Malcolm McBride was an Empire State University science graduate student. He applied for a research grant that went to Peter Parker. Resentful, feeling that his rival is not a serious student, Malcolm follows Peter into the bowels of ESU's science building, to the wrecked secret lab used by the Jackal and the original Carrion. Peter is searching for the truth of the clones and comes away with a research journal written by the Jackal. Malcolm finds a test tube containing a glowing green liquid.
Back at his dorm, Malcolm studies the liquid and determines that it is a virus that "was created by recombinant DNA technology". It also grows rapidly when exposed to air, slips off the microscope slide and attacks Malcolm in his face and eyes. This exposure turns Malcolm into Carrion, not only giving him the knowledge of Spider-Man's identity but also garbing him in Carrion's rags and shoulder bag containing the deadly red dust.
Initially Malcolm is so absorbed by the virus that he thinks of himself as a clone of Prof. Miles Warren created to avenge Gwen Stacy's death. Carrion displays a variety of powers from levitation to telepathy to altering his density but he also believes that Miles Warren is still alive. When Spider-Man leads him to Warren's grave, Carrion is so startled that the web-slinger defeats him easily and has him shipped off to the prison known as the Vault.
On his way back to the Vault from a court appearance, Carrion is freed by the Hobgoblin, Jason Macendale in his demonic phase. The two villains establish a base in the New York sewer system and Carrion reveals that he can't read minds after all and that his red dust is merely freeze-dried acid crystals. (Plus, he seems to have forgotten Spider-Man's secret identity.) He also remembers enough of being Malcolm to go to Astoria, Queens (later referred to as "Briarwood" but switched back to Astoria again) to seek out his mother (first named "Martha", later called "Beatrice"). Spider-Man intervenes but he is, in turn, ambushed by Hobgoblin. The two villains drag the web-slinger down into the sewers.
While Hobgoblin goes to Hammerhead to try to get money for killing Spider-Man, the web-spinner taunts Carrion into accidentally releasing him. Later, when Hobgoblin returns, the battle moves above ground. Hobby tries to kill Martha McBride and Mary Jane, who has tracked Martha down, only to be stopped by Carrion who is protecting his mother. A pumpkin bomb ignites the gas from a broken sewer line and both villains go up in flames and fall back into the sewer system.
Neither one dies, of course. Carrion rises from the sewers in Manhattan during Maximum Carnage, drawn by the death and destruction wrought by Carnage, Shriek, Doppelganger, and Demogoblin. He hangs out with the group, buying into Shriek's claim that she is his surrogate mother and fighting Deathlok, Cloak, Morbius and other heroes. The Maximum Carnage gang is finally stopped by the Alpha Magni-Illuminizor, a machine that fires waves of "positive" energy. The flow of "inner light" from this device is so great that it seems to eradicate the Carrion virus from Malcolm McBride, restoring him to normal.
But the virus isn't dead, just dormant. Though apparently normal, Malcolm is placed in Ravencroft Institute where he is treated by Dr. Ashley Kafka. She makes the mistake of showing Malcolm to Shriek who, thinking of Carrion as her son, breaks free, abducts Malcolm and uses her negative powers to re-invigorate the virus and turn Malcolm back into Carrion. Eventually, in an emotional tug-of-war between Shriek and Beatrice McBride, Malcolm is driven to despair and tries to turn the deadly Carrion touch on himself. In a rare moment of compassion, Shriek uses her powers to draw the Carrion virus out of Malcolm and into herself.
Though cured, Malcolm remains an inmate at Ravencroft. In the trial of Spider-Man led by the mysterious Traveller, Malcolm is a witness for the prosecution. He reveals that he became Carrion because of his jealousy of Peter Parker. Spider-Man is then unmasked to show that he IS Peter Parker. Later, Malcolm is transformed into Carrion again by Traveller, only to be changed back to normal at the end of the proceedings. His memory of Peter Parker as Spider-Man is wiped out by Traveller along with the memories of all the other participants.
Though now cured of the Carrion virus for good, it's unknown if Malcolm McBride ever recovered enough from the experience to leave the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane.
|Power Grid |
Deadly touch, body repels organic matter, can alter his density. Carrion possessed limited telepathy and could levitate.
Super-human. Many times normal.
- 29 Appearances of Malcolm McBride (Earth-616)
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