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Quote1 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 ambitious... 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. Quote2
Ophelia Sarkissian as Viper[src]


The woman who would become Viper was orphaned as a child. Viper was eventually recruited into the terrorist organization called Hydra, as one of the students of the infamous Hydra recruiter, the Kraken. She overcame all other potential agents, earning herself the title of the Viper and a position in Hydra's inner circle.[16]

For a time 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.[10]

Early years[]

Taking the name Madame Hydra, she took control of their New York operations and frequently clashed with the super-soldier Captain America.[17] However, her identity was stolen by the Space Phantom, who turned her branch of Hydra into his own private army. Madame Hydra eventually returned from Limbo after the Phantom ceased using her form, but was on the outs with Hydra due to his actions.[18] She reorganized the then-defunct Serpent Squad, killing the original costumed criminal Viper, taking his alias.[19] 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.[11]

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 Morgan le Fey, believed herself to be Meriem Drew, Spider-Woman's mother. Morgan 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 seemingly 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.[5] This entire scenario was later revealed to be false when Viper broke free of the hypnotic blocks placed in her mind by le Fey. She blamed Spider-Woman for this violation of her mind, and tried to seek revenge.[3]

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.[20] 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. She poisoned the water supply in Washington D.C., changing most of the residents into snake-like humans, including the President.[21]

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.[9][22]

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.[23] 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.[24]

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.[25]

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.[26]

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 Roughouse 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.[6]

Ophelia Sarkissian (Earth-616) from New Avengers Vol 1 11 001

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.[27]

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,[4] though she would later betray him for the Hydra cause.[28]

Hydra vs S.H.I.E.L.D. 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, 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 Ophelia was taken captive.[29] It was then revealed that the traitor within Hydra was Valentina, the new Madame Hydra, who then shot and killed Viper.[15] However, mere hours after Ophelia's death, when the remaining Hydra leaders discovered her body (to the disgust of everyone present) Hive merged with and reanimated the dead woman. The process left Viper with a bulbous octopus-like growth emanating from her head and four long, sweeping tentacles.[30]

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.[31]


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.[citation needed]

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.[32]

Death of Wolverine[]

Viper was contracted by a third party to put out a hit on Wolverine. He eventually tracked her down to Madripoor in order to learn who ordered the hit. She had him fight Sabretooth, under that condition that if he won, she would give him the information. However the fight was interrupted by Lady Deathstrike, at which point Viper escaped.[33]

All-New Captain America[]

Viper assisted Hydra in another scheme for world domination. They created a doomsday weapon from an Inhuman child's blood, hoping to sterilize most of the world's population, save for agents of Hydra. However their plan failed.[34]

Captain America: Steve Rogers[]

Eventually Viper went back to Madripoor where she resumed control of her territory and illicit opioid business. She killed some rival drug dealers, after which she was approached by the new Madame Hydra who persuaded Viper to rejoin Hydra under Steve Rogers' command.[35]

Secret Empire[]

Under the direction of Steve Rogers, Hydra was successfully able to take over the United States of America. Viper fought in the invasion of Washington DC.[36] Throughout their year of ruling, she remained a member of Steve Rogers' Hydra High Council. She was in charge of public safety, wherein she facilitated the imprisonment of Inhumans. Along with most of the Hydra Council, she advocated for the destruction of Las Vegas.[37] Viper gave a motivational speech to the Hydra Youth Choir in Chicago.[14] Later she was having a secret meeting with various businessmen and offers them money in exchange for their loyalty. Her meeting was interrupted by Black Widow's capture. Viper began to violently interrogate her, but stopped when Natasha explained her mission. She deduced that Viper had been continuing her narcotics operation unbeknownst to the Hydra High Council, and that she was recruiting the businessmen in order to expand her operations. Natasha threatened to blackmail Viper and explained why helping her would benefit Viper. Viper was convinced, killed her escorts, freed Natasha, and gave her the code to a secure room holding Mosaic.[38] Viper was later in Washington DC, fighting to suppress the resistance. However this proved futile as Hydra was ultimately defeated.[39]


Power Grid[46]
:Category:Power Grid/Fighting Skills/Master: Several Forms of Combat:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/None:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Strength/Peak Human:Category:Power Grid/Intelligence/Learned


Toxin Immunity: Madame Hydra has rendered herself immune to most toxins via controlled exposure.


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.[19][13]



  • Teleportation Ring - Viper employs a teleportation ring that activates when twisted.[40][13]
  • Protective Battle Armor - Green Kevlar/metallic armor that give her protection in dangerous missions.[41][42][43]


The Viper carries a set of throwing darts tipped with either a lethal or paralytic venom based on the chemistry of snake venom.[19] She usually uses a whip and guns she keeps strapped to her waist, among other high-tech weaponry provided by HYDRA.[2]


Various HYDRA vehicles.


  • 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.[citation needed]
  • 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.
  • In Captain America #342 (1988), Black Mamba tries to use her hypnosis powers on Viper to generate an image of someone Viper loves; Mamba fails, theorizing that it was because Viper loves nobody. However, in Secret Warriors #2 (2009) and Secret Warriors #2 (2010), she reveals that she is in love with the Silver Samurai.


  • One of Viper's apartments was confiscated by S.H.I.E.L.D. and became a recurring location for their sting operations and witness protection.[44]

See Also

Links and References


  1. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #12
  2. 2.0 2.1 Captain America #110
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Captain America #281283
  4. 4.0 4.1 Uncanny X-Men #452454
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Spider-Woman #44
  6. 6.0 6.1 Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Annual #1
  7. Hawkeye (Vol. 2) #1
  8. 8.0 8.1 Death of Wolverine #1
  9. 9.0 9.1 Captain America #394
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Wolverine (Vol. 2) #126
  11. 11.0 11.1 Marvel Team-Up #8285
  12. Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #15
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Captain America #341
  14. 14.0 14.1 Secret Empire: Uprising #1
  15. 15.0 15.1 Secret Warriors #14
  16. 16.0 16.1 Secret Warriors #15
  17. Captain America #110113
  18. Avengers #107
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Captain America #180
  20. New Mutants #56
  21. Captain America #342344
  22. Captain America #419
  23. Wolverine (Vol. 2) #125
  24. Wolverine (Vol. 2) #125127
  25. Wolverine (Vol. 2) #167169
  26. X-Treme X-Men #12
  27. New Avengers #13
  28. Secret Warriors #2
  29. Secret Warriors #13
  30. Secret Warriors #126
  31. Secret Warriors #2021
  32. All-New X-Men #13
  33. Death of Wolverine #12
  34. All-New Captain America #16
  35. Captain America: Steve Rogers #1416
  36. Free Comic Book Day 2017 (Secret Empire) #1
  37. Secret Empire #1
  38. Secret Empire #5
  39. Secret Empire #910
  40. Marvel Team-Up #84
  41. All-New X-Men #8
  42. All-New X-Men #1314
  43. Uncanny X-Men (Vol. 3) #11
  44. Jessica Jones (Vol. 2) #4
  45. Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide #2
  46. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Vol 1 12