SONS OF THE SERPENT
Membership: Black Panther imposter, Captain America imposter, Carston, Caswell, Cheer Chadwick, General Chen, Russell Daboia, Dan Dunn, Ethan, Lucas Green, Montague Hale, Hate-Monger, Jack, Ajanii Jackson, Leonard Martin Kryzewski, Laughlin, John Mason, Number 16, J.C. Pennysworth, Simmons, Skinhead
Purpose: To subvert America through hate crimes and organized protests
Minions' International Liberation Front (MILF), the Org, Quetzalcoatl
(monster/demon), Redshirt, Nicholas
Scratch, Salem's Seven, Wizard
brief alliance with A.I.M., Black Choppers, Cyber-Ninjas, Hydra, Lords of the Living Lightning, Militiamen, Secret Empire, Trenchcoat Mafia, Ultimatum;
formerly AIM, Hydra, War Machines
Enemies: AIM, Avengers (Black Panther, Black Widow, Captain America, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Falcon, Hawkeye, Hellcat, Iron Man, Moondragon, Quicksilver, Rage, Scarlet Witch, Sersi, Vision, War Machine, Wasp, Yellowjacket), Baron Strucker, Alessandro Brannex, Defenders (Blazing Skull, Luke Cage, Colossus, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Daimon Hellstrom, Hulk, Nighthawk, She-Hulk, Valkyrie), Bill Foster, FBI, HYDRA, Monica Lynne, Mercedes Merced, New Warriors (Firestar, Justice, Namorita, Night Thrasher), Jack Norriss, the Org, Joaquin Pennysworth, S.H.I.E.L.D., Songbird, Spitfire (Jacqueline Falsworth), Taskmaster, Union Jack (Joe Chapman), War Machines, Raymond Washington, Hedy Wolfe
Aliases: Sons of the Shield
Base of Operations:
Mobile across the USA, notably Webster County, West Virginia
Atlantic City, New Jersey
various warehouses in Los Angeles, California
Mount Charteris, near Burton Canyon, Colorado
Richmond Enterprises building, 101 East 47th street, New York
Sons of the Shields' campaign headquarters, Harlem, New York
Sons of the Shield bunker, Harlem, New York
Serpent Den, an abandoned television studio, New York
a serpent-shaped underwater vehicle
Serpent Den, a cave in New York
a large airship disguised as a cloud
First Appearance: Avengers I#32 (September, 1966)
Powers/Abilities: The Sons of the Serpent have wielded a number of sophisticated weapons, including energy rifles, protective body armor, gas grenades, staffs which fire energy blasts, staves which transform into serpents which bind about their opponents and shock them with electricity, poison dart guns, and energy-firing nunchuks. They often carry "Serpent Signs" which can be used as clubs, and sometimes contain recording equipment for leaving messages. Some Sons of the Serpent have been armed with explosives to serve as suicide bombers, or to prevent them from talking should they be captured.
History: (Avengers I#32) - The Sons of the Serpent were organized by the Supreme Serpent (General Chen) and sent out to recruit new members and beat up "foreigners." After the Sons of the Serpent beat up Bill Foster, a friend of Goliath, the Avengers became determined to bring them down. After the Avengers announced their intentions publicly, the Supreme Serpent had them bring Captain America aboard their airship with a tractor beam, then sent wave after wave of their members after him until he fell. The Supreme Serpent then informed the Avengers that unless they publicly championed the Serpents to the media, they would kill Captain America.
(Avengers I#33) - Two Sons of the Serpent armed with explosives were sent to Avengers Mansion to deliver a message from the Supreme Serpent, ordering the Avengers to attend a public appearance of the Sons of the Serpent where they would lend their support. The Supreme Serpent also had one of his men disguised as Captain America in order to aid their cause. While Goliath and Wasp went to the auditorium where the Serpents were making their broadcast, Hawkeye invaded the Serpents' airship solo, and met up with the Black Widow, who had infiltrated the Serpents on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the two rescued the real Captain America. At the auditorium, Goliath and Wasp denounced the Serpents, and the Captain America imposter was dispatched to stir up the crowd against them, but the Avengers attacked the Sons of the Serpent, and were soon joined by Hawkeye, Black Widow and the real Captain America, who defeated his imposter. The Supreme Serpent tried to take Hawkeye as a hostage in order to escape, but the Black Widow and Wasp defeated him. The Supreme Serpent was then unmasked as General Chen, and his plot to divide America using the Sons of the Serpent was revealed.
(Avengers I#73) - The Sons of the Serpent were reorganized under the leadership of talk show hosts Dan Dunn (a white right-winger) and Montague Hale (a black left-winger), and resumed their activities, including the destruction of the Equal Employment Bureau. When Hale spoke out against the Serpents on his program, he was beaten up by the Sons of the Serpent, and his program was cancelled by his nervous sponsors. Hale began appearing on Dunn's program, and attempted to bring singer Monica Lynne into his camp. When she refused, the Sons of the Serpent were sent to attack her, but she was saved by the Black Panther. The Black Panther decided to try and stop the Sons of the Serpent solo after this, and managed to infiltrate one of their vessels in their costume, but when he didn't recite their oath, he was discovered and taken prisoner.
(Avengers I#74) - The Sons of the Serpent sent out a member dressed as the Black Panther to commit crimes, then announced to the public that they would capture the Black Panther themselves. The Avengers attempted to capture the imposter, but he eluded them. The Avengers managed to locate the Serpents' base, an abandoned television studio, and arrived just as the Black Panther imposter was unmasked on television as the Serpents' "prisoner." However, the Vision set the real Black Panther free, and he exposed the trick. When the Avengers saw that the Serpents were being led by two different Supreme Serpents, the Wasp and Yellowjacket unmasked them as Dunn and Hale. They attempted to kill the Avengers with their laser guns, but Monica Lynne shoved them from behind, giving the Black Panther the chance he needed to strike them down.
(Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty#8) - The Serpents were reorganized by John Mason, a politician who renamed them the "Sons of the Shield," and claimed that Captain America was one of them in order to leech off of his reputation. They hired the Wizard to provide them with high-technology, and used black subordinates to perform acts of violence in order to increase Mason's support. After Ajanii Jackson destroyed the First Baptist Church in Harlem, he riled up the crowds against Mason, leading them in an assault upon the Sons of the Shields' campaign headquarters with weapons the Sons themselves had supplied. Captain America and the Falcon were forced to defend the Sons, and Mason had the weapons deactivated as the fight began to wear down. Then, when Captain America stepped in front of an armed man, he had the weapon reactivated, shooting Captain America in the back. Mason then stepped in front of the television cameras, declaring that Captain America had laid down his life for their cause.
(Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty#9) - The Falcon, dressed as Captain America, fought back against the Sons of the Shield, and eventually located Ajanii, and followed him back to the Sons' base. For leading the Falcon to them, Mason had Ajanii slain with a bioethnic virus he intended to use to "reclaim" Harlem from its black population. When the Falcon burst in, they sent Captain America to fight him, controlling him through a device planted on his head. As a mob from Harlem began to break in, Mason released the virus, only to discover it killed both whites and non-whites. The Falcon released Captain America from Mason's control, and Mason was killed by the virus. The Falcon prevented it from spreading outside of the Sons of the Shield's base.
(Defenders I#25 (fb) - BTS) - Disgusted with his fellow blacks, Richmond Enterprises financier J.C. Pennysworth used his company's fortune to fund a revival of the Sons of the Serpent.
(Defenders I#22) - The Sons of the Serpent began to set fire to Manhattan's slums. After the torching of a slum attracted the attention of the Defenders, the Sons of the Serpent returned to confront them just as they were attempting to control the slumlord, Harold Holliman, himself a racist. The Sons of the Serpent demanded that the Defenders release Holliman, and called them traitors to the white race. A fight broke out, but Dr. Strange was able to halt the violence before it could escalate. The Sons of the Serpents fled, declaring that they would return.
(Defenders I#23) - Yellowjacket found members of the Sons of the Serpent spying on the Defenders from across the street and captured one of them, placing him into Dr. Strange's custody. The Defenders then witnessed a television broadcast by the Sons of the Serpent in which their new Supreme Serpent declared their intention to drive out non-whites. They set another series of fires in New York, and Yellowjacket was caught by a team of Serpents while trying to help civilians. When the Defenders came looking for him, the Serpents attacked them, and managed to strike down Valkyrie, Nighthawk, Dr. Strange and the Hulk. Unable to lift the Hulk, they only took the other three captive.
(Defenders I#24) - The Supreme Serpent gloated to the captive Dr. Strange, Yellowjacket, Valkyrie and Nighthawk how he intended to incite a race war by destroying the ghettos, forcing the "inferior" races into the suburbs, where white men would have to fight for survival against them, until the white men would (inevitably, of course) win. Valkyrie managed to free the other Defenders, but they were quickly defeated again by the Sons of the Serpent, with only Yellowjacket finally escaping by shrinking out of his bonds. Meanwhile, Daimon Hellstrom and Luke Cage interrogated the member of the Sons of the Serpent the Defenders had captured, but were unable to break through his conditioning, as he only babbled nursery rhymes while under hypnosis. The Sons of the Serpent set out to burn Valkyrie to death on national television, which brought Daredevil and the Hulk into the fray in an attempt to rescue her.
(Defenders I#25) - Jack Norriss ran in and attacked the Serpents in an attempt to save Valkyrie, at that time thinking she was his wife. Other civilians watching were inspired by Norriss' actions, and rose up against the Serpents, fighting them. Daredevil and Norriss finally saved Valkyrie after the Serpents fled. Power Man and the Son of Satan set Dr. Strange, Yellowjacket and Nighthawk free from the Serpents' custody, and they explored the Serpents' base, discovering it was a Richmond Enterprises facility, with a passageway into the office of J.C. Pennysworth. Nighthawk angrily set off and confronted Pennysworth, and forced him to lead the Defenders to the Serpents' base. The full line-up of the Defenders rallied against the Serpents and defeated them, but Nighthawk was left melancholy over how his wealth had been used to finance them.
(Thunderbolts I#33 (fb)) - At some point in their history, the Sons of the Serpent made use of Mount Charteris as their base of operations.
(Avengers Annual#19/4 (fb) - BTS) - A small town young man named Lucas Green became the newest Supreme Serpent, and led the Sons of the Serpent in stealing high-tech weaponry that had been meant for S.H.I.E.L.D.
(Avengers Annual#19/4) - The Avengers caught up with the Sons of the Serpent in Lucas' hometown, and learned of their plans by having Hawkeye infiltrate them. They defeated the Sons of the Serpent in their first encounter, but Lucas escaped. Lucas planned to set off bombs in New York and Los Angeles, but his little brother Hubie overheard his plans and relayed them to the Avengers. Lucas was arrested and the Serpents dispersed again.
(Avengers I#341-342) - Leonard Martin Kryzewski, a member of the Serpents from when Pennysworth was their leader, was outfitted by the Hate-Monger to recruit a new incarnation of the Sons of the Serpent. Kryzewski led the Sons of the Serpent into a riot, brought about after teenager Carmello Martinez was beaten by policemen. The New Warriors and Avengers entered the fray, but the Hate-Monger used his powers to turn them against each other. Still, the heroes rallied against the Serpents, and they fled back to Pennysworth's old building, only to find that the two teams had each determined they were using it as their base. The two teams of heroes quickly defeated the Serpents.
(Avengers West Coast#100/4) - Still following the Hate-Monger, the Sons of the Serpent distributed high-tech arms to the streets of Los Angeles. They attracted the attention of War Machine after their hardware wound up in the hands of a gang named after him. War Machine destroyed a warehouse full of their weapons and struck down the Hate-Monger, declaring that he wasn't through with them.
(Captain Marvel III#1) - The Sons of the Serpent embarked on another hate campaign, assaulting Asians on Empire State University. When two of them attacked a pair of students they were stopped by Captain Marvel, and placed in police custody. Later, when Raymond Washington began to set up a night patrol on ESU to protect students from attacks, they held a rally, and began to attack the students who spoke up against them. The superhuman Neo-Nazi Skinhead had also joined the Sons of the Serpent and fought Captain Marvel, but she drove him away in their first clash. When Raymond Washington organized a demonstration to meet the Sons of the Serpent head-on, he stood up against the Serpents, refusing to fight them, and declaring them to be the biggest problem in America. Several of the Serpents abandoned the team, including Skindhead's human form, but his protoplasm body remained active, and was finally destroyed by Captain Marvel. The Sons of the Serpent were left in a state of disarray.
(Marvel Comics Presents#153/2-155/2) - The Sons of the Serpent were revealed to be making deals to purchase weapons from AIM, sell them to gangs like the War Machines, and use the money to buy drugs from HYDRA. War Machine learned of these actions, and had the War Machines disguise themselves as Sons of the Serpent in order to sour their relationship with AIM and HYDRA by killing AIM and HYDRA agents. War Machine then made a deal with Baron Strucker and Alessandro Brannex to supply him with AIM and HYDRA agents to bring down the Hate-Monger's operations. Together, they brought an end to the Sons of the Serpents' dealings.
(Avengers 2000 Annual) - The Sons of the Serpent ventured into mysticism, under the leadership of Russell Daboia, and his master Nicholas Scratch. They infiltrated the amusement park town of Centerville, possessing its population with demons summoned by Daboia. When Hellcat learned of their actions, she sent out a psychic distress call which was answered by the Avengers. The Avengers freed Hellcat from the demons the Serpents had placed in her and her friend Hedy Wolfe, and they joined together in opposing the Serpents. Daboia summoned forth Salem's Seven to combat the Avengers, but Hedy disrupted the magical circle Daboia needed to control the entities he invoked, and he was destroyed. Salem's Seven vanished, and the Serpents quickly surrendered, and were turned over to the police.
(The Last Defenders#1) - The Sons of the Serpent were brought under the rule of a new Supreme Serpent who continued the team's association with the occult. S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Joaquin Pennysworth investigated their operations but was captured. The newly-reformed Defenders (Blazing Skull, Colossus, Nighthawk, She-Hulk) were brought in on the mission and burst into the Serpents' Atlantic City base just as they had finished summoning a snake demon called Quetzalcoatl.
(The Last Defenders#2) - Having defeated Quetzalcoatl at the cost of their standing in the Initiative, Nighthawk and She-Hulk tracked Joaquin to the Serpents' base in Webster County, West Virginia, where they were in the process of preparing a Madbomb weapon.
(The Last Defenders#3) - While the Serpents prepared to detonate the Madbomb Joaquin was revealed to have planted explosives and detonated them, escaping from the explosion with Nighthawk and She-Hulk's aid.
(Captain Britain and MI-13#5) - Union Jack and Spitfire attacked a recruitment meeting of the Sons of the Serpent somewhere in Dulwich.
(Dark Reign Files) - Quasimodo researched the Sons of the Serpent for Norman Osborn.
(Taskmaster II#1) - The Sons of the Serpent were amongst 15 terrorist organizations who had targeted Taskmaster for the billion-dollar bounty on his head, apparently offered by the Org (actually Redshirt in an effort to usurp the Org). Taskmaster killed all those sent against him on the initial raid.
(Taskmaster II#3) - Redshirt rallied his Minions' International Liberation Front (MILF), which included non-senior members of the Sons of the Serpent.
(Taskmaster II#4) - Redshirt and his alliance attacked the former S.H.I.E.L.D. base where Taskmaster was hiding. Those involved in the attack were either killed by Taskmaster and Mercedes Merced or fled.
Comments: Created by Stan Lee (writer) and Don Heck (art).
In Avengers I#32, the Sons of the Serpent's chant was first heard: "As the original serpent drove Adam and Eve from Eden-- so shall we drive all foreigners from this land." This chant was repeated (with minor variations) in many of their subsequent appearances.
Captain Marvel III#1 presented a team of the Sons of the Serpent who bore no resemblance to the team the Hate-Monger was operating with at that time. Because there's nothing in Captain Marvel III#1 to date it as occurring at that point chronology-wise (outside of the cover date), I would personally prefer it placed prior to Avengers I#341.
In Avengers Annual 2000 in one place they
chant 'Kaa Nama Ka Lajeerama" pace the Serpent Men; they call upon Seth
(Set) and other unnamed Old Ones (one may be called 'Ssiguarath' and
may hail from 'Ib' -- both names evident in said chants).
-- Wayne Lenihan
This is curious as previously the Sons of
had followed a Christian Identity sort of theology, referencing Adam
and Eve. See Howard's Hyborian Age essay for the true history of the
The Sons of the Serpent got an entry in OHotMU 2006 A-Z#10.
by Prime Eternal
The Sons of the Serpent should not be confused with:
A white member of the Sons of the Serpent was garbed in the Black Panther's costume (with a black mask over his face under the mask), and sent out to commit crimes so that the Sons of the Serpent could then "capture" him and expose the Black Panther in public as a black man. However, the real Black Panther exposed the trick on television, unmasking the imposter.
One of the Sons of the Serpent was garbed in Captain America's costume and shield by the Supreme Serpent in an effort to make it seem as though Captain America had endorsed the Serpents' cause. The imposter attempted to rile up a crowd of people against the Avengers, but the real Captain America was set free by Hawkeye and the Black Widow, and he defeated his imposter in combat, reclaiming his shield.
Carston was one of John Mason's men when the Sons of the Serpent were known as "the Sons of the Shield." When Ajanii Jackson led a mob to attack the Sons of the Shield's headquarters, Carston used a device to deactivate the weapons Ajanii had supplied, then reactivate it in order to shoot Captain America in the back in an attempt to martyr him for their cause.
--Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty#8
Caswell was one of the Sons of the Serpent who participated in the Centerville plot on behalf of Nicholas Scratch. He was defeated by the Avengers.
--Avengers 2000 Annual
Ethan, Jack, and Laughlin were among the Sons of the Serpent who were recruited by Leonard Martin Kryzewski to serve in the Hate-Monger's incarnation of the team. They were all defeated by the Avengers.
--Avengers I#341, 342
Simmons was a member of the Sons of the Serpent who was on guard duty when the Black Panther invaded the Serpent Den and knocked him out, taking his place to infiltrate the Serpents.
Avengers I#341, page 20, panel 4
Defenders I#23, page 15
Captain Marvel III#1, page 2, panel 4
Avengers 2000 Annual, page 36, panel 2
Black Panther imposter- Avengers I#74, page 19, panel 1
Captain America imposter- Avengers I#33, page 6, panel 4
I#33 (October, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Don Heck (artist)
Avengers I#73 (February, 1970) - Roy Thomas (writer), Frank Giacoia (pencils), Sam Grainger (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Avengers I#74 (March, 1970) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty#8 (April, 1999) - Mark Waid (writer), Cully Hammer & Pondscum (pencils), Nathan Massengill & Pondscum (inks), Matt Idelson (editor)
Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty#9 (May, 1999) - Mark Waid (writer), Dougie Braithwaite (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Matt Idelson (editor)
Defenders I#22-25 (April-July, 1975) - Steve Gerber (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Mike Esposito (#22), Vince Colletta (#23), Bob McLeod (#24) & Jack Abel (#25) (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Thunderbolts I#33 (December, 1999) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers Annual#19 (1990) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Richard Howell (pencils), Jack Morelli (inks), Howard Mackie (editor)
Avengers I#341-342 (November-December, 1991) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Steve Epting (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Avengers West Coast#100 (November, 1993) - Len Kaminski (writer), Tom Morgan (pencils), Don Cameron (inks), Nelson Yomtov (editor)
Captain Marvel III#1 (February, 1994) - Dwight Coye & Dwayne McDuffie (writers), Mark Bright (pencils), Dennis Janke, Barbara Kaalberg & Mark McKenna (inks)
Marvel Comics Presents#153-155 (May, 1994) - Len Kaminski & Scott Benson (writers), John Czop (pencils), Tim Dzon (inks), Richard Ashford (editor)
Avengers 2000 Annual (2000) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Norm Breyfogle & Richard Howell (artists), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Last Defenders#1-3 (May-July, 2008) - Joe Casey, Keith Giffen (writers), Jim Muniz (penciler), Cam Smith (inker), Steve Wacker (editor)
Captain Britain and MI-13#5 (November, 2008) - Paul Cornell (writer), Pat Olliffe (pencils), Paul Neary (inks), Nick Lowe (editor)
Dark Reign Files (February, 2009) - Michael Hoskin & various others (writer), Jeff Youngquist (editor)
Taskmaster II#1 (November, 2010) - Fred van Lente (writer), Jefte Palo (art), Lauren Sankovitch (editor)
Taskmaster II#3-4 (January-February, 2011) - Fred van Lente (writer), Jefte Palo (art), Lauren Sankovitch (editor)
Last updated: 08/07/11
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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