The Viral Swarm is a bacteria from an alternate reality. It originally existed in a borderline dimension with Earth, where it had consumed everything, stripping that dimension of life. The Swarm possesses a hive-mind intellect like a beehive and its purpose is to feed, take over, and control all living beings.
The Viral Swarm was created by Roy Thomas and Andre Coates in 1993 and first appeared in The Secret Defenders #1.
Major Story Arcs
Arrival to Earth-616
Thanks to two scientist's who were on a expedition in the northern parts of Greenland, they discovered a great Leviathan husk. The scientist's curiosity got the better of them and they started examining the odd husk. On doing so they accidentally freed Lilith The Mother of Demons, From her Prison.
As they did so Lilith killed them and then began her quest to summon her children. This feat required great magic as she used her powers to summon her children the Lilin, Lilith managed to weaken the interdimensional barriers that separated dimensions. Lilith in Weakening the Dimensional Fabric allowed the Viral Swarm to gain entry into Earth 616.
This dimension tear occurred in Phoenix, Arizona a space located as a rundown basement inhabited by various homeless people for shelter. The Viral Swarm then chose four random vessels to inhabit, later the bitterness of a certain female would secure the fifth and final host. These Host's would become the Viral Swarm's physical representation, they would become Decimator, Dreadlox, Macabre, Stasis and Tokamak.
As a side affect of joining with human host's, there vessel's personality seem to temporarily halt their hunger. This allowed the Viral Swarm to Come up with idea of the Second Chance Insitute to cover their plans and purposes on Earth-616. The other homeless people that were with the host's were given youth and health by the Swarm and they used them as bait to lure other people to the institute.
The real purpose was for the Swarm to feed of the people and remain undetected. Unfortunately for them Dr. Strange sensed something was a miss in Phoenix Arizona and sent the Secret Defenders which included Wolverine, Darkhawk, Nomad and Spiderwoman to investigate.
Following a lead Spiderwoman and Wolverine soon stumbled upon the victims of the Second Chance Institute, as young people were rapidly aging and some even dying due to the process. They were caught spying by Decimator and Tokamak and they attacked them the battle was short lived as SpiderWoman and Wolverine Prevailed. Unknown to them Dreadlox sneaked up on them and blindsided them with there worst nightmares.
The two unconscious villains Decimator and Tokamak revivied, while Dreadlox Managed to hold the hero's at bay with her powers, but as the police approached the Viral Swarm members managed to escape. In an attempt to re enter the Second Chance Institute undetected, Darkhawk in his civilian wear managed to infiltrate the institute as a human member. The Viral Swarm recognized him somehow and managed to capture him. Nomad, Spiderwoman and Wolverine broke in and manged to knock out Dreadlox, but was forced to stop when Macabre threatened to kill the humans.
Tokamak managed to subdue the hero's in a force field, while Macabre gloated and boasted of the Swarms origin and plans, Darkhawk ingeniously manages to free himself and attacks the Swarm. In the meantime Dr. Strange makes his appearance to aid his friends, even though his powers were limited due to losing his mystic backer.
They managed to free the remaining trapped hero's and fight the Viral Swarm head on. Macabre then transformed the Swarm back into its bacteria form, in order to destroy and absorb the hero's, but they managed to join there lifeforce with Dr. Strange in time for him to use his power to send them back to there realm and close the dimentional rift.
Powers & Abilities
The Viral Swarm in It's original bacteria form is able to engulf and absorb all form of matter and energy, this includes magic. It is Possible that in Earth-616 they required host's in order to survive the dimensions atmosphere, or it could be that the swarm intellect just decided this would be best. The swarm was able to merge its self with the human host and most likely anything living.
Once the Swarm has a host and was able to feed and control the vessel's body, it could manifest one superhuman ability per host. this in addition to there life draining ability was quite a deadly mix, they could also use there power to restore health and youth in some of there victims amongst the Second Chance Institute.