Maximus (comics)

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Maximus
Maximus the Mad
Art by Frazer Irving.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Fantastic Four #47 (Feb. 1966)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Full name Maximus Boltagon
Species Inhuman
Place of origin Attilan
Team affiliations Cabal[1]
Notable aliases Maximus the Mad, Maximus the Magnificent
Abilities Mind control
Genius-level intellect

Maximus is a fictional character, a schizophrenic and genius appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Publication history[edit]

Maximus first appeared in Fantastic Four #47 (February 1966), and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Maximus, an Inhuman, was the second son of two of Attilan's top geneticists, Agon, the head of the ruling Council of Geneticists, and Rynda, director of the Prenatal Care Center. Subjected to the DNA-altering Terrigen Mist when he was an infant, Maximus peculiarly showed no outward sign of any mutagenic change. As he matured, he hid his developing psionic powers from the community, but was less successful at disguising his antisocial tendencies. When he was about sixteen, his elder brother Black Bolt was released from the protective chamber in which he had been confined since birth due to the destructive nature of his Terrigen mutation. One of Maximus's first responses to his brother's freedom was an unsuccessful attempt to make him release his power and prove Black Bolt could not control his sonic powers, and thus lose his freedom.[2] A month later, Black Bolt witnessed Maximus making a treacherous pact with an emissary of the Kree, the alien race responsible for genetically accelerating the Inhumans eons before. In an attempt to stop the fleeing emissary so that he could be questioned by the ruling council, Black Bolt used his forbidden power of the quasi-sonic scream and blasted the alien ship out of the sky. When the ship crashed to earth, it landed on the parliament building, killing several key members of the Genetics Council, including the boys' parents. The reverberations of Black Bolt's voice also affected Maximus, who was standing nearby, addling his sanity and suppressing his nascent mental powers. When Black Bolt assumed the throne shortly thereafter, Maximus vowed to oppose his brother and eventually usurp his rule.[3]

Maximus staged his first successful coup a few years later. By performing an illegal experiment on the Alpha Primitives, the subhuman worker clones that once served the Inhumans, Maximus created the Trikon, three bodiless energy beings of great destructive power. While the Trikon wreaked havoc in Attilan, Maximus was able to drive the Royal Family of the Inhumans out of the city. Maximus later sent Gorgon in search of the amnesiac Medusa. In the several year interval before Black Bolt and his cousins located her in America, Maximus ruled Attilan in Black Bolt's stead. Feeling secure in his position, Maximus bade his servant, the Seeker, to locate the Royal Family and bring them back to Attilan.[4] Immediately upon doing so, Black Bolt seized the crown back, to Maximus' dismay. Maximus also encountered the Fantastic Four for the first time. Maximus, hoping to win back the public's affection, activated the Atmo-Gun device he had been working on, a machine he believed would kill the human race and leave all other living beings intact. Maximus miscalculated, however, and the device had no effect. Out of spite, Maximus used the device to erect a "negative zone" barrier (not to be confused with the anti-matter dimension of that name) that encased Attilan in a dark force sphere, imprisoning the entire race inside.[5] Black Bolt liberated his people by using his quasi-sonic voice to destroy the barrier, at the price of devastating Attilan's ancient architecture.

Maximus then allied himself with six Inhuman criminals, sentenced for their treachery and subversive acts. Freeing Falcona, Aireo, Stallior, Nebulo, Leonus, and Timberius from their place of imprisonment with the Hulk's aid, Maximus then tricked the Hulk into breaching the protective barrier guarding a forbidden chemical substance created by the Inhuman scientist Romnar centuries previous. This substance had certain highly unstable energy absorbing capacities and Maximus intended to use it to usurp the throne again. Black Bolt overpowered him before he could do so.[volume & issue needed]

Maximus succeeded in bringing about his second coup some months later. Drugging the Royal Family with will-deadening "hypno-potions," Maximus wrested the crown from Black Bolt and had the Royal Family imprisoned. Before he could activate his Hypno-Gun, which he believed would make all mankind surrender to his will, the Royal Family escaped and subdued him. Maximus's first coup had lasted several years; his second one several days. Escaping Attilan with his band of renegades in a rocket, Maximus landed in the South American country of Costa Salvador, and attempted to build a will-deadening device similar to his Hypno-Gun. His plans were opposed by the Hulk and the United States Army, however, and he and his allies were forced to flee again.[volume & issue needed]

Maximus later fomented a battle between the Royal Family and the Fantastic Four.[6] Returning to Attilan, Maximus was welcomed back by his brother Black Bolt who preferred Maximus to be somewhere he could be watched. Black Bolt detected that Maximus's psionic powers, suppressed since he was an adolescent, were beginning to return. Offering no explanation, Black Bolt had Maximus placed in a suspended animation capsule, inside which he could not use his powers. Black Bolt's cousin Gorgon, however, objected to Black Bolt's inhumane treatment of Maximus and freed him. Maximus immediately used his mental powers to subjugate the minds of the Inhuman populace and to give his brother Black Bolt amnesia. Maximus then restored the dark force barrier around Attilan and began negotiations with the alien Kree to sell certain Inhumans to the Kree to be used as soldiers.[7] Eventually Black Bolt's memory returned, and alongside the Avengers, he returned to Attilan and once again destroyed the barrier. The Avengers drove the Kree agent away before he could accomplish his mission and Black Bolt liberated the enslaved Inhumans. Maximus's third takeover of Attilan lasted several weeks.[volume & issue needed]

With his mental powers traumatically submerged, Maximus escaped strict punishment for his treachery by feigning insanity. He then began work on his next project to usurp the throne, the construction of the android Omega, whose power source was supposedly the collective guilt evinced by the Inhuman populace over their treatment of the subhuman Alpha Primitives. The Fantastic Four helped the Royal Family thwart the construct, and the damage it caused was slight. Maximus staged his fourth successful coup a short time later when the Royal Family had briefly left Attilan on business. Taking Crystal and her husband Quicksilver captive, Maximus forced Black Bolt to give him the crown in order to spare their lives. Black Bolt did so, and allowed himself to be placed in captivity. Maximus had reestablished contact with the Kree and had negotiated a deal where the Kree would take all of the Inhumans with extraordinary abilities, leaving him the other half of the population to rule. Triton and Karnak managed to rescue most of Maximus's captives and outwit the Kree agent Shatterstar. Unaware of the victory, Black Bolt let loose with his quasi-sonic scream in agony, once again leveling the city. Angered by what had happened, Black Bolt struck Maximus for the first time and had him imprisoned.[volume & issue needed]

Maximus then allied himself with the Enclave, a band of human scientists who managed to capture Medusa. The Enclave wanted to conquer Attilan and dispatched an aerial strike force. When the Enclave threatened to execute Medusa, however, Maximus turned on them out of unrequited passion for his brother's betrothed. A weapon Maximus was manning overloaded, leaving Maximus in a deathlike coma. Black Bolt had his brother's body placed in a special crypt, and when Attilan was transported from the earth to the moon, Maximus accompanied it. On the moon, Maximus's mind made contact with an alien power crystal located there, and it reawakened his dormant mental powers. When Black Bolt next came to pay his respects to his brother, Maximus was able to use his power to affect a transfer of consciousness between them. For several months Maximus ruled Attilan in Black Bolt's body as Black Bolt lay imprisoned in a tube. Reestablishing contact with the Enclave, Maximus helped them implement meteoroid launchers with which they intended to bombard Earth. With the aid of the Avengers, Maximus' switch was discovered, and the Enclave's schemes were foiled. Maximus was forced to return to his rightful body and was once again placed in solitary confinement.[8]

His next plot carried out from his prison cell involved the Inhuman Woz, and almost resulted in Attilan being conquered by Earth forces. It was foiled by Black Bolt and Medusa, who arranged for Attilan to be teleported away before its destruction.[volume & issue needed]

Silent War[edit]

With an upcoming war between the U.S. government and the Inhumans, Maximus was again plotting his revenge, taunting Black Bolt from his prison and trying to sway a distressed Medusa on his side.[9] He in fact managed to convince Medusa to try to have Luna help "cure" him, only for Luna to realize too late that the "cure" instead allowed Maximus to gain control over all the other Inhumans. After the enhanced Marines managed to destroy Attilan, Maximus usurped the throne of the Inhumans from Black Bolt, taking Medusa as his queen, and announcing a new plan to conquer Earth.[10]

Secret Invasion[edit]

When it came to the threat of the Skrulls during the Secret Invasion storyline, Maximus did not care at first. When it was discovered that Ahura was a Skrull in disguise, Maximus defeated it.[11]

War of Kings[edit]

As of War of Kings, Black Bolt has retaken the throne of the Inhumans. Maximus is still free and serves as Black Bolt's science advisor, devising war machines for the Kree to use against their adversaries, the Shi'ar.[12]

After Black Bolt's vanishing, during a time when the ruling of the various empires is up for dispute, Maximus is seen under the close supervision of Gorgon. His desires for something, anything to rule, are swiftly dismissed.[13]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Maximus has a genius-level intellect and great inventiveness. His Inhuman telepathic powers granted by the mutagenic effects from exposure to Terrigen Mist give him the ability to numb, override, and even efface a person's mind. He has the ability to induce short-term amnesia in others, and the ability to exchange his consciousness with another's. Maximus's mental powers have a limited range as well as variability - he can only affect minds in a certain radius and only create one effect at a time. His influence generally functions while Maximus concentrates, but he has left long-buried influence in his subjects as well. Maximus, despite his mind-control powers, is not a true telepath.

Maximus's mental instability often prevents him from making full use of his powers. Also, like all Inhumans, Maximus's immune system is weaker than that of an average human.

He is an extraordinarily gifted inventor, with advanced knowledge of physics, mechanics, and biology. He has invented an Atmo-gun (able to create seismic shockwaves and "negative zone" force fields), and a Hypno-gun (able to control minds at a far distance).

Other versions[edit]

Age of Apocalypse[edit]

In the Age of Apocalypse reality, Maximus was a Horseman of Apocalypse, the Horseman of Death. He operated on the Blue Area of the Moon, aboard Ship, Apocalypse's Celestial starship. Maximus was served by his personal strikeforce formed by clones of the Inhuman Royal Family, which he had murdered himself, altered into monstrous forms by the Terrigen Mists, which Death had offered Apocalypse in exchange for his position. Maximus also experimented on Sunfire, who had been captured by Holocaust after the destruction of Japan, leaving him unable to control his powers. When the X-Men appeared on the Moon, believing Apocalypse to be hibernating on Ship, Maximus captured the X-Men and sought to transform them into his servants, and use them to overthrow Apocalypse. However, Cyclops, who had been sent to ensure the transfer of the Mists, attacked the betrayer Death and liberated the X-Men with the aid of Blink. Maximus died, alongside his servants, in the destruction of Ship caused by Sunfire, whose powers flared out of control after he was released.[14]

Marvel Knights 2099[edit]

In an alternate take on Marvel 2099, called Marvel Knights 2099, the Inhumans are in a space station named "Atillan", having left Earth decades ago. Here they await the cryogenic awakening of Black Bolt. The leader of the Council greets Black Bolt and has Lockjaw teleport them to the throne room for privacy. The leader announces that he killed the rest of the Inhumans Royal Family in cryogenic suspension, taking special pleasure in killing Medusa, and took over. The leader reveals himself as Maximus, to Black Bolt's shock and anger, saying that he has used implants to extend his life in order to see Black Bolt vulnerable, at his boiling point. Maximus pleads with Black Bolt to release his power and destroy everything - the station, the legacy, and Maximus himself. Black Bolt finally lets go and in one whisper, destroys everything. The one shot ends with Black Bolt crying and dying in space among the wreckage.[15]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate Marvel reality, Maximus is introduced in the series' first Annual along with the other Inhumans. He is the brother of Black Bolt and the fiancé of Crystal. She refuses to marry him referring to him as a "stunted little peacock" and calling him mad.[16]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Maximus appears in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode "Inhuman Nature", voiced by Nolan North. He secretly builds a weapon that would wipe out all human life, though it would be ineffective against the Inhumans. Only Crystal is aware of this weapon. For the majority of the episode he has the other Inhumans battle the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. He is eventually exposed and defeated, though he reactivates the barrier that shields their city from the rest of the world, but it is destroyed by Black Bolt.

Video games[edit]

  • Maximus is mentioned in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance by several Inhumans. Gorgon says he has Maximus "locked safely in the maze."

References[edit]

  1. ^ New Avengers Vol. 3 #23
  2. ^ Thor #149
  3. ^ Avengers #95
  4. ^ Inhumans Special #1
  5. ^ Fantastic Four #47-48
  6. ^ Amazing Adventures #1-2
  7. ^ Amazing Adventures #5-7
  8. ^ Avengers Annual #12
  9. ^ Silent War #3
  10. ^ Silent War #6
  11. ^ Secret Invasion: Inhumans #2
  12. ^ War of Kings #2
  13. ^ War of Kings: Who Will Rule? One-Shot (Nov. 2009)
  14. ^ Tales From the Age of Apocalypse: By the Light (1996)
  15. ^ Marvel Knights: Inhumans 2099 one-shot
  16. ^ Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #1

External links[edit]