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Edward Whelan suffered severe physical and sexual abuse as a child from his father. At some point, he was picked up off the streets by Baron Helmut Zemo, the son of a Nazi scientist, and Arnim Zola, the master Nazi geneticist, and subjected to a process that bestowed upon him various rat-like traits and attributes. Able to command rats and other wild beasts, Vermin was dispatched by the pair to stalk and kill their long-time enemy Captain America.
After randomly slashing a cab driver to attract attention. Vermin encountered Captain America in a rundown area of Harlem, and despite unleashing a pack of rats against the Avenger, Vermin was overpowered. Captain America took him to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters for questioning, but Vermin somehow managed to escape shortly afterward.
He then rendezvoused with Zemo and Zola, who took him to Zemo's headquarters in Mexico. When Zemo had captured Captain America himself, he decided Vermin's usefulness to him was over. He then shackled Vermin next to the Captain in a dungeon and set loose two of his more powerful mutates upon them. Vermin slew one of the mutates and escaped the chamber. He stole aboard Zemo's escape craft, and when Zemo fled from the castle sometime later, Vermin attacked Zemo viciously, wounding him.
Returning to New York, Vermin once again prowled the city streets, finally going on a rampage during the San Gennaro Festival in the Little Italy section of Manhattan. He was apprehended by Captain America and Spider-Man and turned over to local authorities. Vermin is currently in a high-security mental institution.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Vermin appears in 2012 The Amazing Spider-Man video game.This version is an ordinary rat who was injected with human DNA by Edward Whelan, headed up by Alistair Smythe (who used the notes of Dr. Curt Connors). The lab rat mutated overnight and bit Whelan, who then developed rat-like symptoms, before retreating to the sewers. When the cross-species go berserk because of sensing Peter Parker's Spider DNA, Vermin escapes from its Oscorp chambers before biting Gwen Stacy in the shoulder and then escaping Oscorp. Spider-Man eventually finds and chases Vermin through the sewers despite interferences from Alistair Smythe's Combat Sentries. Spider-Man eventually defeats Vermin and gets its DNA for Dr. Connors' antidote.
Powers and Abilities
Vermin was granted superhuman abilities like those of a rat through genetic engineering at the hands of Arnim Zola. His powers are proportional to those of a human-sized rat. Vermin possesses physical strength that is slightly beyond the natural physical capability of any normal human and can lift approximately 10 tons. Vermin can run and move faster than even the fastest Olympic level sprinter.
While not quite superhuman, he can run as fast as it is naturally possible for a human being to run and can reach a top speed of 35 miles per hour. Vermin's musculature produces somewhat less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of most ordinary humans.
He can physically exert himself at peak capacity for about 30 minutes before fatigue begins to impair him. Vermin's body is somewhat harder, tougher, and more resistant to injury than the body of an ordinary human. While far from invulnerable, Vermin can endure impact forces and trauma that would severely injure or kill a normal human being with mild to moderate discomfort. Vermin's agility, balance, and bodily coordination are heightened to levels that are beyond the natural physical limits and capabilities of even the finest human athlete. Vermin's reflexes are similarly enhanced and are superior to those of the finest human athlete.
Some of Vermin's physical senses are substantially superior to those of ordinary human beings. Vermin is able to see perfectly in near-total darkness and his sense of smell is also as acute as that of a rat. He is capable of detecting the approach of other living things from well over 100 feet away, even if he cannot hear or see them. Vermin can communicate with and command rats and stray dogs within a radius of 2 miles from him. On several occasions he has commanded hundreds of sewer rats to attack an enemy. The manner in which he commands these creatures is unknown, although it is more likely hypersonic than telepathic in nature. Vermin possesses very sharp and strong teeth as well as 1 inch claws at the tip of each of his fingers. His teeth and nails are strong enough to gnaw through wood, fibers, and even soft metals (like lead) within minutes.