Masters of Evil

The Masters of Evil is a name for a number of fictional supervillain teams that appear in 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.

Publication history

The first version of the Masters of Evil debuted in The Avengers #6 and were created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Chic Stone.

The second version of the Masters of Evil debuted in Avengers #54 and were created by Roy Thomas, John Buscema, and George Tuska.

The third version of the Masters of Evil debuted in Avengers #222 and were created by Jim Shooter, Steve Grant, and Greg LaRocque.

The fourth version of the Masters of Evil debuted in Avengers #270 and were created by Roger Stern, John Buscema, and Tom Palmer.

The fifth version of the Masters of Evil debuted in Guardians of the Galaxy #28 and were created by Jim Valentino, Herb Trimpe, and Steve Montano.

The sixth version of the Masters of Evil debuted in The Incredible Hulk #449, written by Peter David and drawn by Mike Deodato, although they were actually created by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley.

The seventh version of the Masters of Evil debuted in Thunderbolts #3 and were created by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, and Vince Russell.

The eighth version of the Masters of Evil debuted in Secret Avengers #21.1 and were created by Rick Remender, Patrick Zircher and Andy Troy.

Fictional team biography

Baron Heinrich Zemo's Masters of Evil

Masters of Evil (Baron Heinrich Zemo's version)

The original Masters of Evil on the cover of The Avengers #6 (Aug. 1964)
Art by Jack Kirby and Chic Stone.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Avengers #6 (July 1964)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
Chic Stone
In-story information

Baron Heinrich Zemo
Black Knight
Radioactive Man
Wonder Man

List of Masters of Evil members

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.[1]

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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

Ultron's Masters of Evil

The Masters of Evil featured in Avengers #54 (vol. 1, Jul. 1968) Art by John Buscema.

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),[7] Klaw, Melter, Radioactive Man and Whirlwind. This incarnation made one more appearance. Ultron used this incarnation to blackmail New York.[8]

Egghead's Masters of Evil

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.[9] Egghead uses this incarnation to assist him in making technological breakthroughs.

Baron Helmut Zemo's Masters of Evil

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 villains storm Avengers Mansion in a multi-issue storyline titled "Avengers Under Siege".[10]

A flashback later revealed that Augustus Roman's family had died during the fight between the Avengers and the Masters of Evil.[11]

Doctor Octopus' Masters of Evil

The fifth team 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.

The Guardians of the Galaxy, a superhero group from an alternate timeline, defeated the villains.[12]

Pre-Thunderbolts Masters of Evil

The Masters of Evil: (from top) Screaming Mimi, Goliath, Baron Zemo, Beetle, Fixer, and Moonstone. Art by Mark Bagley
Main article: Thunderbolts (comics)

The sixth incarnation was again assembled by Baron Helmut Zemo, and posed as superheroes known as the Thunderbolts.[13] 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.

Crimson Cowl's Masters of Evil

The seventh incarnation[14] 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.

The eighth incarnation[15] led by Crimson Cowl consisted of Black Mamba, Cardinal, Cyclone, Gypsy Moth, Hydro-Man, Machinesmith, and Man-Killer.

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 Evil

Max Fury of the Shadow Council forms a new 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.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20]

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.[21]

The Masters of Evil will be featured in Avengers Undercover as part of the second wave of comics that are part of the Marvel NOW! event.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] 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."[27]

Lightmaster's Masters of Evil

While the Shadow Council had their version of the Masters of Evil, Lightmaster assembles a more traditional lineup of the Masters of Evil 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.[28] Besides the Wrecking Crew, this roster includes Absorbing Man, Titania, Mister Hyde, Whirlwind and the original Blackout.[29]


Young Masters

Main article: Young Masters

During the "Dark Reign" storyline, a young version of the team - controlled by criminal mastermind Norman Osborn debuts in the limited series Dark Reign: Young Avengers.[30]

Bastards of Evil

Main article: Bastards of Evil

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).[31]

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.[32]

Other versions

Heroes Reborn

In the Heroes Reborn reality, the Masters of Evil consisted of Black Knight, Klaw, Melter, Radioactive Man, and Whirlwind[33] 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.[34]

Marvel Adventures

In Marvel Adventures, the Masters of Evil appear and consists of Baron Helmut Zemo, Abomination, Leader, and Ultron.[35]

There is also a later team called the New Masters of Evil. The group consists of Egghead, Man-Bull, Melter, and Whirlwind.[36]

In other media


Video games


  1. The Avengers #6 (July 1964)
  2. The Avengers #7
  3. The Avengers #9
  4. The Avengers #10
  5. The Avengers #15 (April 1965)
  6. The Avengers #16
  7. The Avengers #54 - 55 (July - Aug. 1968)
  8. The Avengers #83 (Dec. 1970)
  9. Avengers #222 (Aug. 1982) & #227 (Jan. 1983)
  10. Avengers #270 -277 (Aug. 1986 - March 1987) & West Coast Avengers #16 (Jan. 1987)
  11. Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 4 #12
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy #28 -29 (Sep. - Oct. 1992)
  13. First appearance Hulk #449 (Feb. 1997)
  14. Thunderbolts #3 (June 1997)
  15. Thunderbolts #24 (Mar. 1999)
  16. Secret Avengers #21.1
  17. Secret Avengers #29
  18. Secret Avengers #30
  19. Secret Avengers #31
  20. Secret Avengers #32
  21. Secret Avengers Vol. 2 #2
  23. Avengers Undercover #1
  24. Avengers Undercover #2
  25. Avengers Undercover #3
  26. Avengers Undercover #4
  27. Avengers Undercover #5
  28. Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #5
  29. Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #6
  30. Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1 - 5 (July - Dec. 2009)
  31. Young Allies Vol. 2 #1 (June 9, 2010)
  32. Young Allies Vol. 2 #5 (October 6, 2010)
  33. Avengers Vol. 2 #8
  34. Heroes Reborn: Masters of Evil #1
  35. Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #4
  36. Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #16
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