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Johann Shmidt (Clone) (Earth-616)

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Quote1 Do you know what having the ability to overtake minds with such ease has taught me? The emptiness of it. That true submission... is voluntary. If you want to rule the world, you cannot simply break it-- You must change it. Quote2
-- Red Skull src


Like many of the Red Skull's other fail-safes, this clone was meant to awaken in the changed landscape of the future where the Red Skull was just a forgotten menace of a fallen regime. Created by Arnim Zola in 1942 under the orders of the original when he suspected the defeat of the Reich in World War II. He awoke to find the world in a turbulent period and ripe for conquest.[4]

Modern Era

Johann Shmidt (Clone) (Earth-616) 001

With Professor X's brain

Seeing how mutants nearly destroyed the world convinced him that they were the threat, searching the world he recruited exceptional individuals and formed a group of S-Men to combat the mutant menace. He also stole the brain of Professor X in order to gain his telepathic powers, reasoning that it would be best to use it than waste his time trying to gather relics and arcane objects which would only reveal his hand.[5]

After subjugating the Scarlet Witch and Rogue to his will,[4] Shmidt lead an attack in New York to test his new mental abilities, forcing the citizens to turn on each other and clashing with the Avengers Unity Division.[6][7] This event became known as the Red Riot which stayed in the news for over two weeks.[8][9]

He founded I.B.S.S. through his puppet Marcus Glove, meant to be a vehicle for espousing his ideology. He cloaked his intentions with the rhetoric of hipster pop-culture and modern science.[10][11] While it did not work out as he hoped as he was stymied by the actions of Charles Xavier's own son Legion, it did secure more funding for him.[12][13]

He was studied by "Nightbringer" of the Mandarin's rings as a potential host, but it found him unsuitable.[14]

March to AXIS

Knowing that his ally Arnim Zola was unlikely to have died,[15] he acted upon a promise and reached out to his old friend's daughter Jet Black.[16]

He turned out to be right and greeted his friend and benefactor when Zola returned to Earth from his work in Dimension Z,[17] and after Zola's successful distraction sent off his S-Men on several missions.[18]

The Red Skull turned Genosha into a concentration camp, and abducted numerous mutants[19] and Inhumans.[20] His activities were tracked down by Magneto[20] at the same time Scarlet Witch, Rogue, and Havok from the Avengers Unity Division were captured by the S-Men and brought to the island.


Red Onslaught

After escaping captivity, the Avengers encountered and rescued Magneto.[21] The Red Skull and the S-Men confronted the escapees, but after using Mutant Growth Hormone to enhance his powers, Magneto managed to wipe out all members of the S-Men, before killing the Red Skull without the use of his mutant gifts, offering him a "pure" death. However, Erik had merely unleashed a more powerful persona of the Red Skull, Onslaught.[22]


The Red Onslaught started telepathically spreading hate across the world, as Magneto and the Avengers Unity Division tried to stop him. The Avengers came to help after locating the Skull following the discovery he was the source of the "World War Hate," who were shortly after joined by the X-Men and other allies. However, the Red Onslaught deployed two Adamantium Stark Sentinels which had been created by Iron Man, under the influence of the Skull's telepathy, who had been made forget their creation.[23]

The Sentinels managed to turn the odds in favor of the Red Onslaught, as they managed to capture almost every hero in the scene. The cavalry arrived in the form of a group of super villains Magneto had assembled after temporarily abandoning the fight, because the Stark Sentinels had been made to fight using the known weaknesses of heroes, not villains.[24]

The Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom managed to cast a spell to invert the axis of Skull's brain, to make a fragment of Charles Xavier still present in it take control of the Skull's body and stop the Red Onslaught. The inversion spell was a success, and the Red Skull was knocked unconscious and reversed from his Red Onslaught form. Before he could wake up to reveal whether Charles Xavier was now in control or not, as the X-Men wanted, the Avengers decided to be cautious and take the Red Skull prisoner to the Stark Tower.[25]

The inverted Avengers planned on killing the Red Skull to prevent any opportunity of reinverting them from happening. After the seemingly disappearance of the Red Skull from Stark Tower, the inverted Avengers took prisoners every hero who was or had been an Avenger, as they were suspects of freeing the Skull.[26]

The Red Skull had actually been cloaked by Jarvis, who didn't want the Avengers to become murderers. He was later freed by Steve Rogers, who planned on using him to reinvert the heroes.[27] With the help of Doctor Doom and the Scarlet Witch, at the time possessed by the spirit of Daniel Drumm, the Red Skull managed to reinvert almost all those who had previously been affected, turning himself back to evil as well. However, the Red Skull was taken prisoner by Doctor Doom and brought to Latveria for experimentation.[3]

Pleasant Hill

After being visited by a newly-conceived omnipotent being known as Kobik, the Red Skull put a plan into motion to cause Steve Rogers's fall once and for all. Kobik had been accidentally created by S.H.I.E.L.D., it was a being composed of different fragments of Cosmic Cubes accumulated over the years. One of these fragments belonged to a Cube that had fallen under the original Red Skull's possession several years earlier. The memory of Skull's obsession for that Cube was misinterpreted by Kobik's childish mentality as affection, so she went to the Red Skull in search for love. The Red Skull took advantage of the child's affinity and naivety and taught her the ways of Hydra. Kobik began to lead a double life, using her omnipresence to be in the company of both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Red Skull at the same time, while keeping the latter a secret.

When Kobik's innocently deranged set of values caused her to rewrite the past of her caretaker, Erik Selvig, and insert a life-long loyalty to Hydra in it, Red Skull was inspired to come up with a master plan for Rogers' end. Under the orders of the Red Skull, Selvig proposed to S.H.I.E.L.D. the creation of Pleasant Hill, a picture-perfect town inhabited by reformed super-villains, whose appearance and memories were tampered with using Kobik's power.[28] As a consequence of the Red Skull's manipulations, one of the villains, the Fixer, subconsciously created a device that returned him to his true self, and he then proceeded to use it on several other inmates, who, being led by Baron Zemo, unleashed a coordinated assault on the town to wreak havoc in revenge for having their lives tampered with.[29]

Red Skull subsequently infiltrated the town under the telepathic disguise of a inhabitant named Father Patrick, and made his way to the town hall, which had been turned into a lock-up to hold numerous S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel and citizens hostage, including S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill and Steve Rogers. Using his telepathy, the Skull implanted in Zemo the idea to let Father Patrick escort Steve Rogers and Maria Hill to get medical help for the latter.[28] When Rogers got to Erik Selvig for help, Selvig directed him to a bowling alley in order to find Kobik to restore peace. As part of the Skull's plan, when Rogers tried to reach out to Kobik, he was brutally attacked by Crossbones. With Rogers on the brink of death, Kobik intervened, and restored him to his prime. Kobik's actions also affected Rogers' past. She had turned him into the most perfect version of himself, and she believed Hydra to be perfection.[28] Thus, she rewrote his history into one of loyalty to Hydra.[30]

Hydra (Earth-616) from Captain America Steve Rogers Vol 1 7 001

A New Hydra

With his objective achieved and Zemo's uprising eventually being contained by the Avengers, the Red Skull fled from Pleasant Hill. In the aftermath of the incident, the Red Skull, Sin and Crossbones formed a new Hydra out of neo-nazi groups. The Skull intended to take the organization back from its modern incarnation to its nazism days and control the world not by a scheme to take over it, but by changing it to his image to the point where it would accept him as his leader.[31]


With Shmidt's brain bio-welded[32] with the cerebellum[13] of Professor X, the Red Skull gained the following psychic abilities, it should be noted that he originally lacked experience with these powers though he rapidly gained such, and was being actively resisted by what shreds of Xavier survived the scrubbing:

Telepathy: Able to read minds and project his own thoughts into the minds of others within a radius of 250 miles (on Earth). As Red Onslaught, he was able extend his telepathic range to all over the world.

  • Telepathic Illusion: ability to create realistic telepathic illusions and cause people to experience events which are not actually occurring.
  • Telepathic Cloak: can mask his presence from being detected by others. His abilities can at times go undetected or be counteracted by other more powerful telepaths depending on their level of skill in using their own psi abilities. He can extend these defenses to others around him as well.
  • Psi Link: ability to develop a mental link with any person which remains as a connection to that individual.
  • Telepathic Camouflage: ability to mask himself, and other peoples' presence from those around him. Can telepathically disguise himself, making his appearance to those around him quite different (changing the appearance of clothing, as well as more involved disguising).
  • Mind Blast: ability to place large amounts of information in another's mind.
  • Mind Control: ability to control the minds of others upon mere concentration. This power can allow him to completely shut down several people's minds, making it appear as if time has stopped.
  • Mind Possession: ability to possess the mind of another, and use that being's body as his own.
  • Mind Alteration: ability to alter the minds of others by force of will.
  • Mental Amnesia: ability to cause loss of particular memories and amnesia in another person or even in a group of people.
  • Psionic Shield: ability to erect a psychic shield for protection of himself and of other minds.
  • Psionic Blasts: can project psionic force bolts which have no physical effects but which can affect a victim's mind so as to cause the victim pain or unconsciousness and can even kill an adversary.
  • Astral Projection: ability to Astral Travel and communicate with others astrally through his own will, or through contact with the thoughts and memories of others. In the astral realm, he can use his powers to create "ectoplasmic" objects. He cannot engage in long range astral projection on the earthly plane. His projection is described as a "red rage demon".[10][12]
  • Mental Detection: can sense the presence of another superhuman mutant within a small but as yet undefined radius of himself by perceiving the distinctive mental radiations emitted by such a being.
  • Mind Transferal: able to transfer both his mind and powers into other host bodies if his own physical body could be somehow killed.
  • Absorb Information: ability to quickly process and store information, by mental transference.

As the Red Onslaught Schmidt has a host of new and terrifying abilities along with greatly enhanced old ones.

Astral Plane Tap: Ability to Tap into the enormous psychic resources of the astral plane in order to manipulate matter and energy.[23]

  • Material Astral Projection: Give substance to astral energy to solidify psychic forms or forge protective psi-armor and even pull the astral projections of other telepaths into the physical world.
    • Size Alteration: Due to being a manifested psionic projection Red skull can willingly adjust his size to monolithic heights.
    • Shapeshifting: Can manifest a host of writhing tendrils with which to attack people with.

Technopathy: Showcased the ability to commandeer a pair of Stark designed sentinels with his thoughts.[23]

Optic Beams : Can discharge his own red concussion beams from his eyes.[23]


Strategic Genius: The Red Skull is a master of political, military, and subversive strategy, as well as a brilliant planner and organizer.

Hand to Hand Combat: The original Red Skull was a fine hand to hand combatant, although not to the level of Captain America. He was also a brilliant fencer and skilled marksman, it is assumed that this clone carries these traits.


His left hand was severed in his first confrontation with the Unity Division.[7] He now uses a modern prosthetic.[33]


The rune-key Uruz which represents endurance, such as that "of star-spanning empires ... of merciless ideologies ...", it was stolen by Loki. Its loss left Shmidt shaken, he insisted to himself he never needed it, still, he tried "to remember how it made him feel.",[16] Jetpack [13]


formerly Dancing Water's Aquatic Teleportation.


formerly two Stark Sentinels

  • This clone was imprinted with the mental recording of Johann Shmidt only up until 1942, therefore he has none of the previous Red Skull's memories of his adventures afterwards[4] but has observed the actions of the original Skull through the memories of Steve Rogers.[3]
  • It should be noted that the current Red Skull wears a mask,[22] previous versions have had an actual red skull, usually because of exposure to the dust of death toxin. The current Red Skull as a clone, lacked this disfigurement on his awakening. However, following his murder, his transformation into the Red Onslaught and then the following inversions he has seemed to have gained a skull-like face.[3]

Discover and Discuss


  1. X-Men: Legacy Vol 2 Vol 2 #Vol 1 10
  2. X-Men: Legacy Vol 2 Vol 2 #Vol 1 11
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #9
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Uncanny Avengers #2
  5. Uncanny Avengers #1
  6. Uncanny Avengers #3
  7. 7.0 7.1 Uncanny Avengers #4
  8. Uncanny Avengers #7
  9. Uncanny Avengers #10
  10. 10.0 10.1 X-Men: Legacy Vol 2 #8
  11. X-Men: Legacy Vol 2 #10
  12. 12.0 12.1 X-Men: Legacy Vol 2 #11
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 X-Men: Legacy Vol 2 #12
  14. Iron Man Vol 5 #20.INH
  15. Arnim Zola seemingly died in Captain America Vol 7 #10
  16. 16.0 16.1 All-New Marvel NOW! Point One #1.NOW
  17. Captain America Vol 7 #22
  18. Captain America Vol 7 #23
  19. Uncanny Avengers #23
  20. 20.0 20.1 Magneto Vol 3 #9
  21. Uncanny Avengers #24
  22. 22.0 22.1 Uncanny Avengers #25
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #1
  24. Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #2
  25. Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #3
  26. Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #4
  27. Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #8
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Captain America: Steve Rogers #2
  29. Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1
  30. Captain America: Steve Rogers #1
  31. Avengers Standoff: Assault On Pleasant Hill Omega #1
  32. [1]
  33. Captain America Vol 7 #16.NOW

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