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Edward Whelan (Earth-616) from New Avengers Vol 4 14 001
Full Name: Edward Whelan
First Appearance: Captain America #272 (August, 1982)
Created by: J.M. DeMatteis;
Mike Zeck
Home Universe: Earth-616
Alignment: Neutral
Status: Alive
Place of Birth: Unknown
Citizenship: American
Base: Unknown
Affiliations: Former agent for Arnim Zola and Baron Zemo
Powers/Abilities: Proportional abilities of a rat
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 220 lbs
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Unique Features: Appears as a humanoid rat

Fictional Character Biography

Edward Whelan was a geneticist working for Baron Zemo and Primus I (who was impersonating Arnim Zola). In an experiment with the Primus/Arnim Zola imposter, his skin became a light pinkish fur color and he ended up resembling a cannibalistic, humanoid rat. Vermin was defeated by Captain America and turned over to S.H.I.E.L.D. He escaped S.H.I.E.L.D., however, and returned to the service of Zola and Zemo. Vermin was shackled by Zemo with Captain America in a dungeon; he battled mutates, escaped, and wounded Zemo.

Vermin later battled Captain America and Spider-Man at a street festival and was captured. Some time later, Vermin kidnapped women off the streets into the sewers, murdered and devoured them. He was defeated and captured by an insane Kraven the Hunter disguised as Spider-Man. He was forced by Kraven to battle the real Spider-Man, then allowed to escape; he was finally captured and turned over to the police by Spider-Man. Vermin eventually escaped the asylum, and attacked his parents at their home in Scarsdale. He was captured by Spider-Man and returned to psychiatric care. Vermin gained the ability to temporarily revert to his human form. Vermin is not a typical villain in that he is usually a pawn controlled by another. He has the intellect of a child, and would probably never be a threat to anyone if not for the ease with which he is manipulated.

He has often turned on the villains who have attempted to use him as a weapon against Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine, as when he injured Zemo or when he turned on Bloodscream in the sewers beneath New York. Once Mephisto used him in a brutal attack on Nightcrawler. At certain points, he is returned to his original human form, only to be kidnapped and reverted back into his present state. Despite a name that approximates nuisance, Vermin has caused serious problems for Spider-Man and Captain America, and is not easily beaten. The Vault During the breakout from the supervillain prison the Vault, detailed in "Venom Deathtrap: The Vault", Vermin assists Venom in hunting down Warden Marsh.

Under Venom's orders, Vermin later teams with Powderkeg and Mentallo; they temporarily defeat Iron Man and Hank Pym. Mentallo's powers are used to neutralize the break out. The "Child Within" storyline reveals that Whelan suffered severe physical and sexual abuse as a child from his father (who is white). Vermin is a cannibal, and is arachnophobic. Eventually, under psychiatric care, Whelan rids himself of the Vermin persona. This is made possible only when Spider-Man stops him from beating Baron Zemo to death; Whelan letting go of his hate allows Vermin to truly "die". The recovery doesn't last long and Whelan fully gives into his Vermin state once again. This is confirmed when he teams up with Bloodscream when they fight Wolverine together. Vermin was later incarcerated in New York's experimental "Ant-Hill" prison, where all prisoners were reduced in size thanks to Hank Pym's Pym particles. An escape attempt was thwarted by She-Hulk.

Powers & Abilities

Vermin has the ability to control rats and stray dogs within a two mile (3 km) radius of his person. It has not been clearly explained how he does this but some writers have implied it might be hyper-sonic communication. Though Vermin has no formal martial arts training, he utilizes bestial ferocity, animal cunning, and instincts which make him a very formidable hand-to-hand combatant. He once bested Spider-Man in a physical struggle, but Kraven the Hunter prevented Vermin from killing Spider-Man.

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