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12th April 2018

Infuriated when he learned of the survival of his arch-nemesis, Captain America, Baron Zemo assembled a team of villains made of the Avengers' greatest foes to become the first Masters of Evil.

Membership: Heinrich Zemo, Melter, Radioactive Man, Black Knight, Enchantress, Executioner (Allies) Wonder Man, Immortus

First appearance: Avengers (1st series) #6


  • Baron Heinrich Zemo, twelfth in the line, became a Nazi scientist working under Adolf Hitler during World War II. He blamed Captain America for a laboratory accident that spread Adhesive X over his hooded face, trapping his features permanently beneath his cowl. In 1945, Zemo's buzz-bomb rocket fired across the English Channel seemed to successfully kill Captain America and his partner, Bucky Barnes. When the war ended, Zemo retired to South America. He used his creation, Compound X, to maintain his youth and vitality, while setting up a small fiefdom among the local tribes with his mercenaries. [Avengers (1st series) #4, 6]
  • At the dawn of the Age of Marvels, the heroes known as Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk and Ant-Man & the Wasp banded together to face threats too great for any one hero. [Avengers (1st series) #1]
  • These heroes continued to have solo adventures away from the team, confronting super-villains in their own features from Journey into Mystery, Tales of Suspense, and Tales to Astonish.
  • Captain America was revived from suspended animation and joined the Avengers in the modern era. [Avengers (1st series) #4]


Avengers (1st series) #6:

In South America, Zemo was furious to learn of Captain America's resurrection. He organized the first team of super-villains to confront his old foe, recruiting the Melter, Black Knight and Radioactive Man as the respective counterparts to Captain America's Avengers teammates: Iron Man, Giant-Man, and Thor. These Masters of Evil stormed New York City with a supply of Zemo's Adhesive X, terrorizing the city while sending a clear message to Cap that Zemo lived. The Avengers managed to defeat their foes by switching to irregular opponents, and the so-called "Masters" of Evil were captured by the police.

Avengers (1st series) #7:

Zemo eluded capture by the authorities and fled back to South America, abandoning his allies. Meanwhile, the Asgardian Enchantress and Executioner were banished to Earth by Odin for their attack on Thor. Seeking an alliance, the Asgardians contacted Zemo and arranged to join forces against their united foes. While the Executioner tricked Captain America into confronting Zemo at his temple alone, the Enchantress bewitched Thor into believing the other Avengers were his enemies, sending him to attack Giant-Man and the Wasp. Iron Man intervened and freed Thor from the hypnotic spell, just as a jet craft carrying the struggling Captain America and Zemo returned from South America. When the Masters of Evil attempted to flee in the craft, Thor used his hammer to cast them into the void between dimensions.

Avengers (1st series) #9:

The Enchantress used her sorcery to retrieve the Masters of Evil from their prison, and the trio decided upon a new tactic. The industrialist Simon Williams was arrested for embezzlement after Stark Industries outperformed his company. The Masters convinced Williams to blame Stark and Iron Man for his downfall, and brought him to Zemo's laboratory where an ionic bombardment process was used to transform Williams into the super-powerful Wonder Man. Zemo secured Wonder Man's loyalty by making sure the ionic process would be lethal after a week if he didn't administer an antidote. With Wonder Man firmly in their control, the Masters of Evil orchestrated a bank robbery so that the Avengers could see Wonder Man foil their plans. Wonder Man then infiltrated the Avengers, offering his services in defeating the Masters once and for all. Once the Avengers were convinced of his sincerity, Wonder Man kidnapped the Wasp back to South America and lured the Avengers into battle with the Masters of Evil with a fake SOS. The Masters were well prepared for their foes when they arrived, and the sudden betrayal of Wonder Man assured their victory. Zemo pushed Wonder Man too far when he announced his intention to murder the fallen Avengers where they lay. Recovering his sense of morality, Wonder Man turned against the Masters and helped revive the Avengers. Although the Masters of Evil escaped, and Wonder Man lay dying without Zemo's antidote, he passed on with a clean conscience.

Avengers (1st series) #10:

As the Masters of Evil pondered their next evil scheme, the Enchantress received a mental call from the ruler of Limbo, Immortus. The master of time intended to join the Masters in search of adventure. Zemo told him to destroy the Avengers first in order to prove his abilities. While Immortus toyed with Captain America by kidnapping Rick Jones and transporting them through time, Zemo and the Masters of Evil assaulted the shaken Avengers in Cap's absence. The sudden return of Captain America from Immortus' trials turned the tide, however, and the Enchantress cast a spell that reversed time itself, undoing the entire adventure.

Avengers (1st series) #15:

Zemo's next scheme promised to be the final conflict with his hated arch-nemesis. While his mercenaries kidnapped Rick Jones from Avengers Mansion, the Enchantress and Executioner raided a police holding facility and freed the Melter and Black Knight to rejoin the Masters of Evil. As the Avengers attempted to follow Rick's kidnappers in Tony Stark's rocket plane, the united Masters of Evil struck. Most of the Avengers were forced to bail out and deal with the super-menaces, leaving only Captain America to invade Zemo's Amazon base. While the Avengers corralled the Masters in New York, Cap rescued Rick from Zemo's trap just as the Nazi scientist led a charge of mercenaries and loyal tribesman against his foe. Captain America used his shield to cut Zemo off from his followers, and then blinded his foe with the sun's glare off of his polished shield. Firing blind with his disintegrator pistol, Zemo accidentally triggered a rockslide and was crushed to death by his own hand.

Avengers (1st series) #16:

Back in New York, Thor spirited Melter and Black Knight into another dimension with his hammer, so that the Avengers could fight freely without risking the public's safety. The Enchantress and Executioner were wise to Thor's tricks and evaded the space warp, fleeing the battleground. Safely away from innocent civilians, the Avengers made quick work of the remaining Masters of Evil. The mortal Masters defeated themselves thanks to the unique properties of the dimension Thor transported them into, and were recaptured by the authorities.


  • Although Heinrich Zemo was dead, his son Helmut Zemo would eventually rise to seek revenge on Captain America. Originally calling himself the Phoenix, Helmut was horribly scarred after falling in a super-heated vat of Adhesive X. In hiding his melted wax-like features, he adopted the full cowl and title of Baron Zemo. [Captain America (1st series) #168, #276]
  • The Black Knight faced Iron Man months later in battle, and was dismounted from his flying steed high over the ground. Mortally wounded in the fall, Nathan Garrett repented on his death bed and passed on the identity of the Black Knight to his nephew, scientist Dane Whitman. Unfortunately for Dane, adopting the identity of a known criminal led to him trading blows with the Avengers on his first outing, until he cleared up the misunderstanding. [Tales of Suspense #73, Avengers (1st series) #47-48]


Baron Zemo the 12th (Heinrich Zemo)

First appearance: Avengers (1st series) #4
First Masters appearance: Avengers (1st series) #6

Last appearance: Avengers (1st series) #15

All Masters appearances: Avengers (1st series) #6, 7, 9-10, 15

Powers: exposure to Compound X has increased his lifespan by decades, expert military strategist and tactician, uses Adhesive X, a powerful bonding agent, Particle X, which scrambles electromagnetic signals, and a focused laser pistol

Melter (Bruno Horgan)

First appearance: Tales of Suspense #47
First Masters appearance: Avengers (1st series) #6
Last appearance: Avengers (1st series) #263

All Masters appearances: Avengers (1st series) #6, 15-16

Powers: ray projector devices generate microwave frequencies and magnetic induction fields to break down the molecular bindings between the atoms of different substances, allowing him to alternately liquify metal, stone, wood and flesh, wore minor melting rays around his helmet

Radioactive Man (Chen Lu)

First appearance: Journey into Mystery #93
First Masters appearance: Avengers (1st series) #6

All Masters appearances: Avengers (1st series) #6

Powers: exposure to a massive amount of specific-particle radiation turned him into a living nuclear reactor, able to sense sources of radioactivity, augment his physical strength, release ambient radiation to cause nausea, sickness, and cellular decay in others, drain radioactivity from his environment, generate incinerating heat and blinding or hypnotic flashes of light, and channel hard radiation into focused concussive energy, protective force screens, or explosive charges

Black Knight (Nathan Garrett)

First appearance: Tales to Astonish #52
First Masters appearance: Avengers (1st series) #6
Last appearance: Avengers (1st series) #48

All Masters appearances: Avengers (1st series) #6, 15-16

Powers: genetics and engineering genius, carries a paralyzer pistol that releases a nerve gas that sends others into a coma and a power lance equipped with .45 caliber machine guns, white-hot metal rings, bolas, lasso rope, and is capable of firing high-temperature flames, lightning-like bolts, and concussive blasts of energy

Enchantress (Amora)

First appearance: Journey into Mystery #103
First Masters appearance: Avengers (1st series) #7

All Masters appearances: Avengers (1st series) #7, 9-10, 15-16

Powers: Asgardian goddess with superhuman strength, endurance, and resistance to physical injury, sorceress able to fire mystical force bolts, teleport through time and space, shield herself from attacks, rearrange molecular structures, and conjure up spells, has devoted the majority of her magicks to increasing her allure, enabling her to attract any man at first glance, seduce him through potions and an enchanted gaze, and make him her love slave through a single kiss

Executioner (Skurge)

First appearance: Journey into Mystery #103
First Masters appearance: Avengers (1st series) #7
Last appearance: Thor (1st series) #262

All Masters appearances: Avengers (1st series) #7, 9-10, 15-16

Powers: Asgardian/Frost Giant demigod with superhuman strength, endurance, vision, and resistance to physical injury, carries an enchanted battle-axe which can disrupts magical spells and cleave between the fabric of space/time, opening portals between dimensional planes for personal travel or to summon energies from other places such as intense arctic winds or blazing flames


Wonder Man (Simon Williams)

First appearance: Avengers (1st series) #9
First Masters appearance: Avengers (1st series) #9

All Masters appearances: Avengers (1st series) #9

Powers: ionic bombardment treatment gives him enormous strength, speed, endurance, and resistance to all forms of physical injury

Immortus (Nathaniel Richards, II)

First appearance: Avengers (1st series) #10
First Masters appearance: Avengers (1st series) #10

All Masters appearances: Avengers (1st series) #10

Powers: Lord of Limbo and Master of Time, able to remotely observe the passage of all history, travel from timeless Limbo to any point in the timestream, freeze or accelerate time relative to others, and summon and command Dire Wraiths, Space Phantoms, Tempus, and other agents of Limbo under his control