Masters of Evil
The Masters of Evil is a fictional supervillain team appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The first version of the team appeared in The Avengers #6 (July 1964), with the lineup continually changing over the years.
Fictional team biographyEdit
Baron Heinrich Zemo's Masters of EvilEdit
|Masters of Evil (Baron Heinrich Zemo's version)|
|First appearance||The Avengers #6 (July 1964)|
|Created by||Stan Lee|
|Member(s)||Baron Heinrich Zemo|
The original Masters of Evil (consisting of existing Marvel Comics supervillains Black Knight, Melter, and Radioactive Man) was gathered by former Nazi scientist Baron Heinrich Zemo. Despite attempting to capture the Avengers with Adhesive X and spreading it over the city, the Avengers find an antidote with the help of Paste-Pot Pete, give it to the Masters in secret (causing them to accidentally free people), and then send most of the members to jail. Zemo is tricked into opening a container filled with tear gas inside his helicopter, but escapes anyway.
Baron Zemo leads the team in his revenge on Captain America and the Avengers. The team had been joined by the Enchantress and the Executioner, whom Zemo found in their exile to Earth that was imposed on them by Odin for attacking Thor. The Enchantress hypnotizes Thor into attacking the Avengers but Iron Man breaks him out of the trance. Meanwhile, Captain America has been lured to South America to fight Zemo. After defeating Zemo, Captain America returns on Zemo's helicopter and stops Zemo from shooting the Avenger. However the Enchantress casts a spell which gets the helicopter to the rooftop she and the Executioner are on. The Executioner knocks Captain America out by striking his shoulder, and takes him out of the helicopter, after which they all try to escape. The Masters are sent to another dimension in a Space Warp generated by Thor.
Two issues later the Enchantress returns them to Earth using a spell. Simon Williams is given superhuman strength with an ionic ray, though he is told he will die in a week unless given an antidote Zemo has. He captures the Wasp and lures the Avengers into a trap, but sacrifices himself to save the Avengers. Immortus appears and offers to help the Masters by defeating the Avengers. He succeeds in sending Captain America to the Tower of London in 1760. The Masters attack the Avengers, but Captain America manages to return. The Enchantress, sensing defeat, sends the villains back in time to before they met Immortus.
In a later issue, Zemo kidnaps Rick Jones with an attractor beam and has the Enchantress and Executioner release the Black Knight and Melter (the Radioactive Man having been deported back to China). They attack the other Avengers, forcing Captain America to go alone to Zemo's kingdom to rescue Rick. The Executioner tells the Avengers that a battle in the city would hurt many people, meaning they should surrender. Captain America blinds Zemo with his shield and Zemo dies when he accidentally triggers a rock slide. Black Knight and Melter are then captured after Thor transports them to another dimension with different scientific laws, meaning their weapons rebound. The Enchantress and Executioner escape by running away before the transportation happened.
Ultron's Masters of EvilEdit
The second version, organized by the robot Ultron (under the Crimson Cowl alias), consisted of the second Black Knight (who joined with the intention of betrayal), Klaw, Melter, Radioactive Man and Whirlwind. This incarnation made one more appearance. Ultron used this incarnation to blackmail New York.
Egghead's Masters of EvilEdit
Criminal scientist Egghead organized a third version, consisting of Moonstone, the original Scorpion, Tiger Shark and longtime member Whirlwind. After the team's defeat, Egghead kept only Moonstone and Tiger Shark; Scorpion and Whirlwind were replaced with the Beetle, Shocker, and veteran Radioactive Man. Egghead uses this incarnation to assist him in making technological breakthroughs.
Baron Helmut Zemo's Masters of EvilEdit
A fourth version was formed by Baron Helmut Zemo. This team uses over a dozen villains, consisting of Absorbing Man, Blackout, Black Mamba, Fixer, Goliath, Grey Gargoyle, Mister Hyde, Moonstone, Screaming Mimi, Tiger Shark, Titania, Whirlwind, the Wrecking Crew (Bulldozer, Piledriver, Thunderball and Wrecker), and Yellowjacket, created with the goal of overwhelming the Avengers with sheer raw power where others had attempted to match the current line-up.
The sixth incarnation was again assembled by Baron Helmut Zemo, and posed as superheroes known as the Thunderbolts. In addition to Zemo, the team consisted of the Beetle, Fixer, Goliath, Moonstone, and Screaming Mimi. All eventually became heroes and renounced their criminal ways, though Zemo, Fixer, and Moonstone all returned to villainy some time later.
Baron Helmut Zemo created an eleventh incarnation consisting of Whiplash, Man-Killer, Klaw, Tiger Shark, and the Wrecking Crew, all of whom had been members of previous incarnations of the Masters of Evil. Baron Zemo sent them out to persuade Atlas of the Thunderbolts, the former Goliath of Zemo's earlier incarnation of the Masters of Evil, to rejoin. Atlas resisted and only an unexpected reappearance of the Thunderbolt Jolt interrupted the Masters' plan. The Masters then went after Winter Soldier, who was then leading the Thunderbolts, and captured him. Zemo and the Masters then assaulted the Thunderbolts in their base, capturing several of them.
During the "Opening Salvo" part of the Secret Empire storyline, Baron Zemo has Kobik send Bucky back through time to WWII and another battle with the Thunderbolts in which Man-Killer was apparently killed by Kobik. Upon Atlas, Fixer, and Moonstone joining the Masters of Evil, they worked to reassemble Kobik. As Erik Selvig hordes the fragments that he has, kisses them, and commits suicide, the Kobik-reprogrammed Captain America persuaded Baron Zemo to have the Masters of Evil join Hydra's "Army of Evil." Baron Zemo did just that and also made the Masters of Evil as part of the Army of Evil. The Masters of Evil assisted the Army of Evil in causing havoc in protest for what happened at Pleasant Hill.
Doctor Octopus' Masters of EvilEdit
The fifth incarnation was organized by Doctor Octopus, but bore little resemblance to previous incarnations. Its roster included Absorbing Man, Gargantua, Jackhammer, Oddball, Powderkeg, Puff Adder, Shocker, Titania, and Yellowjacket.
Crimson Cowl's Masters of EvilEdit
The seventh incarnation was recruited by Crimson Cowl (Justine Hammer). This version consisted first of the third Cyclone, Flying Tiger, Klaw, Man-Killer and Tiger Shark and later expanded to include Aqueduct, Bison, Blackwing, Boomerang, Cardinal, Constrictor, Dragonfly, the second Eel, Icemaster, Joystick, Lodestone, Man-Ape, Quicksand, Scorcher, Shatterfist, Shockwave, Slyde, Sunstroke, and Supercharger.
Both versions of Crimson Cowl's Masters of Evil sought to master and control Earth's superhuman mercenaries. They even tried to get the Thunderbolts to join them.
Shadow Council's Masters of EvilEdit
Max Fury of the Shadow Council forms a ninth incarnation of the Masters of Evil consisting of Princess Python, Vengeance, and Whiplash. They were discovered by the Secret Avengers during a mission run by Captain America and Hawkeye. Max Fury later recruits Black Talon, Brothers Grimm, Carrion, Constrictor, Crossfire, Diablo, Firebrand, Griffin, Killer Shrike, Lady Stilt-Man, Pink Pearl, and Squid to join the Shadow Council's Masters of Evil. Max Fury and the Masters of Evil capture John Steele after he attempts to escape Bagalia (a country that the Shadow Council established) with the Serpent Crown and the Crown of Thorns. In order for the Masters of Evil to obtain the Crown of Wolves for the Shadow Council, Max Fury hired Taskmaster to retrieve it. Taskmaster demands more money for the job and he hid in the Hole (a bar located in an underground city in Bagalia). Upon claiming the Crown of Wolves, Max Fury was unable to harness its power because he is a Life Model Decoy. When Taskmaster donned the Crown of Wolves, he was unable to control the powers of the Abyss. Under the control of the Abyss, the Masters of Evil and the other people in Bagalia make their move. The Secret Avengers fight to keep the people under control of the Abyss from leaving Bagalia and invading other countries to spread the possession to other people. While possessed by the Abyss, Taskmaster used its power to take control of the villains and have them board an airplane out of Bagalia to spread the campaign of the Abyss. While the others fight the possessed villains and other people, Venom uses his symbiote to break the Crowns and capture Taskmaster.
When the second incarnation of the Secret Avengers raid Bagalia to free Taskmaster, they have to fight through the Masters of Evil. During this time, it is shown that a duplicate of Bi-Beast, Madcap, Ringer and a number of other supervillains have joined the Masters of Evil.
The Masters of Evil are featured in "Avengers Undercover" as part of the second wave of comics that are part of the "Marvel NOW!" branding. Following the death of Max Fury, Baron Helmut Zemo had been sworn in as the new leader of the Masters of Evil. He is shown to have Madame Masque as his right-hand woman, has Constrictor as his bodyguard, and Daimon Hellstrom is in their company as their magic expert. Anachronism, Cammi, Chase Stein, Death Locket, Hazmat, and Nico Minoru teleport to Bagalia in disguise and locate Cullen Bloodstone at the Hole (a Bagalian bar that is owned by Arcade). After a fight with the villains there, Cullen reveals that he has become a member of the Masters of Evil having been accepted by them. Constrictor and Madam Masque arrange for Cullen to teleport the group to a nearby swanky party at Massacrer Casino hosted by Arcade so that they can get revenge on him once and for all. Baron Zemo, Madame Masque, Constrictor and Daimon Hellstrom watch as the young heroes try to avoid being killed as Arcade has arranged the party at Massacrer Casino as the testing grounds for his newest version of "Murderworld": fancy parties at Casino where the rich and powerful can try and kill each other to prove their supremacy. After Arcade was killed, Baron Zemo, Madame Masque, Constructor, and Daimon Hellstrom begin plotting their next move regarding the heroes. After the young heroes are apprehended during a S.H.I.E.L.D. raid on Bagalia, Daimon Hellstrom later teleports the S.H.I.E.L.D. lair back to Bagalia where Baron Zemo offers the group a chance to join the Masters of Evil. Baron Zemo instructs Constrictor, Daimon Hellstrom, and Madame Masque to take a portion of the Murderworld survivors and take them into Bagalia City. While the other young heroes take up Baron Zemo's offer to join the Masters of Evil (with a plan to take the group down from within), Cammi is the only one to decline. Baron Zemo hears that she is the only one not joining and says that they will respect her choice. Cammi flies away only to be caught by Constrictor and brutally slammed into a rock wall. Bleeding and semi-conscious from the surprise attack, Cammi lays under Constrictor as he says "The man gave you a choice. You picked wrong."
Lightmaster's Masters of EvilEdit
While the Shadow Council had their version, Lightmaster assembles a more traditional lineup (tenth incarnation) when he and his henchmen, the Wrecking Crew, run afoul of the Superior Spider-Man (Otto Octavius' mind in Spider-Man's body) and his Superior Six while attacking Alchemax and attempting to steal its technology during a plot to blackmail New York City for money. Besides the Wrecking Crew, this roster includes Absorbing Man, Titania, Mister Hyde, Whirlwind and the original Blackout.
West Coast versionEdit
To combat the West Coast Avengers, Madame Masque formed a West Coast version of the Masters of Evil consisting of Eel, Graviton, Lady Bullseye, MODOK Superior, Satana, and Kate Bishop's parents Derek and Eleanor.
Bastards of EvilEdit
A group calling themselves the Bastards of Evil debuted in the 2010 "Heroic Age" storyline. All members claim to be the children of super-villains who were discarded and disavowed by their parents. They include Aftershock (the daughter of Electro), Warhead (the son of Radioactive Man), Mortar (the daughter of Grey Gargoyle), Singularity (the son of Graviton) and Ember (the son of Pyro).
It was later revealed that the Bastards are led by a child genius known as Superior (who claims to be the son of the Leader). It was also revealed that the Bastards were actually normal teenagers who were mutated by exposure to radiation by Superior as well as given false memory implants. The surviving Bastards are held in The Raft after their capture.
In the Heroes Reborn reality, the Masters of Evil consisted of Black Knight, Klaw, Melter, Radioactive Man, and Whirlwind After Klaw left the team, Crimson Dynamo and Titanium Man joined the Masters of Evil. Black Knight tries to gain an "audience" with Doctor Doom only for he, Crimson Dynamo, and Titanium Man to be killed by the Doombots. Whirlwind retires to start a new life.
The Liberators were introduced in Ultimates 2, formed by Loki (under the alias of Norwegian scientist "Gunnar Golman") and featured recruits of superpowered villains that invaded the United States of America.  They had support, at least tacitly, from the governments of China (Abomination/Chang Lam and Crimson Dynamo), France (Schizoid Man), Iran (The Colonel), North Korea (Hurricane), Syria (Swarm, later Red Wasp), and Russia (Perun). Additional allies included Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, the former Ant Man Hank Pym and his Ultron/Vision II sentries.  They were defeated by all of America's heroes with only Perun surrendering to S.H.I.E.L.D. and being held in the Triskelion and Loki being held by Odin for inciting a world war. 
Dark Ultimates were introduced in Ultimate Comics: Ultimates, as a group of superhumans gathered by the mysterious woman named Kang in order to retrieve the Infinity Gems, apparently to use it in order to prevent the destruction of the universe.  They consisted of Hulk, The Maker, Quicksilver and a brainwashed Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. After freeing the Ultimates from the Negative Zone thanks to Iron Man, an influx of energy sent Kang back to her own time, abandoning Reed to be imprisoned and the Gems were shattered. 
In other mediaEdit
- Baron Heinrich Zemo's Masters of Evil appeared in The Marvel Super Heroes. The group was seen in the episode "Zemo and his Masters of Evil".
- Baron Helmut Zemo's Masters of Evil appeared in The Avengers: United They Stand. As seen in the episode "Command Decision", the team consisted of Absorbing Man, Boomerang, Cardinal, Dragonfly, Moonstone, Tiger Shark and Whirlwind.
- Baron Heinrich Zemo's Masters of Evil appear in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. This version is brought together by the Enchantress and Baron Zemo. As the series goes on, more villains are enlisted. In the episode "Living Legend", the Enchantress and Executioner recruit Heinrich to their side when they appear in Arnim Zola's laboratory. In the episode "Everything is Wonderful", Enchantress gets Wonder Man on her side after reassembling him promising him that she will restore Wonder Man to normal form. The episode "Gamma World" [Pt. 2] shows them having recruited the Crimson Dynamo and adding the Abomination when they find him in the desert. In the episode "Masters of Evil", Heinrich leads the team in taking out the Avengers one by one. When it came to Hawkeye and the Black Panther's attempted rescue mission, they revealed to Heinrich that they picked up Ant-Man in Wakanda, enabling him enough time to gather some weapons. When the Avengers are freed, they end up fighting the Masters of Evil and nearly defeat them until Enchantress uses her magic to get herself and the Masters of Evil back to Zola's lab. In the episode "This Hostage Earth", Heinrich and Enchantress recruit Chemistro, Grey Gargoyle and Living Laser to help them when Enchantress steals the Norn Stones from Karnilla. The Masters of Evil are each positioned at different parts of the world to guard a Norn Stone in order to make Earth one with the different Asgardian kingdoms. It is revealed the Enchantress has been working for Loki so he could take over Asgard while Thor was occupied on Earth. In the episode "Acts of Vengeance", Enchantress plans her revenge on Heinrich by targeting the other members. Enchantress turns Chemistro to gold, trapped Living Laser in light form, and possibly killed Zola. The Avengers find Abomination, Wonder Man and Heinrich in Avengers Mansion where they ask the Avengers for help. While Crimson Dynamo is serving as a diversion, Black Panther plans to use a power dampener to suppress Enchantress. While the Hulk and Abomination fight Executioner, the others fight Enchantress when she infiltrates Avengers Mansion by disguising herself as Chemistro. After Enchantress' magic is negated by the power dampeners, Wonder Man prevents Heinrich from finishing off Enchantress. When Enchantress gets the Norn Stone, Wonder Man grabs it as both of them disappear in a bright light which knocks out everyone present. In the aftermath of Enchantress' attack, Heinrich, Abomination, Crimson Dynamo and Executioner are remanded to Prison 42.
- The Masters of Evil are alluded in Iron Man: Armored Adventures. In the episode "Titanium vs. Iron", Pepper Potts hacked into the S.H.I.E.L.D. Database and tells Tony Stark that S.H.I.E.L.D. has suspected that Justin Hammer has done illegal businesses with the group.
- The Masters of Evil appear in Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers. The team consists of MODOK, Abomination, Baron Heinrich Zemo, Graviton and Tiger Shark.
- Baron Helmut Zemo's second incarnation of the Masters of Evil appears in Avengers: Ultron Revolution. The group consists of Baron Zemo, Beetle, Fixer, Goliath, Moonstone and Screaming Mimi. The group first appear in the episode "Adapting to Change" where the Avengers fought the Beetle, Goliath and Screaming Mimi on the streets. The Avengers managed to defeat the villains. In the episode "Under Siege", the Masters of Evil attack Stark Industries only to be defeated by the Avengers. Before the Avengers can have the group incarcerated, Helmut teleports them to his base in Brazil where he plans to improve the Masters of Evil. They start by attacking Avengers Tower while Hawkeye is the only one there during the time when the Avengers were handling a diversion at where the Masters of Evil were teleported to. Upon the Avengers' return, Hawkeye gets assistance to defeat the Masters of Evil. Helmut escapes while the rest of the group gets incarcerated. They reappear as the Thunderbolts in the episodes "The Thunderbolts" and "Thunderbolts Revealed" thanks to a shrouding device to mask their appearance. After Songbird convinces her teammates to turn on Helmut, the reformed group and the Avengers expose Helmut to the world.
- The Masters of Evil appear in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. They are led by Doctor Doom and members of the group include Baron Mordo, Loki, Enchantress and Ultron as their lieutenants. Other members include Arcade, Attuma, Bullseye, Byrrah, Crimson Dynamo, Executioner, Fin Fang Foom, Lizard, MODOK, Mysterio, Radioactive Man, Rhino, Scorpion, Shocker, Tiger Shark, Warlord Krang, Winter Soldier and the Wrecking Crew. Mandarin, Grey Gargoyle, and Dragon Man were members of this group as well, but they left when Mandarin failed to take leadership from Doctor Doom. Doctor Doom led the Masters of Evil in different attacks which led up to his plot to steal Odin's powers.
- The Masters of Evil appear in their own DLC pack for Lego Marvel's Avengers. The group is led by Baron Helmut Zemo and includes Enchantress, Black Knight, Skurge, Melter, Radioactive Man and Whirlwind.
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- Masters of Evil at Marvel.com
- Baron Heinrich Zemo's Masters of Evil at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Ultron's Masters of Evil at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Egghead's Masters of Evil at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Baron Helmut Zemo's Masters of Evil at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Doctor Octopus' Masters of Evil at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Justine Hammer's Masters of Evil at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Masters of Evil at Comic Vine