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Quote1.png Hydra was founded on the belief that humanity could not be trusted with its own freedom. What we did not realize is that if you try to take that freedom, they resist. The war taught us much. Humanity needed to surrender its freedom willingly. After the war, S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded and I was recruited. The new Hydra grew, a beautiful parasite, inside S.H.I.E.L.D. Quote2.png
Arnim Zola[src]


Hydra was an authoritarian, criminal, terrorist, and militant religious cult, that focused on Hive paganism and most importantly, bringing back their God, so he may reward them and create his New World Order.

Ancient Origin

Hydra (Earth-199999) 001 from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 2.jpg

Millennia ago when the Kree created the Inhuman race, one Inhuman emerged so powerful and fearsome that the other Inhumans banished it through a portal to another planet. A cult formed in reverence towards that Inhuman, deeming it destined to rule the Earth, and managed to claim the Monolith used to banish it to a planet called Maveth. They used the symbol of a ram's skull as their insignia, which changed over time into a skull with tentacles.[1] Repeated attempts were made throughout the course of history to send people to the other side to either serve or rescue the entity, but no one who went in ever came out. Members of the society in England had built an underground machine in a 19th century castle that could resonate the necessary frequency to keep the Monolith open, but the technology proved unstable and broke down after a few minutes of continual use.[2] At some point, the cult carved five pieces from the Monolith.[1]

World War II

HYDRA's legions

In the rise of Nazi Schutzstaffel, the brutal Johann Schmidt re-branded the cult Hydra and incorporated itself into the Nazi government as a division for both deep science and the investigation of the occult. While Adolf Hitler had always maintained an interest in both fields, Schmidt was obsessed with them, leading to his taking of the Super Soldier serum which transformed him into the Red Skull. No longer a champion of the Aryan image, Hitler had Schmidt quietly transferred elsewhere, under the illusion that he could continue his work in private and with better funding, but the façade did not convince Schmidt.

When the Tesseract cube was located by Hydra forces in the early years of World War II, Schmidt personally saw to it that the artifact would be used to it's full potential by Dr. Arnim Zola. Zola's outlandish designs of robotic power armor, massive vehicles and energy weapons and armor could find a functional use thanks to the cube's power, and with the most advanced technology in the World, Hydra could begin to plan their conquest — a conquest that Nazi guards would soon find out, counted Berlin amongst it's targets.

Hydra's goals would be challenged by America's own super-soldier, Steven Rogers, better known as Captain America. Aided by his best friend, Bucky and the Howling Commandos, Rogers was able to begin a massive assault on Hydra forces across the Axis lines, destroying numerous bases and capturing Arnim Zola. Eventually, Captain America came face to face with Red Skull on a Tesseract-powered bomber, heading to America. When it became clear that Rogers was gaining the upper hand in the fight, the Red Skull attempted to use the power of the Tesseract with his bare hands. This only resulted in a beam of light which caused the Red Skull to disappear without a trace, and forcing Rogers to put the bomber down in the freezing waters below, freezing himself solid and causing the Tessseract to be lost to the seas for 70 years.[3]

Infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D.

When Hydra scientists were recruited by America as part of their efforts to use their weapons genius, they were able to subtly subvert S.H.I.E.L.D. from the inside as it grew, manipulating gathered intelligence and recruiting various key S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives to be loyal to Hydra's ideology. While S.H.I.E.L.D. would publicly serve as a peacekeeping force, its Hydra cells also carried their secondary goal of creating a world that would eventually become so chaotic that the populace would willingly sacrifice their freedom for security that S.H.I.E.L.D. offered, thereby handing control over to Hydra.[4]

Cold War

Hydra became a great secret power conducting clandestine operations during the Cold War from the 1960s until the 1980s, engineering events in the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and many more.

With the help of S.H.I.E.L.D. resources, Arnim Zola created a computer system in which his mind was uploaded into as an artificially intelligent user interface. Zola's physical body died in 1972, his mind continued to exist digitally.[4]

During the early 1980s, Hydra infiltrated the Soviet power infrastructures, establishing a secret laboratory in East Berlin. The laboratory was infiltrated by Hank Pym, who used his size-changing suit to destroy it. He also destroyed the memory suppressing machine, freeing all the prisoners and defeating all the Hydra guards.[5]

In 1989, Alexander Pierce gave Werner Reinhardt a secret pardon and a medical parole, and the new identity of "Daniel Whitehall", and made sure that there would be no more records after this.[6]

In 1991, Vasily Karpov, a Hydra mole in the Soviet Armed Forces, woke up Winter Soldier from his suspended animation, and sent him to retrieve the recreated Super Soldier Serum from Howard Stark. Barnes killed Howard and his wife, Maria Stark, in a car accident on Long Island, and then returned to Karpov, successfully retrieving the serum. The scientists of Hydra, with the serum retrieved, used the serum to continue the Winter Soldier Program.[7]

Project Distant Star Pathfinder

In 2001, a Hydra faction under Gideon Malick masterminded Project Distant Star Pathfinder, sending a group of NASA astronauts through the Monolith to Maveth as a sacrifice to the exiled Inhuman.[1]

Project Insight

Using an algorithm created by Zola, Hydra could determine which people represented a threat to their new world order. It was planned to use S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Project Insight to use the network of three heavily-armed helicarriers to eliminate all the 20 million people determined as threats to Hydra by the algorithm.

However, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury discovered Hydra's influence over S.H.I.E.L.D., and with the help of Captain America, Black Widow, Falcon and Maria Hill, managed to scuttle their plans and destroy the helicarriers before any innocent life was lost. Fury faked his death and went undercover to eliminate Hydra cells in Europe.[4]

Fall of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Fury's actions forced Hydra operatives to launch a prearranged surprise coup. To this end, signals were broadcast on all S.H.I.E.L.D. channels with a message to step "out of the shadows" and "into the light." Take over actions were launched at all major S.H.I.E.L.D. installations resulting in a scramble to assert control on both sides. While the Triskelion was wrecked in the battle over Washington, D.C., the Hub fell briefly into the hands of Hydra before being claimed by loyal S.H.I.E.L.D operatives, and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s East African base and the Treehouse fell into the hands of Hydra.[8] Afterwards, Hydra agents were ousted from the Cube.[9]

Two Hydra cells were known to remain active after the coup; one led by John Garrett, seeking to revive the organization's Project Centipede, the other led by Wolfgang von Strucker, whose cell had created two enhanced twins, a boy possessing super speed and a girl with telekinesis from experiments performed on Loki's Sceptre.[4] Strucker's cell settled in Sokovia, a Eastern European country in turmoil, and took advantage of the situation to cover their operations.[10] Garrett's cell was defeated by Director Coulson's team before they could implant Centipede soldiers in U.S. military ranks. In the aftermath of Garrett's defeat, S.H.I.E.L.D. was reformed to fight Hydra.[11]

War against S.H.I.E.L.D.

After the defeat of Garrett, a new cell led by Daniel Whitehall began a campaign to recover a mysterious alien artifact.[12] Though the Diviner was stolen by a third party, Whitehall was able to acquire a petrified victim who came into contact with the Diviner and attempted to reverse-engineer it into a weapon, which he tested out on a wedding reception, the targets being the U.S. Navy's anti-Hydra taskforce, but the test was deemed a failure as most of the attendees survived.[13]

After the escape of two S.H.I.E.L.D. moles within Hydra, Whitehall made his move to remove S.H.I.E.L.D. completely. He sent mercenaries led by Marcus Scarlotti to attack the United Nations building during General Talbot's anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. speech, wearing S.H.I.E.L.D. fatigues and killing people with Splinter bombs. This had the effect of motivating Senator Ward to propose a multi-national police force to hunt down S.H.I.E.L.D. Belgium foreign minister, Julien Beckers, secretly a Hydra agent, publicly voiced opposition against the senator to trick S.H.I.E.L.D. into thinking that they'd be safe in his borders so they could be lured out and killed. Though Scarlotti's team was able to kill six S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, they, along with Beckers, were apprehended by S.H.I.E.L.D. and turned over to Talbot. Subsequently, Senator Ward, having made a deal with Coulson, publicly defended S.H.I.E.L.D. and condemned Hydra.[14]

Luckily for Whitehall, the Diviner was brought to him by Calvin Zabo, who revealed the Diviner's true purpose as a key to a hidden alien city. While Grant Ward rejoined Hydra, Hydra was also attempting to locate Raina to unlock the artifact's true power. Though Raina was rescued by S.H.I.E.L.D., Ward was able to track her down through the tracker in her leg, leading to four Hydra quinjets surrounding the Bus, threatening to shoot them down if they did not hand over Raina. Ward not only took Raina, but also Skye and a tablet containing the location of the alien city.[6][15] Whitehall then went to Puerto Rico, which stood atop the alien city, and began drilling right above the main temple where the Diviner was to be brought. In the resulting confrontation with S.H.I.E.L.D., Whitehall was killed by Coulson.[16]

At the biannual meeting attended by Hydra leaders, Doctor List enacted a competition to see S.H.I.E.L.D. destroyed, the winner gaining the dominant claim Whitehall's former position. Some time afterwards, Sunil Bakshi, Whitehall's right-hand man, escaped S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and made his way to Octavian Bloom's estate. Convinced that other leaders of Hydra wanted to eliminate them, he and Bloom contacted Doctor List, who assured them that he and Baron von Strucker were not involved in any attacks on them. Afraid that they could be the next target, Bakshi convinced Bloom to simply kill the other three leaders. This was a ruse concocted by S.H.I.E.L.D. to eliminate Hydra's leadership, as they invaded Bloom's estate and killed him while handing Bakshi over to Talbot.[17]

List later began following up on Whitehall's research and became interested in superhumans, seeking to track them down and experiment on them. He began tracking incidents of quantum energy bursts, suspecting a superhuman teleporter was at work. At the same time, he was joined by Bakshi, who had been freed and brainwashed by Grant Ward to help Coulson infiltrate Hydra, and sent to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to capture the teleporter. Though Bakshi did not succeed in his objective, he was able to capture Deathlok and an Inhuman, Lincoln Campbell, for List's experimentation.[18]

List moved his operation to Hydra's Arctic base to further his experiments, but this was attacked by S.H.I.E.L.D. attempting to recover the prisoners and destroy the facility. In the ensuing battle, all Hydra agents in the base were killed, but Dr. List escaped and eventually rejoined Baron von Strucker in Sokovia.[19]

Unfortunately for Hydra, Coulson had discovered the location of the sceptre from the Arctic base and passed the information to Maria Hill, who in turn informed the Avengers. They staged an assault on the base that saw the sceptre recaptured and Strucker handed over to NATO. Strucker was later killed in his cell by Ultron.[10]

With the heavy losses among its leadership, Hydra disintegrated, though a small remnant of Hydra fell under the control of Grant Ward, who intended to use the manpower directly against Coulson and his team.[20]

Another faction of Hydra, led by Mitchell Carson, attempted to purchase the Yellowjacket suit and Pym Particles from Darren Cross, but to the interference of Ant-Man, Carson only escaped with a vial of the reverse-engineered Pym Particles.[21]

Inhuman Outbreak

During the Inhuman Outbreak crisis, Ward began building up his Hydra faction in secret, desiring to organize it in a way similar to S.H.I.E.L.D. He recruited Werner von Strucker to his cause and assigned him to spy on Dr. Andrew Garner, Melinda May's ex-husband.[2] When Lance Hunter was discovered to have infiltrated Hydra in an attempt to assassinate Ward, alongside May, Ward signaled Werner to assassinate Garner and demanded the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents back off. Hunter refused and only shot Ward in the shoulder as the Hydra leader managed to get away.[22] Unbeknownst to everyone, Garner was secretly an Inhuman called Lash, who killed Werner's cohorts and forcing the young man to flee. Knowing that Ward would kill him regardless of the complications with his mission, Werner fled to seek refuge with another Hydra faction leader, Gideon Malick. However, Malick later sold him out to Ward in exchange for a future favour. Ward sent this subordinates to kill Werner, but due to the intervention of S.H.I.E.L.D., they only rendered him comatose.[23]

Project Distant Star Return

Malick's faction was secretly responsible for designing the Advanced Threat Containment Unit, an organization created to capture and study Inhumans. While the ATCU were under the impression that they were going to cure Inhumans, Malick was spiriting them away to create an army for the exiled Inhuman of Hydra's legend. Among his captives was Andrew Garner, who could turn into a monstrous Inhuman named Lash. [1]

However, he designated Ward a threat and attempted to have him killed when he tried to find a specific von Strucker vault said to contain great power. When Ward found his way to the vault, Malick acknowledged him as a new head of Hydra and revealed Hydra's history to him. Ward and Malick agreed to work together to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. while figuring how they brought someone back through the Monolith.[1]

Ward later assassinated Rosalind Price, the ATCU's leader, before she could confront Malick on his plans for the Inhumans. As this set Coulson on a path of revenge to hunt down and kill Ward, Hydra abducted Agents Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons and brought them to the castle in Gloucestershire to interrogate them on how to operate the Monolith, having brought five pieces that would recreate the portal. After getting the information, Ward was convinced by Malick to lead an expedition to Maveth, with Fitz as their guide.[24]

While awaiting the portal's reopening, Hydra suffered some setbacks. Simmons had managed to escape and freed Lash, who killed the dozen Inhumans Malick had brought to the castle. S.H.I.E.L.D. subsequently captured the portal chamber.

Meanwhile, on Maveth, Ward's team unknowingly encounters their ancient leader, who had secretly possessed the deceased astronaut Will Daniels. While conjuring a sandstorm, the entity killed two members of Ward's team to make off with Fitz to reach the portal. Coulson then arrives and eliminates the remainder of Ward's team, who then took Ward hostage to find Fitz. Upon reaching the portal, the entity revealed its true nature to Fitz and attempted to make for the portal, only for Fitz to burn its host with a flare. Coulson subsequently killed Ward before returning to Earth with Fitz. However, the entity managed to possess Ward's body and made it through the portal before S.H.I.E.L.D. destroyed it, and later made contact with Malick.[25]



Various conventional and Tesseract-powered equipment


  • During the World War II, Hydra was being supplied by the Nazi-Germany with weapons and equipment
  • During the 21st century, Hydra infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and uses all of its weapons, ranging from pistols to machine guns.


Various conventional and Tesseract-powered vehicles

See Also

Links and References


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