Baron Zemo

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Baron Zemo is the name of two fictional supervillains appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. They have appeared in various comic books, notably Captain America and The Avengers. Heinrich Zemo was first seen in The Avengers #4 (March 1964); his son Helmut Zemo first appeared in Captain America #168 (December 1973).

In 2009, Helmut Zemo was ranked as IGN's 40th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[1] Daniel Brühl portrays Helmut Zemo in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War, which is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Publication history[edit]

The original version of Baron Zemo was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and was first seen in a flashback in The Avengers #4 (March 1964); the character did not actually appear in person and was not identified by name until The Avengers #6 (July 1964) and Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #8, in the same month. Zemo was retroactively added into the history of Captain America upon the hero's reintroduction to the Silver Age two issues prior. The character subsequently appears in The Avengers #7 (August 1964), #9-10 (October–November 1964), Tales of Suspense #60 (December 1964), and The Avengers #15 (April 1965), in which he is killed. After his death, Zemo appears in numerous flashbacks and time-travel stories, including The Avengers #21 (October 1965), Captain America #100 (April 1968), The Avengers #56 (September 1968), #58 (November 1968), Captain America #112 (April 1969), The Avengers King-Size Special #4 (January 1971), Captain America #168 (December 1973), The Avengers #131–132 (January–February 1975), Giant-Size Avengers #3 (January 1975), The Avengers (UK) #76 (March 1975), Fantastic Four Annual #11 (June 1976), What If? #4-5 (August, October 1977), Marvel Illustrated Books: The Avengers (June 1982), Captain America #297 (September 1984), #362 (November 1989), The Avengers #353-354 (September–October 1992), Captain America Annual #11 (1992), Captain America: Medusa Effect #1 (March 1995), Untold Tales of Spider-Man #13 (September 1996), Thunderbolts #-1 (July 1997), Captain America & Citizen V Annual 1998, Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #12 (August 1999), Captain America #3-4 (March–April 2005), #6 (June 2005), #10 (October 2005), New Thunderbolts #18 (April 2006), Thunderbolts Presents: Zemo - Born Better #3-4 (June–July 2007), Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #5 (August 2007), Avengers Classic #7 (February 2008), and Wolverine: Origins #20 (February 2008). The original Zemo received an entry in the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #13, the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #16, and the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe 2004 Book of the Dead.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Baron Heinrich Zemo[edit]

Baron Zemo
Heinrich, the 12th Baron Zemo.
Art by Steve Epting.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Flashback:
The Avengers #4 (March 1964)
Actual appearance:
The Avengers #6 (July 1964)
The Death Ray of Dr. Zemo
Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #8 (July 1964)
Created by Stan Lee (Writer)
Jack Kirby (Artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Dr. Heinrich Zemo
Team affiliations Legion of the Unliving
Masters of Evil
Nazi Party
Partnerships Red Skull, Enchantress, Executioner, Immortus, Kang
Abilities Scientific genius
Master swordsman and hand-to-hand combatant
Skilled strategist

Dr. Heinrich Zemo, 12th Baron Zemo was one of the top scientists in the Nazi Party. Zemo fought both Captain America and his allies the Howling Commandos during World War II. A brilliant and sadistic scientific genius, Zemo created many weapons of mass destruction for Hitler's army, including a large-scale death ray cannon, a disintegration pistol that was a miniaturized version of his death ray, and primitive androids of considerable strength and durability. Heinrich Zemo's intelligence was only matched by his sadism, as he routinely tested his deadly weapons on innocent people, both prisoner and civilian inside the Third Reich. This ultimately came to a head, during an early encounter with the Howling Commandos, when Zemo decided to test an experimental death-ray cannon on a nearby German town. The death-ray killed hundreds of innocent German civilians as a result, making Zemo a mass murderer. Though he arrogantly believed that he could frame the Allied Forces for his act of mass murder, Nick Fury and his fellow Howling Commandos exposed Zemo's role in the town's destruction, resulting in Zemo becoming a reviled figure throughout Europe, even amongst his fellow Germans.

In an attempt to regain a level of anonymity, Zemo began wearing a reddish-pink hood over his face as he continued to build weapons for the Nazis. His activities ultimately drew the attention of Captain America, resulting in a confrontation just as Heinrich was ready to unveil his newest scientific breakthrough: Adhesive X, an extremely strong adhesive that could not be dissolved or removed by any known process at the time; It was only after the war that the adhesive-using villain Paste-Pot Pete found a way to neutralize it.

Heinrich Zemo explains how his hood became glued to his face. Art by Jack Kirby.

In order to ensure that the Nazis could not use Adhesive X against Allied troops, Captain America confronted Zemo in an attempt to destroy the limited supply. Captain America threw his shield at the vat to release the adhesive onto the ground. Zemo, however, was standing right next to the vat containing the chemical, which poured over his hooded face. The adhesive quickly seeped inside and permanently attached the hood to Heinrich's flesh, preventing Zemo from ever removing his hood.[2]

Though Zemo could still see through the eye holes of the hood, as well as hear, breathe, and speak through the thin fabric of the cloth that made up the hood, Zemo could no longer eat normally (due to the hood having no mouth hole) and had to be fed intravenously. Heinrich quickly recovered but having his hood permanently attached to his face drove the Nazi scientist insane. Adopting a new costume to go along with his new hooded face, Zemo went from becoming a normal, if not infamous, Nazi scientist to become an active field agent for the Third Reich, leading German troops into combat and espionage missions. His reputation in combat quickly grew and was rivaled only by the Red Skull; the two quickly became rivals, united only in their hatred for Captain America.[volume & issue needed]

When it became apparent that the Nazis would lose the war, Red Skull sent Zemo to London to steal an experimental airplane. At this point the plane would do them no good, but Red Skull made sure this knowledge was leaked to Captain America and his young sidekick Bucky so as to ensure that Zemo would be caught, ridding his rival once and for all. Captain America would not learn of Zemo's scheme for several weeks, by which time he would defeat Red Skull for the final time during World War II, burying Red Skull alive in a state of suspended animation. By the time that Captain America learned of Zemo's plot, it was too late and both Captain America and Bucky were taken prisoner by Zemo. Zemo tied the two heroes to the experimental plane, which was now booby-trapped to explode, and launched to their deaths. Captain America fell from the plane as it exploded, and Bucky was apparently killed. Captain America landed in the Arctic Ocean and was frozen in ice for decades until recovered by the recently formed Avengers.[3]

Believing that he had killed his rival at long last, Zemo fled to South America as Hitler and the Nazis fell and World War II ended. Zemo abandoned his long-suffering wife and toddler son, Helmut, whom he had become emotionally and physically abusive towards, after the mask was permanently bonded to his face. With an army of mercenaries loyal to him, Zemo enslaved a tribe of natives and lived as a king as he tried desperately to find a solvent that would remove his mask. As decades passed, Captain America was ultimately revived by the Avengers, causing Zemo to renew his rivalry with the Captain, after finding out about Cap's revival from a newspaper his pilot brought him, as he brought him supplies and news annually in exchange for gold.[volume & issue needed] Among his attempts included sending agents to take the place of participants of a hand-to-hand combat demonstration with Captain America in order to capture him. As Captain America learned that Zemo was behind this attack, he sent a taunting message on Zemo's minions' communicator to provoke the villain into becoming more carelessly aggressive against him and thus provide an opportunity for the superhero to deal with the villain directly.[4]

To that end, Heinrich formed the Masters of Evil to serve as a villainous counterpart to the Avengers; the other founding members included the original villainous Black Knight, the Melter, and the Radioactive Man, who were gathered by his pilot. He tried to have Adhesive X spread over New York, but the Teen Brigade seized Zemo's pilot, preventing him from speaking, then tied him up to stop him causing trouble. They switched the adhesive with remover made by Paste-Pot Pete. Zemo used his sceptre's hypno-ray on the Teen Brigade, placing them under his control. He then battled Captain America using combat skills he had gained, but Captain America began to beat him. The pilot freed himself from his bonds and shot at Captain America from behind. Captain America heard the sound and dodged the bullet, though his skull was grazed. Giant-Man was able to stop the pilot from killing Captain America, thus capturing him. Zemo was tricked into opening a container of tear gas while in his helicopter during his escape back to South America. He was later joined by the Enchantress and the Executioner, who had been exiled to Earth from Asgard by Odin. The Enchantress hypnotized Thor into attacking the Avengers, while the Executioner had disguised himself as a former ally of Zemo and lured Captain America to South America to fight Zemo. Iron Man broke Thor out of this trance and the Masters of Evil were sent to another dimension by Thor. Later Zemo created the superstrong Wonder Man with his ionic ray, and told Wonder Man he would die within a week unless given an antidote which Zemo possessed. Wonder Man was able to capture the Wasp and lead the group into a trap where they were defeated. Wonder Man, however, sacrificed himself to save the Avengers.[5]

In his final battle with Captain America, Zemo lured the Captain to his jungle fortress by kidnapping Avengers ally Rick Jones using an attractor ray. His Masters of Evil were broken out of prison and attacked the Avengers, forcing Captain America to go on alone. Zemo raised a glass cage containing Rick out of the ground as Captain America fired at his men, hoping Captain America would kill Rick, but the gunfire only broke open the cage. Zemo tried attacking with his men, but Captain America was able to use a rockslide caused by his shield to block them. In the ensuing battle, Captain America used his shield to deflect the sun's rays and cause Zemo to shoot blindly. His ray gun's shot hit a rock, starting an avalanche that killed him, and Captain America felt that Bucky's death had finally been avenged.[6]

During Hercules' journey to the underworld, Heinrich was seen in Erebus, gambling for his resurrection. He was later seen as a member of Pluto's jury (alongside Abomination, Armless Tiger Man, Artume, Commander Kraken, Iron Monger, Jack O'Lantern, Kyknos, Nessus, Orka, Scourge of the Underworld, and Veranke) for Zeus' trial.[7]

Baron Helmut Zemo[edit]

Baron Zemo
Baron Helmut Zemo, during the final battle of the Siege of Avengers Mansion
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance (As Phoenix) Captain America #168 (December 1973)
(As Baron Zemo) Captain America #275 (cameo), Captain America #276 (full)
Created by Tony Isabella (Writer)
Sal Buscema (Artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Helmut J. Zemo
Team affiliations Commission on Superhuman Activities
Masters of Evil
Secret Empire
Partnerships Mother Superior
Red Skull, Moonstone, Fixer
Notable aliases Citizen V, Phoenix, Iron Cross, Mark Evanier
Abilities Scientific genius
Master swordsman and hand-to-hand combatant
Skilled strategist
Superhuman strength, speed and agility
Slowed aging
Possesses the Moonstones

Helmut J. Zemo, 13th Baron Zemo is the son who was born in Leipzig, Germany. His father taught him the idea that the Master Race should rule the world. Helmut was originally an engineer until he became enraged when reading a report about the return of Captain America and his father's death. Helmut would ultimately follow in his father's footsteps as a supervillain using his family's money and his own scientific know-how to recreate his father's work.

He first surfaced under the alias of the Phoenix, and captured Captain America to get revenge upon him for the death of his father. He was presumed deceased when he fell into a vat of boiling, specially-treated Adhesive X. As he had not been wearing his mask when he fell into the vat, his face was hideously scarred by the boiling Adhesive X, giving his face the appearance of molten wax.[8]

He resurfaced years later as Baron Zemo, first allied with Arnim Zola's mutates. He allied with Primus I and the half-rat/half human mutate Vermin, and kidnapped Captain America's childhood friend Arnold Roth in order to lure Captain America into a trap. He forced the Captain to battle hordes of mutates before revealing that he knew the Captain's secret identity.[9]

Zemo later encountered Mother Superior and the Red Skull.[10] Zemo underwent tutelage by Mother Superior and Red Skull, and then kidnapped Captain America's friend David Cox and brainwashed him to battle the Captain.[11] Zemo then kidnapped Roth again, and directed a shared mental reenactment of Heinrich Zemo's last World War II encounter with Captain America.[12] Zemo then battled Mother Superior, but was psychically overpowered.[13]

Most notably, he formed a new incarnation of the Masters of Evil. This fourth Masters of Evil was formed to strike at Captain America through the Avengers; they invaded and occupied Avengers Mansion and crippled Hercules and the Avengers' butler Edwin Jarvis. Zemo captured Captain America and the Black Knight. Zemo battled Captain America, but fell off the Mansion roof.[14]

Zemo later hired Batroc's Brigade and psychic detective Tristram Micawber to help him locate the five fragments of the Bloodstone in hopes of restoring his father to life. Fighting Captain America and Diamondback, Zemo's plan backfired, as instead he instead turned his father's corpse into a vessel for the demonic forces that lurk inside of the Bloodstone. The reanimated corpse was destroyed by Crossbones (who sought to steal the Bloodstone for Red Skull) and a distraught Zemo fell down an inactive volcano in Japan trying to retrieve it.[15]

Zemo survived the fall, though his right hand (which was not protected by a glove) was horrifically burnt and mangled. Driven insane by the destruction of his father's body, Helmut took control of an army of mutates and tried to re-enslave Vermin. He was defeated by Spider-Man and Vermin was freed.

Broken and beaten, Zemo was taken in by a female scientist calling herself "The Baroness" who modeled herself after Heinrich. The two married and began kidnapping abused, neglected children to serve as their children. Zemo's sanity returned and he even created a new realistic face mask to hide his disfigured face from his adopted children, whom he nurtured and swore to protect from those who might return them to their abusive foster homes. The couple's peaceful life was ultimately shattered when Captain America discovered their home, while searching for the evil super-scientist Superia. Superia and the Baroness (who revealed that she had pretended to be Heinrich Zemo reborn in a clone body during a fight with Silver Sable and Spider-Man) mocked Helmut and his newfound domestic househusband status as they plotted to kill him. Zemo turned on his wife and Superia, before turning his attention to dropping Captain America into a vat of Adhesive X. The plan failed and Zemo (now wearing his trademark hood) fell into the container instead, with the Baroness (hoping to curry favor with her husband), falling in after him. The two were rescued by Captain America and Helmut bemoaned that like his father, his face now was permanently hidden by his mask. Captain America responded by revealing that the Avengers had since found a way to dissolve Adhesive X and would use it to free Zemo from his costume and hood, a fact that drove him further into a rage due to Captain America never offering to share this adhesive remover with his father.

Helmut Zemo as Citizen V. Art by Mark Bagley.

Zemo ultimately escaped prison, though his wife the Baroness dies shortly after being sentenced to prison for her role in the abduction of the children they were raising. During this time, Zemo discovered his and Goliath was imprisoned in the Microverse and formed a new version of Masters of Evil to free Goliath. But after rescuing Goliath, the Avengers and Fantastic Four disappeared during the Onslaught crisis and were presumed dead. After overhearing the Beetle (Abe Jenkins) and Goliath talk about who would replace the Avengers and Fantastic Four, a distraught Zemo soon found a new purpose for his team: the Masters of Evil would take on new heroic identities as the Thunderbolts.[16] Zemo would lead the group under the alias Citizen V (a twist of irony as Heinrich Zemo had killed the original Citizen V during World War II) and planned to have the Thunderbolts gain the world's trust in order to conquer it.[17] The public took a liking to the team much more quickly than Zemo, or any of the other Thunderbolts, expected and soon most of them came to like the feeling of being heroes.

When the missing heroes returned, Zemo had the Thunderbolts' true identities leaked, forcing them to flee with him into deep space to assist his plan to conquer the world through mind control.[volume & issue needed] However, most of the Thunderbolts rebelled and foiled Zemo's plan.[volume & issue needed] Zemo went into hiding and plotted revenge on his former teammates (who were trying to win back the public's trust by being true heroes).[volume & issue needed] After another of Zemo's plans was foiled by Captain America and a new Citizen V (Dallas Riordan),[volume & issue needed] Helmut was killed by the new Scourge of the Underworld,[volume & issue needed] though his mind was transferred via bio-modem technology into the comatose body of John Watkins III.[volume & issue needed] Now in possession of Watkins' body, Zemo again played the Citizen V role, this time as a member of the V-Battalion,[volume & issue needed] until the Thunderbolts' final battle with Graviton, during which his consciousness was removed from Watkins' body and transferred, in electronic form, into his ally Fixer's mechanical "tech-pack".[volume & issue needed]

On the artificial world Counter-Earth - the same world to which the Avengers and Fantastic Four had previously vanished - the Thunderbolts encountered Zemo's counterpart, Iron Cross, in that world.[volume & issue needed] Fixer transferred Zemo's mind into his double's un-mutilated body.[volume & issue needed] Zemo then took up leadership of the Thunderbolts who were on Counter-Earth;[volume & issue needed] when this group was reunited with their teammates who had remained on the normal Marvel Universe Earth,[volume & issue needed] Hawkeye briefly resumed leadership,[volume & issue needed] but then left the team to return to the Avengers.[volume & issue needed]

For a while Zemo remained the leader of the Thunderbolts.[volume & issue needed] In 2004's "Avengers/Thunderbolts" limited series, he attempted to take over the world again — this time with the belief that he could save the world by taking it over.[volume & issue needed] Zemo now seems to be motivated by a twisted altruism rather than his original selfish desires; he feels he has grown beyond his father in that regard.[volume & issue needed] However, the Avengers foiled his scheme, his teammate Moonstone went berserk, Zemo's new body was blasted while he attempted to protect Captain America, and he left the team and went into hiding after obtaining Moonstone's twin alien gems, two artifacts of great power.[volume & issue needed]

Cover for the second printing of Thunderbolts #104. Art by Tom Grummett.

Zemo had been manipulating the United States government, the New Thunderbolts, the Purple Man, the Squadron Sinister, and a host of other relatively obscure Marvel characters.[volume & issue needed] His goals are unknown, but he is clearly still motivated by a desire to save the world by taking it over, or at least manipulating it towards what he perceives as a beneficial future. Zemo has also, apparently through trial and error, learned how to use the power of the moonstones in various ways, from simply generating raw energy, to transporting himself and others through time, space, and dimensions, to viewing possible future events through dimensional rifts—and, apparently, to repair his damaged face (or, to at least to create the illusion that it was undamaged).[volume & issue needed] He has also recruited members of both his original and subsequent incarnations of the Thunderbolts to his cause, as well as eventually bringing the current team of Thunderbolts around to joining him.[volume & issue needed] The group resides in what Zemo calls his "Folding Castle", a structure that he has connected to various other places around the world by dimensional portals.[volume & issue needed]

As a result of Civil War storyline, Iron Man asked Zemo to begin recruiting villains to his cause, which Zemo had begun doing some time before, unknown to Iron Man.[18] However, he met up with Captain America and informed him that he really had reformed. He showed the Captain his face, once again scarred, to remind him of his earlier sacrifice, and gave him a key that would allow him to escape from the super-human prison being constructed if Captain America would allow his Thunderbolts to fight the Squadron Sinister.[volume & issue needed] He also gave the Captain all his old mementos, destroyed by Zemo in 'Avengers Under Siege', which he had gone back in time and rescued with the help of the Moonstones. Finally, the Captain agreed.[volume & issue needed]

Zemo, always told as a child that he was superior, now believes his father's Nazi ideals to be untrue, and that the only way to become superior is through righteousness. After helping Captain America, he remarked to his father's portrait that the man would be displeased with today's good deeds. Zemo—once again wearing his unscarred face—then revealed that Songbird was going to betray him and he was going to sacrifice himself in their upcoming battle with the Squadron Sinister. He told her that he would not die, but that he would become superior through his sacrifice "by living forever".[volume & issue needed]

Zemo has now revealed his true nature where he saved the Wellspring of Power from the Grandmaster planning to use it for his own ends. Believing that all of his visions were subject to the flow of time, and that nothing was set in stone, Zemo defeated the Grandmaster, and boasted to his teammates that the power was now all his—and theirs. He insisted that he would use it to help the world, despite the consequences for doing so. Songbird, having temporarily lost her own powers during the final battle, was told by Zemo " is when your betrayal would have come". However, the vision of Songbird's betrayal turned out to be true after all. Using a simple opera note to crack the moonstones, Songbird sent Zemo into a whirlwind of cosmic time/space. Just before he was completely sucked into the vacuum, he screamed out that he "would never have hurt a world he worked so hard to save".[volume & issue needed]

The limited series Thunderbolts Presents: Zemo - Born Better (2007), written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Tom Grummett, explores the history of the Zemo barony. Helmut, sucked into the vacuum, wakes into medieval Germany (1503), witnessing Harbin Zemo's death and his succession, while in the present academic Wendell Volker and Reed Richards deduce that Helmut has traveled in time. Captured and taken prisoner as a leper, Helmut manages to inspire Harbin's twelve-year-old grandson Heller Zemo to kill his own father Hademar Zemo and fulfill his destiny as the third (and most enlightened and progressive) Baron Zemo. Heller goes into the hidden cell to free his "muse", discovering that Helmut has somehow disappeared. Helmut makes jumps to 1556 where he fights alongside Heller's son Herbert Zemo, later again to 1640 where he slays Herbert's son Helmuth Zemo, and later to 1710 where he narrowly escapes being killed by Helmuth's son Hackett Zemo.[volume & issue needed]

Meanwhile, in the present, Volker reveals that the Zemo bloodline isn't just limited to Helmut's immediate family but in fact Harbin's descendants are spread out all over the world. Wendell visits Miss Klein, a descendant of a bastard child of Hilliard Zemo, the eighth Baron Zemo and Jewish lover Elsbeth Kleinenshvitz. Hilliard becomes baron after the death of his father Hartwig Zemo in the Seven Years' War. In the past Helmut sees Hilliard and Elsbeth in love, realizing that the residual energy of the Moonstone is drawing him into the present, but forcing him to stop and live every key moment of Zemo's lineage. Helmut manages to save Elsbeth, sentenced to death by the Diet because of her Jewish ancestry and her wealthy family, but in the present Volker kills her distant descendant, convinced that his actions can pull Helmut in his proper place into the time-stream.[volume & issue needed]

Helmut next ends up in 1879 where he stays for several weeks working his way up to be part of the travelling guard of Hobart Zemo, the tenth Baron Zemo. Hobart is killed during a civilian uprising shortly after German emperor William passes legislation to curb the socialist party. Helmut jumps forward in time before he can save his own great-grandfather. Helmut next arrives during World War I during a battle between British forces led by the original Union Jack and German forces led by his own grandfather Baron Herman Zemo, the eleventh Baron Zemo. Helmut witnesses Herman's men slaughter the majority of the British forces with mustard gas. Later, Helmut goes with Herman and his men to find Castle Zemo has been reduced to rubble by the war. Helmut travels forward in time again to his father's tenure as a Nazi during World War II.[volume & issue needed]

Back in the present, Volker discovers that Castle Zemo had been restored in the present. Wendell tours the castle with a local German police man and Interpol agent Herr Fleischtung, and then Wendell murders both men. Wendell has apparently murdered several Zemo relations in the belief that this spilling of Zemo blood would bring Helmut back to the present.[volume & issue needed]

After battling his own father in the past, giving him the inspiration to take up the Zemo mantle, Helmut returns to the present and manages to convince Wendell not to kill him as well, instead taking what is discovered to be his cousin under his wing, as he sets out to do something new for the world.[volume & issue needed]

Following the events of the Siege crossover as seen in the Heroic Age storyline, Luke Cage assumed control over the Thunderbolts and had Fixer impersonate Zemo as a test to see which ones of his new teammates would betray the team if offered a chance to escape.[19] Later on, it was revealed that Fixer was keeping in secret contact with Zemo while working on the raft.[volume & issue needed] During the Fear Itself event, Zemo gave Fixer key info on the mutant army threatening Chicago.[volume & issue needed]

Having spent his time on the sidelines, watching Norman Osborn's rise to power with the intent of waiting to see what Norman would do with control over the Thunderbolts and later S.H.I.E.L.D., Zemo reappeared following the events of The Siege when Osborn ultimately was defeated by the Avengers. A chance encounter at the Thunderbolts' former base in Colorado with the Ghost led to him learning Bucky Barnes was the current iteration of Captain America. Zemo confronted his rival Sin and discovered how the man had survived his father's death trap only to become the Winter Soldier, a trained Soviet assassin who killed scores of people for several Russian handlers. But most alarming was the fact that Zemo discovered that the original Captain America had not only forgiven his successor for the crimes, but had actively covered up even after Winter Soldier blew up a huge chunk of New York, killing several dozen S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in order to restore power to a Cosmic Cube fragment.[20]

Zemo recruited Jurgen "Iron-Handed" Hauptmann (of Red Skull's Exiles), as well as Fixer and a new female version of Beetle to expose the current Captain America's sins to the world. This included drugging Bucky with nanites that caused Captain America to behave irrationally and attack police officers and leaking to the media, not only detailed files revealing Winter Soldier's acts of terrorism committed as a mind-controlled pawn of the Russians, but video footage as well being trained by handlers. Zemo ultimately kidnapped Bucky and took his father's victim to Heinrich's island which is where Bucky's original "death" occurred. There Zemo confessed that he did what he did, not out of a desire to finish the job his father started, but out of jealousy over how Captain America and his allies quickly forgave Bucky for his crimes, yet continue to scorn the reformed Helmut who had saved the world on numerous occasions.[21] Zemo then forced Bucky into a similar deathtrap as the one his father put Bucky in, modified though in order to allow Bucky a chance to escape. Zemo then escaped from the island unharmed.[22]

Zemo has since turned his eye towards Hawkeye, who he blames for usurping control over the Thunderbolts from him. Zemo makes a deal with Hawkeye’s former mentor Trick Shot (whose cancer had returned) to train Zemo’s mystery acquaintance to become a master archer in exchange for medical care. When the training was complete, Zemo reneged on the deal. Trick Shot (on the brink of death) was delivered to Avengers Tower to serve as a message to Hawkeye. Before he died in his former pupil's arms, Trick Shot warns Hawkeye of the threat he will soon face.[23]

In the pages of Avengers Undercover, Zemo has become the new leader of the Shadow Council's Masters of Evil following the death of Max Fury.[24]

Zemo later becomes the new leader of HYDRA and enters into conflict with Sam Wilson, the new Captain America.[25] Using the toxic blood of an Inhuman boy named Lucas, Zemo plans to sterilize the human race and distribute a cure to only a small portion of those infected, thus forcibly solving the planet's problems with overpopulation and lack of resources. He later kills Ian Rogers, the new Nomad and Captain America's partner, by slashing his throat and sends a photo to Steve Rogers.[26] He later fights Wilson to a standstill until Lucas escapes via jet plane to spread his blood in the world.[27]

During the Avengers: Standoff! storyline, Zemo appears as a prisoner of the S.H.I.E.L.D.-established gated community called Pleasant Hill where the technology Kobik that was derived from the Cosmic Cube turned him into an amnesiac man named Jim who later discovered that Pleasant Hills is surrounded by a forcefield. He briefly witnessed an eerie girl bring a bird back to life until she is taken away by some adults. Then he encounters a mechanic named Phil who arranges a meet-up following his arson activity. On Day 40, Jim met Phil who created a device that enabled people to return to their true selves. Phil also stole a training video where Mayor Maria Hill gave a video tour of Pleasant Hills describing to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Cadets watching this to be the future of supervillain incarceration where they are turned into mild-mannered civilians using reality-warping technology derived from the Cosmic Cube called "Kobik". A demonstration was shown when Graviton was turned into a Pleasant Hills inhabitant named Howie Howardson. As Phil uses the device on himself and Jim to restore their true selves, Jim was restored back to Zemo while Phil was restored back to Fixer. Both of them vow to use the device on the other brainwashed supervillain prisoners and reduce Pleasant Hill to dust.[28] Zemo and Fixer started working on restoring the memories of the inmates one by one. Then Zemo led a coordinated assault on a S.H.I.E.L.D. outpost that serves as the Pleasant Hill City Hall.[29] After Kraven the Hunter captures Kobik, he loads him into Fixer's machine where Baron Zemo plans to control Kobik. During the Avengers' fight with Baron Zemo's villain allies, both Zemo and Erik Selvig tried to get Kobik to come with them. Kobik ended up teleporting Zemo and Selvig away from Pleasant Hill. They were last seen in the Himalayas trying to make their way back to civilization. Zemo brings Selvig with him where he plans to use him in one of his next plans.[30]

After leaving the Himalayas, Zemo began to form his "New Masters" group where he starts by recruiting Firebrand, Flying Tiger, and Plantman II.[31]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Baron Zemo has a gifted intellect, with certain scientific expertise, excellent marksmanship, and extensive training in hand-to-hand combat. He is also a highly accomplished strategist and leader. Helmut has circuitry in his headband designed to disrupt psionic manipulation. He carries various rifles, and sometimes carries a hand-held spray-gun for Adhesive X, the most powerful bonding agent ever invented. The Moonstones grant Helmut a massive array of superhuman powers such as energy/gravity/light manipulation, molecular phasing, strength/durability augmentation, the ability to create spatial warps, flight and more.

Other Barons Zemo[edit]

Besides Heinrich Zemo and Helmut Zemo, there were other Barons Zemo that came before them in order of succession:

  • Harbin Zemo - The first Baron Zemo who was around in 1480.[32]
  • Hademar Zemo - The second Baron Zemo, son of Harbin Zemo and the greediest of the Zemos. He was killed by the guards (acting under Heller Zemo's orders) at his inauguration.[33]
  • Heller Zemo - The third Baron Zemo, son of Hademar Zemo and the most progressive of the Zemos.[33]
  • Herbert Zemo - The fourth Baron Zemo, son of Heller Zemo. He was assassinated by his own generals.[34]
  • Helmuth Zemo - The fifth Baron Zemo, son of Herbert Zemo. He was assassinated by a time-displaced Helmut Zemo.[34]
  • Hackett Zemo - The sixth Baron Zemo, son of Helmuth Zemo.[34]
  • Hartwig Zemo - The seventh Baron Zemo, son of Hackett Zemo.[34]
  • Hilliard Zemo - The eighth Baron Zemo, son of Hartwig Zemo.[34]
  • Hoffman Zemo - The ninth Baron Zemo, son of Hilliard Zemo.[35]
  • Hobart Zemo - The tenth Baron Zemo, son of Hoffman Zemo.[35]
  • Herman Zemo - The eleventh Baron Zemo, son of Hobart Zemo.[35]

Other versions[edit]

Avataars: Covenant of the Shield[edit]

The Avataars: Covenant of the Shield miniseries, set in a sword and sorcery version of the Marvel Universe, features Dreadlord, an alternate version of Zemo, as its main villain. Dreadlord was previously Zymo of Z'axis, a general who fought in the Worldwar. When Z'axis lost the war, Zymo adopted a new identity - and swore that he would not remove his hood until Z'axis triumphed once again.


Baron Zemo and other members of the Masters of Evil are seen among the enthralled villains defending Krona's stronghold.[36] Zemo is seen holding a defeated Mr Fantastic. He is shown being defeated by the heroes.[volume & issue needed]

Larval Zooniverse[edit]

In Spider-Ham's reality, Baron Zemo is depicted as a zebra named Baron Zebro.[37]

Marvel Noir[edit]

In the Marvel Noir universe, Baron Zemo is one of a group of Nazis led by Baron von Strucker to repeatedly battle adventurer Tony Stark in the 1930s.[38] This version is revealed to be Howard Stark chemically brainwashed by a combination of zolpidem, ethanol, chloromethane, and "ophentonyl", the acronym forming the name. Strucker says that Stark is not the first Zemo, and that they all wear the hood so no-one from their former life will recognize them.[39]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

In the Marvel Zombies limited series, Baron Helmut Zemo and his team of Thunderbolts are seen attacking Thor who is aided shortly thereafter by Nova. Zemo shows up prior to Nova's arrival as Thor destroys Zemo's teammate Moonstone (under the codename Meteorite) by smashing Meteorite's head completely. His only appearance is of him with a torn mask and the teeth and milky eyes of the Marvel Zombies and he proclaims loudly "Meteorite!".

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Baron Zemo is seen opening the gates to Asgard wanting thousands of Third Reich soldiers to attack Asgard, and is also recruiting Ice Giants.[40] However, it's later revealed that this version is actually Loki in disguise.[41] His second-in-command Helmutt Zemo,[40] a German Nazi soldier, is the one to summon Loki in present-day using the Norn Stones. Upon his escape from The Room With No Doors, Loki murders the elderly Zemo.[42]

Marvel MAX[edit]

In Deadpool MAX, a heavily altered version of Baron Helmut Zemo appears in the first storyline. This version of the character is an American white supremacist who claims to have descended from German nobility, despite having come from a working class home. He fosters a hatred of minorities due to his father having had an affair with a black woman, as well as the irrational belief that Jewish doctors killed his mother with poisoned water. He founds a survivalist retreat dubbed "Whiteland", and plans to use sarin gas on his own followers to incite a race war across the United States. His plans are foiled when Deadpool infiltrates the compound and accuses Zemo of possessing Jewish ancestry, which distracts Zemo's henchmen long enough for Deadpool to shoot them and then snap Zemo's neck.[43]

In other media[edit]

Heinrich Zemo[edit]


  • Baron Zemo appears in several episodes of the Captain America portion of The Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by Gillie Fenwick. He appears both on his own and later as part of the Masters of Evil.
  • Baron Zemo had a non-voiced appearance in The Avengers: United They Stand episode "Command Decision".
  • Heinrich Zemo appears as a recurring villain in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes,[44] voiced by Robin Atkin Downes in a German accent.[citation needed] Shown as one of Captain America's enemies, this version sports the signature mask and has an unnaturally long life-span due to exposure to the germ warfare pathogen "Virus X" he sought to unleash against the Allied Power until being stopped by Captain America. After escaping The Raft, Heinrich sought to reclaim Hydra's leadership from Baron Strucker. But learning of Captain America's return motivated him to assault Avengers Mansion with help from Armin Zola and Doughboy but is foiled by Black Panther. Heinrich later returns in Masters of Evil's de-facto leader, systematically defeating and capturing several of the Avengers, but Hawkeye and Black Panther later return with Hank Pym to save the team and defeat Zemo's group, causing a retreat. When the Masters of Evil fight the Avengers for the Norn Stones, Zemo betrays Enchantress which eventually results in the Avengers simultaneously destroying seven Norn Stones, subsequently revealing that Loki was Zemo's group's benefactor. Attempting to escape Enchantress's vengeance, Zemo attempts a truce with the Avengers. He personally uses the eighth Norn Stone to protect himself from Enchantress. After Enchantress's defeat, Zemo realizes that Captain America is a Skrull in disguise before being imprisoned once again. This iteration is initially depicted in his primary outfit from the comics while his modern appearance is Helmut Zemo's first costume.
  • Baron Zemo appears in Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, voiced by Taketora in Japanese,[citation needed] and J.B. Blanc in English.[citation needed]
  • Heinrich Zemo appears in Avengers Assemble: Ultron Revolution,[45] voiced by David Kaye in "Saving Captain Rogers"[46] and by Danny Jacobs in "The House of Zemo."[citation needed] This version is a high-ranking operative for Hydra. Captain America and Bucky Barnes fight against the Hydra scientist, the maker of Adhesive X and two effective super-soldier serums. Heinrich's legacy is one of his son Helmut Zemo's primary reasons to go against the Avengers. In the episode "The House of Zemo," Heinrich Zemo is brought from the year 1943 to the Present by his future son using a time machine made from Kang the Conqueror's technology in order to restore the House of Zemo's honor, reclaim Hydra, and take over the world. During the fight against the Avengers, Heinrich started to get disappointed in his son and uses the time machine to bring his great-great-grandson from the year 2099 to help fight the Avengers. With Helmut cooperating with Captain America, they work to send Heinrich Zemo back to 1943 which erases Zemo 2099's existence. Once back in 1943, Heinrich was knocked out by a younger Steve Rogers who notified the military police.


Video games[edit]


  • Baron Zemo received a toy in the Mojo Series (Series 14) of the Marvel Legends toy line.
  • Baron Zemo has appeared in Hasbro's Marvel Universe action figure line in late 2013.
  • A new Marvel Legends Baron Zemo figure has been produced as part of the Captain America Marvel Legends line in early 2014, as one of two figures appearing under the "Soldiers of A.I.M." banner (the other being an A.I.M. Soldier).

Helmut Zemo[edit]


  • Baron Zemo appeared in The Avengers: United They Stand, voiced by Phillip Shepherd. In the episode "Command Decision", Helmut led the Masters of Evil against the Avengers out of revenge for his father.
  • Helmut Zemo appears in Avengers Assemble: Ultron Revolution,[45] voiced by David Kaye in a German accent for Baron Zemo[46] and an Americanized-like style for Citizen V's animated debut.[47] Like his father Heinrich Zemo, this version is a high-ranking operative for Hydra. Since Helmut had made an imperfect super-soldier serum, he uses old-fashioned hypnosis to have Captain America re-enact a fight against Heinrich in order to find his father's lab. After Captain America finally discovers the location, Helmut injects himself with one of Heinrich's two super-soldier serums, effectively youthanizing himself as well gaining as superhuman strength and speed. Helmut subsequently engaged Iron Man and Black Widow in a winning battle against the two Avengers. Captain America, having escaped the hypnosis by Bucky's illusion, joins the fight against Helmut. When the unstable area gave way, Helmut refused Captain America's offer to save him and fell into the ocean to retrieve the last of his father's super-soldier serum. Iron Man could not detect Helmut under the ocean's surface. Zemo later led the Masters of Evil to infiltrate Avengers Tower with them in order to retrieve a shrouding device, resulting in a confrontation with Hawkeye. Zemo's group later return as the heroic Thunderbolts with Helmut in his Citizen V alias, fighting various villains (like Justin Hammer and Ulysses Klaue) alongside the Avengers. While they posed as heroes, Zemo began laying an elaborate scheme to destroy the Avengers, but to his Masters of Evil teammates had embraced their heroic Thunderbolts personas when the Avengers arrived at their secret lair. Altering his plans, Zemo destroyed his base with the Avengers and Thunderbolts inside and held a public statement of Citizen V's "remorse" as the only hero left but the two groups revealed they survived and were able to defeat Zemo. In the episode "The House of Zemo," Helmut Zemo uses a time machine made from Kang the Conqueror's technology to bring his father from 1943 to the present so that they can restore the honor of the House of Zemo, reclaim Hydra, and take over the world. During the fight against the Avengers and the Zemos, Heinrich started to see Helmut as a disappointment enough to use the time machine to bring forward his great-great-grandson from the year 2099. After Helmut got trapped under some debris, Heinrich declined to help his son. After being freed from the debris from Captain America, Helmut worked with Captain America to send Heinrich back to 1943 enough to erase Zemo 2099's existence. As Helmut had cooperated with Captain America, he won't be sent to the Vault.


Video games[edit]


  • Baron Zemo received a toy in the Secret Wars toyline in 1984-1985, despite the fact that Zemo did not appear in the comic series on which the line was based.
    • The Baron Zemo Unmasked variant (Series 14 of Marvel Legends) is the face of Helmut from a story line where the Red Skull had Helmut dress up as his father. This occurred in Captain America #297.
  • Baron Zemo has appeared in Hasbro's Marvel Universe action figure line in late 2013.
  • A new Marvel Legends Baron Zemo figure has been produced as part of the Captain America Marvel Legends line in early 2014, as one of two figures appearing under the "Soldiers of A.I.M." banner (the other being an A.I.M. Soldier).


  1. ^ Baron Zemo II is number 40 , IGN.
  2. ^ Avengers #6
  3. ^ Avengers #4
  4. ^ Lee, Stan; Kirby, Jack (December 1964). "The Army of Assassins Strikes!". Tales of Suspense. 1 (60). 
  5. ^ Avengers #9
  6. ^ Avengers #15
  7. ^ Incredible Hercules #129
  8. ^ Captain America #168
  9. ^ Captain America #275-278
  10. ^ Captain America #290
  11. ^ Captain America #293-294
  12. ^ Captain America #295-297
  13. ^ Captain America #299
  14. ^ Avengers #273-277
  15. ^ Captain America #357-362
  16. ^ Thunderbolts #1
  17. ^ Thunderbolts Annual 1997
  18. ^ Thunderbolts #103
  19. ^ Thunderbolts #144-145
  20. ^ Captain America #608
  21. ^ Captain America #608-6012
  22. ^ Captain America #609-612
  23. ^ Hawkeye: Blindspot #1
  24. ^ Avengers Undercover #1
  25. ^ All-New Captain America #1
  26. ^ All-New Captain America #2
  27. ^ All-New Captain America #4
  28. ^ Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1
  29. ^ Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill #1
  30. ^ Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega #1
  31. ^ Captain America: Steve Rogers #1
  32. ^ Avengers/Thunderbolts #1
  33. ^ a b Thunderbolts Presents Zemo - Born Better' #1
  34. ^ a b c d e Thunderbolts Presents Zemo - Born Better #2
  35. ^ a b c Thunderbolts Presents Zemo - Born Better #3
  36. ^ JLA/Avengers #4
  37. ^ Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham #16
  38. ^ Iron Man Noir #1
  39. ^ Iron Man Noir #4
  40. ^ a b Ultimate Thor #1
  41. ^ Ultimate Thor #2
  42. ^ Ultimate Thor #4
  43. ^ Deadpool MAX #3
  44. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  45. ^ a b
  46. ^ a b "Saving Captain Rogers". Avengers Assemble: Ultron Revolution. 27 March 2016. 
  47. ^ "The Thunderbolts". Avengers Assemble: Ultron Revolution. 10 April 2016. 
  48. ^ Lang, Brent (April 13, 2015). "'Captain America: Civil War' First to Use New Imax/Arri 2D Camera (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on April 13, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  49. ^ Jones, Alice (April 22, 2015). "Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'". The Independent. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2015. 
  50. ^

External links[edit]