31 days until Hellboy Day - Karl Ruprect Kroenen
Professor Doctor Karl Ruprect Kroenen was born in 1889, in a small village outside of Berlin. He was a dedicated German citizen, but also the son of a Norwegian heiress. He spent summers in his mother’s family castle in Norway, where, even as a child, he showed an aptitude for scientific endeavors. At an early age, and throughout his life, science trumped morality, as he pursued the secrets of extended longevity.
During University, Kroenen befriended a young Herman von Klempt. It was von Klempt that saved Kroenen’s life, even if it is permanently lived behind a mask and full body suit. Kroenen looked to his colleague as an equal, a person to share his scientific passion with. At the same time, von Klempt saw his colleague as naive, rich, and easily manipulated, merely using his “friend” for his wealth of financial and social resources.
The two went their separate ways with the coming of Rasputin. Kroenen saw in Rasputin a visionary, while Von Klempt saw a madman. Kroenen was instrumental in project Ragna Rok, and worked well with his new partner Leopold Kurtz to serve their new Master. He would occasionally return to his family castle in Norway, to complete the construction of a cryogenic stasis chamber.
After the completion of Project Ragna Rok, Kroenen, along with Leopold Kurtz and Ilsa Haupstein, escaped to a castle, and remained frozen for decades, until Rasputin’s death at the hands of Abe Sapien and Hellboy. All three awoke, and immediately began to work on plans to bring Rasputin back, and to have an army waiting for him upon arrival.
Kroenen, still harboring misplaced feelings for his old friend Herman Von Klempt, had Roderick Zinco, CEO of Zinco Davis and new initiate under Rasputin, search for and retrieve his head. Von Klempt, never one to show gratitude, berated Kroenen, disparaged Rasputin, and was attacked by Leopold Kurtz. Kroenen, remorsefully stabbed his partner Kurtz, and all incurred the wrath of Rasputin, who struck Zinco blind, and thus caused the entire castle to self destruct. All were presumed dead, but to assume….
It would be over a decade later that we saw Kroenen and Kurtz, reunited and alive, sitting in a conference room with the new CEO of Zinco, Isaiah Marsten. They had joined Marsten in the belief that he was to assist them in bringing back the Master. He and Kurtz were fooled, as the deceptive CEO’s actual plan was to resurrect Alexander Pope, mistakenly bringing back the Black Flame.
Kroenen fought alongside Zinco mercenaries in defense of Isaiah Marsten and the Black Flame. The B.P.R.D. succeeded in their assault though, as Iosif Nichayko breached the Zinco headquarters and killed Marsten, while Liz fought back the Black Flame. Feeling melancholic after his failures, Kroenen wandered off with the head of Herman von Klempt, eventually running into Varvara.
Much to Kroenen’s joy, Varvara restored von Klempt’s head to life, although as usual, it was not appreciated by the floating head. Kroenen chose then to follow Varvara, and support her cause, while continuing to suffer the verbal abuse of the friend he so admired. As the demon continued to gain followers, she kept Kroenen and von Klempt at her left hand. After Varvara revealed her true demonic nature, and their allies, Kroenen began to doubt his choices, and, as was his nature, von Klempt readily betrayed Kroenen, to a fiery, unceremonious death at the demon’s hand.
See Professor Doctor Karl Ruprect Kroenen in Action:
Wake The Devil
Hell on Earth: Return of the Master
Hell on Earth: Reign of the Black Flame
Hell on Earth: Kill the Black Flame
The Devil You Know: Issues 1-8
Rasputin: Voice of the Dragon
Hellboy (2004) - in name and mask only