Swarm
Swarm (Marvel character).jpg
Swarm
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Champions #14 (July 1977)
Created byBill Mantlo
John Byrne
In-story information
Alter egoFritz von Meyer
SpeciesHuman mutate
Team affiliationsNazi Germany
Exterminators[1]
Sinister Six[2]
Hateful Hexad
AbilitiesFlight
Intangibility
Shapeshifting
Ability to mentally manipulate the bees that compose his body

Swarm is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character's entire body is composed of bees,[3] and is mainly featured as an enemy of Spider-Man.[4]

Publication history

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

Swarm first appeared in The Champions #14 (July 1977). He was created by Bill Mantlo and John Byrne.[5]

Fictional character biography

Fritz von Meyer was born in Leipzig, Germany and became one of Adolf Hitler's top scientists specializing in toxicology and melittology. Escaping capture after World War II, he was a beekeeper or apiarist in South America and discovered a colony of mutated bees. Intrigued by their intelligence and passive nature, von Meyer attempted to enslave the queen bee but failed and the bees devoured him, leaving only his skeleton. The bees' unique qualities caused von Meyer's consciousness to be absorbed into them, allowing him to manipulate the hive to do his will while his skeletal remains are inside the swarm itself. His consciousness merged with the hive to the extent that they are one being, calling himself/themselves "Swarm".[6]

Swarm battled the Champions.[7] After being defeated, Swarm resurfaced to battle Spider-Man.[8] In the first of many fights, Spider-Man prevailed against him when the web-slinger's costume was dosed in a new type of insecticide that hurt the bees if they got too close. Swarm lost his/their skeleton in this battle but returned to fight again (no longer having the skeleton but still possessing von Meyer's consciousness), first teaming with Kraven the Hunter against Iceman and Firestar,[9] then against Spider-Man,[10] but feedback from a weapon fired by the Rhino caused Swarm's bee body to disperse temporarily.

Swarm next appears when a Super-Collider from Rand Industries is activated and called his/their attention.[11] Swarm decides mankind should be exterminated so insects can rule the world. Doctor Druid convinced Swarm that mankind will exterminate themselves and the age of insects can begin.[12] Eventually, Swarm was tired of waiting and returned to New York, after a psychic wave generated by Onslaught disrupted the psychic field that bonded him and the bees together. He forced a group of scientists investigating energy fields to help him not only restore his original field, but expand it to grant him control of every bee on Earth. As New York City is invaded by bees, the Scarlet Spider tracked the bees to their destination and — taking advantage of the fact that the swarms' instinctive memory of Raid caused the bees to automatically flinch away from Spider-Man — infiltrated the building to contact the scientists. By claiming that the scientists' equipment is having trouble broadcasting a sufficiently powerful signal through the dome of bees, Scarlet Spider is able to trick Swarm into allowing a device's construction designed to negate the vibrational frequency that the bees create to allow themselves to fly, presenting it as a means of boosting the existing signal's power. With the bees now grounded, Scarlet Spider subsequently recovers the queen of Swarm's hive and leaves the authorities' care, reasoning Swarm won't be a future threat without her.[13]

Now back with an internal skeleton, Swarm felt that the criminal organization Pride's fall allowed access to their former territory, specifically Los Angeles. However, he/they are defeated by the Los Angeles' protector Runaways when his/their body of bees' mental link is disrupted by electrical blasts.[14]

Swarm regained control over his colony and joins the Chameleon's Exterminators to kill their shared enemy now that Peter Parker's true identity is revealed. Swarm attacks Mary Jane Watson but the latter sprays Swarm with water while a co-worker smashes Swarm's skeleton, but the bees reformed around the skeleton as Stark Industries' bodyguards take him/them away.[1]

When Alyosha Kravinoff began collecting a zoo of animal-themed superhumans, Swarm is in one of the cages.[15] He fought Gargoyle as the Punisher passes them and escaped.

Swarm next turns up in Denver, Colorado, having amassed enough bees to become giant-sized. The Thunderbolts face him/them unsuccessfully until Venom devours Swarm's bones. Norman Osborn speculated this is a minor inconvenience that shouldn't prevent Swarm's return.[16]

Swarm next turns up in Buenos Aires, having his intelligence again. He fought the Mighty Avengers by creating 'avatars' made of bees. Hank Pym, Stature and Amadeus Cho place an inhibitor collar on the queen bees which caused Swarm's intelligence to somehow disperse.[17]

He was briefly seen trying to launch an attack of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning only to be almost instantly thwarted by the X-Men's Krakoa, the Bamfs, and Doop.[18]

Swarm later formed his own incarnation of the Sinister Six with 8-Ball, Delilah, Killer Shrike, Melter and Squid. They attack Spider-Man and the students of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Swarm gets dispersed by Hellion which caused the other members to surrender.[2]

Swarm later attacked New York but was defeated by Squirrel Girl and her ally Koi Boi covering him with water and turning bags full of his constituent bees in to the police.[19]

Swarm later appeared as a member of the Hateful Hexad alongside Bearboarguy, Gibbon, Ox, Squid and White Rabbit. During the disastrous battle against Spider-Man and Deadpool, the battle is crashed by Itsy Bitsy.[20]

Swarm relocates to Florida, where he encounters Macrothrax and his minions who are also sentient insect colonies in humanoid form, accidentally created by the invention behind him. He ends up joining forces with Ant-Man and taking a liking to the latter.[21]

Powers and abilities

Swarm is a composite being of hundreds of thousands of bees driven by a human intelligence. He is technically intangible, as his body is merely an aggregate of tiny forms. He can fly through the air and assume any shape and size he desires. He can mentally influence the actions of other bees, the full range of which may extend over hundreds of yards in radius. With the aid of a team of scientists, Swarm was briefly able to enhance his power to the point where he could have theoretically taken control of every bee on Earth, but this plan was averted by Spider-Man. At first, Swarm seemed capable of only controlling other bees, but he has exhibited the ability to communicate/control other insects as well. Fritz von Meyer's skeleton, the focal point of his consciousness, remained behind as his only remains until being devoured by Venom.[16]

Other versions

Marvel Fairy Tales

In the second issue of the Spider-Man line of Marvel Fairy Tales (an adaptation of the legend of Anansi), an alternate version of Swarm appears as the stories' main villain, the Yellow and purple spider.[22]

Marvel Adventures

Swarm recently appeared and fought Spider-Man in Marvel Adventures. He/they supposedly wanted to take over the world (or at least kill a few jocks), but it looked like he/they just wanted some ice cream.[23]

Ultimate Marvel

The Ultimate Marvel equivalent of Swarm is Petra Laskov, a Syrian female mutant. She was the wife of Georgian activist Nikolai Laskov. The couple's child is held at gunpoint, forcing Laskov to kill her husband to save her own child. She does so, only for Laskov's child to be killed anyway, and then Laskov was raped by thugs.[24] Years later, she appears as the supervillainess Insect Queen[24] of the supervillain Liberators group that invades the United States to kill many in order to put a stop to perceived American aggression. During a showdown with the Ultimates, Laskov is apparently killed after being stomped by the giant-sized Wasp.[25] However, she is later rebuilt as the superheroine Red-Wasp by Nick Fury and Gregory Stark to be a member of their Avengers team.[26] When the Avengers fight the Red Skull, Laskov is tormented until Captain America and Hawkeye save the team. Afterwards, Laskov (disguised as a nurse) shoots her family's executioner in the head in a hospital.[27] Her abilities as the inhuman-esque Swarm are to control insects (albeit fully corporeal) with Margali Szardos's similar features of grey skin and horns while her abilities as the human-looking Red-Wasp is an aggressive variation of the Wasp.

Marvel Noir

The Marvel Noir universe's equivalent is Madame Sturm, a Nazi scientist. She finds the same Spider-God totem behind Peter Parker's powers which she uses to mutate herself into a bee god and calls herself Madame Swarm. She is defeated when Spider-Man Noir lures her towards a Nazi blimp that Spider-Man blows up with the Venom sting.[28]

In other media

Television

Video games

Swarm (Fritz von Meyer) appears as a member of Sinister Six in the role-playing mobile game Marvel Strike Force.

Novels

The Symbiotic Warfare Anthophila Restraining Model (S.W.A.R.M.) appears in Spider-Man: City at War, the comic book adaptation of the 2018 Spider-Man video game. S.W.A.R.M. was planned to be in he finished game but was cut. [34] [35]

Toys

An action figure of the Fritz von Meyer incarnation of Swarm was released in 1997 as part of the Spider-Man: Spider Force toy line. It was molded in a translucent yellow plastic and featured a removable cape and hood as well as snap-on bee armor which could also be assembled to create a "giant" bee accessory.

Theatre

The Fritz von Meyer incarnation of Swarm appears in the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, played by Gerald Avery. This version was originally a scientist at Oscorp before he's manipulated into being Swarm by the Green Goblin and joining the Sinister Six.

Reception

In August 2009, TIME listed Swarm as one of the "Top 10 Oddest Marvel Characters".[36]

Swarm was ranked #29 on a listing of Marvel Comics' monster characters in 2015.[37]

References

  1. ^ a b Exterminators (Spider-Man foes)
  2. ^ a b Spider-Man and the X-Men #4. Marvel Comics.
  3. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Manning, Matthew K. (2012). Spider-Man Chronicle: Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. DK Publishing. p. 109. ISBN 978-0756692360.
  4. ^ Morris, Jon (2017). The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains: Oddball Criminals from Comic Book History. Quirk Books. p. 249. ISBN 978-1594749322.
  5. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Sanderson, Peter; Brevoort, Tom; Teitelbaum, Michael; Wallace, Daniel; Darling, Andrew; Forbeck, Matt; Cowsill, Alan; Bray, Adam (2019). The Marvel Encyclopedia. DK Publishing. p. 366. ISBN 978-1-4654-7890-0.
  6. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. p. 334. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
  7. ^ The Champions #14–15 (1977). Marvel Comics.
  8. ^ Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #36–37. Marvel Comics.
  9. ^ Spider-Man Family Amazing Friends #1. Marvel Comics.
  10. ^ The Lethal Foes of Spider-Man #3–4. Marvel Comics.
  11. ^ Secret Defenders #18
  12. ^ Secret Defenders #19. Marvel Comics.
  13. ^ The Sensational Spider-Man #9–10. Marvel Comics.
  14. ^ Runaways vol. 2 #7. Marvel Comics.
  15. ^ The Punisher War Journal vol. 2 #15. Marvel Comics.
  16. ^ a b Thunderbolts #122. Marvel Comics.
  17. ^ The Mighty Avengers #24
  18. ^ Wolverine and the X-Men #18. Marvel Comics.
  19. ^ The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7. Marvel Comics.
  20. ^ Spider-Man/Deadpool #9. Marvel Comics.
  21. ^ Ant-Man #1-2 (February & March 2020). Marvel Comics.
  22. ^ C. B. Cebulski (w), Niko Hendrichon (p), Niko Hendrichon (i). "Once Upon a Time..." Marvel Fairy Tales #2 (August 2007), Marvel Comics
  23. ^ Marvel Adventures #38. Marvel Comics.
  24. ^ a b Ultimate Avengers #5. Marvel Comics.
  25. ^ Ultimates 2 #12. Marvel Comics.
  26. ^ Ultimate Comics: Avengers #3. Marvel Comics.
  27. ^ Ultimate Avengers #6. Marvel Comics.
  28. ^ Spider-Verse vol. 3 #5. Marvel Comics.
  29. ^ a b c d "Swarm Voices (Spider-Man)".
  30. ^ Goldman, Eric (20 April 2012). "Ultimate Spider-Man: Make Way for Iron Man!". IGN.com. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  31. ^ "Swarm". Ultimate Spider-Man. Season 2. Episode 11. June 9, 2013. Disney XD.
  32. ^ "Sandman Returns". Ultimate Spider-Man. Season 2. Episode 24. October 27, 2013. Disney XD.
  33. ^ "Spider-Man Unmasked". Spider-Man. Season 3. Episode 4. August 16, 2020. Disney XD.
  34. ^ Spider-Man: City At War #2. Marvel Comics.
  35. ^ https://segmentnext.com/have-revealed-spiderman-ps4-sequel/
  36. ^ "Top 10 Oddest Marvel Characters". Time. August 31, 2009.
  37. ^ Buxton, Marc (October 30, 2015). "Marvel's 31 Best Monsters". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Swarm is a very obscure villain who made his debut in the pages of The Champions of all places. So why is he on our list? Because he's a freakin' Nazi Scientist- MADE OF EVIL BEES!