deal with a Life-Model Decoy, but a scientist. Radcliffe then logged back into the Framework, promising that Ivanov would get what he wanted, with Ivanov threatening to both Radcliffe and Aida that he better get it before then leaving the submarine.
Having now learned that Mace was not actually an Inhuman as had believed as he had been using a modified version of Calvin Zabo's Formula to gain his own powers, Ivanov allowed him to escape his cell using the remaining amounts of Patriot Serum he had left in his veins when he broke through his chains and subdued a single guard. Having let Mace break free, Ivanov greeted him in the hallway of his base as Mace tried to place him under arrest under S.H.I.E.L.D.'s leadership for his and the Watchdogs' many terrorist crimes against both the humans and the Inhumans alike.
However Ivanov confidently noted that Mace had no power left to arrest him as he had used the last of all his own strength to free himself from his own chains and subdue the one guard Ivanov had left for him. As Mace charged forward with full confidence, he struck Ivanov in the chest, only for Ivanov to then prove that he had enough real strength to absorb the blow before dodging Mace's offer attacks with ease. Mace continued to fight back but Ivanov used his own superior SVR training to subdue the Director and then knock him out before having him dragged back into his prison cell.
Torturing Jeffrey Mace
- "You see, there is something lower than scum, that which strives to be it, like you. You allow S.H.I.E.L.D. to fill your veins with poison and parade you around as an example, of what? S.H.I.E.L.D. claims to be a beacon for humanity, what it really is is a safe haven for Inhumanity."
- ―The Superior to Jeffrey Mace
Taking Jeffrey Mace back to his cell, Ivanov waited for his to awake before telling him the story about how his own family and how it had shaped his own outlook on his. Ivanov then compared this to Mace, who allowed Brigadier General Glenn Talbot to inject his body with the poisonous Patriot Serum which was now destroying his body. Ivanov then proved his point by digging a knife into Mace's chest, drawing blood from the seemingly indestructible director. As Mace noted his men would come for him, Ivanov said he was waiting.
As Ivanov left the cell, Aida greeted him to report on how his work in interrogating Mace was going. When Aida made a reference to a metaphor, Ivanov made not that the Life-Model Decoys were still impressing him even now. Ivanov then questioned if his methods in interrogating Mace disturbed Aida, to which Aida acknowledged that Ivanov's method's of interrogation were unusual to her. Aida then questioned when Ivanov would be finished with Director Mace, at which point he claimed even filth had a purpose, sexually touching Aida's face before walking away from her.
Knowing that Phil Coulson was now in Nome having discovered the corpses of his fallen SVR comrades, Ivanov then called Coulson, having left a phone is the mouth of his friend. As they spoke to each other, Coulson blamed Ivanov for having Melinda May and others kidnapped while Ivanov blamed Coulson for the deaths of his allies searching for an 0-8-4, years earlier. Despite Coulson insisting that he did not kill them, Ivanov noted that they were killed because of him and what he did all those years ago, noting he dug up all their bodies to pay his respects, promising to kill Coulson's allies.
Having hung up on the call, Ivanov turned his attention back onto Mace, as he noted how Coulson hid behind S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as Tony Stark and the Avengers while he continued to pursue his own secret alien agenda. However Mace noted that Ivanov was merely pursuing an insane conspiracy theory which had since been installed into the Watchdogs who had since then used that hate to hunt down the Inhumans. Ivanov however insisted that Coulson had opened up a world and allowed aliens onto the planet, vowing to make Mace and Coulson finally confess their sins to him very soon.
Walking around him, Ivanov gave Director Mace a final chance to finally denounce S.H.I.E.L.D. and confess to any last regrets he may have. However, Mace insisted that he still believed in Coulson as well as S.H.I.E.L.D. to protect the Earth. Mace then noted that while Ivanov claimed to protect the Humans, he had clearly lost his own humanity many years ago. As a result, Ivanov then claimed to respect Mace's choice as he untied him, however he then walked out of his cell, leaving several of his own Watchdogs to beat him to death while he was gone, walking away while this was happening.
Showdown with S.H.I.E.L.D.
- "I've been looking forward to facing one of you, readying myself. I strive for perfection. You are a genetic cheater."
"I'm not a cheater. You're just playing by the old rules."
- ―The Superior and Quake
As S.H.I.E.L.D. agents stormed his base, Ivanov waited for a chance to finally confront Phil Coulson. Finding Coulson shooting his men with an I.C.E.R., Ivanov moved forward and disarmed him before knocking him to the floor, noting that he had waited a long time for a face to face with the agent, while Coulson mocked Ivanov's efforts. Pointing toward his Prosthetic Hand, Ivanov noted that Coulson had enhanced himself as well as many others to give himself an edge in their fight.
Ivanov explained that throughout his research in understanding alien threats like the Chitauri Invasion, Coulson had been the one thread through it all while Coulson had realized Ivanov was one of the SVR agents he had encountered while searching for the Russian 0-8-4 years earlier. Ivanov explained that his unit had been tortured and killed for failing to gain the 0-8-4, which he blamed S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson for. Coulson however demanded to know where he could find both Melinda May and Jeffrey Mace, despite Ivanov continuing to play all his mocking mind games with Coulson.
Coulson told Ivanov that he did not even remember what the 0-8-4 was that had killed the SVR agents, calling Ivanov just another Redshirt who would fail to stop him from saving the world. As they were speaking Quake burst through the doors and Coulson left them alone, noting that Quake's main mission for the last few months was stopping the Watchdogs. With Ivanov and Quake now alone, he challenged her to fight against him, only for her to strike him with a shockwave which sent Ivanov flying backwards and into a pillar with incredibly painful force, which he soon recovered from.
Ivanov soon recovered as Quake explained that she had followed the Watchdogs through their crimes, funding and deals with Ellen Nadeer until she had found Ivanov, who insisted that they stop talking and begin to fight as he drew his knives. Ivanov threw a blade a Quake who struck him with another shockwave, despite Ivanov's knife embedding itself in her shoulder. Ivanov and Quake recovered and continued their fight, with Ivanov using his blades to try and cut her, claiming that being one of the powerful Inhumans made her a cheat in the fight due to her own new superhuman powers.
Ivanov had managed to maintain a good fight throughout the battle, despite Quake using her gauntlets to block his blades and even taking a headbutt without slowing down. However, despite Ivanov noting that he had trained for a long time to face an Inhuman and kill it with his bare hands, Quake told him that the game had changed before hitting him with another shockwave. While Ivanov quickly got back onto his feet, Quake fired another shockwave which destroyed the pillar he was standing by, causing rubble to collapse and crush Ivanov as Quake escaped to rejoin her own allies again.
While Ivanov remained unconscious underneath all of the rubble, S.H.I.E.L.D. still continued on their mission, despite unknowingly having their top agents replaced by Life-Model Decoys while Holden Radcliffe managed to escape onboard the Watchdogs Submarine with the now captured agents. With Ivanov hardly breathing, Aida arrived and confirmed that he was still alive, only just barely. Aida updated the unconscious Ivanov on their plan, telling him he would still be important before repeating what he had said to her earlier, about filth still having a purpose for their plans.
Saved from Death
- "I don't want to live as a festering cripple, and you better not be talking about messing with my brain. I don't want to be a thing like you."
"Don't worry. You'll be many things."
- ―Anton Ivanov and Aida
Due to his battle against Quake, Ivanov was mortally wounded and found himself unable to move below his waist. He was cared for by Aida who played Ivanov's favourite song by The Moody Blues, with Ivanov claimed he thought it was a good song to be born to, or maybe for him to die to. Aida told Ivanov that he would not die, with Ivanov warning that he did not want to live the rest of his life as a broken cripple.
Ivanov also furiously claimed that he would not allow his body to be replaced by a Life-Model Decoy like her as this disgusted him, or be locked inside the Framework as he had seen it as an addiction held by Holden Radcliffe, with all this excitement causing Ivanov great pain as he collapsed back with his heart raising. Aida however told Ivanov that he would become many things before lifting up a large electric saw while Ivanov could only look on in utter horror, incapable of getting away. Aida then lowered the blade to Ivanov's flesh and cut away, causing Ivanov to scream out in utter agony.
As Ivanov endured horrendous pain, Aida tore his body apart piece by piece, all while still keeping him alive for her own plans. Eventually she cut off his head and kept the brain alive, giving it remote control over a robotic duplicate of Ivanov's old body. Eventually Ivanov awoke, seemingly finding his body repaired and able to move again, making him at first believe he had been locked into the Framework which infuriated him as he confronted Aida and grabbed her by the throat in a bitter rage, reminding her that this is not what he wanted.
Aida however calmly informed Ivanov of what had just happened, explaining that his body was mechanical while his mind was not, showing him his own severed head and noting that his strength had now been enhanced. Aida explained she had discovered how to do this by reading the Darkhold and explained that she needed Ivanov to continue to live and be walking around in order for him to protect the Framework. Aida noted that Ivanov was now a machine that could still feel all the emotions such as love and anger, which was what she intended to find for herself very soon.
- "What have you done to me? Why can I not kill her?"
"Because I built you. The same parameters that limit me must also limit you. My primary directive requires me to protect these people."
"Then we are both powerless."
- ―Anton Ivanov and Aida
When Jeffrey Mace was killed within the Framework, Ivanov crushed his bones with a hammer and dumped his body in the sea, making it appear that Quake had murdered him. Ivanov remained beside those logged into the Framework when he was joined by Aida, who logged herself out as her avatar had been injured. Ivanov noted his surprise at seeing a machine being on edge as those inside the Framework, including Melinda May, were now questioning the narrative she had been given, as Ivanov noted that she was still human.
When Aida said it was nothing but a complicated situation, Ivanov drew his gun and attempted to execute May, explaining he would make the situation less complicated. To Ivanov's surprise however, he found his new body was incapable of pulling the trigger. Ivanov demanded some answers and was told his body also had Holden Radcliffe's parameters, which meant they both still had to protect all the S.H.I.E.L.D. while they were logged into the Framework, with the now furious Ivanov noted that this meant they were both powerless to do anything due to their current programming.
Aida however told Ivanov that the Framework was in danger due to the actions of both Jemma Simmons and Daisy Johnson, who Ivanov remembered as the Inhuman who had crippled his body during their previous fight. Aida went on to note they had both hacked into the Framework and were attempting to dismantle it from the inside, and therefore needed to die, so Ivanov was ordered to find their location to kill them. Desiring nothing more than a chance to get his own revenge against Quake, Ivanov noted that due to their last encounter, he would do this mission with great personal pleasure.
While his Watchdogs men continued working on Project Looking Glass for Aida, Ivanov became distracted and picked up one of his knives from the table. Ivanov then went to Phil Coulson, who was still locked inside the Framework with the others, as Ivanov attempted to drive his knife into Coulson's throat, still seeking revenge for the deaths of his allies within the SVR. Ivanov found himself once again incapable of killing Coulson, and so furiously promised that once the machine had freed him of the parameters that were keeping him from killing, he then would slice open Coulson throat.
While stood by the machine, Ivanov took a shot of vodka with a slice of onion, only to furiously realize it did not have the same effect with his new robotic body, smashing the glass on the ground. Aida joined him and told him that the final specifications for the machine were almost ready, as Ivanov confirmed it would remove all their current perimeters. Ivanov then explained that his men had found Zephyr One, which was holding Simmons and Quake, promising that once they got a lock onto the ship, they would soon shoot it out of the sky and finally claim their own victory over S.H.I.E.L.D..
Return of the Agents
While still inside the Ivanov Oil Platform, Ivanov spent some oft his time reading through the Darkhold alongside one of his own robotic doubles. While reading the book, Ivanov noted that the book actually had some amusing sections. Hearing a noise, Ivanov questioned if Aida had finally used Project Looking Glass to turn herself human, only to get frustrated at the fact that he could only speak to his own doubles and walking away.
To his shock however, Ivanov discovered that Aida had in fact turned herself into an Inhuman and teleported off the platform with Leo Fitz. Ivanov then greeted Phil Coulson and Melinda May, who had both just been removed from the Framework and had also witnessed Aida leaving the platform with Fitz, as Ivanov noted that now they were free of the Framework he was no long restricted from killing them. Upon seeing the Watchdogs' leader, Coulson told May to shot him, which she did only to then discover his new robotic body was now immune to pain as he then moved towards them both.
Ivanov quickly subdued the shocked May with a strong blow to the face before pushing Coulson against the wall and placing his gun underneath his chin, preparing to finally get his revenge on the man he had hunted for so long. As Ivanov prepared to kill his enemy, he mocked Coulson for no longer having S.H.I.E.L.D. to hide behind, Coulson then activated the Energy Shield on his Prosthetic Hand, which cut through Ivanov's robotic face and revealed his Quantum Brain, leaving his body to fall lifelessly to the ground while Coulson and May recovered from the brief but still brutal fight.
However, Ivanov simply activated his other Life-Model Decoy bodies and two versions of himself then greeted the horrified Coulson and May, who responded by locking themselves in the room to try and hide from Ivanov for as long as possible. While Coulson and May attempted to figure out a way to defend themselves, Ivanov's two bodies worked together to hack into the door and then get inside, intending to beat the two agents to death. Upon entering the room, Ivanov only found Alphonso Mackenzie inside, still logged into the Framework, as the other two were nowhere to be seen.
Ivanov soon learned that May had used Epinephrine to enhance her own adrenaline as she charged out of the shadows and attacked Ivanov along with Coulson. The two Ivanovs then fought May and Coulson, unaffected by their blows but finding that the pair were superior fighters, as May soon disarmed the Ivanov she was fighting while Coulson kept the upper hand. Eventually Coulson succeeded in electrocuting one of the robotic bodies, killing it, while May crushed the other Ivanov's head with its own hammer by furiously striking him before collapsing, exhausted from the Epinephrine.
However the battle was merely a distraction for the agents as a forth Superior body was having the Watchdogs load his equipment onto the Watchdogs Submarine. Once all of the key equipment was onboard, the Superior ordered his men to detach the submarine from the Ivanov Oil Platform and launch the torpedoes, noting that he would miss the base. As the Superior escaped, his men fired the torpedoes at the oil platform as he left his enemies to drown.
As the Superior walked through the Submarine, Aida then teleported before him and demanded that he and his men immediately stop the attack and save the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. As Aida begged him to stop, Ivanov only mocked her by telling her that she would never be closer to human and noting that this situation was ironic. Aida attempted to order him to stop but Ivanov reminded her that she no longer could control him, noting this would bring him the joy he desired and that she did not stop him crushing all of Director Jeffrey Mace's bones, although she argued she did not feel empathy then.
The Superior teased Aida by calling her a child and telling her that she had not experienced the thrill of killing, resulting in her grabbing his throat and pushing him against a wall. Aida threatened to kill him, but the Superior simply noted that this was just one of many of his Life-Model Decoy bodies that she could destroy, as his brain was hidden from her. As they heard more torpedoes being launched, the Superior reminded Aida that his plan to kill Phil Coulson and Melinda May was already underway, forcing her to then teleport away from the Submarine and attempt to save them both herself.
Having been rejected by Leo Fitz, Aida returned to the Watchdogs Submarine where Ivanov greeted her, telling her that she simply could not handle the pain of heartbreak even with her Inhuman powers. Ivanov offered her a glass of vodka as Aida claimed that being human was to suffer, although Ivanov noted that she was not fully human. Ivanov noted that having read the Darkhold he knew there were things far beyond human, although Aida screamed out that she was nothing but torn and twisted as Ivanov then seductively offered to help her feel something else instead.
The Superior told Aida that the Darkhold had given him a way to rebuild the world in the Framework in reality, giving her the control over HYDRA that she had there and where Inhumans were hunted. Aida expressed her desire to make Inhumans suffer before ripping open Ivanov's shirt, kissing him and pushing him sexually down onto the floor, before then repeatedly slamming his head on the ground, crushing his Quantum Brain until he was dead. Another one of the Superior's many robotic bodies, a fifth body, watched this before asking if Aida felt better after killing his robotic body.
Ghost Rider's Attack
While moving all of their equipment, Ivanov laughed at Aida's new emotions, causing her to furiously grab him by the throat and pin him against a wall, threatening to rip out his robotic insides out from his body. Ivanov called all her new emotions sweet while his other Life-Model Decoys backed him up, along with Sergei Mishkin, who noted that Aida was the one who had designed and built them, something which she claimed to now regret having done.
Having listened carefully, Ivanov noted her use of the word regret, reminding her that she and Holden Radcliffe had built an empire within HYDRA inside that Framework by removing the regrets of those inside it, but now she claimed to want to burn that world to the ground. When Ivanov noted that he thought Aida wanted to rule the world, she claimed that she would not be reckless and would instead use the information given to them by the Darkhold to ensure that the world of the Framework was recreated and that S.H.I.E.L.D. also suffered for what they had done to them both.
Just as Aida vowed to make Leo Fitz suffer more than anyone for having rejecting her love, they were then interrupted by the arrival of the Hell Charger pulling up at the warehouse, with the tires burning. While one of Ivanov's doubles escaped the facility, the other was challenged by Robbie Reyes who demanded the Darkhold. The Superior and Mishkin challenged Reyes together who proceeded to use the power of the Spirit of Vengeance to subdue them, throwing the Superior against a wall with incredible force while Aida used her new powers to escape before the Reyes could kill her.
Back onboard the Watchdogs Submarine, Ivanov attempted to check Aida's wounded arm, which had been burned by Ghost Rider using his Hellfire Chain, and was not healing as quickly as Aida's Inhuman powers should. Ivanov deduced that Ghost Rider was born from the same place within the Multiverse that her new body was, and that was the reason he was able to seriously wound her and possibly kill her, noting that from now on she would have to be a lot more careful not to come back into contact with the Ghost Rider for her own safety, something which clearly unnerved Aida.
As they prepared to go to a meeting with Glenn Talbot to discuss all of the recent events involving Inhumans seemingly attacking the country, including the Siege of the Playground which was now being blamed on Quake, Ivanov helped Mishkin with his tie, noting that they both looked fantastic. As they prepared to leave the Submarine together, Aida warned Ivanov not to disappoint her, although he just insisted that they would recreate the Inhuman fearing world of the Framework within the real world simply to please her. Ivanov then put the Darkhold inside his bag and left for the meeting.
- "Enough! For decades, we have turned a blind eye to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s indifference to the rule of law. They claim to be a spy agency but behave more like a secret police, leaving destruction and chaos in their wake. But of all their dangerous policies, there is one that threatens our very survival. It is their secret program of breeding, recruiting, and weaponizing Inhumans."
- ―Anton Ivanov to Glenn Talbot
During the meeting with Brigadier General Glenn Talbot, Ivanov rose to his feet and claimed that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been working outside of the law and left destruction and chaos in their wake, noting that their worst crime was weaponising Inhumans into teams like the Secret Warriors. Talbot furiously rose to his feet and insisted that Ivanov was lying, but Ivanov asked that he be allowed to finish.
Taking the Darkhold out of his bag, Ivanov promised that the book contained the secret to defeating S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans, although Talbot compared this theory to L Ron Hubbard. They were suddenly interrupted however by Daisy Johnson who stormed into the room armed with a gun. When Talbot tried to address Johnson, she fired a single shot into his skull, very nearly killing him. Although he was secretly aware the Johnson they saw shooting General Talbot was a Life-Model Decoy, Ivanov used this as a chance to drive the people against both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans.
Just as Ivanov and Sergei Mishkin insisted that all the people in the room must read the Darkhold and see the answer for themselves, Ivanov and Mishkin were shot by Phil Coulson and Melinda May who had charged in having heard the gunshots. Having survived the bullets due to their robotic bodies, Ivanov and Mishkin escaped the room while the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents ran to General Talbot's aid and found themselves being threatened by the United States Armed Forces due to belief that they were responsible for the attack, just as Ivanov had planned from the very beginning.
Having avoided much of the fight, Ivanov had discovered Quake in the middle of a battle against more of the Life-Model Decoys, having just destroyed Mishin's body as well as a robotic security guard and then witnessed Aida escape using her own newly gained teleporting powers. Ivanov stepped into the room and immediately threw one of his knives at Quake, stabbing her in the shoulder. Feeling confident, Ivanov reminded Quake that even if she destroyed his current body, he would simply build more bodies and keep coming, noting that she nor S.H.I.E.L.D. could stop him from completing his plans.
Quake told Ivanov that he really should not claim he could not be stopped as it always meant he would then be stopped. At that very moment, Ivanov had the Hellfire Chain wrapped all around his body before the Ghost Rider pulled him across the air, burning his robotic body. Just as Ivanov was flying through the air, Quake fired one of her shockwaves at him which caused Ivanov's Life-Model Decoy fifth body to be ripped apart. However the Superior's main head and his brain remained hidden, allowing him to escape while Aida was later found by the Spirit of Vengeance before being destroyed.
Working for HYDRA
Reunion with Old Enemies
- "Humanity still stands threatened. I will ensure this planet's survival for generations. But Hale is an important part of that."
"So you're the one holding her leash?"
"You will bring her to me. Or Mr. Creel will blow this lovely plane out of the sky. He and I will survive, of course, but I am less confident about your chances."
- ―Anton Ivanov and Phil Coulson
When the Superior's severed head and brain had been obtained by General Hale, Ivanov was forced into her service, under the concept that they were protecting humanity from an extinction level event. When Hale was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D., the Superior arrived onboard Zephyr One to ensure her freedom, with the Absorbing Man also onboard, threatening to blow up the plane if they did not obey their instructions to allow Ivanov to arrive and free Hale from her cell.
Ivanov was soon greeted by Phil Coulson who held him at gunpoint, with Ivanov noting that Coulson should not have hoped to have seen the last of him. Ivanov and Coulson then discussed if he still believed himself to be the superior man, to which Ivanov claimed that sense gaining this Life-Model Decoy body he had redefined what it meant to be superior, noting that parts of him would always be human while he remained stronger and immortal. Ivanov claimed that humanity was threatened and demanded that they hand over Hale, promising that Carl Creel would destroy the plane if they did not obey.
Eventually Hale had arrived while being protected by Creel, standing beside Ivanov while Coulson accused Hale of working with terrorists like Ivanov, he also claimed that it was the Superior who had been responsible for shooting of Brigadier General Glenn Talbot, which Creel insisted was not the case as he noted Daisy Johnson was the one who had shot Talbot. Hale however then pointed out that the Superior himself was an android built from Leo Fitz's designs, while offering to take him apart to prove it. Ivanov watched as Coulson had agreed to come with Hale in exchange for the safety of all his agents, despite all of Melinda May's fierce objects to the contrary.
Once onboard the Quinjet, Hale took over the controls while Ivanov ordered Coulson to put on a mask and hand over his own Prosthetic Hand to be scanned for weapons. Ivanov listened as Coulson tried to convince Creel that he was on the wrong side before turning back to Ivanov and questioning why his Sleeper Mechs did not have his face, with Ivanov claiming that the Mechs were nothing more than soldiers. Coulson theorised that when Aida was killed, Ivanov had also lost the ability to make more Life-Model Decoys. When Coulson had claimed Hale must have something on him, she then confessed that she had currently possession of Ivanov's severed head and brain.
Protecting the Chamber
Under the direct orders of General Hale, the Superior was sent to the facility where Brigadier General Glenn Talbot had finally revealed that the Particle Infusion Chamber was located following the Destruction of HYDRA, which Hale wanted to use to enhance all Ruby's abilities with the Gravitonium. Upon arriving at their facility, Ivanov ordered his team of Sleeper Mechs to head inside of the facility and search for the Chamber.
Before long, Ivanov's soldiers located their Chamber and secured it, so Ivanov called Hale at her facility to inform her of the success. Hale noted that she would join Ivanov as soon as Werner von Strucker had finished writing out Baron Wolfgang von Strucker's detailed plans of the device. When Ivanov reminded Hale of her promise to him, she reassured Ivanov that he would have his own chance to step into the Chamber himself and become the Superior man. Their conversation was cut short however when an explosion was heard in the facility as Ivanov and his soldiers went to investigate the explosion.
Showdown with Yo-Yo Rodriguez
- "I heard what happened to you. Now you are also part machine."
"Not the part that matters."
- ―Superior and Yo-Yo Rodriguez
The explosion was soon revealed to have been caused by the arrival of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who had come to steal the Particle Infusion Chamber before HYDRA could get their hands onto it and use it for their own purposes. While Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons were still being held down in the tense shootout against his own squad of the Sleeper Mechs, Ivanov found and confronted Yo-Yo Rodriguez. Drawing his knives, Ivanov then began fighting against Rodriguez, furiously slashing at her as Rodriguez avoided his hits and tried to hit back against him.
Looking at her new Prosthetic Arms, Ivanov commented that he had heard about Ruby maiming Rodriguez during her previous mission, comparing himself to Rodriguez by noting that she was also now part machine. Rodriguez however noted that she was not part machine where it matter and furiously fought back against the arrogant Ivanov, with Ivanov knocking Rodriguez to the ground and noting that he no longer felt pain as he had already died dozens of times, noting that Rodriguez would not get the same second chances as he got if she was killed, before then furiously attacking her once again.
However, Rodriguez refused to give up the fight, fighting back with all of her S.H.I.E.L.D. combat training, despite no longer actually being able to use her Inhuman power but with her new enhanced strength from her Prosthetic Arms, as she had managed to push Ivanov away before picking up one of his discarded knives from the floor and began slashing at him. With Ivanov now on the defence, Rodriguez proceeded to use this to her advantage as she pushed him down the facility's corridor before managing to slice open his chest, revealing the Life-Model Decoy implants hidden underneath his skin.
Seeing his weakness exposed, Rodriguez commented that Ivanov was still part machine before she then grabbed ahold of his head and furiously pushed Ivanov out of the nearby window, as they both fell several floors down to the ground. Upon landing, Ivanov smashed his skull against the concrete, resulting in his death while Rodriguez was only mildly injured due to using Ivanov's body to cushion her fall. Ivanov's death resulted in all of the nearby Sleeper Mechs then also shutting down as their controller was no longer active, allowing Fitz and Simmons to survive their shootout against the robots.
- "Old ways are better. Simple, built to last. Like this submarine. Modern machines all software, less hardware. You put too much faith in them. Man is the superior machine. And I am the superior man. I'm told you refuse to talk and that you welcome pain. I, too, love pain. And I love to make others feel it using the old ways."
As a young boy, he greatly admired his abusive father because he worked hard for what he earns. But all of this was lost upon seeing him sucking up to a wealthy man who inherited his fortune. This gave him a sense of just that people would work for what they want to achieve and it should never be given to them. This could be one of the reasons why he views Inhumans in a hateful perspective and even thinks of them as abominations, calling them genetic cheaters because they inherited their abilities.
Initially, Ivanov despised robots and androids of all kinds, viewing them as mere machines which were fallible and would never best human beings, who he considered to be superior machines. However, when he himself was turned into a set of androids controlled by his human severed head so he could survive, Ivanov's views on the matter changed and he eventually considered this new way of living a solution to achieve immense strength and immortality, and thus to remain what he called a "superior man".
Powers and Abilities
- "I no longer feel pain. Unlike you. I have died dozens of times. But you, no second chances."
- ―Anton Ivanov to Yo-Yo Rodriguez
- Hive Mind System: Ivanov's crippled body was experimented on by Aida and managed to keep his own biological brain alive inside a device created with knowledge derived from the ancient book of spells called the Darkhold. It also gave Ivanov remote control over all of his robotic duplicates.
- Android Bodies: Ivanov has control over various of his own Life-Model Decoy duplicates, all of which are remotely controlled by his own human brain and through which he can experience perception. When Ivanov lost access to the machinery to build more identical robot bodies of himself, he resorted to controlling Sleeper Mechs, which worked in the same way but did not have his face or voice while the Mechs all worked as General Hale's personal bodyguards and enforcers.
- "Man is the superior machine. And I am the superior man."
- ―Anton Ivanov to Patriot
- Expert Tactician: Upon learning of the new Inhuman Outbreak, Ivanov was disgusted by the notion of Inhumans gaining power they did not earn and he led the Watchdogs, becoming the Superior in the process, and leading the entire organization from the shadows. As part of his mission to wipe out the Inhumans, Ivanov organized many missions against the Inhumans, including the Blackout Attack which was thwarted by S.H.I.E.L.D..
- Expert Combatant: As a former member of the SVR, Ivanov is highly trained in multiple fighting styles. While leading the Watchdogs, he trained himself to be a fierce combatant, being able to go fight Quake, Ghost Rider and Melinda May.
- Knife Mastery: Ivanov demonstrates great skill in the use of knives both as close quarters blades and as thrown projectiles.
- Multilingualism: Ivanov is fluent in his native Russian, as well as in English.
- Knives: Ivanov carries an arsenal of knives, which he uses as both a close quarters weapon and as a projectile. He used several of these to torture Jeffrey Mace, and he utilized them again to great effect in combat with the Inhuman Quake, succeeding in injuring the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
- Makarov PM: Ivanov, in an LMD body, drew this handgun and attempted to execute Melinda May while she was still locked in the Framework. However, android parameters set by Aida prevented him from shooting.
- AKM: Ivanov was equipped with this weapon during his time in the SVR. He carried this rifle to the Burkov Mining Facility to retrieve an alien artifact. However, his unit was met with resistance from Phil Coulson and Melinda May, and he used the rifle to attempt to apprehend the pair but failed.
|Appearances for Anton Ivanov|
In chronological order:
- In the comics, Anton is the seventh person who wears the mantle of the Red Guardian, the Soviet counterpart of Captain America. Unbeknownst to anyone, Anton is actually a Life-Model Decoy, and after he was decapitated by an alien, his head was kept alive in storage.
- The title of "Superior" has been adopted by two separate characters in the comics. The first was Jonathan Gallagher, who was the archenemy of Comet Man, and the second was a child who claimed to be the son of The Leader.
- In The Return, Ivanov refers to his new LMD form as something "designed only for killing", a subtle allusion to Marvel supervillain M.O.D.O.K. (Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing).
- Ivanov is a fan of The Moody Blues.
Behind the Scenes
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.14: The Man Behind the Shield
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.12: Hot Potato Soup
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.03: Uprising
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.09: Broken Promises
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.13: BOOM
- ↑ Translates to: "Yes."
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.15: Self Control
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.21: The Return
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.19: All the Madame's Men
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.22: World's End
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.14: The Devil Complex
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.17: The Honeymoon