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Masters of Evil (Earth-616)

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Information-silk
Information-silk Official Team Name
Information-silk Team Aliases
Unknown
Information-silk Status
Information-silk Identity
Information-silk Alignment
Information-silk Universe
Information-silk Base of Operations
Origin
Information-silk Origin
Baron Heinrich Zemo, to gain revenge upon Captain America, formed a team comprised of the foes of the captain's friends, the Avengers.
First appearance

History

The Masters of Evil were a team of supervillains. There have been eight incarnations of the Masters of Evil, accumulating dozens of members in total. The Masters of Evil were primarily opposed to the Avengers, although they also battled the Thunderbolts (ironically consisting of former Masters of Evil) and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Avengers Vol 1 6

The original Masters of Evil in action against the Avengers

Masters of Evil I

The original Masters team was organized by Baron Heinrich Zemo, a World War II enemy of Captain America who gathered the Masters to get revenge on the Captain. Thor's enemy the Radioactive Man, Iron Man's adversary the Melter and Giant-Man and The Wasp's foe the Black Knight (Nathan Garrett) were all enlisted. When his accomplices were subdued by Captain America and the Avengers in the streets of New York, Zemo beat a hasty retreat.[1] He then teamed with the Asgardians called Enchantress and Executioner. Their scheme to turn Thor against the other Avengers failed,[2] as did their plan to use Wonder Man as a pawn to try and gain their trust[3] and another scheme in which they were assisted by Immortus[4]. Finally, Zemo had his Asgardian allies free Black Knight and The Melter from jail (though Radioactive Man had been deported to his native China.) While his Masters battled the Avengers, Zemo had captured Rick Jones, then acting as Cap's partner. Cap and Zemo dueled in South America. Blinded by the glare from his opponent's shield, Zemo fired his death ray wildly and died in the ensuing rockslide.[5] Meanwhile, the remaining members were defeated by the Avengers after Thor transported them to another dimension so their battle would not destroy the city of New York.[6]

Opposing Avengers

Masters of Evil II

The second team of Masters was organized by the android Ultron-5 (creation of the Avenger Hank Pym, himself previously Ant-Man and Giant-Man but then known as "Goliath") under the alias of "Crimson Cowl"[7]. Ultron planned to launch a surprise attack on the Avengers in their mansion headquarters, and maneuvered the Avengers' butler Edwin Jarvis into selling them the blueprints to the Avengers' security systems. Their raid was successful, and the Masters took the Avengers captive. However, the nephew of the Masters' first Black Knight (Dane Whitman) had joined the villains in order to betray them to the Avengers, initiating the Avengers' rescue. Thus, the second Masters of Evil were defeated by the Avengers, but Ultron-5 escaped, to plague the Avengers subsequently without human accomplices. Klaw, the Melter, Radioactive Man, and Whirlwind challenged the Avengers a second time, but were easily defeated[8].

Opposing Avengers

(with support from Masters infiltrator Black Knight.)

Masters of Evil III

The third team was organized by the criminal scientist Egghead, enemy of Hank Pym and the Wasp.[9]. Looking for accomplices to aid him in his criminal ventures, Egghead broke Tiger Shark, Whirlwind, the Scorpion, and Moonstone out of prison. However, before they could be of much use to him, Whirlwind sneaked away to get revenge upon the Wasp himself. The others followed to try to keep him out of trouble, but they all ended up in combat with the Avengers and lost. Egghead freed Tiger Shark and Moonstone, but replaced Whirlwind and the Scorpion with the Radioactive Man, the Beetle, and the Shocker. Egghead sought final vengeance on his long-time enemy Hank Pym, and sent the Masters of Evil to free him from the courtroom where he was being tried for certain crimes Egghead had framed him for. Egghead hoped to make it look as if Pym were a member of his criminal group in order to coerce Pym into working with him on a longevity serum. Pym pretended to go along with him but instead invented a device enabling him to defeat Egghead and virtually all the other Masters single-handedly. Egghead was killed when an arrow shot by Hawkeye caused a gun he was aiming at Pym to misfire.

Opposing Avengers

(with support from inactive member Dr. Henry Pym.)

Masters of Evil IV

The fourth, and arguably most effective, team was organized by Baron Helmut Zemo, the son of the previous Zemo.[10] Inheriting his father's hatred of Captain America, the new Zemo sought to assemble the most formidable Masters of Evil ever. Rather than follow past practice with a team roughly the size of the active Avengers roster, Zemo decided to organize a veritable army of superhuman criminals, to assure victory over the Avengers. Zemo's long-range design for the largest assemblage of costumed criminals is not at present known, though he stated his intent to defeat the West Coast Avengers and the Fantastic Four as well.

Avengers Vol 1 277

Captain America battles Baron Zemo amidst the ruins of Avengers Mansion

This reformed version of the team took over Avengers Mansion, causing considerable damage in the process. Zemo, a master strategist, was able to play on the Avengers' relationships to pick them off one by one. Zemo sends several of his minions on scouting missions, performing various tasks in preparation for the assault on the mansion. Meanwhile he must hold down his command by preventing subversion from Moonstone and giving his more physical recruits their promised action without striking too soon.

Sub-Mariner has taken a leave of absence to reclaim Atlantis, leaving the team one Avenger short. Black Knight and Captain America were captured, as well as Jarvis; Captain Marvel was trapped in another dimension by Blackout; and Hercules is beaten into a coma. This leaves The Wasp, chairman at the time, as the only remaining active Avenger to retake the mansion. Meanwhile Mister Hyde tortures Jarvis, leaving significant lasting injuries to the faithful butler. It took a hastily-assembled squad of reserve Avengers to defeat this formidable version of the Masters.

Opposing Avengers

Supported by reservists Thor and Doctor Druid and allies Ant-Man (Scott Lang) and Paladin and peripherally by Spider-Man.

Masters of Evil V

The fifth team was organized by Doctor Octopus, and bore little resemblance to any other incarnation of the team.

Masters of Evil (Earth-616)

Masters of Evil VI

Masters of Evil VI

The sixth incarnation was again assembled by Baron Helmut Zemo, consisting of several of his former recruits along with previous Master, the Beetle. They were better known under the alias they adopted, the Thunderbolts.

Masters of Evil VII

The seventh incarnation was gathered by the mysterious Crimson Cowl (Justine Hammer). After the Avengers and Fantastic Four seemingly perished fighting Onslaught, she, the daughter of corrupt industrialist Justin Hammer, gathered the Masters as a group of hired muscle. First working for Hydra, they tried to garner the favor of the New York crime families. This incensed Citizen V and the rest of the Thunderbolts, seeing the Masters' legacy turned into mere mercenary work.

When the Thunderbolts faced the Masters of Evil in battle she and her team escaped due to the blinding flash that accompanied the Crimson Cowl's teleportation effect. When next they fought Crimson Cowl escaped again.

Thunderbolts Vol 1 3

The Thunderbolts clash with Crimson Cowl's Masters of Evil

The Thunderbolts eventually turned on Zemo and Techno, who found themselves fugitives hated by heroes and villains alike. The Crimson Cowl saw this as an opportunity to induct the remaining Bolts into her Masters of Evil. She sent Cyclone to bait the Thunderbolts into walking into an ambush. After defeating the T-Bolts, she made her proposal "Join her and enjoy all the amenities that come with being in her organization or defy her and she would tell all of the Thunderbolts enemies how to find them.

The Thunderbolts were given time to think over the situation but in the end decided they would rather take down the Crimson Cowl instead. When next they fought, it looked like the Crimson Cowl had won until Hawkeye, disguised as a new Dreadknight, saved the team. Hawkeye offered to become the Thunderbolts' new leader. One of his first actions as leader was to promise the media the capture of the Masters of Evil.

The Masters began a plan to use a weather machine to blackmail world leaders for a billion dollars. The Cowl's numbers had grown from 6 members to 25. Realizing they were outnumbered, "Dreadknight" decided to use Moonstone and her reputation as a traitor to infiltrate the Masters. Moonstone was tempted to side with the Masters for real but eventually decided against it and took the Cowl down instead. Moonstone unmasked the Crimson Cowl and the Thunderbolts were shocked to find the Cowl was Dallas Riordan, their former liaison to the office of the New York city mayor.

In reality, Dallas Riordan was actually the new Citizen V. She had been knocked unconscious when she began to interfere with the Cowl's plans for the weather machine. At the last moment Justine had teleported out of her costume and placed Dallas into it. Dallas didn't tell the Thunderbolts the truth because she was still bitter about being fired as the mayor's liaison because of the Thunderbolts deception as heroes. Eventually Dallas was rescued from jail by her team the V-Battalion.

Opposing Thunderbolts

Masters of Evil VIII

The eighth incarnation, like the seventh, was recruited by Justine Hammer. Hawkeye, Songbird and Blackheath defeated most of them, and convinced several of them (Gypsy Moth (who took the name "Skein"), Cardinal (Harrier),Man-Killer (Amazon), and Cyclone (who refused to change his name) that the Crimson Cowl would kill them with a bio-toxin that Justine's father had surreptitiously placed in the majority of super villains he had employed over the years. Hawkeye inducted these Masters into the Thunderbolts. The Crimson Cowl was eventually defeated by Skein, who used her powers to deconstruct Justine's costume.

Opposing Thunderbolts

Masters of Evil IX

Max Fury and the Shadow Council organized a new incarnation of the Masters of Evil, which was discovered by the Secret Avengers during a mission run by Hawkeye and Captain America.

Max Fury was able to recruit some other villains to join up with the Shadow Council's Masters of Evil at the time when Max Fury sets up a Shadow Council headquarters in Bagalia, an island nation run by criminals.[11] While setting up in Bagalia's Capital City in underground at the bottom of a chasm and under complete video surveillance, Max Fury later recruits some more villains in order to expand the Masters of Evil. Max Fury and the Masters of Evil later stop John Steele when he attempts to escape from Bagalia with the Serpent's Crown and the Crown of Thorns.[12]

Later, Lightmaster contracted the Wrecking Crew along with the Master's members Titania, Mr Hyde, Blackout, Absorbing Man and Whirlwind to attack Alchemax and steal it's technology. They were opposed by the Superior Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man's body) and his Superior Six along with Lightmaster's daughter Sun-Girl. It's unknown if this group had any conection with Bagalia's Masters.

Following the destruction of Max Fury,[13] Baron Helmut Zemo regained leadership of the Masters of Evil and control of Bagalia,[14] and continued to expand group membership. Including teenage villains like the defunct Young Masters and former Hellfire Academy students among others and organizing them as the reformed Young Masters, the teenagers were personally supervised by Constrictor and occasionally dispensed to do the Masters' dirty work. Zemo also included Madame Masque as his right-hand woman, Constrictor and Hellstorm in his personal Inner circle. Organizing the Masters from Tower Zemo. Hellstorm transformed his portion of Bagalia City in a place inhabited by dark wizards, vampires, demons, and monsters while Constrictor's portion became the headquarters of the teenage members. It's unknown if they still have any connection with the Shadow Council.

Following the events of Murderworld, Arcade had an audience with Zemo, demanding a position of power in the Masters. Zemo refused, claiming that his crimes were simply child abuse and didn't deserve to join them. However, he recognized that the technology and design of Murderworld was impressive and claimed the person who built it would be an asset and deserves a place with them. He revealed that Arcade's assistant Miss Coriander, who built Murderworld, had already joined them. Hellstrom created a meat puppet of Arcade to run his Massacre Casino in Bagalia with Coriander in order to make everyone believ he still ran Murdertworld while the real Arcade was kept prisioner by them. [15] Later a Murderworld survivor, Cullen Bloodstone, began tracking down Arcade. He eventually tracks the fake Arcade to Bagalia, where he forms an alliance with the Masters. However, Hellstorm started influencing and controlling him. [14] Other MurderWorld survivors teleport to Bagalia in an attempt to rescue Blooddstone, and locate him at a bar. After a small fight, Cullen reveals his membership with the Masters of Evil. Constrictor and Masque arrange for Cullen to teleport the group to a nearby swanky party at Massacre Casino hosted by Arcade so that they can get revenge. [16] The group disables Arcade's power supply, after which he is killed by Hazmat much to everyone's surprise. [17] The group tries to flee but S.H.I.E.L.D. arrests them under suspicion for being members of the Masters of Evil. After the framed teenagers are visited by friends and family, Hellstrom teleports the group back to Bagalia, where Zemo offers the group a chance to truly join the Masters of Evil.[18]


Paraphernalia

Equipment: None known.
Transportation: None known.
Weapons: Each teammates' arsenal


Notes

  • The story of the fourth incarnation of the team, "Avengers Under Siege", is generally considered the definitive Masters of Evil storyline.[citation needed]Masters of Evil IV


Trivia

  • No trivia.

Appearances in Other Media


See Also

Links and References

  • None.

Footnotes

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