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Quote1.png Oh, it's already too late. And my mistake was spreading this around in the first place. This symbiote belongs to nobody... nobody but me! Quote2.png
Maniac (Lee Price)[src]

The symbiote that would be later known as the Mania[2] (alias Maniac) symbiote[3] was a clone of the Venom symbiote created by the Ararat Corporation from a piece of its tongue, intended to facilitate Bob's goal of exterminating all life on Earth.[8]

Eventually bonding with Patricia Robertson, who was able to control it with the help of a cybernetic collar and intended to use it to kill the original Venom, Eddie Brock. Thanks to Bob's actions, the clone re-merged with the original symbiote, making Venom more powerful than ever.[9] However, Bob's plans never came to pass, and eventually former soldier Flash Thompson bonded to the Venom symbiote to become Agent Venom. While Flash was acting as a substitute gym teacher in Philadelphia, Jack O'Lantern tried to kill one of his students, Andi Benton, with poison gas. However, Flash accidentally bonded the symbiote clone to Andi in order to protect her, unaware of its true nature, and later learned that the Venom symbiote had passed his demonic Hell-Mark onto its clone.[2]

Dubbing herself Mania, Andi continued fighting crime but was eventually possessed by the Hell-Mark when Flash had gone to live his own adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy.[10] Despite that, Flash eventually returned to help her recover, and alongside his allies brought a elixir that served as a temporary cure to her condition.[11] Unfortunately, former Army Ranger Lee Price stole the Mania symbiote from her and dubbed himself Maniac.[3]

Lee started creating his own criminal empire by using offshoots from his symbiote to possess others, but his plans backfired when Flash Thompson became Anti-Venom.[12] Arrested, Lee was targeted by Carnage, who was collecting remnants of other symbiotes called codices in other hosts to awake the God of the Symbiotes Knull. Impersonating Eddie Brock, Carnage allowed himself to be incarcerated and Lee tried to intimidate him, but Carnage killed him to take the Maniac symbiote and absorb it into his composite symbiote.[4] Eddie eventually killed Cletus, the Venom symbiote absorbing his and the Mania symbiotes along with the codices, releasing Knull.[1]

History

Creation

During one of Venom's battles with Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, the Venom symbiote's tongue was severed by the Human Torch and came into the possession of the Ararat Corporation -- the public face of a covert organization founded by an alien entity known as Bob for the purpose of exterminating all life on Earth.[8] The severed tongue was taken to the Ararat Corporation's Mesa Verde Laboratory in New Mexico, where Bob and his clone agents Vic and Frankie extracted and modified tissue samples to create a clone of the Venom symbiote;[8] programming it to seek out and merge with the original, thereby inducing it to reproduce uncontrollably and wipe out all life on Earth with a horde of symbiotes.[13] The symbiote clone initially refused to bond to any of the test subjects offered to it as hosts, instead opting to brutally kill them -- not to devour them, but out of sadistic enjoyment. However, when presented with a choice between two prospective hosts — an elderly mental patient named Alfonse Poina and a prison inmate named Eric Moody, sentenced for killing six men — the symbiote attacked both. When Moody managed to fight it off, the Venom clone bonded to Poina, mocking Moody over having been raped in prison — memories it gleaned from being in contact with him - before implicitly raping and killing him.[14]

Christmastown Massacre

Following it deliberately killing Alfonse by draining him of his vital fluids, the symbiote clone was deemed ready by Bob and sent to an Ararat Corporation laboratory in the Canadian Arctic, alongside heavily redacted and doctored research notes containing disinformation. Bob had Vic and Frankie destroy their research notes,[15] while the rest of the severed tongue was placed into storage in case a new clone needed to be created.[13] After nineteen months Bob released it from containment and it slaughtered all but one of the scientists.[15] Shortly afterwards, Patricia Robertson, a lieutenant in the US Army stationed at the nearby Christmastown radar station, arrived at the laboratory on an errand and the symbiote lured her inside by impersonating someone calling for help.[15] While Robertson investigated the carnage, the symbiote bonded to Ivan, one of her sled dogs, and was brought back to the Christmastown base.[16] The symbiote detached itself from the dog and bonded to Harold Saunders, transferring to Colonel Michael Malone that evening and burying Saunders' drained corpse in the snow, where it was dug up and partially eaten by Ivan the following day. The symbiote impersonated Malone until it had gotten the Ararat survivor, Perry, alone and then attacked him.[17] When Robertson and Daniel Jackson responded to Perry's screams, the Venom clone attacked them and was about to transfer to Robertson when it was attacked by a strange man in a black suit, wielding a cell-phone capable of shooting lightning. Jackson's intervention to protect his CO enabled the Venom clone to escape, pursued by the Suit. Having drained Malone to death, the symbiote set a trap for the Suit and ambushed him, tearing him to pieces and revealing him to be an artificial construct assembled by spider-like extraterrestrial machines.[18]

Finding Jackson and Robertson bound together in a storage closet, the Venom clone took over Jackson, telling Robertson it had already killed the other members of the team. When asked by Robertson if it was going to kill her too, the Venom clone said that because it liked her it was going to give her a sporting chance first, breaking her bonds. Tripping Patricia before she could escape, the Venom clone attacked, gloating over her terror. Before it could kill her, Jerome Delacroix intervened and held it at gunpoint, but the Venom clone caught him off guard by revealing its host's face and knocked him out. To torture Robertson, the Venom clone told her it was going to consume Delacroix from the inside out before returning for her, and left to transfer to its new host. Retrieving and cocooning the corpses of its former hosts and leaving them on display, the Venom clone attacked Robertson once she found them, but she accidentally shot it in the chest with her grenade launcher.[19] Separated from Delacroix's drained body, the Venom clone took over Perry after he and Robertson were knocked out by the reconstituted Suit blowing up the facility's vehicles, impersonating him in an attempt to trick Robertson into helping it escape and reach civilization. When the Suit confronted them, the Venom clone urged Robertson to kill him, but Suit revealed its deception. Having drained Perry to death, the Venom clone prevented the Suit from killing Robertson and tore him apart again, then rebonded to Ivan and escaped into the wilderness.[20]

Attack on Voici

Headed for the nearest settlement, Voici in the Northwest Territories, the Venom clone transferred to a crow when the sled-dog died, jumping to a man named Orrie and from him to another man named Clem, using his skidoo to travel the rest of the way to Voici.[21] Having drained Clem, the Venom clone stopped at a diner owned by a woman named Nan, impersonating its host and telling an older man named Yooper that it intended to kill and eat everyone. Taking over Nan, the Venom clone pretended to flee the diner and was attacked by a separate pair of Vic and Frankie clones who had been sent by the Ararat Corporation to become its hosts. When Wolverine intervened, the Venom clone revealed itself and attacked, seeing him as the ideal host due to his healing factor and adamantium claws. The Venom clone's fight with Wolverine was interrupted by the Suit, who seemingly killed Logan,[22] but the Venom clone mockingly informed the Suit it would just bond with Wolverine once he healed. Their confrontation was interrupted by Vic, who offered herself to the symbiote, but the Suit told the Venom clone that Vic had been outfitted with a cybernetic collar that connected to her brain and would allow her to control it. When Yooper exited the diner, the symbiote selected him as its next host and latched onto a bullet fired by Vic, bonding to the old man and preparing to resume the fight. Vic retreated and reunited with Frankie — who had captured Robertson — in their ship, dropping an atomic bomb on Voici to kill any other potential hosts.[23]

The Venom clone survived the nuke by taking over a swarm of cockroaches, killing Frankie. The Venom clone then ambushed Wolverine and took over him, slicing the Suit to pieces and attacking Robertson, who the Suit had outfitted with Vic's cybernetic collar. Despite being bonded to the ideal host, the Venom clone prepared to jump to Robertson, but was interrupted by the arrival of another pair of Vic and Frankie clones.[24] Crashing their ship, the Venom clone abducted and killed the new Frankie, leaving the new Vic to stumble across her predecessor's corpse and have an existential crisis upon realizing she was just a disposable clone, turning on the Ararat Corporation. The Venom clone returned to attack Robertson, who used a phone the Suit constructed to detonate his original phone, which had been implanted in Wolverine's chest. Separated from its host, the Venom clone bonded to Robertson, informing her of its purpose.[25]

Venom vs. Venom

Bonded to Patricia Robertson.

Robertson, as the Venom clone's host, travelled to New York to kill the original Venom after learning of the cloned symbiote's purpose, using it to infiltrate a S.H.I.E.L.D. strike-force sent to capture Eddie Brock. Patricia's first battle with Eddie ended inconclusively due to the intervention of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Spider-Man, who mistook her Venom form for Eddie's and attacked her. Robertson's control collar was deactivated by Bob, enabling the Venom clone to begin taking over her, but before she completely lost control it was repaired by the Suit and the turncoat Vic clone, who had taken up Frankie's identity. "Frankie" revealed the Ararat Corporation's purpose to Patricia and the Suit, explaining that simply killing the Venom clone wouldn't be enough as Bob could just create a new one. Robertson was taken to the Fantastic Four, who intended to use her to lure Venom into a trap and let the Suit kill him. She was taken to a secure location by Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch, but Bob attacked and incapacitated them. Impersonating the Suit again, he tricked Robertson into going after Venom and deactivated the control collar once she was within range. The Venom clone immediately abandoned her and was absorbed into the original Venom symbiote, making Eddie Brock even more powerful than ever and setting the stage for the endgame of Bob's plan.[9]

Mania

Bonded to Andrea Benton.

For unknown reasons, Bob's plan never came to fruition, and some time later the Venom symbiote was bonded to a new host, Flash Thompson, who was acting as a substitute gym teacher in Philadelphia. One of Flash's students, Andi Benton, was caught up in his enmity with the super villain Jack O'Lantern, who tried to kill her with poison gas. When Flash tried to send a piece of the Venom symbiote to protect her, the symbiote seized the opportunity to excise both the demon Flash had been possessed with by the Department of Occult Armaments and the Hell-Mark it had been branded with by Mephisto; passing them onto its clone and regurgitating it onto Andi.[26] The demonically-augmented symbiote readily bonded to Andrea, refusing to return when Agent Venom -- oblivious to its true nature -- tried to recall it.[2] Dubbing herself "Mania", Andi openly embraced the power the symbiote gave her and used it to exact revenge on the crime lord Lord Ogre, who was responsible for her father's death through a bounty he'd placed on Agent Venom. Her activities drew the attention of the DOA agents Crossbones and Master Mayhem, who were harvesting Hell-Marks for an unknown purpose.[27]

When Venom and Mania summoned Mephisto in order to remove Andi's Hell-Mark, the Hell-Lord revealed that Mania's symbiote was actually the Vnom symbiote's clone imbued with the Hell-Mark.[26] Andi remained bonded to the Mania symbiote when Flash departed into space, using it to fight crime, but the Hell-Mark increasingly corrupted the symbiote into a bloodthirsty monster that overtook its host to mercilessly slaughter criminals.[10] Drawn to Andi's rage, the Hell-Mark transferred from the symbiote to Andi herself, making her increasingly violent and ruthless.[11]

After learning that the Hell-Mark's possession had taken a turn for the worse, Flash came back to Earth and captured Mania, stripping the symbiote off Andi with the help of Spider-Man and reabsorbing it into the Venom symbiote to cleanse it. Flash soon learned that the Hell-Mark had been passed from the symbiote to its host,[28] as Andi attacked him with her demonic powers intending to kill him and take both the Venom symbiote and its clone for herself. The corruptive effects of the Hell-Mark were suppressed once Flash's allies arrived and provided him with a purifying elixir from the planet Wenb, which he injected into Andi. Flash also returned the Mania symbiote to Andi, and both set out to find a permanent cure for her condition.[11]

Maniac

Bonded to Lee Price.

While Andi was out patrolling, she was ambushed by Lee Price and a couple of hired thugs, who blasted her with flamethrowers and a high-powered sonic gun to separate her from the symbiote. While Andi survived - albeit badly injured - Price took the symbiote for himself and rechristened himself Maniac. Bonded to Price, the symbiote developed the ability to take control of people by spitting pieces of its biomass into people's faces; which Price used to take control of criminals and assemble his own criminal syndicate.[3]

Maniac's second form.

When Spider-Man, Agent Anti-Venom (Flash's new identity), Venom, Black Cat, and Andi joined forces to stop Price, they used weaponry coated in an Anti-Venom-derived serum developed by Alchemax to free those under Maniac's control. With his army defeated, Maniac commanded the pieces of the symbiote to return to him and absorbed them, transforming into an appearance similar to his Venom form before growing exponentially larger.[29] While Maniac initially overpowered the heroes, Black Cat noticed those freed from his control by Anti-Venom developed immunity. Spider-Man had Agent Anti-Venom absorb a sample of his blood to acquire its "Anti-Maniac" properties, and Anti-Venom used his augmented cleansing abilities to defeat Maniac and severely weaken the symbiote - though it survived and remained bonded to Price, who was then apprehended and taken away by authorities.[12] Price was imprisoned in Ryker's Island, where he manifested the weakened symbiote in the form of a tattoo of Venom's spider emblem on his chest and intimidated the other inmates into calling him "Venom" once more.[4]

Absolute Carnage

Trace remnants of the Mania symbiote remained in Andi Benton's body, plaguing her with a phantom limb sensation, frequent nightmares, and hallucinations of being attacked and eaten by it. Cletus Kasady -- reanimated by the dark elder god Knull in exchange for becoming his apostle -- began hunting former symbiote hosts to claim their codices in order to free Knull from his interstellar prison, Klyntar, and eventually targeted Andi. Andi was badly injured and forced to use the Hell-Mark to escape to New York, concluding that the remnants of the symbiote in her body had been trying to warn her she was in danger.[30]

Carnage absorbing the Mania symbiote.

Shortly thereafter, Carnage travelled to New York and impersonated Eddie Brock, allowing himself to be arrested in order to infiltrate Ryker's Island both to discredit his longtime nemesis and get close to Price.[31] When Price tried to intimidate who he believed to be Eddie Brock, Cletus mocked him before ripping the symbiote from his body and absorbing it into his own.[4]

Cletus Kasady (Earth-616), Carnage IV (Symbiote) (Earth-616), Venom (Symbiote) (Earth-616), Edward Brock (Earth-616), and Venom III (Symbiote) (Earth-616) from Absolute Carnage Vol 1 5 005.jpg

As part of his own symbiote-related plans, the Maker had created the S.C.I.T.H.E., a machine capable of extracting codices from people without killing them. Mania's codices were extracted from some of its former hosts and stored in the machine along with other codices, with Eddie Brock amalgamating them into a gestalt symbiote after Carnage assimilated the Venom symbiote.[32][33] Eddie used the gestalt symbiote to manifest a Necrosword, impaling and killing Cletus before absorbing all three symbiotes, which were subsumed by the personality of the Venom symbiote.[1]

Attributes

Powers

As a clone of the Venom symbiote, Mania possesses the same powers of its genetic template, such as:

  • Superhuman Strength
  • Superhuman Stamina
  • Superhuman Durability
  • Superhuman Speed, Agility, and Reflexes
  • Accelerated Healing Factor
  • Wall-Crawling
  • ESP (Spider-Sense)
  • Immunity to Spider-Man's Spider-Sense
  • Camouflage Capabilities
  • Constituent-Matter Generation
  • Constituent-Matter Manipulation

Weaknesses

Sonic and Heat: The Mania symbiote, like all others of its kind, is extremely vulnerable to heat and sonic based attacks. They can cause the symbiote physical pain and discomfort, where as "more powerful" attacks might be completely ineffective.

"Anti-Maniac" Antibodies: While the Maniac symbiote was resistant to the corrosive touch of the Anti-Venom symbiote, once Anti-Venom had been upgraded with antibodies produced by someone who had been freed from the Maniac symbiote's mental control it was able to severely injure the Maniac symbiote and neuter its ability to infect people.[12]

Notes

Trivia

  • In the "Shiver" arc of Venom, the symbiote was a reference to the Thing from John Carpenter's The Thing.
  • Under Haze Mancer's symbiote classification system, Mania would be categorized as a "war-brute" due it being a clone of the Venom symbiote.[34]
  • According to Dan Slott on Twitter, the symbiote was removed from Andi Benton due to an editorial mandate that there were too many heroic symbiotes.[35]

See Also

Links and References

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Absolute Carnage #5
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Venom Vol 2 #38
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha #1
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Free Comic Book Day 2019 (Spider-Man/Venom) #1
  5. Amazing Spider-Man #793
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Amazing Spider-Man #792
  7. Venom #18
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Venom #11
  9. 9.0 9.1 Venom #14-18
  10. 10.0 10.1 Venom: Space Knight #10
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Venom: Space Knight #13
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Omega #1
  13. 13.0 13.1 Venom #16
  14. Venom #12
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Venom #13
  16. Venom #1
  17. Venom #2
  18. Venom #3
  19. Venom #4
  20. Venom #5
  21. Venom #6
  22. Venom #7
  23. Venom #8
  24. Venom #9
  25. Venom #10
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Venom Vol 2 #42
  27. 27.0 27.1 Venom Vol 2 #41
  28. 28.0 28.1 Venom: Space Knight #12
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Venom #160
  30. Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre #1
  31. Cates, Donny (6 May 2019). DONNY CATES on Twitter: "Yeah it’s Cletus framing Eddie. He’s “wearing” eddies face as he kills Lee.". Twitter. Retrieved on 6 May 2019.
  32. Absolute Carnage #1
  33. Absolute Carnage #4
  34. Bunn, Cullen (2018). Ending One 2nd @ a Time. Tumblr. Retrieved on 19 May 2020.
  35. Slott, Dan (27 September 2020). Dan Slott on Twitter: "With symbiote characters (especially heroic ones) there's always the risk of having too many out there and having that diminish how special/cool they can be. So there's always a feeling that we should minimize or pull back on others at times & make the remaining ones more unique.. Twitter. Retrieved on 27 September 2020.
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