- "Now I need your complete focus. Do I have that?"
- ―Johann Fennhoff
Doctor Johann Fennhoff is a psychiatrist and former leader of the Soviet espionage agency Leviathan. Originally a medical officer in the Soviet Armed Forces, during World War II Fennhoff realized he could use his techniques to the point of fully hypnotizing other people. In 1944, he was one of the few survivors of the incident that became known as the Battle of Finow, and was recruited as a scientist to work for Leviathan. Calling himself Ivchenko, re-arranging the name of Private Ovechkin, the first man he helped save with his methods, in 1946 he orchestrated the campaign against the American inventor Howard Stark whom he blamed for the death of his brother at Finow. Fennhoff was eventually captured by the Strategic Scientific Reserve and put in the same prison cell as HYDRA scientist Arnim Zola.
Healing the Wounded
In 1943 during the breakout of World War II, Fennhoff was stationed in an army camp for the Soviet Armed Forces. While at the camp, he spent much of his time caring for soldiers and reading to keep himself busy. As he was reading a book called "The Tragic Life of Doctor Faustus", Fennhoff was interrupted by a surgeon, who wanted his assistance during an amputation of the leg of a soldier, called Ovechkin whose gunshot wound to his leg had become infected and would soon kill him if it was not removed as quickly as possible by the surgeons.
However to Fennhoff's horror, he was informed that the doctors did not have anything to knock him out and were therefore requiring Fennhoff to use his power of controlling minds to ease his suffering and keep him alive. Although Fennhoff was hesitant at first as he was unsure if his power was strong enough to do this, he eventually agreed to help nonetheless. Fennhoff used his hypnosis-technique on the soldier, who focused on the memory of a game of chess he had with his mother before he had enlisted in the army where they had sat out in the park together on a beautiful day.
Whenever Ovechkin would become distracted by pain, Fennhoff told him not to concern himself with all of the noise the surgeons were currently making and instead had him continue to describe his love for his mother and the scenery that was around him on that day, with Fennhoff rubbing his ring to keep him focused. As Ovechkin was completely focused on the memory and described in great detail his final day within Russia, the surgeons were able to amputate his leg without Ovechkin feeling any pain, with Fennhoff ensuring that his mind was completely distracted throughout the surgery.
- "I was only spared because I had a gas mask to protect myself. My comrades were not so lucky. My brother wasn't so lucky. When I found him, he had no eyes. Pieces of his flesh had been bitten off."
- ―Ivchenko to Howard Stark
Fennhoff and his brother were among the soldiers deployed to fight in Finow, Germany. Choosing to wear a gas mask, he was not affected when General John McGinnis deployed the invention called Midnight Oil. Fennhoff's brother was killed in the massacre that resulted, Fennhoff discovered his own brother's corpse without eyes and pieces of his flesh ripped off, showing he had suffered a horrifically painful death.
Captured by Leviathan
Ivchenko was one of four men captured by Leviathan in 1944 and questioned by Fyodor while Dottie Underwood kept watch over them. These four were told that they had the option not to join the Soviet organization which should be considered to be a great honor. When one of the four said that he wanted to return to his family, he was stabbed in the jugular vein by Underwood; the remaining three were told that his family would also be killed and they all will be together soon. Ivchenko chose to remain alive and stayed with Leviathan, eventually becoming their leader.
Tricking the SSR
Saved by Peggy Carter
Ivchenko was in a prison cell near the Red Room Academy when he was discovered by Peggy Carter and the Howling Commandos, who had found him in 1946. Ivchenko then explained to them that he was imprisoned in order to keep the genius scientist Nikola focused and disciplined, explaining that Nikola saw the world differently than most and Ivchenko kept him relaxed so that he could create the Photonic Amplifier from blueprints made by Howard Stark, which Stark had not provided.
Carter and the Commandos freed Ivchenko and Nikola from their prison cell and they attempting to escape from the incoming soldiers, who had discovered their presence. However, in the ensuing firefight to escape the Red Room Academy, the deranged and terrified Nikola took the wounded Happy Sam Sawyer hostage to trade for his own freedom, threatening to execute him. Despite Ivchenko's best effort's to calm his mind, Nikola would no longer listen to to his therapist; so Ivchenko was left with no choice and shot Nikola in the back, killing him as Ivchenko cried out that he was sorry to kill his friend.
Eventually Dum Dum Dugan and his team arrived by blasting a hole through a wall and firing upon the Russian soldiers, cheering at with delight as they arrived. Pinky Pinkerton took Ivchenko and the others out to their get-away Jeep while the Russian soldiers still continued to fire upon Carter and Dugan, with Eva killing Mike Li during all the ensuing chaos. Carter and Dugan soon managed to catch up to the jeep and they escaped from the continued gunfire, with Ivchenko jokingly commenting that Carter was highly skilled for a woman, to which Carter claimed to hate all of the men looking at her.
Before Carter and the other surviving SSR agents boarded the plane back to the United States of America, Dugan said his goodbyes to his friend. Dugan then offered Ivchenko a drink from his vodka, to which he had happily accepted and asked to keep the bottle, despite it not being his favourite vodka, which Dugan relented to despite being disappointed to lose the drink. Ivchenko chose to go into New York City with Carter since he said he now had nowhere else to go and he wanted to help to stop the schemes of Leviathan. Ivchenko happily agreed to assist the SSR's investigation and went to the New York Bell Company Office to then speak with Roger Dooley.
Questioned by Dooley
Ivchenko told Chief Roger Dooley how he was captured by Leviathan. Jack Thompson watched as Peggy Carter tried to get as much information as Ivchenko knew about the Red Room Academy, as she believed that a woman was responsible for the murders of several SSR agents. Ivchenko claimed he was only a psychologist, so he knew very little about the work Leviathan was involved, claiming ignorance.
While he and Dooley were alone, Ivchenko expressed interest in New York City with Dooley promiseing to one day take Ivchenko for a tour across the city if he helped with the investigation. Ivchenko instead opened the window himself and looked out, Ivchenko was receiving a coded message from Dottie Underwood in the window across the street; she had a high powered rifle to kill the chief. Ivchenko then used his fingers to tap and scratch the windowsill of the office as Underwood watched; he told her that he needed more time in his mission, but Peggy Carter was her new target.
- "That supposed to help?"
"Yes. Just focus... on her simile... on her laugh... everything that you love about her... focus..."
- ―Roger Dooley and Ivchenko
Ivchenko made observations that Roger Dooley was clearly having issues with his home life and family relationships, noting the toothbrush and pillow the chief kept in his office. Dooley became captivated by what Ivchenko was saying; all along, Ivchenko was twisting the ring he wore as he talked to Dooley in a hypnotic tone. Before Ivchenko put Dooley under his control, Daniel Sousa interrupted the conversation to speak to his leader about an urgent matter.
Ivchenko was told that he would be watched by Agent Yauch as Dooley dealt with the flight of Peggy Carter. Ivchenko quickly deduced that Yauch was a weak man who desired to more more respect. He talked to Yauch in a hypnotic tone as he rubbed his ring; Yauch began telling all he knew about the Howard Stark investigation and inventions and detailing possible escape route from the building to Ivchenko. Ivchenko then instructed Yauch to leave and get a final drinking before committing suicide.
Obtaining Midnight Oil
- "You want what you deserve, don't you?"
"Then you must focus. Because our work here is not yet done."
- ―Johann Fennhoff and Roger Dooley
Ivchenko used his power on Chief Roger Dooley and stood with him to watch as Peggy Carter was being interrogated. Jack Thompson entered to tell Dooley about the death of Agent Yauch; Ivchenko said that Yauch was a good man. Thompson questioned Dooley as to why Ivchenko was with him during an interrogation, but Ivchenko chose to return to Dooley's office.
As Ivchenko continued to communicate with Dottie Underwood across the street; advising her that he would be evacuating the building soon, he was spotting by Agent Carter who informed Dooley, Thompson, and Daniel Sousa of Ivchenko's betrayal. Dooley sent the agents across the street to investigate while he spoke to Ivchenko alone. As he closed the window, Ivchenko saw a team of agents crossing the street to arrest Underwood. This prompted him to put Dooley under his control.
Ivchenko had Dooley lock Carter and Edwin Jarvis in the interrogation room before using him to order to obtain Midnight Oil from the laboratory of Alex Doobin. Knowing from the information provided to him by Agent Yauch, Ivchenko knew only Dooley had authorisation to go into the lab and take the weapons. While he was there, Ivchenko discovered the Stark Heat Vest and decided to use it to kill Dooley soon. After a brief time searching, Dooley found the Midnight Oil and handed it over to Ivchenko.
As Ivchenko was leaving the New York Bell Company Office, he thanked Dooley for all his help before telling him to hand him the Midnight Oil and in return gave him a Self Heating Vest with orders to put it on after he left, telling him to think of being with his family. Dooley, struggling to keep control of his mind, commented that he did not wish to hand over such a deadly weapon as he knew what Ivchenko undoubtedly planned to do with it, however Ivchenko was able to use his powers to reinforce his control over the chief and left Dooley to die as he calmly took the elevator out of the building before he could be stopped.
As Ivchenko walked free out of the building, Dottie Underwood brought a car to collect him from the New York Bell Company; when Underwood expressed her concern over having their identities being discovered, he assured her that the Strategic Scientific Reserve would undoubtedly be too far busy with the inevitable death of Roger Dooley to chase them. Ivchenko told Underwood that Midnight Oil needed to be tested since it had been dormant for so long.
Ivchenko waited outside a cinema screening while Underwood hid the Midnight Oil inside the pram before calmly activating it and leaving it inside. The pair then locked the dozens of people inside the room and walked out calmly, when Underwood asked if it would work, Ivchenko claimed that he had great faith in Howard Stark's inventions. Moments later the people went mad due to the gas' effects and brutally massacred each other. The people were later discovered by an employee of the cinema.
- "Look, if you're gonna kill me, go ahead. I probably deserve it, but... leave innocent people out of it."
"I have no intention of killing you, Mr. Stark. I am going to make you suffer."
- ―Howard Stark and Johann Fennhoff
Fennhoff discussed with Dottie Underwood how the destruction of New York City would be the perfect revenge when they were stopped by Officer Pike for running a stop signal. Fennhoff told Underwood not to draw attention to them and had her sheathe her weapon. He pretended to be Underwood's veteran grandfather as she avoided a ticket. However, Pike had to be captured when he discovered the car was stolen.
Proceeding to a warehouse of Howard Stark's that Underwood had visited six months earlier, Underwood murdered one of the guards outside the warehouse while Fennhoff heard on the car radio that Stark had returned to the city and planned a public announcement of his innocence. So he and Underwood returned to New York City to capture Stark. Underwood set up a sniper rifle to shoot at Stark, aimed to miss so Stark would panic and seek assistance. Fennhoff hypnotized Pike and used him to bring Stark to him before returning to the hangar.
The plan was successful and Stark was kidnapped and brought to the warehouse. Fennhoff explained to Stark why he hated him; he was the inventor of Midnight Oil and, by extension, the killer of his brother. Stark attempted to reason with Fennhoff by explaining that though he created the gas, it was General John McGinnis who dispensed it without his permission. Fennoff asked Stark if he felt the guilt of all the deaths caused by his inventions, and Stark told him that he did. He would not be dissuaded; Fennhoff hypnotized Stark to have him fly a plane through New York's V-E Day anniversary celebration dispersing the gas.
Fennhoff continued to communicate with Howard Stark via radio as he flew to New York City. While Fennhoff and Dottie Underwood keeping Stark in his trance, Peggy Carter entered with a shotgun. Before she could arrest the pair, Underwood attacked her. Fennhoff attempted to continue communicating with Stark to ensure their mission was a success, while Carter tried to take over the radio and break Stark out of his trance. Underwood continued to fight Carter and ordered Fennhoff to escape, which he did, not witnessing Carter getting the best of Underwood and kicking her out of a window before stopping Stark by breaking Fennhoff's control.
As Fennhoff was leaving the hangar, he was able to ambush Agent Jack Thompson, who had arrived to arrest him. However, Daniel Sousa entered with his gun drawn before Fennhoff could kill Thompson. Fennhoff saw an opportunity to ensure his escape and used his power on Sousa to have him kill Thompson instead. Sousa seemingly fell victim of Fennhoff's power and raised his gun to his fellow SSR agent. Despite Thompson's desperate pleas to his friend to not listen to Fennhoff, Fennhoff continued to speak calmly to Sousa and keep him under his control.
What Fennhoff did not know was that Sousa was wearing earplugs and heard nothing. Sousa revealed his deception when he hit Fennhoff with the butt of his gun. Fennhoff was knocked unconscious and arrested by Sousa and Thompson, with a piece of cloth in his mouth to stop him from speaking. Howard Stark returned from the flight, after Carter was able to stop him and restore him to his right frame of mind. Fennhoff's plans were in ruins, however Dottie Underwood had managed to survive her fall and escaped.
Meeting Arnim Zola
- "I am familiar with your work on matters of the mind, Herr Doktor. It would give me great pleasure to hear your thoughts on this."
- ―Arnim Zola to Johann Fennhoff
Fennhoff was sentenced to jail and kept muzzled to keep him from speaking, ensuring he would not brainwash any guards and escape. He was placed in the same prison cell as HYDRA scientist Arnim Zola. He listened as Zola told him that it was good that he was in an American prison, as America was the land of opportunities. Zola asked him to write to him as a form of communication and the two began to formulate their own plans.
- "Since that day I have thought of you often, in fact you have been my singular focus."
- ―Johann Fennhoff to Howard Stark
Fennhoff drastically changed when he saw his comrades brutally murder each other during the Battle of Finow. Hiding behind a persona of good will, he was able to manipulate others and hypnotise them. He had a complete disregard for human life, especially Americans, as he did not only kill SSR agents but killed innocent civilians just to test a stolen weapon and get his revenge on Howard Stark.
Powers and Abilities
- "They say you can numb a man's mind to make him feel no pain."
- Hypnosis: Using his voice while rubbing his ring, Fennhoff can hypnotize his victims and make them do whatever he wants. He was able to make Agent Yauch commit suicide by walking into traffic. He also manipulated Roger Dooley to help him steal an item and force him to wear a Stark Heat Vest that would end up killing him, and used Howard Stark's moment of greatest shame, not being able to rescue Captain America, to manipulate him into releasing Midnight Oil on New York City during the first anniversary of V-E Day. However, Fennhoff's victims can regain their senses during their state of hypnosis, as both Dooley and Stark managed to recover from their hallucinations.
- "I'll do anything I can."
- Expert Spy: Fennhoff was able to fool agents of the SSR into letting them believe that he wanted to be their ally, but he actually planned to infiltrate the office and retrieve a particular item for Leviathan.
- "Someone performed laryngotomy procedures on these men."
- ―Peggy Carter
- Expert Physician: During World War II, Fennhoff was a physician in the Soviet Army. He perfomed urgent laryngotomy procedures on the field on Leet Brannis and Sasha Demidov, saving their lives after the larynx of each man was destroyed due to Midnight Oil during the Battle of Finow.
- Master Tactician: Fennhoff developed a plan to frame Howard Stark for the theft, sale and misuse of his most dangerous inventions, that would have finished with a massive slaughter on Times Square during V-E Day, out of revenge for what happened in Finow and the death of his own brother.
- Handgun: During the Infiltration into the Red Room Academy, Fennhoff took the gun of Mike Li, who had just been killed by Eva. When his ally, Nikola took Happy Sam Sawyer hostage and attempted to use him as a bargaining tool, Fennhoff was forced to execute his friend with a single bullet to the heart.
- Stark Heat Vest: As a distraction while escaping from the Strategic Scientific Reserve's custody, Fennhoff forced Chief Roger Dooley to wear and activate the Stark Heat Vest, knowing that it would overload and cause a massive explosion, killing Dooley and any SSR agents nearby.
- Midnight Oil: For his revenge against Howard Stark for his war crimes during the Battle of Finow, Fennhoff and Dottie Underwood stole the Midnight Oil in order to disgrace the inventor. Seeking to test the device's abilities, Fennhoff caused the Massacre at the Cinema Theater, killing forty six civilians before attempting to spread the gas over New York City. However his scheme was stopped by Peggy Carter and the SSR.
|Appearances for Johann Fennhoff|
In chronological order:
- In the comics, Johann Fennhoff was a brilliant psychiatrist and mind-manipulator, assuming the codename Doctor Faustus, and becoming a frequent enemy of Captain America. This was referenced at the beginning of the episode Snafu when he was reading Christopher Marlowe's The Tragic Life of Doctor Faustus.