Taurus Bulba is an antagonist from Disney's 1991-1993 television series Darkwing Duck, debuting as the main antagonist in the hour-long pilot episode "Darkly Dawns the Duck". An evil, anthropomorphic, Russian-accented bull, he is introduced as a criminal mastermind serving a 99-year jail sentence. Although Bulba only appeared in three episodes and a few print materials, he is considered one of Darkwing Duck's deadliest enemies.
Taurus is a blue bull with a muscular build. He wears a red jacket with gold buttons, a white shirt with a yellow tie, gray pants and black shoes. As a cyborg, his horns have been replaced by a missile launcher and laser, his face covered by a mask, his shoulders, right eye and lower half are now mechanical and all parts are red. His left arm converts into a laser cannon. At the end of the episode, his body can transform into a jet, his arms turn into wings and his lower half becomes an engine before he flies away.
Apart from a few wry comedic moments, Taurus Bulba is considered to be a dark and menacing character, and probably the most malicious villain ever to appear in the series aside from the psychotic Negaduck. He possessed incredible cunning as well as prodigious physical strength. In "Darkly Dawns the Duck", it is shown that his henchmen murdered Gosalyn's grandfather Professor Waddlemeyer, on his order (though apparently, they did so in reverse order, killing him before getting the machine's codes from him), and his men and pet condor Tantalus also nearly kill Gosalyn as well. Gosalyn is afraid of him in both of his cartoon appearances, though she overcomes her fear during "The Steerminator" while caged alongside Honker.
After being rebuilt as the Steerminator, Bulba retained his orginal personaily but also become completely unhinged, with a single-minded obsession to destroy Darkwing Duck. Had the series continued, there would have been a concluding episode to the cliffhanger which showed Darkwing confronting Taurus Bulba in Africa ― along with an African version of Darkwing Duck. This obsession is also born out in the Boom! comics where Bulba actually uses Darkwing's silhouette as the insignia for Quackwerks.
Powers and Abilities
Being a bull, Taurus Bulba is quite strong and has the intelligence to match his strength. He also has access to a vast amount of wealth and resources, like he was able to run his criminal operations while being in jail and with control of the Ramrod, he can manipulate gravitational fields and disrupts gravitational bonds to allows manipulation on a micro scale and makes both objects and people float.
As the Steerminator, Bulba has various cybernetic enhancements which he can manipulate at will as he can shift his arm into a laser cannon or transform his body into a plane. His cyborg form also gave him more superhuman strength and he is much more durability and agile than before, making him a more dangerous opponent.
Not much is known about Taurus Bulba's background. In the series' hour-length pilot episode, "Darkly Dawns the Duck", Taurus is shown serving a 99-year jail sentence yet still involved in criminal affairs from the prison. In fact, he seems to find being incarcerated to only be a minor inconvenience, seeing his prison cell as the perfect hideout and cover for his activities.
After his henchmen stole the Waddlemeyer Ramrod (an experimental weapon that seems to envelop its targets in an anti-gravity field, destroying buildings and the most heavily-guarded banks) Bulba escaped and gave orders to kidnap Gosalyn because he believed, as she was Professor Waddlemeyer's only living relative, that she knew the secret code to active the Ramrod. At the climax of "Darkly Dawns the Duck", Bulba forced Darkwing to give him the arming code by threatening to drop Gosalyn to her death ("...or she'll make quite an ugly stain on the street!"). Darkwing fought Bulba and ended up destroying the Ramrod, as well Canard Tower. Though heavily injured, Darkwing survived, but Taurus was presumed killed in the explosion. Thanks to the efforts of F.O.W.L., Bulba managed to survive, or perhaps he was resurrected and was made into an unstoppable cyborg.
Years later in "Steerminator", F.O.W.L. subsequently assumed that Bulba would accept their offer of employment following their restoration of him. Bulba pointedly declined the offer, destroying the F.O.W.L. laboratory and terrorizing Steelbeak and his men in the process, and instead elected to attempt to gain revenge on Darkwing and Gosalyn upon discovering from Steelbeak that the former was alive, as the maniacal bull believed that Darkwing had been killed along with him. After being once again defeated by Darkwing and Gosalyn, he managed to flee into the sky thanks to his cyborg enhancements, swearing that he would get his revenge. As the Steerminator, Taurus now suffers from an overheating problem, which causes his mind and body to "lock up" just like a troubled computer, but the effect is only temporally.
Taurus Bulba appears in "Let's Get Dangerous!". He starts out working for McDuck Enterprises as a scientist. Bulba is then revealed to be a member of F.O.W.L., though he later revolts against them. He has an American accent in this version.
Taurus Bulba kindly encounters Scrooge McDuck along with Huey and Louie just as he plans on hiring two of the nephews to work at the lab, just as he explains to the two about Bradford Buzzard's plan to change the world to which during the conversation, he plans to take the most powerful source in the world from the McDucks. Bulba then takes the McDucks and introduces them to the Ramrod, a large machine that makes anything to which Bulba takes Darkwing to a ceremony where Zan Owlson presents Darkwing as St. Canard's hero who would help protect the city from crime with heroism.
Encountering Bulba, Huey questions him about the Ramrod being able to make something from nothing, to which he explains that Huey has asked more than one question to him. As Scrooge approaches him, he then takes the McDucks to find the Ramrod plans. As Bulba enters his office, he hands out the index to Huey while explaining that the map will take the McDucks to the Ramrod area where all their questions will be answered. Darkwing then hands him a photo featuring Bulba's relationship with Thaddeus Waddlemeyer and Gosalyn Mallard, explaining to Darkwing about his tragic flashback between him and Waddlemeyer, much to Gosalyn's worry. As Darkwing asks Bulba about the Ramrod being stable, he then inserts the key on the Ramrod much to his chagrin. Bulba later chases Gosalyn out of McDuck Enterprises to which Darkwing does a surprise attack on him to which while fighting him, Darkwing notices Gosalyn falling off the building just as Darkwing's attempt to save Gosalyn was successful the two land at the spot where Launchpad is standing at.
Meanwhile as the McDucks arrive at the Ramrod area, Taurus Bulba then plans to take revenge against Gosalyn and Darkwing by summoning all the villains from a universe aligning with the original Darkwing Duck TV show. After Bulba locks up the nephews, he encounters Director Bradford Buzzard in his office at who is explaining to him that he is supposed to crack the Solego Circuit for F.O.W.L.'s evil plans, much to Bradford explaining about his betrayal to the evil organization just as Bulba summons Liquidator, Bushroot, and Megavolt to stabilize Bradford, much to his harsh orders just as he devises a plan to find Darkwing Duck and destroy him. Later as Darkwing and Gosalyn overhear a warning from W.A.N.D.A. about the Ramrod, Darkwing then plans to face Taurus Bulba and stop him from destroying St. Canard.
During the battle, Taurus Bulba notices the villains defeated and notices what Gosalyn has done to the Ramrod as she is unable to find her grandfather. She then manages to stop the rift from destroying everything by firing an arrow at the core just as the explosion from the rift knocks Bulba unconscious, due to Gosalyn's attempt to save St. Canard.
In the Boom! Studios Darkwing Duck comic, Taurus Bulba returns in the first story arc, The Duck Knight Returns, as the CEO and mastermind behind the mega-corporation Quackwerks, in an attempt to get revenge on Darkwing Duck and his companions, but more importantly, to give St. Canard a new kind of villain, as he considers the other villains unprofessional. It is stated that, between the events of "Steerminator" and the comic, Bulba went to war against F.O.W.L. for turning him into a cyborg and was destroyed in battle, but he was able to control his consciousness so that he could travel through and possess electronics, eventually reforming his cyborg body after possessing Gyro Gearloose's blender. He then demanded Gyro to give him the Gizmoduck suit, threatening to have Little Helper self-destruct if he didn't give him the password. Gyro reluctantly gave him the password, but the suit did not recognize Bulba as a person due to being a cyborg. So Bulba took over St. Canard in order to net him the Gizmosuit and have all his prisoners say the entire English language to get the password, which Gyro had now changed to avoid chances of that happening. Later, Gosalyn defeated Bulba once and for all after saving St. Canard and registering the Gizmosuit.
- Bulba in his original form seems to be modeled after the Kingpin from Marvel Comics.
- Bulba in terms of role in the story is similar to Lex Luthor from DC Comics. They are both very intelligent and both were upgraded into more powerful forms, as while Bulba was upgraded into a cyborg, Luthor first possessed a Kryptonite-powered battlesuit, and later became a human-martian hybrid known as "Apex Lex" in 2018. Another similarity is that they were both known criminals in their original incarnation, while in their rebooted incarnation (which for Luthor was after the 1985-1986 Crisis on Infinite Earths event) they were both portrayed as businessmen who were secretly criminals.
- Bulba is mistakenly said to be the leader of F.O.W.L. in the book, Darkwing Duck: The Darkest Night, although this is not part of the cartoon canon or the licensed comics. He is a member of F.O.W.L. in DuckTales reboot, but he revolts against them in the end.
- Taurus Bulba's name is a play on Taras Bulba, a character from the Nikolai Gogol novel of the same name.
- Taurus Bulba is the only villain whom Gosalyn is afraid of.