Following the death of Josef Stalin
1953, Georgi Malenkov of the Soviet government appointed Albert Malik to take the identity of the Red Skull
, hoping to capitalize on the original's reputation despite the history of hostility between communism and Nazism.
As the war was coming to an end, so was the era of superheroes due to their strong relationship with the war. Both Captain America and Red Skull would find their supposed last appearance in October 1949 within Captain America Weird Tales #74, where both men found themselves battling each other within the depths of hell.
Red Skull wouldn’t be seen until 1953 in Young Men #24. Here Red Skull was displayed much more differently, as a communist mastermind, but both Red Skull and the returned Captain America found themselves unsuccessful with the fan base and Marvel Comics later disregarding both comebacks of Captain America and Red Skull. It would be years later after editor Stan Lee properly introduced Red Skull who was still holding his Nazi identity, later identified this 50’s version of the Red Skull as the Russian spy known as Albert Malik.
Mayor Story Arcs
A Communist of Death
His first assignment was to locate Hitler
's strongbox, reputedly located at the United Nations, in search of Nazi weapon secrets. He invaded the U.N. building later that year but was opposed by the most recent Captain America
, who defeated him. He eventually recruited the electricity-powered Electro
, a Soviet super-operative who had himself fought Captain America and Bucky earlier, to aid him in another attempt. Although Electro was waylaid in battle with Captain America and Bucky, Malik succeeded in obtaining the strongbox. When he finally examined it, however, he found that it contained only a plaque identifying the real strongbox's location.
Malik finally found the strongbox, but it proved to be worthless, containing not the "secret weapon" the Soviets had hoped for but only Hitler's old manuscripts, medals and sketches.
Malik later embarked on a scheme to obtain American atomic rockets for the U.S.S.R. by masquerading as a scientist, then subsequently killed and replaced Senator Joseph McRooter, in which identity he recruited war criminals to spread false accusations of communist sympathy. However, Captain America and Bucky defeated him on each occasion.
Hoping to avoid further battle, Malik eventually moved his operations to Algeria
, becoming the mastermind of a criminal organization. Decades after his clashes with the 1950s Captain America, he identified two undercover U.S. government agents, Richard
and Mary Parker
. He had both of them killed and framed for illicit defection; little is known about his activities for the next twenty-plus years.
In recent years, the Parkers' son Peter
(the heroic Spider-Man) learned of the charges against his parents and traveled to Algeria to investigate their deaths. Malik sent his assassin, the Finisher
, to stop Spider-Man, but the killer was defeated, and Spider-Man forced a confession from the Finisher that provided the evidence he needed to prove his parents were not traitors.
Apparently driven from Algeria, Malik later obtained a nuclear weapon, but was opposed by le Peregrine
and the Sandman
, all employed by the mercenary Silver Sable
. Malik activated his bomb, but the Sandman was able to prevent it from detonating, and Malik was sentenced to prison in Algeria.
Malik's underlings broke him out of prison, almost all of them dying while getting him to an escape helicopter. As he flew away, he donned his mask and began to plot new schemes, but his pilot proved to be a renegade member of the Angel's Scourge
Program. The Scourge
shot Malik through the chest, knocking his corpse from the helicopter, then contacted his employer, the original Red Skull
, who laughed at his impersonator's demise.