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"What have you done?"
"What have I done? I have won this war, Captain!"
Captain America and Red Skull[src]

Red Skull is one of the two arch enemies of Captain America and his partner Bucky, second to Baron Zemo and one of the feared commanders of HYDRA during World War II.


World War II[]

The HYDRA Super Soldier[]

"Even now, Cap is leading the charge against the dreaded Red Skull and his HYDRA forces."
―Radio broadcast[src]

Not much is known about Johan Schmidt's youth. It is known however, that at some point in his life, he joined the Nazis, and became a high-ranking officer of HYDRA.[1] He served as second in command to Baron Zemo, the leader of HYDRA. He was injected with the imperfect version of the Super Soldier Serum, becoming the first and only Super Soldier of HYDRA. The imperfected serum increased his strength, but it also disfigured his face, and he became known as the Red Skull. [2]

Soon, he led the German armies, with the HYDRA forces leading all attacks, into conquering much of the continental Europe. However, the Allies, led by Captain America, counterattacked and liberated much of the territory under German occupation.[3]

The Bifrost Bridge[]

"You may come out now, Captain. I know you're here. You have arrived just in time to witness history!"
―Red Skull to Captain America[src]

In 1943, the Red Skull was a commander of HYDRA fortress in Norway. He began to develop multiple advanced creations, the primary focus of research being Norse mythology. When Captain America and the Howling Commandos attacked his fortress, the Red Skull activated a teleporter machine which tapped into the Bifrost Bridge, transporting multiple monsters from the other realms into Midgard. He intended to form an army of legendary creatures so he could send them against the Allies and win the war.[3]


RedSkull07 ep 04

Red Skull promises revenge

"I will have my revenge. On you, and the world!"
―Red Skull to Captain America[src]

However, the Red Skull's plan was stopped by Captain America and Bucky who damaged his machine, starting a fire in the fortress. He attempted to escape with his advanced rocket plane but was followed by Captain America and Bucky. As Captain America reached him, he set his transport to self-destruct and flew away in an ejector seat. Though he failed to destroy Captain America, his greatest enemy ended up frozen in ice.[3]

Winter Soldier[]

"Captain America has abandoned you, little one. You have a new teacher now."
―Red Skull to Bucky[src]

Immediately after the destruction of the plane, the Red Skull and his men found Bucky in the water and took him to one of the secret HYDRA bases. The HYDRA doctors and technicians gave Bucky a new, cybernetic arm to replace the one which he lost during the explosion of the Skull's plane. The Red Skull brainwashed Bucky and turned him into his loyal henchman. He personally trained him, and Bucky became the Skull's best assassin. The brainwashed Bucky became known as the Winter Soldier.

21st century[]

Dell Rusk[]

Dell Rusk AEMH

Red Skull in his identity of Dell Rusk

"The Red Hulk is a success, despite his earlier disobedience. You've all done a great service for your country. Wouldn't you agree, doctor?"
"I'd say so."
―Dell Rusk and Doc Samson[src]

Through the combination of science and the effects of the Super Soldier Serum on his body, the Red Skull remained alive until the 21st century. Disguising himself as Dell Rusk, he begun to work on infiltrating the United States government, eventually becoming the US Secretary of Defense.

Somehow, the Red Skull gained possession of the Sleepers, the giant robots built by HYDRA during World War II. He used his position of the Secretary of Defense to obtain modern technology and weaponry from the US Army so he could improve the robots and use them in his next attempt of global conquest.

The Red Skull was responsible for the creation of the Red Hulk and manipulated the other vigilantes (Doc Samson and Falcon) to do the dirty job for him without anyone suspecting. Back in Washington, D.C., he seemed pleased of the success of the creation of the Red Hulk, despite his misbehavior and failure of getting Bruce Banner to him.

Dust of Death[]

"Red Skull!“
“And so, we have come full circle, Captain America. I will crush you and everything you hold dear under my heel."
―Captain America and Red Skull[src]

One day, the Red Skull launched an attack on the Avengers Mansion and the surrounding area. He released the venomous Dust of Death, a gas which infected almost all Avengers and the innocent bystanders, turning them into the horrifying versions of the Red Skull himself. As Dell Rusk, he blamed the Avengers for the chemical attack, and ordered the US Army to attack the Mansion. He also sent the Code Red team to infiltrate the mansion and capture the Avengers. Hawkeye, Thor, and Ms. Marvel were able to defeat the Red Hulk and Falcon, and Iron Man made the cure for the toxin, but the Winter Soldier accomplished his mission, taking the infected Captain America to Red Skull's office in Pentagon.

Though ill, Captain America had enough strength to attack Dell Rusk, tearing his mask apart and revealing his true face. Finally able to have a triumph over his greatest enemy, the Red Skull ordered the Winter Soldier to finish Captain America, but the Winter Soldier instead injected Cap with the cure for the toxin. The Red Skull attempted to kill the Winter Soldier for disobeying his orders, but he was attacked by Captain America. The American war hero easily overpowered the ex-HYDRA commander, but the Winter Soldier disappeared from the scene.


"There's only one detail that matters now, Captain. Imprisoning me will not stop what I have begun. You have already lost."
―Red Skull to Captain America[src]

The Red Skull was taken into custody of S.H.I.E.L.D. and sent to a maximum secure floating prison on the open sea, the Hydro-Base. Captain America came to question him about his plans and schemes, but the Red Skull answered that despite his temporary imprisonment, he has already won. When asked about the Winter Soldier's identity, the Red Skull replied that the Cap is responsible for his creation.

At that moment, one of the Sleepers attacked the prison. Though the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D agents managed to destroy the giant robot, the Red Skull escaped, leaving a message in his cell, telling that the Sleepers are awaken.

Attack on Washington, D.C.[]

"In one fell swoop I will destroy the US Capitol, repay this creten for his treachery, and rid myself of my greatest rival."
―Red Skull to Captain America[src]

He controlled a Sleeper and tried to destroy the United States Capitol, but was defeated by Captain America and Bucky. He was captured by the Avengers. His final fate is unknown.

Physical appearance[]

For most of the time, the Red Skull was dressed in a pre-1938 black Allgemeine-SS uniform. He wore a military decoration similar to the Iron Cross around his neck, despite the fact that the Iron Cross was not reinstated before 1939.[3] Under the guise of Dell Rusk, he wore an elegant black suit. When he was in captivity of S.H.I.E.L.D., he wore the green prisoner clothes.

Powers and Abilities[]

  • Master strategist: At the time of the WWII era, Red Skull had an army on his command and planned strategies to conquer the world.[3]
  • Skilled hand-to-hand combatant[3]
  • Skilled marksman[3]
  • Biological Immortality Gained Through Biological Enhancements
  • Artificially-Increased Strength, Speed, Intelligence, Stamina & Healing Factor




Background in other media[]

  • Red Skull's role in the series is similar to his role in the film Captain America: The First Avenger where he is an SS general in command of HYDRA. However, This series version of the Red Skull is far more faithful to his comic book incarnation than the Marvel Cinematic Universe version.
  • This is the seventh animated appearance of Red Skull. Previous versions include "The Marvel Super Heroes", "1981 Spider-Man", "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends", "X-Men", "Spider-Man: The Animated Series" and "The Super Hero Squad Show".

Notes and references[]

  1. "HYDRA is a branch of the Nazis." - Christopher Yost
  2. Baron Zemo
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 "Meet Captain America". Paul Giacoppo (writer) & Sebastian Montes (director). The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. October 24, 2010. No. 6, Season one.