HYDRA’s history is a long, tumultuous and convoluted one, spanning millennia from the third dynasty of Egypt, with all references to the ancient group disappearing around the Renaissance.

Its return came in the decades from the end of the Second World War up to the present day, tied directly to surviving fugitive members of governments of Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan.

A select few of the more politically-oriented members of the order of the mystical ninja known as The Hand were recruited to form the rebirth of HYDRA as a cabal of Japanese nationalists who plotted to overthrow the Japanese government, assassinate the prime minister, and install a right-wing anti-communist government, which would rearm Japan.

Shortly upon joining HYDRA, Von Strucker seized control of the organization from its Japanese founders, and moved HYDRA’s operations to a private island in the Pacific, named Hydra Island. The original HYDRA Island was invaded by the an amalgamation of American and Japanese heroes, and the base was destroyed. Strucker slowly steered the organization towards the goal of world domination. That campaign brought him into conflict with Charles Xavier and the future Magneto among others. Once HYDRA became more brazenly public in its operations, it eventually led to the creation of the original agency known as SHIELD specifically to counter HYDRA’s threat to world security. After apparently assassinating SHIELD’s first executive director, Nick Fury was appointed as executive director. HYDRA agents attempted to assassinate Nick Fury before his appointment as SHIELD’s Director, but failed.

This decision, after several HYDRA campaigns including the failure of the world blackmail attempt using the Betatron Bomb, the creation of the Overkill Horn (designed to detonate all nuclear explosives worldwide), and the bio-engineered “Death-Spore” Bomb, led directly to von Strucker’s first death at the hands of Fury and several deceived HYDRA operatives. In the wake of von Strucker’s first death, the surviving elements of HYDRA broke into factions that each adopted its own reorganized modus operandi. Several of these factions developed “super-agents” that would occasionally break away in turn to become freelance operatives, or, in some rarer cases, superheroes such as the first Spider-Woman. Von Strucker was eventually revived and reunited several of the HYDRA factions under his leadership to renew his campaign against SHIELD and humanity for several more years.

Despite his reorganization of the group, various independent HYDRA factions continue to operate around the Marvel Universe, and a HYDRA Civil War would later result. While Baron Helmut Zemo had Strucker placed in stasis for his own ends, Gorgon and Strucker’s second wife Elsbeth von Strucker mystically created a clone of Strucker who they set up to fail, allowing for a public execution of him, after which – as part of an alliance with the Hand, they utilized an army of brainwashed superheroes and supervillains, including Northstar and Elektra to launch a massive assault on SHIELD. The assault was ultimately repelled and Wolverine would kill Gorgon.
HYDRA later planned an all out attack on the United States by smuggling missiles into New York for use in a planned bio-weapon assault. They formed a distraction through using a team that had the duplicated powers of several Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America and former Avengers Thor and Hawkeye) but were inevitably foiled by Spider-Man and the other New Avengers.

When Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) was captured by SHIELD during the events of the Super Human Civil War, HYDRA stormed the SHIELD Helicarrier and freed her. Spider-Woman, a SHIELD agent and member of the Avengers, had been working for HYDRA under the orders of Nick Fury, whom she was still loyal to. HYDRA revealed that they knew of her betrayal and wanted her to replace Viper as their current leader. Spider-Woman refused their offer, destroying the HYDRA base she had been taken to in an explosion.

As Spider-Woman revealed her true identity as Queen Veranke of the Skrull Empire, HYDRA was left with a void in his control organization, filled by Congressman Woodman. Under his rule the young Hardball, empowered by the Power Broker is appointed as a double agent, acting both as an Initiative recruit and as an HYDRA spy with the role of gathering information about the Initiative and doing errands for HYDRA in exchange of secrecy and the expensive health care his brother, a former UCWF wrestler who was crippled on the ring.

Hardball however, deeply hurt and shamed by the compromises Woodman forces him to endure, and Komodo’s attempt to bail him out of HYDRA by telling his secrets to his field leader Gravity, mercilessly kills Congressman Woodman in front of his subordinates. His ersatz coup d’├ętat pays off, and Hardball is appointed as the new Supreme Leader of the organization, severing every tie with his former life. His joining HYDRA however, was revealed to simply be caused by his having nowhere else to go. He surrenders to the Shadow Initiative, and is sent to the Negative Zone prison, destroying his HYDRA cell.

After the events of the clandestine invasion of Earth by the Skrull Empire, Nick Fury discovers that SHIELD was under the control of HYDRA, and apparently had been from the beginning. He also discovers a number of organizations under HYDRA’s alleged control including the United States’ FBI Science and Technology Branch, NSA and Department of Treasury, as well as the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate and Foreign Intelligence Service and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Meanwhile, after having to destroy HYDRA’s undersea headquarters, Ichor – it had been infiltrated by the Skrull invasion force – Von Strucker decides to rebuild HYDRA from the ground up, and after learning that Fury has learned the truth, reconvenes the other main heads of HYDRA: Viper, Madame Hydra, Kraken, and The Hive; as well as resurrecting The Gorgon for the purpose of showing HYDRA’s “True self” to the world.


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