Residence: Nazi Germany
Occupation: Operative of the German Military, assassin, aspirant warlord
First Appearance (Golden Age): none
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): World's Finest Comics #246
One evening in 1941, the Baron and his guards were patrolling the periphery of the camp when the happened upon a group of operatives led by Hank Heywood, the hero known as Steel. While the Allied agents staged a credible defense, they were quickly overrun by the Baron's forced and killed, save for Heywood who was returned to the Baron's death camp for further study. Heywood was horrified at the condition of the prisoners there and they, in turn were inspired by his resistance. One day while reviewing some entrants into the camp, one young Jew inspired by Heywood broke ranks and produced a bottle of acid, smashing into the Baron's face before being gunned down by the camp's guards. Blind and disfigured, the Baron was rushed into surgery by while his eye sight was saved, his face was far too damaged. Either seeing an opportunity or throwing a line to a friend, Hitler offered the Baron the chance to participate in advanced scientific experiments designs to maximize Aryan physiology. Chemical and electrical treatments altered the Baron's body, allow to use his maximum human strength, speed, or resilience one a time to become a super-powered agent of the Reich. Code-named Baron Blitzkrieg, he began a career as one of Hitler's top personal operatives (World's Finest #246, All-Star Squadron #8-9).
In late December of 1941, the Baron had launched a plan to take his particular form of terrorism to the US. En route, he kidnapped British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on the way for a wartime meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt. The Baron had created a robotic double of Churchill laden with explosives that when in the proximity of the American President, would be set to explode. Unknown to the Baron, Roosevelt had recently formed the All-Star Squadron and they were hanging close to the President in the weeks right after Pearl Harbor. When the fake Churchill approached Roosevelt, the robot exploded precisely as intended but instead of a murdered president, the clearing smoke revealed Plastic Man who had disguised himself as the American leader. The All-Star Squadron, including the newly named Commander Steel, quickly sprung into action, rescuing Churchill, while the Baron was defeated and routed in the process. Unknown to the Squadron, the Baron had planted a psychological suggestion in the mind steel during his captivity which the Baron and his chief assistant Zwerg activated from afar to attack Roosevelt. The Squadron leaps to the President's defense and in the melee, a shock to the head to Steel psychically resonated to the controlling Baron remotely, disconnected him from Steel and blinding him (All-Star Squadron #7-9).
In February of 1942, The Baron had retreated to Berlin to try to resolve his blindness. During an experimental procedure, he detected an energy force resonated for what he would later learn was Earth-X and using his amped-up senses to align with that energy, found himself transported to Earth-X. There the Baron's sight was restored and he quickly learned that on this Earth, the Nazis held the upper hand. He threw himself fully into Axis plans to assault the United States, coming into conflict with Uncle Sam and an assembled crew of super-heroes he marshaled to liberate Earth-X. After the initial group of Freedom Fighters are mostly killed and Hourman is taken captive, Uncle Sam heads to Earth-2 and recruits a second generation of heroes who bring the conflict back to Baron Blitzkrieg. Paranoid that leaving Earth-X will cost him his sight, The Baron battles furiously, ultimately killing the Red Bee, one of Uncle Sam's second wave. Realizing his defeat was imminent as the heroes rallied, the Baron retreated back to Earth-2 but took three henchmen with him, meaning the three of the heroes had to remain on Earth-X to maintain the cosmic balance. In so doing, the Baron had inadvertently lead to the formation of The Freedom Fighters, a group of heroes that would fight to minimize Nazi success for decades (All-Star Squadron #31-35).
A few weeks later, the blinded Baron again set out to heal himself using electricity and the mystical sonic powers of Philadelphia's Liberty Bell, an action that would restore his sight and destroy Philadelphia in the process. Along with his colleague, the Nazi speedster Zyklon, his theft of the Bell drew him into conflict with the All-Star Squadron and in the process, the long-time mentor of the heroine Liberty Belle, Tom Revere, was killed. The Baron and Zyklon escaped but his faithful Zwerg was captured and interrogated by the heroes, allowing them to pursue and ultimately defeat the Baron before his destructive vision could be achieved. The plan was not a total failure as the Baron succeeded in the restoring his sight but in so doing, Liberty Belle also received sonic super-powers from the stimulation of the Bell. The Baron and Zyklon eluded capture and fled back to Europe (All-Star Squadron #45-46).
In April of 1942, the Baron was sent as an assassin to London targeting first British General Claude Auchinleck, Commander of British Forces in the Middle East and then Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The Baron had his first encounter with Wonder Woman, who was evidently unfamiliar with the former adversary of her All-Star Squadron Colleagues and despite her efforts absconds across the English Channel with his two captives. The Baron and his men board a train, not knowing that it has been targeted by French resistance fighters led by Mlle. Marie. Wonder Woman follows them and explains to Marie that the train she is targeted as Blitzkrieg's captives. Working together, the two rescue the prisoners and subdue Blitzkrieg, escaping as the train crashes, presumably the end of the Nazi Baron (World's Finest Comics #246-247).
In June of 1942, the final act of the Baron's short career played out when he was assigned by Hitler to steal the plans for the atomic weapons derived from the Manhattan Project. The plan was part of an Axis collaboration between Germany and Japan, assigning Baron Blitzkrieg to work with the Japanese agent Sumo to steal two halves of a prototype bomb and then join them together. The two succeeded, despite interference from JSA members Superman and Wonder Woman, and on a secret island in the Pacific, fused the world's first functional atomic bomb. The two agents realized immediately however, that only one person could hold the bomb and immediately fell to battle with each other. Superman attempt to examined the mechanism of the bomb with his X-ray vision but succeeded only in activating it. Realizing a nuclear explosion was imminent, the heroes enjoined the two Axis agents to flee but neither would abandon their prize. As the bomb ignited, the island was consumed in the blast and Sumo and the Baron were assumed destroyed (All-New Collectors Edition #C-54). The Sumo, badly poisoned by the radiation, did manage to survive briefly and attempt to kill Wonder Woman but died before he could complete his task (Wonder Woman Vol. 1 #241). No evidence has emerged that the Baron survived and like the HMS Bismarck, he may serve as another example of flashy, powerful Nazi ambition that fell quickly to Allied will power.
Prior Earth/Earth-0 = In the new timeline that emerged post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, neither Wonder Woman or Superman existed and thus the fatal encounter that ended Baron Blitzkrieg's life on Earth-2 never happened on this Earth. His origins appear largely similar and he continued to act as an agent of the Nazi regime, often as the leader of a group of super-powered Americans with treasonous agendas referred to as Axis Amerika (Young All-Stars #21-25). On this Earth, he is known to have survived the war and reinvented himself as simple The Baron and, allied with Vandal Savage continued his power-hungry agenda and sought revenge on his JSA adversaries, including contributing to the creation of the hero known as Damage (Damage #2-6). He was ultimately killed by the original Superboy of Earth-Prime during the Infinite Crisis event (Infinite Crisis LS).
Due to poorly understood Nazi experimentation, the individual who became Baron Blitzkrieg can access "full human potential" of any aspect of his physiology. They confers super-strength, speed, stamina and resilience as well as less obvious functions such as flight and a form of heat vision. While he could initially use on ability at a time, training has let him use them simultaneously or at least in rapid succession. His abilities were sufficient to engage in hand-to-hand combat with Superman and Wonder Woman and hold his ground. A product of German aristocracy, he is also highly educated by mid-20th century standards and possessed of a self-serving form of intellect.
Initially, Baron Blitzkrieg had difficult maximally activated all of his abilities at once, but with practice that seem to become less of an issue. He could be overwhelmed by superior force, albeit that force was higher than mortal standards. His primary downfall was his own unique set of mental impairments that undermined his efforts. His arrogance led to his being injured in the first place and his refusal to abandon the nuclear warhead that led to his death. He was also afflicted with a fairly potent degree of post-traumatic stress syndrome following his injury and he was possessed of an immobilizing fear of being blinded.
|All-Star Squadron #7-9||New origin details, first major case, vs. the All-Star Squadron||Showcase Presents All-Star Squadron #1|
|All-Star Squadron #31-35||vs. the All-Star Squadron and the Freedom Fighters|
|All-Star Squadron #45-46||vs. the All-Star Squadron|
|World's Finest #246-247||First appearance, origin, vs. Wonder Woman|
|All-New Collectors Edition C-54||Dies in this issue||Adventures of Superman: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez Vol. 1|