A German aristocrat with great ambitions, Helmut Zemo is the inheritor of a legacy of genius and madness. The Barons of Zeulniz have never been average men, or concerned with small matters. Zemo is driven by the absolute conviction the world will be a much better place with him in control.
Genius Mastermind: 6
Athlete: 3, Combat: 8-7, Diplomacy: 8, Engineering: 8, Etiquette: 6, Languages, Pilot: 6, Science: 7, Spy Games: 6, Tactic & Leadership: 8
Adamantium Blades: 2, Adhesive-X: 9, Advanced Gear: 2-6, Anti-Psi Headband: 9, Armor: 4, Compound-X, Disintegrator Gun: 9
Advantages: Citizen V, Criminal Contacts, False Identities, Wealth
Flaws: His Father's Shadow, Megalomaniac, Wanted
Attribute: Genius Mastermind (6)
Helmut Zemo might not be the world-class genius his father was, but he is still far smarter than most mortals. Moreover, his genius is backed by the fine-tuned, organized mind of a workaholic, and a formidable willpower. Although he is not a creative genius and has not done any major invention in his long life, he is used to work and even improve with extremely advanced technology, and has a knack to find new applications to the inventions of others. Both Intellect and Willpower are at 6.
Gear: Adamantium Blades (2)
The sword is Zemo's weapon of choice, so he has procured the most deadly blade imaginable, a broadsword made of indestructible, razor sharp adamantium. Double-edged, basket-hilted, with a triangular point and about 44 inches long. It weights only 2.5 pounds, despite adamantium being much denser than steel, as the blade is very, very thin, and yet completely inflexible. It is essentially unbreakable, barring it being trapped in the fireball of a large strategic nuke. As Citizen V, Zemo wields another different adamantium blade, this one shaped like a cavalry sabre, single bladed. Otherwise identical. The blades are difficult to build and very expensive, so losing one of them is not trivial matter. But Zemo can replace them if he is given a few months.
Gear: Adhesive-X (9)
Another infamous invention of old Heinrich. Until recently Adhesive-X was virtually unbreakable and the strongest adhesive ever invented by human beings. A dissolvent was recently discovered by American chemists, so Adhesive-X has lost some of its bite. It is still a very dangerous substance Heinrich weaponized for multiple purposes and that Helmut uses occasionally.
Gear: Advanced Gear (2-6)
Baron Zemo has access to everything one of the wealthiest criminals in the world could want, and then some. His contacts with Hydra allow him to have custom-built airplanes, ships and even submarines. He has access to arsenals full of ballistic and energy weapons, all kinds of explosives, LMD robots, advanced electronics, coded communication devices, etc, etc. The tech at his disposal is not quite the level of what Reed Richards or Lex Luthor could devise, but it is a match for the best of SHIELD or the US Army can field.
Gear: Anti-Psi Headband (9)
Among Heinrich Zemo's greatest inventions there were psionic communication devices that allowed him to control machines with his thoughts. The psionic control devices also provided a rudimentary mind-shield against foreign telepathic intrusion. Unfortunately the electronic psionic-receptor machines were very easy to 'hack' by natural telepaths, so Heinrich renounced to that line of research, and instead perfected the mind-shield feature of the invention. Currently the 11th generation psych shield Zemo wears in his masks makes him virtually immune to telepathic scanning, influence and even direct psychic blasts. Any kind of friendly telepathic communication is also impossible unless he turns off the device, of course.
Gear: Armor (4)
When Zemo takes the field, he wears a black and purple outfit made of advanced materials that provides him excellent protection from bullets, heat, cold, radiation and electricity. The mask includes a filter to protect him from poisons and drugs and the anti-psionic circuitry to protect his mind. Citizen V uniform is essentially the same, except it is silver and purple and includes patriotic American symbols.
Compound-X was Heinrich Zemo version of Berthold Sternberg's Infinite Formula. Keyed to his own genetics (but working as well in his son, Helmut) the formula essentially slows down aging by a factor around 10. It has to be taken every year, but after 60 years of taking it, Helmut is an 83 year old man in the body of a man in his late twenties, maybe very early 30s.
Gear: Disintegrator Gun (9)
One of the old baron most notorious inventions, the disintegration gun has the shape of a heavy handgun and the ray it emits is not kinetic or electromagnetic, it directly affects the bounds between atoms, disaggregating molecules into its components, disintegrating all matter it touches except molecules with extremely strong bindings (such adamantium). Most forcefields can keep the disintegrating ray at bay, but most targets hit by it are instantly reduced to fine dust, from tanks to people. Antarctic vibranium is a needed component for the gun, the rarity of the element makes mass production impossible, but the old baron built several models, and Helmut knows how to build more.
Skill: Athlete (3)
Zemo keeps himself in great physical shape through regular exercise and fighting training. Because of his training, he has Dexterity and Toughness at 3. And can perform some fancy jumps, acrobatics and dodges when he is fighting.
Skill: Combat (8-7)
Zemo is one of the world's greatest swordsmen. His skill with bladed weapons is a family tradition that he has embraced eagerly, taking it to a level unparalleled before among the Zemos. He could beat most Olympic fencers with little effort, and duel warriors like Deathstroke or the Swordsman with a fair chance of winning. He is also a crack marksman and a master of several martial arts, particularly Judo and Krav Maga. He practices almost daily, keeping in touch with several other master-class fighters just for this purpose, and using training robots when he has to.
Skill: Diplomacy (8)
Contrarily to the typical autocratic mastermind super-villain, Helmut is a very skilled diplomat and prefers to talk to fight (or to scream about his superiority) even when he has the upper hand. He has a good deal of respect for heroes and considers most of them as merely misguided, not as true enemies. He is also master of debate, quite able to make the most devoted patriot doubt his or her ideals, and has been able to turn enemy agents to his cause with a few conversations.
Skill: Engineering (8)
Zemo is a master of advanced technology and has decades of experience designing, reverse-engineering and improving all kinds of high-tech devices, even alien ones. He has designed from scratch numerous armed vehicles now used by Hydra, improved on his father's robot and weapon designs and even designed a space station.
Skill: Etiquette (6)
Raised as an aristocrat and well-travelled, Zemo is acquitted with the rules of high society, and low society, and everything else. In most major world cultures. He is a connoisseur of arts, culture and fine wines, he appreciates opera and theatre and he can play piano and violin pretty well. He is a man of the 40s with a classical education, though, for him the Rolling Stones are very modern, and Rock and Roll barely qualifies as music.
Zemo has learned many languages in his long life. As a youngster, in Germany, he learned English and French under strict tutors, to the point he is essentially trilingual and has no discernible accent. In Switzerland, he became fluent in Italian. Later, when living in South America, he picked Spanish and Portuguese, and the rudiments of Russian and Japanese, which he latter perfected to good fluency during his travels. He knows enough to hold a conversation in Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Arabic, Latin, Classical Greek, Swahili and Dutch. And smattering of other languages, including some alien ones. With his experience, he picks up very quickly when he needs to study a new language.
Skill: Pilot (6)
Zemo is an expert driver/pilot able to handle almost any machine build by human beings. In fact, he has designed numerous land, water (subs too!) and air-based vehicles and he an expert in getting the most out of them. He has hundreds flight hours with all kinds of airplanes under his belt, from WWII fighters to massive military transports.
Skill: Science (7)
As a young man Zemo studied in the finest universities of the world, and ever since he has keep up with the scientific advances and theories. He has a broad understanding of exact sciences, even though he does little research himself.
Skill: Spy Games (6)
Zemo used to be an agent of Hydra and he is familiar with intelligence operations and equipment. His skills might be a bit rusty, but he can still do stealth, hacking, intelligence analysis and sabotage like a professional.
Skill: Tactic & Leadership (8)
Zemo is one of the foremost tacticians of the world. He is an expert in guerilla warfare, insurrection tactics and small unit leadership. He has extensive experience due to his time in Hydra and his exploits as Citizen V, but he has also studied the deeds and works of all the great military minds of the world, including some that now wear colorful costumes. He is also a compelling orator.
Advantage: Citizen V
Citizen V is Zemo's heroic secret identity. The original Citizen V was a British soldier that led a resistance cell in France and managed to annoy Heinrich enough the old baron went out of his way to personally kill him and most of his followers. Helmut was having an ironic evening when he decided to take that name to join an insurrection against corrupt ex-soviet troops, but he didn't lose that battle. In fact, he greatly enjoyed the victory and the genuine adoration of his followers. So now he uses Citizen V to fight organized crime and corruption in the US. V allows him to mingle with American heroes and law-enforcement agencies, and gather information about them. But he also allows him to do the right thing openly and easily, and then receive the praises of the masses, which he enjoys.
Advantage: Criminal Contacts
The name Zemo carries much weight in certain circles, particularly among criminal organizations whose aim is taking over the world. Helmut was actually a high ranked officer in Hydra, and he has kept ties to the organization, even if he no longer believes they have a shot at taking over the world. But he is also a legend among similar outfits and in super-villain circles. This opens him a door to easily recruit minions and to use (at a cost, of course) building facilities and labs that otherwise do not exist outside the control of major nations.
Advantage: False Identities
Zemo has a few of these. Although his real face is no known, his name is infamous, so he needs to change it if he wants to go anywhere in the civilized part of the world. Mark Evanier is one of his most used fake identities, but he has several.
Helmut Zemo is one of the world's wealthiest men. His father setup a vast industrial/technological/criminal empire that spread over Central and South America and that Hydra used to partially finance itself. When Helmut began to help his father, he diversified and compartmentalized the Zemo's finances so if a part of the investments was threatened, the rest remained safe. With the passage of time, much of the criminal section of the empire and sections of the industrial part was eroded by rivals or fell completely under the control of Hydra local leaders, but a solid core of it remains under Helmut's indirect control. Mines in South America, Russia and Africa, pharmaceutical companies in Europe and the US, banks in Switzerland, vehicle factories in Germany, high-tech enterprises everywhere and a much, much more. The Baron is very wealthy, but since his financial empire is decentralized and controlled under a mixture of false identities and loyal henchmen, it is extremely difficult to use it for economic warfare. Instead he limits himself to take some resources here and there, using them for his projects as required. But ha has so much cash that he has built a modern duplicate of his ancestors' castle in Zeulniz in the middle of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range in Mexico. Castle Zemo is hidden from the world through a plethora of high-tech devices that render it invisible and undetectable at distance.
Flaw: His Father's Shadow
For half his life Helmut's life was dominated by his father. To say Helmut has daddy issues would be an understatement, even after all this time. He is obsessed about his ancestors, particularly his father. He realizes Heinrich was insane, that he was sick with hatred and bitterness, but he was also a brilliant scientist and visionary, and intensely charismatic. Even now Helmut keeps finding ideas for inventions and schemes in the old baron notes who keep reminding him his father was smarter than him. For a proud man like him, it is grating. He also feels everyone is measuring him and his deeds against the older baron's.
Smart, polite, honorable and all-around competent, Baron Zemo doesn't seem a bad candidate to rule the world, right? Fact is, he seems awesome compared with most of the politicians running the major countries of the world. Well, the ugly truth is Zemo is an aristocrat. For him human beings are divided in sheep (99.99% of the people) that are only fit to be serfs, and great men and women, people like him that should be in charge. Democracy is stupid, most human beings are too dumb or too irresponsible to take important decisions. Communism and fascism and laughable. Plato had it right, a republic of aristocrats is the way to go. Not blood aristocracy, no, a true meritocracy. That most heroes and super-villains qualify as people worthy of his respect, means only he believes they are good enough to be part of the ruling class. And really, he encourages them to take over! But he also believes himself as the best of the best, and that his destiny, his duty, is to take over the world. And he would kill thousands, millions even, to achieve his goal. He can be kind and generous most of the time, but he is also ruthless when he pursues his cause. This insane ambition has alienated Helmut from some very valuable people that could have been his friends. And of course, it makes him a true super-villain.
Helmut Zemo has been a wanted criminal for decades. The accusations against him are countless, ranging from tax evasion to smuggling weapons of mass destruction. Most of the charges are true. He committed many crimes during his time in Hydra, some of which he regrets. The crimes he is now committing in his goal to achieve world control feel absolutely necessary to him, and he feels little guilt. Regardless, there are few places in the world he can go using his real name and not be arrested outright.
Helmut was born in 1930, in Leipzig, the only son of Baron Heinrich Zemo, at the time Germany's greatest scientist and inventor. He grew up during the turbulent times of the rise of the Nazi party to power and the following dictatorship and world war.
Heinrich was injured during a battle with Allies super-human agents, his mask melded to his face, and slowly went insane during the last months of the war. Helmut, then a teenager raised in the Nazi ideals, stood by him. But his mother, Hilda, betrayed Heinrich to prevent one of his most insane schemes, and then died during a firefight with allied commandoes. The event that left young Helmut doubting Nazism for the first time.
After the war Heinrich fled Brazil, to raise a financial and technological empire to back up Hydra. Helmut was sent to Switzerland, to live with distant relatives and complete his education. He excelled in his studies and became a brilliant engineer, and then he returned to Germany, now split in two nations, to help with the country reconstruction. Much later he would remember those years as the happiest of his life.
During his years away from his father's influence Helmut abandoned Nazism as an ideology, but when his father called for him, he answered promptly. In a few years, he was a high ranked member of Hydra, often impersonating his own father in meetings and planning sessions. His organizational skills and practical mindset were instrumental to Hydra's survival in South America, steering it away from the craziest suicidal schemes of die-hard Nazi leaders like his father. During the 60s and 70s Hydra held great power in the volatile, often autocratic governments of the region, and Helmut became one of the most wanted men in the world, targeted by all the intelligence services of Western and Eastern countries. He survived dozens of assassination attempts, and honed his intelligence and fighting skills to razor-sharp. But he hid his face behind a mask, so they never knew the face of the younger Zemo. It was a thrilling time, but it was also pointless, he was no longer a believer.
Convinced Hydra was useless on the long run, and that fascism was ridiculous, Helmut staged his own death and left the organization, keeping in touch only with his father and a few of the most loyal and less psychotic Hydra members. For the next few decades he traveled around the world, training his mind and his body and seeking his own truths.
He was there to see the disintegration of the Soviet block and the revolutions that followed, and it was in a small Asian ex-soviet republic when the pleads of the population and the mindless violence of the ex-soviet oppressors made something snap in his head. He took his old adamantium sword and donned a metal mask for the first time, and proclaiming himself 'Citizen V', he organized and led what started as a mob of angry peasants into a formidable guerilla force that overturned the government in few months. How he loved the righteousness of his cause, and the adoration of the masses! During the next years, a Citizen V reappeared several times in third world countries, often to inspire revolutions, or punish particularly hateful criminals. It was satisfactory, but also pointless, small improvements on a very broken world.
Then Heinrich died. Not of old age, although he was close to a century old, as his Compound X prevented him from aging (as it did to Helmut). Heinrich died in a fight with super-heroes.
In retrospective, it was a miracle he lived so long: he was unstable, bitter and vengeful. Helmut knew this, but his death also caused him great sadness, and filial duty made him return to Brazil and reclaim his title and heritage. It took a few years to set his father affairs in order and re-organize his vast financial and criminal empire. During those years Helmut studied intensely his father's plans, projects and inventions, as well as the history of his family. His experiences over the world and his readings convinced him it was his right and his duty to achieve global domination. Only them could injustice be eliminated and global peace achieved.
Intelligence agencies all over the world (as well as some super-hero groups) are well aware there is a new Baron Zemo, as dangerous as any previous Baron Zemo. His goals are unknown, but he is more than willing to use illegal means to advance them, and he has renewed his association with Hydra.
And unrelated to this shady Zemo business, there seems to be a new Citizen V (or maybe it is the same man, although he must be pretty old now) fighting crime all over America, apparently based from Washington, DC.
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Description of Character Association
|Helmut Zemo's Wanted List|