Heinrich Zemo, the 12th Baron Zemo.
Art by Steve Epting.
The Avengers #4 (March 1964)
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)
|Alter ego||Dr. Heinrich Zemo|
|Team affiliations||Legion of the Unliving
Masters of Evil
Master swordsman and hand-to-hand combatant
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Zemo barony
- 4 Other versions
- 5 In other media
- 6 References
- 7 External links
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
Dr. Heinrich Zemo (aka 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'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 the 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.
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 the 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.
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.
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 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.
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. After the mask was permanently bonded to his face, Zemo abandoned his long-suffering wife and toddler son, toward whom he had become emotionally and physically abusive. 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. After decades passed, Captain America was revived by the Avengers. This causes Zemo to renew his rivalry with the Captain. 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.
To that end, Heinrich formed the original Masters of Evil to serve as a villainous counterpart to the Avengers; the other founding members included the 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 that 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. Zemo later turned Simon Williams into the superstrong Wonder Man with his ionic ray, and said Wonder Man 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.
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.
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, Cobalt Man, Commander Kraken, Iron Monger, Jack O'Lantern, Kyknos, Nessus, Orka, Scourge of the Underworld, and Veranke) for Zeus' trial.
Besides Heinrich Zemo, there were other members of the Zemo family that came before in order of succession:
- Harbin Zemo - The first Baron Zemo who was around in 1480.
- 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.
- Heller Zemo - The third Baron Zemo, son of Hademar Zemo and the most progressive of the Zemos.
- Herbert Zemo - The fourth Baron Zemo, son of Heller Zemo. He was assassinated by his own generals.
- Helmuth Zemo - The fifth Baron Zemo, son of Herbert Zemo. He was assassinated by a time-displaced Helmut Zemo.
- Hackett Zemo - The sixth Baron Zemo, son of Helmuth Zemo.
- Hartwig Zemo - The seventh Baron Zemo, son of Hackett Zemo.
- Hilliard Zemo - The eighth Baron Zemo, son of Hartwig Zemo.
- Hoffman Zemo - The ninth Baron Zemo, son of Hilliard Zemo.
- Hobart Zemo - The tenth Baron Zemo, son of Hoffman Zemo.
- Herman Zemo - The eleventh Baron Zemo, son of Hobart Zemo.
Helmut Zemo (Heinrich Zemo's son) uses the Baron Zemo title since Captain America #275.
Avataars: Covenant of the Shield
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.
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. 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.
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!".
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. However, it's later revealed that this version is actually Loki in disguise. His second-in-command Helmutt Zemo, 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.
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.
In other media
- 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. He was seen in the episode "Command Decision".
- Baron Zemo is a recurring villain in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Robin Atkin Downes in a German accent. Shown as one of Captain America's enemies and Hydra's founder, this version sports the signature mask and has an unnaturally long life-span due to exposure to his own germ warfare pathogen "Virus X" he sought to unleash against the Allied Power until being stopped by Captain America. After escaping The Raft, Zemo sought to reclaim Hydra's leadership from Baron Strucker. But Captain America's return motivated him to assault Avengers Mansion with help from Armin Zola and Doughboy but is foiled by the Black Panther. Zemo 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 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 has Helmut Zemo's characterization and first costume.
- Baron Zemo appears in Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers.
- Heinrich Zemo appears in Avengers Assemble: Ultron Revolution, voiced by David Kaye (in "Saving Captain Rogers"), and by Danny Jacobs (in "The House of Zemo"). This version is a high-ranking operative for Hydra, the maker of Adhesive X and two effective super-soldier serums. Briefly seen in the episode "Saving Captain Rogers", he fights both Captain America and Bucky Barnes. Heinrich's legacy is a primary reasons behind his son Helmut Zemo being one of the Avengers' dangerous enemies. In the episode "The House of Zemo", Heinrich is brought to the present by Helmut using a time machine made from Kang the Conqueror's technology in order to restore the Zemo family's honor (via Hydra) to take over the world. When the Zemos fight against the Avengers, Heinrich gets disappointed in Helmut and uses the time machine to bring a Zemo from the year 2099 to help fight the Avengers. Helmut cooperates with Captain America, resulting in Heinrich sent to 1943 which erases Zemo 2099's existence. Once in 1943, Heinrich was knocked out by a younger Steve Rogers who notified the military police.
- Baron Zemo appears in Captain America: Super Soldier, voiced by Steven Blum. Although he never appears himself, he is heard in Diary Entries that the player collects, revealing his family history, and his alliance with the Red Skull's forces to awaken the Sleeper beneath Castle Zemo (which Hydra has commandeered before the game). In the Nintendo DS and Wii versions of the game, he appears as a voice on the radio though his face is still shown to the player.
- 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).
- Avengers #6
- Thunderbolts -1 Distant Rumblings
- Avengers #4
- Lee, Stan; Kirby, Jack (December 1964). "The Army of Assassins Strikes!". Tales of Suspense. 1 (60).
- Avengers #9
- Avengers #15
- Incredible Hercules #129
- Avengers/Thunderbolts #1
- Thunderbolts Presents Zemo - Born Better' #1
- Thunderbolts Presents Zemo - Born Better #2
- Thunderbolts Presents Zemo - Born Better #3
- Captain America #275
- JLA/Avengers #4
- Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham #16
- Iron Man Noir #1
- Iron Man Noir #4
- Ultimate Thor #1
- Ultimate Thor #2
- Ultimate Thor #4
- Deadpool MAX #3
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
- "Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers Renewed on Disney XD," Comic Book Resources. Retrieved December 21, 2016
- "Saving Captain Rogers". Avengers Assemble: Ultron Revolution. Season 3. Episode 3. March 27, 2016.
- "The House of Zemo". Avengers Assemble: Ultron Revolution. Season 3. Episode 19. October 9, 2016.