Membership: Earth-712 counterparts of Gregory Hungerford Gideon, Justin Hammer, Leland Owlsley, Kyle Richmond, Sebastian Shaw, Obadiah Stane, Cornelius Van Lunt, Nelson Rockefeller

Purpose: Conquest of Earth-712 for Set by way of political and economic intrigue.

Affiliations: Set, Hugh Jones of Earth-616

Enemies: Professor Imam, Gaea, Avengers, Squadron Supreme

Aliases: Cadre Cartel (See Comments)

Base of Operations: Headquarters presumably in Capitol City, United States of America of Earth-712

First Appearance: (Nelson Rockefeller of Earth-712) Avengers#147 (May, 1976); (other members of the Serpent Cartel) Web of Spider-Man Annual #5 (1989)





History: (Web of Spider-Man Annual#5/6 (fb) ) - On Earth-712, workmen on an oil-rig of a company owned by Gregory Gideon discovered the Serpent Crown in the Pacific. Set commanded them to bring the crown to Gideon, who donned it. Gideon soon convinced fellow prominent businessmen to also wear the crown, linking their minds to each others and to Set. Eventually calling themselves the Serpent Cartel, they began a plan to amass power.

First, they had to eliminate the prominent magical adepts of their Earth. To that end, Sebastian Shaw (wearing the Crown), Gideon and Leland Owlsley banished Wizard Supreme Professor Imam to another dimension, while Arcanna of the Squadron Supreme was placed in a cell that neutralized her powers over nature. The Cartel intended her as a bride of Set, to mock Arcanna's patron (and Set's enemy) Gaea.

When the Squadron Supreme came to investigate the disappearance of Arcanna, Gideon used the Crown's power to enthrall them, though he failed to gain control of Nighthawk and Power Princess, the former due to his formidable will, the latter due to her training in mental discipline on Utopia Isle.

Eventually, the Cartel persuaded their world's Nelson Rockefeller to join them. Rockefeller was chosen to serve as the candidate for U.S. president, and the Cartel gave him the Crown to use its powers of suggestion to mesmerize viewers of his speeches on TV. Rockefeller chose Kyle Richmond (unaware of his dual identity as Nighthawk) as his attorney general, and made him wear the Crown, thinking he had subverted Richmond's will to Set.

(Web of Spider-Man Annual#5/6) - The Serpent Cartel managed to contact Earth-616's Hugh Jones--who also served Set, as well as serving as his Earth's president of Roxxon Oil. They agreed to aid him by sending the Squadron Supreme to Earth-616 to attack the Avengers.

(Avengers I#141-144) - The Squadron Supreme battled the Avengers, managed to defeat them and confine them in a facility of Roxxon's. However, the Avengers managed to break free, renewing the battle. Hugh Jones triggered an inter-dimensional transport device to send the Squadron and Avengers to Earth-712.

(Avengers I#147)- The Avengers and Squadron Supreme arrived on Earth-712, again renewing their battle. They were interrupted by the arrival of army helicopters, tanks, and soldiers. Nelson Rockefeller, wearing the Crown, confronted the Avengers, demanding that they surrender. However, the Vision managed to steal the Crown and hand it to the Scarlet Witch, who threatened to destroy it. Rockefeller had to allow the Avengers to leave unharmed, and then psychically contacted Hugh Jones.

(Avengers West Coast Annual#4/5) - Gaea appeared to Arcanna in her cell to comfort her, informing her of how the Avengers had obtained the Crown.

Meanwhile, Nelson Rockefeller returned to the sanctum of the Serpent Cartel. Gideon, enraged at what had happened, ordered Rockefeller back to the White House. Richmond, also present, had with him an aid named Ms. Debussy (in fact, Power Princess in disguise). Power Princess freed Arcanna from her cell, but set off many alarms. Gideon left to investigate, but Richmond used the diversion as an opportunity to incapacitate the other members of the Cartel (such as Hammer and Van Lunt) with knock-out gas.

Gideon saw Arcanna and Power Princess defeat his security forces, and returned to his fellow Cartel members in the conference room. Nighthawk confronted Gideon, who fainted.

Upon the defeat of the Cartel's security forces, Arcanna returned Professor Imam to Earth-712. Together, they cast a spell to free all U.S. citizens from Set's control. Since the Avengers had the Crown, Set could not prevent this spell. The other Squadron members began to regain their own wills.

(Avengers I#148)- The Beast, disguising himself as Earth-712's Nelson Rockefeller, made a desperate attempt to convince the Squadron to turn against the Serpent Cartel. He succeeded, and the Avengers returned to Earth-616.

(Avengers I#149) - Hugh Jones contacted Earth-712's Nelson Rockefeller to find out what had happened on Earth-712. Rockefeller informed him that the Squadron Supreme had turned against him, even going on TV to denounce the Cartel. He could aid Jones no more.

Comments: Created by Steve Engleheart and George Perez, fleshed out by Peter Sanderson and Mark Bagley.

The Web of Spider-Man Annual#5 and Avengers West Coast Annual#4 appearances of the Serpent Cartel came out during the retelling of the Serpent Crown's history during Atlantis Attacks. Sanderson took the opportunity to reveal who the other members of the Serpent Cartel were besides Nelson Rockefeller. Actually, some of the characters he revealed as Cartel members had not made their (or their Earth-616 counterparts') first published appearance at the time that the original Avengers stories were published, including Obadiah Stane, Justin Hammer, and Sebastian Shaw. Only Cornelius Van Lunt (Taurus), Leland Owsley (Owl) and Gregory Gideon had appeared in comics set on Earth-616 at the time.

The Hugh Jones of Earth-712, as revealed in the Web of Spider-Man Annual#5 story, was shot to death by an ex-lover, hence he did not join the Cartel. Although Engleheart's story explicitly identified Nelson Rockefeller of Earth-712 as a member of the Serpent Cartel, in retellings of the story, writers avoided referring to him by name.

Sanderson also took the opportunity to reveal what Arcanna and Power Princess were doing when the Serpent Cartel launched its conspiracy. In fact, when Engelheart's original stories were published, Arcanna and Power Princess (analogs of DC's Zatanna and Wonder Woman, respectively) had not yet made their first published appearance (which was Defenders I#112).

In AVENGERS I#148 (page 3) the name of the group of corporate leaders who are pawns of the Serpent Crown of Earth-712 is given as the "Cadre Cartel." Their international headquarters was in Cosmopolis and their corporate logo was a large "C" with a snake twined around it. I assume that "Cadre Cartel" was nothing more than the name that the Cartel used in their dealings with the public and that "Serpent Cartel" was their true name, known only to their members. - Don Campbell

by Per Degaton

Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims

Clarifications: The Serpent Cartel should not be confused with:

Avengers I#141-144 (November, 1975 - February, 1976) - Steve Englehart (writer), George Perez (pencils), Vince Colletta (#141-142), Sam Grainger (#143) & Mike Esposito (#144) (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Avengers I#148-149 (June-July, 1976) - Steve Englehart (writer), George Perez (pencils), Sam Grainger (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Avengers West Coast Annual#4 (1989) - Peter Sanderson (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Web of Spider-Man Annual#5 (1989) - Peter Sanderson (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)

Last updated: 07/06/14

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