Red Skull, the Skull
To take control of the entire world
|“||The concept of Captain America is important to the American people, the world, to me.||„|
|~ Red Skull, about Captain America|
The Red Skull (real name Johann Schmidt) is a prominently featured supervillain in the Marvel comics universe. He is Captain America's archenemy, and the father of Sin.
The Red Skull's original name was Johann Schmidt and he was born in Germany. He eventually came to hate the human race. He was working as a bellhop in a hotel when Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came to power. He was bringing food to the dictator's room when Hitler yelled at a gestapo agent that he could make the bellboy a better spy than he was. Hitler then saw the hatred in his face and decided to make Schmidt the perfect Nazi and his right-hand man. Hitler gave him a red, skull-like mask and named him Red Skull. The Skull was answerable only to Hitler himself.
Red Skull planned and took part in many espionage and terrorist activities during World War Two, and the United States created Captain America in response. In the final days of the war, Captain America and Red Skull confronted each other in the latter's hidden bunker under Berlin. The bunker collapsed, trapping Red Skull. Gases were released in the collapse, which put Red Skull into a state of suspended animation. His American nemesis was also trapped in a similar state later on, albeit frozen in arctic ice. Both individuals were revived in the 1960s, and they continue to fight each other today. During this period, Red Skull was exposed to one of his own gases, which twisted and deformed his face so it took on the appearance of his mask.
Red Skull once came into possession of the Cosmic Cube, a device that could alter reality to the user's wishes. The Skull used it to make himself ruler of the world, but was eventually thwarted by the New Avengers and reality was reset. He was resurrected by Arnim Zola who has since then transferred his mind after physical death and recently transferred it into a body identical to Zola giving him a form of immortality due to mind transfer.
Because he is a Nazi, even other villains don't like him. An example is when he was confronted by Magneto, himself a Holocaust survivor, and was trapped in rubble for days by the Master of Magnetism. Even the Joker, the insane archnemesis of Batman, is horrified that he was working with the Red Skull (during a Marvel/DC crossover), saying, "I may be a criminal lunatic, but I am an American criminal lunatic!"
Recently a revived Red Skull formed the S-Men and became the antithesis of the now deceased Charles Xavier, stealing his body and taking the mutant's brain as his own - likely developing the same psychic abilities as Xavier in the process but dedicating himself to eradicating mutants.
The Red Skull in this continuity was conceived from an affair between Captain America and his then-girlfriend. Following Captain America's apparent demise, the US Government learned of the illegitimate child and not wanting to compromise Captain America's heroic image, offered to take the child off of Gail's hands, to which she reluctantly agreed. The US Government hoped to turn the child into a second Captain America, but the psychopathic child had different ideas and once he came of age mercilessly slaughtered the entire military base's personnel and then gave himself his trademark "Red Skull". To further drive home that he was not following anyone's orders, Red Skull murdered John F. Kennedy.
Over the following years the Red Skull established himself as a completely merciless, sadistic, and psychotic monster who would committ all manner of evil acts for either fun or profit. The worst of them all was his murdering an innocent baby after forcing the mother to kill her husband with a pair of scissors. He and his men then tortured and gang raped the woman, who would go on to become the Avenger Red Wasp.
After a while Red Skull began to become less and less active, but then resurfaced upon learning of the existence of a powerful device known as the Cosmic Cube. Desiring it for himself, Red Skull threw his lot in with AIM, the terrorists creating the cube, and no sooner did he acquire it (finished earlier than expected due to AIM's being "over-achievers") did he force the members of AIM to eat each other with his newfound power. When the Avengers confronted him he took perverse joy in toying with them using his newfound power, until at last Captain America was able to stop him by impaling him upon a plane. Hospitalized, Red Skull was then executed by Red Wasp, who at last got her vengeance for Red Skull's actions against her.
Powers and abilities
The Red Skull, despite his lack of superhuman abilities, is often considered one of Marvel's deadliest villains. The Red Skull possesses genius-level intellect, known for producing elaborate schemes, often with a failsafe plan prepared in case his current plot failed. Due to his time as a Nazi commander, the Red Skull was also an expert military strategist, a master of disguise, and a skilled saboteur.
The Red Skull was also a master at martial arts, having received extensive training in multiple forms of fighting skills that were almost on par with Captain America himself, making him a dangerous combatant. Aside from his physical prowess, the Red Skull was also proficient in the use of firearms and explosives. During his time within Captain America's cloned body, the Red Skull was endowed with increased strength, speed, and stamina.
In Other Medias
- Red Skull appears in various episodes of the Captain America segment of The Marvel Superheroes.
- The Skull also appears in the 1981 Spider-Man cartoon in the episode, The Capture of Captain America, voiced by Peter Cullen.
- Cullen reprises the role in the banned Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends episode, Dawn of the Red Skull.
- In the 1990 Captain America movie, the Red Skull is played by Scott Paulin. In this version, The Skull is an Italian Facist named Tadzio de Santis and also a recipenient of the Super Solider Serum.
- The Skull appears various times in the 90's Spider-Man cartoon, voiced by Earl Boen. Here, he was trapped in a time vortex with his hated nemesis, and is the father of Electro. He also was one of the villains in the Secret Wars storyline.
- In the unproduced Captain America animated series, the Red Skull would have been the main villain.
- The Red Skull appears in the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Steven Jay Blum
- Red Skull has appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger, and served as the main antagonist played by Hugo Weaving. He leads the HYDRA organization which is temporally a secret research division of the Nazi regime, but still his followers. In the end, after a fight with Captain America, he is either destroyed or transported to parts unknown when he attempts to handle a powerful terrasect. It is implied that he is incinerated and his remains are transported to another dimension, as a portal opens and the tesseract burns through the floor of the ship.
- Red Skull appears in the 2013 Disney/Marvel crossover special, Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel, as the primary antagonist. He leads a group of Marvel villains (Venom, M.O.D.O.K., and Whiplash in fighting four of the greatest heroes (Iron Man, Spiderman, Thor, and Hulk), who all lost their superpowers thanks to the Power Drain-inator created by Heinz Doofenshmirtz (the recurring antagonist of the series). Upon learning that Doofenshmirtz is responsible for stripping the powers, Red Skull and his allies seek him out, and after Doofenshmirtz builds a second one, they later betray him, planning to use the Power Drain-inator to drain every superhero of his/her power to take over the world. Fortunately, Phineas and Ferb, along with their friends, manage to retrieve the lost powers and restore them back to the heroes, who then defeat Red Skull and his allies and send them into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.
- Red Skull is an antagonist and leader of the Cabal in 2013 animated series Avengers Assemble voiced by Liam O'Brian. He made an alliance called Cabals with Atuma, Dracula, MODOK, and Hyperion, he tried to invite Dr Doom, but he refused. In this sense, Red Skull is the main antagonist of Avengers Assemble and the series' Big Bad. He was dying due to the imperfection of the super-soldier serum that transformed him, so he attacks Captain America and teleports him to a HYDRA base with a laser gun (Tony thought Skull had killed him). At the hideout, he prepares to have his own mind passed into the Captain's body with MODOK, but the newly-formed Avengers attack and save Cap. In the process however, Red Skull had managed to steal Tony's Iron Man armor, destroying the helmet (likely so that his face can always be shown to intimidate his foes) and calls himself Iron Skull.
- Red Skull is considered one of the most evil and cruel villains in superhero fiction. To the point where some people consider him even crueler than the Joker.
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