At first glance, the Leader may seem like an odd choice for the antagonist of Captain America: New World Order, as he is a classic foe of the Hulk. But looking at the Leader’s comic book history, he has all the makings of the perfect Captain America villain for the MCU. The leader made his debut in stories to amazeand soon became Green Goliath’s first recurring supervillain.
Similar to Bruce Banner, the Leader was the product of a gamma ray-related accident, developing remarkably advanced intelligence. Alongside Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, Stan Lee quickly established the leader as a megalomaniac, driven by only one goal: world domination. The leader is a great concept for a character and has been used to explore a lot of interesting ideas that could translate incredibly well on the big screen.
Like Captain America, the leader has political roots in the comics.
The leader’s radical ideology makes him a natural choice for a Captain America movie, considering that stories of the squire have generally been politically charged. In his early stories, the Leader was framed as a power-hungry fanatic, with Stan Lee’s hyperbolic dialogue placing a very special emphasis on his never-ending quest for a global dictatorship. He has made several power grabs, either trying to forge an alliance with the Hulk for his own benefit or acquiring a nuclear defense system. These kinds of political machinations will inevitably be a big focus in the upcoming movie, given its title.
The Leader has always been a very entitled character, and that would be a fascinating aspect of the character to explore in the latest installment of Captain America. During his original appearances, the creative team went to great lengths to show how the villain’s vast intellect gave him a superiority complex. From his pompous and self-proclaimed title, to his thought bubbles revealing a deep-seated elitist mentality. With his dominance over all fields of science, there was a feeling that he felt untouchable, that he could do whatever he set his mind to. There is so much potential to expand on this in the MCU and play into the notion of the Leader as a symbol of corruption in the political sphere.
The leader has proven to be a very formidable adversary
Notably, the Leader’s introductory stories during the 1960s illustrated that he had an almost endless amount of resources at his disposal. He was in control of an entire robot army, his own spy network, and even had Spider-Man’s first supervillain, the Chameleon, in his employ. With such an amazing power level, he will certainly be a great challenge for Captain America in the future.
Since his inception, the Leader has been a highly satirical figure, characterized by a massive ego, while constantly engaging in political maneuvering. After taking all of the traits and history mentioned above for his character, it’s obvious that he will be a great asset to the franchise. Hopefully, the most recent Captain America movie will give this villain an explosive and much-deserved introduction to the MCU.