BARONESS

Real Name: Heike Zemo

Identity/Class: Human, criminal mastermind

Occupation: Terrorist

Group Membership: Formerly led the Wunderkinder, former member of the Nazi Party

Affiliations: former ally of Baron Zemo (Helmut), Damon Dran, Superia, the White Ninja, and the Yakuza
formerly claimed to be reincarnation of Baron Zemo (Heinrich)

Enemies: Captain America (Steve Rogers), Diamondback (Rachel Leighton), Free Spirit, Silver Sable, Spider-Man

Known Relatives: Helmut Zemo (ex-husband)

Aliases: Heinrich Zemo (former alias)

Place of Birth: Unrevealed

Base of Operations: Currently unknown
Formerly Castle Zemo, in Malpaso, Mexico
Formerly a castle within the Black Forest, Bavaria

Extent of Education: Unrevealed

First Appearance: Spider-Man: Fear Itself Graphic Novel (1992)

Powers/Abilities: The Baroness was a skilled warrior, highly trained in several forms of armed and unarmed combat. She carried a spear that could fire energy blasts or alter its configuration into a variety of pointed objects. She also briefly possessed the Cassidy Crystals, able to induce intense fear in those exposed to it. This fear could be overcome only by intense anger. She wore a large wig and maintained a shaved head. Her face was later badly scarred and she wore a normal looking face mask.

She originally used a large group of Eastern European terrorists, armed with conventional weaponry. Her agents had cerebral implants that could induce aneurysm if they attempted to reveal her connection to them. She also used a group of Rottweilers as sentries. These dogs had had their vocal cords surgically removed, enabling them to strike silently, as well as increase the fear they inspired. While working with Helmut Zemo, she had access to an army of Plastoids/Servitors, androids with a highly compliant make-up, presumably designed by Arnim Zola. She also utilized the Kinder as warriors.

Height: 5'9"
Weight: 135 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Unrevealed

 

History: (Spider-Man: Fear Itself) - The Baroness originally claimed to be the reincarnation of Heinrich Zemo, given the body of a beautiful woman by Arnim Zola in order to disarm those around her. She has since discounted this story, but the truth is still in question.

Regardless, the Baroness was first seen shortly after the communist collapse in Eastern Europe. With the fall of the communist states, many terrorist groups found themselves without financial sponsorship. The Baroness offered her assistance in the form of money and arms. Six months later, she contracted with the Yakuza to obtain the services of the White Ninja. The Ninja successfully stole the Cassidy Crystals from Osborn Industries. She planned to send a series of missiles to a number of world capitals, bombarding their populations with the Cassidy Crystal. She believed that the terror-stricken masses would welcome her as world leader, and she could bring about a takeover by the Nazi Party. Silver Sable enlisted Spider-Man to stop her, and they traveled to her castle, overcame both her and the White Ninja, and stopped the missiles. In the process, the Baroness was exposed to the Crystals and driven temporarily insane. Seeing herself as a monster, she smashed her face into a mirror in an effort to tear the skin off of it. Blinded by blood, in an effort to launch the missiles, she inadvertently pressed the self-destruct button. Spider-Man tried to drag her to safety, but she fought him off until he was forced to flee the castle before it blew up.

(Captain America I#431 (fb) - BTS) - Some time later, claiming to have made up the story about being Heinrich Zemo, the Baroness hooked up with and apparently married Helmut Zemo. The two lived together in his ancestral home, Castle Zemo, and organized the Kinder.

(Captain America I#431-434) - Captain America (at that time virtually crippled by a reaction to the Super Soldier Serum) and Diamondback followed a lead on the missing children to Castle Zemo. Cap and Diamondback confronted the Zemo and the Baroness, but were attacked by the Wunderkinder, and were forced to flee to avoid injuring the children. The Baroness met with Superia to discuss physical enhancement for the children, and Superia offered Heike a position of power in her organization. Heike expressed interest, even to the point of being willing to eliminate Zemo, whom she referred to as devoted domestic help. Unbeknownst to her, Zemo overheard this conversation and was deeply hurt by it.

Another heroine, Free Spirit, also tracked the missing children to Castle Zemo, and arrived to help Cap and Diamondback against the Plastoids. Zemo, meanwhile, had Superia and the Baroness gassed and bound. The Baroness told Zemo that she was only telling Superia whatever she wanted to hear so she would give her the process for physical enhancement. She convinced him of her devotion to him and their cause, and he released her. During the final confrontation with Captain America, Zemo fell into a vat of molten Adhesive X, and Heike dove in after him. The two had planned this to avoid potential capture, but Captain America, having seen Zemo escape this way before, tracked them to the escape pipe, and captured the glue covered nazis.

(Thunderbolts '97 Annual (fb) - BTS) - Zemo reported his wife as having died while they were in prison.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments: Created by Gerry Conway, Stan Lee, and Ross Andru.

    Who knows what the real truth is behind the Baroness? She will say and do anything to get what she wants. I would really prefer to believe she is NOT the reincarnation of Heinrich Zemo. It would be very, very wrong.
    In retrospect, it makes for a much more interesting character, though.

    What kind of numbnuts would actually have a big, red, readily accessible self-destruct button in their base? This is known as "James Bond enemy syndrome."

    After looking up some info given by Danny Wall, of the UOHotMU, the Baroness may be believed to be dead. In the Thunderbolts Annual 1997, Zemo mentions in his frustrations of having "a dead wife in prison." It could mean she's now dead to him (of no further value), or he thinks she's dead, or she's just as dead as anyone else in the Marvel Universe, like Aunt May, Phoenix, Dr. Octopus...Take it for what it's worth.

    Surely the Baroness will make a return appearance in the Thunderbolts...c'mon!

Clarifications: The Baroness has no connection to:


The Kinder, named for the nazi Wunderkinder (Wonder Kids, aka the Hitler Youth), were a group of abducted children, who I believe were originally captured as part of a white slavery ring by Damon Dran. Zemo and the Baroness picked 25 who fit their picture of fine, young aryans and adopted them into their home in Castle Zemo. These children were essentially brainwashed into developing a fanatical devotion to the Nazi party in general, and Zemo and the Baroness in particular. They claimed to want nothing more than to raise these children as their own. After the defeat of their would-be parents, the Kinder were broken up and returned to their families, wherever possible. Courtney, Joseph, and Lisa were named. They were trained in various forms of combat and the use of firearms (but were not allowed to use live ammunition). They were trained in family values (love and honor your parents) and had a classic education.

--Captain America I#431 (September, 1994); (432-434












 

 

 

 

 




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Other appearances:
Captain America I#431-434 (September-December, 1994) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Dave Hoover (#431, 433-434) & Dario Carrasco (#432) (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Thunderbolts '97 Annual (1997) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Bob McLeod (pencils), Will Blyberg (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)


Last updated: 01/01/06

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