(Warning: The following contains potential - albeit entirely theoretical - SPOILERS for future movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as definite ones for Captain America: Civil War, and several comic-book story-lines. Proceed with whatever level of caution that voicemail message you keep on your phone suggests is wise...)
Now, there are few more frustrating fates for a super-villain than to be foiled by your super-heroic foes - especially when such a defeat comes in that most public of arenas: the big-budget summer blockbuster. Spare a thought, though, for those villains who aren't even blessed with the clarity of a full defeat, but are instead forced to suffer the emotional confusion of a partial, Pyrrhic victory - one in which they believe they have succeeded, but no-one else quite believes them. Such a fate, it seems, was met by Helmut Zemo back in this summer's Captain America: Civil War. Don't feel too bad for him, though, since...
Everything We Know About Marvel's Baron Zemo Suggests He's Still Set To Be A Big Deal In The MCU
Y'see, if his comic-book counterpart's adventures are any indication, Zemo's arrest in the closing moments of Civil War is not only unlikely to be the end of the line for the villain, but might even simply be the beginning. After all...
The Comic-Book Zemo Has A Long History Of Battling Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Or, rather, they both have. Y'see, there have actually been two comic-book Baron Zemos - the original, Heinrich, who first turned up way back in 1964's The Avengers #4 (see image above), and his son, Helmut, who took over from his nazi scientist father in 1974, after Heinrich was killed in an avalanche. Heinrich is perhaps most famous for (seemingly) killing Cap's sidekick Bucky Barnes back in the 1940's, while Helmut's adventures are discussed in a fair bit of detail below.
Though, since both Zemos are nazism-inclined lunatics who've traditionally worn a very particular purple mask, even that distinction is largely a technical one. Especially since...
Both Zemos Have Led The 'Masters of Evil'
Otherwise known as 'the sort of supervillain team name that only the silver age of comics could come up with', and one of The Avengers' most persistent - and, occasionally, effective - foe-groupings. Originally formed back in The Avengers #6, the team has battled The Avengers to a standstill on a number of occasions, and even managed to destroy Avengers Mansion back in Avengers #270 -277 - and yet were eventually beaten back every time, whether led by a Zemo or not.
Something which, it seems, inspired the younger Zemo to try a different approach...
Helmut Zemo Once Successfully Disguised Himself As A Hero
And, in fact, transformed an entire iteration of the Master of Evil into a (secretly still evil) 'superhero' team, The Thunderbolts, during a period of time where The Avengers and Fantastic Four had seemingly been killed. Of course, that didn't ultimately go to plan, with much of the team deciding that they actually quite liked being heroes, and rebelling against Zemo.
After a few more adventures (Zemo has had an unfortunate habit of being flung into other dimensions and trapped in other bodies), though, Helmut found himself something of changed man, becoming a little more like the Zemo we saw in Civil War - a ruthless killer, who nonetheless believes that he's doing the right thing for the world as a whole.
Which, once again, didn't really stick - especially since Zemo ultimately wound up in charge of everyone's favorite neo-nazi hate group, HYDRA. Repentant villainy, it seems, isn't something Zemo excels at in the long run.
The big question now, though?
What Does Zemo's Comic-Book Past Mean For The MCU?
Well, as it turns out, potentially quite a lot indeed. Y'see, between his founding of the Masters of Evil - one of the few major threats the Avengers are likely to have left after Avengers: Infinity War - and his formation of the Thunderbolts - long-rumored to be a potential project for Marvel's Phase 4 - Zemo's comic-book self might just have preemptively booked his MCU counterpart a whole lot of work.
What's more, with the ending of Civil War seemingly suggesting that Zemo could also return in 2018's Black Panther, there's now every possibility that the villain could prove central to the MCU for years to come...
What do you reckon, though?