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YMMV: Red Skull
  • Complete Monster: One of the most prolific examples in comic book history.
    • Johann Schmidt from the main continuity is a Bastard Understudy to Adolf Hitler himself. Once a bitter, psychotic street kid, this eventual Diabolical Mastermind began as a petty criminal with a violent streak. After having his romantic advances rejected by a Jewish girl who'd been nice to him otherwise, Schmidt flew into a rage, killed her, and finding he liked murder, set out to commit it again. Convincing a friend to try and assassinate Hitler, Schmidt stepped in and saved Der Fuhrer's life. He then donned a Skull-shaped mask and took on the role of a grateful Hitler's spymaster. Trapped in suspended animation by Cap, Schmidt awakened in the modern era and resumed his old ways. Firmly convinced that Dystopia Justifies the Means and that everyone needs somebody to bully, Schmidt has committed every crime in the proverbial book, from the petty to the grandiose. He made several attempts at gaining World Domination through the use of the Cosmic Cube (killing thousands of people every time), attempted to transplant Adolf Hitler's brain into Captain America's body, tried to bodyjack Cap himself on several occasions, and fought The Kingpin for control of the New York drug trade. He has manipulated the Scarlet Witch as part of a plan to exterminate the world's mutant population, used his Dust of Death to gruesomely kill any subordinate who fails him or looks at him funny, and has been the mover and shaker behind countless Neo-Nazi movements, fascist governments, and terrorist cells, most notably HYDRA and AIM. In a Bad Future he became God Emperor and spent his time triggering natural disasters, then showing up to inform people that he would not be saving them. When his daughter, Sin, was born, Schmidt planned to kill her for the crime of being a girl. While in a relationship with Mother Night, he brutalised her constantly. With an end goal of reducing society to its most primitive, dog-eat-dog levels, Schmidt is universally despised in both the superhero and supervillain communities.
    • The Ultimate Red Skull is even WORSE. Ultimate Skull is the son of Captain America, and therefore has a version of his powers. He's a killing machine, although that doesn't sum up the sick delight he takes in what he does. His list of atrocities includes: killing two hundred people, followed by skinning his own face at the age of seventeen, training terrorists and working with numerous historical monsters, including infamous mass-murderer and cannibal Idi Amin, shooting Kennedy, just to send a message, and using the Cosmic Cube to force the members of A.I.M. to eat each other. And then there's his most infamous moment: he gives a woman (later the Red Wasp) a Sadistic Choice: kill her husband with a pair of scissors or he'd kill her baby. She did it. The Red Skull then chucked the baby out a window and let his three thugs gang-rape her.
    • Johann Schmidt from Captain America: The First Avenger is a profound Narcissist who believes himself a god that is no longer bound by humanity's rules. The head of HYDRA, a Nazi military organization, Schmidt has turned the group into his own personal cult. He's first introduced killing the guardian of the Tesseract and ordering the entire village where it was hidden wiped out for seemingly no reason. He goes on to betray Hitler and the Nazi party to pursue his own goals and murders the three men sent to check on the status of his research. Schmidt uses the Tesseract to make fantastic new weapons for HYDRA, and has POWs torturously experimented on in order to replicate Dr. Erskine's Super Soldier Super Serum. Despite their fanatical devotion to Schmidt, he continually shows no concern for the welfare of his men, having them chomp cyanide pills when captured to avoid giving out information on him, executing one merely for surviving an attack on a HYDRA base, and activating the self-destruct sequence at another HYDRA base when the Allied forces overrun it, not caring that hundreds of his troops will be killed in the blast. Schmidt's ultimate plan is to use his new weapons to wipe out half the planet, bombing nearly every major city including his own capital, just so he can rule over what's left.
    • In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Skull, the leader of HYDRA in World War 2, kidnapped mystical creatures to use them to kill the Allies. When the Nazis lost, the Skull opted to kidnap Captain America's teen sidekick Bucky Barnes and torture and brainwash him into the amnesiac assassin the Winter Soldier. In modern times, the Skull continues his dreams of conquest and hatred of Captain America by unleashing a chemical compound to kill the heroes and civilians. The chemical has been engineered to cause slow and painful death by making the victim's face turn into a grotesque parody of the Skull's own.
    • Red Skull from Avengers Assemble is once again presented as a heartless monster. After his initial defeat, the Red Skull attacks the Avengers at their mansion. When that attack fails, Red Skull attempts to blow up the reactor at the Avengers Mansion, so that the Avengers will die and be blamed for an explosion that would kill countless civilians. Later Red Skull forms a team of super villains known as the Cabal, to counter the Avengers and assist in his plans for conquest. While fighting with the Avengers to obtain the Tesseract, the Red Skull launches two missiles at two different American cities, forcing the Avengers to choose which city they would want to save and allowing the Skull to escape with the Tesseract. After obtaining the Tesseract, Red Skull decides he doesn't need his allies anymore and attempts to murder them. Red Skull then uses the power of the Tesseract to launch attacks on several cities around the world at once and plans to burn down the old world, so a new one can take its place.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The original inspiration for the Skull? Joe Simon saw a hot fudge sundae shaped vaguely like a human torso. He'd originally planned a villain called Hot Fudge until he realized the cherry looked a lot like an exposed skull. So...
  • Love to Hate: And how!
  • Magnificent Bastard: Depending on the Writer. The version who appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series definitely belongs on the list.
    "Do not despair Chameleon. The Red Skull anticipates everything."
  • Moral Event Horizon: As a young man when he murdered a teenage Jewish girl for rejecting his clumsy and creepy advances, even though otherwise she liked him and was willing to overlook it. He thought it was the best rush of his life and it served as a release for all the pent up anger and frustration he felt towards the world. One of the reasons he joined the Nazis was for more opportunities to have a rush like that, and it still serves as one of his prime motivations for his numerous crimes.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: In universe he's quite possibly the most hated character in the Marvel Universe, outside of it, he's widely considered to be among Marvel's greatest villains.
    • Famously, in a Marvel/DC crossover, the JOKER refused to have anything to do with him.

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