Despite only having three movies and a TV show to his name, Captain America has managed to face a huge number of his comic villains in the MCU. Cap has fought Red Skull, Winter Soldier, Crossbones, Batroc the Leaper, Baron Strucker, Alexander Pierce, Helmut Zemo, and even Arnim Zola – easily the hardest of Steve Rogers’ enemies to adapt to the MCU’s more grounded aesthetic. However, Marvel also appears to have snuck another recurring Cap villain into canon, albeit under a different civilian name.
In the MCU-canon comic Captain America: The Winter Soldier Prelude, Marvel explores Captain America’s adventures alongside Black Widow and future enemy Brock Rumlow (played by actor Frank Grillo) ahead of the 2014 movie that brought back Bucky Barnes as a Russian asset. In the issue, Cap’s team fight a terrorist group who have stolen a bioweapon from S.H.I.E.L.D. The group are commanded by a man identified as ‘Baker’ – a character who doesn’t exist in the original comics, but bears a striking resemblance to someone who does: Samuel Saxon’s Machinesmith.
With a blazing red beard and bald head similar to Machinesmith and a pronounced armored/cybernetic suit that evokes his robot body, Baker’s similarities to Saxon are enough that it certainly seems like Marvel intended him as a more realistic take on the Marvel inventor-turned-android. The comic comes from Peter David, Rock-He Kim, Daniel Govar, Rain Beredo, and Clayton Cowles.
Machinesmith Is an Underrated Captain America Villain (Who Exists in the MCU?)
Samuel Saxon has a weird comic history, even for a supervillain. Originally debuting as a Daredevil villain, and even taking up the Mister Fear mantle, Saxon is a genius inventor who devised the synthetic assassin known as the Plastoid. However, after being badly hurt in a battle with Daredevil, Saxon was rescued by his robotic creations, who downloaded his consciousness into an artificial body. Saxon took the name Machinesmith, solidifying his permanent villain persona, and has plagued many different heroes over the years, repeatedly attacking S.H.I.E.L.D. and the X-Men. However, his chief enemy has been Captain America. Machinesmith has taken many different forms, but has two iconic looks – a human male in a yellow boiler suit with prominent eyebrows and muttonchops, and a robotic form where his facial hair becomes curved ‘horns.’
MCU’s Baker Has Several Similarities to Machinesmith
Machinesmith is a bizarre sci-fi villain – the type who doesn’t fit as well into the MCU’s aesthetic, especially alongside Captain America. However, Baker is a close, ‘grounded’ approximation of his defining features. With similarly idiosyncratic facial hair, Baker also boasts cybernetic armor that makes him immune to gunfire and enhances his strength, making him a similar type of physical threat. One iconic image that reoccurs in the comics is Machinesmith having a humanoid head on top of a robotic body – an image that is recreated by Baker’s armor. He also wouldn’t be the first villain to get a new name in the MCU – for example, the Iron Man 2 villain Whiplash is traditionally Mark Scarlotti in the comics. The individual known as Ivan Vanko was essentially created for the MCU (though he was also added to comic canon). Likewise, the Black Order supervillain Black Dwarf was renamed ‘Cull Obsidian’ for Infinity War.
If Machinesmith Does Exist in the MCU, Fans Should Look Forward to His Return
With his iconic look, ‘robot’ body, and targeting of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America, Baker is as similar to the comic-book Machinesmith as the MCU’s Zola and Batroc are to their original incarnations. If Baker is meant to be a grounded take on Machinesmith, Marvel movie fans may be in for a treat. In recent comics, Machinesmith first attended the Villains Anonymous support group, then joined Ant-Man’s security company in an act of pseudo-redemption (in Nick Spencer and Ramón Rosanas Astonishing Ant-Man.) Now a far more playful character, he retains his genius and disdain for humanity, with a sardonic outlook that would work perfectly with the MCU’s humor. Captain America: The Winter Soldier Prelude seemingly gave the MCU its own Machinesmith – now the movies just need to use him.
Machinesmith exists in the MCU?! Read More