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Maximus the Mad by Frazer Irving.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceFantastic Four #47 (Feb. 1966)
Created byStan Lee (writer)
Jack Kirby (artist)
In-story information
Full nameMaximus Boltagon
Place of originAttilan
Team affiliationsCabal[1]
Notable aliasesMaximus the Mad
Maximus the Magnificent
  • Inhuman physiology grants:
    • Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, reflexes, and longevity
  • Superhuman intelligence
  • Proficient scientist and inventor
  • Advanced knowledge of physics, mechanics, and biology
  • Mental abilities

Maximus (otherwise known as Maximus the Mad) is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character has been depicted both as a member of and antagonist to the Inhumans. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, he first appeared in Fantastic Four #47 (February 1966).[2]

Maximus was portrayed in 2017 Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) television series Inhumans by Iwan Rheon and Aidan Fiske.

Publication history

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2012)

Maximus first appeared in Fantastic Four #47 (February 1966), and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Fictional character biography

Maximus, an Inhuman, was the second son of two of Attilan's top geneticists, Agon, the head of the ruling Council of Geneticists, and Rynda, director of the Prenatal Care Center. Subjected to the DNA-altering Terrigen Mist when he was an infant, Maximus peculiarly showed no outward sign of any mutagenic change. As he matured, he hid his developing psionic powers from the community, but was less successful at disguising his antisocial tendencies.[3]

When he was about sixteen, his elder brother Black Bolt was released from the protective chamber in which he had been confined since birth due to the destructive nature of his Terrigen mutation. One of Maximus's first responses to his brother's freedom was an unsuccessful attempt to make him release his power and prove Black Bolt could not control his sonic powers, and thus lose his freedom.[4] A month later, Black Bolt witnesses Maximus making a treacherous pact with an emissary of the Kree, the alien race responsible for genetically accelerating the Inhumans eons before. In an attempt to stop the fleeing emissary so that he could be questioned by the ruling council, Black Bolt uses his forbidden power of the quasi-sonic scream and blasts the alien ship out of the sky. When the ship crashes to Earth, it landed on the parliament building, killing several key members of the Genetics Council, including the boys' parents. The reverberations of Black Bolt's voice also affects Maximus, addling his sanity and suppressing his nascent mental powers. When Black Bolt assumes the throne shortly thereafter, Maximus vows to oppose his brother and eventually usurp his rule.[5]

Maximus stages his first successful coup a few years later. By performing an illegal experiment on the Alpha Primitives, the subhuman worker clones that once served the Inhumans, Maximus creates the Trikon, three bodiless energy beings of great destructive power. While the Trikon wreaks havoc in Attilan, Maximus is able to drive the Royal Family of Inhumans out of the city. Maximus later sends Gorgon in search of the amnesiac Medusa. In the several year interval before Black Bolt and his cousins locate her in America, Maximus rules Attilan in Black Bolt's stead. Secure in his position, Maximus has his servant, the Seeker, locate the Royal Family and bring them back to Attilan.[6] Upon doing so, Black Bolt seizes the crown back, to Maximus' dismay. Maximus also encounters the Fantastic Four for the first time. Maximus, hoping to win back the public's affection, activates the Atmo-Gun device he has been working on, a machine he believes will kill the human race and leave all other living beings intact. Maximus miscalculates, however, and the device has no effect. Out of spite, Maximus uses the device to erect a "negative zone" barrier (not to be confused with the anti-matter dimension of that name) that encases Attilan in a dark force sphere, imprisoning the entire race inside.[7] Black Bolt liberates his people by using his quasi-sonic voice to destroy the barrier, at the price of devastating Attilan's ancient architecture.

Maximus then allies himself with six Inhuman criminals, sentenced for their treachery and subversive acts by Black Bolt with his verdict being interpreted by Oracle. Freeing Falcona, Aireo, Stallior, Nebulo, Leonus, and Timberius from their place of imprisonment with the Hulk's aid, Maximus then tricks the Hulk into breaching the protective barrier guarding a forbidden chemical substance created by the Inhuman scientist Romnar centuries ago. This substance had certain highly unstable energy absorbing capacities and Maximus intends to use it to usurp the throne again, but Black Bolt overpowers him before he can do so.[8]

Maximus succeeds in bringing about his second coup some months later. Drugging the Royal Family with will-deadening "hypno-potions", Maximus takes the crown from Black Bolt and has the Royal Family imprisoned. Before he can activate his Hypno-Gun, which he believes will make all mankind surrender to his will, the Royal Family escapes and subdues him. Escaping Attilan with his band of renegades in a rocket, Maximus lands in the South American country of Costa Salvador, and attempts to build a will-deadening device similar to his Hypno-Gun. His plans are opposed by the Hulk and the United States Army, however, and he and his allies are forced to flee again.[volume & issue needed]

Maximus later foments a battle between the Royal Family and the Fantastic Four.[9] Returning to Attilan, Maximus is welcomed back by his brother Black Bolt, who prefers Maximus to be somewhere he can be watched. Black Bolt detects that Maximus's psionic powers, suppressed since he was an adolescent, are beginning to return. Offering no explanation, Black Bolt has Maximus placed in a suspended animation capsule, inside which he cannot use his powers. Black Bolt's cousin Gorgon, however, objects to Black Bolt's inhumane treatment of Maximus and frees the latter. Maximus immediately uses his mental powers to subjugate the minds of the Inhuman populace and to give Black Bolt amnesia. Maximus then restores the dark force barrier around Attilan and begins negotiations with the alien Kree to sell certain Inhumans to the Kree to be used as soldiers.[10] Eventually Black Bolt's memory returns, and alongside the Avengers, he returns to Attilan and once again destroys the barrier. The Avengers drive the Kree agent away before he can accomplish his mission and Black Bolt liberates the enslaved Inhumans.[volume & issue needed]

With his mental powers traumatically submerged, Maximus escapes strict punishment for his treachery by feigning insanity. He then begins work on his next project to usurp the throne, the construction of the android Omega, whose power source is supposedly the collective guilt evinced by the Inhuman populace over their treatment of the subhuman Alpha Primitives. The Fantastic Four helps the Royal Family thwart the construct, and the damage it causes was slight. Maximus stages his fourth successful coup a short time later after the Royal Family briefly leaves Attilan on business. Taking Crystal and her husband Quicksilver captive, Maximus forces Black Bolt to give him the crown in order to spare their lives. Black Bolt does so, and allows himself to be placed in captivity. Maximus reestablishes contact with the Kree and negotiates a deal where the Kree would take all of the Inhumans with extraordinary abilities, leaving him the other half of the population to rule. Triton and Karnak rescue most of Maximus's captives and outwit the Kree agent Shatterstar. Unaware of that victory, Black Bolt lets loose with his quasi-sonic scream in agony, once again leveling the city. Angered by what had happened, Black Bolt strikes Maximus for the first time and has him imprisoned.[volume & issue needed]

Maximus then allies himself with the Enclave, a band of human scientists who capture Medusa. The Enclave wants to conquer Attilan and dispatches an aerial strike force. When the Enclave threatens to execute Medusa, however, Maximus turns on them out of unrequited passion for his brother's betrothed. A weapon Maximus is manning overloads, leaving Maximus in a deathlike coma. Black Bolt has his brother's body placed in a special crypt, and when Attilan is transported from the Earth to the Moon, Maximus accompanies it. On the moon, Maximus's mind makes contact with an alien power crystal located there, and it reawakened his dormant mental powers. When Black Bolt next comes to pay his respects to his brother, Maximus is able to use his power to affect a transfer of consciousness between them. For several months Maximus rules Attilan in Black Bolt's body as Black Bolt lay imprisoned. Reestablishing contact with the Enclave, Maximus helps them implement meteoroid launchers with which they intend to bombard Earth. With the aid of the Avengers, Maximus' switch is discovered, and the Enclave's schemes are foiled. Maximus is forced to return to his rightful body and was once again placed in solitary confinement.[11]

His next plot carried out from his prison cell involves the Inhuman Woz, and almost results in Attilan being conquered by Earth forces. It is foiled by Black Bolt and Medusa, who arrange for Attilan to be teleported away before its destruction.[volume & issue needed]

Silent War

During the 2007 miniseries Silent War, Maximus again plots his revenge, taunting Black Bolt from his prison and trying to sway a distressed Medusa on his side.[12] He manages to convince Medusa to try to have Luna help "cure" him, only for Luna to realize too late that the "cure" instead allows Maximus to gain control over all the other Inhumans. After the enhanced Marines managed to destroy Attilan, Maximus usurps the throne of the Inhumans from Black Bolt, taking Medusa as his queen, and announcing a new plan to conquer Earth.[13]

"Secret Invasion"

During the 2008 "Secret Invasion" storyline, Maximus was initially indifferent to the threat of the Skrulls. When it was discovered that Ahura was a Skrull in disguise, however, Maximus defeated it.[14]

"War of Kings"

In the 2009 "War of Kings", storyline Black Bolt has retaken the throne of the Inhumans. Maximus is still free and serves as Black Bolt's science advisor, devising war machines for the Kree to use against their adversaries, the Shi'ar.[15] After Black Bolt's vanishing, during a time when the ruling of the various empires is up for dispute, Maximus is seen under the close supervision of Gorgon. His desires for something, anything to rule, are swiftly dismissed.[16]

"Death of the Inhumans"

In the pages of "Death of the Inhumans," Maximus is at New Arctilan when the Kree begin their campaign to get the Inhumans to join them or die. The Super-Inhuman Vox and the Kree with him are on New Arctilan and began murdering every Inhuman they come across, old or new. Armed with all of the Inhumans’ abilities and no humanity, Vox easily cuts his prey down with his powers or his literal energy scythe. Even Maximus cannot defeat Vox as he quickly losing an arm for even making the attempt. Pretty soon, Lockjaw arrived and stood up with Maximus to attempt to stop Vox on their own but things did not go so well and Vox fired an enormous blast, ripping a hole in both of them.[17] It was later revealed that the Kree took his body and placed it in a Vox costume where he was brainwashed to serve the Kree. When Beta Ray Bill took down Vox during his confrontation with Black Bolt, it broke the brainwashing on Maximus as something on Vox's costume teleported her away while also killing Maximus.[18]

Powers and abilities

Maximus has a genius-level intellect and great inventiveness. His mental powers granted by the mutagenic effects from exposure to Terrigen Mist give him the ability to numb, override, and even wipe out a person's mind. He has the ability to induce short-term amnesia in others, and the ability to exchange his consciousness with another's. Maximus's mental powers have a limited range as well as variability - he can only affect minds in a certain radius and only create one effect at a time. His influence generally functions while Maximus concentrates, but he has left long-buried influence in his subjects as well, which he can trigger by voice command, causing a subject to carry out embedded commands, forget, or remember.

Maximus's mental instability often prevents him from making full use of his powers.

Maximus is superhumanly intelligent. He is an extraordinarily gifted inventor, with advanced knowledge of physics, mechanics, and biology. He has invented an Atmo-gun (able to create seismic shockwaves and "negative zone" force fields), and a Hypno-gun (able to control minds at a far distance).

Even without using the Terrigen Mist, the Kree modifications, combined with centuries of selective breeding, have given all Inhumans certain advantages. Their average lifespan is 150 years and an Inhuman in good physical condition possesses strength, reaction time, speed, and endurance greater than the finest of human athletes. Inhumans who are in excellent physical shape can lift one ton and are physically slightly superior to the peak of normal human physical achievement. Most Inhumans are used to living in a pollution-free, germ-free environment and have difficulty tolerating air and water pollution for any length of time.

Other versions

"Age of Apocalypse"

In the alternate timeline seen in the 1995–1996 "Age of Apocalypse" storyline, Maximus was a Horseman of Apocalypse, the Horseman of Death. He operates on the Blue Area of the Moon, aboard Ship, Apocalypse's Celestial starship, whose sentient artificial intelligence is known as Ship. Maximus is served by his personal strikeforce formed by clones of the Inhuman Royal Family, which he had murdered himself, altered into monstrous forms by the Terrigen Mists, which Death has offered Apocalypse in exchange for his position. Maximus also experiments on Sunfire, who has been captured by Holocaust after the destruction of Japan, leaving him unable to control his powers. When the X-Men appear on the Moon, believing Apocalypse to be hibernating on Ship, Maximus capture the X-Men and seeks to transform them into his servants, with which he will overthrow Apocalypse. However, Cyclops, who has been sent to ensure the transfer of the Mists, attacks the betrayer Death and liberate the X-Men with the aid of Blink. Maximus dies, alongside his servants, in the destruction of Ship caused by Sunfire, whose powers flare out of control after he was released.[19]

Marvel Knights 2099

In an alternate take on Marvel 2099, called Marvel Knights 2099, the Inhumans are in a space station named Attilan, having left Earth decades ago. Here they await the cryogenic awakening of Black Bolt. The leader of the Council greets Black Bolt and has Lockjaw teleport them to the throne room for privacy. The leader announces that he killed the rest of the Inhumans Royal Family in cryogenic suspension, taking special pleasure in killing Medusa, and took over. The leader reveals himself as Maximus, to Black Bolt's shock and anger, saying that he has used implants to extend his life in order to see Black Bolt vulnerable, at his boiling point. Maximus pleads with Black Bolt to release his power and destroy everything - the station, the legacy, and Maximus himself. Black Bolt finally lets go and in one whisper, destroys everything. The one shot ends with Black Bolt crying and dying in space among the wreckage.[20]

Ultimate Marvel

In the Ultimate Marvel reality, Maximus is introduced in Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #1 along with the other Inhumans. He is the brother of Black Bolt and the fiancé of Crystal. She refuses to marry him referring to him as a "stunted little peacock" and calling him mad.[21]

In other media


Character poster of Iwan Rheon as Maximus for the television series, Inhumans.

Video games


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