Sinthea Schmidt (Mother Superior/Sin)

sinfilmHere’s another villain from casualgamer‘s list: Sin, the daughter of the Red Skull. She appeared in the low-budget (and low-minded) 1990 Captain America movie, portrayed by Francesca Neri. Since her father had been transformed into an Italian warlord and renamed Tadzio De Santis, Sin as well was changed from German to Italian, and she was renamed Valentina De Santis. Valentina is the first one to pursue Captain America after he emerges from ice, and who tortures and kills Cap’s old girlfriend to learn the hero’s location. She’s obviously killed along with her father… but quite gruesomely, as the not-so-heroic Cap decapitates her with his shield (really). Luckily enough, the comics version of Sin has a different story. Let’s see together.

Sinthea Schmidt‘s life began the worst way possible: her father, the Red Skull, hidden from the world in his stronghold on Isle of Exiles, wanted a male heir he could shape in his own image. When the Skull found a washerwoman who looked a lot like his mother, he decided she would have become the mother of his son (quite sick); the Skull took her, and the woman died of childbirth nine months later… after giving birth to a baby girl. Enraged for the peasant’s “failure”, the Red Skull spat on the dead woman’s face, then took the girl, more than willing to throw her off a cliff. One of his followers, Susan “Mother Night” Scarbo, managed to convince him not to kill the girl, offering herself as a nanny. The Skull, believing he could have find a use for the girl as well, accepted Mother Night’s offer, but he instructed her to raise her in hatred, in pain, in misery, molding her into an embodiment of anger and rage. The baby, named Sinthea, was brought to Skull-House, an old monastery acting as one of the Red Skull’s safe houses, where Mother Night raised her following the instructions of her master. sincomics1Psychologically and physically tortured, indoctrinated with Nazi ideals since her first childhood, seeing her father only a few minutes per week, Sinthea grew up to be a monster of a child, a girl who knew only anger and hatred, just as brutal and incapable of the slightest empathy as her father. The Red Skull came back years later, when Sinthea was still a child, and he was in a rush: he knew he was dying, and he needed an adult heir. He took his daughter, and put her in a machine that accelerated her aging, making her an adult woman… and giving her psionic powers. The Skull provided his daughter with underlings, reserving the same treatment to orphan girls and transforming them into the Sisters of Sin. Sinthea, as Mother Superior, led the Sisters of Sin against her father’s enemies, especially Captain America, incapable of disobeying a parent she loathed because of her indoctrination. Much to Sinthea’s disappointment, it was clear that despite everything the Red Skull still didn’t want a female heir, as he took Baron Zemo under his wing to make him his “rightful” heir.

The Red Skull’s machinations over his daughter apparently ended the moment the man died (after rejecting once again his daughter as a heir, despite she had defeated Zemo), and Captain America managed to de-age her and the Sisters of Sin to their original teenage form. Her education, however, was deeply rooted in her, and when Mother Night reformed the Sisters of Sin using the original, now teenager members, Sinthea followed, this time adopting the name “Sin”. She helped Mother Night to build a re-educational camp that took in runaways and transformed them into perfect Nazis, and she acted as both a guard and an “educator”. Captain America found and dismantled the camp, but Sin managed to escape, and she later rejoined her father (resurrected, not for the first, nor the last time) as one of his lieutenants. It was during this time that the girl was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.: believing she was too young to respond of her crimes, the agency reprogrammed her, and convinced her she was the perfectly normal, cheering and funny Erica Holstein, an American girl like many others. Sin spent some years as Erica, oblivious of sincomics2her past and her heritage, but of course everything was meant to change once again: when General Alexander Lukin ordered the Winter Soldier to kill the Red Skull, and he accomplished his mission, the Skull’s underlings followed a number of instructions they had received in case of their master’s death. One of the Skull’s most loyal followers, Crossbones, tracked down “Erica Holstein” and kidnapped her. The assassin tortured the girl for days, until the physical pain manage to break S.H.I.E.L.D.’s conditioning and brainwash: finally, Sin was back, and she remembered everything of who she was, and who she was meant to be. Grateful to Crossbones for freeing her from the false life S.H.I.E.L.D. had built for her, Sin started a relationship with him, and together they went on a killing spree just to celebrate the woman’s return. Then, she joined her (guess what? Revived!) father again in his master plan to finally kill his nemesis, Captain America. Nothing could stop father and daughter reunited… especially if they were linked by an unbreakable bond of hatred and grudge.

Sinthea Schmidt is a young woman who has known only anger, grudge and pain since she was born, psychologically engineered to be the perfect embodiment of hatred and rage. As Mother Superior, she used to possess psychic powers like telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation and density control (mostly used to become intangible), but when she was brought back to her natural age she lost all of her superhuman abilities; as Sin, she’s nevertheless a formidable threat, a combatant personally trained by the Red Skull, a proficient hand-to-hand combatant and a skilled markswoman, with a great intellect and a natural tactical mind. A broken woman bent on genocide and war since her birth, Sin embodies all the worst of her father’s ideology… and that’s really saying something.

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