AKA: The Bio-Fanatic
First Appearance: Captain America 208
What's His Problem? Besides the glaring lack of aesthetic sensibilities apparent in his custom-designed body? Well, Zola was originally a diminutive Swiss biochemist. In the 1930s he acquired an ancient book brought back to Europe during the Crusades which revealed the secrets of DNA. Zola used this knowledge to begin his work in genetic engineering. Seeking funding for his experiments, he went to work for the Third Reich. After creating all types of monstrosities for his equally horrendous Nazi benefactors, Zola transferred his consciousness into a cybernetic body which gave him extended life. Since then he has continued with his strange experiments, spawning armies of bizarre creatures to satisfy his insatiable desire to tamper with nature. If it's alive, then it's fair game for Arnim Zola to genetically scramble.
Weapons: Many of Zola's incredibly odd creations are living weapons which he controls with the ESP box mounted on his shoulders in place of a head. Zola's creations take numerous forms, from run-of-the-mill monsters to living castles to fairly dangerous duplicates of the Hulk. Zola's piece de resistance, at least in his own opinion, is Doughboy, a huge, yellow, lumpy shapechanger who can transform into a variety of vehicles and weapons (most of which, unsurprisingly, end up looking yellow and, well, doughy). And, if the retcons are to be believed, Zola had a hand in creating both the Deltite LMD, which destroyed the original incarnation of SHIELD, and the Gnobian Death's Head Corps.
Favorite Quote: "I - - I didn't realize that my work was so widely acknowledged!" (Captain America 209; Zola was extremely flattered when he learned that his creations, running amok across the globe, had attracted the notice of SHIELD. What some people will do for a little attention...)
Heroes He Keeps Running Into: Due to his ties with the Red Skull, Zola has encountered Captain America & SHIELD on several occasions. He has also fought the Avengers and Thunderbolts. An attempt to steal the powers of the Irish heroine Shamrock went disastrously for Zola, resulting in the destruction of one of his cybernetic bodies.
People Who Think He's Not So Bad: Adolf Hitler and the Red Skull, Zola's long-time patrons, usually had praise for the mad geneticist. Zola later helped the Skull betray Hitler (then in the guise of the Hate Monger) by trapping him inside a defective cosmic cube, so that particular dictator-turned-Marvel-supervillain no doubt thinks quite differently of the headless scientist nowadays. After World War II, Zola was one of the people who helped Baron von Strucker set up HYDRA. Yep, Zola appears to have a thing for would-be world conquering fascist types. No doubt he sent birthday cards to Stalin, Mussolini, and Francisco Franco while they were still alive.
Most Despicable Act: Zola resurrected both Hitler and the Red Skull in cloned bodies. Therefore, he bears a responsibility for all the acts of terror they have committed since their revivals. Zola proved equally villainous on his own when he transformed dozens of orphan children into hideous monsters. That's scraping rock-bottom when it comes to acts of moral depravity.
by Ben Herman
Zola Mug Shots!
Captain America 209
Super-Villain Team-Up 17
Avengers Annual 13
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