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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,422





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Reverend Meteor


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    Quote:


I've always wondered how well trained Heinrich and Helmut were in combat.

I think I've seen contradictory things (which is a very Zemo thing in and of itself) about what kind of fighters they are.

Back when Helmut was working with the Red Skull's daughter in DeMattis's Cap run I think she mentioned that Helmut was an excellent fighter. In Nicieza's Thunderbolt run it's implied Heinrich was never a fighter but Helmut secretly came to love it when he was training in the lead up to the Thunderbolts introduction. During Busiek's run Helmut was shown to really be a rather good fighter (I thought).

Nicieza's run seemed to imply Heinrich didn't like to get his hands dirty and wasn't much of a fighter and thought it was undignified but I think there were flashbacks here and there in Busiek's run that showed Heinrich liked to get his hands dirty and kill people in fights.





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Mikel Midnight


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,326


My impression of Heinrich was that he was an excellent fighter by real-world, normal-people standards ... which makes him no competition at all for Cap.


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Reverend Meteor


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    Quote:
    My impression of Heinrich was that he was an excellent fighter by real-world, normal-people standards ... which makes him no competition at all for Cap.


That's fair.



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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,422


Apparently, during WWII, Dr. Zemo was no fighter at all.

After he fled to South America, he had free time to learn karate.

Obviously, it wasn't sufficient to fight against Captain America.

My feeling is that Heinrich was a failed attempt by Stan Lee to replace the WWII Red Skull with a newcomer in the Avengers book.

Read again the Silver Age Avengers stories with Red Skull in mind instead of Zemo ... and, mostly, they still work. The only added bonus is that Zemo is clearly as much a scientist as he is a fighter and a political leader.

I don't know why Stan Lee & Jack Kirby decided to create a new character instead of bringing back the Red Skull.

Actually, the red skull mask being stuck on his head by Adhesive X would have made more sense than Zemo's purple cowl. The Red Skull being the killer of Bucky would have been more interesting also.

Obviously, Stan Lee & Jack Kirby were not convinced by Zemo and they killed him (his death is definitive contrary to other comics deaths).

Then, Red Skull came back, first in a Spider-Man book (he is revealed as the killer of Peter Parker's parents ! It is only later and by a different writer that the story is retconned) and then in the Captain America book (he worked with THEM/AIM/HYDRA).

So, the whole plan was probably to replace Zemo by Red Skull as the new archvillain of Captain America, SHIELD and, thus, the Avengers. The Red Skull would have probably become an archfoe of Spider-Man also, if Stan Lee had remained a writer on the books.

Fortunately, Helmut (post-Phoenix story) became a much more interesting character.


Posted with Mozilla 11.0 on Windows 7
Reverend Meteor


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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    Quote:
    Apparently, during WWII, Dr. Zemo was no fighter at all.



    Quote:
    After he fled to South America, he had free time to learn karate.



    Quote:
    Obviously, it wasn't sufficient to fight against Captain America.



    Quote:
    My feeling is that Heinrich was a failed attempt by Stan Lee to replace the WWII Red Skull with a newcomer in the Avengers book.


Not IMO. They're not really cut from the same cloth. Heinrich Zemo was a scientist. He was a Wernher von Braun meets Nikola Tesla type. Johann was a nobody until Hitler molded him into a soldier. Hitler turned a violent loser with nothing going for him into history's greatest monster with Johanh. With Heinrich he let a selfish scientist loose and let him do what he wanted without fear of breaking the law.

They're both Nazis but to me Heinrich wasn't gutter trash like Johann. He was a scientist.

And personally I've always liked that Heinrich killed Bucky and not Red Skull. That was a victory the Red Skull could never really claim over Cap (not that he hasn't tried). Someone else beat him to that one.



    Quote:
    Read again the Silver Age Avengers stories with Red Skull in mind instead of Zemo ... and, mostly, they still work. The only added bonus is that Zemo is clearly as much a scientist as he is a fighter and a political leader.


But the Red Skull wasn't really a scientist from what I recall. He's not of the mad scientist archetype...Heinrich is. Heinrich served a slightly different role than Johann.

For example you can't do say a story where Cap or SHIELD is sent in to retrieve a device the Red Skull has built. The Red Skull's a dummy...he's not an inventor.


    Quote:
    I don't know why Stan Lee & Jack Kirby decided to create a new character instead of bringing back the Red Skull.


Because Heinrich is a mad scientist (and quite frankly) the better character of the two. Heinrich doesn't have much depth but he has more than the Red Skull IMO.


    Quote:
    Actually, the red skull mask being stuck on his head by Adhesive X would have made more sense than Zemo's purple cowl. The Red Skull being the killer of Bucky would have been more interesting also.


No I think that would have been something the Red Skull always rubbed his face in and it would always look stupid for Cap to let the Red Skull live. With Heinrich dead Bucky's death could actually be avengged.

That's why I think the plan all along was to create Dr. Zemo, pin Bucky's death on him, kill Zemo off and then let Cap move past Bucky's death.


    Quote:
    Obviously, Stan Lee & Jack Kirby were not convinced by Zemo and they killed him (his death is definitive contrary to other comics deaths).



    Quote:
    Then, Red Skull came back, first in a Spider-Man book (he is revealed as the killer of Peter Parker's parents ! It is only later and by a different writer that the story is retconned) and then in the Captain America book (he worked with THEM/AIM/HYDRA).



    Quote:
    So, the whole plan was probably to replace Zemo by Red Skull as the new archvillain of Captain America, SHIELD and, thus, the Avengers. The Red Skull would have probably become an archfoe of Spider-Man also, if Stan Lee had remained a writer on the books.


I don't think so. Zemo was killed off a year or so after being introduced. I think it's plausible that the plan was to kill him off all along.


    Quote:
    Fortunately, Helmut (post-Phoenix story) became a much more interesting character.






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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,422



    Quote:
    No I think that would have been something the Red Skull always rubbed his face in and it would always look stupid for Cap to let the Red Skull live. With Heinrich dead Bucky's death could actually be avengged.

    That's why I think the plan all along was to create Dr. Zemo, pin Bucky's death on him, kill Zemo off and then let Cap move past Bucky's death.


    Quote:
    I don't think so. Zemo was killed off a year or so after being introduced. I think it's plausible that the plan was to kill him off all along.


You may be totally right. It would make sense since Stan Lee planned Rick Jones to become the new Bucky.


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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,948


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.




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Reverend Meteor


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    Quote:
    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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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,422



    Quote:
    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.


It reminds me Captain America #290-301 (Helmut goes bonkers thanks to Red Skull's most bizarre team, Mother Superior and the Sisters of Sin)
http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/captain_america_290.shtml
http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/captain_america_293-300.shtml


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Reverend Meteor


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,856




    Quote:

      Quote:
      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.



      Quote:
      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.





One thing I liked about that storyline is in a way it toys with the themes in Helmut's life that would become much more important later in Thunderbolts. You see Mother Superior trying to teach Helmut to be a "great man" and one with vision. You see her training him to be a better fighter (something he is adept at by the time he's a Thunderbolt)...we're told in Thunderbolts Heinrich thought fighting was beneath a Zemo. We see Helmut eventually part ways with Mother Superior in (IMO) a heroic act of defiance. For all of Heinrich's evil I think Helmut truly believed his father loved him. The Red Skull was just empty hate and that's all he passed on to Mother Superior...he was never a loving father. So in the end Helmut rebuked the Red Skull and showed he didn't really stand for the same things IMO. Helmut is complicated and contradictory and it's a pattern that popped up again and again in Thunderbolts. He's a nasty guy but there is some good buried in there somewhere...at the very least he knows how useless blind evil like Heinrich and Johann's evil really is. He wants something better.

This storyline sort of prepared for him for his later destiny of being a bigger villain and later anti-hero.



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