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The Flag-Smasher explains his politics.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Captain America #312 (December 1985)
Created by Mark Gruenwald
Paul Neary
In-story information
Alter ego Karl Morgenthau
Species Human
Team affiliations ULTIMATUM
Abilities Brilliant terrorist strategist
Gifted hand to hand combatant
Arsenal of weapons provided by ULTIMATUM

The Flag-Smasher is the name used by two fictional supervillains appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The original was most often a foe of Captain America while other adversaries of the Flag-Smasher include The Punisher, Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, The Runaways, The Liberteens and Deadpool.

Flag-Smasher (Karl Morgenthau)[edit]

Concept and creation[edit]

Mark Gruenwald created Flag-Smasher as a character in the tradition of the Red Skull: a villain with a symbolic aspect that would make him a nemesis specifically for Captain America. Whereas the Red Skull symbolizes Nazism, Flag-Smasher symbolizes anti-patriotism.[1]

Fictional character biography[edit]

The first Flag-Smasher was born Karl Morgenthau,[2] the son of a wealthy Swiss banker-turned-diplomat, in Bern, Switzerland. He wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and become a diplomat until his father was trampled to death in a riot at a Latverian embassy. He came to believe that humanity needed to do away with the concept of countries and nationalism that made people feel superior to those of different nationalities.

The Flag-Smasher uses terrorism to spread anti-nationalist sentiment. He conducts a one-man terrorist campaign in New York City against nationalist symbols, and holds hundreds as hostages until he is captured by Captain America.[3] He founds ULTIMATUM, the Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind. He serves as the Supreme Commander of the anti-nationalistic terrorist organization. With ULTIMATUM, he hijacks an American airliner, holds its passengers hostage, and demands the surrender of Captain America. His plot is thwarted by Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D.[4]

The Flag-Smasher later learns that the Red Skull was funding ULTIMATUM. He survives assassination attempts by ULTIMATUM, and captures the current Captain America, John Walker. The Flag-Smasher teams with Captain America, Battle Star, and Demolition-Man in thwarting an ULTIMATUM plot to set off a worldwide electromagnetic pulse that would render all electrically operated machinery useless, feeling that completing such an operation using funding provided by a national symbol such as the Red Skull would compromise his own integrity.[5]

The Flag-Smasher again becomes head of ULTIMATUM, and attempts to supply American subversives with arms, but is thwarted by Moon Knight and the Punisher.[6] He makes a new attempt to create anarchy in the United States through distribution of arms to malcontents, but is thwarted this time by the Punisher and Ghost Rider.[7]

The Flag-Smasher later captures an amnesiac Demolition-Man, but during a battle with U.S. Agent he falls into the Arctic Ocean.[8] Roxxon Oil turned him into a berserker with super-strength,[volume & issue needed] but he later lost these powers.[volume & issue needed]

The Flag-Smasher was installed as the ruler of Rumekistan by the V-Battalion as a compromise between powers.[9] It was later revealed that the Flag-Smasher was allegedly assassinated by Domino as part of a series of events which installed Cable as leader of that nation.[10][11]

Powers and abilities[edit]

The Flag-Smasher is an athletic man who is a gifted hand-to-hand combatant with great proficiency in the martial art of shotokan karate-do. He is also a brilliant terrorist strategist, and has fluency in English, French, German, Russian, Italian, Japanese, and Esperanto.

ULTIMATUM personnel have supplied him with a number of weapons and other devices, including a flame-throwing pistol, a teargas gun, a spiked mace, a shield, jet-propelled skis used for flight, teleportation devices, submarines, and rocket-propelled hovercrafts.

Flag-Smasher (Guy Thierrault)[edit]

Following the assassination of the original Flag-Smasher, Canadian ULTIMATUM agent Guy Thierrault assumed the role to continue the spread of anti-nationalism agenda.[12][13][14] During the Civil War story arc, he attacks the Santa Monica Farmers' Market to show his opposition to the Super-Human Registration Act, but is defeated by The Runaways.[15]

Later, a fight is described between the Flag-Smasher and Araña. Flag-Smasher strikes Araña with his mace, but is later defeated by Spider-Man.[16] He is next seen being described as the new Flag-Smasher.[17]

After this he was seen fighting against Liberteens, but was defeated and imprisoned.[18] Flag-Smasher then returned and launched an attack on a New York diner, where Nomad (Rikki Barnes) was having a chat with her friend John. The explosion caused John to get hurt, and Rikki quickly put on her new Nomad uniform to fight the Flag-Smasher, who was now wearing a similar suit to the original Flag-Smasher. The Falcon and his "sidekick" Redwing helped Nomad defeat the Flag-Smasher, who was again arrested and jailed.[19]

Flag-Smasher later kidnapped a Middle Eastern banker, but was confronted by the new Venom, Flash Thompson. Venom then succumbed to his symbiote's murderous tendencies. After killing Flag-Smasher's cohorts, he then bit off Flag-Smasher's right arm.[20]

After an ULTIMATUM helicarrier is infiltrated and many of its members are slaughtered by Deadpool,[21] Flag-Smasher confronts, and is defeated by Deadpool, who orders him and his followers to stay away from the Merc and his daughter.[22]

Flag-Smasher is later murdered by another ULTIMATUM member named Carl, who then takes on the mantle in order to achieve a vengeance against Deadpool.[23]

Eventually, this Flag-Smasher, along with all of the ULTIMATUM forces are slaughtered after attacking Deadpool a final time, thus ending ULTIMATUM and Flag-Smasher.[24]

In other media[edit]

Video games[edit]


  1. ^ Zimmerman, Dwight Jon (January 1988). "Mark Gruenwald". Comics Interview (54) (Fictioneer Books). p. 14. 
  2. ^ The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update (2010) #1
  3. ^ Captain America #312
  4. ^ Captain America #321–322
  5. ^ Captain America #348–349
  6. ^ Marc Spector, Moon Knight #8–9
  7. ^ Ghost Rider Vol. 2 #5–6
  8. ^ Captain America #400
  9. ^ Citizen V & The V-Battalion: The Everlasting
  10. ^ Cable & Deadpool
  11. ^ "10 Years!". UncannyXmen.Net. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  12. ^ Civil War Files one-shot
  13. ^ The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition (vol. 2) #4
  14. ^ Deadpool Corps: Rank and Foul one-shot
  15. ^ Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways #1
  16. ^ Dr. Strange: The Oath
  17. ^ Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1
  18. ^ Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1
  19. ^ Nomad: Girl Without a World #2
  20. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #654.1 (February 2011)
  21. ^ Deadpool #23
  22. ^ Deadpool #33
  23. ^ Deadpool #43
  24. ^ Deadpool #45

External links[edit]