Fritz von Meyer was one of Hitler's top scientists, specializing in the field of toxins. After World War Two, he fled Germany to become a beekeeper in South America. In the peaceful jungles, he was able to study the mating habits of killer bees. During his time there, he came across a particular swarm of bees. They were very passive in behavior, and did not exhibit fear like all of the other bee colonies he had studied. Upon further observation, he noticed the bees were extremely intelligent compared to the other bees in the area. He found a near-by meteor that he thought was the cause of the bees mutations. He decided to build a device to control the bees, hoping to get them to do his bidding. After getting the bees agitated, and losing their passiveness, he could not control them. They swarmed around him, tearing him to shreds, and leaving him for dead. As the bees started to go away, Meyer's consciousness was absorbed into the bee swarm, making him the evil villain, Swarm.
Not long after, Interpol tracked him down, and one of it's agents was successful in capturing the queen bee in Swarm's hive. He encased her in amber, and hid her in a briefcase. He fled to the United States, and Swarm followed him. He killed the agent, but lost the briefcase to the Champions. They found out about the murder, and took the bee. He followed them, and confronted them in battle. During the battle, he was able to free the queen. He started a mutation on her, and she grew to a gigantic size. The battle continued until Hercules threw the queen miles away. Swarm's hive followed her, leaving Meyer as a skeleton.
Swarm was created by Bill Mantlo and John Byrne in and first appeared in The Champions # 14.
Major Story Arcs
A Nazi Criminal turned Supervillain
The skeleton was sent for testing at Empire State University. During the radiation tests, a queen bee living in Meyer's skull spontaneously started producing millions of bees, recreating Swarm. He was about to kill the scientist working on him, when Spider-Man, (who had been working as an assistant teacher) swung in, saving the scientist. The two battled, until Spider-Man crashed into some bottles containing some insect repellent, causing Swarm to flee.
He started an attack, and constructed a giant hive on campus for his queen bee to grow in. Spider-Man found the creators of the experimental repellent, and covered himself with it, as well as mixing it into his web fluid. He attacked Swarm, and the bees were in pain from the repellent. They turned against each other, and began to go insane. They disobeyed Meyer's commands, and left the hive, leaving Meyer as a skeleton again.
Swarm survived in the bees, no longer needing his skeleton. He wandered across Texas, until a research project disrupted insect activity. This caused Swarm to attack the research facility, destroying the lab. A government watch group contacted Dr. Druid, who was able to get Giant Man to join a group to attack Swarm. Archangel and Ice Man joined the battle as well. Druid talked sense into Swarm, telling him that if he wanted insects to rule the planet, then he should wait from mankind to destroy itself, instead of risking his life to destroy it. He agreed and fled.
Versus the Scarlet Spider
When Onslaught killed most of Earth's heroes, the telepathic energies disrupted Swarm from his bees. He traveled to the Institute of Seismoharmonic Research, to get scientists to restore himself to power. While this happened, swarms of bees attacked New York, attracting Ben Reilly to investigate. The bees recognized the Spider-Man costume, and feared him. They left him alone, in case he would have his repellent on him. He was able to enter the Institute, and devise a plan with the scientists. They used the equipment to reverse the effects of Swarm pulling in bees, to negate the bees' ability to fly. Spider-Man captured the queen bee, keeping Meyer from causing future harm.
He did later manage to come back to Hollywood after an all-city crime spree. He was defeated by the Runaways. He is later seen working with the Chameleon in a ploy against Spider Man.
Swarm would be a captive of Al Kraven, the son of Kraven the Hunter when he began to collect super-humans with animal themed powers and abilities. Kraven had explosives strapped to their neck and began to strip his captives of their humanity with the use of his jungle chemistry. Kraven would release all his drug induced captives and let them run amok when the Punisher gets involved. The Punisher enters a room where Gargoyle and Swarm are fighting each other. Swarm and Gargoyle stops their fight and turns their attention on the Punisher. The Punisher runs away when they attack him with fire and bees.
He then faced the Thunderbolts and Norman Osborn sent the Gargan Venom to eat his bones.
Von Meyer returns with Avatar Bees and faced the Mighty Avengers in Buenos Aires when he created a race of insect men. Dr. Pym and Stature decreased their size to fly within the swarm to locate the Queen bee. Once they found the Queen, they placed an inhibitor collar on her and Swarm lost control of his insect men and his army dispersed.
Powers & Abilities
As Swarm, Von Meyer has no true body. Instead he is composed of millions of bees. This form allows him to change in shape and size and affords him a limited amount of super strength. Objects that strike Swarm will pass through him as the bees move out of the way of danger, thus making him a difficult foe to beat. Von Meyer also has control over the individual bees in his body, which can be used to attack his enemies.
The Ultimate universes Swarm is a female. She is a mutant and has the power to control bees, but has a normal body.
In Spider-man: Turn off the Dark (the Musical), Swarm appears. However, his origin is simplified. In this version he was a scientist who worked for Norman Osborn, but left when he funding was cut along with the rest of the scientists. When Osborn was turned into the Green Goblin, he captured all his former callegues and mutated into a Swarm of living bees. He and the rest of the Sinister Six are defeated by Spider-man.
Swarm appears in Spiderman and His Amazing Friends as a swarm of bees that turns people into human sized bees for it's hive