- —Baron Helmut Zemo[src]
Baron Helmut Zemo, was the 13th Baron Zemo, a title of German nobility. His family pledged his loyalty and service to the German Empire in return for Castle Zemo and land that they could pass to their heirs. Following the death of his father he took up the title. He too was disfigured by Adhesive X and forced to don a mask much like his fathers. He took over the leadership of the Masters of Evil and becoming one of the leading members of Hydra.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Early Life
- 1.2 Phoenix
- 1.3 Zola's Monsters
- 1.4 Mother Superior
- 1.5 Masters of Evil
- 1.6 Resurrecting His Father
- 1.7 Baroness Zemo
- 1.8 Thunderbolts
- 1.9 Born Better
- 1.10 Heroic Age
- 1.11 Fear Itself
- 1.12 Hawkeye
- 1.13 Codename: Bravo
- 1.14 Hulk & Daredevil
- 1.15 Avengers Undercover
- 1.16 Leader of the New Hydra
- 1.17 Pleasant Hill
- 1.18 Captain America, Agent of Hydra
- 1.19 The Return of the Thunderbolts
- 2 Powers and Abilities
- 3 Paraphernalia
- 4 Notes
- 5 Trivia
- 6 See Also
- 7 Links and References
Baron Helmut Zemo, the 13th Baron Zemo and the son of Baron Heinrich Zemo, the master Nazi scientist and enemy of Captain America during World War II. Heinrich brought his son up to believe in the Nazi ideals of a master race, and that only the Zemo line should be ruling the world.
Learning of his father's death, Helmut, now an engineer and strategist himself, blamed Captain America, and adopted the guise of the Phoenix in order to kill him in revenge. Zemo was defeated, however, falling in a vat of Adhesive X, horribly disfiguring him.
He resurfaced years later as Baron Zemo, now working with Arnim Zola's monstrous creations. He allied with Primus, and kidnapped Steve Rogers childhood friend Arnold Roth in order to lure him into a trap. He forced the Captain to fight hordes of mutates before revealing that he knew his secret identity.
Zemo later encountered Sinthea Shmidt who was known as Mother Superior at the time and her father the Red Skull. Zemo underwent training by Sin and the Red Skull, and then kidnapped Captain America's friend David Cox and brainwashed him to fight Cap. Zemo then kidnapped Arnold Roth again, and directed a shared mental re-enactment of Heinrich Zemo's last World War II encounter with Captain America. He turned against Mother Superior, but was overpowered by her psychic powers.
Masters of Evil
Helmut returned and continued to either try to take over the world or take revenge on Captain America, but was always defeated by his arch-enemy. One scheme in particular led him to recreate his father's team of super-villains known as the Masters of Evil. Under his direction, the Masters of Evil succeeded in taking over the mansion headquarters for Captain America's super-team, the Avengers, in the Avengers' most serious defeat. Zemo was ultimately confronted by Captain America and was overpowered.
Resurrecting His Father
Helmut Zemo later married Baroness Heike Zemo, a woman who once claimed to be a reincarnation of Heinrich Zemo. The two lived together in the Castle Zemo ancestral home and organized the Kinder. Named for the Nazi Wunderkinder (Wonder Kids, a.k.a. the Hitler Youth), the Kinder were a group of abducted children, who were originally captured as part of a white slavery ring by Damon Dran. Zemo and the Baroness picked 25 children whom they deemed worthy and adopted them into their home in Castle Zemo. These children were essentially brainwashed into developing a fanatical devotion to the Nazi Party in general, and Zemo and the Baroness in particular. Captain America and his partner Diamondback followed a lead on the missing children and defeated Zemo and the Baroness, freeing the children.
Zemo later put plans in motion to create a new Masters of Evil. During this time, however, Captain America and the Avengers were believed dead after seemingly sacrificing themselves to the psychic menace known as Onslaught. Baron Zemo was briefly despondent, devoid of purpose with the loss of his greatest foes. Instead, Zemo hit upon the idea of leading the Masters in masquerading as a new heroic super-team to replace the Avengers, accumulating public trust and resources until they were ready to strike. Zemo himself adopted the alias of Citizen V, a 1940's adventurer slain by his father.
Under Zemo's direction, the team, called the Thunderbolts, was accepted as New York's newest heroes far easier than they would have expected, and were soon given access to equipment used by heroes such as the Avengers and Fantastic Four. The team worked alongside Spider-Man and battled various villains in New York.
Using this new-found trust and equipment, Zemo nearly succeeded in taking over the entire world, but the Thunderbolts, wanting to continue as heroes, mutinied and Zemo barely escaped, despite his use of the reborn Avengers as mind-controlled pawns. Zemo tried to affect his revenge on the Thunderbolts from his father's base in South America, but was ultimately unsuccessful. He was then confronted by a new Citizen V, claiming to be the true heir to the title, as Zemo never was. Zemo escaped capture, remaining at large for several months.
Zemo was later targeted by the mysterious Scourge (in reality, Nomad working on behalf of a government agent, Henry Gyrich, when both were mind-controlled), who stalked Zemo in his headquarters and beheaded him. However, Zemo survived due to a fail-safe device engineered by his robotic associate Techno, a fail-safe which transferred Zemo's consciousness to a computer at the moment of his death. Techno, out of a perverse sense of humor, then transferred Zemo's consciousness into the comatose body of adventurer John Watkins III, who had operated as the modern Citizen V with a covert group known as the V-Battalion. Once more hiding in plain sight as Citizen V, Zemo pretended to be the revived Watkins and assumed Watkins' former role as the leading agent of the V-Battalion, a role which brought him into contact with various members of the Avengers and the Thunderbolts again. For a time, Zemo, as Citizen V, was offered leadership over the Redeemers, a team of super-agents organized by the Commission for Superhuman Affairs (the same organization that was manipulated to make Scourge).
Shortly afterward, the Redeemers were confronted by the Thunderbolt's archenemy, Graviton, who proceeded to slaughter the heroes before attempting to reshape the world in his own image. Zemo escaped and decided to reactivate his former Thunderbolt teammates, MACH-3 and Songbird, as the Thunderbolts were disbanded at the time. The remaining founding Thunderbolts, Meteorite and the Fixer, initially agreed to serve Graviton in order to be spared, but they soon switched allegiances. Through a mixture of surprise tactics and negotiation, the Thunderbolts managed to fight Graviton to a standstill and revealed that the aliens known as the P'Tah were using Graviton's energies to open a portal to the P'Tah's dimension. The Thunderbolts fought back the P'Tah invasion, but it took Graviton's dying effort to cause the portal to implode, sending himself through the portal and the P'Tah back with him. At the same time, the V-Battalion tried to teleport Zemo out of the area. The combination of energies interfered with Zemo's presence in Citizen-V's mind, and Zemo's presence was shunted to the mechanical systems of the Fixer.
Graviton saved the Thunderbolts by using his powers to send them to the planet known as Counter-Earth, a duplicate of Earth where Captain America and the Avengers were sent after seemingly sacrificing themselves. Although, Fixer knew he contained the disembodied consciousness of Zemo, Zemo purposely kept his presence a secret from the other Thunderbolts. Surreptitiously, Zemo and Fixer confronted Zemo's counterpart on Counter-Earth, the German hero Iron Cross, and Fixer placed Zemo's mind within his counterpart. Zemo confronted his counterpart's father who had embarked on a global takeover scheme, and killed him, wishing to conquer the world in his own right.
Zemo then invited the Thunderbolts to join him in conquering Counter-Earth. The rest of the team, however, wanted to save the troubled world rather than conquer it. Zemo began aiding them in their efforts, initially to win over converts to his cause of ruling civilization, but found himself coming to regard the business of world-saving as an intriguing avenue to achieve the same goals.
The Thunderbolts went on to revive the flying city of Attilan and populate it with refugees and survivors of the war-torn and nearly-destroyed world. The Thunderbolts became renowned for their heroism and efforts to solve the world's problems. They were hailed by many to be the world's saviors, often leaving Zemo flushed with unexpected feelings.
Eventually, the team encountered a spacecraft whose engines emitted a radiation that began eating Counter-Earth from the inside, and confronted a being born of that very radiation, Anomaly. The teen rebel soldiers called the Young Allies arrived to show the Thunderbolts that the void created by the machine was linked to the primary Earth-616, and claimed only one planet could survive. Zemo was ready to use Anomaly to pull the real Earth into the void, destroying it. The rest of his Thunderbolts, however, embarked on a plan to combine their powers to punt the alien ship off the Earth and sever the link between the worlds. However, in order to complete this plan, the Thunderbolts needed to be inside the void in order to keep it clear of the real Earth as it closed. By so doing, they would reemerge from the void on the real Earth, forfeiting their roles and place on Counter-Earth.
Immediately upon exiting the void, the Thunderbolts confronted their former teammates, Hawkeye and Songbird, who had formed another version of the Thunderbolts on Earth and were also trying to plug the real Earth's counterpart to Counter-Earth's spacecraft. The two teams of Thunderbolts combined forces to plug the void and shunt the alien ship from Earth.
After much discussion, Hawkeye agreed to leave the Thunderbolts to Zemo's leadership, reluctantly coming to agree that Zemo had proved he had potential to be a hero. Zemo congratulated his team, claiming to be embarking on a new mission, based on his experiences on Counter-Earth, to serve the best interests of the world at large, even though it would mean they would have to rule it in order to save it.
Zemo led the Thunderbolts in many acts of questionable heroism, where the ends justified the means. In fact, Zemo’s ultimate plan involved the creation of "The Liberator", a device that would drain abnormal uses of energy throughout the world. He hoped this would reduce global threats, eliminate superhuman terrorism, and stabilize the world’s status quo. The Thunderbolts succeeded in launching the Liberator, only to be challenged by the Avengers. Feeling betrayed, Moonstone absorbed the powers that The Liberator had harnessed, combining them with her already-increased powers. As she battled the Avengers, however, her emotional state combined with her near-cosmic power began to threaten the entire planet. The Thunderbolts and the Avengers teamed up to confront Moonstone. During the battle, Zemo blocked Moonstone’s blast of energy from striking Captain America, which left him hideously scarred once more. Ultimately, the teams defeated Moonstone by removing the alien gems that gave her powers. Zemo grabbed the two moonstones, shouting to the Avengers that they had made a mistake in destroying his vision, and he teleported away.
Zemo was sent back in time, traveling through the centuries and encountering key events of his forefathers of the Zemo lineage. In 1503, Zemo inspired the young Heller Zemo to kill his corrupt father, Hademar, and fulfill his role as the third Baron Zemo. During the Seven Years' War, Zemo saved the life of Elsbeth Kleinenshvitz, the Jewish fiancée of Hilliard Zemo, from an anti-Semitic execution.
In 1879, Zemo secretly became the traveling guard of Hobart Zemo; however, he failed to save Hobart's life during a civilian uprising. During World War I, Zemo met his grandfather Herman Zemo and witnessed him utilizing chemical warfare against British forces led by Union Jack.
Finally in his journey, Zemo came face to face with his father during his tenure as a Nazi. This resulted in a violent fight between father and son before the younger Zemo escaped back to his time. Upon arriving in the present, Zemo was greeted by his distant cousin Wendell Volker, who was responsible for bringing Zemo to his correct timeline by killing distant relatives of Helmut Zemo and intended on killing the baron himself. But Volker hesitated and could not go through with it. He then attempted to kill himself, but Zemo stopped him and chose to offer his tutelage to Volker.
Baron Zemo recruited the Iron-Handed Jurgen Hauptmann of Red Skull's Exiles, as well as a new female Beetle and Fixer to expose Bucky's sins to the world. Zemo was responsible for revealing to the public that Barnes had been the Winter Soldier. Tony Stark had asked him to replace the, then, dead Rogers. Zemo stated that Barnes was simply given his role as Captain America and that he would have to prove his worth to wear the mantle.
Baron Zemo and Sin traveled to Egypt to locate her father's hidden vault. They were trapped in the cave but able to escape. However, Sin then turned on Zemo, destroying his teleportation device and stealing his hovercraft to escape. Zemo commented that Sin played the game well but had made a new enemy.
Zemo blamed Hawkeye for usurping control of the Thunderbolts. Zemo made a deal with Trick Shot (Buck Chisholm) who was suffering from cancer, to train Barney Barton to become a master archer in exchange for medical care. When the training was complete, Zemo reneged on the deal. Trick Shot was delivered to Avengers Tower to serve as a message to Hawkeye. Before he died in his former pupil's arms, Trick Shot warned Hawkeye of the threat he would face.
Hulk & Daredevil
A rogue gun runner sold Zemo an experimental weapon. While at his Hydra armory, Hulk and Daredevil barged in. As Hulk and Daredevil fought the Hydra agents, Zemo fired a particle beam that blocked photons, blinding everyone, allowing him to escape. Evidently it had no effect on Daredevil, but the same could not be said for Hulk. Because Hulk was blinded he panicked, swinging at everything; friend or otherwise.
Leader of the New Hydra
After the Terrigen Mist hit planet Earth, creating new Inhumans in the process, Baron Zemo, with the help of other super-villain affiliates of Hydra, started recruiting some of these new beings. One of them, a kid named Lucas, had a particular feature: his blood contained a toxin capable of sterilizing human beings. Believing he was going to create a pure and brand new world with Hydra ruling over it, Helmut recruited the kid. When the new Captain America Sam Wilson and his comrade Nomad tried to neutralize Ecuador's Hydra basement, Lucas was found by them attached to a machine that was draining his blood, believing him to be a victim of Hydra. Sam and Ian rescued him and then, running away from Hydra agents, they were teleported by an elevator to Zemo's main basement in Bagalia. There, Helmut and others super-agents of the New Hydra were waiting for them.
The two heroes engaged in a fight against Zemo and the others, with Falcon getting out of the palace with Lucas and Crossbones following him, and Ian fighting against the others, easily being defeated. Then, Lucas revealed himself to be an agent of Hydra to Sam, shooting him in the shoulder and leaving him in the hands of Crossbones, only to return to watch his boss kill Ian Zola, cutting his throat. Zemo, knowing that Ian was Steve Rogers' adopted son, sent the photo of his corpse to the former Captain himself.
Zemo appeared again after Sin apparently forced Sam Wilson to commit suicide, also recording his final moments before dying to defame him. The Baron told Sin to launch and detonate a bomb containing Lucas' blood in the atmosphere, with the Red Skull pushing the button to launch the bomb after shouting "Hail Hydra!" in front of him. Unbeknownst to him, Wilson, who was rescued by his pet Redwing, came back and defeated Sin, destroying the bomb in the process.
In Hydra's hidden base in Florida, with everything going according to his plan, Zemo celebrated his victory before actually having won. While the Hydra agents were distracted by Zemo's victory speech, Cap knocked out Crossbones and the pilot of the ship containing fleas infected with Lucas' blood. Zemo engaged in a fight with Sam to buy enough time to Lucas to enter and activate the ship and continue with the plan. Realizing what Zemo did, Sam tried to stop Lucas, but Zemo was able to take him down.
With his enemy lying on the floor, Zemo stabbed Cap with his sword. He tried to perforate Sam's lungs with it, but he fought back, hitting Zemo with his own sword's hilt. As Sam tried to use his telepathic link with birds to make them eat the released infected fleas, Zemo tried to stop him by hitting him, but it wasn't enough. Enraged by having his plan thwarted, Zemo prepared to decapitate Sam, but was hit by a surprisingly alive Nomad. Zemo fought back and contacted his last Hydra operative standing, only to discover that the mercenary had been paid a whole lot more money than Zemo was going to pay him by Misty Knight to not launch the bomb containing Lucas' blood. Then Zemo was knocked out by Cap.
Sam left Ian to deal with Batroc in his hidden Floridian base, while he would deal with Hydra's contingency plan in France. While the Leaper fought against Ian, an already recovered Zemo waited for Baron Blood to reach the atmosphere so he could activate his bomb, but Ian, already having defeated Batroc, attacked him, buying Sam enough time to reach Blood. Zemo hit Ian with his own Horde Crusher and then reached the button to detonate Blood, but, before he was able to push it, Ian threw his sword into his back, fatally wounding him. Bleeding, Zemo crawled away from his enemy as he said that sometimes doing the right thing means killing the necessary people, to which Zemo agreed. Then, the Hydra base they were in self-destructed, leaving his fate unknown.
Zemo survived, but was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. and imprisoned in their newest holding facility, a small town named Pleasant Hill. The inmates at Pleasant Hill had their memories and appearances changed with the use of a sentient Cosmic Cube named Kobik, in the case of Baron Zemo, he was turned into a simple young man named Jim.
After taking some time to adapt to his new life at Pleasant Hill due to the lack of memories, "Jim" was approached by a fellow citizen who offered him to get answers. After showing "Jim" a video tape that revealed Pleasant Hill's true nature as a prison, this mysterious man revealed to "Jim" that he had subconsciously created a device that could revert them back to their true selves. The activation of the device returned Baron Zemo back to his normal self, and it revealed his ally to be the Fixer. Furious at the perversion of his identity, Zemo vowed to bring down Pleasant Hill around S.H.I.E.L.D.'s ears and bury them in it.
Using Fixer's device, Baron Zemo had several of his fellow inmates regain their memories, and the ability to shift between their false and true selves. After building a super-villain army in secrecy, Zemo launched a coordinated assault that spiraled Pleasant Hill into chaos, freeing the rest of the prisoners from Kobik's grasp. Baron Zemo proceeded to turn the town hall, which also served as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s main outpost, into a lock-up to hold numerous S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel and citizens hostage, including S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill and Steve Rogers. During this time, Rogers had stopped being Captain America after having the Super-Soldier Serum in his body neutralized.
Rogers eventually managed to escape from Zemo, and began looking for Kobik to have her restore peace. The villains also hunted her down, with the objective of bringing her to Zemo and strip her of her sentience using one of Fixer's devices. With Kobik reverted to a more primal state of a Cosmic Cube, Zemo would've reshaped reality, and turned S.H.I.E.L.D. and the rest of the world into his slaves in a similar way in which he was stripped of his identity at Pleasant Hill.
Kobik was captured by Zemo, but Steve Rogers, who had been returned to vigor by the omnipotent child, rallied the Avengers and its Unity Division against him and his army of super-villains to save her. When Kobik was freed from the Fixer's device, she showed her resentment towards Zemo for the conflict at Pleasant Hill, and transported him far away to the Himalayas. With Zemo was also teleported Erik Selvig, Kobik's caretaker, for having used her to do whatever S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted.
Captain America, Agent of Hydra
Unbeknownst to anyone, Kobik had been indoctrinated in secret by the Red Skull in the ways of Hydra while she was still in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, using her powers to exist both with him and her caretakers at the same time. Her innocently deranged set of values caused her to turn Steve Rogers into a Hydra agent when she restored his vitality. In order to do so, she inserted false memories into his brain, memories of a past where he had been a Hydra double-agent since before becoming Captain America. One of the most important aspects of Steve's new memories was the presence of Helmut Zemo as his best friend when living at a Hydra academy at an early age.
In the present, Rogers returned to the mantle of Captain America and tracked down Baron Zemo when the villain had traveled to Bagalia in an attempt to recreate the Masters of Evil. Zemo was forced to flee after being ambushed by Captain America and his allies, Jack Flag and Free Spirit. Captain America managed to intercept Zemo's getaway plane and faked both Selvig and Zemo's deaths. Steve kept Zemo captive at his new secret base of operations, making Helmut his unwilling confidante. Over the course of the following months, Rogers managed to convince Zemo that the life he had lived without Steve by his side was the false one.
The Return of the Thunderbolts
After the Punisher brought his war on crime to Zemo's domain of Bagalia, Zemo traveled to New York City after he got Castle labeled as an international terrorist. Punisher then came back to the states to settle the score with Zemo, but the Baron allied himself with Mayor Fisk who came up with a plan to deal with Castle once and for all. Joined by several of his former colleagues, Zemo adopted his old costume identity of Citizen V and revealed a new incarnation of the Thunderbolts during a press conference led by Fisk, where he said that he and his team will end the Punisher's reign of terror on New York and restore order to the city. One of the members of the new Thunderbolts was the Ghost, who apparently double-crossed Zemo and seemingly killed him on the Kingpin's behalf after Fisk decided to dispose of him.
However, in reality, Ghost was working with Zemo and it was just part of his plan to convince Kingpin and the world of his demise. Shortly afterward, he was rematerialized and went into hiding while he tried to rebuild Hydra in secret. A mysterious person took advantage of Zemo's fake death and started to gain control over Hydra, eventually becoming Zemo's top competitor for the title of Supreme Hydra.
Zemo's protege, The Natural was set up as the new leader of Hydra while Zemo secretly controlled him. When The Natural was nearly exposed, he was sent to fight and stop Falcon and Winter Soldier from uncovering too much. After being beaten by Natural in their initial encounter, Falcon and Winter Soldier tracked Hydra to a train where they discovered Zemo was still alive and that he was controlling The Natural. They created a temporary alliance in order to stop Zemo's rival from taking over Hydra and causing chaos.
Powers and Abilities
Slowed Aging: Like his father, Zemo makes use of the Compound X serum to retain his youth and vitality, despite his considerable chronological age.
Genius-level intellect: Helmut is a strategic and tactical genius, as well as a brilliant planner and organizer. He also has an impressive scientific and inventive ability, but not at the level his father was.
Master Combatant: He is a masterful combatant, surpassing his late father in physical skill and prowess, but is only slightly under the level of Captain America.
Expert Swordsman: He is a world-class fencer portraying phenomenal skill ability with rapier, medieval broadswords, and possibly other weapons used in Medieval Europe.
Expert Marksman: Helmut is an Olympic-level marksman with firearms.
Master Tactician: He is very skilled in field tactics, close range combat, and even turning the tide of any debate that he is involved in to his favor.
Master of Deception: Although he can be truthful in simple conversations with his peers, it is hard to deduce what Helmut is really thinking or planning in his mind. He can appear and appeal as an ally to any villain or hero, but may simply be using them to do his bidding; it can vary from using them as a shield against another foe, or even getting him past security inside a highly secure structure such as the U.N. He has gone as far as earning respect and acceptance from former enemies such as Captain America in order to ensure the success of any scheme he hatches. Helmut Zemo is truly a dangerous individual who will travel any distance to achieve his goals.
- Influential Expert: He is a dangerous influence to any individual he meets. He has used his ability to morally change persons with even the greatest of good intentions to ruthless human beings. His tactics have sometimes even caused individuals to question their own morality, and judgment towards other individuals.
Normal human male with Intensive regular exercise.
- Missing Limb: Zemo lost his hand in a battle with Punisher and wears bandages around his arm as a result.
Baron Zemo's Suit: He sometimes wears circuitry in his hood guarding against psychic assault.
Moonstone: Zemo has usurped Karla Sofen's moonstones, alien power gems which enable him to manipulate energy on a massive scale for effects such as strength/durability augmentation, space warp creation, gravity manipulation, light manipulation, molecular phasing, and more.
Zemo makes use of much of the same devices invented by his father, including particle, formula, and adhesive X, as well as his dad's disintegrator gun and anti-psychic headband. In close-combat, he prefers an Adamantium sword. He also makes use of various energy weapons and mind-control devices.
- 247 appearance(s) of Helmut Zemo (Earth-616)
- 34 minor appearance(s) of Helmut Zemo (Earth-616)
- 51 mention(s) of Helmut Zemo (Earth-616)
- 162 image(s) of Helmut Zemo (Earth-616)
- 27 quotation(s) by or about Helmut Zemo (Earth-616)
- 2 victim(s) killed by Helmut Zemo (Earth-616)
- 2 item(s) used/owned by Helmut Zemo (Earth-616)