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Comicbook: Red Skull

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The Arch-Enemy of Captain America and one of the oldest villains in comics, and widely regarded as one of the most despicable. Right-hand man of Adolf Hitler in the Marvel Universe, HYDRA brought him Back from the Dead to plague the world once again. There have been at least three major versions of the Skull. George Maxon, the first Red Skull first appeared in "Captain America Comics" #1 (March, 1941). The most (in)famous Red Skull, Johann Schmidt, first appeared in "Captain America Comics" #7 (October, 1941). The third Red Skull, Albert Malik first appeared in "Captain America Comics" #61 (March, 1947). Malik was established as the Communist Red Skull in "Young Men" #24 (December, 1953). Schmidt was revived in "Tales of Suspense" #79 (July, 1966).The established origin of the better known Skull is relatively complex. He was born as Johann Schmidt in a small German village, probably sometime in the 1910s. The Skull's mother Martha died giving birth to him, causing his drunken lout of a father to try and drown him, saying that the infant had murdered his wife. A doctor managed to prevent him from killing his newborn son, but the angry father went on to commit suicide. Growing up alone, the rise of the Nazis backdropping his life, young Schmidt eventually found himself living a hard life on the streets. All while nursing a growing anger and frustration towards the rest of the world. As an older teen, Schmidt managed to get a job as a bellhop for a major hotel frequented by Adolf Hitler. Schmidt was present for one occasion when Hitler was angrily berating the head of the Gestapo (or just some random German officer) for letting a spy escape, and screamed at the man that he could make even the bellhop into a better Nazi than him. He did.Hitler, who seemed to recognize much of himself in the frustrated, resentful, unsuccessful yet obviously talented young man, became a sort of Evil Mentor and father figure to him, encouraging him to educate himself and grooming him for a powerful position in the Nazi state. (According to one version, to be his own successor.) Subordinate only to Hitler himself, the young, brilliant and ruthless Schmidt was placed in charge of foreign espionage and terrorist activities, playing a key role in Nazi victories in Europe and spreading fear (his red skull mask was intended to be a symbol of terror while Hitler could remain the popular leader in a national version of Good Cop/Bad Cop). He eventually moved onto the United States as World War II continued and sabotaged the top secret Project Rebirth by assassinating Prof. Erskine. Preparing for the inevitable war against Germany, the Americans decided to create their own Good Counterpart to the Red Skull's evil, the sole successful Super Soldier serum test subject, Steve Rogers, and trained him to become Captain America, the man who was to become Schmidt's Arch-Enemy.However, as the war dragged on the Skull started to see that Germany was not going to win, and instead made plans to escape and build a new power base elsewhere to continue the struggle. In the meantime he assigned rival Nazi Baron Heinrich Zemo to a secret mission to assassinate Captain America, hoping the two would kill each other off. In the event, Zemo was defeated and Roger's sidekick Bucky Barnes was (seemingly) killed, but not before Captain America tracked the Skull to his secret bunker and engaged him in battle. Cap won and apparently killed the Skull, but in reality he was merely placed in Suspended Animation, a fate that Cap would shortly suffer too after his battle with Zemo.Captain America was revived by The Avengers, but not long after their enemies HYDRA discovered the Skull and revived him too. The Skull allied with them for as long as they were useful but secretly he was biding his time until he could steal the Cosmic Cube from AIM, the science division of HYDRA, the Cube being an Artifact of Doom that bestowed upon the user Reality Warping and godhood. He once again battled Captain America and was once again defeated, but subsequently managed to establish himself as a major and continuous threat to the world, with access to considerable resources.The Red Skull subsequently engaged in numerous more terrorist and mass murder schemes to wreak havoc across the world and kill Captain America, even managing to make himself Secretary of Defence disguised as one Dell Rusk, plus more attempts to possess a Cosmic Cube, before finally being assassinated by the Winter Soldier, a brainwashed, insane and very-much alive Bucky Barnes, but used a weakened Cube to transfer his mind into a Russian general named Lukin, the man who had him killed. Sharing his body, the Skull forced Lukin to go along with his schemes to manipulate the superhero Civil War so as to get one of his puppet politicians elected as President, and later tried to transfer his mind into Captain America's unborn child, before it was murdered by an increasingly rebellious Sin (his daughter). He later allied with Norman Osborn following his rise to power and finally managed to take over the body of Captain America himself, but after wreaking further damage was expelled and killed, this time for good.This being a comic book, the Red Skull seemingly returned in the pages of Uncanny Avengers during the Marvel NOW relaunch. This was then revealed to be a clone of the original that was frozen back during World War 2.The Red Skull appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a villainous Chessmaster, Nazi super-scientist, and the founder of HYDRA in Captain America: The First Avenger. The MCU version is a Composite Character of the comic book Red Skull, Baron Strucker (the founder of HYDRA in the comics) and Baron Zemo (the Stupid Jetpack Hitler elements). It amused many fans that Hugo Weaving was cast to play yet another powerful enemy named "Schmidt" with an appropriately and enjoyably OTT performance.
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Bucky Barnes (Comic Book)
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Captain America (Comic Book)
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Hydra (Comic Book)
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The Avengers (Comic Book)
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Civil War / Comicbook
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Comicbook: make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Dark Reign
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Comicbook: Marvel Now
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Comicbook: Uncanny Avengers
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Captain America: The First Avenger
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The Matrix
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Marvel Universe (Franchise)
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Arch-Enemy
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Artifact of Doom
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Back from the Dead
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Brainwashed and Crazy
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CaptainAmerica
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Chessmaster
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ComicBookDeath
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Composite Character
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Daddy's Little Villain
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Evil Mentor
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Gestapo
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Gone Horribly Right
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Good Cop/Bad Cop
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GoodCounterpart
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Grand Theft Me
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HugoWeaving
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Know When to Fold 'Em
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Norman Osborn
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Offing the Offspring
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Physical God
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RealityWarping
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Significant Anagram
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Stupid Jetpack Hitler
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Suspended Animation
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The Edwardian Era
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The Remnant
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WorldWarII
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Depending on the Writer
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On the other hand, some versions are relatively nicer. In one early incarnation, he wanted to unite the world under an ultra-totalitarian Nazi government in order to stop Reed Richards from being useless and propel the Marvel Earth into the Space Opera setting which thanks to its Super Science it has every potential to be. Of course, he then intended to use the world-changing supertech to take over the galaxy and remake the Marvelverse into a sort of Imperium of Man, so he was still power-mad, but not as pointlessly sadistic, and certainly more of a visionary.
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Joker Immunity
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Joker Immunity: Unlike the Joker, it's infuriating, considering what he is.
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Pragmatic Villainy
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Pragmatic Villainy: He has one standard: pragmatism — if you are killing people and breaking things on his dime, you'd better have something to show for it besides craters (even if it's just that he now owns those craters and they're full of gold or something). He notably kicked Viper out for wasting his money and resources on acts of terrorism with no strategic benefit, violence for its own sake.
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Big Bad
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Big Bad: One of the major supervillain threats on a planet drowning in them, and one of the most despicably evil.
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Freudian Excuse
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Freudian Excuse: An early story had the Skull telling his origin to Cap, but Cap simply responded with a contemptuous Quit Your Whining since he is not in the mood for sob stories.
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DomesticAbuser
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Domestic Abuser: The villainess Mother Night is a truly terrible human being... but read the stories where she and the Skull were an item, and cringe. It was one of the most hideously abusive relationships in comics; the Skull beat her savagely, yelled and screamed at her for no reason, humiliated her in front of his subordinates, and refused to let her kill herself (which she requested because she thought, if he was beating her so much, clearly she is failing him somehow) because "you'd like that, wouldn't you?", whereupon he promised to beat her some more.
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Card-Carrying Villain
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Card-Carrying Villain: Joined the Nazis for the thrill of killing and refers to himself as the "Prince of Villainy".
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Good Smoking, Evil Smoking
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Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Very, very evil, especially given that half the time he isn't actually smoking, because the cigarette actually contains his Dust of Death poison that he'll use on unsuspecting victims.
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Villain: Exit, Stage Left
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Villain Exit Stage Left: The Red Skull is really slippery when he is making his getaway, with escape routes carefully designed to discourage pursuit.
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Cloning Blues
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Cloning Blues: He spent quite a while between the late 1980s and the early 2000s inhabiting a cloned body of Captain America, albeit with a "red skull" disfigurement for most of that time. The Red Skull has returned in Uncanny Avengers thanks to Arnim Zola having cloned him.
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It's All About Me
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It's All About Me: Skull really couldn't care less about anyone that isn't him.
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Getting Crap Past the Radar
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Getting Crap Past the Radar: The Nazis ain't exactly kids' stuff, and yet the Skull got to appear in◊ Mini Marvels.
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The Dreaded
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The Dreaded: Just mentioning his name is a good way to end villain deals, and you'll have to look pretty damn hard if you want to find someone who would willingly work with him. He's not just feared- though he is greatly, greatly feared-; he is almost universally despised amongst both heroes and villains. Any character who actually likes him or what he stands for is likely either seriously delusional or an vile, hideous bastard themselves.
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The Social Darwinist
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The Social Darwinist: He has abandoned Nazism (it was "out of date"), but he still believes in a world where the strong rule and bully the weak.
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Ignored Epiphany
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Ignored Epiphany: After being locked in that shelter for days (see Kick the Son of a Bitch below), starving and alone in the dark, he finally resigned himself to his fate and for the first -and only- time in his life, he felt remorse for his life of villainy and privately conceded that he deserved this fate. He was rescued shortly after, regained his will to live after seeing Captain America and remembering how much he hated him... and after telling Cap as much, began ranting about how he would get revenge on Magneto for putting him in there (though, tellingly, he didn't put much effort into that particular scheme).
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Daddy's Little Villain
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Daddy's Little Villain: His daughter, Syn. He tried to kill her for not being a boy, but she grew up into the kind of hateful homicidal maniac a father could be proud of. He still ignored her, but it's the effort that counts.
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Real Life
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Which is even more chilling when one sees how well it matches his below-quoted Real Life counterparts from the Reich.
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Training from Hell
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Training from Hell: One Skull-centric story (originally in one of the last issues of Super-Villain Team-Up) depicts some of his ordinary, everyday routine in between the world-conquests. He rises early in the morning, begins the day with a tough run of calisthenics, gymnastics, target shooting and other training. When he's done, he turns to planning and studying. His thoughts: He must be tougher than all his myriad enemies, or else be found wanting by Nature. Note that the training isn't sadistic or over-the-top, so much as simply mind-numbingly boring and exhausting and the equivalent of a full-time job in terms of time spent. Keeping up with the superheroes requires effort when you don't have the benefit of super-serums ...
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Color Character
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Color Character
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make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Ret Con
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The recent miniseries Red Skull: Incarnate shows the actual truth to be different, but no less spectacular (Johann orchestrated his "chance" meeting with Hitler).
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make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Ret Con
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It's actually rather complicated in publishing terms, since the first three versions were originally intended to be the same character, and only a series of Retcon stories have created the distinctions between them.
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Grand Theft Me
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Grand Theft Me: He's taken over Captain America's body twice: once in the 1960's, and once more recently. He also spent some time sharing a body with his rival Aleksander Lukin, and in a spare robot body belonging to his underling, Arnim Zola.
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Put the "Laughter" in "Slaughter"
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Put the "Laughter" in "Slaughter": While he is usually a serious and often pretty angry villain, when he is doing what he loves- outplaying his enemies, screwing over his minions and allies, Cold-Blooded Torture, mass murder- he'll at least be sporting a good Slasher Smile, and on occasion laugh like a maniac when he is doing something really evil.
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Start of Darkness
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Start of Darkness: The Red Skull miniseries by Greg Pak has shown most of how the Skull spent his childhood in Germany and how he began his path to ruthlessness.
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Dystopia Justifies the Means
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Dystopia Justifies the Means: His ideal world varies between a violent Police State and a lawless, chaotic hellhole; in either case he believes that the strong should brutalize the weak, commits mass murder on a regular basis, and demands absolute power which he wants to use primarily to oppress and torture people, not simply power for its own sake. And he enjoys it, every minute of it. The occasions he has had the Cosmic Cube have given him nigh-omnipotent power; he once used it to hold an apple in front of a starving crowd, just so he could deny them it! Oh, and shortly after, he ate it in front of a starving baby. On the other hand, some versions are relatively nicer. In one early incarnation, he wanted to unite the world under an ultra-totalitarian Nazi government in order to stop Reed Richards from being useless and propel the Marvel Earth into the Space Opera setting which thanks to its Super Science it has every potential to be. Of course, he then intended to use the world-changing supertech to take over the galaxy and remake the Marvelverse into a sort of Imperium of Man, so he was still power-mad, but not as pointlessly sadistic, and certainly more of a visionary.
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Take Over the World
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Take Over the World: His goal, and in one alternate universe, he succeeds.
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The Unfettered
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The Unfettered: There are absolutely no limits in his evilness.
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Even Evil Has Standards
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_4745a472
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Even Evil Has Standards: No, not him. But most major villains of the Marvel Universe are too disgusted by the Skull to willingly work with him. It doesn't help his case that two of Marvel's heavy hitters, Doctor Doom and Magneto, are a half-Romani and a Jewish holocaust survivor, respectively. In a crossover, he mutually refuses to work with The Joker, not so much for ethical standards as "artistic" ones. The Joker glories in psychological torture and poetic death - he finds far more value in compelling a good man to kill a child, or an entire major American city to abandon basic hygiene, than he does mass (even millions-strong) graves full of indiscriminate victims. So to the Joker, Skull is a talentless hack, and to the Skull, Joker is a useless lunatic. Also, while the Joker might be a criminal lunatic, he's also an American criminal lunatic◊.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_4745a472
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Demonic Possession
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_4b64ea3f
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Demonic Possession: As a result of his meddling with Xavier's brain he is possessed by Onslaught.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_4b64ea3f
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_4cb5bee5
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Artistic License – Military
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_4cb5bee5
comment
Artistic License – Military: When he is not depicted in some bizarre leather faux-uniform, the Skull wears a pre-1938◊ black Allgemeine-SS uniform◊ (single shoulder board) with SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain) collar insignia and an Iron Cross. Leaving aside the fact Iron Cross was not reinstated before 1939, regardless of what he may have accomplished, but there is no reason the second most dangerous man in the Reich's administration should have such a junior rank. He also often has an Honor Chevron for the Old Guard and a Golden Party Badge, even though his backstory usually has him joining the party after Hitler assumed power, which would make him ineligible for these "honors". A recent Retcon has the Skull as an SA rank-and-file before he met Hitler. So he might qualify for the Chevron. And while it certainly wasn't his standard practice, Hitler sometimes did hand out the Golden Badge to late-enlisting but exceptionally worthy followers. So that could be a case of Reality Is Unrealistic. Shadow Archetype: He's the Nazi counterpart of Captain America, and has the rank to fit. A corollary explanation might be that the Skull simply liked the uniform and decorations, and was so powerful in Hitler's inner circle that he could browbeat or kill anyone trying to lecture him on decorum.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_4cb5bee5
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_4d7d278
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Abusive Parents
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_4d7d278
comment
Abusive Parents: His mother died in childbirth, and his alcoholic father tried to drown him for it. His mother's doctor rescued him, but he just got put in an orphanage and things just went downhill from there.... It really says something when Hitler is a better father figure. He's an absolutely horrible parent to his own daughter, as well (perhaps even to a point where his own father would be sickened). When she was born he originally planned on killing her, because she wasn't a boy. His first words upon seeing her were literally, "A daughter? Kill It!". And he would have if it wasn't for Mother Night convincing him to let her live. She's probably wishing that Mother Night didn't save her, considering what Red Skull does to her...
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make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Psychopathic Man Child
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_508d73dd
comment
Psychopathic Manchild: Type C with some Type B traits. His Moral Event Horizon was murdering a Jewish girl when he was just a boy to take out all the frustrations he felt in life, and his core motivation and personality hasn't really changed much, other than the fact that he discovered he enjoyed it. Very few of his goals are pragmatic like those of an evil politician or a Corrupt Corporate Executive should be, profit for him is a means to doing more evil, not an end. From a certain point of view, since the moment he met the Führer, the Skull never grew up. Which is even more chilling when one sees how well it matches his below-quoted Real Life counterparts from the Reich.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_508d73dd
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The Spymaster
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_509a6955
comment
The Spymaster: This was basically his job under the Third Reich.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_509a6955
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_560f5ba0
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Master of Disguise
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_560f5ba0
comment
Master of Disguise: The list of people he's successfully impersonated to run his schemes must be a yard long at this point. And that's not counting the times he's just used other folks' bodies.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_560f5ba0
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_56e068c9
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The Sociopath
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_56e068c9
comment
The Sociopath: Definitely one.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_56e068c9
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_5abf8b42
type
Badass in a Nice Suit
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_5abf8b42
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Badass in a Nice Suit: When the Skull isn't wearing his Nazi swag, he typically dresses in stylish, well-tailored suits.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_5abf8b42
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_5cca8e50
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Politically Incorrect Villain
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_5cca8e50
comment
Politically Incorrect Villain: Aside from the fact that he's a (former) friggin' Nazi, he's also pretty sexist, to the point of nearly killing his own daughter because she wasn't a boy, though he's expressed a certain level of respect for certain supervillainesses like Madame Hydra, and Syn when she grew up. Doesn't make up for his treatment of Mother Night, though, which was outright and frequent physical abuse, and he loved every minute of it too. This is surprisingly averted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The prequel comic to the first Captain America movie establishes that the Skull finds Hitler's racism to be stupid, as he believes Ubermensches can only be created by the Super Serum, and would likely be a new race unto themselves. Thus, he dismisses the idea that blonde, blue-eyed Europeans are genetically superior to everyone else as quackery.
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_609e94c6
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Psycho Prototype
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_609e94c6
comment
Psycho Prototype: In both Captain America (1990) and Captain America: The First Avenger, he is the first test subject for the Super Serum that eventually creates Captain America.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_609e94c6
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_623df217
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Would Hit a Girl
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_623df217
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Would Hit a Girl: Depending on the Writer, he either admires "strong women" or despises them. Either way, he's not inhibited in fighting them on equal terms.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_623df217
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_6a0208de
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Evil vs. Evil
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_6a0208de
comment
Evil Versus Evil: Him vs Magneto in issue #367. Magneto wins.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_6a0208de
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_6c3ff285
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Hate Sink
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_6c3ff285
comment
Hate Sink: Designed to be this from the start. In Universe, the Red Skull is without question one of the most reviled, despised, detested, and flat out hated villains in the entire Marvel Universe, loathed by both heroes and villains alike. Put simply, when even the Joker wants nothing to do with you, you know you're a vile, irredeemable piece of trash.
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_6ef654d9
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Ghostapo
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_6ef654d9
comment
Ghostapo: In Fear Itself he had a group of Nazi occultists perform the dark ritual that ultimately led to the events of that story in an effort to turn the tide of the war. Unfortunately for him, it worked- 65 years later. He had a couple of other experiences with the dark arts later on, but you can see why he prefers Mad Science to get results.
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_702af617
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Wicked Cultured
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_702af617
comment
Wicked Cultured: His theme tune is Chopin's Funeral March. He used to play it whenever he dosed someone with his Dust of Death poisoned gas.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_702af617
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Raised by Orcs
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_72fb824a
comment
Raised by Orcs: Well, raised by Nazis (but only in Captain America (1990)).
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_72fb824a
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_74e4c62a
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Arch-Enemy
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_74e4c62a
comment
Arch-Enemy: One of the oldest in comics.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_74e4c62a
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_7b9c1322
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Fantastic Racism
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_7b9c1322
comment
Fantastic Racism: His clone in Uncanny Avengers starts a campaign to wipe out mutants.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_7b9c1322
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_7ea08def
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Unholy Matrimony
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_7ea08def
comment
Unholy Matrimony: When he was with Mother Night. Though Skull was always abusive to her, even if she was completely loyal to him. He also tried it briefly with Madame HYDRA/the Viper, but she turned out to be too crazy for him.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_7ea08def
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_80f0b68f
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From Nobody to Nightmare
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_80f0b68f
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From Nobody to Nightmare: He was just a bitter, angry, psychopathic street kid who had somehow managed to get a job as a bellhop at a posh hotel. Then Hitler noticed him, and took him under his wing.
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_87ed501
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LargeHam
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_87ed501
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Large Ham: Hugo Weaving clearly had fun playing him in Captain America: The First Avenger. After stealing Xavier's psychic powers, Skull could simply make people do things without a word. But where the fun in that?
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_87ed501
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_89c5620a
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Composite Character
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_89c5620a
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Composite Character: The movieverse Skull is a hybrid of the comicverse Skull, Baron Von Strucker (founder of HYDRA), and Baron Zemo.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_89c5620a
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Those Wacky Nazis
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_8d5f5a0f
comment
Those Wacky Nazis: One of the most horrific examples in comic book history.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_8d5f5a0f
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Stupid Jetpack Hitler
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_8de1a39
comment
Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Turns out the Skull financed the research into a lot of sci-fi technology in the 1940s.
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_8f1cd43a
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Artifact of Doom
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_8f1cd43a
comment
Artifact of Doom: Cosmic Cubes, in his hands anyway.
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_95945943
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Infallible Narrator
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_95945943
comment
Of course, the same story has him remembering both of his parents, including their faces and behaviour, despite both of them being dead before he was a day old, as well as what it was like to be pulled out of the womb- he says he has an amazing memory. These days, that's largely ignored. His superhuman powers of remembrance either completely justifies his amazing out-of-the-blue ability to learn anything, or suggests he was being less than honest about it.
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Skull for a Head
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_95c8766d
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Skull for a Head: Used to be a mask, now is a deformity.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_95c8766d
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_9631311f
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Villainous Breakdown
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_9631311f
comment
Villainous Breakdown: When he was locked up in a shelter by Magneto.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_9631311f
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_963a5b67
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Torture Technician
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_963a5b67
comment
Torture Technician: His hobby, apparently. At least on one occasion he even had his own Torture Cellar, which he said was for "recreation".
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_963a5b67
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_99f79c1d
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Evil Mentor
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_99f79c1d
comment
Evil Mentor: His was Hitler.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_99f79c1d
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_9afcd57b
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Reality Is Unrealistic
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_9afcd57b
comment
Reality Is Unrealistic: Although none of his creators, Joe Simon and France Herron, could have known in early 1941, and they imagined him as a purely fictional and cartoonish incarnation of evil, the Skull's espionage exploits match those of both SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich and his close colleague SS-Brigadeführer Walther Schellenberg, while his cruelty, sadism, ruthlessness and physical appearance match the lesser known SS-Oberführer Oskar Dirlewanger. It can be said the reality of the Reich surpassed the imagination of Marvel Comics writers.
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A God Am I
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_9e5b969a
comment
In the comics, Red Skull will make a A God Am I speech pretty much every time he gains possession of the Cosmic Cube, which is like half of all his appearances in the comics.
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make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Badass Normal
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_a16d280b
comment
Badass Normal: Though he may be a thoroughly despicable human being, there is no doubt that the Red Skull is Bad Ass. He is a highly skilled fighter capable of regularly holding his own against Captain America, one of the best martial artists in the world. He is an expert marksman and a brilliant and imaginative strategist, and like a true Magnificent Bastard is unafraid to put himself in harm's way or use himself as his own best chess piece to see his plans come to fruition. He is considered one of the deadliest threats to mankind in a world that has to put up with regular Alien Invasions, Eldritch Abominations, power-mad superhumans and all manner of catastrophes, and he consistently demonstrates why he has that reputation.
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_a1a3437d
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The Bully
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_a1a3437d
comment
At other times, he is a cruel, selfish, power-hungry bastard who is evil for the Hell of it and who joined the Nazis to be able to torment and oppress people. Instead of admiring Hitler, he is shown as actively planning to move against him and take his place as leader of the Third Reich.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_a1a3437d
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_a6284084
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Diabolical Mastermind
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_a6284084
comment
Diabolical Mastermind: To Lex Luthor standards.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_a6284084
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You Have Outlived Your Usefulness
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_a9c323e9
comment
Despite his propensity for sudden lay-offs, many of the Skull's ex-Nazi or neo-Nazi henchmen seem to adopt an almost fanatical loyalty and trust toward him.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_a9c323e9
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Evil Redhead
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_acd9fd35
comment
Evil Red Head: Back when he had his original body. Technically now, too.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_acd9fd35
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_ad4be95c
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Back from the Dead
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_ad4be95c
comment
Back from the Dead: Played horrifyingly straight, see the quote above.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_ad4be95c
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_add2fca5
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Jerkass
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_add2fca5
comment
Jerkass: The Skull is a terrorist, mass murderer and would-be world conqueror; but quite apart from that, he is a jerk in the little things too. He bullies his subordinates, was violently and sadistically abusive to his girlfriend, and once sank into a depression that he got out of when Crossbones cheered him up by reminding him of all the evil things he had done in his life.
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Bastard Understudy
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_b250db1c
comment
Bastard Understudy: To Hitler.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_b250db1c
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_b6005865
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Sanity Slippage
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_b6005865
comment
There's also the point that the Skull who told this version of the story was also ancient and rather obviously senile. When he first related his origins to Captain America some forty years earlier, the tale was very similar, but noticeably free of all the extravagant and shocking details.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_b6005865
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_bc1d3f0d
type
Mook Horror Show
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_bc1d3f0d
comment
Mook Horror Show: After inhabiting the Captain America clone, he liked to indulge in "training sessions" that were basically this. He would hire five mooks from Taskmaster, have them dress like Captain America, and fight them. They thought it was just a sparring match. He was out to kill them. When they started to realize this, you really felt sorry for them.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_bc1d3f0d
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_bd98c3b4
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UnreliableNarrator
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_bd98c3b4
comment
Unreliable Narrator: The Skull's own version of his life story includes the claim that he remembers every detail of his birth, knows in-depth what his parents were like despite never really meeting them (he claimed to "feel the hatred" of his father for him - yes, when he was just born) and some other stuff like being thirty years old when he committed his first murder and met Hitler, despite subsequent versions portraying him as a teenager, not to mention his claim of having completed his Red Skull training in weeks, whilst simultaneously being an uneducated failure at everything in life up to that point. Obviously a lot of these changes are Retcon, but it actually makes sense that they are different because if you read between the lines, the Skull could be taken as just a blatant liar, trying to make his transformation sound more remarkable than it was. There's also the point that the Skull who told this version of the story was also ancient and rather obviously senile. When he first related his origins to Captain America some forty years earlier, the tale was very similar, but noticeably free of all the extravagant and shocking details. The recent miniseries Red Skull: Incarnate shows the actual truth to be different, but no less spectacular (Johann orchestrated his "chance" meeting with Hitler).
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_bd98c3b4
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_bf38dd13
type
EvilCounterpart
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_bf38dd13
comment
Evil Counterpart: To Cap, obviously. Actually, if you want to get technical, Cap is the Good Counterpart to him, because he was created to be the Skull's opposite number. Captain America: The First Avenger takes this even further by having him be the original test subject for the Super Soldier Serum. He rivals Captain America not only ideologically, but physically as well.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_bf38dd13
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_c1ffa401
type
Screw the Rules, I Make Them!
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_c1ffa401
comment
A corollary explanation might be that the Skull simply liked the uniform and decorations, and was so powerful in Hitler's inner circle that he could browbeat or kill anyone trying to lecture him on decorum.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_c1ffa401
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_c2c21b3b
type
Tautological Templar
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_c2c21b3b
comment
Sometimes the Skull is a devout and fanatical Nazi true believer, almost a kind of Tautological Templar who at least believes himself to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist. In this mode he has a genuine and fervent admiration for Hitler, will rant and rave about his Führer's great vision, rage at the decadent, democratic West for "murdering" such a great visionary, and express his disgust for the faithless and conceited masses of today who have no ideals like the Nazis once did.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_c2c21b3b
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_cc2d7bde
type
FromBadToWorse
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_cc2d7bde
comment
From Bad to Worse: As of Uncanny Avengers, the Red Skull now has Psychic powers at the same level as Xavier.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_cc2d7bde
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_cc2d7bde
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Comicbook: Red Skull / int_cc2d7bde
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_ccf541c6
type
Hard Work Hardly Works
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_ccf541c6
comment
Hard Work Hardly Works: According to the Skull, in a story from the 1980's, his brutal training regime organized by Hitler lasted... weeks. Not years. Not months. Weeks. He went from a bellhop nobody to the most dangerous and competent man in the Reich in weeks, despite having next to no formal education, being a human punching bag on the streets, and having worked nothing but the most menial jobs in between scraping by as a beggar and a thief (a bad one- again, his own words). He says he was thirty too, which would mean he literally just never learned anything until then, but subsequent materials say he was in his late teens, which is a bit of an improvement. Of course, the same story has him remembering both of his parents, including their faces and behaviour, despite both of them being dead before he was a day old, as well as what it was like to be pulled out of the womb- he says he has an amazing memory. These days, that's largely ignored. His superhuman powers of remembrance either completely justifies his amazing out-of-the-blue ability to learn anything, or suggests he was being less than honest about it.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_ccf541c6
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_cd63136f
type
For Want of a Nail
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_cd63136f
comment
For Want of a Nail: Aside from his father trying to drown him, the night he met Hitler he claims he was contemplating suicide, and may have gone through with it had he not been granted the opportunity. While it isn't mentioned very often, the Communist Red Skull killed S.H.I.E.L.D. agents John and Mary Parker, otherwise known as the father and mother of Spider-Man. If he hadn't, Peter would not have had to live with his Aunt and Uncle Ben and possibly would have never become a superhero.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_cd63136f
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_cf797bfc
type
What Happened to the Mouse?
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_cf797bfc
comment
What Happened to the Mouse?: In some issues of Peter David's. 90's Incredible Hulk run, the Red Skull had formed an alliance of criminals called the New World Order. in order to prevent infighting, perform negotiations, and foster cooperation. This group appeared in several Hulk issues and even tangled with X-Men villain Apocalypse! Of course, they haven't appeared or been mentioned since. Later Hulk stories made some vague mentions of the New World Order "collapsing," but we never saw how or why....
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_cf797bfc
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d39dccb0
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Lack of Empathy
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d39dccb0
comment
Lack of Empathy: THE biggest example in the Marvel Universe.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d39dccb0
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d44a36da
type
Hoist by His Own Petard
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d44a36da
comment
Hoist by His Own Petard: After coming Back from the Dead with the "perfect Aryan" face of his rival, Captain America, his first major scheme ended with him being disfigured with an actual "red skull" for a face after he inhaled his own "dust of death" while trying to kill Cap.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d44a36da
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d457807b
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Sympathy for the Devil
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d457807b
comment
Sympathy for the Devil: He claims that his violently abusive father genuinely loved his mother in the same way that Hitler genuinely loved the Jews, the way a victimiser needs victims, without whom there is only madness. He is dead serious and though he never directly links himself to either in the same way, it can be inferred. He relates to the bully more than the bullied, even when the bullying is on a genocidal scale.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d457807b
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d4963ea8
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Gone Horribly Right
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d4963ea8
comment
Gone Horribly Right: He was Hitler's attempt to show that he could create the ultimate Nazi Ubermensch. He was such a success that even Hitler started becoming scared of him.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d4963ea8
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d4dd905a
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Dark Messiah
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d4dd905a
comment
Dark Messiah: There's an Aryan brotherhood gang called "The Skulls" and they worship the Skull as the second coming. Oddly enough the gang and their leader are mainly Wolverine villains. You could also say Crossbones sees the Skull this way. Despite his propensity for sudden lay-offs, many of the Skull's ex-Nazi or neo-Nazi henchmen seem to adopt an almost fanatical loyalty and trust toward him.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d4dd905a
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d7a59717
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Kick the Son of a Bitch
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d7a59717
comment
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Magneto once kidnapped the Skull and locked him in an abandoned fallout shelter, telling him that death would be too good for him and that he wanted the Skull to wish that Magneto had killed him after the coming ordeal. The shelter was completely empty except for some jugs of water, which Magneto advised the Skull to conserve, and had no light source. So for weeks, the Skull was locked in a dark room with concrete walls, slowly starving to death. He raged, pounded on the walls, tried in vain to reach the exit high above him, sobbed, and eventually began hallucinating. By the time he was found by Crossbones, Mother Night, and Machinesmith, he was utterly broken and wished to die.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d7a59717
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d9ca44a1
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Shadow Archetype
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d9ca44a1
comment
Shadow Archetype: He's the Nazi counterpart of Captain America, and has the rank to fit.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_d9ca44a1
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_dafa9191
type
make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Evil Can Not Comprehend Good
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_dafa9191
comment
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He doesn't understand why would a "superior being" like Captain America associate himself with "trash" like racial minorities and gay people.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_dafa9191
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_dee7e2d9
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Boring, but Practical
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_dee7e2d9
comment
Note that the training isn't sadistic or over-the-top, so much as simply mind-numbingly boring and exhausting and the equivalent of a full-time job in terms of time spent. Keeping up with the superheroes requires effort when you don't have the benefit of super-serums ...
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_dee7e2d9
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Evil Is Petty
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_e79953fe
comment
Evil Is Petty: However, this is initially averted in the Silver Age World War II period stories with the Skull being professional enough to hear about at least one scheme failing by shrugging and moving on to new business.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_e79953fe
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_edc9a8b8
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Legacy Character
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_edc9a8b8
comment
Legacy Character: There have been four Red Skulls. Technically, Johan Schmidt is actually the second; the original Red Skull was a Nazi spy who was retconned into being one of Schmidt's agents. The third was a Dirty Communist, and the fourth is the Skull's own daughter. It's actually rather complicated in publishing terms, since the first three versions were originally intended to be the same character, and only a series of Retcon stories have created the distinctions between them.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_edc9a8b8
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_eef9bf39
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Straw Nihilist
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_eef9bf39
comment
Straw Nihilist: Some depictions, big time.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_eef9bf39
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Ax-Crazy
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_ef93d9f2
comment
Ax-Crazy: Definitely. This guy is a complete psychopath that loves what he does.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_ef93d9f2
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make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Offscreen Villain Dark Matter
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_f15d2b77
comment
Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Justified as the Skull not only having access to hidden Nazi caches, but also frequently running organizations like HYDRA and various factions of AIM from whom he takes resources.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_f15d2b77
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Psychic Powers
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_f54fd1db
comment
Psychic Powers: He now has this ability after using Xavier's brain in Uncanny Avengers.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_f54fd1db
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_f62dc268
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Anarchy Is Chaos
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_f62dc268
comment
Anarchy Is Chaos: He once turned his back on Fascism and made this his creed of choice, believing that a world without government would inevitably devolve into the kind of Social Darwinist hellhole that a sadistic power-mad psychopath could call home.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_f62dc268
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_fae435dc
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Ungrateful Bastard
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_fae435dc
comment
Ungrateful Bastard: He once claimed to have searched for years for the physician who pulled him out of the womb... so he could kill him for dragging him out of the darkness and into the light, and for saving him from his father's attempts to murder him.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_fae435dc
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_fe2dc1a9
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Classic Villain
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_fe2dc1a9
comment
Classic Villain: He mostly represents Ambition, Wrath and pure Hatred.
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_fe2dc1a9
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_fe30e641
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Evil Gloating
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_fe30e641
comment
Evil Gloating: Red Skull has had many opportunities to kill Captain America, especially every time that he has had the power of the Cosmic Cube. Each time he has allowed Captain America to live so that Skull could torment him with being helpless or attempt to bring Captain America to the dark side (all the while gloating), thus giving Captain America the opportunity to turn the tables on Red Skull (like knock the Cube out of his hand).
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_fe30e641
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 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_fef6086a
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Bad Boss
 Comicbook: Red Skull / int_fef6086a
comment
Bad Boss: He frequently kills all but his most loyal or competent underlings—and sometimes even them—either for failure or for outliving their usefulness, but just as often For the Evulz. He once killed his accountant, for pete's sake, because "she was a bad accountant". And he usually uses his "Dust of Death" poison, one of the most agonising and horrible weapons in his arsenal, when he feels like doing the deed. Bizarrely, he can still count on the fervent loyalty of most of his followers.
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Comicbook: Red Skull

The following is a list of statements referring to the current page from other pages.

 Comic Book: Captain America: Winter Soldier
seeAlso
Comicbook: Red Skull
 Comic Book: The Death Of Captain America
seeAlso
Comicbook: Red Skull
 Comicbook: Red Skull
hasFeature
Bondage Is Bad / int_92966388
 Comicbook: Red Skull
hasFeature
C-List Fodder / int_92966388
 Comicbook: Red Skull
hasFeature
Crooks Are Better Armed / int_92966388
 Comicbook: Red Skull
hasFeature
Dystopia Justifies the Means / int_92966388
 Comicbook: Red Skull
hasFeature
He's Just Hiding! / int_92966388
 Comicbook: Red Skull
hasFeature
Landmarking the Hidden Base / int_92966388
 Comicbook: Red Skull
hasFeature
No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup / int_92966388
 Comicbook: Red Skull
hasFeature
Only Child Syndrome / int_92966388
 Comicbook: Red Skull
hasFeature
Still Wearing the Old Colors / int_92966388
 Western Animation: Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United
seeAlso
Comicbook: Red Skull
 redskull
sameAs
Comicbook: Red Skull