This article is about the original Flag-Smasher. For the character currently using that name, see Flag-Smasher
Swiss by birth, Karl Morgenthau's father was a diplomat who travelled the world with his young son. The child was proficient in a number of intellectual areas, but stunted in interpersonal relationships due to his unstable upbringing. When he was nineteen, his father was trampled to death at a riot in the Latverian Embassy, and the young Morgenthau became determined to destroy all nations in order to eliminate nationalism, which he saw as the source of human suffering. He took up the mantle of Flag-Smasher and formed ULTIMATUM to further his anti-nationalist agenda through terrorism
Karl Morgenthau was created by Mark Gruenwald and Paul Neary.
Major Story Arcs
Flag-Smasher wages a terrorist campaign in New York, attacking nationalistic symbols throughout the city. He attacks Captain America during a press conference in order to spread his message to a wider audience. The audience rejects his message, however, and he is defeated by Captain America, who takes him into custody. He is released soon after, and takes hundred of hostages on an airliner, refusing to release them until Captain America turns himself in to be publicly executed. Captain America is able to upset his plans, and the pair fight until Flag-Smasher falls and breaks his leg. Captain America rescues him, and Flag-Smasher subsequently does not take the opportunity to kill the Captain, though he vows to kill the man upon their next meeting. He is taken into custody by SHIELD.
Captain America No More
Flag-Smasher travels to the North Pole, where he and his ULTIMATUM agents set up an electromagnetic generator that could be used to shut down all technology on Earth. However, he soon discovers that ULTIMATUM is being funded by the Red Skull, who is perverting ULTIMATUM's goals for his own ends. Flag-Smasher turns to Captain America for assistance, taking hostages in order to speak with the man, who is revealed to actually be John Walker. Angry at the replacement, Flag-Smasher defeats Walker and demands the appearance of the real Captain. When Steve Rogers arrives with D-Man, Flag-Smasher leads the heroes to the generator. They destroy it despite the intervention of ULTIMATUM agents loyal to the Red Skull, and D-Man is apparently killed.
Acts of Vengeance
Flag-Smasher regains control over ULTIMATUM, and begins engaging in weapons trading. Taking advantage of the Acts of Vengeance crisis, he attempts to establish a grassroots campaign to overthrow the United States government. He is defeated by Punisher and Moon Knight, who foil his plan and destroy his stores of weapons. Later, he attempts to instigate a financial crisis by crashing the Federal Reserve computers, but is stopped by Punisher and Ghost Rider.
Operation Galactic Storm
Returning to the North Pole, Flag-Smasher begins attempting to restart his electromagnetic generator. At the North Pole, his agents locate D-Man, who had not died in their last confrontation, but had been rendered amnesiac. He attempts to bargain with Captain America for D-Man's life, but is instead confronted by USAgent. During their battle, Flag-Smasher plunges into the Arctic ocean, obtaining permanent brain damage during his submersion.
Flag-Smasher attempts to use a captured hacker to attack the US government. He is easily defeated by Captain America.
Cat and Mouse
ULTIMATUM begins to fracture, with a number of Flag-Smasher's agents turning against him and attempting to assault the European Union. Flag-Smasher supports the Union, which he perceives as making an effort to erase nationalism, and so joins Spider-Man and Sandman when they prevent his agents from destroying the English Chunnel, and from killing EU representatives. However, his turn to the good is brief, and he attempts to destroy Buckingham Palace, which he sees as a nationalistic symbol. He is stopped by his erstwhile allies. Later, he joins Purple Man, and dedicates a troop of ULTIMATUM agents, called Destabilizers, to cement public support of Nate Grey. However, the Purple Man turns against him and nearly kill him when he sets off bombs implanted in some of his men, destroying a police station. He survives the attempt and returns to attempts at economic destabilization, attempting to destroy the New York Stock Exchange. He is stopped by Marrow and Shadowcat, who force him to defuse his own bomb in order to save his own life.
Flag-Smasher is captured and drugged by the president of Roxxon, Calvin Halderman, who uses him to secure his oil interests and to protect his organization. While under the drug's influence Flag-Smasher is incredibly strong and ferocious, but lacks higher cognitive functions. He is sent to assassinate a pair of reporters, who are asking questions Halderman doesn't want answered. He is prevented from carrying out this task by Captain America.
Recovering from his brainwashing, Flag-Smasher returns to ULTIMATUM, now being funded by ORACLE, Inc. which is itself operating under the control of the god Marduk. Marduk provides for Flag-Smasher's world conquest attempts in order to regain his own immortality. Flag-Smasher directs his troops against a number of targets, personally leading the charge into Rumekistan. He is approached by Citizen V, who arranges for him to take control of Rumekistan in order to prevent further bloodshed. Flag-Smasher accepts this deal and calls off his troops, taking control of the country. He is later apparently assassinated by Domino.
Powers and Abilities
Flag-Smasher has no known superhuman abilities. He is in excellent physical condition, and a skilled unarmed fighter, with particular skill in the martial art shotokan karate-do. He is also capable with weaponry. He is a gifted leader, as well as a skilled strategist. He is known to be fluent in English, Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Russian.
Equipment and Weapons
Flag-Smasher carries or has carried numerous weapons and gadgets provided by ULTIMATUM. Known weaponry includes a flame-throwing pistol, a tear-gas gun, and a spiked mace. Known methods of transportation include jet-propelled skis, teleportation, submarines, and hovercraft. He wears an extremely durable suit, and his mask has special lenses to protect his eyes from blinding flashes of light.
In Other Media
Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Flag Smasher appears as the main antagonist in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier streaming series. Karl Morgenthau has been gender swapped to a young woman named Karli Morgenthau. Rather than taking the name Flag-Smasher, it is the name she gives her resistance group. They are refugees displaced during The Blip, who were sidelined when the disappeared 50% were returned at the end of Avengers: Endgame. Before she began her campaign, she stole twenty vials of Super Soldier Serum created by a scientist working for Sharon Carter, who has become the Power Broker. The Flag-Smashers went on the lamb from both the Power Broker and global agencies. They were eventually caught the attention of both The Falcon and The Winter Soldier as well as the new Captain America John Walker and Battlestar. Karli was shot by Sharon Carter during her brawl with Sam Wilson.