Secret Empire (organization)

Last updated
The Secret Empire
Secret empire - tales to astonish 081.png
Leading members of the subversive organisation "the Secret Empire", from Tales to Astonish #81
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Tales to Astonish #81 (July 1966)
Created by Stan Lee (writer)
Jack Kirby (artist)
In-story information
Type of organizationSubversive
Roster
See: Membership

The Secret Empire is a fictional organization appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. They first appeared in Tales to Astonish #81 and were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. They were originally a branch of Hydra but later became a separate independent group.

Contents

They made their debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as a major antagonist in season 2 of Agent Carter . Under this incarnation, they are named the Council of Nine.

Publication history

The Secret Empire first appeared in Tales to Astonish #81 and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Fictional organization history

This subversive organization has been headed by a number of different leaders, always known as "Number One", with each iteration's goals following the desires of its current leader. The Secret Empire was founded by a scientist who felt like an anonymous nobody. The organization began as a criminal enterprise, a subsidiary of HYDRA, which provided it with financial support. The Secret Empire served to distract the attention of authorities such as S.H.I.E.L.D. from HYDRA's activities, although the original Number One sought to break away from HYDRA. The Secret Empire hired the mercenary Boomerang on a mission to steal plans for the Air Force's Orion Missile, but he was defeated by the Hulk. In attempting to blow up the Hulk, Number One instead killed himself. [1]

Some time later, the organization regrouped under a new Number One. [2] This Secret Empire infiltrated Roxxon Oil's Brand Corporation, tried to ruin Captain America's reputation, [3] and kidnapped several mutants—specifically Havok, Polaris, Beast, Iceman, Angel, Mastermind, Mesmero, Blob and Unus the Untouchable—to harness their energy to power a "flying saucer". Number One landed the saucer on the White House lawn, and, after defeating the Empire's "replacement" hero—the first Moonstone—demanded the government surrender control to him or he would detonate nukes in every major American city. The Secret Empire was defeated by Captain America, Cyclops, the Falcon, and Marvel Girl, and Captain America pursued Number One into the White House. Rather than face capture, Number One unmasked himself, then committed suicide. The leader of the Secret Empire was revealed to be a very high U.S. government official attempting a coup d'état. [4] Although his identity and face are never revealed to the reader, it is strongly implied in the dialogue that Number One was the President of the United States. The government covered up his guilt and suicide with the help of a double. This led to Captain America giving up his role for a while and taking on the role of Nomad. The story was first published in 1973, when the sitting president was Richard Nixon, embroiled at the time in the Watergate scandal. [5] Writer Steve Englehart specifically intended this issue as a metaphor of the Watergate case and the Nixon era. [6]

Later, Professor Power became the new Number One. He sought to trigger a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The Defenders defeated Professor Power and the Secret Empire, as well as their agents Mad Dog and Mutant Force.

Gabe Jones, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., is assigned by Nick Fury to infiltrate the group in an attempt to bring it down. [7]

The Secret Empire also sought to eliminate Moon Knight who they believed had disrupted some of their operations (as seen in Marc Spector: Moon Knight #19–21). The real guilty party was Moon Knight's sidekick Midnight and when Moon Knight and his sidekick confronted the Secret Empire, Midnight was hit by an energy blast from the group's new leader, the mysterious Number 7. Moon Knight abandoned his sidekick, believing that he was dead, but in truth he was still alive, though horrifically disfigured and maimed. Number 7 ordered Midnight transformed into a cyborg, with his hatred for Moon Knight (for being abandoned by his mentor) and a mechanical failsafe that caused him to suffer intense pain if he disobeyed Number 7.[ volume & issue needed ]

During the Round Robin story arc in The Amazing Spider-Man , Midnight was sent out on his first mission: kidnap the super-hero Nova so that the Secret Empire could transform him into a cyborg as well. This plan involved the villain Thunderball, who himself was a cybernetics genius. The plan was foiled by the combination of Nova, Spider-Man, Moon Knight, the Punisher, and Night Thrasher. During the battle, the Secret Empire nurse assigned to provide repair work towards Midnight's robotic body parts disabled Number 7's failsafe designed to prevent Midnight from gaining revenge against him for disfiguring/maiming him, allowing Midnight to kill Number 7 and assume control over the Secret Empire. However, along the way it was revealed that his nurse (and now lover), was also a cyborg. A loyal follower of the original founder (the original Number 1), she served as a prototype for the process used to transform Midnight into a half-human, half-machine being that he became, to the extent that she allowed herself to be disfigured and maimed to facilitate her transformation into becoming a cyborg. The realization that his lover was insane caused Midnight to aid his mentor and his allies against the nurse, ultimately sacrificing his life to destroy her. [8]

The Secret Empire would later be part of a conspiracy to divide up the empire of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, who had lost control. The meeting took place in Las Vegas, under the cover of a Secret Empire "convention". Many Secret Empire members simply believe it is an organization like the Masons or the Elks, which was a perfect cover for criminal enterprises.[ volume & issue needed ]

The Punisher got wind of this right away and the Empire sent two hit squads to attack him. The first is slain to a man. The second group, a motorcycle gang called the "Praetorians", escape, albeit with heavy casualties.[ volume & issue needed ]

During the Dead Man's Hand crossover, the various warlords who attend the meeting begin attacking each other nearly right away. Mickey Fondozzi and Microchip, associates of the Punisher, had been captured while spying on Strucker and claim to be Four and Eight, members of the Secret Empire. The Empire learn of this via a spy in the HYDRA group. By coincidence, Four and Eight had not actually traveled to Las Vegas and this was enough to convince the others that they had turned traitor. The Empire sends the Praetorians to kill everyone involved, but Mickey, Micro and Strucker all survive. Further encounters led to no progress at all and the Secret Empire members leave Las Vegas on a plane. [9]

The Empire's plans come under the scrutiny of the "Favor Broker", an opponent of Nomad. He teams up with the Punisher and Daredevil in an attempt to disrupt the meeting. All they manage to do is kill some lackeys and Hand ninjas and capture the Slug.[ volume & issue needed ]

Some time later, agents of the Secret Empire battle the vigilante group known as the Jury. [10] The Secret Empire then becomes involved in a struggle to control profitable shipping lanes for criminal purposes. [11]

It was revealed that the Secret Empire had an underground city beneath Cincinnati when the Secret Avengers discover the Shadow Council in their plot to make a larger version of Doctor Doom's time machine there. [12]

As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel , the Secret Empire later fights Kate Bishop. A powerless Cassandra Lang tries to help and is nearly killed in the process. [13]

For their first mission, the U.S.Avengers had fought the Secret Empire. During the fight against the Secret Empire, Robert Maverick's Red Hulk form was able to level their volcanic island base. [14]

Membership

Current membership

Former membership

Other members

These members are either honorary or reserve members of the Secret Empire:

In other media

Related Research Articles

Punisher Comic book antihero

The Punisher is a fictional antihero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru. The Punisher made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #129.

Taskmaster (comics) Comic book character

Taskmaster is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer David Michelinie and artist George Pérez, the character made his debut in The Avengers #195. Possessing photographic reflexes that allow him to mimic any fighting style, he has served as an adversary of superheroes such as Captain America, Ant-Man and Spider-Man among others in the Marvel Universe. He is usually depicted as a mercenary hired by numerous criminal organizations to act as a training instructor.

Moon Knight

Moon Knight is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Doug Moench and artist Don Perlin, the character first appeared in Werewolf by Night #32. Moon Knight has often been compared to DC Comics' Batman due to similarities between them: both are millionaire entrepreneurs that use their wealth to pay for the equipment used by their alter ego to fight crime. They are also expert detectives, and even use similar gadgets, such as boomerang-like projectiles. However, there are some major differences between the two, such as the fact that Moon Knight uses multiple identities, and has superpowers.

Advanced Idea Mechanics Fictional comic book villainous organization

A.I.M. is a fictional criminal organization appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. In most versions, it is depicted as a network of terrorist arms dealers and scientists specializing in highly advanced and technological weaponry, whose ultimate goal is the overthrow of all world governments for their own gains. The organization originated as a branch of HYDRA, created by Baron Strucker. Its most notable creations include the Cosmic Cube, Super-Adaptoid, and MODOK; the latter has been depicted as a prominent member of A.I.M., and in some incarnations is the organization's leader.

Hydra (comics) Fictional supervillain organization

Hydra is a fictional terrorist organization appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The name "Hydra" is an allusion to the mythical Lernaean Hydra. The organization's motto references the myth of the Hydra, stating that "If a head is cut off, two more shall take its place", proclaiming their resilience and growing strength in the face of resistance. Originally a Nazi organization led by the Red Skull during World War II, it is turned into a Neo-Nazi international crime syndicate by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker once he seized control. Hydra agents often wear distinctive green garb featuring a serpent motif. The organization is one of the recurring threats fought by the Marvel Universe superheroes and the intelligence organization, S.H.I.E.L.D., who regularly foil Hydra's plans for world domination.

The Darkforce is a fictional concept appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Boomerang (comics)

Boomerang is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He has been a member of several prominent supervillain teams and clashed with several heroes throughout his career, most notably Spider-Man.

Viper is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She is a foe of the Avengers and the X-Men.

Dum Dum Dugan Fictional character appearing in publications from Marvel Comics

Timothy Aloysius Cadwallader "Dum Dum" Dugan is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is an officer of S.H.I.E.L.D. and is one of the most experienced members of Nick Fury's team, known for his marksmanship with rifles and impressive physique. He is recognized for his trademark bowler hat.

Acts of Vengeance

"Acts of Vengeance" is a comic book crossover storyline that ran through several titles published by Marvel Comics from December 1989 to February 1990.

The comic book stories published by Marvel Comics since the 1940s have featured several noteworthy concepts besides its fictional characters, such as unique places and artifacts. There follows a list of those features.

H.A.M.M.E.R. Fictional comic book law enforcement agency

H.A.M.M.E.R. is a fictional espionage and law enforcement agency appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The organization is led by Norman Osborn and was formed in Secret Invasion #8 to replace S.H.I.E.L.D. The organization plays a large part in Marvel's "Dark Reign" and Siege storylines that ran from 2008 - 2010.

Madame Hydra is the name of several different supervillains in Marvel Comics. It is a name given to a top female operative of HYDRA.

Black Widow (Yelena Belova)

Black Widow is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She is depicted as a spy and was the second modern-era character to use the Black Widow name. She first appears in Inhumans #5 and was created by Devin Grayson and J.G. Jones. She was trained as a spy and assassin in the Red Room. Originally a foe of Natasha Romanova sent to kill her, they later became allies. She was also a member of S.H.I.E.L.D., Vanguard and HYDRA, who changed her into a version of Super-Adaptoid. As Super-Adaptoid, she was one of the members of the High Council of A.I.M. She has reverted to her original codename Black Widow in 2017.

<i>U.S.Avengers</i> American comic book series

U.S.Avengers is an American comic book series published by Marvel Comics, featuring a traditionally patriotic-themed team of Avengers. It is written by Al Ewing and penciled by Paco Medina. It was released as part of Marvel NOW! 2.0.

<i>Secret Empire</i> (comics)

Secret Empire is a 2017 Marvel Comics limited series and crossover storyline. This limited series event addresses the aftermath of the crossover event Avengers: Standoff! and the ongoing series Captain America: Steve Rogers, in which Captain America has been acting as a sleeper agent and covertly setting the stage to establish Hydra as the main world power.

References

  1. Strange Tales #149
  2. Amazing Adventures #11
  3. Captain America (vol. 1) #169 (Jan. 1974)
  4. Captain America (vol. 1) #175 (July 1974)
  5. Marvel Spotlight Captain America, "Cap in Crisis: Steve Engelhart's Captain America"
  6. http://www.steveenglehart.com/Comics/Captain%20America%20169-176.html
  7. DeFalco, Tom (2006). The Marvel Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 151. ISBN   978-0-7566-2358-6.
  8. Amazing Spider-Man #353-358
  9. Daredevil #307–309; Nomad #4–6; Punisher War Journal #46–48
  10. Thunderbolts #32
  11. Bendis, Brian (2012). Moon Knight. 2. Marvel Comics. ISBN   0785151710.
  12. Secret Avengers #16
  13. Astonishing Ant-Man #6
  14. U.S.Avengers #1
  15. Abrams, Natalie (January 20, 2016). "Agent Carter bosses answer burning premiere questions". Entertainment Weekly . Archived from the original on July 30, 2017. Retrieved December 22, 2019.