- Vermin (comics)
caption=Cover to "
The Spectacular Spider-Man" #132 Mike Zeck, artist
Captain America" #272 (Aug 1982)
J. M. DeMatteis Mike Zeck
*Superhuman strength, speed, and senses
*Ability to control rats and stray dogs|
Vermin is a
fictional character, a comic book supervillainin the Marvel Comicsuniverse. The character's first appearance was in "Captain America" #272 ( August 1982).
Fictional character biography
Edward Whelan was a geneticist working for Baron Zemo and Primus I (who was impersonating
Arnim Zola). In an experiment with the Primus/Arnim Zola imposter, his skin became a light pinkish fur color and ended up resebling a cannibalistic, humanoid rat.
Vermin is not a typical villain in that he is usually a pawn controlled by another. He has the intellect of a child, and would probably never be a threat to anyone were it not for the ease with which he is manipulated. He has often turned on the villains who have attempted to use him as a weapon against
Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine, as when he injured Zemo or when he turned on Bloodscreamin the sewers beneath New York.
At certain points, he is returned to his original human form, only to be
kidnapped and reverted back into his present state. Despite a name that approximates nuisance, Vermin has caused serious problems for Spider-Man and Captain America, and is not easily beaten.
During the breakout from the supervillain prison the Vault, detailed in "Venom Deathtr
Powderkegand Mentallo; they temporarily defeat Iron Manand Hank Pym. Mentallo's powers are used to neutralize the break out.
Eventually, under psychiatric care, Whelan rids himself of the Vermin persona. This is made possible only when Spider-Man stops him from beating
Baron Zemoto death; Whelan letting go of his hate allows Vermin to truly "die."
Unfortunately, the recovery doesn't last long and Whelan fully gives into his Vermin state once again. This is confirmed when he teams up with
Bloodscreamwhen they fight Wolverine together.
Vermin appears among the villains recruited to join the Hood's crime syndicate. He helps them fight the
New Avengers, but is taken down by Doctor Strange.
Brand New Day
Vermin returns in the "Amazing Spider-Man" storyline "Kraven's First Hunt". He attacks the new
Kraven the Hunterfor intruding on his tunnels, and is beaten by her very badly. He escapes outside, and runs into Spider-Man, who is wearing a Daredevil costume. Not recognizing his old foe, Vermin attacks, overwhelming him, and taking a bite out of his shoulder. ["Amazing Spider-Man" #566] Up close, Vermin is able to identify Spider-Man's scent. Appealing to the last shred of humanity within Vermin, Spider-Man convinces him to reveal where Kraven is. Vermin later attacks Kraven again, but is defeated and captured by her. ["Amazing Spider-Man" #567]
Powers and abilities
Vermin's strength was enhanced by the mutagenic process forced upon him. His agility, reflexes, and durability are roughly equivalent to the absolute peak attainable for the human body but, unlike his strength and speed, they do not reach superhuman levels. He has enhanced senses, particularly his sense of smell.
Vermin has the ability to control rats and stray dogs within a two mile radius of his person. It has not been clearly explained how he does this but some writers have implied it might be hyper-sonic communication.
Though Vermin has no formal martial arts training, he utilizes animal cunning and instincts which make him a very formidable hand-to-hand combatant. He once bested Spider-Man in a physical struggle, but was prevented from killing him by
Kraven the Hunter.
Before being altered by Zola, Whelan was an accomplished geneticist. As Vermin, his intellect is reduced to a child-like (yet cunning) level and he suffers from paranoid delusions.
* [http://www.marvel.com/universe/Vermin_(Edward_Whelan) Vermin] at Marvel.com
* [http://www.spiderfan.org/characters/vermin.html Vermin] at Spiderfan.org
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