Born in Minsk as the son of Russian nuclear physicist Sergei Krylov (later, the Presence), Nikolai Krylenko and his twin sister Laynia Petrovna were taken from birth by the then-Soviet government to be trained as soldiers after their mutant natures manifested. Joining the KGB-sponsored Soviet Super-Soldiers, Vanguard and the team came into conflict with many American heroes, especially Iron Man.
Later, the government wanted the threat of the Presence eliminated and sent his own children, unaware of their true relationship, to murder him. They learned that he was their father and turned against the Soviet regime. Vanguard, Darkstar, and Ursa Major became agents on their own, fighting for the good of the people
They tried to save the Russian people from the threat of the Squadron Sinister but Vanguard and his companions died in the attempt.
He was brought back to life by the Presence.