Born in Queens, New York, Lee Price had a rough life growing up, being brutally bullied as a child and seeing his mother being constantly beaten up by his father. In order to escape from his suffering, Lee set his apartment ablaze, killing his parents, and pinned the crime on a mutant boy with pyrokinesis he had previously befriended. Suppressing the traumatic memory, Lee convinced himself that the mutant boy had done it and that his father had abandoned him. Taken into protective services, Price spent five years as a ward of the state before joining the Army Rangers. Lee was injured in a mine explosion that killed several members of his squad and cost him two of the fingers on his left hand. Discharged due to his injury, he registered as a disabled veteran in order to receive benefits — which did not come through — and was unable to find employment with any domestic security firms, leaving him in a desperate situation.
Faced with eviction from his apartment, Lee accepted a job from Mac Gargan to act as muscle for the Black Cat's gang during an arms deal with Tombstone's crew. After delivering the package, the situation escalated when Tombstone's men refuse to pay and insulted Black Cat, and both factions pulled guns on each other. Lee was unarmed, but he was saved from being shot when the Venom symbiote abruptly intervened, desperately searching for a new host. When the symbiote bonded to him, Lee overpowered it with his will and - disregarding its outraged protests - used it to kill everyone present, including the members of Black Cat's gang and even his childhood friend Tony Consiglio, in order to keep his possession of the symbiote a secret for maximum benefit.
Once he returned to his apartment, Lee engaged the symbiote in a mental confrontation and repelled its attempts to take him over. The following day, Lee decided to return the merchandise to Black Cat, claiming to have been the sole survivor of the confrontation between the two gangs, and offered her the use of his services, attracting the suspicion of Adams - Black Cat's second-in-command - and Mac Gargan. When he returned home, Lee was attacked by Firebug, an assassin sent by Tombstone, which prompted him to transform into Venom to fend off his assailant and kill him to maintain his secrecy.
When the fight was taken to the street, Venom was confronted by a pair of FBI agents who had tailed him from Black Cat's hideout. The symbiote abandoned Price and tried to bond with one of the agents, but relented when Price was shot and mortally wounded. The symbiote rebonding to him, Venom escaped injured, and took refuge in Tony's apartment. Having investigated Lee and his associates, the FBI agents caught up with him and offered him an ultimatum: work for them as an informant or risk becoming public, thus turning into a target for law enforcement agencies and vigilantes.
Lee met with Agent Bagman, one of the FBI agents, outside Parker Industries, where the symbiote mentioned it had been held prisoner before bonding to him. Lee noted that the symbiote was sounding less intelligent than it had before, but their conversation was interrupted by Bagman, who requested Lee get the symbiote to reveal Spider-Man's secret identity. Bagman gave Lee time to consider the request, after which Price was summoned by Black Cat, who asked him to intimidate a Daily Bugle reporter who was writing an exposé on her crime group. Noting that Black Cat's trust in him was slipping when he was paired with Mac Gargan and issued the order not to kill anyone, Price accepted the job despite the increasingly feral symbiote's concerns. However, Gargan - dressed in his Scorpion armor - decided to eliminate Price and frame his death on the reporter after killing him too. The Venom symbiote emerged to save Price from being beaten to death, and the ensuing battle was recorded by bystanders and posted online.
Venom defeated Gargan and would have eaten him had Spider-Man not intervened. Retreating, Price abducted the reporter and threatened him to learn Adams' address. That evening Venom attacked Adams, who revealed that he'd told Black Cat that Price had lied to her and was the symbiote's host. Price retorted that Black Cat would go after Adams as well, since he'd gone behind her back, and offered him protection - plotting to turn Adams over to the FBI and take over Black Cat's organization once she was arrested. However, Agent Bagman was revealed to be an informant for Black Cat's gang and in league with Adams, ambushing Price with a helicopter armed with incendiary missiles. Venom managed to hijack the helicopter, but this caused the FBI to call in their Anti-Symbiote Task Force, led by the Venom symbiote's former host Eddie Brock.
Lee planned to take the helicopter down the Hudson River and escape from there. However, Spider-Man's appearance prompted him to change his plans, attacking the hero. While Spider-Man was engaging Venom, the FBI arrived and attacked him, giving Brock a window of opportunity to brief Spider-Man on a plan to take Price down. Spider-Man returned to confront Venom and expressed his desire to rebond to the symbiote. Lee failed to keep the symbiote under his control and it separated from him. The FBI subsequently contained the symbiote with Spider-Man's help, who had actually been bluffing, and Lee was then arrested by NYPD officers. While he was imprisoned in the New York Corrections Supermax Facility for Superhuman Incarceration, Lee's time behind the bars was brief. His attorney managed to build a case arguing for Price's innocence on the grounds that the Venom symbiote possessed the ability to mentally influence its hosts, leading to Lee's liberation.
Maniac and Death
Price and a pair of thugs ambushed Mania with a sonic cannon and flamethrowers, badly injuring her and separating her from her symbiote. Price took the symbiote for himself and rechristened himself Maniac, returning to New York and forcibly recruiting other super villains by infecting them with pieces of the symbiote. After accumulating enough manpower in the form of his Inklings, Maniac attacked Black Cat's gang and used his symbiote to take control of her and her people. Lee's intention was to use Black Cat's operations to make his way into a gathering of the five biggest crime families in the world, to which Hardy had been invited for the first time, so to take control of them as well.
Spider-Man and Agent Anti-Venom stumbled upon Maniac while tracking down his symbiote, and were defeated, but not before Black Cat used the little free will she retained to force herself to enter in contact with Anti-Venom to destroy the piece of Lee's symbiote controlling her. Once he captured the heroes, Maniac took control of Spider-Man and tried to kill Anti-Venom, using the former to commit crimes in an attempt to draw Black Cat out. While Maniac carried out his plan, Anti-Venom was rescued by Andi Benton, and Black Cat freed Spider-Man from Maniac's control using Anti-Venom serum procured from Alchemax with Venom's help. The heroes learned of Price's plan from Spider-Man, and followed him to the gathering of the crime families, where Price had already used the Mania symbiote to take control of all the attendees. Using weaponry coated in Anti-Venom serum, the heroes freed those under Maniac's control, prompting him to order the remains of the symbiote to rejoin him to make him stronger. While Maniac initially overpowered the heroes, growing to an enormous height, Black Cat discovered those freed from his control by Anti-Venom developed an immunity. Spider-Man had Anti-Venom absorb a sample of his blood so to acquire its "Anti-Maniac" properties, giving him the boost necessary to neutralize Lee and weaken his symbiote. Maniac was then apprehended and taken away by authorities.
Imprisoned in Ryker's Island, Price cemented his reputation among his fellow inmates, intimidating them into calling him "Venom" and manifesting his weakened symbiote in the form of Venom's spider insignia on his chest and back. When Cletus Kasady - impersonating Eddie Brock - was arrested, Price attempted to intimidate him, but was disparaged and had the Mania symbiote unceremoniously ripped out of him, seemingly killing him in the process. Price's death was later confirmed in Times Square, along with the other inmates.
Having been traumatized by his harsh childhood and experiences serving overseas, Lee Price is callous, ruthless, pragmatic and scheming; the Venom symbiote classifying him as a broken, weak and hateful man. His time as a soldier taught him to suppress his emotions and remain calm at all times; and as such he constantly endeavors to maintain a stern and stoic demeanor. He revels in the power being Venom gave him, and was not above forcing the Venom symbiote to commit acts of violence against its will. Price was initially not very ambitious, seeking to operate from the shadows and take only what he was owed for his work. However, after Price's plans to do so went up in smoke, he decided to seize power and rule through fear to the point of creating his own criminal organization and seeking to seize control of the Maggia and other crime syndicates by force. Price is intelligent enough to realize when he's being manipulated into a trap, and quick to improvise when his plan to remain anonymous failed.
While Price once had people he cared about and considered comrades, the traumatic experiences he has endured have left him a cynical loner. Apparently, this is his only fear—being alone—despite the fact that his loneliness is something he brought upon himself. Price makes no distinction between the people he kills to protect himself or his secrets, killing his parents as a child because they had hurt him; and killing his childhood friend, Tony, because he knew he couldn't keep the symbiote a secret. According to the Venom symbiote, Price uses his cold and calculating personality to mask his fears.
Further, Price is shown to be vengeful, swearing to reclaim the Venom symbiote and kill anyone who tried to hurt him.
Powers and Abilities
Black Symbiotic Costume: The Maniac symbiote granted Price the following powers:
- Superhuman Strength
- Superhuman Speed
- Superhuman Stamina
- Superhuman Durability
- Superhuman Agility
- Superhuman Reflexes
- Regenerative Healing Factor
- ESP (Spider-Sense)
- Spider-Sense Immunity
- Constituent-Matter Generation
- Genetic Memory
- Night Vision
- Poisonous Fangs
- Permanent Bond: Price apparently cannot be separated from his symbiote, possibly through using his immense willpower to force it to remain bonded to him.
Military Protocol: Price has extensive military training, making him a skilled tactician and hand-to-hand combatant.
Indomitable Will: Price's military training has given him the willpower to easily repel psychic incursions, enabling him to easily subjugate the Venom symbiote and gain control of it.
Sonic and Heat: The Venom and Maniac symbiotes, like all others of their kind, are extremely vulnerable to heat and sonic based attacks. They cause the symbiotes physical pain and discomfort, where as "more powerful" attacks might be completely ineffective.
Anti-Venom: Physical contact with the second Anti-Venom symbiote and a serum derived from the original Anti-Venom symbiote caused Maniac physical pain and neutralized the symbiote "Facehuggers" he used to control others. After being upgraded with Spider-Man's antibodies, the second Anti-Venom symbiote was further able to strip the Maniac symbiote of its new ability to control others through pieces of its biomass.
- Lee was created to harken back to the original Venom's period as a pure villain, and combines traits of all three main hosts, Eddie Brock, Mac Gargan, and Flash Thompson.
- Two unused versions of the final panel of Venom #160 showed Maniac's monstrous form as being identical to his Venom form from Venom Vol 3.
- Lee Price's Venom form is featured as a skin in Fortnite.
- 16 appearance(s) of Lee Price (Earth-616)
- 8 minor appearance(s) of Lee Price (Earth-616)
- 4 mentions of Lee Price (Earth-616)
- 56 image(s) of Lee Price (Earth-616)
- 6 quotation(s) by or about Lee Price (Earth-616)