Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at the super-villain group that grew from the Nazis: Hydra
Appearances in Heroclix: N X of Swords, Avengers – Fantastic Four: Empyre, X-Men Rise and Fall, Spider-Man and Venom: Absolute Carnage, Battlegrounds: Avengers vs. Masters of Evil, Captain American and the Avengers, X-Men the Animated Series: The Dark Phoenix Saga, Avengers: Black Panther and the Illuminati, Earth X, Wizkids Marvel, Avengers/Defenders War, Deadpool and X-Force, Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Civil War SOP, Captain America: Civil War, Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD, Age of Ultron: SLOP, Avengers Assemble, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy, Deadpool, The Invincible Iron Man, Wolverine and the X-Men, Fear Itself, Chaos War, Avengers Movie, Captain America, Secret Invasion, Avengers, Sinister, Armor Wars, Universe, Critical Mass, Xplosion, Clobberin Time, Infinity Challenge
First Appearance: Strange Tales #135
Notable Members: Baron Strucker, Madame Hydra, Viper, Gorgon, Hive, Red Skull
Created by: Jack Kirby and Stan Lee
Following World War II, several Nazi fugitives from Germany recruit members of the ninja clan known as the Hand to form Hydra. These members plot to overthrow the Japanese government, assassinate the prime minister and install an anti-communist government. Shortly after joining Hydra, Baron von Strucker seizes control of the organization and moves Hydra’s operations to an island in the Pacific, naming it Hydra Island. This island would be invaded and eventually destroyed as Strucker steers the group towards global domination. These escapades would bring Hydra into conflict with Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr (the future Mangeto), and eventually lead to the creation of SHIELD which is intended to act as a direct counter to Hydra.
The installation of Nick Fury as director of SHIELD causes a constant thorn in Hydra’s side. The attempted blackmail of the world with the Betatron Bomb, the creation of the Overkill Horn and a bio-engineered Death-Spore Bomb all fail thanks to Fury. Eventually, even Hydra’s leader von Strucker is seemingly killed, leading to a splintering of the group. These groups all chose different, and some times competing, goals leading to only continued failure at the hands of SHIELD, super heroes and each other. Eventually, this leads to the resurrection of Baron Von Strucker who proceeds to reunite several of the factions under one banner.
Eventually, Baron Helmut Zemo has Strucker placed in stasis. Without the real Strucker, his second wife Elsbeth aligns with the super powered Hand ninja Gorgon to create a clone of Strucker. They prop this clone up so that he will fail, be executed, and lead to a Hydra/Hand alliance. They then proceed to attack, kill, and resurrect several superheroes and supervillains. Using a brainwashed Northstar, Elektra and Wolverine as leaders, they launch a massive attack on SHIELD. After being deprogrammed, Wolverine eventually defeats the initiative and rescues Northstar before killing Gorgon.
Spider-Woman acts as a mole in Hydra for Nick Fury, who is currently in exile after a failed espionage attempt against Latveria. After being captured by SHIELD and then rescued by Hydra, the Hydra agents reveal that they know of Spider-Woman’s betrayal and wish to use her to replace the unstable Viper. She refuses and destroys the Hydra Base she is held in. Hydra stops persuing Spider-Woman when she reveals herself to be Queen Veranke of the Skrull Empire.
Congressman Woodman steps in and takes control of Hydra before using the young Hardball, who has been empowered by the Power Broker, to act as a double agent in the Initiative. Hardball agrees to this in exchange for expensive health care needed for his brother. Hardball evetually grows too conflicted and kills Woodman in front of his subordinates leading to Hardball’s appointment as Supreme Leader. He eventually surrenders to the Shadow Initiative to attone for his crimes leaving his Hydra cell leaderless and eventually destroyed.
What follows is a complicated game of chess wherein Nick Fury (and von Strucker) believe that SHIELD and several US departments have been secretly working under Hydra’s orders. Strucker rebuilds Hydra from the ground up, creating a council of Hydra. He invites leaders of the larger Hydra cells onto this council to consolidate power. The council consists of Viper, Madame Hydra, Kraken, the Hive and a resurrected Gorgon. This new Hydra aligns with HAMMER and Norman Osborn. After Osborn’s defeat, Madame Hydra recruits the remaining members of HAMMER into Hydra.
This plan eventually ends in failure as well, however, as Fury reveals to Strucker that it is Hydra that has been doing SHIELD’s bidding for years; ever since his presumed dead brother had taken the place of the Kraken. Fury reveals this after the pair are seemingly kidnapped by the Kraken. Fury then kills Strucker again and leaves the Secret Warriors in the hands of Daisy Johnson.