Zahnmörder is a supervillain from Nazi Germany and one of the first costumed villains faced by Captain America.
Zahnmörder was a costumed German super-villain active in Nazi Germany in the early years of World War II. Along with Blitzkrieg and Säurespritze, he was part of a team known as Das Vernichtungs-Kommandos (also referred to as the Death Squad or the Killing Squad). The mysterious leader of the Death Squad was the masked villain Agent X. Zahnmörder wore a special glove with retractable weapons housed within the top of the hand including a knife, a fork and a corkscrew.
In early March 1941, Agent X's superior, the Red Skull, learned of the secret U.S. military program known as Project: Rebirth. Seeking to acquire the project's secrets to create his own army of super-soldiers, he sent the Death Squad to the United States to steal the formula that transformed scrawny Steve Rogers into the muscle-bound Captain America.
The creator of Project: Rebirth's Super Soldier Serum, Doctor Abraham Erskine, had already been assassinated by a Nazi agent. Before his passing however, he gave each of his research assistants a part of the formula. He entrusted the complete formula, as well as the secret of his Vita-Ray research to one man, Colonel James Fletcher.
The Death Squad systematically sought out all of Erskine’s associates. When he discovered that Colonel Fletcher possessed the complete formula, he sent the Death Squad to the Project: Rebirth facility to abduct him. Zahnmörder had been hoping to get his hands on Captain America himself, but satisfied himself nonetheless by slaughtering several military officers while Säurespritze apprehended Fletcher.
They brought him to a hidden safe house where they interrogated him at length. Zahnmörder took great delight in brutalizing Fletcher, and seemed to care more for watching the man cry in pain than he did in any secrets he might glean from him. Fletcher managed to escape, but Zahnmörder and the others tracked him to a local eatery called Smyth Diner. They captured Fletcher and they brought him to a Nazi compound in occupied Paris, France.
Along with another Nazi agent known as the Master Interrogator, the Death Squad continued to torture Colonel Fletcher, but he refused to yield the secrets of the Super Soldier Formula. Fletcher was able to escape once again, but his freedom was short-lived as he flung himself through a window to his death. The complete Super Soldier Formula died with him.
Captain America, arriving too late to save Fletcher, raided the Nazi compound and fought against the Death Squad. Zahnmörder finally had his chance to fight the great American hero and he fared better against him than his two compatriots, nearly dealing a fatal strike against the Captain several times. Blitzkrieg and Säurespritze were killed during the debacle, but Zahnmörder persevered, chasing Captain America all throughout Paris. The two faced each other again at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Waiting for them at the top of the tower however was Zahnmörder’s supreme commander, the Red Skull. Unimpressed with Zahnmörder's inability to defeat the American super-hero, the Skull shot him in the forehead and Zahnmörder's body plummeted to the ground.
Powers and Abilities
Zahnmörder did not appear to possess any superhuman abilities, but he did demonstrate the ability to shrug off bullets with minimal pain. However, this may have been due to the thickness of his tunic complimented by the villain's natural sense of sadomasochism, he was an expert in the art of torture and also possessed the strength level of a man his age, size and weight who engaged in moderate regular exercise.
Zahnmörder possessed a special glove which housed a variety of retractable weapons. In function, they were similar to that of Wolverine's claws.