What would one day become the Carrion Virus began as a serum Dr. Miles Warren, a former assistant of the High Evolutionary who would later become the insane criminal known as the Jackal, developed from DNA samples he collected from human donors to help the New Men become more human-looking. However, something went wrong and the New Men subjected to the serum became living corpses, eventually dying as it ravaged their bodies.
The first strain of the Carrion Virus was a modified version of the serum Dr. Miles Warren created. Warren designed it to destroy mankind so he could replace it with clones under his control. To that end, Warren needed the virus to incubate inside the body of a clone of himself for five years, but the clone ended up being released too soon and was ultimately destroyed by Spider-Man.
The second strain of the Carrion Virus was created by the High Evolutionary. It was a genetic virus capable of rewriting the DNA of its victims, turning them into genetic duplicates of Miles Warren. The High Evolutionary designed this strain with two intentions in mind: to keep the world from knowing about his experiments, as Warren based much of his work on the High Evolutionary's studies and technology, and to discredit Warren with the New Men who abandoned Wundagore to follow him, as they had started the Cult of the Jackal. To accomplish these goals, the High Evolutionary made it so the Carrion Virus would give its victims false memories that corroborated with the alterations he made to Warren's journal, which claimed Warren had never cloned humans at all, but rather used genetic viruses to rewrite DNA.
The High Evolutionary planted the altered journal and a sample of his strain of the Carrion Virus inside Warren's destroyed lab at ESU. The sample was eventually found by a student named Malcolm McBride, who was transformed into the second Carrion upon being infected by it. Later, the new Carrion confronted Spider-Man and was defeated. The virus was sent into remission twice after Malcolm was infected. In the second time it happened, it was because Shriek used her powers on Carrion to prevent him from killing himself. Shriek ended up being infected herself, but wasn't affected by the virus because her powers rendered it inert.
The third strain of the Carrion Virus was created by a genetically-altered clone of the Jackal by modifying the second one into the lethal virus the original was meant to be. To create this strain, the Jackal clone took the Carrion Virus from Shriek's body, and improved it with a volatile genetic nanocontagion stolen from Genetech.
It was released as a test by Spidercide (a clone of Spider-Man capable of controlling his own body at molecular level) in the small town of Springville, Pennsylvania, killing every one of its citizens save for Rafael Carago, who gained the ability to instinctively recode his DNA in response to environmental conditions. The Jackal clone tried to discover how Rafael Carago had survived the virus in order to improve it further, but he ended up escaping during a turmoil involving many Spider-Clones. Even with the virus incomplete, the Jackal clone tried to fulfill his genetic template's mission of using it to replace mankind with clones, but his plan was ultimately thwarted.
The fourth strain of the Carrion Virus was also a variant of the second one, developed to produce a new Carrion that could make Spider-Man pay for the death of Gwen Stacy if the Jackal clone died before he could do so himself. Dr. William Allen purposefully exposed himself to it while studying the Jackal clone's corpse for S.H.I.E.L.D., becoming the third Carrion in the process.
The fifth strain of the Carrion Virus was a disease that originated in the later stages of the cellular degradation that afflicted those brought back to life by the Jackal through his New U procedure, eventually evolving into a contagious plague. The decay resulted from the reaction of the clones' cells to a natural vibration frequency.
Several Earths in numerous alternate universes succumbed to the spread of this disease, as observed by the Master Weaver from Loomworld through the Web of Life and Destiny. When Kaine Parker, the Scarlet Spider, came back to life following the sacrifice of his Other form at the hands of the Inheritors, the cellular degradation he suffered for being one of the earliest clones of Spider-Man returned. Fearing that Kaine's condition was symptom of the Carrion Virus, the Master Weaver informed him of the existence of this disease.
Kaine decided to use the fact that he already suffered from cellular degeneration to travel to these universes and investigate the plague in order to find a cure. It was eventually discovered that in each of these worlds, the outbreak originated soon after Parker Industries teamed-up with New U Technologies to make worldwide their technique that involved organ transplants with cloned body parts.
After discovering that he wasn't a carrier of the Carrion Virus as expected, because the plague only affected those cloned by New U, Scarlet Spider and his ally Spider-Woman, the Gwen Stacy of Earth-65, travelled to Kaine's home universe when they were informed by the Master Weaver that a new cycle of the plague was going to begin, marked by the emergence of New U Technologies in this universe.
In Kaine's home reality, dozens of people brought back to life by the Jackal (Ben Reilly) became potential carriers of the virus. The only thing that prevented them from decaying and eventually becoming Carrions was the daily ingestion of a special pill designed to halt this condition.
With the aid of other scientists such as the Lizard and Doctor Octopus, work began on preventing the clones from decaying. Later on, Anna Maria Marconi, having been captured by the Jackal and forced to work for him, found out the origin of the decay and a way to stop it.
The Carrion Virus outbreak began after the Jackal unwittingly insulted Anna Maria, prompting Doctor Octopus to set out to destroy his enterprise by broadcasting an amplified version of the frequency that caused the decay throughout the Jackal's base, causing all of New U's clones to break down. On the face of defeat, the Jackal decided to broadcast the frequency on a global level, with the intention of causing the collapse of society and bring humanity back as clones. Spider-Man thwarted the Jackal's plan by making the counter-frequency found by Marconi circulate the Earth through the use of the global network of Parker Industries' Webware, saving the lives of all the clones and infected humans who hadn't yet succumbed to the decay.
In most of its incarnations (sans the third one), the Carrion Virus manifests as a type of necrosis that affects the entire body of a given victim, giving them pallid yellow skin and odor of decay. Despite this "undead" appearance, the host isn't really dead. It is strangely non-communicable in the first four incarnations, becoming dormant once it has a host. Separated from a host body, however, it's extremely contagious.
The second strain of the Carrion Virus was a genetic virus that altered the genetic structure of its victims, turning them into undead-looking duplicates of Miles Warren. It provived its victims with the real Miles Warren's memories, including some false ones fabricated by the High Evolutionary. This made it possible for Warren's personality to manifest inside the psyche of the victims and even take over their bodies (strong-willed individuals can overcome the Warren personality's control, as evidenced with William Allen). All of the powers granted by it to Malcolm McBride were the same the original Carrion had.
The third strain of the Carrion Virus was a lethal airborne virus capable of instantly killing every human being that isn't a clone. It had no incubation period and could shut down the respiratory system of its victims in just under thirty seconds.
The fourth strain of the Carrion Virus seemingly has the same properties of the second one.
The New U strain of the Carrion Virus resulted from a flaw in the cloning process used by New U Technologies, turning its victims into zombie-like mindless brutes that eventually died once the cellular break-down reached the point where it prevented their body from properly functioning. While the disease originated in people with cloned bodies or body parts, it was contagious by contact and could affect anyone.
There was no known cure for the cellular degeneration once it reached the stage of Carrion Virus, though it could be prevented from developing that far. To that end, the Jackal synthesized a pill that kept the cellular degradation at bay, which needed to be ingested daily.
- Carriers of the Carrion Virus are usually called Carrions.
- Spider-Man thought the fourth strain of the Carrion Virus was a vaccine the Jackal created to protect himself from the third strain, which was lethal to anyone that wasn't a clone. That was due to him believing that the Jackal who created it was in fact the real Miles Warren at the time.
- Originally, the third Carrion was able to control other human beings by infecting them with the Carrion Virus. The mind control was later attributed to his use of telepathy in conjunction with the red dust.
- 15 appearance(s) of Carrion Virus
- 2 minor appearance(s) of Carrion Virus
- 4 mentions of Carrion Virus
- 8 image(s) of Carrion Virus
- 2 victim(s) killed by Carrion Virus