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Quote1 Jewels! Money! No matter how much I take, I want more--much more! And with my great power, nothing can stop me from getting it! Quote2
-- Electro src
 
Maxwell Dillon (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 9 005

Starting career as a supervillain

Early Life

Maxwell Dillon was born in Endicott, New York, the son of Jonathan and Anita Dillon. As a child, Max often moved from one town to the next due to his Jonathan's difficulty in holding down steady employment. One day Jonathan Dillon announced he was running off with another woman and left Anita and Maxwell to fend for themselves. This resulted in Anita becoming overprotective of her son. After Maxwell graduated high school he announced his plans to go to the university to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. Anita, not wanting her son to become a failure like his father, lied that he was rejected from college. Instead she suggested he find work at the local electric company, which Maxwell pursued instead, getting a job as a lineman. When Maxwell was 24 years old, his mother had a heart attack and died soon thereafter. Maxwell found a steady job with the electric company, but his income was limited. He soon started dating a woman named Norma Lynn, who was a billing clerk at the electric company, and they eventually married. While Maxwell did not want a woman like his mother, he found the opposite problem in Norma. She complained that she wanted a stable household with a good earner, and felt that Maxwell's inability to abandon his lineman's job for greener pastures was a liability. Soon she ran off with an engineer who could provide a life for her that Maxwell could not. The repeat of his parents' failed relationship in his own life caused Maxwell to resolve to find a new woman; however, this worsened his personality, in particular his greed, as now he was determined not to die in squallor as did his parents.

Maxwell Dillon (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 9 002

Struck by lightning

Becoming Electro

One day another lineman got in trouble and Dillon agreed to save him, for a fee. In the process he gained super powers when he was struck by lightning while in contact with power lines still connected to their spool. The unusually configured magnetic field generated by the wound spool of cable and live, high-tension wires induced a body-wide mutagenic change to his nervous system. Dillon found himself transformed into a living electrical capacitor, powered by the micro-fine rhythmic muscle contractions that normally regulate body temperature.[3]

Maxwell Dillon (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 9 001

Gaining his powers

Generally, Dillon's criminal actions were governed by his selfish love of money. Adopting the gaudy garb of a so-called super-villain, the deranged Dillon sought to use his newfound power for personal gain. Electro's first and most frequent nemesis was the wisecracking, web-slinging super hero known as Spider-Man. The Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson was convinced that Spider-Man and Electro were the same man, until Spidey defeated Electro by wearing rubber gloves and shoes.[3] He next battled Daredevil when he attempted to break in the Baxter Building, headquarters of the Fantastic Four.[4]

Sinister Six

Sinister Six (Earth-616) 001

As a member of The Sinister Six (far left)

Unable to best the wall-crawler on his own, Electro often sought strength in numbers. Early in his career, he and five other members of Spider-Man's rogues gallery united under the leadership of Doctor Octopus - brilliant, respected scientist turned tentacled terror. The inaugural incarnation of the Sinister Six also included the shifty Sandman; the illusion-casting Mysterio; the high-flying, lowdown Vulture; and Kraven the Hunter. The villains' master plan: Pummel the wall-crawler one by one until one of them would manage to defeat him. The outcome: Spidey 6, bad guys 0.[5]

Emissaries of Evil

After the events of The Six, Electro was hired by Doctor Doom amongst others to disrupt the wedding of Reed Richards and Susan Storm.[6] Later he was defeated by Daredevil and sought the help of other super-villains when he created his own Emissaries of Evil.[1]

Ignominious Defeats

Hoping to energize his campaign to smear Spider-Man's reputation, J. Jonah Jameson surreptitiously secured Electro's supercharged services to battle the web-slinger on national television. Before an audience of millions, Spider-Man stood triumphant once more. Electro's extended string of ignominious defeats nearly came to an end when the world-weary villain, hungry for respect, attempted to deprive the entire city of power by drawing it into his body. Dillon almost killed himself as a result, again meeting defeat at the hands of Spider-Man. Later, he fought Daredevil (again) and the confused alien named Omega the Unknown,[7] then briefly joined the Frightful Four and fought Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four at their side.

Other Sinister Six Incarnations

Stinging from their initial failure, the Six stepped up their efforts. With the half-demon Hobgoblin standing in for Kraven, they planned to hold the world for ransom under a cloud of poison gas. Spider-Man was no match for the villains' collective might, but Dr. Octopus deserted Electro and the rest of the team when he discovered he could sell the gas as a cure for cocaine addiction. Without Doc Ock's guidance, the Six easily were dispatched by Spider-Man.[8] A subsequent scheme to destroy their treacherous leader ended when the rudderless rogues went their separate ways after failing to achieve their objective.[9]

Electro was also a member of Mysterio's Sinister Seven, created to combat Spider-Man's insane, homicidal clone, Kaine. However, Kaine disappeared and with no further need to keep the group together, it was disbanded and Dillon returned to his self imposed exile.[10]

Modern Electro

Upgrade

Electro was once again brought out of retirement by the Rose, who offered Dillon the chance at an experimental procedure to greatly enhance his abilities in exchange for his services as an underworld enforcer. Dillon agreed, sensing the opportunity to rise above his past failures. After undergoing the procedure and dispatching several members of the True Believers, an offshoot of the Hand at the request of the Rose, Dillon returned to his original plan of taking over the New York City power supply. Once again defeated by Spider-Man, who had donned an insulated suit, a frustrated Dillon threw himself into the Hudson River, apparently killing himself.

Sinister Twelve

However, Dillon survived as he reappeared as part of the next series of subsequent incarnations of the Sinister Six, each of which were either defeated or disbanded due to internal conflicts. The most recent incarnation, the Sinister Twelve, gathered by the Green Goblin as part of a larger plan to enable his escape from prison and destroy Spider-Man. They were defeated with the help of the combined efforts of Captain America, Iron Man, Daredevil, Yellowjacket and the Fantastic Four.

Breakout

Electro was hired by Brainchild to free Karl Lykos, a.k.a. Sauron) from the Raft, a maximum-security prison designed to hold supervillians. Electro initiated a prison break the likes of which had never been seen, releasing scores of criminals. However, his actions also brought together a number of the world's most powerful heroes to contain the disaster including: Captain America, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman, Daredevil, the Sentry and Spider-Man, many of whom were trapped in the Raft when the power was shut off. With the exception of Daredevil (and Sentry at first), this impromptu gathering of heroes reunited shortly after the prison break to form a new Avengers team. Dillon tried to escape with his girlfriend, a waitress in Boston, but was captured by the New Avengers, the very team he inadvertently helped create.[11]

Second Upgrade

As Electro aged, his power became unstable and he began working for the Mad Thinker, who could help him control his powers. Blackmailing Dexter Bennett, he gained money and his powers were upgraded. He attacked the Daily Bugle and destroyed it before being beaten once again by Spider-Man.

Ends of the Earth

Electro joined Doc Ock's new Sinister Six and helped him to rob technology from the Baxter Building as well as robbing the Zero Cannon from the Intelligencia.[12]

Some time later, Doctor Octopus, in his plan to be remembered as the man who saved Earth, offered the chance to stop the Greenhouse Effect, as well as speed it up, using a special device connected with different satellites on the orbit. Disguised as Al Gore, Chameleon tried to accelerate the decision of world's leaders about the matter, but was uncovered by Spider-Man, who interrupted the scene along with the Avengers. When the Chameleon was freed, he arrived in the Mediterranean on a meeting with the rest of the team. The Avengers followed them and arrived, fighting the Sinister Six, but they where all defeated by the villains, the price of the battle was Electro, who was sent to space by Thor.[13]

Superior Six

Electro returned to Earth and attempts to avenge himself on Thor by forcing an A.I.M. scientist to convert him to generate protons instead of electrons, but he was defeated when Spider-Man (actually Doctor Octopus' mind in Spider-Man's body at that time) managed to convert him into a stream of protons and trap him. Spider-Man placed Electro in a containment cell next to Sandman's in his hidden underwater lab.[14]

Superior Six (Earth-616) from Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Vol 1 5 001

Among the Superior Six

After Spider-Man collected more three supervillains, the Superior Six was born. Electro was part of this brain-controlled team until Spider-Man's control over them was lost, and Electro rampaged across New York with the other five members of the team. Electro was eventually subdued by both Spider-Man and the new Sun Girl.[15]

Alliance with the Black Cat

Because of Spider-Man having subdued Electro and turned him into his personal puppet, Max lost credibility as a super villain. He decided to perform an act similar to when he caused the massive breakout in the Raft, and stormed the Conway Penitentiary. However, his powers went out of control and destroyed the entire building.[16]

Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 5 Textless

Now more dangerous, but also more uncontrollable, than ever, Electro had nowhere to go, and the Black Cat offered him an alliance to finish Spider-Man once and for all. At the same time, Parker Industries began working on a way to depower Dillon.

The Black Cat used Electro's power to establish some dominance over the underworld. They later kidnapped Parker Industries' Sajani Jaffrey to learn more about the company's projects of a super-prison. The duo of villains later attacked the HQs of the Fact Channel News to demand Spider-Man's appearance, who arrived to fight them, but had to be rescued by his ally Silk from being unmasked by the Black Cat on live TV.

Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 2 Textless

Electro and Black Cat infiltrated to the demonstration of Parker Industries' Anti-Electro technology. Felicia started the machine, further enhancing Electro's power only to be interrupted by Spider-Man and Silk. With the heroes' appearance, Black Cat changed the plan, using the wiring to overload Electro, who caused an explosion which failed to kill Spider-Man as Felicia wanted, but successfully depowered Max, who was later taken into custody.[17]

Death

Max, who had been incarcerated at Andry Correctional Facility, was broken out of the prison by Rhino, along with the Lizard, in the behest of the Jackal, who planned to give Max his powers back.[18]

As he was about to have his powers returned to him by the Jackal and the Lizard, Maxwell changed his mind and decided he couldn't go ahead with the procedure. The Jackal then ordered a resurrected Francine Frye (whom Dillon had accidentally killed months before)[19] to appear, convincing him to proceed with it.[20]

However, the procedure didn't give his powers back as his body rejected them. After the failed experiment, Dillon passed by Francine and the suit began to transfer its energy to her. Dillon was then kissed by Francine, who absorbed all the energy from the suit to gain his powers, the transference killing Dillon by frying him to death.[21]

Return

Some time later, Electro resurfaced with his powers back in a supervillain gambling ship Queen Kathleen, which was boarded by Deadpool.[22]

Powers

Maxwell Dillon (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 9 004

The living battery, Electro

Electrostatic Energy Generation: Electro possessed the ability to bodily generate electrostatic energy which he could release or harness for a number of effects. He was powered by the micro-fine rhythmic muscle contractions that normally regulate body temperature. His body could generate electricity at a rate of about 10,000 volts per minute, up to his maximum storage capacity of 10,000,000 volts. At that point, his body automatically stopped producing electricity. As he expended his electrostatic energy, his body automatically began to recharge the stores. Electro could mentally control the amount of electricity he discharges, anywhere from a single volt to his full 10,000,000 volt charge at once. At ten to thirty feet, his maximum charge was more than enough to kill a man. Electro could also use his body as a transformer, touching an outside power source (such as a generator) and channeling it through his body for use. The amount of electricity he could transform above his body's maximum storage capacity is unknown.

Electro can employ his electrostatic energy in a number of ways:

  • Lightning Bolt Projection: The simplest manifestation was the emission of a lightning-like electric arc from his fingertips, which could propagate through air or other conducting mediums. This discharge, whose total voltage can be regulated within certain limits, travelled at the speed of lightning, about 150,000 feet per second. The course of the electrostatic bolt, like lightning, did not always follow a straight line since it could be influenced by conducting substances like metal or other electrical fields. If his target was not grounded, his electrostatic bolt would have had little effect. The maximum effective range of his bolts was about 100 feet.
  • Electromagnetic Propulsion via Electrical Lines and Bridges: Electro could propel himself along the accompanying magnetic lines of force in objects that have great electrical potential, such as high-tension electrical lines. He generated light, eddying electrical fields around his legs, which developed an intense, opposing magnetic field that could support him above the electric cable's magnetic field. By creating imbalances in his field, he could ride along on magnetic ripples at speeds of up to 140 miles per hour, the maximum speed at which he could still breathe unaided. He could sometimes create electrostatic bridges to traverse upon, although the expenditure of energy is enormous. To a limited degree, he could also mimic Spider-Man's wall-crawling ability, using his electromagnetic field to become attracted to the fields of iron bars in buildings.
  • Electrical Detection: Electro's electrical powers also granted him certain sensory and manipulative abilities. By "feeling" the course of electricity through the circuitry of any electrically-powered device, Electro could override the system and make the device obey his mental commands. Electro could disconnect alarm systems, control computers in a limited way, or overload any electrically controlled system that was insufficiently shielded.
  • Electrocution: The electric flux of Electro's skin was such that when his electric charge was at a maximum, a person touching him was in danger of being electrocuted.
Maxwell Dillon (Earth-616) from Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 9 003
  • Recharging: By using an external electrical power source to recharge his body's energy reserves, he could expend electrical energy indefinitely without diminishing his personal reserves.
  • Electrical Conversion into Enhanced Physical Attributions: The electricity coursing through his altered body augmented his strength, speed, and recuperative powers. When fully charged, Electro was able to lift (press) about 500 pounds.
  • Metal Ionization: Electro was taught by Doctor Octopus during a stint in prison that he could ionize metals.
  • Disruption of Wall-Crawling Abilities: Electro's powers also can disrupt Spider-Man's electrostatic ability to cling to walls.
  • Localized Electromagnetic Storms: Electro once defeated the Invisible Woman when he created a localized electromagnetic storm. This allowed him to carbonize the air around her and it imprisoned her in a sheath of rock hard electro carbon atoms. Effectively making a statue out of her.[23]
Electro defeats Invisible Woman

Electro creates an electromagnetic storm around the Invisible Woman

  • Electromagnetic Manipulation: An experimental procedure temporarily heightened his powers, allowing Electro to store and absorb a seemingly limitless amount of electricity. He could fly by generating a massive field of electricity which could propel him through the air. He also seemed to gain the power of magnetokinesis to a certain degree, allowing him to manipulate magnetic fields and move objects in a manner similar to that of Magneto, and could overcome his old weakness to water by using the electromagnetic fields around him to vaporize water before it could touch him. He was able to defeat Nate Grey by manipulating the bio-electric currents in the human brain to turn Nate's own psionic powers against him, and do the same to make Spider-Man beg. Presumably, had he further explored the implications of this power, he would have been able to control people's entire bodies this way as well, and might have been able to control machines in a similar way. He was also able to painfully paralyze anyone by overcharging their synapses' bio-electrical transmissions. However, Electro somehow seems to have lost these new abilities after he threw himself into the Hudson River, resulting in an explosion.
  • Immunity to Electricity: Electro's body was immune to the effects of its electricity and that of other sources as well. Hence, Electro could not be electrocuted no matter how great the voltage.
  • Charging: Electro could charge himself up to reach high maximum voltage. Here he could grow in height to an enormous humanoid looking creature made up of nothing but electricity.

Strength level

Thanks to the electricity circulating through his body, his strength was augmented to the point where he could lift over 450 pounds.

Weaknesses

When he was fully charged, Electro was extremely sensitive to anything that may "short circuit" him, such as water. Later, due to the experiments Spider-Man conducted on him, Electro could lose control over his powers, which caused him to burn out and collapse.[16]



Transportation

Electro was able to 'ride' electricity.

Discover and Discuss

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Daredevil Annual #1
  2. Punisher Vol 10 #1
  3. 3.0 3.1 Amazing Spider-Man #9
  4. Daredevil #2
  5. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1
  6. Fantastic Four Annual #3
  7. Omega the Unknown #2-3
  8. Amazing Spider-Man #338-339
  9. Spider-Man #18-23
  10. Spider-Man Unlimited #9
  11. New Avengers #1-4
  12. Amazing Spider-Man #676
  13. Amazing Spider-Man #682-683
  14. Avenging Spider-Man #18-19
  15. Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #5-7
  16. 16.0 16.1 Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 #1
  17. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 #3-6
  18. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 4 #10
  19. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 #6
  20. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 4 #16
  21. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 4 #17
  22. Despicable Deadpool #297
  23. Fantastic Four #218
  24. Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #2
  25. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #3
  26. OHOTMU Spider-Man 2004



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