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Marvel Comics: What is the Serpent Society?

The Serpent Society is one of the best-organized, most successful coalitions of superhuman criminals in operation today. If Comcast customer support could have operated with half the efficiency of the Serpent Society, then I wouldn’t have cut the cord.

So let’s infiltrate deeper into what is the serpent society, who its members are, and what has made them so darned great in their long comic book history.

What is the Serpent Society?

meet the serpent squad (2in1 # 64)
The Serpent Squad, the precursor of the Serpent Society. Click to embiggen.

First of all, The Serpent Society is a business, man. And business is good, particularly if you are a criminal with a costumed identity based upon a snake. The Serpent Society was created bySidewinder, who was inspired by a  previous coalition of criminals styling their identities after snakes, the Serpent Squad.

Coming off a lucrative heist in which Sidewinder was the only Serpent Squad member to escape, he began formulating plans for an ultimate squad of sinister serpents. After he organized a field test to determine their menacing mettle, Sidewinder signed up Anaconda, Asp, Black Mamba, Bushmaster, Cobra, Cottonmouth, Death Adder, Diamondback, Princess Python, and the Rattler as charter members of the Serpent Society, giving them access to the Serpent Citadel, an abandoned mental hospital he had purchased from the state of New York, which would serve as their snake den headquarters.

From there the Serpent Society became mercenaries for hire, advertising their services through criminal channels, claiming no job is too large. When a contract is accepted, the leader decides how many slithering operatives the assignment requires, then selects certain members to take care of the job. The Serpent Society takes a cut of the fee, while the remainder goes to the snakes involved.

The Serpent Society takes care of overhead, provides camaraderie, and offers health insurance, although the comics haven’t identified if this is done via New York’s Obamacare exchange or through a traditional service provider. It’s really a sweet deal if you are evil and have snake-inspired super powers.

What is the Serpent Society? Individual Members

The Serpent Society performing a heist. Click to embiggen.
The Serpent Society performing a heist. Click to embiggen.

Even though the lineup has changed frequently in their decades of comic book appearances, let’s look at the individual powers of the Serpent Society’s charter members:

  1. Sidewinder is Seth Voelker, a former economics professor who was given a powered cloak by the Roxxon Oil Company. His cloak allows Sidewinder to travel “sideways” through inter dimensional space, allowing teleportation. Another function of his armor is the ability to emit energy, which he calls his “Side Effects,” from his forehead.
  2. Anaconda is Blanche Sitznski and her skeleton was laced with an artificial adamantium, giving her the ability to elongate her arms and legs, which she uses to constrict her enemies
  3. Asp is Cleo Nefertiti, a former exotic dancer who  earned a reputation as being able to charm snakes with her sensual movements. She powers allow her to generate blasts of energy that cause paralysis.
  4. Black Mamba is Tanya Sealy, an ex-prostitute in whom the Roxxon Oil Company surgically implanted a special component in her brain which enables her slight telepathy, plus the ability to project a cloud of energy known as darkforce.
  5. Bushmaster is Quincy McIver, a quadruple amputee who was equipped by Roxxon with bionic arms and a snake-like tail in the place of the lower half of his body.
  6. Cobra (AKA, King Cobra) is Klaus Voorhees and he has superhuman powers due to the venom of a radioactive cobra, mixed with an experimental antidote. He has super-strength, agility, reflexes & reactions, combines with the ability to stick with walls and contort his body with unlimited flexibility.
  7. Cottonmouth is Burchell Clemens, who has a bionic jaw that can dislocate far enough to fit a human head, and possesses sufficient strength to deform soft iron and crush cinderblock.
  8. The Serpent Society have been depicted in comics, but in other media as well, like video games and HeroClicks.
    The Serpent Society have been depicted in comics, but in other media as well, like video games and HeroClixs.
  9. Death Adder is Roland Burroughs, who underwent surgery via the Roxxon Oil company, giving him gills, claws, and a bionic tail, as well as certain other physiological changes.
  10. Diamondback is Rachel Leighton, a seductively sly woman with expertise in hand-to-hand combat, espionage, and thrown weapons. Her power is that she throws acid-laced or poison-tipped diamonds at her enemies.
  11. Princess Python is Zelda DuBois, a former snake charmer and circus performer who carries a hand held, electric cattle prod capable of shocking opponents, as well as a 25-foot trained pet rock python that responds to her verbal commands.
  12. Rattler is Gustav Krueger, who was given a bionic tail which he uses to create shockwaves and vibrations.

Although membership and leadership have changed significantly, the Serpent Society is currently still slithering around in comics. They’ve battled Captain America, Spider-man, and…well, just about every Marvel comic hero, but none have been able to chop off the head of the Serpent Society, delivering them a killing blow. They are just too slithery.