VIPER

Real Name: Jordan Dixon (legally changed);
    Jordan Stryke (birth name)

Identity/Class: Human/technology user (deceased)

Occupation: Professional criminal, advertising agency executive

Group Membership: Committee to Regain America's Principles (Quentin Harderman, Moonstone/Lloyd Bloch), Crime Wave, Serpent Squad

Affiliations: Cowled Commander, Quentin Harderman (partner);
    possibly Nighthawk, Nuke (both of Earth-712/aka Earth-S), Vakume; (see comments)
    briefly Dark Angel/Hell's Angel, the Guide, the X-Men (Cyclops/Scott Summers, Psylocke/Betsy Braddock, Wolverine/Logan/James Howlett)

Enemies: Captain America (Steve Rogers), Falcon (Sam Wilson), Viper (Ophelia Sarkissian, aka Madame Hydra)

Known Relatives: Leopold Stryke (brother, Eel, deceased)

Aliases: Jordan Stryke (following legal name change), Jordon Dixon (See Comments)

Base of Operations: Super-Hero Dead Zone (Viper's soul fragment);
    location of his soul in its entirety (assuming he is truly dead);
    formerly mobile;
    formerly New York City, New York

First Appearance: Captain America I#157 (January 1973)

 

 

Powers/Abilities: Physically, Viper was a good hand-to-hand combatant, quite agile, and possessed the normal strength of a man his age, weight, and height who engaged in intensive regular exercise. Mentally, Viper was calculating and without mercy; besides advertising, Viper also had some skill in chemistry, allowing him to create his venom. He possessed no superhuman physical or mental abilities while alive.

    His soul fragment apparently had the psychic powers natural to Dead Zone inhabitants. Of those powers, he exhibited flight. The Management could grant extra unspecified abilities while he was on missions. He couldn't ordinarily sustain a physical form on Earth without outside assistance.

Equipment/Weapons: Viper wore and hurled darts tipped with lethal poison. He also wore razor-sharp fangs on his right wrist (likewise tipped with poison). Besides these weapons, he also wielded from a simple blowgun to the advanced Venom-Firer, a cannon-like weapon, both of which projected his poison, the latter with more range than by blowgun and by hand.

 

 

 

 

History: (Captain America I#157 (fb) - BTS) - For years Jordan Stryke labored in anonymity selling other men's products, making other men's fortunes, laying waste to values and the environment of a nation from the privacy of his office. Among the campaigns he ran was the marketing of children's toys.

(Captain America I#170 (fb)) - The superhuman criminal Moonstone met with Quentin Harderman and Viper. Moonstone wanted to join the Committee to Regain America's Principles, saying that he could be a distinct asset to them. Viper and Harderman agreed, and Moonstone joined the operation.

(Captain America I#157 - BTS) - When the Cowled Commander formed his Crime Wave, Viper joined the team alongside his brother, the Eel. Viper exploded a bomb at the 15th Police Precinct in an attempt to kill Captain America.

(Captain America I#157) - Standing on top of a nearby building, Viper watched as Falcon, Cap's partner at the time, came out of the ruins of the police station. Falcon glimpsed the criminal and rushed to see who he was. He met Viper, learning that he was behind the explosion. The two of them began to fight. Viper managed to throw a venom-tipped dart at Falcon, felling him, but suddenly Captain America appeared, having survived the explosion. He attacked Viper, who was surprised that Captain America survived. Captain America managed to defeat the villain, but Viper told him that if he wanted the antidote to the poison to save Falcon, he would have to let him go. Captain America agreed, knowing that he had to make a deal with the villain while not liking it one bit. Viper threw the antidote to Captain America, but when Captain America tried to get the antidote, he turned his back to the Viper. Viper told him, "We have a saying in the advertising game, Captain America! You might do well to remember it: Never turn your back on the competition!" With those words, he threw a Viper dart in the back of Captain America, as well, and escaped.

(Captain America I#158) - While Captain America and Falcon lay on the top of the building, Viper escaped.

(Captain America I#158 - BTS) - After being saved by Captain America, Falcon went to see Boss Morgan in order to find out where Viper was hiding. Boss Morgan told him that he knew where Viper was and that he even knew who the Cowled Commander was, but he wasn't telling him. Falcon left Boss Morgan and went to a place in town where he thought there was a good chance an ad man would live. He went to a drug store and asked the owner who bought chemicals from him. The drug store owner sent him off to see Jordon Dixon, the Viper's secret identity (see Comments).

(Captain America I#158) - In his apartment, Viper was mixing more chemicals for his poisonous darts when the Falcon came crashing through the window, and the two of them began to fight. Viper was about to hit Falcon with a dart, but he was attacked by Falcon's avian partner Redwing, giving Falcon enough time to knock his opponent down. Standing on top of him, Falcon asked Viper who the Cowled Commander was, but Viper told him that he was a fool because the Cowled Commander's identity was a secret, and Viper himself didn't even know. He also told him that he couldn't stop the Crime Wave because he was just a middle-echelon type, and if he didn't report in, Falcon would have to face Plantman (simuloid), Porcupine, Eel and Scarecrow.

(Captain America I#159) - Leaving Viper's apartment to fight the rest of the Crime Wave, Falcon brought Viper with him. Viper begged Falcon not to drop him from the height they were flying. Arriving at the battle between Captain America and the Crime Wave, Falcon threw Viper in Plantman's face. Eel realized that Viper was his brother, and as Viper was about to get up again, Eel used his electro-blast against Falcon. When the police commissioner came, he accidentally gave Viper and the rest of the Crime Wave a chance to escape in a car, and they drove to a secret hideout.

    The five of them then discussed their plans. Eel told Scarecrow that he didn't know that Viper had joined the Crime Wave, and he believed that Jordan was playing it straight at Madison Avenue. Viper broke in, telling them that he was indeed the one who helped them, but Porcupine wasn't convinced because he shouldn't take credit for being dropped by Falcon. Suddenly the five were attacked by Falcon and Captain America. Viper was quickly defeated by Falcon, but Plantman used his plants to capture the two heroes, and the five of them brought Cap and Falcon to a secret chamber. When Captain America and Falcon escaped from the chamber, the Cowled Commander and his Crime Wave fought the two heroes. Captain America defeated the Viper by throwing Porcupine into him. Viper and the rest of them were sent to jail.

(Captain America I#163) - Alongside his brother Leopold (Eel), Viper broke out of prison. The prison guards tried to stop them, but they were helpless against the super-villains. To get over the prison wall, the Cobra helped them, and the three of them escaped in a car and drove to their secret hideout.

    They began to plan their revenge against Captain America and Falcon. Viper decided to call his old friend Quentin Harderman, to make him start an ad campaign for him called "the un-selling of Captain America." The campaign's goal was to convince the public that Captain America was a glory-grabbing vigilante, despoiling the name of America. After Viper hung up the phone, Eel told him that he always had some nutty ideas. In response, Viper said, "Wait and see. Never underestimate the power of advertising." After reading the paper, Eel revealed that Captain America was now in Virginia visiting his girlfriend. The three of them decided to go after him and kill him, flying to Virginia in turn.

    Together they broke through the window to the room where Captain America and Falcon were present, announced themselves as the Serpent Squad, stated that both of the heroes must die, and attacked the heroes. Viper hurled one of his lethal darts toward Captain America, but Captain America managed to evade the dart by using his shield and then knocked down Viper. Realizing that they needed to regroup, the three villains escaped to find their weapons. Later at Dave Cox's house, the Serpent Squad made another attack against Captain America, with Viper wielding his Venom-Firer. When the villains realized that they couldn't bring Captain America out in the open, they went down to Cox's house and broke down the door. Realizing that Captain America was gone, they tried to get Dave Cox to tell them where Captain America was. Dave refused to tell them, and Cobra decided to use his Cobra Convulsion Pistol against Dave, while Viper and Eel looked for Captain America. Suddenly Captain America came down from the roof, surprising the villains. Taking out Cobra and Eel with ease, Viper was about to use his Viper fangs, but Captain America smashed his shield into Viper's face, knocking him out. After Cobra and Eel were beaten, the three of them were sent to jail again.

(Captain America I#175) - From jail, Viper watched TV as Moonstone told the media the truth about the Committee to Regain America's Principles.

(Captain America I#180) - On a road in Virginia, Viper was being transported by three US Marshals to appear before a grand jury. Suddenly a bomb was thrown in front of the car, and the US Marshals stopped the vehicle. A dart with gas broke through the bullet-proof glass, and the US Marshals rushed out of the door, only to be gunned down. Viper also got out of the door while still wearing handcuffs. Believing that the Serpent Squad had freed him, he was introduced to the one who actually freed him, the former Madame Hydra. She told him that now she would take the name Viper for herself. Viper replied, "Uh...won't that cause confusion in the marketplace? I mean I'm the Viper too... Say listen if, uh, you'd like me to change my name...well what's in a name after all..." The former Madame Hydra told him to be silent and then gunned him down, taking his costume and name.

(Hell's Angel#2 (fb) - BTS) - Viper's soul split, due to trauma. His soul fragment became an inhabitant of the Super-Hero Dead Zone in Inner Space, waiting in peace hoping one day to be reclaimed by its original soul.

(Hell's Angel#2) - The Viper soul fragment, along with soul fragments of Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond) of Earth-712, Nuke (Albert Gaines) of Earth-712, and Vakume of Salem's Seven, was recruited for a mission by the Guide along with Hell's Angel. The Guide took out a special dispensation from the Management to grant the soul fragments a few extra abilities. They, and Hell's Angel, traveled to Tokyo Japan, to prevent the assassination of Takashei Otomo by Mys-Tech's Psycho-Warriors. The battle was joined by the X-Men, and the Psycho-Warriors defeated all but one. Unfortunately, that last Psycho-Warrior shot Viper's soul fragment. The fragment became an ever dissipating cosmic mist. Nighthawk killed the last Psycho-Warrior, and the remaining heroes pay their last respects with a moments silence.

Comments: Created by Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, Sal Buscema and John Verpoorten.

    I guess Viper couldn't keep track of his own aliases-- in Captain America I #158, Falcon learned from the store owner that the man he was looking for is Jordon Dixon, the alias Viper used in the advertising world to keep clean of the Stryke name. In Captain America I#163, he called his old friend Quentin, telling him it was his old friend Jordan Dixon aka Viper. Hmmm, guess he used both Jordon Dixon and Jordan Dixon as aliases, and Jordan Stryke as his real name. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#20 listed his name as Jordan Dixon so I guess Jordon Dixon was a mistake. There's Jordan Dixon, then there's Jordan Dixon.

    Whilst doing a big batch of Hell's Angel profiles, I noticed the Hell's Angel summary needed a looking at. I'll give the soul fragments a fuller group profile ASAP. It is interesting that a villain ended up in the Super-Hero Dead Zone. Presumably the soul fragment embodied Viper's "good" side. The soul fragments of Nighthawk and Nuke might not have been intended to be from Earth-712 (yeah, that's weird, since they are from an alternate reality and would have souls in their own afterworlds...but then again, Nighthawk, at least traveled to Earth-616 and had some trauma there, which could have caused some soul fragmentaton; while there are not stories showing Nuke on Earth-616, the Marvel Zombies Supreme series had a zombie version of Earth-712's Nuke present, having been generated from a hard light version of Nuke generated by Dr. Spectrum.--Snood) but the Earth-616 counterparts (in this case, that would be Nuke (Frank Simpson), but still a Kyle Richmond Nighthawk; we have seen certainly seen cases where the writer intended someone, and the artist drew someone else, and no one figured out the error until after the story was published--Snood). Although Earth-616 Nighthawk returned quite alive after Hell's Angel#2, soul fragments are said to be caused by trauma. Trauma isn't necessarily fatal. Perhaps in Nighthawk's case the original soul stayed with his body when a non-fatal trauma caused the soul fragment which ended up in Inner Space. -- Changeling.

    There's no unmasked shot - the one time I thought you would be guaranteed one, when he is in prison watching TV with other inmates in Cap #175, hilariously he is still wearing his mask in combination with his prison clothes. Maybe his lawyer blocked them unmasking him until he was convicted?--Loki

by The Beetle

Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims.
    Hell's Angel info updated by Changeling.
    Additional images provided courtesy of Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Viper shouldn't be confused with:

The Eel, Leopold Stryke, shouldn't be confused with

Moonstone, Lloyd Bloch, shouldn't be confused with:


images:
- main image

Captain America I#157, pg. 13, panel 4
        pg. 14, panel 1 - blowgun & wrist-fangs;
        pg. 16, panel 1 - venom dart;
    #180, pg. 4, panel 4 - death at the hands of Viper/Madame Hydra


Appearances:
Captain America I#157-159 (January-March, 1973) - Steve Englehart (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), John Verpoorten (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Captain America I#163 (July, 1973) - Steve Englehart (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Tony Mortellaro & John Verpoorten (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Captain America I#170 (February, 1974) - Steve Englehart & Mike Friedrich (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Frank McLaughlin (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Captain America I#175 (July, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Vincent Colletta (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Captain America I#180 (December, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Vincent Colletta (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Hell's Angel#2 (August, 1992) - Bernadette Jaye (writer), Geoff Senior (pencils/inks), Helen Stone (editor)


Last updated: 02/28/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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