|For other uses, see Baron Zemo (disambiguation)|
The twelfth Baron Zemo, Heinrich Zemo was fascinated when he was told the legacy of his family by his father, and of the connection Harbin Zemo and Heller Zemo had with the Sleeper. Heinrich was by far the most arrogant of the Barons, claiming that he was the greatest of them and that it would be he who would awaken the Sleeper. He mused in his journals, chronicling the quest the Zemo Bloodline had long taken, about the Sleeper's origins as possibly hailing from aliens or gods, as well as thinking that "Emperor Zemo" had a nice ring to it.
Contacts with Schmidt
During this period, Zemo was contacted by a man named Johann Schmidt who called himself the Red Skull. While Heinrich confessed that it was an overly theatrical title, the Baron decided he would meet with him. The two held their discussion in the ballroom of Castle Zemo, though the Baron was disappointed to find that the greatness was lost on Schmidt. He noted that the Red Skull had a single-minded drive for the acquisition of power, and agreed to further meetings, believing an alliance would be mutually beneficial. Over time, the Baron came to admire the way Skull manipulated the political trouble in Berlin to create an army loyal to him: HYDRA, and he agreed to let the Skull post troops in the Castle as they worked.
Alliance with HYDRA
Zemo gained a dislike for Arnim Zola during his partnership with the Red Skull believing that while he was certainly a genius, it didn't make up for his odious personality and he considered the Swiss scientist reckless over ambitious. Zola's work in Castle Zemo made Heinrich nervous, and he eventually confronted the scientist over the danger his work served to both his home and the treasure contained within. Baron Zemo took his complaints to Red Skull, who forced Zola to back down and restricted him to work only on research. When they arrived, Zola found he was disgusted by Madame Hydra, who he thought displayed too much "mannish affections" and wore to much "scandelous attire", and Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, who he thought was pitiful for wearing the title Baron yet allowing himself to be ordered around by the Red Skull and Zola "like a common domestic".
With his research suspended, Zola entered the Zemo Family library and indulged himself in the history of the Zola bloodline, initially something Heinrich approved of, believing Arnim would learn some real character from it. Whatever Arnim Zola discovered in the libraries, he soon brought to the Skull, and the two began to constantly seek for Heinrich to share more of his family history with them. In short order, this increased interest warmed Zemo up to the two again, and he consented to allowing Zola to begin experimenting in the Castle again, under his supervision. Arnim Zola claimed that he was willing to help him improve Adhesive X, a pet project of Zemo's and a powerful bonding agent, but when they performed an experiment on it, Zola rigged it to cause an accident meant to kill Zemo. Against all odds, the Baron survived the accident, though not without scarring and near-fatal damage. Like his new allies, Zemo continued to pretend it was an accident, while he slowly began to plot his revenge.
Fight for the Castle
Unfortunately for the Baron, during the time he recovered the Red Skull went about destroying the soldiers that had remained loyal to him, and converting the weaker minded ones to his own cause. He found himself a stranger in his own home, and was dismayed to admit the balance of power had shifted, and HYDRA was in control now. It became clear to Heinrich that the Red Skull knew of the Sleeper all along, and he was only still alive to give him information. He decided that if he was to die, he would do so like a true Zemo, and prepared to take vengeance to defend his home and the treasures guarded by his family for generations. He watched on in rage as HYDRA fully occupied the castle, and began to shape it in their own image, but he remained the illusion of being invalid, waiting for his chance.
Zemo gathered his remaining loyalists to recover the relics of his ancestors' castle, but realized that he had to distract the HYDRA forces as his own undertook his operation. He decided that he would make himself the distraction, in order so that the Skull's forces would be able to see a public spectacle, and because Zemo knew that the Skull thought himself imbued with the power of gods. Zemo doubted his skills, as he was still recovering from the Adhesive X; however, he dashed his worries because of his ancestral relics.
To his great delight, the Red Skull accepted Zemo's challenge to fight him under the pretense of it being a friendly sparring contest. However, as Zemo fought to the death, the Skull was able to outmaneuver him in a superhuman display. With his plan foiled, Zemo decided to overload HYDRA's thermal generators beneath his castle and escaped with ease.
His diaries would be discovered over time by Captain America, allowing him to put together the pieces of the underlying mysteries of Castle Zemo. The Captain would be able to use the information in Zemo's final diary entry in order to take down the Sleeper, thanks to Zemo's intricate studies of the gargantuan, and ultimately fulfill Zemo's final wish of bringing down the castle rather than letting the Red Skull and his forces continue to occupy and defile his birthright.
- Harbin Zemo † - Ancestor
- Hademar Zemo † - Ancestor
- Heller Zemo † - Ancestor
- Hilliard Zemo † - Ancestor
- Herman Zemo † - Father
- Hilda Zemo - Wife
- Steve Rogers/Captain America - Temporary Ally
- HYDRA - Allies turned Enemies
- In the comics, Baron Heinrich Zemo is a Nazi scientist working for Adolf Hitler. He is also the father of Helmut Zemo.
- In the animated series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Baron Zemo is one of the first leaders of HYDRA, with Red Skull as his second in command.
- Although he never appears in the Captain America: Super Soldier video game, Zemo is heard in Diary Entries that the player collects.
- In the Nintendo DS and Wii versions of Captain America: Super Soldier, Zemo directly communicates with Rogers through a radio and offers to help him rescue the Howling Commandos in exchange for Rogers recovering his family's heirlooms. When Rogers agrees to this, Zemo quips "As they say in that lurid film your country produced, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship", in reference to Casablanca.
Behind the Scenes
- Heinrich Zemo was included in one of the early drafts of Captain America: The First Avenger, but as Stephen McFeely recalls, his inclusion was dropped from the story in subsequent drafts before McFeely and Christopher Markus finally settled on Red Skull and Arnim Zola.
- One of the concept artworks for Captain America: The Winter Soldier names one of Captain America's missions during World War II as "Operation Zemo".
- In Captain America: Civil War, Colonel Helmut Zemo says that his wife, son, and father died during the Battle of Sokovia. However, whether that father was Heinrich Zemo or someone else remains to be seen.