Faction: Shadow Axis, HISS
Professor Luis Ortega’s transformation into the supervillain called Viper began with his insatiable thirst for success and fame. He had always been driven to excel in his archaeology career, and yet his position as a chair at Empire City University was not enough to satisfy him. He wanted to succeed at any price, for with success would come prestige, and with prestige, fame, bigger grants, and greater funding which could be divested to support the lifestyle he deserved. Ortega wanted more, and he was willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it. He had connections with people who were interested in valuable archaeological finds and would pay top dollar for them – Ortega routed carefully selected finds into the hands of interested parties for the right price.
In his quest for success, Ortega led an expedition to the South American jungle, hoping to discover a new culture that would make him famous. After weeks of grueling travel, his party stumbled upon a well-preserved temple unlike any they had seen before. After accessing the temple, Ortega ventured inside. His party refused to enter, afraid on some base level of what lay within.
What Ortega found changed him forever. The temple held a single artifact – a golden helmet with a single blue jewel mounted on the forehead. When Ortega donned the helmet, he was transformed into Viper, a supervillain with incredible powers.
The helmet was imbued with a supernatural power that gave Ortega immense strength and other powers, such as the ability to sway the minds of others. But the helmet also corrupted his own mind, making him ever more power-hungry and ruthless. That ruthlessness was immediately demonstrated as he killed all other members of the expedition.
When Ortega returned from the expedition, he claimed that his party had been ambushed by a criminal cartel, and that he was the only survivor. He kept the truth of the helmet hidden, knowing that its power could make him a target. As Viper, he soon used his powers to seek out other supervillains and ally himself with the Shadow Axis and HISS, organizations with ambitions that mirrored his own.
Viper quickly rose through the ranks of the supervillain community, using his cunning, strength, and malefic powers to take on heroes and rival supervillains alike. He was a formidable opponent, and many feared him. But as he gained more power, he also became more reckless. Fueled by the malign influence of the helmet, Viper’s desire for wealth and supremacy has led him to take risks that put not innocent lives in danger, but also his allies. Today, Viper is much feared, both by his associates as well as his foes.
“You will fall Doc Cosmos! I have the power of the snake gods coursing through my veins!”
Viper – Covenant of Justice #14