Viper (Madame Hydra)

Viper (Madame Hydra)


caption= Viper Aka Madame Hydra
character_name=Madame Hydra
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="Captain America" Vol.1 #110 (February, 1969) [cite book|title=The Marvel Encyclopedia|publisher=Dorling Kindersley Publishing|pages=174|isbn=0756623588|date=2006]
creators= Jim Steranko
alliances=The Hand Hellfire Club Madripoor HYDRA Secret Empire
aliases=Viper, Merriem Drew, Warrior White Princess
* Skilled martial artist, swordswoman and markswoman
* Teleportation
* Excellent strategist and tactician
* Enhanced life span|

Madame Hydra, also known as Viper, is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe who is a foe of the Avengers and the X-Men. The character was created by Jim Steranko and first appeared in "Captain America" #110 (February 1969).

Fictional character biography

It is known that Madame Hydra was orphaned as a child in Eastern Europe (Hungary) and that part of her face was scarred at one time, but this is obviously no longer the case. She rose through the ranks of HYDRA and frequently came into conflict with Captain America and the organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D.

She severed ties with HYDRA ["Captain America" #170 (February, 1974)] . Madame Hydra helped Jordan Stryke, a supervillain codenamed Viper, escape custody in Virginia, only to proceed in assassinating him and usurping his codename ["Captain America" #180 (December 1974)] . The previous Viper was the founder and leader of the elite criminal underworld through sheer ruthlessness, treachery, and the cunning of her black heart.

She first appeared as a leader of HYDRA under the codename Madame Hydra and was in association with a group known as the Serpent Squad. Later, in one of her many terrorist acts, she would try to gain control of the similarly themed organization called the Serpent Society, attempting to assassinate its leader Sidewinder, but she was betrayed by Cobra and arrested by Captain America.

Madame Hydra is a professional terrorist and has her own organization. She has come into conflict with many superheroes and supervillains over the years. Her nihilism and tendency to spread death around her has made it hard for other villains to associate with her. Only the Red Skull has found it a charming tendency and pursued a relationship with her for a while. The relationship ended when the Skull found out Viper was using his resources to finance massacres with no apparent financial benefit for either of them.

Madame Hydra was apparently revealed to be Merriem Drew ["Spider-Woman" #42-#44 (February - June, 1982)] . Drew was the mother of Spider-Woman and was considered deceased since 1931. The issue revealed Merriem had become allied to Chthon and was granted longevity in return. It was later revealed that Chthon had actually granted Viper false memories of mothering Jessica as part of a plan to place both women under his control ["Captain America" #281 (May, 1983)] . Whether Viper actually has extraordinary longevity was left uncertain.

Madame Hydra has also had conflict with the X-Men. She first came into contact with them upon trying to assassinate Mariko Yashida on behalf of her ally and presumed lover Silver Samurai by knocking out, binding, and gagging Mariko's friend Toni, and tried to poison the team while disguised as her. She once nearly killed X-Men member Rogue and Storm on two separate occasions (with Storm being nearly killed by Viper during the invasion of Khan ["X-Treme X-Men"] . She also faced the New Mutants and was considered responsible for the demise of Karma for a while (Karma was only wounded and was abducted by the Shadow King for his own reasons).

The Bride of Wolverine

Later she black-mailed Wolverine into marrying her as a means to secure her criminal empire in Madripoor. Although this was a marriage of convenience, she did request to consummate the arrangement. Some time later, her body was briefly inhabited by the spirit of Ogun, and Wolverine mortally wounded her as a means of driving the spirit from her dying body. In return for seeking medical attention to save her life, Wolverine demanded a divorce.

Hellfire Club

She is a member of the latest incarnation of the Hellfire Club, and has also associated with the Hand and resumed her ties with the Silver Samurai. She has also retaken the name "Madame Hydra".


For a time, Viper was the dictator of the nation of Madripoor, using the nation's resources to support global terrorism via HYDRA. She was recently overthrown by new S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Tony Stark and Tyger Tiger, the latter of whom is now ruler of Madripoor.

Powers and abilities

Viper has no superhuman abilities but her strength, speed, reflexes, agility, dexterity, coordination, balance, and endurance are of the order of an Olympic athlete. She is a great swordswoman and even greater markswoman with most long range weapons. Viper occasionally employs poisoned weapons with snake-motifs, such as venomous darts or artificial fangs filled with poison. She utilizes experimental weaponry, including a ring that enables teleportation, and most recently in X-Treme X-Men, she made use of razor-sharp claw attachments apparently built into her gloves. A brilliant strategist and tactician, Viper is highly skilled in the management of criminal organizations and very well connected in the international criminal underworld. She is also a master of stealth and espionage. Perhaps her greatest strengths are her influence, the financial resources at her disposal due to her stature in organized crime, and an uncanny luck which has allowed her to cheat death in situations where lesser people would have died. Viper may or may not have supernaturally augmented longevity.

Madame Hydra VI


character_name=Madame Hydra
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D." #3 (Aug 1988)
creators=Bob Harras and Paul Neary

Publication history

The second Madame Hydra was created by Bob Harras and Paul Neary, and debuted in "Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D." #3 (Aug 1988).

Madame Hydra VI received an entry in the "Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update '89" #4.

Fictional character biography

This operative of HYDRA impressed her superiors enough that, after only a short time in the organization, they promoted her to the level of Madame Hydra VI. (The identities of Madames Hydra I through V, who rank above her, are unknown). One of her first missions as Madame Hydra was to capture Nick Fury and deliver him to the Deltites, a group of artificially created duplicates which were taking over S.H.I.E.L.D. After failing in her mission and discovering that the Deltites were manipulating her, she allied with the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents against the takeover. She was later turned over to federal authorities and was found to be criminally insane, and sent to Arnold Sanitarium for psychiatric treatment. The same sanitarium that Bigfoot was later imprisoned in.

Other versions

The Age of Apocalypse

In this dark reality, Viper was married to the Silver Samurai, she along with her husband fought their way from the Island of Japan through hordes of Apocalypse's Infinites. Tragically, Viper was killed saving Samurai's life. Her death made the Silver Samurai accept later the offer of Magneto to join the X-Men.


One of the alternate dimensions that is visited in "Exiles" #91-95 has been overtaken by a version of Madame Hydra. This world (Earth 1720) was dominated by Madame Hydra (actually Susan Storms-Richards), her lover Wolverine, and their top assassin Slaymaster. However, before the Exiles can exact retribution, Madame Hydra and her lackeys escape into the omniverse to seek out other worlds to conquer.

In other media


* Sandra Hess portrayed Viper in the 1998 TV-movie "". It was stated in the film that her real name is "Andrea Von Strucker" - however, this is likely not the case in mainstream Marvel continuity (as that name already belongs to the legitimate daughter of Baron Von Strucker, the female half of Fenris).


*Viper has appeared in an episode of as Madame Hydra, leader of the HYDRA organization. It is unlikely that she survived her base's destruction at the hands of X-23, but her comics counterpart has been known to cheat death on occasion.


External links

* [ Viper's Profile at The Women of Marvel Comics]
* [ Viper's Profile at The Appendix to the Marvel Handbook]
* [ Madame Hydra VI profile]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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