Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Who's the Best... Organization Bent on World Conquest?

NOTE:  This post was originally pre-scheduled to run last Tuesday, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.  With the uncertainty surrounding that event, it was delayed a week.

Doug:  Hey, let's make today a 2-for-1!  I just saw that It's a Dan's World posted the first Thor trailer, so I've brought it over here.  Check it out below:


Rip Jagger said...

I've gotta' give the nod to Hydra!

AIM began as the research branch of Hydra, so I don't really consider them a separate group really.

What convinces me is the outstanding origin of Hydra presented in of all place Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders. The first four issues or so of that excellent comic by Gary Friedrich, Dick Ayers and Syd Shores presents the development of what will become Hydra by Baron Strucker in the Pacific war theater. This is a must have for any vintage Marvel continuity buff and right now on my top five list of needs-to-be-reprinted-immediately comics.

Hydra has endured some poor leadership, but the notion that there are various gangs of Hydras in various places makes sense in a weird way (see modern terrorist cells and groups for an apt comparison) and also explains away some of their goofier stuff.

SPECTRE in the Bond films might've inspired Hydra but for my money the comic book baddies long ago outstripped the Bond baddies.

Rip Off

dbutler16 said...

I guess I've awlays been partial to AIM. Raddiation siut costumes notwithstanding,I've always for some reason enjoyed the fact that a bunch of scientists decided to band toogether to rule the world, rather than hiring out their services to some crazt dictator, or each doing to accomplish it solo. I think there should have been a Silver Age AIM story where they managed to clone Einstein and Newton, getting them to join their ranks.

William said...

Gotta go with Hydra. They make great villains for a number of situations and good enemies for a wide variety of different heroes. They really are the ultimate "evil organization". They even have a cool mantra.

"We are Hydra! If you cut off ONE limb, TWO more will take it's place!!"


William said...

BTW, why is Blacklash pictured above with this article? I wasn't aware that he was an organization bent on World Conquest.

Bruce said...

Hail Hydra! Cut off an arm and two more shall take its place!

To me, Hydra always seemed the most dangerous, because they were so fanatical. It doesn't hurt that they were lead by A-listers like the Red Skull and the Viper/Madame Hydra, who are truly two of the most despicable and scary villains in the Marvel universe. Zealots make the most terrifying villains, and Red Skull & Viper were as zealous in their pursuit of evil as you can get.

Doug said...

William --

I couldn't think of a way to represent the Maggia, so I got a henchman.


J.A. Morris said...

Who's my favorite? Is the Secret Empire an acceptable answer?

I was never crazy about Hydra because every issue that centered around them quickly descended into a mindless melee featuring Cap (or whomever) easily beating up dozens of faceless generic Hydra goons.

Of the 3 shown here, I'll go with AIM because the beekeeper uniforms always cracked me up.

Speaking of AIM, this panel was my introduction to AIM, and it always ticked me off:

Roy Thomas should have known that every issue is someone's first issue.

Edo Bosnar said...

But Doug, is the Maggia actually an "organization bent on world conquest?" I thought it was just the Marvel U's equivalent to the actual Mafia, meaning it's an informal group of organized crime families. I think the only Maggia leader who had more megalomaniacal ambitions was Count Nefaria - and I don't think Whiplash/Blacklash ever worked for him.

Otherwise, much as I like AIM, for the precise reasons dbutler mentions, I have to go with Hydra as well. They're just more formidable and frightening in that they're usually presented almost like a kind of cult perfectly willing to use extreme violence to further their ends.

Doug said...

In regard to the Maggia, I didn't want to run a "Who's the Best..." post with only two choices, because then it would have been a "Face-Off". I'm sure there are other choices than those shown. And "bent on world conquest" is certainly an ambiguous term, don't you think?


Anonymous said...

Obviously, in reality, the scariest rogue covert secret organisation bent on world domination is the Banking Industry, but less scary are the mere megalomaniacs and psychopaths we’ve been enjoying, lo, these many years.

For the last 10 years, I’ve been trying to buy & read all of Marvel’s Silver & Bronze output (well, the last 38 years really) and when I completed Strange Tales, I read the lot.

[spoiler alert: for Doug’s benefit, if you were, by chance , planning to read ST # 135 – 167 tonight, please look away now]

One thing that struck me as quite ludicrous was that they were all kind of one, run-on organisation. Fury comes up against HYDRA, whom he defeats with help from HYDRA’S daughter. Then The Fixer & Mentallo attack SHIELD, but they are backed by an organisation they refer to only as ‘THEM’ (though presumably not the giant ants). Having defeated those two, the Heli-carrier is attacked by a giant egg (no, really). Throughout this period, Gabe Jones is referred to as being on holiday. Fury questions the Fixer about the eggs. Meanwhile, a seemingly legitimate organisation of design geniuses called AIM, headed by Count Royale (enjoy), are invited onto the Heli carrier to, believe it or not, pitch for SHIELD’s business. AIM plot to oust Fury by insisting that they will deliver vital tech to SHIELD, but not as long as Fury is the boss. Fury is, as I remember, more or less put on trial but jumps out of the helicarrier window, activating a belt-parachute ( don’t leave home without it). AIM covertly attack SHIELD at the barber shop and other places to steal SHIELD tech, particularly LMD’s. Having outed AIM as baddies, Fury goes to war with them. 2 escaping AIM’ers are picked up on the road by Number Nine of the SECRET EMPIRE. The Secret Empire is revealed to be part of THEM. But Number Nine is revealed to be... Gabe Jones !! Undercover ( literally) Gabe, gasses the baddies. Sitwell trails Royale to the inevitable Bond Villain style base, which, true to form explodes (another sad commentary on US fire procedures). Fury realises that THEM ( a blanket organisation for AIM, the SECRET EMPIRE and presumably others) are in fact part of....HYDRA ! Fury goes undercover to a swanky party in the ruins of Karnopolis where he uncovers HYDRAS’S plot to use the Overkill Horn (no irony visible) to detonate the world’s nuclear arsenals. Fury foils it, but the Supreme Hydra has escaped and gone after the original Hydra’s daughter, Laura. Fury rescues her & entrusts her to an agent called Bronson, who naturally turns out to be the Supreme Hydra in disguise. Laura uses a machine called Autofac to deduce that Bronson is Hydra, but he knocks her out and reprograms the machine to implicate her. A mysterious Professor Trojak boards the helicarrier to demonstrate his Q ray ( you know where this is heading, right?) but the machine is a Trojan horse (TrojaN, TrojaK...) filled with HYDRA agents. Fury manages to defeat them, but is put on charges (actually by LBJ!) for security failure. Bronson/Trojak/SH re-captures Laura and flies her to HYDRA Island. He announces that a death spore aboard the Helicarrier will kill all life unless all countries surrender to him. Fury goes after him, finally discovering that he’s.....Baron Strucker! Because, as Rip said, they started out under the Nazi’s. Fury foils the bomb plot, but Strucker escapes with the girl. Next, they get attacked by the Yellow Claw, part of whose plan has been devised by spying on AIM and stealing their ‘Ultimate Annihilator’ (which I’m guessing is some sort of weapon?). Fury then fights AIM agents. Again. Fury foils the Claw who then turns out to be a robot puppet of Dr. Doom.

And that’s what you missed on Glee.

That is a virtually continuous story arc which runs for 32 issues, wherein it turns out that all baddies are either Nazis or Doctor Doom. But we already knew that, right?


Doug said...

Richard, that was indeed a public service, as just last night I told the wife, "Don't come looking for me to do something or go anywhere Tuesday evening; I'll be in my comic room reading a run of Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD."

My thanks to you for your discretion.


Matt Celis said...

I don't really care for any of those organizations. They're invariably incompetent and ineffectual and faceless. I like super villains trying to conquer the world.

Bruce said...

DC didn't do as much with this concept during the Bronze Age, did they? I know they had KOBRA, but I never got the sense they were as big of a deal as Hydra.

William said...

Oh, thanks for explanation Doug. I actually didn't know that Blacklash worked for the Maggia. Not with the intention of being critical but actually Silvermane would have been a better choice to represent the Maggia, as I believe he was the "Don Corleone" of the Marvel U.

Also, I would have to agree with Edo that the Maggia isn't really a "World Conquest" type of organization. They are supposed to be the Mafia with the "F" replaced by the next letter in the alphabet and then doubled. I always assumed that Stan Lee didn't just use the name Mafia, for fear of making himself a possible target of the real life organization. I mean it's not like the name copyrighted or anything. So why else would he have changed it? Or maybe he just did it so Marvel could actually copyright the term "Maggia". I would actually be curious to find out the answer to that question.

Karen said...

Since no one has done it yet, I'm gonna comment on the Thor trailer. I like it! Just enough to whet the appetite without giving too much away. Although I think Loki looks a lot like Jimmy Page.

Doug said...

William --

Good call on Silvermane. Wasn't Hammerhead also an agent of the Maggia? I did think of Nefaria, but thought he might narrow the focus too much.

At any rate, when you think of the unreported GDP that a criminal organization of the various arms of the Maggia (or Mafia) generates, I'll stick to my assumption of their influence in the world. Agreed -- maybe not in the sense of political domination, but there's the definite potential for major trouble.


Mike said...

Bruce ... The Legion of Doom from Challenge of the Super Friends is my all-time favorite. That's a DC creation.

Also, the League of Shadows which they used in the latest round of Batman films. In the comics they were originally named The League of Assassins. Founded by Ra's al Ghul the ultimate goal was to pretty much reshape the world into his image, so Batman Begins did it pretty well.

mr. oyola said...

Thor movie looks pretty cool.

Since the first one is my favorite of the Marvel movies (except for Avengers), I have been looking forward to it. I mean, I am not saying it was great or anything, but was "almost there" in terms of "getting it."

Oh and I vote for Hydra. Best name and slogan.

Inkstained Wretch said...

Umm, nobody has mentioned Cobra?!?

C'mon people, knowing is half the battle!

Granted, Cobra never won a single battle with the Joes, but who had a cooler cast of baddies? Cobra Commander, Destro, the Baronness, Zartan & the Dreadnaughts, Baron Bludd, Firefly & Wild Weasel (yes), Storm Shadow & ... Serpentor!

Now, that's a rogues gallery!

david_b said...

I was always up for more serious world domination orgs like THRUSH, KAOS, and of course 'United Underworld' from our FIRST Batman movie.

I love both AIM and Hydra from the first stories I read of each (AIM in MTU 13, Hydra in Cap ish 113..). Both were generic enough, but served their purpose dramatically: A dozen plowed-over unconscious guys by the 3rd or 4th panel... Seems simple enough to me.

In fact, that AIM guy depicted seems just a wee TOO buff; I prefer the ill-fitting bee-helmeted costumes for my world-conquesting minions.

Citing that Strange Tales run, I got the Masterworks books on that; while preferring the actual issues (of which I have most of, I believe..), reading them in hardcover non-interrupted is the easiest. I suspect that after this masterpiece of visual story-telling that Steranko never really did tell another grand (and coherent..) enough story, besides the later Scorpio tale.

Even this tale is a let down at the very end.. The Claw being a Doom Robot..??

Jeez, just how underwhelming can you get...

Garett said...

I like the AIM story in Tales of Suspense 92-94, where the AIM guys are running around trying to figure out what to do about Modok, who's taken over.

The other that comes to mind is The Outsiders Annual #1, with Batman, which has Kobra as the villain and some outstanding Kevin Nowlan art.

I'm looking forward to the next Thor movie--enjoyed the first one.

Anonymous said...

I liked the Maggia in their original appearances in early Iron Man comics, with Madame Masque's divided loyalties and everything. As for HYDRA, I liked the story where Kingpin and his son were working for HYDRA and when they found out the Red Skull was actually in charge, Kingpin helped Captain America fight him. Kingpin may be a scuzzy crimelord, but he's no Nazi!

The only DC organization that comes to mind is Intergang, especially post-crisis. Has anyone been reading the current Daredevil comic by Mark Waid? There's an ongoing plotline involving a bunch of criminal organizations, including HYDRA and AIM.

Mike W.

Marc said...

Gonna have to go with the Hellfire Club, rich & powerful mutants is a scary combination. Plus I am pretty partial to the bondage gear that some of their women wear.

Matt Celis said...

Doesn't D.C. have H.I.V.E., Intergang, The 100, and some others? Does the Secret Society of Super Villains count? Legion of Doom? Crime Syndicate?

Anonymous said...

Lurker here....

When I saw this I immediately thought of COBRA from GI Joe.
However.... AIM has always been dear to my heart.
The Bee Keepers...BWAHAHA!!!

Anonymous said...

Hail Hydra!

Seriously though, this discussion is a no-brainer. I mean, how can you not go with the guys in green who wear the bug eyed masks? Also, their, ahem, research arm AIM comes in for special praise too - gotta love those radiation/bee keeper or whatever-those-things-are outfits!

Honourable mention goes to Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (homo superior agenda), the Hand (mystic ninjas!), Roxxon (hmm, shades of BP?), Fu Manchu's Sifan, the Hellfire Club (more evil mutants) and the Maggia.

I immediately thought of SPECTRE from the James Bond movies like Rip Jagger when I saw this topic.

Yes, Karen, that new Thor trailer looks awesome!

- Mike 'making my own corporation - COUCH POTATO - Corporation of Untidy Chickenhearted Powerfully Abysmal Twerps Only' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Edo Bosnar said...

Not bad, Mike from T&T. Reminds of the villains from this late '70s Saturday morning cartoon, the Drac Pack: OGRE - Organization of Generally Rotten Enterprises.

Oh yeah, Thor trailer looks pretty cool - I'm thinking it'll probably be an enjoyable romp, like most of the Avengers-related movies.

Humanbelly said...

Say, how do all of those easily-forgotten little fanatical organizations fit into this? Y'know, the ones not bent on WORLD domination, but simply bent on dominating/overthrowing/purifying the USofA alone? But still operate w/ the same hokey, bloated structure as yer basic A.I.M. or yer Hydra? It seems like there have been a zillion-- but the two that come immediately to mind are the Sons of the Serpent (naturally), who've always been, like, the Klan on steroids. And then there was the ol' Legion of the Living Lightning, which initially rose and fell in the Hulk's half of Tales to Astonish 97 to 99. They seemed to want to impose a South/Central American style dictatorship on the states. (Their last-page demise is one of the best-paced Hulk visuals EVER!)

And I know there are plenty more. It just always struck me as strange that the ideological ambitions of these organizations would inexplicably evaporate at the nation's borders. . .


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