In the mighty Marvel universe, there are many heavy hitters in the supervillain sphere. We saw how tough Thanos was in Avengers: Infinity War. Doctor Doom always gives The Fantastic Four a run for their money. Besides the solo players, there are also a bunch of evil organizations causing havoc for our favorite heroes and the world at large. Groups such as A.I.M. have plagued just about every superhero team and lone wolf metahuman at one time or another.
None have been as dangerous as Hydra, the seemingly unending group who first saw film time in Captain America: The First Avenger. In the comics, however, they’ve been around a lot longer. There has been a plethora of Hydra threats depicted in virtually every Marvel title ever published. After almost 60 years’ worth of these stories, there’s been a tremendous amount of confusing retconning which had really complicated who Hydra is and what they’re about. This is pretty crazy since they were already a really weird supervillain institution!
All the writers imagining and reimagining this evil cult’s origins, inner workings, and key players has made for a very odd fictional history which often contradicts itself. So – what exactly is Hydra? What exactly have they been up to? How long have they been around? The answers to those questions and more just don’t add up half the time! But, hey, we can at least figure out what the most confounding elements of this mess are!
Here are 20 Things That Make No Sense About Hydra.
20 Founded by Reptoids, Run by Humans
From the beginning of Marvel’s publication history with Hydra, the organization’s origins have been murky at best. that was always by design. After all, what can be more terrifying than an unstoppable criminal empire that can’t even be traced to a single leader?
When they first hit the scene in 1965, they were evil humans bent on world domination. But in 2005, a Wolverine story revealed them to actually reptoids wanting to conquer the human race! And yet, it’s almost always regular people running the show.
Are these cold-blooded lizard beings handing the keys to their kingdom to us unworthy mammals?
That seems to be the case, because we don’t really see much of these supposedly snake-like bosses!
19 Founders Are Immortal – So Where Are They?
There is no shortage of immortal beings in the Marvel Universe. First of all, of course, is Thor and all the Asgardians, who are, after all, gods. Then there are the Elders of the Universe, the Celestials, Galactus, and all the other supposedly everlasting deity-like entities floating around the cosmos.
While it’s debatable that these and others don’t ultimately exit the mortal coil, the very fact that we keep seeing them pop up over and over throughout history points to their unending existences.
Where are the supposedly immortal reptoids who founded Hydra? They are seen so infrequently, one may wonder if they still share the mortal plane with us. If you’re out there, guys, send us an email to tell us you’re okay!
18 They Run “The Hand” and Serve The Beast
It’s always been the case that Hydra’s motives and operative functions have been hidden on purpose by a secret cabal furthering an unknown agenda. Over the decades of writing and rewriting, those unanswered questions have run into some very odd answers.
At one point, it was revealed that the Red Skull had folded in a faction of The Hand, the Japanese ninja cult, into Hydra.
Well, The Hand officially serves The Beast, a demonic figure that wishes to destroy the world so that it may finally end the noise that life makes.Are Hydra just working for the Devil? And yet they’re also reptoids and human dictators?
17 Nobody Seems to Know Who the Leader Is
It’s very famous in Marvel lore to hear one of Hydra’s main creeds. Just as with the mythological beast for which it was named, the group claims that if you take down one of their number, two more will sprout up in their place. That seems to be true for their leadership as well.
For years, it was either Baron Von Strucker or the Red Skull who seemed to be in charge. These days, Viper is supposedly the head of that particular snake. Then there are the secret reptoids, members of The Hand, and all the rest.
There’s always a hint that whoever the leader claims to be, there’s another one waiting in the wings. These folks need their HR department to figure out the company’s organizational chart!
16 Baron Strucker Changed Their Mission (Not Really)
With all these entities and throne-claimers in the Marvel universe treating Hydra like their own personal pet project, it's no wonder readers have a hard time pegging down just what the heck these evil folks are all about. In the beginning, supposedly, the reptoids wanted to herd us mammals up into some kind of pen and take over the planet. Then Baron Strucker comes around and “changes” their mission into something totally different – or is it?
Strucker’s goals are to use crime to topple world governments and establish an evil order.
It seems to us that is pretty much the same idea, right. Taking over the world is still taking over the world, last we checked. So all this “change” sounds like more of the same.
15 There are Many Hydras and None May Be Legit
As if it’s not confusing enough to understand what Hydra is really all about and who runs what, things get even more complicated when you get different factions claiming that they are the “real” Hydra and the rest are imposters.
Red Skull made this claim when he stole the crown from Strucker. Madame Viper similarly dismissed her predecessors as pretenders to the serpentine throne. On top of all that, there’s been many instances where other groups may have been pretending to be Hydra, calling into question when Hydra has done what.
Confused? Join the club, which probably includes the dozens of writers over the years trying keep this convoluted history straight!
Consider this possibility: maybe none of the Hydras are real. Maybe there is no Hydra.
14 They Disappeared Back When World Domination Was Easy
In another major piece of retconning most famously explored in the "Brotherhood of the Shield" story arc, Hydra was around way, way back in the day when the original S.H.I.E.L.D and its counterpart S.P.E.A.R. were protecting the world in the days before modern weaponry and warfare.
Even back then, Hydra was already very far advanced. In theory, they should have been able to take over the world right then and there, hundreds of years before our modern S.H.I.E.L.D. hit the scene. But they didn’t.
In fact, Hydra seemed to disappear until just around WWII, when we not only had modern war machines, but a whole lot of metahumans to protect us.
Where did they go? Why didn’t they act when world conquest would have been relatively easy? Were these reptoids too busy eating flies?
13 Spider-Woman Came from Hydra
Speaking of retcons and alternate versions, Marvel’s resident female web-spinner Spider-Woman has had quite the character history herself.
In her first incarnation as Jessica Drew, she was born in the shadow of the magical Mount Wundagore, where she got sick from radiation poisoning. Her dad shot her up with a spider-based serum which gave her he powers. Then Hydra kidnapped her, brainwashed her, and turned her into an agent.
Yes – she was a Hydra-made superhero long before anybody dreamed up the Secret Empire storyline. Then, after one mission, she finally “gets” that Hydra are totally evil and she quits.
12 But She Keeps Switching Sides
As mentioned, Spider-Woman eventually quits Hydra to become the superheroine we all know and love. She kicks major supervillain butt, becomes an Avenger, and works for S.H.I.E.L.D.
Then, after the events of Civil War and Secret Wars, it not only turns out that she still works for Hydra, but has been a double agent the whole time.
To make matters worse, she was ordered by none other than Nick Fury to join Hydra, supposedly as a hedge against other heroes who may be fighting for the wrong side. Then she decides to betray Hydra and blow up their secret base, until it’s revealed that she was actually a secret Skrull queen the whole time under the Secret Invasion storyline.
11 They Were Defeated by a Team of Bikers
Let us please review certain information at this point. Hydra is a super advanced group of inhuman criminals who have fought everybody from Iron Man and Captain America to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Hulk to a standstill many times. But guess what? They can totally be defeated by a bunch of dudes on motorcycles!
Back in the 1980s, Marvel published a book called Team America, later to be known as Thunderiders.
To be fair, they were mutants, but not very powerful ones.
Not only that – Hydra actually created them!
That's right: this bunch of Harley enthusiasts with minimal powers that Hydra created totally creamed them.
10 They Used to Run S.H.I.E.L.D.
Continuity can really get complicated sometimes in the Marvel universe. We all know that S.H.I.E.L.D. was created at some point in history to respond to the threat of Hydra. In fact, Nick Fury got the top job at the super-spy agency because Hydra destroyed his predecessor.
After the events of Secret Invasion, Fury figured out that S.H.I.E.L.D was under the control of Hydra. Not only that – Hydra may have secretly been running the organization since the beginning.
All those times S.H.I.E.L.D. defeated Hydra? Totally fake!
Yeah, that means that Hydra has been purposefully beating itself forever.
All those epic battles were just staged for no good reason at all.
9 They Subcontract to A.I.M. and H.A.M.M.E.R.
Less well-known that Hydra are the other heavy-hitting supervillain criminal organization A.I.M whom Hydra has recruited at times. Not only that, they get the Norman Osborn-led H.A.M.M.E.R. to do some dirty work as well.
Both groups have given plenty of headaches to plenty of heroes over the years. Unlike Hydra, they are relatively recent on the bad guy scene, and nowhere nearly as powerful. Yet, Hydra -- which has possibly run S.H.I.E.L.D. since the Middle Ages, was once run by Red Skull, took on every hero team out there – still needed to employ these inferior operators to do - what, exactly?
Well, for one thing, team up to attack Asgard. It’s just hard to swallow that these lofty ancient reptoids would need to outsource yo less worthy groups.
8 Captain America Ran Hydra for a While
Anybody who missed out on the controversy over Marvel’s terribly-thought-out storyline Secret Empire in 2017 was probably living under a rock.
Turning Steve Rogers, the hero of World War II, into a lifelong tool for Hydra was just tasteless.
Eventually, it was explained away as a cosmic case of brainwashing and fake memories. But alas, the damage was done and Marvel had to do a lot mea culpas with fans. It was a terrible decision to have Captain America run Hydra; it really made no sense at all an dblew up in the publisher’s face.
Memo to Marvel: next time, just make Cap a Secret Santa for a Christmas Special! Everybody likes Secret Santas!
7 Cosmic Cubes Don’t Seem to Help Them Much
According to the official Marvel Comics page, Cosmic Cubes (aka Tessaracts) are some seriously dangerous items: “The power within the Cube allows whoever wields it to literally reshape reality around him.”
Still, they don’t seem to help Hydra. Over the years, everybody from Strucker to the Skull have wielded this supposedly invincible weapon, and yet, keep losing their battles over and over again.
You would think reshaping reality would include “make all those superheroes disappear.”After all, we know that Thanos got the job done with his own reality-bending devices. Hydra: try pointing the darned things in the right direction next time.
6 Nick Fury Re-formed the Howling Commandos to Fight Them
As already mentioned, a team of '80s bikers have defeated Hydra, somwhy wouldn’t an ordinary squadron of aging soldiers be able to handle that same job? In Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, that’s exactly what happened.
At one point, Nick Fury rounds up his war veteran buddies, the Howling Commandos, to take on Hydra with conventional weaponry and no superpowers. Is that really the best option Fury had that day?
It’s the equivalent of showing up with a knife to a gun fight.
Fortunately, it turns out Hydra is really a pushover supervillain criminal society! And they’ve been defeating themselves with S.H.I.E.L.D. all along anyway, right?
5 Ultimate Universe Hydra Is a Militia
Speaking of the Ultimate Universe, the Hydra over there isn’t quite like the Hydra here on Earth 616. Where the Hydra we all know and love has been a reptoid conquest fest going back to the ancient Egyptians at least, the Ultimate Hydra is more like those guys on Doomsday Preppers who believe the state is going to take over everything.
Their whole creed is to be an anti-organized militia ready to survive the event of a tyrannical takeover of America and the world. Does this even make them bad guys? Or just tin-foil hat wearing loonies?
Either way, they cause enough trouble to get the Ultimates (who are really alternate universe Avengers) involved in the fight.
4 It’s Almost Exclusively a Boy’s Club
It’s an embarrassing fact that throughout the history of comics: there have been way more male characters than female characters. Adding insult to injury, depictions of those female characters have often been demeaning. Times are changing, though and we are seeing more showcases for strong women in comics from creators to fictional heroes.
Hydra still hasn’t gotten the memo. In almost every appearance they’ve ever had, all their soldiers have been guys. Even S.H.I.E.L.D had plenty of great female agents.
The one exception, of course, has been Madame Hydra, aka Viper, who has run the organization from time to time.
That’s nice for the CEO position, but can we get more evil women down in the trenches, please?
3 They May Have Helped Saved the World from Galactus Once
As mentioned earlier, it’s not only Hydra that have been around for thousands of years. The so-called “Brotherhood of the Shield,” which was the predecessor of modern S.H.I.E.L.D., also existed for much of that time. In fact, none other than the famous astronomer Galileo headed up that version of shield during the Renaissance, thwarting the devourer of worlds.
Didn’t we also learn that Hydra was behind the creation of this brotherhood and the modern S.H.I.E.L.D. as well? If you think about it – how in the heck could those mere humans at that time boot Galactus from the planet? Obviously, they must have had help from advanced reptoids.
Sure, maybe they’re just saving the planet for themselves, but still!
2 Nostradamus Might Have Written About Hydra
This entry might get a little too creepy for comfort. The ancient prophet known as Nostradamus has been credited with predicting every major human event from Napoleon to World War II and maybe even the 9/11 attacks on New York.
Did he also predict the coming of Hydra? Well, according to the Marvel wiki page, this passage may refer to the group: “The three greatest ones of Asia rest, from minaret to monarchy flow the hidden knowledge, navigation and the last caliphate.”
Yes, it’s cryptic, but some Marvel theorists believe it related to the Brotherhood of the Spear, who were pawns to Hydra at one point.
Don’t worry, there was never a prediction about Thanos’ finger snap, so we’re probably okay.
1 S.H.I.E.L.D. Was Created to Stop Hydra – but They Used to Be Allies
Again, we need to go back to the pre-1965 retconning of Hydra’s hysterical history to tie this particular knot together. Reviewing what’s already been discussed, both The Brotherhood of the Shield and the Brotherhood of the Spear were set up thousands of years ago.
Back then, Hydra was kind of behind the S.H.I.E.L.D. folks and should have probably taken over the world back then. Fast forward to the Nick Fury era, and the modern S.H.I.E.L.D. is a countermeasure against Hydra.
Best friends or worst enemies? Make up your mind, Marvel!
We’ve got enough confusing contradictions when it comes to Hydra.
What else makes no sense about Hydra? Let us know in the comments!
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