The Parasite is the name of several fictional characters that appears in Superman comic book stories published by DC Comics. A supervillain, Parasite has the ability to temporarily absorb the energy, knowledge, as well the super-powers of another being by touch, making him a formidable foe for the Man of Steel. In 2009, The Parasite was ranked as IGN's 61st Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.
Raymond Maxwell Jensen was a lowlife who got a job as a plant worker for a research center. Wrongly believing that the company payrolls were hidden in storage containers, Jensen opened one and was bombarded with energies from biohazard materials (which was actually waste collected by Superman when he traveled into outer space), which transformed him into a purple skinned, parasitic entity, becoming the Parasite; any time he touched someone, he could absorb their physical and mental properties. Touching Superman would instantly absorb a sizable fraction of his superhuman powers (it was established early on that he is not capable of acquiring the whole of his powers). On one occasion, while attempting to absorb a greater portion of his adversary's powers than previously, his body disintegrated for a period of time due to the pressure to his cells. Despite these abilities, the Parasite became depressed because he could no longer embrace his wife and children. The Parasite made a number of reappearances before the Crisis, yet he never successfully found a means to permanently defeat Superman. Despite this, he had knowledge of his foe's alter ego and often used this to attack Clark Kent. Gaining sizable intellect from his multiple encounters with Superman, Parasite devised the means to reanimate dormant plant remains left behind from the Earth-Two supervillain Solomon Grundy, creating a newer and stronger version of the creature to plague his adversary. On another occasion, Parasite devised the means to transfer the powers of the hero Air Wave to the young hero's adversary Davy Jones temporarily.
Parasite was one of the main characters in the second Marvel/DC crossover between Spider-Man and Superman (Marvel Treasury Edition #28). In this story, he was recruited by Doctor Doom as an agent in Doom's latest plan to conquer the world by wiping out all power sources but his own fusion reactor. Doom claimed that he needed the Parasite to function as an invincible bodyguard, capturing the Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman and giving the Parasite a harness that would allow him to retain their powers for prolonged periods. However, Doom's true intention was to kill the Parasite by allowing him to absorb so much power that his cells would burst, causing Parasite to- according to Doom's calculations- transform into a crystalline mass that would allow Doom to perfect the reactor by using its energy-manipulation abilities to control the reactor's power output. This plan was thwarted when the Parasite briefly absorbed Spider-Man's powers, causing his borrowed spider-sense to alert him to Doom's treachery and turn on Doom, although he was subsequently defeated by Superman using a gauntlet of Doom's that prevented the Parasite from absorbing his energy when he was attacked.
Originally a menial slacker, Rudy Jones was transformed into the Parasite while working as a janitor at a Pittsburgh S.T.A.R. Labs facility. Unknown to anyone at the scene, the Lord of Apokolips, Darkseid, remembered the Pre-Crisis Parasite and manipulated Jones to become the modern version. He made Rudy think that a waste container might have held something valuable. He opened it and was exposed to strange radiation that changed his body into the bald, green-skinned villain (Parasite 1.0 ). Jones now had the ability to absorb the life energy of other people, leaving smoldering skeletons. This power was necessary for his survival as his own body is in a constant state of hunger for energy that it can't sustain on its own. During this time, Martin Stein, one half of the Firestorm matrix (Ronnie Raymond being the other half) learned he was dying and decided to destroy all the nuclear weapons in the world. This did not sit well with Earth's governments, particularly the United States, who sent the Suicide Squad to Times Square, where Firestorm was holding a press conference. Things quickly got out of control as the Squad and the Justice League, both intent on subduing Firestorm, fought one another, and the Parasite (who was brought on the mission against the protestations of both Amanda Waller and Colonel Rick Flag Jr.) is released. He goes on a rampage and apparently kills Multiplex, only being brought under control by the cooperation of both teams. Later, he attacked the new Firestorm, who easily subdued him and left him near death.
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Official Site: DC Comics
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