The Serpent Society is a business enterprise
whose costumed identities are based on snakes. The Serpent
Society was the brainchild of Seth Voelker, alias the
Sidewinder, who was inspired by three previous coalitions
of criminals styling their identities after snakes; each
named the Serpent Squad. The first Serpent Squad consisted
of the original Viper; his brother, the original Eel
(although an eel is a fish, not a snake); and the Cobra,
and was organized for the purpose of destroying Captain
America. The second Serpent Squad was organized by
the second Viper (the first known Madame Hydra) and consisted
of the Cobra, the original Eel, and Princess Python. The
second Serpent Squad aided the Viper and the renegade
Atlantean Warlord Krang in their use of the Serpent Crown,
an ancient artifact of immense power, and was defeated
by Captain America in his short-lived guise as the original
Nomad and by the Sub-Mariner.
Hugh Jones, president of Roxxon Oil Company, organized
the third Serpent Squad, comprised of Sidewinder, Anaconda,
and Death Adder, to retrieve the Serpent Crown, which
had been lost in the Pacific Ocean. In the process of
recovering the Crown, three of the four Squad members
were trapped in an underwater rockslide. Sidewinder managed
to complete the assignment and collect the fee from Roxxon.
With that money in the bank gaining interest, Sidewinder
began to formulate plans for the ultimate squad of serpents.
Learning that Anaconda, Black Mamba, and
Death Adder had survived the undersea mishap, Sidewinder
convinced them of the sincerity of his intention to help
them better their lot. He then sent them to contact other
snake-motic criminals to invite them to an organizational
meeting at a posh Manhattan hotel. The second Viper is
the only individual invited who outright refused to attend.
The Constrictor walked out of the meeting unimpressed
by the proceedings and attempted to subvert the group
by informing on them to the Avengers.
Sidewinder gave those interested in joining his new team
initiation tasks to test their abilities to work together
as well as to acquire certain technology needed by the
organization. The tasks successfully completed, Anaconda,
Asp, Black Mamba,
Death Adder, Diamondback,
Princess Python, and the Rattler became charter members
of the Serpent Society. Sidewinder escorted them to the
Serpent Citadel, which was in an abandoned
mental hospital he had purchased from the state of New
In the course of the group's early activities,
Captain America frequently intervened but was never able
to deal the organization a crippling blow. The Serpent
Society's first paying assignment was a contract on the
life of the original Modok, the renegade former leader
of the Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM),
taken out by AIM's new leaders. The Society's success
in killing Modok established their reputation as hired
criminal talent of the first caliber.
The membership of the Society has changed
considerably over time. Princess Python deserted the group
during the Modok affair. She was captured and brainwashed
to forget Society secrets, and was expelled from their
ranks. Death Adder was slain by one of the vigilantes
known as Scourge. The Viper plotted to take over the Serpent
Society and enlist its members in her scheme to introduce
a mutagenic chemical into Washington, D.C.'s water supply
that would turn its citizens into insane reptilian creatures.
Four of her operatives, Black Racer, Copperhead, Fer De-Lance,
and Puff Adder, infiltrated the Society, and the Viper
then led a takeover of the Serpent Citadel, aided by her
operatives Boomslang, Coachwhip, Rock Python, and Slither.
Viper poisoned Sidewinder, but Diamondback managed to
escape with him and enlist the aid of Captain America,
who was then using the identity known simply as "the
Captain." Anaconda, the Cobra, and Cottonmouth decided
to support the Viper, who imprisoned and poisoned those
Serpent Society members who would not serve her. The Captain,
Diamondback, and their allies Nomad and D-Man succeeded
in saving the captive Society members and defeating those
serving the Viper. Disillusioned with the Viper and her
plan to mutate innocent people, the Cobra himself defeated
the Viper and turned her over to the Captain.
With the Viper's takeover thwarted, the
Serpent Society reorganized at a new secret headquarters.
Bitter over his betrayal by certain Society members, Sidewinder
resigned from the Serpent Society. The Cobra became the
Society's new leader, and a number of the Viper's operatives
joined the Society. Hence, the current membership of the
Society consists of Anaconda, the Asp, Black Mamba, Black
Racer, Boomslang, Bushmaster, the Cobra, Coachwhip, Cottonmouth,
Diamondback, Puff Adder, the Rattler, and Rock Python.
The Deviant priest-lord Ghaur and the former
Lemurian empress Llyra contacted Sidewinder, thinking
he still headed the Serpent Society, to hire them to find
certain mystical objects they needed to reconstruct the
Serpent Crown. Sidewinder had then turned the contract
over to the Cobra, but when the X-Men
thwarted the Serpent Society, Sidewinder stepped in to
complete the assignment. He turned over a fraction of
the reward money to the Society.
The Serpent Society advertises its services
through underworld channels, claiming no job is too large.
When a contract is accepted, the leader decides how many
operatives the assignment requires, selects certain operatives
and dispatches them. Part of the fees for each contract
goes to the organization for operating costs, while the
others part goes to the operatives involved. Society members
are not prevented from seeking out their own outside assignments,
but they must pay a percentage of their outside earnings
to the group. In exchange for each member's services and
financial support, the Society offers increased job opportunities,
health insurance benefits, safe lodging, and comradeship.
Moreover, when Sidewinder led the group, no member needed
to fear imprisonment by legal authorities, for Sidewinder
would use his teleportation abilities to rescue any captured
The Serpent Society remains one of the best-organized,
most successful coalitions of criminals in operation today.