YMMV / Red Skull

  • Complete Monster: One of the most prolific examples in comic book history. Captain America may be the moral standard for the Marvel Universe, so it's fitting that his arch-enemy is considered the standard for pure evil.
  • Dork Age: Sometime around the 1990s, the Skull openly denounced Nazism, supposedly because it was getting old-fashioned: In the future, he'd be a much more dynamic villain. In other words, the guy who had previously spent most of his adult life fighting fanatically for Hitler's dream suddenly and for little reason threw it all away, in order to indulge in pure, sadistic For the Evulz villainy. Later characterizations have since reverted to the Nazi Skull, though there's still considerable flip-flopping on whether he's primarily a Nazi Tautological Templar or merely a crazy sadist scumbag who likes Putting on the Reich.
    • A recent miniseries by Greg Pak heavily rewrites the Skull's original origin story, which was substantially based on the real Hitler's early life, and attempts to establish him more firmly as The Sociopath, among other things showing him as a mass murderer and Knife Nut long before he became the Red Skull. Fan opinion is divided on whether this is a good thing.
    • The comic book tie-in to the Captain America: First Avenger movie has the Hugo Weaving Red Skull state outright to Erskine that he thinks the Nazi's racial beliefs are ludicrous due to being based on equal parts superstition and bad science. He's only interested in the power the Third Reich has to offer him. Comic skull has commented that he doesn't believe in anything let alone Nazism. He just likes the feeling of power and pleasure he gets from hurting others. So he's a sadistic monster who just likes the uniform and flag.
  • Executive Meddling: Mark Waid wrote a story narrated by the Skull, very much from the Tautological Templar perspective, in which the Skull self-identifies as an embattled and unappreciated defender of the future of the white race against the rising tide of color. It's very much Deliberate Values Dissonance, as the story quite blatantly showcases his Moral Myopia and paranoia, and meant to show how delusional he has to be to consider himself a hero. But somewhere along the way, the editors still got cold feet and ordered a full last-minute rewrite to remove the self-justifications and increase the cackling villainy, resulting in an utterly Anvilicious final product. See here for some elaboration. Eventually, the original version was published in a collected edition.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: 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.
    • However, this story was told by an old, viciously senile Skull, casting doubts on its accuracy. It has since been retconned out of existence. He did rob the girl's father's shop, however.
    • Some people view just working with the Red Skull to be one of the lowest things one can do in the Marvel Universe.
  • Strawman Has a Point: The less megalomaniac variants of the Skull occasionally produce heavy-handed but at least somewhat valid social criticisms of American life and institutions in their Breaking Lectures. Whether intentionally or accidentally would depend on where the writer fits in on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Similarly depending, Captain America either shuts him up by beating him or reluctantly acknowledges the point, then beats him anyway.
  • 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, if only for just how evil he is. Famously, in a Marvel/DC crossover, the JOKER refused to have anything to do with him.