Swarm (comics)

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Swarm (comics).png
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Champions #14 (July 1977)
Created by Bill Mantlo
John Byrne
In-story information
Alter ego Fritz von Meyer
Team affiliations Exterminators[1]
Sinister Six[2]
Abilities Flight
Ability to mentally manipulate the bees that compose his body

Swarm (Fritz von Meyer) is a fictional supervillain and former Nazi sympathizer, that appears in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is mainly featured as an enemy of Spider-Man. His entire body is composed of bees surrounding his skeleton.

Publication history[edit]

Swarm first appeared in Champions #14 (July 1977). He was created by Bill Mantlo and John Byrne.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Fritz von Meyer was born in Leipzig, Germany and became one of Adolf Hitler's top scientists. Escaping capture after World War II, he became a beekeeper or apiarist in South America, and discovered a colony of mutated bees. Intrigued by their intelligence and passive nature, von Meyer attempted to enslave the queen bee, but failed and the bees devoured him, leaving only his skeleton. The unique qualities of the bees caused his consciousness to be absorbed into them, allowing von Meyer to manipulate the hive to do his will, although some of his skeletal remains are inside the swarm itself. His consciousness merged with the swarm to the extent that they become one being.

Calling himself/their-self "Swarm", the reborn scientist battled The Champions of Los Angeles.[3]

After that defeat, Swarm resurfaced to battle Spider-Man.[4] In the first of many fights, Spider-Man prevailing against him by dosing his own costume in a new type of Raid that hurt the bees if they got too close to the web-slinger. Swarm lost his/their skeleton in this battle, but returned to fight again (no longer having the skeleton but still possessing von Meyer's consciousness), first teaming with Kraven the Hunter against Iceman and Firestar,[5] then against Spider-Man,[6] but feedback from a weapon fired by the Rhino caused Swarm's bee body to disperse temporarily.

Swarm next appeared when a Super-Collider from Rand Industries was activated and called his/their attention.[7] Swarm decided mankind should be exterminated so insects can rule the world. Doctor Druid convinced Swarm that mankind will exterminate themselves and the age of insects can begin.[8]

Eventually however, Swarm tired of waiting and, after a psychic wave generated by Onslaught disrupted the psychic field that bound him and his bees together, returned to New York, forcing a group of scientists investigating energy fields to help him not only restore his original field, but expand it to grant him control of every bee on Earth. As New York was invaded by bees, the second Spider-Man tracked the bees to their destination and — taking advantage of the fact that the swarms' instinctive memory of the original Spider-Man's use of Raid caused them to automatically flinch away from the second web-slinger — infiltrated the building and contacted the scientists. By claiming that the scientists' equipment was having trouble broadcasting a sufficiently powerful signal through the dome of bees, Spider-Man was able to trick Swarm into allowing the construction of a device designed to negate the vibrational frequency that the bees created to allow themselves to fly. With the bees now grounded, Spider-Man subsequently recovered the Queen of Swarm's hive and left her in the care of the authorities, reasoning that without her, Swarm wouldn't be a future threat.[9]

Swarm (now back with an internal skeleton) felt that the fall of the criminal organization Pride allowed access to their former territory, specifically Los Angeles. However, he/they are defeated by the Runaways, protectors of the city, when his/their body of bees' mental link is disrupted by electrical blasts.[10]

He/they regained control over his colony and joins the Chameleon's Exterminators [1] to kill Spider-Man, now that Peter Parker had revealed his true identity. Swarm attacked Mary Jane Watson spraying Swarm with water while a co-worker smashed Swarm's skeleton, but the bees reformed around it as bodyguards from Tony Stark take him/them away.

When Alyosha Kravinoff began collecting a zoo of animal themed superhumans, Swarm was in one of the cages.[11] He fought Gargoyle as the Punisher passes them and escaped.

Swarm next turned up in Denver, Colorado, having amassed enough bees to become giant-sized. The Thunderbolts face him/them unsuccessfully until Norman Osborn dispatched Venom devouring Swarm's bones. Osborn speculated this was, by now, a minor inconvenience that should not prevent Swarm's return.[12]

Next, Swarm turned up in Buenos Aires having his intelligence again. He fought the Mighty Avengers by creating 'avatars' made of bees. Notably, the Avengers roster included Wasp, Stature and Amadeus Cho (wearing a copy of the Ant-Man helmet). Stature placed an inhibitor collar on the queen bees which caused Swarm's intelligence to somehow disperse.[13]

He was briefly seen trying to launch an attack of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning only to be almost instantly thwarted by the X-Men's Krakoa, the Bamfs, and Doop.[14]

Swarm later formed his incarnation of the Sinister Six with 8-Ball III, Delilah, Killer Shrike, Melter III, and Squid. They attacked Spider-Man and the students of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Swarm was defeated by Hellion which caused the other members to surrender.[15]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Swarm is a composite being of hundreds of thousands of bees driven by a human intelligence. He is technically intangible, as his body is merely an aggregate of tiny forms. He can fly through the air and assume any shape and size he desires. Fritz can mentally influence the actions of other bees, the full range of which may extend over hundreds of yards in radius. At first, Swarm seemed capable of only controlling other bees, but he has exhibited the ability to communicate/control other insects as well.

Fritz von Meyer's skeleton, the focal point of his consciousness, remained behind as his only remains until they were devoured by Venom.[12]

Other versions[edit]

Marvel Fairy Tales[edit]

In the second issue of the Spider-Man line of Marvel Fairy Tales (an adaptation of the legend of Anansi), an alternate version of Swarm appears as the stories' main villain the Bee Spirit.[16]

Marvel Adventures[edit]

Swarm recently appeared and fought Spider-Man in Marvel Adventures #38. He/they supposedly wanted to take over the world (or at least kill a few jocks, including Flash Thompson), but it looked like he/they just wanted some ice cream.

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of Swarm is original character Petra Laskov,[17] and is initially introduced as the Syrian mutant Insect Queen,[18] and later as the Red Wasp.[19] Like Swarm, Insect Queen has the power to control insects and is fully corporeal but has grey skin and horns that resembles the sorceress Margali Szardos. Insect Queen is a member of the Liberators that invades the United States, killing many in order to put a stop to perceived American aggression. During a showdown with the Ultimates, she was apparently killed when a giant-sized Wasp steps on Insect Queen.[20] However, the character is later rebuilt under the codename Red Wasp with an obedience chip and now serves as a member of the Avengers led by Gregory Stark and Nick Fury. A flashback reveals that the Ultimate iteration of Red Skull attacked Petra's Georgian activist's family. With the couple's child at gunpoint, Petra is forced to kill her husband to save her own child. She does so, only for Red Skull to throw her infant out a window anyway and then has her raped by the henchmen.[17] After Red Skull is defeated by Captain America and Hawkeye, Red Wasp (dressed as a nurse) shoots the villain in the head in a hospital out of revenge.[21] Petra continues to serve with the Avengers. During the vampire threat, she confides with her ex-teammate Perun that's also added to the Avengers.[22]

In other media[edit]


  • Swarm appeared in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, voiced by Al Fann. In the episode "Swarm", this version is created when alien energy from a fallen meteorite irradiated a nearby beehive, giving it sentience and the ability to use eye blasts to increase the size of bees and their hive or mutate people into bee drone hybrids. Swarm is defeated due to Spider-Man being immune to the mutation due to the pre-existing bug traits. Spider-Man, Firestar and Iceman launch the meteorite back into space. The effects of the meteorite being launched into space was enough to distance the bees and hybrids from the meteor's radiation reversing all of Swarm's effects.
  • Swarm appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series,[23] voiced by Eric Bauza (in "Swarm") and by Drake Bell (in "Sandman Returns"). This version is Michael Tan, a disgruntled employee of Stark Industries. In his self-titled episode "Swarm", Michael's project of attempting to control technology as an extension of a person gets turned down by Iron Man and ends up fired. Michael activates his device and scatters his molecules, vowing that Iron Man and Spider-Man will regret this. Michael ends up assuming his Swarm form from self-replicating nanobots which originated from Spider-Man's Spider-Tracer. Spider-Man and Iron Man eventually finds out that Michael is now Swarm. Iron Man contained parts of different armors to help Spider-Man defeat Swarm as they wonder how to get Michael out of the Spider-Tracers. Swarm then splits into two to attack Spider-Man and Iron Man until he combines again. Spider-Man uses the Spider-Tracer's interface in order to amplify the frequency with Iron Man's Arc Reactor as the web-slinger is thrown into Swarm. Upon the frequency being activated, Swarm is neutralized as Iron Man has confiscated the Spider-Tracers in order to put Michael back together again. In the episode "Sandman Returns", Swarm attacks a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility to obtain the technology inside and ends up fighting Spider-Man and Sandman. Swarm then targets Sandman's containment suit, forcing Spider-Man to get the containment suit off Sandman. Sandman then pummels Swarm into submission until Spider-Man gets Sandman to stop.


  • An action figure of Swarm was released in 1997 as part of the Spider-Man: Spider Force toy line. It was molded in a translucent yellow plastic, and featured a removable cape and hood, and snap-on bee armor. This armor could also be assembled to create a "giant" bee accessory.



In August 2009, TIME listed Swarm as one of the "Top 10 Oddest Marvel Characters".[24]


  1. ^ a b Exterminators (Spider-Man foes)
  2. ^ Spider-Man and the X-Men #4
  3. ^ Champions #14–15 (1977)
  4. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #36–37
  5. ^ Spider-Man Family Amazing Friends #1
  6. ^ Lethal Foes of Spider-Man #3–4
  7. ^ Secret Defenders #18
  8. ^ Secret Defenders #19
  9. ^ Sensational Spider-Man #9–10
  10. ^ Runaways vol. 2 #7
  11. ^ The Punisher War Journal vol. 2 #15
  12. ^ a b Thunderbolts #122
  13. ^ Mighty Avengers #24
  14. ^ Wolverine and the X-Men #18
  15. ^ Spider-Man and the X-Men #4
  16. ^ C. B. Cebulski (w), Niko Hendrichon (p), Niko Hendrichon (i). "Once Upon A Time..." Marvel Fairy Tales 2 (August 2007), Marvel Comics
  17. ^ a b Ultimate Avengers #5
  18. ^ Ultimates 2 #9
  19. ^ Ultimate Comics: Avengers #3
  20. ^ The Ultimates vol. 2 #12
  21. ^ Ultimate Avengers #6
  22. ^ Ultimate Comics: Avengers 3 #5
  23. ^ Goldman, Eric (20 April 2012). "Ultimate Spider-Man: Make Way for Iron Man!". IGN.com. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  24. ^ "Top 10 Oddest Marvel Characters". Time. August 31, 2009. 

External links[edit]