10 Things About Arnim Zola Only Comic Fans Know | ScreenRant – Screen Rant

Arnim Zola continues to haunt the MCU in strange ways, but what do only comic fans know about the evil supervillain?
What If…? has brought numerous variants of established MCU characters to the screen from many alternate realities. One of them was Arnim Zola, who played a key role in the formation of HYDRA. His story so far in the MCU has yet to really capitalize on his comic book lore, though with the possibilities afforded in What If..?, that could change.
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Arnim Zola is one of the more visually unique characters in Marvel Comics, with a classic design by the legendary writer and artist Jack Kirby. He first appeared in Captain America #208 in 1977 and has played a big role in some important storylines since. He could still play a big role in the MCU, thanks to his effective immortality in machines.
One aspect of Arnim Zola’s comic book lore that has intriguing possibilities for the MCU is that the genetic scientist based a lot of his early work in World War II on ideas and equipment created by the Deviants.
Comic book fans know the Deviants are the sworn enemies of the Eternals and will be making an appearance of some kind on the upcoming movie. Since the Deviants have been around for a long time in the MCU as well, it’s possible that fans could learn that Zola discovered some relics of their technology and used them to create the early weapons and programs of the MCU HYDRA.
Zola’s reputation as an inventor is well known to fans of the MCU. Comics fans know this evil genius is also a master of genetic engineering. He created most of the Super-Soldiers HYDRA used during World War II against Captain America and his allies.
He also created the supervillain Hate-Monger after cloning the brain of Adolf Hitler. In addition to him, Zola created other supervillains like Primus and Doughboy. His work with genetic engineering has never stopped in the comics, nor has his relentless push to advance the technological ambitions of HYDRA.
Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Zola’s mad intent is Zola himself. Zola created the ESP Box, a psionic device he invented to control others mentally. He primarily uses it to use his creations like puppets, but he can control the minds of others as well.
The ESP Box rests on top of his android body, another product of his brilliance. Zola transferred his mind into the highly advanced robot and projects his face from a giant screen embedded in the machine’s torso. This version of Zola has yet to appear in the MCU, but he could still at some point.
A character who could potentially appear in the MCU with direct connections to Arnim Zola is Jolt. Hallie Takahama received her superpowers of superspeed and kinetic electricity from Zola after he experimented on her against her will in the aftermath of an attack by Onslaught.
Jolt eventually joins the Thunderbolts, a team of supervillains masquerading as superheroes. Jolt is a comic book character who could join the MCU Thunderbolts, a team that seems as if it might be coming together with the arrival of Baron Zemo, U.S. Agent, and others.
Arnim Zola’s quest to produce genetically superior beings doesn’t always work, but it’s usually always terrifying. The case example might be The Unvengers, a group of beings Zola designed specifically to take on the Avengers. They include Captain Zolandia, Zola Iron Man, Zola Hulk, and Zola Thor.
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Arnim Zola was able to create these grotesque doubles of Earth’s mightiest heroes thanks to stealing the DNA of the Avengers. The Unvengers might make a fun threat in the MCU, but they were defeated pretty easily in the comics.
Arnim Zola spends a lot of time cloning people in the comics, and one of the most disturbing examples was Gwen Stacy. Fans know Gwen has become Spider-Gwen, a powerful alternate version of Spider-Woman from another universe.
Arnim Zola used an army of Gwen Stacy clones against Deadpool in one of his most perverse battles in the comics.  To defeat Deadpool, Zola unleashed scores of clones of deceased supervillains, but none of them were successful. He ultimately resorted to Gwen Stacy, which was completely unnerving. Deadpool killed all the clones but Gwen.
Arnim Zola played a key role in one of the most shocking deaths in Marvel Comics history – that of Captain America. Steve Rogers is assassinated at the end of the cataclysmic Civil War comic book event.
His killer is revealed to be Sharon Carter, who was under the mind control of Zola at the time. While this event is unlikely to play out in the MCU now given the circumstances, it’s possible that Sharon’s heel turn as the Power Broker in live-action could be a product of some manipulation on the part of Zola or another supervillain in the shadows.
Another part of Arnim Zola’s comic book lore is Dimension Z, which could very well make an appearance in What If..? and soon. Zola escaped to this pocket reality which he then ruled from the city of Zolandia. He created thousands of subjects and ruled there for a long time, though it was only a little while in the real world.
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It’s possible that the Zola in What If..? escapes at the end of his encounter with Ultron, possibly to Dimension Z, where he can evolve into a version of the classic character comic book fans are familiar with.
Zola’s experimentation with the Cosmic Cube, the ambition of the Red Skull, played a major role in the Secret Empire storyline in Marvel Comics, in which Captain America is revealed to be a HYDRA agent.
With the multiverse unfolding in the MCU, this dark alternate reality could come to pass in What If..? or another franchise. Zola was key to using the Cosmic Cube to brainwash Captain America into being part of the evil organization. He also created a virus to corrupt and take over The Vision during the HYDRA takeover of America.
Zola played a tangential role in the aftermath of House Of M. He actually worked with Hank McCoy, the Beast, to find a way through genetics to overcome the tragic decimation of mutants by the Scarlet Witch.
This was one of many methods explored in the aftermath of the event, which erased all but a couple of hundred mutants from existence. Though it ultimately came to nothing, genetics arguably has played a key role in the revival of mutants in the Dawn Of X era of comics via the resurrection protocols on Krakoa.
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DARBY HARN is the author of the novels Ever The Hero, The Judgment Of Valene, and A Country Of Eternal Light. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, and other venues.

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