Zhivago is the current Consigliere of the Kuro crime family, serving as Cordell Kuro's lieutenant. He is also an infamous (ex-?)hitman and formerly served as lieutenant to the late Vladimir Von Helson. He was introduced as The Sniper and rose to infamy for the highly skilled yet unidentified assassinations and shootings he performed. He has been a major recurring antagonist since.
Zhivago is a vampire between 5'11" and 6'1"[c] with an out of shape but muscular physique. He is a light brown-skinned, middle-aged looking man of a Russian background and unclear descent. He is missing his right arm from the shoulder down. There are two distinctive scars that resemble lightning bolts on the left side of his face. One starts at his jaw and ends at the corner of his eye, the other starts past his hairline and ends above his brow. As of Beast he also has a large claw mark across his chest and stomach.[d] He has large fangs and long, sharp fingernails.
He has thick, wild white hair down to his back and hooded grey eyes ringed with dark circles. His eyes change color at various points, the whites turning black and grey irises glowing yellow. This is most conclusively linked to strong feelings of violence. Notably, Zhivago exhibits this trait more often than any other character.
Zhivago's signature attire consists of a black English/Italian-cut suit, red tie, and bell-bottom or pleated slacks. Although his suit may appear identical between appearances, there are variations in the jackets. For example, the jacket in Lone Wolf has visible pockets and a notched lapel, and was an English cut as opposed to his usual hybrid English/Italian. In a number of his appearances he also wears a dark- or cool-colored cloak or overcoat over his shoulders.
Zhivago is a sadistic hitman with a flair for the theatrical who finds entertainment in antagonizing and killing others, reveling in his status as Gaia's resident vampire antagonist. He finds undeniable enjoyment and satisfaction in not just carrying out but literally performing violence. Whether he's creating a dramatic entrance for himself, missing a shot by a hair on purpose, or using his signature catchphrase, he's enjoying himself every step of the way. His theatricality does, however, create a volatile combination with his otherwise straightforward nature and short temper, often complicating his job more than it has to.
His love of the theatrical is perhaps an extension of his difficulties dealing with unpredictability, his interactions with others suggest he rehearses or "scripts" his actions to some extent. This is best seen during scenes where he personally antagonizes a target, where he nearly always performs some kind of unnecessary but clearly premeditated action for its own sake. He has moderate to extreme difficulty adapting to significant divergence from these scripts. He reacts in a hastily improvised manner, has an abnormally delayed reaction, or in some cases has no reaction at all.
Despite evidence that he views vampires as superior, he still views himself as superior to other vampires. He actively dislikes fraternizing with them and refers to them casually and with disdain. Some of this is likely influenced by his notions of what a "real vampire" should be, as he presents himself as the archetypal vampire in opposition to more modern conceptions of vampires. Contrary to his unwillingness to socialize with them, however, he displays an accurate if uncomplicated awareness of the common sentiments of the vampire populace.
What little is known of Zhivago's history prior to his time with the Von Helsons strongly suggests a Russian background and advanced military experience and training, particularly in espionage, possibly in a position of leadership. He is most likely an immigrant to Central given his foreign background and accent. It is sometimes theorized he may have been a spy for an intelligence agency in his country of origin.[source? >___>]
At some point after arriving in Central where he most likely resided in Durem himself, he began working for the Von Helson family, then tasked with defending Durem's West Wall. It is no surprise a man of Zhivago's skillset and background would end up in the position of Vladimir Von Helson's lieutenant. It is unclear how exactly he got to his position but it is evident he has deliberately obscured his past.
Zhivago, from his description of his experience as lieutenant to Vladimir Von Helson, originally proved dutiful and reserved, if outspoken, with a mindset that was straightforward to an extreme.
During the Von Helson children's childhood, Zhivago lived at the House on the Hill in Dead Man's Pass away from the Von Helson mansion. He didn't care for Louie and actively disliked Ian, referring to him as a "sullen little ninny."
- Rifle: Zhivago's debut rifle as the Sniper. Though it doesn't have any real-life counterpart, its size, silhouette, ammunition, and muzzle blast indicate a silenced Soviet anti-materiel rifle[source? >___>] mounted with a red-illuminated Special Purpose Reticle (SPR) scope. This suggests but doesn't confirm military experience with firearms, as the main advantage apart from sheer firepower is the tactical ability to engage targets at any range that the scope enables. While the rifle itself would be an impractical choice for what it is used for due to its weight and recoil, he carries and handles it with ease. His superhuman ability to absorb impact seemingly extends to recoil as well, as he fires the rifle in a standing position twice, once while on a precarious ledge. It is possible he had no other choice due to the height and distance
- Grappling gun: The grappling gun is exclusive to MMVII: Fight or Flight. It resembles a large scoped pistol and has a high firing velocity and middling range. The hook itself has three serrated claws and appears to take up a significant amount of the bulk of the gun. The gun likely has some sort of retractive device (possibly an ascension device) that holds the cable taut.
- Binoculars: Powerful long range night-vision binoculars. Otherwise fairly ordinary. Utilized in Convergence and MMVII: Fight or Flight.
- The Masque #03 April Fools '05
- The Masque #12 The Trial of Ian
- The Vampire Conflict #01 Convergence
- The Vampire Conflict #02 Damian
- The Vampire Conflict #03 Unveiled
- The Vampire Conflict #04 Gun Show
- Zhivago is a masculine Russian name. It can be translated to life or perhaps lively or animated, ironic for an assassin of his demeanor.
- The rifle Zhivago uses during his first and second appearances features as the Assassin's Executioner in the January 2008 Monthly Collectible, Assassin's Guise.
- The Sniper sparked both fan and in-universe speculation as to his identity for several years and inspired the long-running GCD Sniper Game and The Sniper's Game.
- Prior to losing his arm, Zhivago was most likely both right-handed and right-eye dominant—he always aligned his aim to his right eye and used his right hand whenever he handled weaponry. He only used his left hand for trivial tasks.
- He is double-jointed.
- Zhivago is one of the only characters in the Manga to have a unique speech bubble. The borders of his are irregular with clean linework in The Vampire Conflict and rough, highly textured linework in the earlier issues of The Airship Saga.
- The OMGWTF's interest in sudoku and talk radio suggests that Zhivago either has an interest in sudoku and talk radio himself or provided it the means to partake.
- He shares multiple lines of dialogue with Cresento nearly verbatim despite never meeting him.
- His depiction in MMVII, as with many of the other characters, has several inaccuracies: his scars are completely missing, his eyes are brown with circular pupils, and his his fangs look more like regular canines.
- Some depictions suggest he occasionally wears smudged dark eyeliner.
- Zhivago's character designer, Saka, on Zhivago:
the characters I had in my head when I designed them & the way the writers portrayed these character are not the same most of the time. Zhivago I had in my mind was more calm and cool and suave.. um.. lol yeah. When I draw these characters I always go back to the original personality I had in mind for them. — Sakasrc
- Anime Expo 2007 Gaia Panel speaker, on Zhivago:
He's definitely a little angrier, he's got a little facial... scar stuff going on, you know. He's got attitude, he's got issues, so you know, he's gonna come with attitude and issues straight into the story. — Unknown speakersrc
- Lanzer, on Zhivago's original purpose in zOMG!:
I believe the team had reserved him for a much later chapter but never got around to it. It's a shame for his character design is really cool. — Lanzersrc
- ↑ Given that Gino is 30 years old and is Ian's junior by around 10 years, and that Zhivago is an adult in Ian's childhood memories, Zhivago is most likely at least in his late 60s. He shows significant signs of aging between his earliest chronological appearance and his recent appearances, suggesting he is relatively young for a vampire.
- ↑ This is just speculation based on a statistical likelihood given that most Gaians are bi. Zhivago has never once spoken to or about a man he was on good terms with on-screen. For the most part he has only had positive interactions and even jokingly flirted with women on-screen, but that should not negate the fact he is heavily gay-coded. Especially in his earlier appearances, some of the imagery involving him has drawn direct parallels to gay media.[source? >___>] Additionally, Louie makes some potentially unsubtle remarks in Frontier Skies: Louie.
- ↑ He is taller than Cordell but shorter than Edmund, putting him between around 5'11" and 6'1". This is only an estimate and other factors may affect how tall he appears vs. how tall he actually is. For instance, his usual dress shoes probably add to his height and his poor posture probably detracts from it.
- ↑ He actually receives the claw wound across his shoulder blades in Beast, but this has either been retconned or simply not shown in following issues.