- “As I said. Kneel before your masters. Your Masters of Evil.”
- ―Baron Zemo
The Masters of Evil are a group of supervillains who banded together to fight the Avengers.
After finding Arnim Zola and receiving a needed treatment for Virus X, Baron Zemo borrows one of his monstrous creations, Doughboy, to distract the Avengers. As they battle the creature on Liberty Island, he sends another to the Avengers Mansion to deal with Wasp. Once she is taken care of, Baron Zemo confronts Captain America, for the first time in decades. He has the upper hand, and nearly kills Captain America after disarming him, but the Black Panther aids Cap and returns his shield. Zemo is defeated, but he detonates a bomb that destroys part of the mansion. He makes his escape, limping, while Cap saves the unconscious Wasp from the blast.
Furious that Cap defeated him, and that Doughboy failed him, Zemo returns to Arnim's hideout. He vows now to destroy all the Avengers for denying him his revenge. But upon entering the hideout, he discovers the Enchantress and the Executioner, standing over the unconscious Arnim Zola. Enchantress then tells Zemo she comes offering a proposition.
Later, she and Zemo find and reassemble Simon Williams, also known as "Wonder Man", after his ionic energy form destabilized while fighting the Avengers. They offer him the chance to be restored to human form, if he helps them destroy the Avengers. Soon after that, he recruited the Crimson Dynamo to his cause. After that, he, Enchantress, Executioner, Simon, and Vanko found the dying Abomination in the Nevada desert, after being defeatd by the Hulk.
With Blonsky recruited, the Masters of Evil were formed, with the sole task of destroying the Avengers. First, Enchantress lured Wasp into a trap, attacked and confronted by all the members. Zemo used her security pass to infiltrate the Avengers' Mansion, where Dynamo defeated Iron Man, who was caught off guard whie checking his armor inventory. Enchantress then tricked Hulk, and exiled him to the Asgardian realm of the Frost Giants, leaving Captain America left to defeat. Simon and Executioner took him down, while Zemo mockingly had the last laugh.
After luring Thor back to the Mansion, Zemo believes he now has all the Avengers defeated. Zemo begins to toy with imprisoned Captain America, he also let slip that he's working without someone that will ensure he will finally rule the world. It's around this time that Hawkeye and Black Panther catch the Masters of Evil off guard and begin taking them down one by one. After capturing them as well, they reveal to Zemo that they were simply a diversion, while the shrunken Ant-Man crept back into his labs. Pym appears and uses his technology to destabilize Simon, while Hawkeye and Panther free the rest of the Avengers while Thor sends the Hulk back Midgard. Ant-Man swiftly defeats Abomination with a single powerful kick as Giant Man.
While Captain America fights Zemo, Ant-Man and Hawkeye take down the Executioner, Iron Man and Thor duel with Wonder Man as Black Panther and Wasp knock Crimson Dynamo when Wasp flies into his armor and blasts him in the face. At near defeat, Zemo tells Enchantress that they should retreat. She teleports herself and the rest of the defeated members back to Arnim Zola's lab.
Zemo scolds Abomination for underestimating the Avengers. Abomination, however, retorts back by saying that Zemo did not anticipate the Black Panther and Hawkeye. Before the two could fight, Enchantress told that have what they came for and she left with the Executioner guarding the exit. Enchantress contacts an ominous figure and tells him that everything is going according to his plan.
They then recruited Grey Gargoyle, Chemistro, and Living Laser. Grey Gargoyle was seemingly killed by Executioner. Each member separated and were given a task to guard the Norns Stones while they complete their master plan: Merge the Nine Realms with Midgard and use the forces of the Nine Realms to conquer it.
Iron Man defeats Living Laser by using his Unibeam to shoot him into outer space. Wasp faces Abomination and even though Abomination was gaining the upper hand, Ant- Man arrives and violently pummels Abomination to death. Hawkeye defeats Chemistro by destroying his chemicals which sprayed all over the latter's face. Captain America defeats Crimson Dynamo by destroying his suit. Dynamo was later killed by an endless horde of spirits from Niffleheim. Hulk sends the Executioner flying and claims his Enchanted Axe as spoils from the battle. Black Panther and Wonder Man fight at a graveyard but Wonder Man retreats when he realizes the carnage brought by Baron Zemo.
Thor confronts both Zemo and The Enchantress at a HYDRA base in Norway where the Red Skull attempted to control all of The Nine Realm's warriors to win World War II decades ago. After this, he attempts to activate the Norn stones so the army of Asgard will invade earth. Thor warn him that Enchantress just using him, but he already knows and never trust her at beginning, as he put the same collars on her neck (which the Red Skull also once used to control all of the Asgard warrios in the past) and demand Enchantress to make all the Army of Asgard to obey him. Thor manage to break free by getting his hammer back, knock Zemo out by deflecting his ray which hits him straight in the chest and tell all of the Avenger to destroy the stone at all costs just mere seconds before the Forces of The Nine Realms could invade Midgard but the Avengers were also sent to each of the Nine Realms.
It was revealed that Loki sent the Enchantress to gather foes to help to carry out his master plan to conquer all of the Nine Realms. What happened to all of the Masters is unknown though it is likely that most of the members are dead. Examples include Crimson Dynamo, Abomination, Baron Zemo, and Living Laser.
All Masters of Evil turned out alive, but Enchantress and Executioner tried to dispose of the other members. Enchantress froze Living Laser in his laser state, turned Chemistro into gold and seemingly killed Arnim Zola. The other Masters went to the Avengers to defeat Enchantress together, but when Zemo betrayed the Avengers and tried to use a remaining Norn Stone against Enchantress, Wonder Man noticed Zemo had went too far and sacrificed himself to stop him.
After the defeat of Loki and the Celebrity Five, Red Skull sends Crossbones to intercept the police van carrying the five, in order to transfer their complete bio-codes to the Skull. Now able to D-Smash villains from all types at once, the Red Skull steals five DISKs containing Baron Zemo, Abomination, Graviton, MODOK, and Tiger Shark, forming the Masters of Evil.
The Masters of Evil/Thunderbolts appear in the third season of Avengers Assemble, titled Avengers: Ultron Revolution. It's lineup consists of of Baron Helmut Zemo, Fixer, Goliath, Moonstone, Screaming Mimi, and Beetle. They later go undercover as a superhero team named the Thunderbolts, in order to gain public support and overshadow the Avengers, to which would allow them the chance to destroy them, but later become superheroes in earnest.
In the episode "Under Siege," the Masters of Evil attack a factory only to be defeated by the Avengers. Before the Avengers can have the Masters of Evil incarcerated, Baron Helmut Zemo teleports them to his base in Brazil where he plans to improve the Masters of Evil. They start by attacking Avengers Tower while Hawkeye is the only one there during the time when the Avengers were handling a diversion at where the Masters of Evil were teleported to. Upon the Avengers returning, they help Hawkeye defeat the Masters of Evil. Baron Zemo escapes while the rest of the Masters of Evil are incarcerated.
- The version appearing in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes are based on the original incarnation from the comics. However, while it was still founded by Baron Heinrich Zemo, the lineup was different.
- The version appearing in Avengers: Ultron Revolution is based on the 90s incarnation of the team, who became the first incarnation of the Thunderbolts. Also, much like the comics, with the exception of Zemo, the team reforms in earnest and become true superheroes. However, in the comics, Fixer/Tecnho and Moonstone/Meteorite reverted back to villainy, while Songbird, Atlas and MACH V remained heroes. Also, Songbird went on to join Norman Osborn's version of the Thunderbolts, but defected shortly after realizing his still villainous intentions and soon joined different rosters of the Avengers. She recently became co-leader of the latest roster of the New Avengers.
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