- We were orphans. Little girls, all alone. Hydra gave us a home. Eight great houses. Twelve girls to a house. And in the end, the most determined... the most abmitious... the most aggressive... That girl would be the Viper. All it cost was everything. I have been married to a man I hated. I could not marry the man I loved. I betrayed him. And I was betrayed in turn. Then I was murdered. Death, welcome and well - deserved. But Hydra, it seems, will never be done with me... To live, and die and live again.
Born in the 1920s, the woman who would become Viper was orphaned as a child. Allying herself with the Elder God Chthon, who greatly slowed her aging, she became a mercenary and then a pupil of the adventurer Seraph on the island nation of Madripoor. Later, Viper and Seraph rescued another pupil, the mutant adventurer Wolverine, from his arch-nemesis, the feral mutant Sabretooth. Seraph died, but not before making Wolverine swear an oath of loyalty to Viper.
Viper was eventually recruited into the terrorist organization called Hydra. Taking the name Madame Hydra, she took control of their New York operations and frequently clashed with the super-soldier Captain America. She later reorganized the then-defunct Serpent Squad group and killed the original costumed criminal Viper, taking his alias. Acquiring the ancient and powerful Serpent Crown artifact, she sought world domination but was again opposed by Captain America. Viper next organized her own terrorist cell and employed the mutant warrior the Silver Samurai as her bodyguard.
Viper battled Spider-Woman when Drew stumbled onto one of Viper's plots during her career as a private investigator in San Francisco. Viper, under the influence of Chthon, believed herself to be Meriem Drew, Spider-Woman's mother. Chthon sought to use the Viper as a weapon against Spider-Woman and briefly replaced the Viper's right eye with a black orb capable of projecting others into a magical dimension. Hoping to unravel the mysteries of her origin, Spider-Woman tracked Viper down to confront her and was tossed into this dimension and forced to confront Chthon. The elder god wanted to use Spider-Woman to emerge on Earth, but Viper ultimately defied Chthon, with the help of the force of will of Spider-Woman, who resisted Chthon long enough for Viper to ultimately free herself from his thrall.
Soon after, Viper and the Silver Samurai clashed with the New Mutants when they attempted to coerce the motorcycle stunt riding Team America into stealing the Cavorite crystal. Later still, Viper, alongside numerous other snake-inspired costumed villains, infiltrated the criminal organization known as the Serpent Society with the intent of taking it over. Viper subsequently entered into a brief alliance with the murderous Red Skull. However, this alliance was short lived as the two criminals soon double-crossed each other.
Ruler of Madripoor
When the throne of Madripoor was left without an heir, Viper brainwashed many of the women closest to Wolverine in order for them to capture Wolverine and bring him to her. She reminded him of his old debt to Seraph, their mutual mentor. Following his code of giri, or honorable debt, Wolverine agreed to marry the Viper. The Viper had gambled that Wolverine's respectability in Madripoor would enable her to seize the throne. She also used him, along with Sabretooth and Shadowcat, to foil both Hydra and the Hand's attempts to control the island. Soon after, the Viper was installed as the ruling princess of Madripoor.
Following an illegal bloodsport tournament hosted on the island, in which Wolverine was a participant at the Viper's request, the demonic ninja spirit Ogun attacked. After failing to possess Wolverine, Ogun possessed Viper. In order to exorcise the spirit, Wolverine seriously wounded Viper, and Ogun's spirit was dissipated. In return for ensuring she received medical treatment, Wolverine made the Viper agree to divorce him. During this time, the Viper must have had plastic surgery to repair her facial scarring, as she no longer bore scars on the right side of her face.
Her reign was subsequently challenged by the alien warlord Khan. Viper helped organize a resistance force against an attempted alien invasion of Earth which had made its beachhead in Madripoor. Viper ran afoul of the X-Men, and betrayed their leader, Storm, who was subsequently captured by the aliens. Ultimately, the invasion was repelled by the X-Men and the Avengers. Viper returned to ruling Madripoor.
When Tony Stark was head of S.H.I.E.L.D., he wanted Viper dethroned, but S.H.I.E.L.D. couldn't attack a sovereign state, so Tony had to go there himself. After seeing Viper in her palace, where both tried to outsmart each other, Viper ordered Roughhouse and Bloodscream to kill Iron Man, but they failed. Tony Stark then turned the public against Viper and helped Tyger Tiger to become the next ruler.
Viper has since taken a more subtle hand at fighting her enemies and appears to be working with Hydra once more. She tried to place Spider-Woman as a double-agent within S.H.I.E.L.D., using Hydra resources to restore the powers that she lost some time ago. Spider-Woman agreed to the exchange, but grew uncomfortable with the arrangement. When Drew was later offered membership in the New Avengers, Viper urged her to accept the offer and continue being a double-agent for them as well. The situation came to a head when the Avengers captured Viper when she was attempting to restore the Silver Samurai in a position of power to take over the Japanese underworld. Viper forced Spider-Woman to help her escape from a plane high above the Pacific. The escape endangered Captain America, who was tossed from the plane, and Spider-Woman helped save him, although Viper seemed to have vanished. When pressed, Captain America got Spider-Woman to admit to being a double-agent, but he asked her to continue to play the role so as to have intelligence on both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra.
She was briefly a member of one incarnation of the Hellfire Club, and has also associated with the Hand and resumed her ties with the Silver Samurai, though she would later betray him for the Hydra cause.
Hydra vs SHEILD vs Leviathan
When Hydra decided to go in a new, more aggressive direction towards world domination, she met and planned with the other five heads of Hydra: Strucker, Kraken, the Hive, Gorgon, and the new Madame Hydra (Ophelia was now going only by Viper.) However, after several confrontations with the Howling Commandos PMC, she and Gorgon were attacked by rival organization Leviathan and she was taken captive. It was then revealed that the traitor within Hydra was Valentina, the new Madame Hydra, who then shot and killed Viper. However mere hours after her death, the remaining Hydra leaders discovered her body and to the disgust of all, The Hive merged with & reanimated her but with a bulbous Octopus-like growth emanating from her head and four long, sweeping tentacles.
Alive once more, and re-claiming The Madame Hydra title, she re-doubled her efforts against Fury and Leviathan before ultimately siding with Gorgon and a contingent of troops against Strucker - having decided his methods were counter-productive, they withdrew leaving the old men to finish one another.
Later Norman Osborn orchestrated a breakout from prison and gathered a new roster of Dark Avengers including Gorgon. Like the first team, this new squad targeted the Avengers to tarnish their reputation. Meanwhile a disgruntled former S.H.I.E.L.D scientist approached Osborn with swabs and DNA samples of many super-heroes gathered over the years. These samples allowed Osborn to attain new super powers but also remedied Madame Hydra's unsettling appearance - removing the tentacles altogether. Herself again, she aided Osborn in a mission to bring down Captain America, however her true goal became apparent when Osborn failed and she took charge of his soldiers, folding them into a newer, fuller Hydra with herself as the sole head.
Mystique approached Madame Hydra with the intent of buying Madripoor island from Hydra. Viper told Mystique that she didn't own it, but hinted that she does have some control over it. But the transaction never took place because the X-men intervened. To the meeting Viper wore a new protective armor and in the company of the new Silver Samurai.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- Slowed Aging: Viper’s aging process was greatly slowed by her pact with the Elder God Chthon. It is unclear if she has retained this gift since defying him.
- Toxins Immunity: Madame Hydra has rendered herself immune to most toxins via controlled exposure.
|Power Grid |
Viper is a brilliant and cunning criminal strategist who has been rigorously trained in various martial arts. She is also a skilled markswoman and expert in the use of a bullwhip. 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 is also extremely knowledgeable in the properties and uses of toxins, poisons, and snake venoms, frequently creating her own poisons that she spreads through her hollow fangs or poisoned lipstick.
Normal human female with intensive regular exercise.
Teleportation Ring - Viper employs a teleportation ring that activates when twisted.Protective Battle Armor - Green Kevlar/metallic armor that give her protection in dangerous mission.
TransportationVarious HYDRA vehicles.
The Viper carries a set of throwing darts tipped with a lethal poison based on the chemistry of snake venom. She also uses mundane weapons such as whips and guns alongside high-tech weaponry provided by HYDRA.
Madame Hydra's age is of constant speculation; whilst her encounters have increased her vitality and slowed the aging process there are some consistencies in her history with some sources stating she is only in her late twenties - an impossibility when the details of her many deeds are listed chronologically.
After her resurrection via The Hive entity, Madame Hydra sported a grotesque, sentient, octopus-like growth atop her head, giving her prehensile tentacles and glowing eyes. It is strongly suggested that this growth is The Hive itself and that its collective-parasites merged with her body to reanimate her. However it is not revealed if this infers a symbiotic bond between the two or if she is in entirely The Hive but in a new vessel - with the woman she was completely eradicated. Regardless, alive once more she still retained all the memories of her life. Later when Norman Osborn appoints her as a H.A.M.M.E.R leader, he facilitates her to undergo a procedure to restore her former human appearance. The details of this are yet to be revealed and the question of whether she is a single being or a facet of The Hive still stands.
Madame Hydra still maintains a tenuous link with Spider Woman, much to the latter's chagrin. On numerous occasions she has welcomed, fought, contacted and even rescued the Avenger all on the insistence of recruiting her back into Hydra. Her motives, whilst always seeming genuine, can never be fully trusted as her identity has shifted so many times to suit her situations.
- 175 Appearances of Ophelia Sarkissian (Earth-616)
- 34 Images featuring Ophelia Sarkissian (Earth-616)
- 11 Quotations by or about Ophelia Sarkissian (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Ophelia Sarkissian (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Ophelia Sarkissian (Earth-616)
- Viper (Madame Hydra) at marveldirectory.com
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- ↑ Spider-Woman #44
- ↑ New Mutants #5
- ↑ New Mutants #6
- ↑ Wolverine Vol 2 #125
- ↑ Wolverine Vol 2 #167
- ↑ Wolverine Vol 2 #168
- ↑ Wolverine Vol 2 #169
- ↑ X-Treme X-Men #12
- ↑ Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Annual #1
- ↑ New Avengers #13
- ↑ Secret Warriors #1-26
- ↑ All-New X-Men #13
- ↑ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 12
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