The symbiote that would be later known as the Mania (alias Maniac) symbiote 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.
Eventually bonding with Patricia Robertson, the clone intended to kill the original Venom, Eddie Brock. Thanks to Bob's actions, the Venom clone re-merged with the original symbiote, making Eddie more powerful than ever. However, Bob's plans never came to pass, so eventually former soldier Flash Thompson bonded to the Venom symbiote to become Agent Venom, who 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 bonded its symbiote's clone to her in order to protect her, unaware of its true nature.
Dubbing herself Mania, Andi was eventually possessed by the Hell-Mark when Flash had gone to live his own adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Despite that, Flash eventually returned to help her recover, and along his allies brought a elixir that served as a temporary cure to her condition. Unfortunately, former Army Ranger Lee Price stole the Mania symbiote from her and dubbed himself Maniac.
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. Arrested, he was targeted by Carnage, who was collecting remnants of other symbiotes called codices in other hosts to awake the God of the Symbiotes Knull. Pretending to be Eddie Brock, Lee tried to intimidate him, Cletus eventually killing him while the Maniac symbiote was absorbed to his composite symbiote. Eddie eventually killed Cletus, the Venom symbiote absorbing his and the Mania symbiotes along with the codices, releasing Knull.
The Mania symbiote was cloned from a piece of the original Venom symbiote's tongue that was obtained by the Ararat Corporation, intended to facilitate Bob's goal of exterminating all life on Earth. Engineered in the the Ararat Corporation's Mesa Verde Laboratory in New Mexico, 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.
Following it deliberately killing its host by draining him of his vital fluids, it was deemed ready by Bob and sent to an Ararat Corporation laboratory in the Canadian Arctic, where after nineteen months Bob released it from containment and it slaughtered all but one of the scientists. 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. While Robertson investigated the carnage, the symbiote bonded to Ivan, one of her sled dogs, and was brought back to the Christmastown base. The symbiote detached itself from the dog and bonded to Harold Saunders, transferring to Colonel Michael Malone that evening and burying Saunders' 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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 Vic and Frankie, agents 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, 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 by 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.
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 a second Vic and Frankie. Crashing their ship, the Venom clone abducted and killed Frankie 2.0, leaving Vic 2.0 to stumble across Vic 1.0's corpse and have an existential crisis, seemingly killing herself. 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.
Venom vs. Venom
Robertson, as the Venom clone's host, travelled to New York to kill the original Venom after learning of the cloned symbiote's purpose. Their first battle ended inconclusively due to the intervention of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Spider-Man. 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 Vic 2.0, who had taken up Frankie's identity and turned against the Ararat Corporation. Frankie revealed that the Venom clone had been engineered to merge with and induce reproductive hormones into the original Venom symbiote, causing it to give birth to a horde of symbiotes that would exterminate all life on Earth. 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.
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. Flash sent what he thought was a part of the symbiote to protect her, which ended up bonding with Andrea rather than only protecting her from her imminent death. 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. Her activities drew the attention of the Department of Occult Armaments agents Crossbones and Master Mayhem, who were harvesting Hell-Marks, which Mania bore.
When Venom and Mania tried to contact Mephisto in order to remove Andi's Hell-Mark, Mephisto revealed that the portion of the symbiote Mania wore was actually the clone the symbiote managed to spit back out, purging the Hell-Mark with it. Andrea remained bonded to the Mania symbiote when Flash departed into space, using it to fight crime, but the Hell-Mark increasingly corrupted it into a bloodthirsty monster that overtook its host to mercilessly slaughter criminals.
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, as Andi herself attacked Flash 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 Andi's condition.
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.
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. 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. With his abilities boosted, Anti-Venom struck Maniac down and severely weakened the symbiote - though it survived and remained bonded to Price, who was then apprehended and taken away by authorities.
Price was imprisoned in Ryker's Island and later encountered Cletus Kasady, who was in a thrall to free the dark elder god of the symbiotes, Knull, from his Klyntar. Impersonating Eddie Brock, both in order to discredit his longtime nemesis and get close to Price, Cletus got himself arrested. Price tried to intimidate him, calling himself "Venom" and forcing the Mania symbiote to manifest the spider emblem. The Mania symbiote was violently torn from Price by Cletus, who it subsequently bonded to - being absorbed into Cletus's composite symbiote, causing Cletus to adopt a skeletal appearance, with a dragon emblem in his chest and Knull's spiral in his forehead. The Maker had created the S.C.I.T.H.E., a machine capable of extracting codices from people without damaging them, which was used to extract remnants of Mania from their former hosts where they were stored in the machine along with other codices.
Eventually, Venom itself was assimilated, and the real Eddie Brock would manifest a Necrosword from his gestalt symbiote, impaling and killing Kasady and then absorbing all three symbiotes, which were subdued by the personality of the Venom symbiote. The Carnage-ized Grendel symbiote would resurface months later, being separated from the Venom symbiote.
Powers and Abilities
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
- ESP (Spider-Sense)
- Immunity to Spider-Man's Spider-Sense
- Camouflage Capabilities
- Constituent-Matter Generation
- Constituent-Matter Manipulation
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.
- When the symbiote was bonded to Patricia Robertson in Venom it was distinguished from the original Venom Symbiote by being a grayish color while Venom was a bluish color.
- The symbiote remained bonded to Lee Price following Venom Inc. until it was torn from him by Carnage in Free Comic Book Day (Vol. 2019) #Spider-Man/Venom.
- 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.
- 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.
- 40 appearance(s) of Mania (Symbiote) (Earth-616)
- 11 minor appearance(s) of Mania (Symbiote) (Earth-616)
- 2 mentions of Mania (Symbiote) (Earth-616)
- 91 image(s) of Mania (Symbiote) (Earth-616)
- 1 item(s) used/owned by Mania (Symbiote) (Earth-616)