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Secret Warriors #15: Review

Apr 2010
Jonathan Hickman, Stefano Caselli

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Secret Warriors #15 Review by (December 24, 2019)
Viper's name is usually given as Ophelia Sarkassian but no-one knows if that's her real name, any more than Leona Hiss or any of the other aliases she's used.
Her previous history laid out in Captain America #113 was that she *was* an orphan of war but grew up living off her wits *outside* of Hydra. She only joined Hydra and took over (at least 1 faction) as Madame Hydra after Baron Strucker died (in Strange Tales #158). Her appearance as Madame Hydra only lasted through CA#110,111,113.
A flashback in Wolverine #126 showed her in action as a pre-Hydra adult. A flashback in Gambit (1999) #6 showed her as a pre CA#110 Madame Hydra.
Her origin in this issue messes with all that quite a bit.
CA#113 says that 1 side of her face was scarred early in life and that's why she always veils that side with hair. The origin in this issue doesn't mention that but does show the young girl with her hair like that.
However the early published apps don't show her with green hair but black. Green (dyed) hair was a later invention.

A flashback in Avengers #107 revealed that at the end of CA#113 she was replaced by the/a Space Phantom for his own purposes. A flashback in CA#180 says that (after SP stopped impersonating her and she returned from Limbo - which is what happens) her Hydra forces were destroyed and her rep was in tatters. She killed the criminal named Viper (possibly only because his uniform was green like Hydra's) and took his place in the Serpent Squad. And that's where she got her Viper name.

Hive fires octopoid blobs at people's heads to take them over. They aren't as large as the thing that crowns Viper here, and she doesn't seem to be under Hive's control.

Hickman's SHIELD v1 #1 was published earlier this month and already a tentative link can be made between these 2 series. Pieta is Nick Fury's secret base in Rome and also seems to be where Fury and Strucker and others assembled as the Great Wheel. Pieta is the title of 1 of the famous works of Leonardo da Vinci, and Leonardo appears in the SHIELD series from #1 in the Rome base of the Brotherhood Of The Shield.

Both the Marvel Fandom Wiki and the Marvel Chronology Project claim that Hive appears next in #20-21. But I have scoured those issues several times with a high-powered microscope and can't find him anywhere within. I believe his next app is #24 where he is supposedly killed.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Warriors #15 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In Nick Fury's secret base #21 Providence the Secret Warriors are playing poker in the kitchen and young Alex Aaron (Phobos) is winning especially against JT James (Hellfire). JT accuses him of cheating by knowing what cards he's got. Alex says he *can* tell what JT's got but not by cheating. Then he raises the question of Fury firing Sebastian Druid. Team leader Daisy Johnson (Quake) makes it clear that Nick didn't think he was up to the job. Yo Yo Rodriguez (Slingshot) thinks Fury was right in that, but Jerry Sledge (Stonewall) thinks the firing still wasn't right. Daisy reminds them that they have a job to do. Jerry reminds them how most of them are abused children of bad men, and they're grateful to Nick taking them out of that and giving them a purpose in life. But he thinks they should also look out for 1 another like family. Daisy asks for a show of hands on whether she should demand that Nick reinstate Sebastian. All vote yes apart from JT, who then caves in under Daisy's glare, and Alex, who says he doesn't think Fury will give in. Eden Fesi keeps quiet throughout all this.

Hydra invade Leviathan's Long Winter base and find it deserted apart from some assassination squads, who are dealt with off-panel, and the body of their colleague Viper. Baron Strucker orders the body checked for booby traps, which it isn't, but they find a recorded holographic message. It's from Orion, who we saw revived from suspended animation last issue, and who Strucker recognises as Viktor Uvarov. The recording device recognises his voice which authorises the playing of the rest of the message. Orion says that recent events while he slept have soured things between them. He requests a meeting to clear the air, and suggests to allay Strucker's suspicions that they meet at a Hydra base. He suggests the Crown in 3 days. Gorgon doesn't trust him. But Kraken notices that Hive is doing something to Viper's body.

Now we get a potted flashback history of Viper. 22 years ago 96 little orphan girls were trained by Kraken to be warriors for Hydra. (It seems Viper's hair was green even then.) Over the years the girl who will be Viper beat all the other girls until 12 years ago she alone remained. 8 Years ago she lost everything (probably after Captain America #113 when as Madame Hydra she was kicked out of Hydra and later became the independent terrorist Viper). 6 years ago she married a man she hated (Wolverine in his #126 to rule Madripoor). 4 years ago she couldn't marry the man she loved (Silver Samurai, but I don't know what comic issue is referred to). 3 months ago she betrayed him (our #6). We end with her capture by Leviathan and murder by the current Madame Hydra (Val de Fontaine) in recent issues.

And now Hive revives Viper's dead body, calling herself Madame Hydra again, with a large octopoid being on her head.

Last issue Val de Fontaine arranged to have dinner again with Nick Fury in their 'favourite' restaurant in Tamaya New Mexico (they were there in #3). This time it's Fury who is late, but this time he brings flowers. He lets her know he knows about her working for the enemy (but it's unclear whether he means Hydra or Leviathan). A bunch of guys stand up and aim guns at Fury. Nick says in the old days he would have just killed her, but older him wants to know whether she was always a double-agent or whether she learned lying from him. And everybody else in the restaurant pulls out *their* guns, and Val's force is way outnumbered. She tells him she did always care for him, but for both of them ideology comes 1st. Then Fury gets up and leaves with his men, leaving Val free to go.

When he gets back to Providence he finds Daisy waiting for him. She makes her pitch to get Druid back but Nick turns her down flat. This game isn't for bleeding hearts. She returns to the kitchen to find Eden stuffing marshmallows in his mouth. JT tells her Alex bet Eden that he would vomit after eating exactly 67 of them. But distressed Daisy pins JT up against the wall and tells him he'd better have meant every word he said to her (when the pair went to a restaurant last issue). And she kisses him hard.

Stefano Caselli
Stefano Caselli
Sunny Gho
Jim Cheung (Cover Penciler)
Mark Morales (Cover Inker)
Justin Ponsor (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Dave Lanphear.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Plus: Baron Strucker, Gorgon (Tomi Shishido), Hellfire (JT James), Hive, Kraken, Leviathan (Gargantua), Madame Hydra (Val de Fontaine), Manifold (Eden Fesi), Orion (Viktor Uvarov), Phobos, Quake (Daisy Johnson), Secret Warriors, Slingshot (Yo-Yo Rodriguez), Stonewall (Jerry Sledge), Viper (Madame Hydra).

> Secret Warriors: Book info and issue index

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