Supervillain Origins: Baron Zemo

The villainous Baron Zemo first appeared in flashback in Avengers #4, however, the character was not identified until later when readers learned that he was responsible for both Captain America’s decades-long hibernation and the death of his sidekick, Bucky. As it turned out, Baron Zemo was one of the most brilliant scientists working in Nazi Germany. Wearing a redish-purple hood his reputation for ruthlessness was such that even his own people hated him, and the hood concealed his identity, keeping him safe from vengeance by his enemies. Ultimately, Zemo’s hood was drenched in the weapon adhesive X, causing it to adhere permanently to his face. Join WatchMojo.com as we will explore the comic book origin of Baron Zemo. Special thanks to our user Zlatin Dotin for submitting the idea on our WatchMojo.comsuggest page!
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*Written by Craig Butler

Supervillain Origins: Baron Zemo


Some people get their minds stuck in the past; for this guy, his past was stuck on him - literally. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will explore the comic book origin of Baron Zemo.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen primarily to follow the storyline which unfolded in 1964’s Avengers #4 & #6, which was expanded upon in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #8, 1965’s Avengers #15 and 1973’s Captain America #168.

Technically, the villainous Baron Zemo first appeared in flashback in Avengers #4; however, the character was not identified by name and was essentially unseen. It was only later that readers learned that this man was Zemo – and that he was responsible for both Captain America’s decades-long hibernation and the death of his sidekick, Bucky.
Baron Zemo was one of the most brilliant scientists working in Nazi Germany; he even created a death ray which would have given Germany a decisive advantage had Nick Fury and his team not stopped him.

Sometime after this encounter, Zemo began wearing a redish-purple hood, as his reputation for ruthlessness was such that even his own people hated him. The hood concealed his identity, keeping him safe from vengeance by his enemies.

Zemo had just perfected his newest weapon – adhesive X, a super-powerful glue against which all solvents were useless – when Captain America burst into his lair. The two battled, and Captain America’s shield hit the vat containing the adhesive. Zemo’s hood was drenched in adhesive X, causing the hood to adhere permanently to his face.

When Captain America was revived from his suspended animation, Zemo put together a group of villains, the Masters of Evil, to attack the Captain and his allies, the Avengers. Initially, he sought to destroy them with his adhesive X; later, however, he hoped to trick them into creating a solvent which would at last free him from his hood. Captain America double-crossed him, however, substituting a canister of tear gas for the solvent.
But Zemo was not finished; using the Masters of Evil, he kidnapped Captain America’s new sidekick, Rick Jones. He almost succeeded in making Cap unwittingly kill Rick, but the hero managed to free the lad at the last moment instead.

Baron Zemo and Captain America then faced off in a fight to the finish; momentarily blinded by the reflection of the sun on the Captain’s shield, Zemo accidentally fired his gun, causing an avalanche that crushed and killed him.

Although dead, Zemo reappeared a number of times in flashback stories. Then in 1973, Captain America and his latest sidekick, the Falcon, faced a new villain, the Phoenix, who seemed to have a history with the star spangled warrior. The Phoenix lured Captain America into a trap and planned to do away with him – using a death ray and a vat of adhesive X.

The Phoenix turned out to be Helmut Zemo – the son of the Captain’s original enemy. Helmut Zemo had loved his father, who in turn doted on his son and on Helmut’s mother. But after Zemo’s mask became inextricably attached to him, he went mad – ruining his son’s life. Swearing revenge, the Phoenix had planned Captain America’s imminent demise; but his plan backfired and Helmut fell into the vat, you’ll never guess,f adhesive X – causing his face to become horribly scarred and for the Phoenix to be reborn as the new Baron Zemo.

Baron Zemo has made several television appearances on The Marvel Super Heroes, The Avengers: United They Stand and The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Viewers can be sure that any time he shows up, the heroes are sure to face a sticky situation.
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