While training with the KSK Kommando Spezialkräfte, Markus Ettlinger underwent genetic experiments resulting in him receiving superhuman abilities akin to Captain America. Ettlinger became a government operative and a national hero as Hauptmann Deutschland who found international terrorists and brought Nazi war criminals to justice. He was later selected to lead Schutz Heiliggruppe, Germany's premier superhero team.
Vormund was created by Mark Gruenwald and Rik Levins and first appeared in Captain America #387.
Vormund was introduced as Hauptmann Deutschland ("Captain Germany") in his first appearances but in German printings of Captain America he was renamed Freiheitskämpfer ("Freedom Fighter") to avoid any associations with World War II. Writer Mark Gruenwald wished to incorporate the German choice of name into future books but due to lack of communication with the people responsible for printing Marvel comics in Germany, Gruenwald was told the character's name was Vormund in the German printings (literally meaning "Guardian" as in a parental guardian) and as such the character was renamed the rather nonsensical name Vormund.
Major Story Arcs
The Trial of the Red Skull
Hauptmann Deutschland led the Schutz Heiligruppe on a raid of Arnim Zola's castle in Switzerland, destroying all of the clone bodies he had kept for the Red Skull.
Hauptmann Deutschland attended the Red Skull's Masque Club at the Smith Building, disguised as a party-goer. He was present just after the Red Skull learned that Zola's clones had been destroyed. He masqueraded as one of the Taskmaster's pupils provided to the Red Skull garbed as Captain America for his workout sessions. The four actual students were slain in battle with the Red Skull, but when the Skull engaged Hauptmann Deutschland, his teammate Zeitgeist teleported them both away. Hauptmann Deutschland, now garbed in his costume, confronted the captured Red Skull aboard the Schutz Heiligruppe's craft as they sped towards Germany. He informed the Red Skull that they intended to place him on trial for war crimes in Germany, then met with Blitzkrieger, who had determined that the Red Skull had a homing device which was bringing his Skeleton Crew to their location. Hauptmann Deutschland had hoped this would be the case, as he intended to put the Skeleton Crew on trial as well!
The Skeleton Crew invaded the facility outside of Berlin where the Schutz Heiligruppe were holding the Red Skull, but were met in battle by the team. Mother Night and Crossbones both shot Hauptmann Deutschland in the chest, but he used his power to repel the bullets and arrows. Hauptmann Deutschland was almost defeated by Crossbones, but Blitzkrieger defeated Crossbones for him. Hauptmann Deutschland continued to keep watch over the captured Skeleton Crew while they prepared to hold their war crimes trials. He also informed the Red Skull that the chair they had him bound to doubled as an electric chair.
Just as the trial began, Machinesmith set himself and his teammates free. The Red Skull then claimed that he was not the original Red Skull, taunting Hauptmann Deutschland for having no proof that he was now in a cloned body. Before the Schutz Heiligruppe could recapture the Skeleton Crew, three of Arnim Zola's bioplastoids disguised as Iron Man, Thor and Captain America of the Avengers burst in, and bluffed the Germans into releasing them into their custody. Hauptmann Deutschland suspected something was amiss, and determined that he would look into it. Hauptmann Deutschland later contacted Captain America to see if the Red Skull had returned to America safely. When Captain America did not recognize him, he realized he had been tricked. He immediately set out for America, and at the Smith Building, ran into the real Captain America. Assuming he was dealing with a fake, he attacked him, managing to hold his own. Finally, he set after the Red Skull to make sure that he didn't escape, but when he broke into his office, he found the Red Skull dead, seemingly slain by Scourge.
Hauptmann Deutschland investigated the "Red Skull's" body, but did not realize it was a fake made from one of Zola's bioplastoids. As Derek Freeman of the FBI had the body taken away, Hauptmann Deutschland asked that they release the body to his custody when they were done.
Now named Vormund, he participated in the Schutz Heiligruppe's investigation of several mysterious deaths among superhumans in South America, with Blitzkrieger himself being taken as a victim. Vormund later joined Zeitgeist in investigating a party held by Thomas Halloway at his manor, honoring several heroes of the 40's. Zeitgeist pointed to Halloway as a suspect, although Vormund had become suspicious of his ally. Upon their arrival, Zeitgeist created a hologram of Vormund claiming that he would kill all of the heroes gathered there. Captain America set after the real Vormund, but Vormund was merely confused by the attack. Just then, Zeitgeist attempted to stab Captain America from behind, but Captain America shrunk his foil with Pym particles. The other old heroes gathered assumed that Vormund had slain Captain America and set after him as he was forced to flee. He finally caught up to Zeitgeist, and used his powers to redirect the force of his foil's thrust back at his heart, killing him to avenge Blitzkrieger.
Powers & Abilities
Vormund possesses the ability to absorb kinetic energy and redirect that energy at an opponent. By aiming this energy at an opponent's heart, he can kill them. Under normal circumstances, he uses this energy to provide himself with greater endurance in a battle, increase his speed and strength, and to repel attacks. On one mission, Vormund wore a vest containing a variety of weapons, including a metal net encased in a ball, ball bearings coated in oil, and a cable gun.