The Red Skull, Johann Schmidt, former Nazi general officer and confidant of Adolf Hitler is one of Marvel's most frightening major villains, thus he deserves respect!
He's been Captain America's arch-nemesis since WWII, also and enemy of S.H.I.E.L.D, the Avengers, and the interests of U.S.A and of the free world in general. He has been seemingly killed several times in the past, but he always returns time and time again to plague the world with schemes of genocide and world domination.
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The Red Skull rarely involves himself in direct combat, he's more the mastermind, the evil hand pulling the strings from the shadows, having hordes of minions, LMD's, and plenty of financial and political power to back up his evil schemes.
However, if push came to shove, he's shown to be a very capable hand to hand fighter, cunning and brutal.
No, the Red Skull doesn't die, he just "jump bodies".
He's currently living in his 4th body, inside Aleksander Lukin, and you can bet he'll be back soon.
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This was the first official death of the Red Skull, in Captain America v1 300. He died of a heart attack in battle with Cap, both were handicaped (trapped, poisoned and abnormally aged) in that battle.
Red Skull's handicap was bigger than Cap's, though, he was aged up to 80yo and fatally ill even before the match, and without a super soldier serum helping him to overcome the poison, yet he fought fiercely until the end, which was the Skulls dying wish, he wanted to go out in a final, deadly embrace with Cap, his nemesis of a lifetime.
Once defeated, Red Skull asks Cap to finish him off, Cap rejects the idea and the Skull finally succumbs to a heart attack, probably a combination between the poison, the old age and the struggle of the fight.
As the Joker ended being another victim of the Red Skull, he decided to join forces with the heroes, even saving the day in the end. It could be said that the final battle of the Skull and the Joker ended in a double, fatal KO.
Johann Schmidt, the Red Skull, was the son of a coarse, drunken German villager named Hermann Schmidt and his reportedly saintly, long-suffering wife Martha, who for years endured abuse and beatings from her husband.
Martha died giving birth to Johann, their only child. Driven to madness by the death of the woman he both loved and hated, Hermann Schmidt tried to drown the newborn infant, accusing him of murdering Martha. The doctor who had just delivered the baby saved Johann from his father, and the next morning Hermann Schmidt committed suicide by cutting his own throat with a straight razor.
The doctor took Johann to an orphanage, where the child led a lonely existence. He ran away from the orphanage when he was 7yo and lived in the streets as a beggar and a thief, he spent most of his time in prison for crimes ranging from vagrancy to theft. The young Schmidt was once employed by a Jewish shopkeeper, whose daughter, Esther, was the first person who treated Schmidt kindly up to that point. Seized with passion for Esther, Schmidt tried to force himself upon her, only to be rejected by her.
In unthinking fury, Schmidt murdered Esther pounding her with a shovel.
Schmidt fled the scene in terror, but also felt ecstatic joy in committing his first murder, because at last he had given vent to the rage at the world that had been building up in him throughout his life.
Years later, after the Nazis had come to power in Germany, Schmidt was working as a bellboy in a hotel where Adolf Hitler came one day to stay. That night Schmidt brought refreshments to Hitler's suite and found Hitler berating the chief of the Gestapo. Hitler ranted to the Gestapo chief that "I could teach that bellboy to do a better job than you!". Inspired, Hitler declared that he would make the bellboy into a "perfect Nazi" who would serve as his right-hand man. Schmidt eagerly agreed to do what Hitler wished as he saw in Hitler's eyes all of his own fears and frustrations, the embodiment of evil, the hatred of mankind and a model after which he could pattern himself, but even then, Schmidt was aware that his destiny was to surpass his master.
A quote from Ed Brubaker. published in Marvel Spotlight: Captain America Remembered (2007), page 8:
I realized a little while ago that the Red Skull is the one major super-villain who is pretty much just straight up evil. He's not crazy; he's just evil.
He's this nihilistic, anarchistic, fascist guy who brings out the worst aspects of all those things. Magneto and Dr. Doom each have moments of redemption and each have a certain humanity that makes them who they are, but the Red Skull would happily fiddle while America burns.
The Skull used Sin as a guinea pig and made her age prematurelly, turning her into the first Mother Night. She'd be de-aged later on and Susan Scarbo would take the role of Mother Night as another of Skull's henchmen.
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^News flash, Sin. The Red Skull is sexist too
The Skull has always been ashamed that his only potential heir in the world is a woman. That's why he says no one will ever take his place, and the day he dies, he will take his evil with him.
I always thought the red skull made a great villain. Not exactly what I'd call a respectable character, but so valuable as an evil character to make Cap who he is in turn.
He's classic, I still remember him being the only cool thing from the old 80's Captain America movie aside from Cap's shield... Rock on with this thread, you're doing a great job.
__________________ "damn jinzin, you're a real trooper, you provde fact after fact and pages and pages of proof and these wanton miscreants just keep at it"~MERC
Thanx, and yes, the Red Skull is a superb villain, he's like the definition of evil, because he's not crazy like Carnage or the Joker, he's not a born demon or evil god like Blackheart or Loki, he doesn't see himself as a businessman like Kingpin or like a messiah or a savior to his race/country like Magneto or Doom. Red Skull is just evil, an evil human being, and he doesn't try to justify it, he embraces evil for what it is, he wants to return "to the cold unfeeling dark" and take the world with him, that's why, in a way, the Red Skull is more frightening than any other major marvel supervillain, and we cant deny that we all respect what we fear
A hideout of the Red Skull cant possibly lack a torture chamber, as the Skull delights in inflicting torment to his prisoners. He once described torture as a "spectator sport"
Red Skull's "recreation room" (please log in to view the image)
Eventhough it was off panel, the Skull did beat a young man to death, The guy, called Roscoe, was trying to replace Captain America at the time Cap took the identity of Nomad (in the cover of the issue Roscoe appears crucified), the brutality of the crime made Steve to reassume his identity of Captain America once again, to prevent other people to assume the risks that were meant for him only.