Roland Burroughs was born in Rochester, New York. A small time thug, Death Adder is chosen by Roxxon Oil Company to participate in a covert operation to retrieve the powerful Serpent Crown from the Atlantic Ocean. At Roxxon's Mutagenic Laboratory, Roland is surgically given gills and a bionic tail, as well as poison-tipped claws, to help him in his endeavors. An accident happens during this process which renders Death Adder mute. During the mission, he and his group, the third Serpent Squad, came into direct conflict with the heroes known as The Thing, Stingray, and Triton. The Serpent Squad is successful in finding the Serpent Crown, but are defeated by the heroes and taken into custody.
Death Adder was created by Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio in 1980 and first appeared in Marvel-Two-In-One # 64.
Major Story Arcs
He and his former teammates, Black Mamba and Anaconda, joined together again to infiltrate a zoo to sabotage Tony Stark's automatic animal-feeder and find a valuable weapon known as the microscanner. This device scans and disrupts various body functions. They are ambushed and defeated by Iron Man, but were able to escape.
They later receive an invitation to join Sidewinder's Serpent Society. All three attended the first organizational meeting of the Serpent Society. Death Adder killed M.O.D.O.K during their first mission by scrapes of his poisoned talons.He also participates in a mission to kill Captain America, whom the retired Porcupine had captured. This was actually a ruse devised by Captain America. He is eventually shot and killed by Scourge Of The Underworld, who is posing as a cab driver.
The Grandmaster would capture Death and create five life bombs that are capable of destroying the universe. The Grandmaster force the Avengers to play this game in order to save the universe but they would be opposed by Death Adder and the rest of the Legion of the Unliving. Moon Knight, She Hulk, Tigra and Captain Marvel end up fighting Death Adder, Captain Marvel, Drax the Destroyer and the Green Goblin. Death Adder fights Tigra high above a tree and gets slashed with her claws. As Death Adder falls, his tail strikes Tigra in the back of her leg and she becomes paralyzed. Death Adder and Tigra would fall to their death.
Death Adder was resurrected alongside former victims of Scourge by the Hood to take down the Punisher who he said was Scourge the entire time. He would team up with Basilisk and find Punisher on their own. Death Adder and Basilisk kill the wife of ex- SHIELD agent G.W. Bridge and kidnap his stepson Tyler. Bridge is overpowered by the two villains when he discovers his dead wife. They want Bridge to help locate the Punisher and threatened to kill his stepson if he doesn't comply. Castle comes to his rescue but walks right into a trap and encounters Death Adder. Punisher smashes Death Adder's face into a toilet bowl and breaks his left arm. However the Punisher is knocked out by Basilisk and the two villains take Bridge and Castle to the Hood.
An open contract was placed on Staff Sergeant Marcus Johnson who was wanted dead or alive because his blood was needed by Orion, the former leader of LEVIATHAN. Johnson came into conflict with other contracted enemy agents like Deadpool and Taskmaster. Johnson found himself surrounded by Death Adder and the Serpent Society during his fight with Taskmaster at a construction site. Johnson tried his best to fight back but was simply overwhelmed and finally struck down by Rattler's tail. Cottonmouth wanted to bite off the head of Johnson until he was shot in the head by Deadpool. The Serpent Society and Deadpool continued there fight until SHIELD showed up and they were all placed under arrest.
For further information: Venom
Death Adder has been recruited by Crime Master (Bennett Brant) for his Savage Six, set to take on Venom. He cuts Flash Thompson with his poison claws when Venom attacks them at their hide out. Later out of pure rage Venom kills him.
Powers & Abilities
Death Adder's strength, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes were artificially enhanced. He also became amphibious, able to breathe underwater through artificial gills as well as breathing on land through his nose. His anatomy was bionically bolstered to be able to withstand the ocean depths. His eyes were augmented to be able to see clearly in the murky depths of the ocean. He had a bionic tail which he could control like a fifth limb. He was able to swim at superhuman speeds. This was all through genetic engineering, making him a mutant.
Ultimate Death Adder
Death Adder appears in this universe. However, this version of Adder is female. She works alongside the Serpent Squad and battles the Fantastic Four while searching for the Serpent Crown. During an encounter with the Fantastic Four, the Ultimate Universe Death Adder jumps Sue Storm from behind. She knees The Invisible Woman in the upper back and clings onto Sue's face with her claws. She stays attached to Sue for a surprising amount of time, but Sue eventually gets free of her.
A second Death Adder appeared as a member of the Serpent Skulls gang, led by Diamondback and Crossbones.