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HYDRA agents
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Strange Tales #135 (Aug 1965)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Base(s) Various
Owner(s) Currently:
Baron Strucker
Red Skull
Employee(s) Current Members:
Baron Helmut Zemo
Former Members:
Werner von Strucker
Bob, Agent of HYDRA

HYDRA is a fictional terrorist organization in Marvel Comics.

Despite the name's capitalization per Marvel's official spelling,[citation needed] the name is not an acronym but rather a reference to the mythical Lernaean Hydra. The organization's motto references the myth of the Hydra, stating that "if a head is cut off, two more will take its place" proclaiming their resilience and growing strength in the face of resistance. HYDRA agents often wear distinctive green garb featuring a serpent motif.

Publication history[edit]

Hydra first appeared in Strange Tales #135. In its original continuity, it was headed by nondescript businessman Arnold Brown, who was killed as S.H.I.E.L.D. apparently crushed the organization. It soon returned, however, headed by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, with the support of the Nazi Red Skull; HYDRA's changing origin was one of Marvel's earliest retcons. After its initial defeat, several of its branches, such as its scientific branch A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) and the Secret Empire, became independent.

Crypt of Shadows #3, published in 1973, reprinted a story from Menace #10 (1954), but with a change to a line of dialogue that led to some erroneously believing HYDRA was first mentioned in the 1954 issue. In the reprint, an agent of an unspecified enemy government was changed to identify himself as working for HYDRA when he paid off a scientist named Dr. Nostrum for information about a cobalt bomb that turned people into monsters. Dr. Nostrum shot all the other scientists on his team after they were turned into monsters, then shot himself after his son put an image from a monster magazine on his mirror.


"Hail, HYDRA! Immortal HYDRA! We shall never be destroyed! Cut off a limb, and two more shall take its place! We serve none but the Master—as the world shall soon serve us! Hail HYDRA!"

—The HYDRA Oath from Strange Tales #135 (Aug. 1965)

HYDRA is a criminal organization dedicated to the achievement of world domination through terrorist and subversive activities on various fronts, resulting in a fascist New World Order. Its extent of operations is worldwide; always attempting to elude the ongoing counter-espionage operations by S.H.I.E.L.D. HYDRA is funded by Baron Strucker's personal fortune, based on his recovered hoard of Nazi plunder from World War II, and funds established by the original leaders of the Japanese secret society that became HYDRA.

The organization is run with behind-the-scenes direction by Baron Strucker, alias Supreme Hydra. Under him is a central ruling committee; under them are individual division chiefs, and under them are the rank and file members and special agents.

In order to become a member of HYDRA, an individual must be a legal adult willing to submit to a thorough investigation of the applicant's personal background and to swear a death-oath of loyalty to HYDRA and its principles.


HYDRA's level of technology is as highly advanced as that of any on Earth, based in part on technology of the alien Gnobians discovered by Baron von Strucker in 1944. HYDRA uses various advanced experimental vehicles and devices in its activities, and various conventional military vehicles, seacraft, aircraft, pistols and standard concussive force blasters, and conventional communications equipment.

HYDRA personnel are issued cowled jumpsuits, which have included a number of designs over the years. Originally, the jumpsuits were green with a yellow H design, and later incorporated a red and brown color scheme, but in time were changed back to green with a serpent motif.

Fictional organization history[edit]

HYDRA's history as presently depicted in Marvel Universe continuity is a long, tumultuous and convoluted one, spanning millennia ago to the Third Dynasty of Egypt, with all references to the ancient group disappearing around the Renaissance.[1] Its return came in the decades from the end of the Second World War up to the present day, tied directly to surviving fugitive members of governments of Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan.

A select few of the more politically oriented members of the order of the evil mystical ninja known as The Hand would be recruited to form the rebirth of HYDRA as a cabal of Japanese ultranationalists who plotted to overthrow the Japanese government, assassinate the prime minister, and install an anti-communist government, which would re-arm Japan.

Shortly upon joining HYDRA, von Strucker seized control of the organization from its Japanese founders, and moved HYDRA's operations to a private island in the Pacific, named Hydra Island. The original HYDRA Island was invaded by the Leatherneck Raiders and the Japanese Samurai Squad, and the base was destroyed.[2] Strucker slowly steered the organization towards the goal of world domination. That campaign brought him into conflict with Charles Xavier and the future Magneto among others, and once HYDRA became more brazenly public in its operations, eventually led to the creation of the original agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D. specifically to counter HYDRA's threat to world security. After HYDRA apparently assassinated S.H.I.E.L.D.'s first executive director, Nick Fury was appointed as executive director. HYDRA agents attempted to assassinate Nick Fury before his appointment as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Director, but failed.[3]

This decision, after several HYDRA campaigns including the failure of the world blackmail attempt using the Betatron Bomb, the creation of the Overkill Horn (designed to detonate all nuclear explosives worldwide), and the bio-engineered "Death-Spore" Bomb, led directly to von Strucker's first death at the hands of Fury and several deceived HYDRA operatives. In the wake of von Strucker's first death, the surviving elements of HYDRA broke into factions that each adopted its own reorganized modus operandi. Several of these factions developed "super-agents" that would occasionally break away in turn to become freelance operatives, or, in some rarer cases, superheroes such as the first Spider-Woman. During this era, their collective threat was mitigated by not only occasionally fighting among themselves, but their operating policy of punishing failure with death often meant they were killing each other more often than their intended victims after their frequent defeats by SHIELD, superheroes and even civilians like the motorcycle racing team, Team America. Von Strucker was eventually revived and reunited several of the HYDRA factions under his leadership to renew his campaign against S.H.I.E.L.D. and humanity for several more years.

Despite his reorganization of the group, various independent HYDRA factions continue to operate around the Marvel Universe, and a HYDRA Civil War would later result. While Baron Helmut Zemo had Strucker placed in stasis for his own ends, Gorgon and Strucker's second wife Elsbeth von Strucker mystically created a clone of Strucker who they set up to fail, allowing for a public execution of him, after which—as part of an alliance with The Hand, they utilized an army of brainwashed superheroes and supervillains, including Northstar and Elektra to launch a massive assault on S.H.I.E.L.D. The assault was ultimately repelled and Wolverine would kill Gorgon.

HYDRA later planned an all-out attack on the United States by smuggling missiles into New York for use in a planned bio-weapon assault on the Ogallala Aquifer. They formed a distraction through using a team that had the duplicated powers of several Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America and former Avengers Thor and Hawkeye) but were inevitably foiled by Spider-Man and the other New Avengers.

When Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. during the events of Civil War, HYDRA stormed the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and freed her. Spider-Woman, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and member of the Avengers, had been working for HYDRA under the orders of Nick Fury, deposed as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. following the events of Secret War, whom she was still loyal to. HYDRA revealed that they knew of her betrayal and wanted her to replace Viper as their current leader, for she was unstable. Spider-Woman refused their offer, destroying the HYDRA base she had been taken to in an explosion.

As Spider-Woman revealed her true identity as Queen Veranke of the Skrull Empire, HYDRA was left with a void in his control organization, filled by Congressman Woodman. Under his rule the young Hardball, empowered by the Power Broker is appointed as a double agent, acting both as an Initiative recruit and as a HYDRA spy with the role of gathering information about the Initiative and doing errands for HYDRA in exchange of secrecy and the expensive health care needed by his brother, a former UCWF wrestler who was crippled on the ring.

Hardball however, deeply hurt and shamed by the compromises Woodman forces him to endure, and Komodo's attempt to bail him out of HYDRA by telling his secrets to his field leader Gravity, mercilessly kills Congressman Woodman in front of his subordinates. His ersatz coup d'état pays off, and Hardball is appointed as the new Supreme Leader of the organization, severing every tie with his former life.[4] His joining HYDRA however, was revealed to simply be caused by his having nowhere else to go. He surrenders to the Shadow Initiative, and is sent to the Negative Zone prison, destroying his HYDRA cell.[5]

After the events of Secret Invasion, Nick Fury discovers that S.H.I.E.L.D. was under the control of HYDRA, and apparently had been from the beginning. He also discovers a number of organizations under HYDRA's alleged control including the United States' FBI Science and Technology Branch, NSA and US Department of Treasury, as well as the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate and Foreign Intelligence Service and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.[1]

Meanwhile, after having to destroy HYDRA's undersea headquarters, Ichor - it had been infiltrated by the Skrull invasion force - Von Strucker decides to rebuild HYDRA from the ground up, and after learning that Fury has learned the truth, reconvenes the other main heads of HYDRA: Viper, Madame Hydra, Kraken, and The Hive; as well as resurrecting The Gorgon for the purpose of showing HYDRA's "True self" to the world.[6]

HYDRA (alongside A.I.M.) later appears in an alliance with H.A.M.M.E.R..[7] Following the defeat of Norman Osborn, H.A.M.M.E.R. ends up disbanding with Madame Hydra using the remaining members to reinforce HYDRA.[8]


The Ruling Council of HYDRA, introduced in Secret Warriors #2, consists of:

The following characters are or were agents of HYDRA:

Other versions[edit]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

At the time when Spider-Man was presumed dead following the events of the Ultimatum storyline, J. Jonah Jameson recalled the time when Spider-Man saved Tony Stark from an attack by HYDRA.[10]

In more recent Ultimate titles, HYDRA has been described as an "anti-government" organization (though their political philosophy is left deliberately vague). Modi (Thor's son) is seen in allegiance with them, and acquiring weapons from Project Pegasus, including Modi using the Mind Gem on Director Flumm (to attempt to kill the U.S. President), and Cassie Lang attacking Spider-Man (until stopped by his venom-strike).[11] They are defeated by both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Ultimates although some members escaped.[12]

Nick Fury later masqueraded as Scorpio and infiltrated HYDRA and came across Abigail Brand, a HYDRA soldier who captures him and brings him to Commander Crimson.[volume & issue needed] Commander Crimson later sends Brand to the Death's Head Camp along with Fury until rescued. S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Monica Chang grants Fury to permission to re-form the Howling Commandos to stop HYDRA.[13]


Another alternate version of HYDRA appears throughout Exiles #91-94, where they are well underway with their plan to take over the world. This version is being led by Madame Hydra (Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman in the regular Marvel universe) and her lover, Wolverine. Various other superhumans, including Captain America (now Captain Hydra) and Slaymaster, are agents of HYDRA in this world.[14] One of the Exiles' foe, the original character Venger later becomes an agent of HYDRA,[volume & issue needed] as well as Boy-Bob Banner.[volume & issue needed]

Amalgam Comics[edit]

Another version of HYDRA has appeared in Amalgam Comics. They are very similar to the normal HYDRA and wear the same green and yellow outfits, but with black eyes not red. They first appear in Super-Soldier #1 and are led by Lex Luthor (later known as Green Skull).

In other media[edit]


  • HYDRA appeared in the X-Men: Evolution episodes "X-23" and "Target X". They were behind the creation of X-23 from Wolverine's DNA. Viper appears to be the Supreme Hydra, and Omega Red and Gauntlet are shown as mercenaries working for HYDRA.
  • HYDRA appears as a recurring foe in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. It was revealed in the episode "Meet Captain America" that they were part of the Axis Powers, overrunning Europe in the Second World War with Baron Heinrich Zemo as their leader and the Red Skull as their super-soldier (they appeared to be a stand-in for Nazi Germany, but Christopher Yost would later clarify they were a branch of the Nazi regime[15]). The episode shows that one of HYDRA's attempts to win the war involved taking mythological beasts from the realms of Norse mythology and using technology to enslave them, in an attempt thwarted by Captain America and Bucky, it is implied this happened in 1943. In modern times as seen in the episode "Iron Man is Born," they were known to steal some of Stark Industries technology to bolster their plans for world domination. During that episode, HYDRA agents attack the United Nations and fight Iron Man, who says they have been trying to conquer Earth ever since the end of the War. HYDRA unleashes some Dreadnoughts to fight Iron Man. Iron Man defeats the last Dreadnought when S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives. After Iron Man leaves, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents arrest the HYDRA agents involved in the attack. The HYDRA agents are dropped off at the Vault where Nick Fury goes to interrogate Baron Strucker. During that time, it is shown that one of the HYDRA agents was actually Grim Reaper in disguise as part of a plot to spring Baron Strucker from prison. Both of them are defeated by Nick Fury and Baron Strucker is placed back in his cell while Grim Reaper is also locked into a cell of his own. In the episode "Hulk vs the World," it is revealed that Black Widow is a double-agent working for HYDRA when she steals Hulk's DNA and frames Hawkeye as a double-agent. In the two-part episode "The Breakout," Baron Strucker and Grim Reaper are among the prisoners that escape from the Vault as they make their way back to HYDRA Island. Their latest appearance was in the episode "Living Legend", where Zemo finds Strucker ruling HYDRA, then lets him keep it, seemingly severing ties with the organization. In the episode "Panther's Prey," Grim Reaper and HYDRA managed to pick up some Vibranium from Man-Ape and Klaw, when the former takes over Wakanda. In the episode "Widow's Sting," Grim Reaper and HYDRA meet with MODOK and A.I.M. for a transaction that would help in the creation of the Cosmic Cube which is crashed by Hawkeye in his search for Black Widow. Grim Reaper manages to escape (not knowing that Hawkeye had placed a tracer on him) while the defeated HYDRA and A.I.M. agents were arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D. When Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Captain America, and Black Panther trace Grim Reaper to HYDRA Island, they end up fighting the forces of HYDRA. Baron Strucker ended up having the computer activate the self-destruct sequence upon telling it "Codename: Fenris." Though Hawkeye goes after Black Widow and Baron Strucker. Hawkeye is taken down by Black Widow who secretly attacks Baron Strucker as he tries to take Hawkeye's youth. Black Widow escapes from HYDRA Island with Baron Strucker while Grim Reaper, Madame Hydra (who was later revealed to be a Skrull), and the remaining HYDRA Agents present are arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D. While waiting for MODOK, Black Widow tells Baron Strucker that Black Panther attacked him from behind. MODOK arrives and tells Baron Strucker that the Cosmic Cube experiment was a failure and gives back the money. After MODOK left, Baron Strucker suspects that MODOK was lying about the Cosmic Cube experiment being a failure. In the episode "Hail HYDRA", AIM and HYDRA tear the city apart for control of the Cosmic Cube, forcing the Avengers to intervene. It is revealed that the Black Widow was ordered by Nick Fury to infiltrate HYDRA to learn the nature of the Cube. In the end, the Avengers prevailed when both Baron Strucker and Captain America touched the Cosmic Cube and it appeared as if nothing happened. HYDRA was finally taken down for good as they were arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • HYDRA appears in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Brouhaha at the World's Bottom." Baron Strucker leads the HYDRA forces into attacking a S.H.I.E.L.D. Base in Antarctica.
  • HYDRA appears in Avengers Assemble. They are first seen in the episode "The Avengers Protocol" Pt. 1.
  • HYDRA is featured in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. In the episode "0-8-4," S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson's team travels to Peru to investigate an "0-8-4", an unknown object of concern to S.H.I.E.L.D. The object is an anachronistically advanced metal device in an ancient pyramid. Coulson's team eventually discovers that it is a Tesseract energy-powered weapon designed by surviving Nazi/HYDRA scientists who escaped Allied justice after WWII and were recruited by Peru. A team of Peruvian military police attempts to kill the team in order to retrieve the device, but Coulson's ingenious team members foil them. In the end, the 0-8-4 is deemed too dangerous to be allowed to exist, and it blasted off on a rocket into the Sun. In the episode "Seeds," HYDRA (alongside A.I.M. and Project Centipede) is referenced by Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons when they talk to the students of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy's Sci-Fi Division about villain think tanks. The episode "Turn, Turn, Turn," which is set during Captain America: The Winter Soldier, depicts HYDRA's uprising from within S.H.I.E.L.D. from the perspective of agents on the ground. It is also revealed that S.H.I.E.L.D. agents John Garrett and Grant Ward are HYDRA operatives. In the episode "Providence," it is revealed that HYDRA has been driven out of the Cube. Grant Ward leads some HYDRA operatives to spring Raina from her confinement and brought her to John Garrett. During Raina's introduction to John Garrett, it is revealed that HYDRA was the one that backed up Project Centipede as Raina experiments with the possible chemicals where one of them had assisted in Phil Coulson's revival. John Garrett's next move was to have HYDRA raid the Fridge where they steal all the confiscated weapons and free Ian Quinn and the other inmates. Due to a password set up by Skye, John Garrett had to get Grant Ward to make himself convincing in order to get into Providence and get the password out of Skye so that HYDRA can get access to the information they need. While Grant Ward is on his mission, Ian Quinn confronts John Garrett about his lies and how Project Centipede was backed by HYDRA. John Garrett soothes Ian Quinn's anger by showing him the Gravitonium that was also taken from the Fridge.


  • HYDRA appears in the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger. In the film, both the scientist Arnim Zola and the assassin Heinz Kruger are depicted as members of Hydra. The group is depicted as a renegade military organization originally subordinated to Adolf Hitler, led by Red Skull, who is obsessed with harnessing magical artifacts in his bid to take over the world. Additionally, HYDRA is portrayed as the advanced science branch for the Third Reich, utilizing several experimental aircraft such as the Focke-Wulf Triebflügel VTOL aircraft and a huge intercontinental flying-wing bomber based in part on the Horten Ho 229 design.[16][17] During the course of the film, the organization plans to betray Nazi Germany after the allies are defeated, taking over the world for the Skull's own interests. Three Nazi officers are killed to cover up the Skull's true motives. HYDRA is armed with heavily advanced technology powered by the mythical Tesseract (hinted to be Asgardian in origin, and later confirmed in the film The Avengers). Ultimately, Red Skull is apparently incinerated upon touching the Tesseract, and HYDRA's bases are systematically destroyed by Captain America and the Allies.
  • In The Avengers, it is revealed that S.H.I.E.L.D. gathered everything there was related to the Tesseract (then in the possession of Thor's foster brother Loki), including HYDRA technology. A plan known as "Phase Two" deals with using the Tesseract to develop weapons, using the HYDRA weapons as a template.
  • Two HYDRA scientists appeared in Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United and hire Abomination to catch Hulk for an experiment and then turn on him to use in the same experiment.
  • HYDRA will appear in Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United.[18]

Video games[edit]

  • HYDRA is featured in Marvel: Avengers Alliance. Known members include Baron Helmut Zemo, Moonstone, Viper, and the HYDRA Four. HYDRA's Power Armors appear as bosses and were created from stolen Stark Industries technology. Their foot soldiers consist of HYDRA Ballistas, HYDRA Burners, HYDRA Cannons, HYDRA Judicators, HYDRA Officers, HYDRA Pyros, HYDRA Soldiers, and HYDRA Vanguards.
  • HYDRA is featured in Avengers Initiative, with its members serving as enemies in the Captain America chapters of the game.[19]

Live performance[edit]


  • HYDRA makes an appearance in the second issue of the comic book based on the animated television series The Avengers.


  1. ^ a b Secret Warriors #1
  2. ^ Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders #2-4
  3. ^ Strange Tales (vol. 1) #135
  4. ^ Avengers: The Initiative Special #1
  5. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #24
  6. ^ Secret Warriors #2
  7. ^ New Avengers Vol. 2 #18
  8. ^ Avengers Vol. 4 #24
  9. ^ Secret Warriors #6
  10. ^ Ultimate Requiem: Spider-Man #1
  11. ^ Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #16
  12. ^ Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #18
  13. ^ Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #21
  14. ^ Exiles #92
  15. ^ Medinnus, David (1 January 2011). "An Interview With Christopher Yost". Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "Red Skull's Escape Vehicles (2011)". MonsterMinions. July 22, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-01. 
  17. ^ Maksel, Rebecca (August 9, 2011). "Captain America and the Horten Brothers". Air & Space/Smithsonian. National Air and Space Museum - Smithsonian Institute. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ http://appadvice.com/appnn/2012/12/thumbs-up-soldier-captain-america-enters-the-avengers-initiative
  20. ^ http://marvel.com/news/story/21561/character_reveals_for_marvel_universe_live

External links[edit]