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Baron Zemo

Marvel Legends
by yo go re


Born into greatness and great darkness, Helmut Zemo is a man of terrific and terrible genius. The 13th Baron Zemo has sworn everlasting vengeance against his family's nemesis: Captain America!

Walgreens just (belatedly) finished up their 2021 "cosmic" theme with Binary, and they're already delivering their first 2022 exclusive. Looks like this year's theme is going to be "villains," because after Zemo, here, the next planned release is Jigsaw. Look for him to be available on their website for approximately 20 minutes sometime this July! That said, let's hear it for Walgreens at least offering these online; I lucked into spotting The Fallen One when I didn't even know he was being made, but before that, the last one I saw in a store was Vincent Von Doom. Three years ago.

We've had a Helmut Zemo Marvel Legend before, almost a decade ago in the Winter Soldier line. That was when Hasbro was still doing "swap figures," so it was him and an AIM Scientist for some reason. Weirdly, this one does not reuse that figure's head, despite wearing a nearly identical little tiara. The lines in the mask are sculpted, he's got the big boxes over his ears... the only meaningful difference is that the shape on the forehead is minorly smaller. Why bother?

The last Zemo was wearing his modern costume, which is fine, but this is the classic. It's not his original costume, because the first time he appeared he wore a red and yellow costume and called himself "Phoenix" (three years before Jean Grey would start using the name). He was then gone from the book for over 100 issues before coming back in a new partnership and a new costume. This one, presumably designed by Mike Zeck since he was the artist on the issue, is absolutely the one people think of when they think "Zemo": purple suit, yellow boots and gloves, and white leopard-fur trim.

The figure uses the same legs as the last figure, and his baggy sleeves are the ones used on Dormammu and Red Skull. The forearms are new, to accommodate the gloves, and the boots may be new as well - depends on whether that fur is glued in place or just held by the joint like the fur on the shoulders. The chest has the lines of the extended mask(?) molded in, so that's obviously not something anyone has used before. The belt is a separate piece, but the handle thing on the front prevents the chest hinge from functioning very well at all - in the original art, that thing reached all the way to his striped collar (or more accurately, the striped chest panel came all the way down to meet it), and also had a matching device on the back. As long as they were doing a new torso, they might as well have molded that design on rather than leaving it as part of the belt.

Zemo's only accessories are some alternate hands and the same sword the last figure had. That's a nice parallel, since it's meant to be his ancestral sword, but no gun? Or perhaps the single most important accessory any Helmut Zemo could possibly come with, his massively disfigured head? No, just a sword.

Helmut claims his father Heinrich was a kind, loving man until Captain America glued that hood to his head, at which point he became an abusive a-hole. You know why that's unlikely to be true, but it's Zemo's excuse for why he's so obsessed with revenge on Cap. Someone oughta tell him that just because your ancestor was a jerk, you don't have to be, too. You're always free to be better. Zemo's flirted with actual heroics briefly in the past, but at the end of the day, he always goes back to full-on villainy. The older Baron Zemo Legend was a fine toy, but this is a more appealing design.

-- 04/04/22

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