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Quote1 No! You've kept me down in the dark, Lee... but there are other things down here. On the outside it's all cold and anger. Down here is warm. With fire. With fear. You tell yourself it's because they hurt you, but i know the truth about you. About why you killed your parents. You are broken, Lee. Broken, weak, and hateful. Don't make me break you more. Quote2
-- Venom Symbiote src
 

Early Life

Born in Queens, New York, Lee Price had a rough life growing up, being brutally bullied as a child and seeing his mother being constantly beaten up by his father.[1] In order to escape from his suffering, Lee set his apartment ablaze, killing his parents,[3] and pinned the crime on a mutant boy with pyrokinesis he had previously befriended. Suppressing the traumatic memory, Lee convinced himself that the mutant boy had done it and that his father had abandoned him.[4] Taken into protective services, Price spent five years as a ward of the state before joining the Army Rangers. Lee was injured in a mine explosion that killed several members of his squad and cost him two of the fingers on his left hand. Discharged due to his injury, he registered as a disabled veteran in order to receive benefits — which did not come through — and was unable to find employment with any domestic security firms, leaving him in a desperate situation.[1]

Lee Price (Earth-616) from Venom Vol 3 1 002

Lee's life

Becoming Venom

Faced with eviction from his apartment, Lee accepted a job from Mac Gargan to act as muscle for the Black Cat's gang during an arms deal with Tombstone's crew. After delivering the package, the situation escalated when Tombstone's men refuse to pay and insulted Black Cat, and both factions pulled guns on each other. Lee was unarmed, but he was saved from being shot when the Venom symbiote abruptly intervened, desperately searching for a new host. Lee overpowered the symbiote with his will and - disregarding its outraged protests - used it to kill every member of Tombstone's gang present, as well as those of Black Cat's gang, and even his childhood friend Tony Consiglio, in order to keep his possession of the symbiote a secret for maximum benefit.[1]

Once he returned to his apartment, Lee engaged the symbiote in a mental confrontation and repelled its attempts to take him over. The following day, Lee decided to return the merchandise to Black Cat, claiming to have been the sole survivor of the confrontation between the two gangs, and offered her the use of his services, attracting the suspicion of Adams - Black Cat's second-in-command - and Mac Gargan. When he returned home, Lee was attacked by Firebug, an assassin sent by Tombstone, which prompted him to transform into Venom to fend off his assailant and kill him to maintain his secrecy.

When the fight was taken to the street, Venom was confronted by a pair of FBI agents who had tailed him from Black Cat's hideout.[5] The symbiote abandoned Price and tried to bond with one of the agents, but relented when Price was shot and mortally wounded. The symbiote rebonding to him, Venom escaped injured, and took refuge in Tony's apartment. Having investigated Lee and his associates, the FBI agents caught up with him and offered him an ultimatum: work for them as an informant, or risk becoming public, thus turning into a target for law enforcement agencies and vigilantes.[6]

Lee met with Agent Bagman, one of the FBI agents, outside Parker Industries, where the symbiote mentioned it had been held prisoner before bonding to him. Lee noted that the symbiote was sounding less intelligent than it had before, but their conversation was interrupted by Bagman, who requested Lee get the symbiote to reveal Spider-Man's secret identity. Bagman gave Lee time to consider the request, after which Price was summoned by Black Cat, who asked him to intimidate a Daily Bugle reporter who was writing an exposé on her crime group. Noting that Black Cat's trust in him was slipping when he was paired with Mac Gargan and issued the order not to kill anyone, Price accepted the job despite the increasingly feral symbiote's concerns. However, Gargan - dressed in his Scorpion armor - decided to eliminate Price and frame his death on the reporter after killing him too. The Venom symbiote emerged to save Price from being beaten to death, and the ensuing battle was recorded by bystanders and posted online.[7]

Lee Price (Earth-616) from Venom Vol 3 4 001

Lee as Venom

Venom defeated Gargan and would have eaten him had Spider-Man not intervened. Retreating, Price abducted the reporter and threatened him to learn Adams' address. That evening Venom attacked Adams, who revealed that he'd told Black Cat that Price had lied to her and was the symbiote's host. Price retorted that Black Cat would go after Adams as well, since he'd gone behind her back, and offered him protection - plotting to turn Adams over to the FBI and take over Black Cat's organization once she was arrested. However, Agent Bagman was revealed to be an informant for Black Cat's gang and in league with Adams, ambushing Price with a helicopter armed with incendiary missiles. Venom managed to hijack the helicopter, but this caused the FBI to call in their Symbiote Task Force, led by the Venom symbiote's former host Eddie Brock.[8]

Lee planned to take the helicopter down the Hudson River and escape from there. However, Spider-Man's appearance prompted him to change his plans, attacking the hero. While Spider-Man was engaging Venom, the FBI arrived and attacked him, giving Brock a window of opportunity to brief Spider-Man on a plan to take Price down. Spider-Man returned to confront Venom and expressed his desire to rebond to the symbiote. Lee failed to keep the symbiote under his control and it separated from him. The FBI subsequently contained the suit with Spider-Man's help, who had been actually bluffing, and Lee was then arrested by NYPD officers.[3] While he was imprisoned in the New York Corrections Supermax Facility for Superhuman Incarceration,[9] Lee's time behind the bars was brief. His attorney managed to build a case arguing for Price's innocence on the grounds that the Venom symbiote possessed mental-controlling powers, leading to Lee's liberation.[10]

Maniac

Price and a pair of thugs ambushed Mania with a sonic cannon and flamethrowers, badly injuring her and separating her from her symbiote. Price took the symbiote for himself and rechristened himself Maniac, returning to New York and forcibly recruiting other super villains by infecting them with pieces of the symbiote.[11] After accumulating enough manpower in the form of his Inklings, Maniac attacked Black Cat's gang and used his symbiote to take control of her and her people.[12] Lee's intention was to use Black Cat's operations to make his way into a gathering of the five biggest crime families in the world, to which Hardy had been invited for the first time, so to take control of them as well.[13]

Mania (Klyntar) (Earth-616) and Lee Price (Earth-616) from Venom Vol 1 160

Lee's second Maniac form

Spider-Man and Agent Anti-Venom stumbled upon Maniac while tracking down his symbiote,[12] and were defeated, but not before Black Cat used the little free will she retained to force herself to enter in contact with Anti-Venom to destroy the piece of Lee's symbiote controlling her.[14] Once he captured the heroes, Maniac took control of Spider-Man and tried to kill Anti-Venom, using the former to commit crimes in an attempt to draw Black Cat out. While Maniac carried out his plan, Anti-Venom was rescued by Andi Benton, and Black Cat freed Spider-Man from Maniac's control using Anti-Venom serum procured from Alchemax with Venom's help.[13] The heroes learned of Price's plan from Spider-Man, and followed him to the gathering of the crime families, where Price had already used the Mania to take control of all the attendees. Using weaponry coated in Anti-Venom serum, the heroes freed those under Maniac's control, prompting him to order the remains of the symbiote to rejoin him to make him stronger.[15] While Maniac initially overpowered the heroes, growing to an enormous height, Black Cat discovered those freed from his control by Anti-Venom developed an immunity. Spider-Man had Anti-Venom absorb a sample of his blood so to acquire its "Anti-Maniac" properties, giving him the boost necessary to neutralize Lee and weaken his symbiote. Maniac was then apprehended and taken away by authorities.[16]

Quote1 Once I get my suit back... you'll never see me coming. And neither will anybody else. Quote2
--Lee Price[src]

Having been traumatized by his harsh childhood and experiences serving overseas, Lee Price is callous, ruthless, pragmatic, and scheming; the Venom symbiote classifying him as a broken, weak, and hateful man. His time as a soldier taught him that it is the people who stay calm who are victorious, and as such he maintains a stern, stoic demeanor at almost all times. He revels in the power being Venom gave him, and was not above forcing the Venom symbiote to commit acts of violence against its will.[1] Price was initially not very ambitious, seeking to operate from the shadows and take only what he is owed for his work.[5] However, after Price's plans to do so failed he decided to seize power and rule through fear, to the point of creating his own criminal organization.[11] Price is intelligent enough to realize when he's being manipulated into a trap,[7] and quick to improvise when his plan to remain anonymous fails.

While Price once had people he cared about and considered comrades, the traumatic experiences he has endured have left him a cynical loner.[8] Apparently, this is his only fear - being alone - despite the fact that his loneliness is something he brought upon himself. Price makes no distinction between the people he kills to protect himself or his secrets, killing his parents as a child because they had hurt him;[3] and killing his childhood friend, Tony, because he knew he couldn't keep the symbiote a secret.[1] According to the Venom symbiote, Price uses his cold and calculating personality to mask his fears.[3]

Further, it is shown he is also vengeful, swearing to reclaim the Venom symbiote and kill anyone who tried to hurt him.[9]

Powers

Black Symbiotic Costume: The Maniac symbiote grants Price the following powers:

  • Superhuman Strength
  • Superhuman Speed
  • Superhuman Stamina
  • Superhuman Durability
  • Superhuman Agility
  • Superhuman Reflexes
  • Regenerative Healing Factor
  • Wall-Crawling
  • ESP (Spider-Sense)
  • Spider-Sense Immunity
  • Invisibility
  • Constituent-Matter Generation
  • Shapeshifting
  • Genetic Memory
  • Night Vision
  • Poisonous Fangs
  • Permanent Bond: Price apparently cannot be separated from his symbiote, possibly using his immense willpower to force it to remain bonded to him.[16]

Abilities

Military Protocol: Price has extensive military training, making him a skilled tactician and hand-to-hand combatant.

Indomitable Will: Price's military training has given him the willpower to easily repel psychic incursions, enabling him to easily subjugate the Venom symbiote and gain control of it.[17]

Weaknesses

Sonic and Heat: The Venom and Maniac symbiotes, like all others of their kind, are extremely vulnerable to heat and sonic based attacks. They cause the symbiotes physical pain and discomfort, where as "more powerful" attacks might be completely ineffective.

Anti-Venom: Physical contact with the second Anti-Venom symbiote and a serum derived from the original Anti-Venom symbiote caused Maniac physical pain and neutralized the symbiote "Facehuggers" he used to control others. After being upgraded with Spider-Man's antibodies, the second Anti-Venom symbiote was further able to strip the Maniac symbiote of its new ability to control others through pieces of its biomass.[16]


Discover and Discuss

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Venom Vol 3 #1
  2. Arrant, Chris (23 November 2016). VENOM Returns To Classic 1990s Form With New Host, 'Back To Basics' Mentality – SPOILERS. Retrieved on 30 November 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Venom Vol 3 #6
  4. Venom Vol 3 #5-6
  5. 5.0 5.1 Venom Vol 3 #2
  6. Venom Vol 3 #3
  7. 7.0 7.1 Venom Vol 3 #4
  8. 8.0 8.1 Venom Vol 3 #5
  9. 9.0 9.1 Venom #155
  10. Venom #158
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha #1
  12. 12.0 12.1 Amazing Spider-Man #792
  13. 13.0 13.1 Amazing Spider-Man #793
  14. Venom #159
  15. Venom #160
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Omega #1
  17. Venom Vol 3 #1-2
  18. Sandoval‏, Gerardo (11 January 2018). Gerardo Sandoval‏ on Twitter: "A no used page from Venom #160". Twitter. Retrieved on 11 January 2018.
  19. Sandoval‏, Gerardo (16 January 2018). Gerardo Sandoval‏ on Twitter: "Venom #160, the original art--". Twitter. Retrieved on 18 January 2018.



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