Albert Malik was a Soviet spy during the later half of the 20th Century, not much is known about his past until the 1950s. He was part of a spy cell that was operating out of Algeria at the time. In 1953, following the death of Joseph Stalin, his government sought a legend to help bind the Soviet people to the late Vladimir Lennin's communist vision. Stalin's successor Gregori Malenkov had pulled Malik from his operations in Algeria and outfitted him as the new Red Skull following the disappearance and presumed death of the original Nazi operative. His first task as the Red Skull was to steal Adolf Hitler's strong box, which was reported to contain plans for an ultimate weapon the Soviets sought to use to tip the balance in the emerging Cold War with the United States. To this end, Malik smuggled himself into the United States and with a team of communist operatives stormed the United Nations building to retrieve it. As fate would have it, Malik was opposed by William Burnside and Jack Monroe who had recently become the new Captain America and Bucky since the originals who were also presumed dead at the time.
In February of 1954, Malik had murdered Senator Joseph McRooter who was part of the government committee involved in the so-called "communist witch hunts" of the time. With hired Nazi war criminals, Malik as McRooter used the commission and Captain America's unofficial status to have him called before the Senate for questioning. Malik attempted to have Captain America unmasked and his identity revealed, but Cap refused and thanks to information provided to him by Betsy Ross, exposed the Red Skull and defeated him once again. Sometime after, the Red Skull and his agent attempted to raid an American military base to steal the secrets behind a new atom rocket being developed they were thwarted by the Red Skull. Months later the Skull used a phony television broadcast to lure Captain America and Bucky into a trap. Capturing Bucky, the Red Skull beat the boy until Captain America agreed to surrender and agreed to lead them to a secret government facility. However, Captain America turned the tide by tricking the drivers to crash the truck they were in, and the Red Skull was seemingly killed in the crash.
However, the Red Skull had survived and resumed his mission to steal Hitler's long box from the United Nations building. To this end he revived another seemingly dead communist operative known as Electro by breaking into the morgue his body was being kept and reviving him with an electrical charge. The pair attacked the UN Building again, while Captain America and Bucky battled Electro, seemingly killing the foe, the Red Skull succeeded in stealing what he thought was the strong box and escaped. However it turned out to be a replica containing a plague from a Nazi war criminal who was offering to sell the real strong box for a price. But the Red Skull still continued sought out to try and find the strong box over the years.
However, following his constant defeats, the Red Skull returned to Algeria where he continued his operations, likely still seeking the location of Hitler's strong box. Decades later one of his operatives, Gustav Fiers exposed that two of the Red Skull's minions Richard and Mary Parker were really American agents who were assigned to infiltrate and spy on his organization. He had his operative the Finisher eliminate them, killing them in a plane crash. In tern, the Red Skull then framed Richard and Mary as traitors to their country and considered revenge against their infant son Peter, but Gustav convinced the Red Skull to reconsider.
Malik continued to operate until the modern age, apparently laying low when the original Red Skull returned after years spent in suspended animation. When Peter Parker -- now an adult and the super-hero known as Spider-Man -- learned about how his parents were believed to be traitors to his country, he traveled to Algeria to learn the truth, leading to a clash with the Red Skull, the Finisher and his minions. Spider-Man defeated the Finisher and forced a confession out of him and found proof that his parents were framed.
Next the Red Skull stole a remote trigger device that could set off a nuclear bomb. The company that invented the device hired Silver Sable International to recover the device. Silver Sable sent her operative the Sandman to recover it, but he was captured. She next hired the Avenger known as Hawkeye and the French hero le Peregrine to recover it. The pair helped defeat the Red Skull and his operatives and freed the Sandman. The group were surprised just how old the Red Skull was when the heroes unmasked him. While in prison, Malik hired a group of mercenaries attack scientist Arnim Zola's castle in Switzerland to assassinate the original Red Skull. The plot failed when his operatives were slaughtered all save one: Brock Rumlow who so impressed the original Red Skull, he took him on as his operative Crossbones.
Shortly after this, Malik finally learned the location of Hitler's long lost strong box, having tracked it to a castle located in western Germany. Malik had his minions break him out of prison, and Malik began plotting to continue his activities as the Red Skull. However his escape was cut short when the pilot of his escape helicopter turned out to be a member of the Scourge of the Underworld program that was co-opted by the Red Skull. Scourge killed Malik by shooting him through the chest and then reported his death to the original Red Skull who laughed over the death of his impostor. After his death, Malik's diary was recovered by the original Red Skull who then used it to finally recover Hitler's lock box, and found -- to his frustration -- only contained Hitler's medals, art work, anti-Semitic tracts, and the manuscript of Mein Kampf.
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- 19 Appearances of Albert Malik (Earth-616)
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