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Archrivals: Captain America vs Baron Zemo

A legacy of hatred continues to bleed into a new generation of adversaries

By Jim Beard

The dark, dominating and undying legacy of the Zemo family lives on in Helmut, the thirteenth Baron Zemo! Sworn to avenge his father's death, Helmut Zemo returns to bedevil the Captain America lineage this June 3 in CAPTAIN AMERICA #607. Target: Bucky Barnes, aka the newest Sentinel of Liberty!

The long struggle between Baron Zemo and Captain America consists of equal parts heroism and villainy-in fact, this modern-day Zemo himself once walked the line between good and evil. Now, those days fall behind him as he takes his rightful place as one of Cap's most clever enemies and masterful challenges.

Let's peel back the veil of time and look into a few of the battles between the Star-Spangled Avenger and this scion of hate...


After the death of his father, Nazi scientist Heinrich Zemo, at the inadvertent hands of Captain America, Helmut Zemo took on the guise of The Phoenix and plotted to avenge him. Hanging Cap over a vat of his father's "Adhesive X," Zemo's anger brought about his own defeat and he tumbled into the bubbling, boiling cauldron, presumably perishing within.


Returned, Zemo captured Captain America's childhood friend Arnold Roth and threatened to change him into a mindless beast. Hoping to drive a wedge between the two pals, Baron Zemo again failed at his mission of vengeance and not only took one on the chin from Arnie, but faced the claws of his one-time ally, Vermin.


It would become one of their most thrilling showdowns: with Avengers Mansion in ruins, Jarvis and Hercules near death and Steve Rogers' most treasured mementos destroyed,  the shield-slinger worked his way through Zemo's Masters of Evil to get at their lethal leader. On the roof of the Mansion, the two bitter foes battled and, once more, Zemo's rage drove him to desperation and he fell to the ground below, defeated.




At the climax of the so-called "Bloodstone Hunt," Baron Zemo gained the shards of the powerful stone he needed by threatening to blow up Tokyo. When his father seemingly risen from the dead, the situation grew more confused and Helmut reached out to embrace the man for whom he had long hoped to gain revenge. Cap watched helplessly as Baron Zemo tumbled into a dormant volcano.


In the wake of the Avengers' disappearance battling Onslaught, Baron Zemo and a cadre of criminals posed as heroes take up their cause as the Thunderbolts, with Zemo himself masquerading as obscure World War II crusader Citizen V. When the Baron scrabbled in the Amazon dirt for one of his late father's inventions, Captain America caught wind of the project and brought a new Citizen V along to smash it. His plan to release "Particle X" into the atmosphere foiled, Baron Zemo-with help from his friends-made good his escape.


As the culmination of the struggle between Captain America's Avengers and Baron Zemo's Thunderbolts neared, all assembled faced the danger of "holes" in space created by the mysterious moonstones. Beaten, Zemo fell through one of the spatial rips but not before he issued his final venom at the heroes. Lashing out at them for destroying his "vision" for the world, Cap's tireless enemy passed beyond the veil of reality.


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