Viper (Marvel)(01 - Jordan Dixon)
Real Name: Jordan Stryke (later Dixon)
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The Viper was quite agile and a good hand-to-hand combatant. The Viper hurled darts tipped with lethal poisons. He also wore razor-sharp fangs on his right wrist that were likewise tipped with poison.
Jordan Stryke was the brother of Leopold Stryke, who became the notorious costumed criminal known as the original Eel. When Jordan Stryke went into the advertising business, he legally changed his last name to Dixon so as to avoid association with his brother's criminal reputation. Dixon spent years in planning advertising campaigns for children's toys and other products, and eventually he and a man named Quentin Harderman became partners in an advertising agency.
Dixon believed that through his marketing abilities he was making fortunes for his clients while he himself labored in relative obscurity for far less financial gain. Moreover, Dixon believed that through his advertising projects he was perpetrating lies on behalf of his clients and subverting the nation's moral values. Dixon even took a perverse pleasure in such activities. He prided himself in selling products he regarded as worthless so successfully to the public, and he regarded the American public with contempt, believing them willing to believe any lie spread through the mass media if it was crafted convincingly enough.
Hardeman and Dixon were apparently both involved in corrupt activities over the years. It is not known when Dixon decided to emulate his brother in becoming a costumed criminal, but he spent years in developing the venoms he intended to use as his weapons while he continued his advertising work.
Finally, Dixon assumed the costumed identity of the original Viper. He first clashed with costumed crimefighters when he became an agent of the criminal mastermind known as the Cowled Commander, for whom his brother the Eel also worked. On the Cowled Commander's behalf, the Viper battled both Captain America and the Falcon, but Captain America ultimately overcame the Viper, who was sent to prison.
Another criminal, the Cobra, helped the Eel and Viper to escape prison, whereupon they joined the new criminal team the Cobra founded, the original Serpent Squad. Seeking vengeance, the Viper telephoned Quentin Hardeman and had him start a mass media campaign of character assassination against Captain America; Captain America and the Falcon soon met the Serpent Squad in battle, and Captain America defeated the Viper once more. The Viper returned to prison, but the mass media campaign against Captain America that he initiated continued under the auspices of Hardeman, who now served the subversive organization called the Secret Empire.
Captain America ultimately thwarted the Secret Empire's attempt to take control of the United States, and Hardeman's slanders against him were exposed as part of a Secret Empire plot.
The Viper was transported one night by U.S. marshals in Virginia towards Washington, D.C., where he was to testify before grand juries and Congressional subcommittees about his connections with Hardeman. On the way the car in which the Viper was riding was attacked by Madame Hydra, a former leader in the subversive organization HYDRA. Madama Hydra killed the marshals and then told the Viper that she intended to wage a terrorist campaign against society under the name of Viper. Realizing she planned to kill him, the Viper desperately suggested that he change his own alias, but to no avail. Madame Hydra shot the Viper dead and then stripped the corpse of his costume (which, for unknown reasons, the marshals had allowed him to wear). From then on, it was Madame Hydra who was known as the Viper.
First Appearance: Captain America (1968) #157
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Captain America (1968)
#157 Hell's Angel (1992)
- '"Veni, Vidi, Vici": Viper!'#158
- 'The Crime Wave Breaks!'#159
- 'Turning Point!'#163
- 'Beware of Serpents!'#170
- '... Before the Dawn!'#180
- 'The Coming of the Nomad!'#293
- 'Field of Vision!'
#2 Marvel Team-Up (1972)
- 'Operation Psycho-Warrior!'
Serpent Squad (Marvel)
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