Karl Morgenthau, aka Flag-Smasher, was a freedom-fighter whose goal was to liberate Earth from the oppression of national rule.
Karl Morgenthau was the son of a wealthy Swiss banker-turned-diplomat. As a youth, he accompanied his father on his diplomatic missions to various countries, never living in the same place for more than a year. Although he learned to speak several foreign languages fluently, the constant readjustment to new environments hampered his social growth. Consequently, he felt like an outcast and became too introverted to form many friendships.
While living in Tokyo, Morgenthau began to study martial arts, and at fifteen earned his black belt in karate. At the age of nineteen, he followed his father, who had become a delegate to the United Nations, to America and enrolled in Columbia University. He intended to major in political science and follow in his father's footsteps by becoming a diplomat. However, when his father was trampled to death in a riot outside the Latverian embassy, the young man's goals changed. He felt that his father had pursued the goal of world peace and unity far too passively. He would spread the message using the only language he felt the world would respond to, the language of violence.
Employing his vast inheritance to finance his mission, Morgenthau contracted certain unrevealed parties to supply him with an arsenal of experimental weaponry. He then fashioned himself the costumed identity of the Flag-Smasher and returned to New York to begin a campaign of terrorist assaults on symbols of world separatism such as national flags and embassies. Through these random strikes he hoped to convey the message that nationalism is an outmoded concept which tends to promote disunity among the family of man. Learning that the hero Captain America was going to make a public speech, Flag-Smasher held the crowd of hundreds attending the press conference hostage, forcing them to listen to his anti-nationalistic rhetoric. When the confrontation turned physical, Captain America overpowered the Flag-Smasher.
Morgenthau was deported from the country, but soon joined the subversive organization U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M., whose goals mirrored his own. He hijacked an airliner and held it hostage, demanding Captain America surrender to him. Cap tried to talk him down by agreeing with his vision of world peace, but disagreed with his methods. Cap was forced to take him down with the help of S.H.I.E.L.D..
It was later revealed the organization U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. was being funded by the Nazi criminal, the Red Skull. Morgenthau, now fleeing for his life and hunted by his own people, was forced to team up with the new Captain America (John Walker) along with Battlestar, the Captain (Steve Rogers) and Demolition Man. They thwarted their plot to set off a global EMP that would render all technology useless, though apparently at the cost of D-Man's life. He revealed that working with the Red Skull would destroy his integrity and ideals.
Karl usurped the leadership of U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. once again, and attempted to supply weapon to subversives in the US, but was stopped by the vigilante Punisher and Moon Knight. He later tried to spread anarchy across the country by supplying weapons once again to ne'er-do-wells, but was stopped by the Ghost Rider and the Punisher.
RoxxonMorgenthau was captured and drugged by Calvin Halderman, the CEO of Roxxon who used him to secure the companies oil interests. The drug's mutated him into a monstrous grey creature with no high brain functions and forced to follow his master's orders. He was sent on a mission to assassinate a couple of reporters, who were investigating Roxxon. Captain America intervened and was forced to take down the mind control creature.
The Flag-Smasher was installed as the ruler of Rumekistan by the V-Battalion as a compromise between powers. It was later revealed that the Flag-Smasher had allegedly been assassinated by Domino as part of a series of events which installed Cable as leader of that nation.
Fluent in many languages. Skilled in martial arts.
He wears a highly resilient costume as body armor and special lenses in his mask which help him resist blinding flashes of light. His principal weapon is a spiked mace, although he has also used, on occasion, a flame-thrower pistol and traditional machine handguns.
- Unofficial Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Deadpool Corps: Rank and Foul #1
- Captain America Annual #1999
- Captain America #312
- Captain America #321-322
- Captain America #348-349
- Marc Spector: Moon Knight #8-9
- Ghost Rider Vol 3 #5-6
- Citizen V and the V-Battalion: The Everlasting #1-4
- Cable & Deadpool #28
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #4
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 4