Arnim Zola was a biochemist whose knowledge of genetics was enhanced by his study of deviant science. He has no powers of his own but has achieved much though his own technology and ambition.
Zola was hired by the Red Skull to reverse-engineer some of Doctor Doom's technology so that he could separate his consciousness from Aleksander Lukin's by aging Sharon Carter's child and placing his mind into the body. Sharon was able to break free from the device and kill Lukin, but as a fail safe Zola had the Skull's mind transport to one of his android bodies in the event of Lukin's death. Zola was killed by a mentally unstable Grand Director but it is believed that his mind was teleported to another android body.
Arnim Zola's orignal body was killed years ago. Since then he simply moves his consciousness from one android body to another.
Arnim has made his return in the recent Marvel Now Captain America comic, ruling his own "Dimention Z" which he has filled with many of his own strange creations. He captured Captain America and tried to perform experiments on him for an as of yet unknown purpose.
Arnim Zola was created by Jack Kirby in 1977 and first appeared in Captain America # 208.
Powers & Abilities
Arnim Zola possesses the ability to mentally control his various genetic creations by means of the ESP Box mounted atop his torso and surgically attached to his central nervous system. Although most of the creatures possess limited intelligence and the capacity for creative thought, Zola can override their mental processes if he so desires. The ESP Box is a retractable device that can convert brain waves into electronic signals for transmission as telepathic commands within ordinary radio range. Normally, Zola is capable of controlling only his own organic creations, but if he remains linked to his support equipment, he can stimulate his own mental power to such a degree that he can create a psychonkinetic network able to animate inorganic matter within radio range. Zola is unable to control natural organic life.
Where Arnim Zola's head should be is located in a device called the ESP Box. This device allows him to gain mental control of others, fire mental blasts or even transfer his consciousness into another android body.
Arnim Zola regularly has a number of super-powered androids that he can call upon to serve him.
In Ultimate Enemy, Arnim Zola is a member of Roxxon Corp's brain trust.
In the 2011 film, Arnim Zola, played by Toby Jones, is a meek scientist working for the Red Skull's HYDRA. Zola is in charge of making HYDRA's advanced weaponry, using the Cosmic Cube as a power source. Zola is portrayed more sympathetically than his comic book counterpart, being afraid of the increasingly unstable Red Skull. Zola is captured by the Howling Commandos on a train transporting weapons. The raid leads to the death of Bucky. The captured Zola reveals the location of the secret HYDRA base to save himself.
At no point does Zola transcend his human body, but he is first seen on a green tinted monitor, hinting at his comic counterpart.
In the 2014 sequel, Arnim Zola appears in his computer form in a bunker during the events of the movie, as an advanced Artificial Intelligence. It is stated that Zola was a founding member of S.H.I.E.L.D. after World War 2 ended, and worked for the organization for decades before he was diagnosed with a fatal illness in the 1970's. He chose to live on in a computerized form hidden from most of the organization, all the while secretly helping HYDRA infiltrate and take hold of the group. He is supposedly killed once and for all after the bunker is destroyed in an attempt to kill Captain America and Black Widow.
Toby Jones reprised his role.
Captain America: Super Soldier
Arnim Zola is the primary antagonist in the Captain America: The First Avenger tie-in video game. At first he appears as he does in the film, but as you progress through the game, you must fight his robot-forms. However, it is revealed in the end credits, that he was merely controlling the robots, as Red Skull asks him if he is done playing games.
Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Arnim Zola appears in several episodes working with Baron Zemo. He only appears in robot form and his appearance is similar to his comic book counterpart.