With the release of "Thor" on May 6, 2011 and "Captain America: The First Avenger" on July 22, 2011, Marvel.com presents the Essentials, a series of articles showcasing each character's expansive history and mythology in the Marvel comics.
From character retrospectives to a look at memorable storylines and interviews with key creators, the Essentials will act as the perfect guide for fans both old and new! Look for new Cap Essentials every Monday and Thor Essentials every Thursday as we head toward the release of each film!
|The first appearance of Arnim Zola|
By Jim Beard
For someone who has no head and wears his face holographically on his chest, evil geneticist Arnim Zola’s done pretty well in life. Foe of Captain America and creator of some of the strangest entities to ever pop out of a test tube, he stands as one of the most dangerous and insidious threats to both nature and civilization as a whole.
We’ve done all the dirty work of delving into his origins and opinions--you must simply steel your nerves for the curious journey ahead. Onward!
Once a Nazi…
|Arnim Zola menaces Captain America|
Aligning himself with the Nazi party during World War II, scientist Arnim Zola based much of his work in genetics on material recovered from the ancient Deviant race. The Third Reich welcomed what they viewed as his experiments to further their ideas of a “master race,” and Zola thrived in such an atmosphere. Experimenting on himself, he placed his own consciousness in an artificial body and even transferred Adolf Hitler’s brain patterns into the form of the evil Hate Monger.
Zola’s robotic body, complete with an “ESP box” for a head, allowed him to survive the war and continue his unholy work into modern times. In the jungles of South America he toiled under the auspices of the heinous Red Skull, creating many unnatural beings, and matched wits with a revived Captain America.
Arnim Zola’s experiments first came to light in CAPTAIN AMERICA #208, which may be found collected in CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE FALCON: THE SWINE, along with some of the scientist’s other “greatest hits.”
Evil Never Rests
|Arnim Zola in the present day|
Arnim Zola continued to peel back the layers of genetic code and wreak havoc for many more years, and often came into contact with those who would oppose him. On one occasion he aided the X-Men’s Beast in solving the enigma of Decimation, the event which depowered almost the entire mtuant race, but such seeming benevolence disappeared as quickly as it arrived and Zola marched on to the beat of his own wicked drum.
Aligning himself once more with the Red Skull, he played a role in the untimely "death" of Captain America, after the so-called Civil War between Earth’s super heroes. Zola worked feverishly to devise a way to separate the Skull from the body he then wore but the experiment backfired, trapping the former Nazi in a robot form after Zola himself perished in a fight with Sharon Carter and William Burnside, the Captain America of the '50s. Eventually, Cap returned to defeat his foes’ many and varied schemes and the warped scientist’s future looked none too bright.
Zola’s brush with the X-Men can be found in the X-MEN: ENDANGERED SPECIES collection and his part in the seeming demise of Captain America in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA VOL. 1-3, which concludes with Zola's own death in CAPTAIN AMERICA Vol. 5 #42.
Ultimate Arnim Zola
In 2000, Marvel launched its Ultimate line of comics, contemporary re-interpretations of their most classic characters. Over the last 10 years, the Ultimate Universe has grown to include new visions of many of Marvel's greatest heroes and villains.
|Ultimate Arnim Zola|
In the Ultimate Universe, Arnim Zola also worked as a Nazi-funded scientist who seemingly died during World War II after an assault by Captain America. Unfortunately, his brain patterns survived in an artificial intelligence and he eventually wound up in the hands of a survivalist organization known as the Marauders.
Zola mutated the leader of the Marauders into a gigantic vessel for his own mind to occupy and to continue his experiment of an “Uber-Siegsoldat.” Captain America, of course, put an end to that evil dream in short order.
Please refer to ULTIMATES ANNUAL #2 for all the details concerning Ultimate Arnim Zola’s life and work.