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Post By
Reverend Meteor

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 11,400
In Reply To
The Mandarin

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,625
Subj: Re: You may be totally right
Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 at 02:45:25 pm CDT (Viewed 788 times)
Reply Subj: Re: You may be totally right
Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 at 07:05:17 pm CDT (Viewed 811 times)

    I've always thought Zemo was more of Red Baron type Prussian aristocrat type. He's a throwback to the World War I Germans rather than a Nazi. He's supremely snooty rather than hateful and racist.

I wouldn't agree with that.

When Heinrich first appeared he wasn't a baron if memory serves. He was Doctor Zemo. So the aristocracy angle wasn't there from the start...he was a mad scientist. When the Avengers went back in time in Roy Thomas's Avengers run I think that's when he was referred to as Baron Zemo. So Baron Zemo wasn't a baron in those Stan Lee stories unless I'm missing something.

Both Heinrich and Helmut are racist. Helmut made a racist remark about Falcon way back in Helmut's first appearance. Helmut's racism still came up from time to time in Nicieza's Thunderbolts run.

When JM Dematteis brought Helmut back as the new Baron Zemo (originally he was the Phoenix in that first appearance) Helmut at that point was kind of like what you're talking about. But still you know...racist (hated Falcon), homophobic (hated Arnie Roth, turned him and his lover into mutates) and sexist. On a scale of racist to not racist I would say he's somewhere less than Nazi level racism and more at racist southern grandpa level.

Kurt Busiek's Thunderbolts run and later Fabian Nicieza's run are where we really see the aristocracy angle of Helmut really developed. Kurt did this right off the bat at the end of the first Thunderbolts issue by saying Helmut is the 13th baron in the line. We didn't know that before then. Nicieza took that bit and used it for the Zemo Born Better series where we meet a lot of those other barons in the line.

I would say this idea of Heinrich as an aristocrat probably comes more from Busiek's use of Heinrich in flashbacks in Thunderbolts -1 and the Captain America/Citizen V annual. Helmut was always more interested in being aristocratic than his father Heinrich. Heinrich cared more about science than being a baron but Helmut really liked that kind of stuff. Heinrich was happy experimenting on test subjects for the Fuehrer and I don't think we've ever seen an appearance where he was dissatisfied or disgusted working for Hitler or even that he was planning to seize power for himself.

To me they've shown several times that Helmut is not in fact a true Nazi. He's an aristocrat and even though he's racist his agenda is almost never (if ever) based on that. It's just one of his quirks and he's not trying to extinguish other races. Not so for his father. Heinrich enjoyed his work as a Nazi. Personally I think Heinrich may have been a departure from the rest of the family. He cared the least about being an aristocrat. If he didn't embrace Nazi ideals he certainly hid it well. To Busiek and Nicieza's credit I've always felt they showed Helmut was racist but not overly proud of that...he knows his father was small minded and he's ashamed to have been raised that way. He knows it's illogical but he had a crappy father who shaped his world view.

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