Malcolm McBride was an Empire State University science graduate student. He applied for a research grant that went to Peter Parker. Resentful, feeling that his rival was not a serious student, Malcolm followed Peter into the bowels of ESU's science building, to the wrecked secret lab used by the Jackal and the original Carrion. Peter, searching for the truth of the clones, came away with a research journal written by the Jackal. Malcolm slipped in after and left with a test tube containing a glowing green liquid.
Back at his dorm, Malcolm studied the liquid and determined that it is a virus that "was created by recombinant DNA technology". It also grew rapidly when exposed to air, slipped off the microscope slide, and attacked Malcolm's face. This exposure turned Malcolm into Carrion, not only giving him the knowledge of Spider-Man's identity but also garbing him in Carrion's rags and shoulder bag containing the deadly red dust.
Initially Malcolm was so absorbed by the virus that he thought himself to be a clone of Prof. Miles Warren created to avenge Gwen Stacy's death. Carrion displayed a variety of powers from levitation to telepathy to altering his density but he also believed that the original Miles Warren was still alive. When Spider-Man lead him to Warren's grave, Carrion was so startled that the web-slinger defeated him easily and had him shipped off to the prison known as the Vault.
On his way back to the Vault from a court appearance, Carrion was freed by the Hobgoblin, Jason Macendale under demonic possession. The two villains established a base in the New York sewer system and Carrion revealed that he couldn't read minds after all, his red dust was merely freeze-dried acid crystals, and he seemed to have forgotten Spider-Man's secret identity. He at least remembered enough of being Malcolm to go to Astoria, Queens (later referred to as "Briarwood" but switched back to Astoria again) to seek out his mother (first named "Martha", later called "Beatrice"). Spider-Man intervened but he was, in turn, ambushed by Hobgoblin. The two villains dragged the web-slinger down into the sewers.
While Hobgoblin went to Hammerhead to try to get money for killing Spider-Man, the web-spinner taunted Carrion into accidentally releasing him. Later, when Hobgoblin returned, the battle moved above ground. Hobby tried to kill Martha McBride and Mary Jane, who had tracked Martha down, only to be stopped by Carrion protecting his mother. A pumpkin bomb ignited the gas from a broken sewer line and both villains went up in flames and fell back into the sewer system.
Neither one died, of course. Carrion rose from the sewers in Manhattan during Maximum Carnage, drawn by the death and destruction wrought by Carnage, Shriek, Doppelganger, and Demogoblin. He hung out with the group, buying into Shriek's claim that she was his surrogate mother and fighting Deathlok, Cloak, Morbius and other heroes. The Maximum Carnage gang was finally stopped by the Alpha Magni-Illuminizor, a machine that fires waves of "positive" energy. The flow of "inner light" from this device was so great that it seemed to eradicate the Carrion Virus from Malcolm McBride, restoring him to normal.
But the virus wasn't dead, just dormant. Though apparently normal, Malcolm was placed in Ravencroft Institute where he was treated by Dr. Ashley Kafka. She showed Malcolm to Shriek who, still thinking of Carrion as her son, broke free, abducted Malcolm, and used her powers to reinvigorate the virus and turn Malcolm back into Carrion. Eventually, in an emotional tug-of-war between Shriek and Beatrice McBride, Malcolm was driven to despair and tried to turn the deadly Carrion touch on himself. In a rare moment of compassion, Shriek used her powers to draw the Carrion Virus out of Malcolm and into herself.
Though cured of the Carrion Virus for good, Malcolm remained an inmate at Ravencroft. In the trial of Spider-Man led by the mysterious Traveller, Malcolm was a witness for the prosecution. He revealed that he became Carrion because of his jealousy of Peter Parker. Spider-Man was then unmasked to show his identity as Peter Parker. Later, Malcolm was transformed into Carrion again by Traveller, only to be changed back to normal at the end of the proceedings. His memory of Peter Parker as Spider-Man was wiped by Traveller along with the memories of all the other participants.
It's unknown if Malcolm McBride ever recovered enough from the experience to leave the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane. After Dark Carnage's takeover of the Ravencroft Institute and the resurrection of Demogoblin, Cletus wondered if there was a way to also revive Carrion, indicating that Malcolm somehow died prior to these events.
Powers and Abilities
Deadly touch, body repels organic matter, can alter his density. Carrion possessed limited telepathy and could levitate.
Super-human. Many times normal.
Red dust (freeze-dried acid).
- 18 appearance(s) of Malcolm McBride (Earth-616)
- 8 minor appearance(s) of Malcolm McBride (Earth-616)
- 3 mentions of Malcolm McBride (Earth-616)
- 15 image(s) of Malcolm McBride (Earth-616)
- 1 quotation(s) by or about Malcolm McBride (Earth-616)