Art by Steve Epting
|First appearance||Captain America #208 (April 1977)|
|Created by||Jack Kirby|
|Notable aliases||The Bio-Fanatic|
|Abilities||Genius biochemist and scientist|
Specially-modified robot body grants:
Arnim Zola is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books by Marvel Comics. He is a master of biochemistry and is an enemy of Captain America and the Avengers. He first appeared in Captain America #208 (April 1977), created by writer/artist Jack Kirby. He was originally a Nazi biochemist during World War II and survived into the modern age by transferring his conscious mind into the body of a sophisticated robot which protected it by storing it in its chest and displaying a digital image of Zola's face on its chest plate.
Arnim Zola was a biochemist during World War II, experimenting with genetic engineering. His skills as a geneticist drew the attention of the Red Skull who used him in an attempt to create super soldiers. One of his experiments led to the brain of Adolf Hitler being copied into a being later known as Hate-Monger. In order to survive the end of World War II Zola managed to transfer his mind into a robot body and later enabled his mind to survive by uploading itself to various networks as the robotic body was destroyed.
Arnim Zola has appeared in television animations and also appeared in live-action movies, including the Captain America films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where he was portrayed by Toby Jones.
The character subsequently appeared in:
- Super-Villain Team-Up #17 (June 1980)
- Captain America #275-277 (November 1982-January 1983)
- The Avengers Annual #13 (1984)
- X-Factor Annual #3 (1988)
- Captain America #350 (February 1989)
- Marvel Comics Presents #24 (July 1989)
- Excalibur v.1 #36 (April 1991)
- Captain America #383 (March 1991)
- #387 (July 1991)
- #393-396 (October 1991-January 1992)
- Captain America Annual #11 (1992)
- Marvel Comics Presents #106 (1992)
- Fury #1 (May 1994)
- Captain America #437 (March 1995)
- Iron Man/X-O Manowar: Heavy Metal #1
- X-O Manowar/Iron Man in Heavy Metal #1 (September 1996)
- Thunderbolts #4 (July 1997)
- #24 (March 1999)
- Wolverine #139 (June 1999)
- Thunderbolts #33 (December 1999)
- Captain America #50 (February 2002)
- Secret War: From the Files of Nick Fury (2005)
- Marvel Holiday Special #2006
- Captain America #24 (January 2007)
- #26 (July 2007)
- X-Men #200 (August 2007)
- The Uncanny X-Men #488 (September 2007)
- Cable & Deadpool #45 (November 2007)
- Thunderbolts: International Incident (April 2008)
- Captain America #34-36 (March–May 2008)
- #38 (July 2008)
- Wizard Deadpool #0
- Invaders Now! #2 (November 2010).
Arnim Zola received an entry in the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #1 (January 1983), The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #1 (August 1985), and All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #12 (2006).
Fictional character biography
Arnim Zola was a Swiss biochemist during World War II who became one of the first human genetic engineers in history after finding papers and equipment used by the offshoot race of humanity known as the Deviants. He finds a ready home among the Nazi party, who see his experiments as a means to ensure the existence of the Master Race.
One of his first accomplishments is the creation of a brain pattern imprinting device, which allows a person's mental essence to be projected into a cloned brain. Zola uses this machine on Adolf Hitler, creating the Hate-Monger. Zola was later approached by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker into taking part in the establishment of HYDRA.
The Red Skull also financed some of Zola's experiments, allowing him to produce such creations as Primus, Doughboy, and Man-Fish. During one such experiment, Zola collects humans from the rubble of New York City after the devastation caused by the being known as Onslaught. Zola endows a teenager with superpowers, creating the hero known as Jolt, who is eventually stopped by the Thunderbolts. Zola also collected DNA samples of Captain America at the time when Red Skull's body began to age rapidly, and used this template to create a new body for his ally.
In the aftermath of the Superhuman Civil War, Zola joins the Red Skull in his newest attempt to kill Captain America, which succeeds. Afterwards, while Red Skull is busy with his plans to control America with a puppet government, Zola attempts to reverse-engineer a mysterious device given to him by Doctor Doom, as well as craft a device that will separate the Skull's consciousness from the mind of Aleksander Lukin, which was the result of misuse of the Cosmic Cube. He manages to unlock the device's secrets and has a brainwashed Sharon Carter hooked up to it. However, she breaks off the connection, just as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents storm the base. Zola quickly transfers Red Skull out of Lukin but his body is destroyed by the Grand Director. Red Skull is stuck in one of Zola's robot bodies.
Stuck in a computer somewhere during the "Captain America: Reborn" part of the "Dark Reign" storyline, Zola is located by Norman Osborn. He informs the current director of H.A.M.M.E.R. that Captain America is locked in space and time on the date of his supposed death. Doom's machine was meant to bring him back for an unknown purpose but because of Sharon, he has become unstuck in time, causing him to relive the events of World War II. By the time Zola rebuilds the machine in Castle Doom, Sharon Carter is brought to him so that he can transfer the Red Skull's mind into her body.
Eventually, Captain America finds Zola hiding in an alternate dimension, Dimension Z, where time moves at faster rate than on Earth. There. Zola has built a massive fortress where he is making a massive army of genetically altered soldiers with the intent of conquering Earth. In the initial assault, Cap rescues a genetically engineered infant boy (Zola's son, Leopold). In the decade stranded in Dimension Z, Cap raises the boy as his own son, Ian. The two take up with the peaceful Phrox, and eventually lead a rebellion to stop Zola's forces, now commanded by Zola's daughter, Jet Black. Ian is later captured by Zola, and brainwashed to accept Zola as his father again, but eventually breaks out of his control, only to be shot by Sharon Carter. Eventually, Carter sacrifices herself to destroy Zola and his fortress, allowing Cap and a now reformed Jet to escape back to Earth, where only seconds have passed since his arrival in Dimension Z.
During the "AXIS" storyline, Red Skull tells Arnim Zola that everything is in place on his end. Zola is confronted by his daughter Jet Zola who refuses to return to her father's side. Falcon sneak attacks Zola. Ian finds and frees Sharon Carter, only to learn that Zola has a bomb strong enough to destroy all of New York City. Falcon removes the telepathic antenna on Zola's body to stop him from controlling the bomb, but it only sets the bomb to activate. Falcon takes the bomb high into the sky above New York before it goes off. Upon the Unvengers being defeated, Arnim Zola fled with Jet Zola.
Arnim Zola later appears as a member of Hydra's High Council at the time when Captain America had previously been brainwashed by Red Skull's clone using the powers of Kobik to be a Hydra sleeper agent.
When Otto Octavius' mind in the Proto-Clone's body returns to one of his old bases only to find it is being occupied by Hydra following the "Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy" storyline, he defeats the Hydra soldiers when Arnim Zola appears to recruit him into Hydra. Zola grants him the leadership of some Hydra soldiers to work for him in arranging the destruction of Parker Industries.
During the "Secret Empire" storyline, Arnim Zola was present with Hydra's High Council as Hydra takes over the United States. It was later revealed that Arnim Zola was behind the A.I. Virus that is controlling Vision to be a part of Hydra's Avengers. As the Hydra Helicarriers attack the hideout of the Underground, Arnim Zola mentions that their attacks won't bring down their defenses. Captain America states that they will unleash their secret weapon. Arnim Zola tells Captain America that their subject in the vault is awake but disoriented and that the procedure they did on him is temporary as his condition will degrade quickly. After brushing off Arnim Zola's concerns, Captain America states that they only need their subject for a short time to bring the Underground down. When the vault opens, it is revealed that the person they are talking about that is a somehow-revived Bruce Banner.
During the "Spider-Geddon" storyline, Arnim Zola and some Hydra agents locate Superior Octopus' hideout in order to get him to return to Hydra and help rebuild it. When Superior Octopus states that he upheld his bargain with Hydra, Arnim Zola states that one "leaves" Hydra when he dies. Upon taking down the Hydra agents, Superior Octopus is then attacked by a bio-duplicate of Gorgon that Arnim Zola created. When Gorgon's blindfold falls off, Superior Octopus is turned to stone by his petrifying stare. Under Arnim Zola's orders, the bio-duplicate of Gorgon shatters the petrified Superior Octopus. Just then, the bio-duplicate of Gorgon is beheaded by Superior Octopus who revealed that Arnim Zola is not the only one who is an expert at cloning. After dismantling Arnim Zola, Superior Octopus has him carry a message to the rest of Hydra stating that he rejects their offer and that anyone who comes after him will receive similar "treatment."
Arnim Zola 4.2.3
A flawed copy of Arnim Zola's consciousness in a robot body is recruited by the Shadow Council. He faces the Secret Avengers who are investigating the Shadow Council's mining operations inside of a "bad continuum" (a malformed reality). Although he is defeated by the Secret Avengers, his fate afterwards is unknown.
Powers and abilities
Arnim Zola has no natural superpowers, but he is a scientific genius and biochemist specializing in genetics and cloning. He is not only capable of creating exact clone copies of his "clients", he has also created monsters which are conditioned to do his bidding.
Zola's most noticeable feat was performed upon himself. He constructed a specially-modified android body which lacks a head. Instead, Zola's face is located via holographic projection on his chest. Atop his shoulders is an ESP Box, a psychotronic device which he uses to exert his control over his monster creations. The ESP Box also lets Arnim Zola gain mental control over others, fire mental blasts, and transfer his consciousness into another android body. In a limited effect, the Box can also be used as an offensive weapon. Whenever his body is damaged or utterly destroyed, Arnim is able to send his personality to another one stored elsewhere, thus giving himself a form of immortality.
Arnim Zola appeared in Ultimates Annual # 2, written by Charlie Huston. Just like his Earth-616 incarnation he was also a Nazi biochemist. His role in World War II was to make a cadre of special master race troops to serve as Adolf Hitler's bodyguards. Captain America was able to infiltrate Arnim Zola's facility and kill his first experimental monster, which Zola dubbed "Siegsoldat" ("Victory soldier"). The experiment's dead body then fell on Arnim Zola, seemingly killing him. Zola did not die and the O.S.S. rescued him so as to harvest his intellect on the post-war super soldier program. Later they mapped his brain and created an artificial intelligence out of it before the tumors he had could degrade his mind.
A short time after the Liberators attacked the United States, a white survivalist group called the Marauders attacked the military base where Arnim Zola's AI was being held and stole it, along with some other weaponry. Arnim Zola was then able to convince the leader of the Marauders to allow Zola to commence experiments on him. Zola mutated the man until he was approximately 20-foot (6.1 m) tall and installed armor plating (and Zola's AI brain) on him with a hologram of Zola projected from the chest and was called Uber-Siegsoldat. He then took over the Marauders and got them to gather people for his experiments. Captain America and Falcon were sent after him and were able to defeat him by freeing the people he had kidnapped, who promptly tore apart his body, whereupon Captain America collapsed a support strut onto the Zola AI.
In other media
- Arnim Zola appears in the live-action television film Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., portrayed by Peter Haworth. He appears as an elderly chemist for HYDRA who uses a wheelchair.
- Arnim Zola appears in The Super Hero Squad Show. In the episode "Wrath of the Red Skull", he is seen in Red Skull’s flashback giving him a wedgie back when he was called Pink Skull.
- Arnim Zola appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Grant Moninger. In "The Man in the Ant-Hill", he is seen as an inmate at the Big House. In "The Breakout", Zola escapes during the mass-breakout. In "Living Legend", Baron Heinrich Zemo reunites with Zola when they unleash Doughboy on New York to fight the Avengers while Zemo fights Captain America. After Doughboy is defeated, Zemo finds Zola pinned under Executioner as Enchantress proposes an offer to Zemo. Afterwards, Zola and Doughboy remain a presence in the Masters of Evil. In "Acts Of Vengeance", Zola monitored the activities of Living Laser and Chemistro right up to the point of the fellow members' apparent demises by Enchantress and Executioner. Chemistro rats out where Zola has been hiding, but Zola unleashes Doughboy once the duo arrive at his safe house, consuming the two, however, Enchantress is able to easily break out and disable both Doughboy and Zola; their fates are left ambiguous.
- Arnim Zola appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Mark Hamill in a German accent. He was a World War II-era member of HYDRA that had fought Captain America and the Whizzer. In the episode "S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy", he is the source behind the hacking of Amadeus Cho's Iron Spider armor. When Spider-Man and Iron Spider accidentally leave his cell open at the Triskelion, Zola's robot body activates. The next day, Zola tricks Iron Spider into bringing the ESP Box to him, allowing Zola to reassemble his robot body. While tracking Zola, Spider-Man and Iron Spider bring Agent Venom and Power Man to help at the Triskelion's underground laboratory where Zola unleashes his synthezoid army. In the nick of time, Whizzer arrives to help. Whizzer tells the young heroes to target Zola's ESP box. This causes Zola to lose control of the synthezoids, and the laboratory to explode. Zola returns in the two-part "Attack of the Synthezoids"/"The Revenge of Arnim Zola". He replaces the S.H.I.E.L.D. staff and S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy's students at the Triskelion with Synthezoids, leaving only Spider-Man, Cloak, Agent Venom and the Rhino to fight. As they fight the Synthezoids, Cloak tracks Dagger to where Zola has his hostages. Zola then uses the S.H.I.E.L.D. Tri-Carrier to launch missiles which destroy the Triskelion as Spider-Man leads Cloak, Agent Venom and Rhino into going after the Tri-Carrier. Zola fights the remaining young heroes by copying the captured heroes' abilities via his giant robot body. He also tries to download himself into Spider-Man's body, however, the transfer fails and Zola is eventually defeated and ends up in an old television set. Arnim Zola has a supporting role in Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six as HYDRA's initial leader. In the two-part premiere "HYDRA Attacks", he collaborates with Doctor Octopus. Using a miniature Octobot to hack into Swarm's nanites, they reform the S.H.I.E.L.D. Tri-Carrier into HYDRA Island. Furthermore, they also used Doc Ock's Goblin Formula to turn Zola's HYDRA Agents into Green Goblins as part of their plan to take over Manhattan, New York. However, the Web-Warriors were able to launch HYDRA Island to Saturn with Zola still on its computers while Doc Ock escapes. However, the episode "Double Agent Venom" revealed Zola was able to return HYDRA Island to near Earth's orbit at the time when Doc Ock worked to separate the Venom symbiote and Flash Thompson; Zola is also shown to be annoyed with Doc Ock's obsession with Spider-Man's defeat. When confronting Spider-Man and Agent Venom, Zola's robotic body gets stabbed by Scarlet Spider. In the episode "Anti-Venom", Zola has Michael Morbius as Doc Ock's 'assistant' for another symbiote. In the episode "The New Sinister 6" Pt. 2, Doc Ock has turned against Zola by converting HYDRA Island to Octopus Island. When Zola voices his anger at his co-conspirator's betrayal, his robotic body is hit off Octopus Island by Doc Ock. Zola's robot body was last seen when Octopus Island crashes into the harbor. "The Spider-Slayers" multi-part episode revealed that Zola had brought Doc Ock into HYDRA in order to perfect a spider soldier project. When cornered by Spider-Man, Scarlet Spider and Spider-Woman, Doc Ock revealed that Zola and HYDRA Island are still active and the info holding the key to Scarlet Spider's past alongside Doc Ock's specific research were stolen by Zola. Scarlet Spider and Spider-Man then has Doc Ock take the two to Zola's HYDRA Island. After the defeat of the eponymous Spider-Slayers, Doc Ock (improved via nanotech held back by Zola) gloats to the HYDRA leader about his superiority, leaving before Zola reactivates HYDRA Island. Before the Spider-Slayers could kill Spider-Man, the rest of the Web Warriors come to the rescue. They successfully escape HYDRA Island and shut off all computers, leaving Zola with no place to go. However, he later reveals that he hid himself in Spider-Man's wrist communicator, but the wall-crawler nonchalantly tosses it into the sea before Zola could evolve into a bigger threat.
- Armin Zola appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series Agent Carter with Toby Jones reprising his role from the films. At the end of the episode "Valediction", Johann Fennhoff (equipped with a special mouth-shutting device) is placed in a prison cell and meets fellow cellmate Zola. Zola mentions being a fan of Fennhoff's work. It is implied that Zola recruits Fennhoff for HYDRA.
- Arnim Zola appears in the two-part Avengers: Secret Wars episode "Avengers No More" voiced again by Mark Hamill. He appears as a member of the second incarnation of the Cabal which also consisted of Leader, Enchantress, Executioner, and Kang the Conqueror at the time when Leader builds a Static Expander from the stolen Arc Reactor prototype and stolen Vibranium taken from the Wakandan Consulate. After the Avengers are subdued by the Static Vibranium, Arnim Zola engages Black Panther where he falls causing Arnim Zola to download his conscious into another body. When Black Panther's group defeats Leader and he calls for the Cabal to help him, Arnim Zola and Enchantress are the ones who tell Leader that he is not the "true leader" of the Cabal as they get away upon activating the fail-safe of the Static Expander that sends the Avengers across time and space.
- Arnim Zola appears in the Spider-Man episode "Spider-Island" Part 2, voiced again by Mark Hamill. At the time when the people of Manhattan was developing spider powers, Arnim Zola sends Crossbones and some Hydra agents to obtain the key to a Vibranium vault. After Black Widow leads Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen into a surrender to find out who hired Crossbones, they discover that Arnim Zola is the culprit. With help from some spider-powered civilians, Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, and Black Widow were able to defeat Crossbones and the Hydra agents with him while Arnim Zola and the remaining Hydra agents got away.
- Toby Jones portrays Arnim Zola in the live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe movie series produced by Marvel Studios:
- First appearing in the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger, Zola is a HYDRA scientist who helped the Red Skull harness the Tesseract's power. Later captured by Captain America, Zola is forced to reveal the location of Red Skull's base to Colonel Chester Phillips.
- As revealed in the 2014 sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Zola took advantage of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Operation Paperclip to create a new incarnation of Hydra that slowly takes over the organization from within. Having also experimented on Bucky Barnes previously, Zola personally oversees the young man's transformation into the Winter Soldier. Because he had a terminal illness in 1972, Zola had his consciousness transferred into a 1970s era supercomputer located in a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility in New Jersey. From there, Zola masterminded S.H.I.E.L.D.'s "Project Insight" as a means to identify and target potential threats to Hydra's interests. Zola reveals all of this to Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanova when the two find the supercomputer housing his consciousness, stalling them in a sacrificial attempt to kill them with a missile sent by Alexander Pierce. Zola's host supercomputer is destroyed, but his sacrifice is in vain, as Captain America and others eventually foil "Project Insight", exposing Hydra within S.H.I.E.L.D., effectively leading to the agency's downfall.
- Zola was originally set to appear in the 2015 film Ant-Man, with concept art suggesting he downloaded a copy of his artificial intelligence to an android body akin to the comics.
- Arnim Zola appears in the video game Captain America: Super Soldier, voiced by André Sogliuzzo. Captain America is briefed on Project: Master Man and how Dr. Zola has unlocked the secrets of the human genome as one step towards immortality. During Captain America's fight with the Sleeper, Zola used his Zola Bots (which resembled Arnim Zola's android body) to attack Captain America. In the post-credits, Zola unplugs from his defeated Zola Bots. The Red Skull orders him to get back to work, stating that they will be seeing Captain America again soon enough.
- Arnim Zola is featured as a boss in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance. He is featured in the 10th Spec Ops.
- Arnim Zola appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes in his robotic version, voiced by Robin Atkin Downes.
- Arnim Zola appears in Lego Marvel's Avengers in both his original (robotic) version and his Captain America: The First Avenger (human) iteration, both voiced by Mark Hamill.
- Arnim Zola appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2.
- In the Ultimate Spider-Man Infinite Comics, Arnim Zola appears creating Iron Man synthezoids to steal vibranium. Following a fight with Spider-Man and Iron Man, the ship Zola is on explodes and Zola is last seen sinking into the ocean.
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