Character Spotlight: Who Are the HYDRA Ruling Council?

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As Agents of SHIELD season 3 has gotten off to a great start it would appear with tonight’s episode “Spacetime” that while SHIELD is trying to outrace the future, HYDRA is looking towards the past and providing us some much needed backstory to the nefarious organization.  Throughout the movies HYDRA’s origins have been tied into SHIELD But with the retcon we discover that they’re much older with their own unique history.


Much like the First Order or H.I.V.E from the DC television universe (no relation) learning about the enemy can be fascinating. While Grant Ward seemingly is the ultimate evil in this corner of the Marvel Universe, he’s been joined by some pretty dark characters.  After all, while SHIELD can’t carry the good of the world on it’s own – the same is true for bad guys.  It takes a team to carry out terrible deeds and HYDRA’s no exception.  Comics wise Daisy in both comics and television gets her own very impressive team.



Hive, or in this case Ward however has a team of his own in the works.



In the comics the secret warriors went up against a group of villains who’s seeds have been sown in show canon.  Let’s take a look at “Team HYDRA” and those who have chosen the dark side of the force – using their powers for evil as opposed to good in the Marvel Comics Universe.  In this case the secret warriors’s enemy is known as “The Hydra Ruling Council”.


From Baron Von Strucker to The Gorgon, to the Hive, to the Kraken – HYDRA’s comic team touched on quite a lot.   What was it they desired from the secret warriors team? Let’s take a look at each member of the group that HYDRA went up against individually and otherwise.



Von Strucker’s portrayal begins in the 19th century, embodying the disgusting history of the nazis. From rising through the ranks of Hitler’s men, he was  eventually foiled by Dominic Fortune in the 1930s (which could provide an interesting side thread to Marvel’s most Wanted).  Strucker eventually moved his base of operation to Japan where he joined with the Hand, ( an organization  mentioned in Elektra and Daredevil)  and an underground organization that would eventually become HYDRA.  Eventually slaying both the head of the hand and the head of HYDRA, Strucker converted both evil organizations to his even darker nazi ideaology and took the name “HYDRA” for both.


From corrupting a race of benevolent aliens with his hate filled ideology to fathering Werner Von Strucker and a pair of twins, Strucker’s history is dark.  Hate filled and evil, he was a true protege of the Red Skull. Strucker’s death came after squaring off against not only Captain America, but Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, aka Magneto, as well as many others.  He was brought back by the Red Skull to further HYDRA’s agenda.  How? He was brought back by the death spore virus which has since bonded with Strucker’s DNA, if strucker were to be at last killed, it is rumored that the death spore virus would infect the entire planet and kill every living human being.



Strucker plays a key part in the Secret Warriors comics, working as a direct antagonist to Nick Fury’s team.  His agents convince JT James to switch from SHIELD to HYDRA (JT had difficulties allying himself with Fury from the get-go so this wasn’t a hard decision to make.) as well as creating the Hive parasites, overseeing the return of Madame Hydra, and bringing the infamous Gorgon into the fold.  He was eventually betrayed by the Kraken in the Secret Warriors comic book.



While Strucker was killed by Ultron in the MCU, his son has made an appearance on Agents of SHIELD.  With no Strucker at the helm, the upper echelon of HYDRA seems to be taken over by Gideon Malick.  Malick, an unknown character from the films and former member of the world security council, represents the “money” for HYDRA. After making Ward his deputy, he led the fight to get to Maveth and take the creature from the planet.  Despite his plans seemingly being defeated, it was revealed that the mysterious “beast” escaped and had returned to earth in the body of SHIELD traitor Grant Ward which leads us to the second  member of HYDRA’s team…



While rumors have been floating around since the mid-season finale about his appearance, the details of his MCU incarnation remain a mystery. The hive represents a terrifying visual foe for the Secret Warriors.  Standing at 7 foot tall and covered in a mass of tentacles, in the comics  the Hive began his incarnation as a parasitic project created by HYDRA to exemplify the best traits of the organization – a loss of identity and a group of individuals working towards a common goal.  While the agent chosen to represent the hive doesn’t have a name or an identity in the comics, the Hive itself has a number of characteristics and traits from the comics that might make an appearance in the television show.



For instance, the Hive has the ability to absorb the memories of those he possesses, but in this case it uses parasites that are shot at it’s aggressors.  The parasites then control it’s victims adding more to “the Hive”.  In addition to being a writhing mass of tentacles, the Hive possesses incredible strength and stamina.


Canon wise, after the Hive was created he became a member of HYDRA’s inner circle.  He speaks in a language  only understood by Baron Strucker as well as a few other members of HYDRA.   Acting as a sort of aide to Strucker, the Hive’s biggest moment of battle came after the assassination attempt on Madame Hydra.  The Hive merged with her and brought her back to life, however it’s actions were viewed as potentially dangerous and not in keeping with Hydra’s philosophy.  Madame Hydra had the Hive removed from her brain during the Dark Reign storyline and the Hive was eventually killed when Daisy Johnson destroyed Gehenna – also known as The Hydra Base.


With Grant ward  taking the Hive’s place, the rumors about his abilities abound.  Clearly he’ll be the hub of activity and represent a major threat this season.  While they’ve already teased that “the hive” is an inhuman and referred to him as “the beast”, the reality of it is interesting. Hydra history in the comics mentions a beast, and there are multiple references to otherworldly gods in it’s history.  Canon wise it appears that Grant Ward has become a part of something much larger and that “The Hive” or, “Hive” has taken on a major role and has some ties to inhumanity as well.  What are his motivations? So far we’ve seen that he doesn’t really understand why HYDRA brought him back to earth, will his goals align with the organization? Only time will tell.  In the meantime let’s move on to the third member of the team…



The Mysterious Inhuman in the beginning of the first episode who leaves Lance Hunter stone cold (get it? stone cold?) is speculated to be “The Gorgon”, a HYDRA operative of immense power.  Being that the Inhuman was a former mutant, this fella could very well be making the leap to Inhuman in order to function within the MCU. His comics version however,  is intense and full of rich history.  Born Tomi Shishido, The Gorgon was a mutant with the ability to freeze people in their tracks as statues.  While he also possessed a number of other attributes, the Gorgon’s connection to HYDRA stemmed from meeting with Elisabeth Von Strucker.  The Gorgon set his relationship with her aside to do battle with Wolverine as a member of The Hand.  He lost the battle and he himself was turned to stone.


He was then brought back and made a part of HYDRA’s ruling council.  After proving that he wasn’t a traitor with the undercurrent of Leviathan’s threats making HYDRA’s ruling council paranoid and suspicious, The Gorgon went after Viper – one of the students of the Kraken when she was kidnapped by Leviathan.  He failed to retrieve her.  He did battle against the secret warriors during the final battle in HYDRA’s base  where he killed Phobos and took his god-forged sword for himself.  


In the preview “Bouncing Back”, we met Lucio who freezes people – not literally of course but they do seem to undergo a sort of paralysis.  Could this be the MCU’s mysterious Gorgon with a new take for the MCU?  Will he be connected to HYDRA indefinitely or will we see him as an independent player? Only time will tell.  The one thing we have yet to see is the fourth and most unique member of HYDRA’s evil league of evil…



Marvel’s Kraken has already made an appearance on Agents of SHIELD, but his presence in the comics is full of twists and turns.  While the Kraken originally was Daniel Whitehall who tied in heavily with HYDRA’s history, the Kraken makes a major switch halfway through.  Killed by Jacob Fury who assumed his place, the Kraken infiltrated HYDRA and used the Kraken’s mystical armor from an Alien race called “The Brood” to hide his identity.


The Kraken and Fury, despite their contentious relationship, work together to undermine HYDRA and bring another familiar organization into the mix. Leviathan.  That’s right, the organization mentioned in Agent Carter has a direct connection to the creation of HYDRA as according to the Cinematic Universe, and it’s creation mentions multiple familiar names whose history has been spread across current adaptations.  Jacob Fury was Nick Fury’s younger brother who became disillusioned with life in the military.  He didn’t relish being a spy like his brother and eventually grew to resent Nick’s attitudes and behaviors.  Turning against him and becoming the villain Scorpion, Jacob found something called the Zodiac key which was an essential component of the Zodiac which Marvel has been building up to with the introduction of Leviathan and a number of other characters.


The Zodiac key is an inter-dimensional device that allowed for multiple life model decoys as well as alternate versions of human beings.  With the introduction of Doctor Strange it could be a good way to introduce it, making it a potential holy grail type tool for the SHIELD agents and HYDRA to look for.  Have we seen a Kraken type figure yet? Will a Jacob Fury type figure be introduced? Intriguing questions to ask.  While the Kraken has helped people become who they were born to be (which sounds an awful lot like what Grant Ward was doing in Season 2 in his own twisted way) but there might be a more direct connection now that the show is drawing more from it’s fantastic source material.


This “Hydra Ruling Council”, represent the biggest threat to the Secret Warriors team in the original comics.  We’ve seen the seeds being sown to make them grow, and while change is inevitable as nothing can be a direct adaptation, it will be interesting to see where they’re going in the new season.  What do you think will become of HYDRA? What do you think of Hive? Sound off in the comments below!

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