Real Name: Leon Murtaugh

Identity/Class: Human technology user

Occupation: Professional criminal

Group Membership: Serpent Squad (Eel/Edward Lavell, Cobra/Piet Voorhees)

Affiliations: Red Skull (Johann Shmidt), Sin (Sinthea Shmidt), Crossbones (Brock Rumlow), Hydra Queen (Grace)

Enemies: Captain America (James "Bucky" Barnes), Captain America (Steve Rogers), Sharon Carter, Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Scourge (Dennis Dunphy)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Formerly New York City, New York;

formerly Washington, DC

First Appearance: Captain America V#28 (September, 2007)

Powers/Abilities: Viper could fire darts from blasters on his forearm. These darts were tipped in poison. In his appearances Viper didn't display great hand to hand combat skills, however his size and build would suggest he possessed at least athlete level strength.

Height: 6'8" (approx)
Weight: 320 lbs. (approx)
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Bald


(Captain America V#28 (fb) - BTS) - Leon Murtaugh killed a number of men to earn the right to take over the Viper identity and equipment (originally used by Jordan Dixon/Stryke) as part of the Serpent Squad, now under the control of the Red Skull's daughter, Sin (Sinthea Shmidt).

(Captain America V#28) - Murtaugh's first assignment as Viper was the Serpent Squad's attack on the nerve center for the Asian stock market, causing stocks to fall dramatically. As they entered, Cobra made clear that Viper was the only one who still had to prove himself in the field. When Murtaugh asked why the previous men he had killed didn't count, Sin made clear that the Serpent Squad's role was more than that and they needed to "create fear...terror...and agonizing death". Viper took out one policeman with 3 venom darts to his face (and one to the arm) before taking out an office worker with one punch, smashing his head into a metal cabinet. Viper then spotted a policeman about to shoot Sin from behind and tackled him to the ground allowing Sin to stomp him in the head. He then took out another guard with his darts as the Squad left, pleased with the anarchy they caused.

(Captain America V#29 (fb) - BTS) - Sin and the Serpent Squad were allowed into a SHIELD safehouse by SHIELD Agent 776, Patrick Stansfield, who was acting under the mind-control of Dr Faustus, posing as SHIELD psychiatrist Dr Benjamin.

(Captain America V#28) Sin, Cobra, Eel and Viper killed the team in the safehouse, who were due to pick up Crossbones from the SHIELD subcarrier to take him to the Raft. They stole their uniforms and security access cards and used the Red Skull's holographic image generators to alter their appearances to match those of the SHIELD agents they killed so they could rescue Crossbones from the SHIELD subcarrier.

(Captain America V#29 (fb)) - They gained entry to the subcarrier using their stolen security access cards and killed the agents on board who were preparing to transfer Crossbones. Their job was made easier as the number of SHIELD agents was reduced as over a dozen agents who were supposed to be on security duty had gone missing.

(Captain America V#30 (fb)) - A SHIELD agent revealed to Tony Stark that the dozen missing agents had all, like Patrick Stansfield been visiting Dr Benjamin (Dr. Faustus) for psychiatric evaluations.

(Captain America V#35) - Sin and the Serpent Squad broke into the US Senate offices in an assault intended to make the Skull's presidential candidate Senator Gordon Wright seem heroic by surviving an assassination attempt and were confronted by Captain America (Barnes).

(Captain America V#36) - Eel shocked Cap with a burst of electricity, but as Viper charged at him, Cap quickly took him out of the fight overturning a sofa on him and knocking him out with a kick.

(Captain America V#36 - BTS) - Viper and Eel were taken into custody and interrogated by the Black Widow about the Red Skull's whereabouts however they were unable to give anything more than the location of the safehouse they had been based in and the fact that only Sin had been in contact with the Red Skull.

(Captain America VI#8 - BTS) - Following their release or escape, the Serpent Squad were hired by the Hydra Queen (although they were unaware of the identity of their employer) to use Madbombs to cause a huge riot in New York City. They had been told that Captain America wouldn't be a threat as he had been depowered and they could use the opportunity to loot the city.

(Captain America VI#6) - Captain America (Steve Rogers) and Hawkeye located the Madbomb but before they could try to disarm it, Captain America had his super-soldier serum rendered inert and Hawkeye was stunned by a blast of electricity from the Eel. The Squad then beat down Cap, knocking him unconscious.

(Captain America VI#7) - The Serpent Squad left the defeated heroes and committed robberies across New York City whilst people rioted due to the Madbomb. The following day, another riot broke out in New York City and the Serpent Squad attacked another bank with Viper knocking out two security guards. As the Squad threatened to set off another Madbomb inside the bank unless the manager opened the safe, Captain America and Sharon Carter arrived with Cap knocking the Madbomb from Cobra's hand.

(Captain America VI#8) - As the Squad attacked, Viper was the first to be taken out of the fight by a kick from Captain America. The Eel and Cobra proved more slippery but were eventually knocked out by the heroes. Viper received an electrical blast from Eel before he got knocked out by Sharon Carter.

(Captain America VI#9) - Imprisoned in Ryker's Island, Murtaugh asked the Falcon to be put into witness protection as instead of being a rich and famous A-list villain, he kept getting beaten up and jailed whenever he faced a hero. In return, he was prepared to tell what he knew about the people who had hired them - although this was only where they picked up the Madbombs from and the fact that they weren't people you would want to be on the wrong side of.

(Captain America VI#11) - Murtaugh, who had been in the witness protection program for less than a month, was visited by Diamondback (Rachel Leighton) who informed him that details of criminals in the program had been leaked and that he may be on the hit-list for a new Scourge (actually Dennis Dunphy (D-Man) brainwashed by Henry Peter Gyrich who was himself subject to hypnotic implantation by HYDRA. An angry Murtaugh argued with Diamondback when the front of the safehouse exploded stunning both Murtaugh and Diamondback. Scourge then entered the house and shot Murtaugh twice through the head at close range, killing him.

Comments: Created by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting and Mike Perkins

In his first appearance, the Viper suit had green combat style trousers and black boots. By Captain America VI#6, these changed to brown spandex style leggings. Viper's approximate height is based on the way he towers over not just the 5'5 Sin in Cap V#28 but also Diamondback (who is 5'11) in Cap VI#11. It's not that surprising that Murtaugh decided to quit crime and enter witness protection given his poor showings against Bucky and Steve Rogers. In both battles he was taken out by a kick right at the start of the fight. He may have been huge but didn't take a shot very well.

Profile by Hawkguy.

Viper should not be confused with:

images: (without ads)
Captain America V#28, cover (main image)
Captain America VI#11, p16, panel5 (facial closeup)
Captain America VI#7, p20, panel3 (full body)

Captain America V#28 (September, 2007) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Steve Epting, Mike Perkins (art), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Captain America V#29 (October, 2007) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Steve Epting, Mike Perkins (art), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Captain America V#35 (April, 2008) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Butch Guice (pencils), Butch Guice, Mike Perkins (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Captain America V#36 (May, 2008) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Butch Guice, Mike Perkins (art), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Captain America VI#6 (February, 2012) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Alan Davis (pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Captain America VI#7 (March, 2012) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Alan Davis (pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Captain America VI#8 (April, 2012) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Alan Davis (pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Captain America VI#9 (May, 2012) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Alan Davis (pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Captain America VI#11 (July, 2012) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Patch Zircher (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)

First Posted: 03/17/2014
Last updated: 06/04/18

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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