Born in the late 19th century to a Prussian noble family who had relocated to Strucker Castle in Bavaria following the Franco-Prussian War, Wolfgang von Strucker became a Heidelberg fencing champion, and was disfigured by facial scars.
Strucker fought for Germany during World War I, during which he first encountered the jewel "Momentary Princess," which was fated to appear and disappear at regular intervals of time. Wolfgang pursued the jewel in the decades that followed.
When Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany in 1933, Baron Strucker joined the Nazi Party, becoming infamous in the following years. In 1936 he and Geist, one of Hitler's top men, allied themselves with the Egyptian mentalist Amahl Farouk (secretly the Shadow King) in an attempt to dispute the lineage of England's royal family and install a new king who would be sympathetic to the Nazis. Their plot was thwarted by the Canadian adventurer Logan and the time-traveling members of Excalibur, Kitty Pryde and Phoenix.
In 1937, German Intelligence agent Strucker was sent to the United States to assassinate Senator Fulton, but he was foiled by brigand-for-hire Dominic Fortune.
Baron Von Strucker was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He first appeared in Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos #5 in 1964.
In the years following World War II Strucker truly showed his greatest strategic genius. As the United States created espionage unit SHIELD (much in part to the growing number of superhumans), Strucker managed to make several HYDRA agents seem like genuine heroes by starting conflicts that they would solve. HYDRA took large portions of SHIELD as their own, and the entire organization was corrupted. No one knew this though, and thus HYDRA had access to information and influence with the US and British governments not knowing how to stop it. During this time, Strucker gave birth to twins: Andreas and Andrea von Strucker. He remained distant from them, but had HYDRA ideals taught to them from a young age.
Major Story Arcs
Return of Captain America
When Namor and the newly-formed Avengers discovered Captain America (Steve Rogers) in suspended animation, HYDRA was once again brought into the spotlight. Cap's tireless pursuit of terrorists forced Strucker to reveal himself and battle the super soldier--most times he was unsuccessful. Fortunately for Strucker, the corruption of SHIELD had still not been discovered and HYDRA could not be truly destroyed.
Return of the Red Skull
Seeing Captain America and his Avengers gaining in power, the Red Skull decided to come out of hiding. Everyone had believed he had been dead, but after he killed a Soviet-communist leader wearing his costume the sinister truth became known. Red Skull then gained a more active role in HYDRA and began to use it in direct conflicts to weaken the image of Cap. Strucker's influence and notoriety began to fade. Deciding his life was in danger, Strucker once again faked his own death. He continued to manipulate events from behind the screens, though, and also took a more active role in corrupting SHIELD.
Death Spore Virus
In another escapade, Strucker obtained the Death Spore virus. It made him a living weapon, extremely regenerative yet death to all he touched.
The New Thunderbolts
Baron Strucker was revealed to be the financial backer for the New Thunderbolts who reformed after Avengers Disassembled. Strucker was attacked by The Swordsman, who was secretly Strucker's son Andreas. Strucker Sr. told the Swordsman that if he was killed, then the Death Spore Virus will be released and kill everyone in Manhattan. During the fight, Wolverine steps in to take a stab at Strucker too. The Swordsman stops Wolverine from killing Strucker and releasing the Death Spore Virus. Strucker throws Wolverine off the balcony and the Swordsman jumps off to try to help Wolverine.
Secret Invasion, HAMMER, and the HYDRA High Council
HYDRA was no longer the only corrupting influence around. Skrulls, desperate for a new homeworld after their's was destroyed by Galactus, began taking over all of Earth's powers by infiltrating them using their inherent shape-shifting abilities. With SHIELD taken over by Skrulls, HYDRA agents began getting false information. In fact, HYDRA was tricked into amping the powers of and accepting into their highest ranks what they thought was Spider-Woman, but was really Skrull Queen Veranke! During Civil War, Vernake blew up HYDRA headquarters and destroyed much of their influence. Then, when the Skrull's plot became apparent and several fearsome battles had been fought through Earth, SHIELD was rendered useless. The new commander-in-chief of Earth's superhuman forces, Norman Osborn, decided to replace SHIELD with his own espionage organization called HAMMER. HYDRA's influence was gone. To make matters worse, in the chaos surrounding the invasion Nick Fury had discovered how HYDRA had corrupted SHIELD. Fury formed squads of young superhumans called Secret Warriors and an underground militant empire called the new Howling Commandos to combat HYDRA. In response to this chaos, Strucker decided to come out of retirement. A HYDRA High Council was formed; consisting of Viper, a new Madame Hydra, the Kraken, Hive, and Strucker himself. Unbeknown to anyone else in the group, the new Madame Hydra was Contessa Valentina Allegro de la Fontaine, who had obtained her power from Nick Fury and was working for him.
Needing a powerful metahuman and wanting to gain influence over the Hand, the HYDRA High Council invaded a sacred Hand temple and forced the shaman to resurrect the shattered stone remains of Gorgon. Using up much of their mystical energy, the Hand conceded--however, Gorgon was so strong he sucked out all their lifeforce as he returned, knowing full well his rise would mean their death. The Council did not care, and eagerly suggested Gorgon aid them in gaining power and taking over the Hand. Gorgon agreed if he could join the council. Strucker continued to govern HYDRA but did not actually join a battle until an important take-over of a once thoroughly-HYDRA, Pacific SHIELD base that had become a HAMMER stronghold. The Secret Warriors and Howling Comandos attacked too and, though Strucker killed several soldiers of both Fury and Osborn, HYDRA lost the three-way fight. The Council then teleported out, much to Gorgon's rage. Many HAMMER agents then switched sides and the base was taken over by Fury.
Deal with Osborn
Osborn perceived Fury and his forces as as much a threat to him as HYDRA and, after the Warriors escaped his clutches along with Black Widow, he contacted HYDRA for help. Strucker negotiated with him over a fairly-secure phone, and Osborn agreed he would not interfere in any anti-Fury activity as long as it commenced immediately. When Secret Warrior Hellfire stole Nick Fury's money (stolen from Osborn-connected banks), he angrily spent it to defy his boss. Strucker and his forces tracked the cash straight back to him and captured the young superhuman militant. Strucker threatened to kill Hellfire's friend and romantic interest Quake (who Strucker had surrounded using the information observed by tracking Hellfire) if information was not divulged, and the Warrior agreed. Strucker then led a colossal attack on Fury's forces, killing several notable figures including Gabriel Jones and destroying much of Fury's weaponry and influence. In retribution, Fury killed Hellfire.
Wheels Within Wheels
Later, both Strucker and Nick Fury were kidnapped by the Kraken. It was here the famous puppet master saw the strings that had been controlling him all along. Kraken was in fact Jake Fury, Nick's brother who had been presumed deceased for years. What's more, Strucker learned that while he had thought HYDRA secretly controlled SHIELD, it was SHIELD that had been controlling HYDRA. Completely and utterly defeated, Strucker was denied even the chance to speak his final words before being shot and killed by his life long nemesis, Nicholas Fury.
Baron Strucker is a highly intelligent man in peak human physical condition. He is an exceptional hand-to-hand combatant, swordsman, and marksman. He is also a consummate military strategist and spy, and a master of disguise and excellent actor. He carries a sword and traditional firearms, but also wears the Satan Claw on his right hand: this metal gauntlet amplifies his strength and emits powerful electrical shocks. Strucker also uses serums developed by HYDRA, enabling him to maintain his physical vigor at its height and retard his aging process, so that physically he remains the same, despite his advanced chronological age.
Exposure to his Death Spore has bonded Strucker's DNA with the Death Spore, enabling him to be revived after seemingly being killed by gunshot wounds and radiation poisoning. Stucker can now release the Death Spore virus from his body at will, killing his victims nearly instantly. If Strucker is killed, the Death Spore viruses will allegedly be set free from his body and risk infecting the entire Earth.
In Other Media
- Stucker appeared briefly in the television film Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., portrayed by Campbell Lane.
- Strucker appeared in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Brouhaha At the World's Bottom!", voiced by Rob Paulsen.
- Strucker appeared as a recurring villain in the first season of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Jim Ward. He led H.Y.D.R.A. throughout the course of the show, aided by Viper and Black Widow (who in reality was a traitor planted in his organization by Nick Fury). Strucker commissioned the creation of the Cosmic Cube from A.I.M., which he planned to use to conquer the world. When M.O.D.O.K. tried to double-cross HYDRA and keep the Cube for himself, the two organizations entered into battle, with New York City stuck in the middle. Strucker nearly managed to claim the Cosmic Cube, but was stopped by Hawkeye and Ant-Man, before ultimately being defeated by Captain America.
- Strucker appears in the games Captain America: Super Soldier and Avengers Alliance.