Roll Call: Anaconda, Asp, Black Mamba, Black Racer, Boomslang, Bushmaster, Coachwhip, Copperhead, Cottonmouth, Death Adder, Diamondback, Fer-De-Lance, King Cobra, Princess Python, Puff Adder, Rattler, Rock Python, Sidewinder, and one very psychotic Viper. First Appearance: Captain America 310 What's Their Problem? The Serpent Society is an organization of snake-themed criminals. The group was established by Sidewinder, who envisioned a trade union for costumed mercenaries, complete with access to a wide variety of resources, a guaranteed pay scale, and insurance, medical, and pension plans (sounds better than depending upon HMOs). Sidewinder was also able to promise that members of the Society need never fear prison since his teleportation powers would be available whenever a jailbreak was needed. The group met with a fair amount of success, accepting contracts from various criminal and subversive organizations. Later, the Society was infiltrated and taken over by the Viper, who used it to advance her nihilist agenda. After she was defeated and sent off to prison, the Society returned to its mercenary roots. Sidewinder, stung that many of his teammates had thrown in with the Viper, left the group. He passed on the mantle of leadership to the Cobra (Marvel's first-ever snake-related villain), who adopted the guise of King Cobra to suit his new position. Abilities: The majority of the Society's members have snake-related abilities and weapons to compliment their costumed identities. A good number of those powers can be quite lethal, involving such unpleasant things as snake venom, fangs, and bone-crushing constriction. If the price is right, the team has no qualms against using those powers to the fullest, most lethal extent. Favorite Quote: "You are not going to win, Captain America! You have never beaten the Serpent Society - - never! We are the Avengers of the Underworld!" (Captain America 382. King Cobra, emboldened by having an entire team of villains backing him up against one solitary Avenger, let his ego get the better of him. Cap wasn't at all impressed, and he finished trashing the Society within the next three pages. That's what overconfidence gets you.) Heroes They Keep Running Into: Captain America has been a persistent thorn in the Society's side since day one. Along the way, many of Cap's friends and allies, such as the Falcon, Nomad, and Jack Flagg, have clashed with the slippery snakes. The Serpent Society went up against the X-Men once, and barely survived the experience. Wolverine must have been in a very good mood that day; otherwise we might have learned just how fast adamantium claws can slice through snake-clad villains. People Who Think They're Not So Bad: The Society has a rather high rate of success, so most of their clients are no doubt pleased with them. When the Society last appeared, they were hanging out at the swimming pool with Cobra's old partner Mister Hyde, who no doubt appreciated the ruthlessness and brutality of the group. Most Despicable Act: Many members of the Society aided the Viper in her plan to poison Washington DC's water supply with a mutagenic chemical. The city's population was temporarily transformed into savage snake people who rioted, nearly destroying the nation's capital. One result of this was that Cap fans the world over were treated to the (ahem) unforgettable sight of then-U.S. President Ronald Regan transforming into a human snake and slugging it out with the star-spangled Avenger. Believe It Or Not: Captain America himself is on rather good terms with a few of the Serpent Society's former members. This started when Diamondback couldn't bring herself to kill Cap because she thought he was a real hunk (she also tried to seduce Wolverine at one point). Poor Cap soon found the oversexed Diamondback tagging along on his missions, although they eventually formed a close friendship. Diamondback's friends Asp and Black Mamba quit the Society after it tried to execute DB for consorting with the Avengers. The two subsequently aided Cap on a couple of cases. Cap also helped Sidewinder pay his daughter's medical bills. However, the rest of the Society would just as soon kill Cap as look at him.
by Ben Herman