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Edward Whelan was raised in a seemingly average and well-off family home. However, his father was secretly abusive of Edward, and this colored his opinion of himself growing up. Edward's self-loathing brought on by the abuse eventually led him to a life on the streets.[4] At some point, he was picked up off the streets by Baron Zemo, the son of a Nazi scientist, and Arnim Zola, the master Nazi geneticist, subjected him to a process that bestowed upon him various ratlike traits and attributes.[5]

Fighting Captain America[]

Able to command rats and other wild beasts, Vermin was dispatched by the pair to stalk and kill their long-time enemy Captain America. After randomly slashing a cab driver to attract attention, Vermin encountered Captain America in a rundown area of Harlem, and despite unleashing a pack of rats against the Avenger, Vermin was overpowered.[5]

Captain America took him to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters for questioning, but Vermin somehow managed to escape shortly afterwards. He then rendezvoused with Zemo and Zola, who took him to Zemo's headquarters in Mexico. When Zemo had captured Captain America himself, he decided Vermin's usefulness to him was over. He then shackled Vermin next to the Captain in a dungeon and set loose two of his more powerful mutates upon them. Vermin slew one of the mutates and escaped the chamber. He stole aboard Zemo's escape craft, and when Zemo fled from the castle sometime later, Vermin attacked Zemo viciously, wounding him.[6]

Returning to New York City, Vermin once again prowled the city streets, finally going on a rampage during the San Gennaro Festival in the Little Italy section of Manhattan. He was apprehended by Captain America and Spider-Man and turned over to local authorities.[7]

Ravencroft Institute[]

Vermin was used as a pawn against Spider-Man by Kraven the Hunter during his "Last Hunt" against the web-slinger.[8] Several months later, Vermin resurfaced and finally confronted his father and his own psychological issues of loathing and worthlessness. He willingly turned himself over to Ashley Kafka and the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane for treatment.[9] Zemo soon returned, but Edward's self-confidence had been developed enough to stand against his former tormentor. He helped Ashley Kafka and Spider-Man protect a group of mutates Zemo and Zola had been abusing.[10]

Edward was eventually pronounced mentally well and excused of the crimes he committed as Vermin. He returned the favor to Doctor Kafka by taking a position as her aide at the Ravenscroft Institute.[11] However, Edward was still occasionally abused by various villains during the outbreaks and riots at Ravencroft, such as when Judas Traveller triggered the re-emergence of his Vermin persona.[12]

Kraven's First Hunt[]

Vermin attacked the new Kraven the Hunter for intruding on his tunnels and was beaten by her very severely. He escaped outside and ran into Spider-Man, who was wearing a Daredevil costume. Not recognizing his old foe, Vermin attacked, overwhelming him, and taking a bite out of his shoulder. Up close, Vermin was able to identify Spider-Man's scent. Appealing to the last shred of humanity within Vermin, Spider-Man convinced him to reveal where Kraven was. Vermin later attacked Kraven again but was defeated and captured by her.[13]

The Hood's Gang[]

Vermin had joined the Hood's criminal army,[14] which was created to take advantage of the chaos created due to the Superhuman Registration Act.[15] He was active with the group during the Secret Invasion of the Skrulls, where they worked together with the heroes to defeat the alien army.[16] He worked with the team on various missions,[17] including facing the New Avengers.[18] He and the rest of the Hood's crew took part in the Siege of Asgard.[19][20] He was eventually arrested along with the rest of the gang[21] and imprisoned back in the Raft.[22]

New Revengers[]

After joining the Maker's New Revengers,[23] Vermin and his teammates fought the New Avengers as they were defending themselves from S.H.I.E.L.D. as part of the Maker's plan to take A.I.M. for himself, but they were ultimately defeated.[24][25]

Return to the Hood's Gang[]

Vermin attended a meeting of various villains organized by the Wizard to discuss what to do about Doctor Doom who had unexpectedly decided to become a superhero and become the new Iron Man. As the Hood brought up the idea of forming a gang of villains to take Doom out, Doom suddenly appeared and took down all of the villains present.[26] He later participated in an ambush against Doom along with many of the other villains that Doom had earlier defeated.[27] He also attended a meeting to discuss the Hood's rise as the new Kingpin of crime[28] before joining the Hood's Gang once more in ransacking Castle Doom in search for Doom's fortune.[29]

Kraven's Great Hunt[]

Back to the sewers, Vermin kidnapped people to serve both as company and food. He was captured by the Lizard and Taskmaster as a means to get into Central Park, which had sealed off by Kraven the Hunter and turned into the hunting grounds for his Great Hunt between Hunterbots and animal-themed criminals.[30] After Vermin accidentally revealed that the Lizard and Taskmaster were working together to get into Central Park, Kraven's accomplice Arcade injected Vermin with a special drug that made him grow clones out of his body, giving him the company he long longed for.[31]

Arcade later set the Vermin loose on Spider-Man,[32] almost killing him until Kraven dispersed them with a sonic weapon.[32] Following the end of the Great Hunt, the Vermin escaped to the subway.[33]

Moon Knight[]

Whelan's dupes soon turned up again in New York; seeking to snatch up people from various apartment flats who were under the protection of Moon Knight. After a brief confrontation with the low town protector, Marc let Vermin's cast offs go on the condition that he/they never come anywhere near his stomping grounds again, lest he render them all down to one before leaving them well and truly dead.[34]


Power Grid[39]
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Vermin was granted superhuman abilities like those of a rat through genetic engineering at the hands of Arnim Zola. His powers are proportional to those of a human-sized rat.[35]

Superhuman Strength: Vermin possesses physical strength that is beyond the natural physical capability of any normal human and can lift approximately 1 ton.[36]

Superhuman Speed: Vermin can run and move faster than even the fastest Olympic level sprinter. While not superhuman, he can run as fast as it is naturally possible for a human being to run and can reach a top speed of 35 miles per hour.[36]

Superhuman Stamina: Vermin's musculature produces somewhat less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of most ordinary humans. He can physically exert himself at peak capacity for about 30 minutes before fatigue begins to impair him.[36]

Superhuman Durability: Vermin's body is somewhat harder, tougher, and more resistant to injury than the body of an ordinary human. While far from invulnerable, Vermin can endure impact forces and trauma that would severely injure or kill a normal human being with mild to moderate discomfort.[36]

Superhuman Agility: Vermin's agility, balance, and bodily coordination are heightened to levels that are beyond the natural physical limits and capabilities of even the finest human athlete.[36]

Superhuman Reflexes: Vermin's reflexes are similarly enhanced and are superior to those of the finest human athlete.[36]

Superhumanly Acute Senses: Some of Vermin's physical senses are substantially superior to those of ordinary human beings. Vermin can see perfectly in near-total darkness and his sense of smell is also as acute as that of a rat. He is capable of detecting the approach of other living things from well over 100 feet away, even if he cannot hear or see them.[36]

Animal Communication: Vermin can communicate with and command rats and stray dogs within a radius of two miles from him. On several occasions, he has commanded hundreds of sewer rats to attack an enemy. How he commands these creatures is unknown, although it is more likely hypersonic than telepathic in nature.[36]

Razor Sharp Teeth & Claws: Vermin possesses very sharp and strong teeth as well as 1-inch claws at the tip of each of his fingers. His teeth and nails are strong enough to gnaw through wood, fibers, and even soft metals (like lead) within minutes.[36]

Demi-Cellular Division: After being administered an odd pharmaceutical by Arcade, Edward gained the ability to biophysically duplicate himself through rapid cellular mitosis.[31] This allowed him to create a seemingly endless number of duplicates of himself all able to work in conjunction with each other rather seamlessly.[32]


While he has had no formal training, Vermin's powers coupled with his savagery have made him a formidable combatant. Vermin is capable of great savagery, and when provoked or threatened, has phenomenal resistance to pain and fatigue.[36]


Vermin's genetic alteration has diminished his mental faculties to subnormal human levels. Vermin is still capable of speech, but his reasoning ability has degenerated to the level of primal instincts.[37]


  • Spider-Man considers Vermin's repeated resurgences of mental illness to be a real tragedy.[38]

See Also

Links and References