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Paul Morris was the mentally challenged son of a young, working poor couple, who were unprepared for so great a responsibility. When Paul was about five years old, his father walked out on him and his mother. Paul's mother soon began verbally and physically abusing her son, whom she blamed for her boyfriend leaving them. She once told Paul, “You little disease! This is your fault! I wish you’d been measles instead of a baby!” Because of his innocent personality and love for his mother, Paul felt he was truly worthless and endured her abuse well into adolescence.[1]

Homeless

This situation worsened when Paul's mom became a crack addict, who sold everything of value and neglected vital bills to feed her habit. Eventually, Paul and his mom lost their home since she had fallen so far behind on the mortgage payments. Now on the street, the desperate pair found shelter in an abandoned section of the subbasement beneath Avalon Mall, Dakota’s most upscale shopping center. Though they had a home again, Paul and his mom often lacked basic necessities like food because her crack addiction consumed most of their meager funds.[1]
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Joining the Force Syndicate

During one of his supply runs, Paul met members of the Force Syndicate, Dakota City’s “misfit” street gang. The Syndicate took pity on the childlike giant of a teen, from whom he received food and more importantly friendship. The gang soon inducted Paul, who finally felt he had a place to belong. But it was not to last as Paul's mom demanded that he start stealing to get enough money for food and her “medicine” (i.e., crack). The naive teen could not defy his mother and started committing petty theft. This did not sit well with the Force Syndicate, who had strict rules against members stealing and promptly expelled Paul from the gang.[1]

The Big Bang

Paul was desperate to redeem himself with the Force Syndicate. Then, he learned of the Big Bang, a turf war on Paris Island, Dakota’s poorest neighborhood, whose victor would emerge as the city’s most powerful gang. Paul thought that the Syndicate would take him back if he helped them win the Bang.[1]

So, Paul was among the hundreds of gang members battling in the biggest gang war in Dakota’s history. The violent conflict worsened with the arrival of Dakota police officers, who deployed a special tear gas to help them more easily capture all the gang members. Unknown to the officers, the gas had been secretly laced with Quantum Juice, a bizarre mutagen that killed 90 percent of those at the Bang while the survivors known as “Bang Babies” became genetic freaks. In Paul's case, he could now divide his body’s mass into proportionately sized replicas. Confused and frightened by his bizarre powers, Paul ran home to his mother, but she was nowhere to be found. He was now alone for the first time in his life. Paul blamed himself for his mother’s disappearance and considered himself a virus, which he took as his new name.[1]

Return to Thievery

In time, Virus believed she would return if he became a better son. To that end, he built a shrine to honor his mother in the subbasement, but she did not reappear. Then, Virus concluded that stealing lots of valuables would bring his mother back. So, he joined a local shoplifting ring, who immediately realized the enormous potential of their newest member. In exchange for a share of the spoils, Virus would “split off” child-size replicas to serve as lookouts while the shoplifters robbed the stores at the Avalon Mall. However, this perfect plan was thwarted by the teen crimefighter, Static, who caught the whole shoplifting ring except for Virus' duplicates who escaped. However, one of the duplicates dropped a ring from jewelry store Bradshaw’s, which Static suspected Virus would again try to rob.[1]

So, in his civilian guise of Virgil Hawkins, Static and his friend Frieda Goren pretended to window shop as they staked out Bradshaw’s. Virus struck again, but this time with an army of tiny replicas that made off with the jewels while his larger clones served as decoys. Virgil captured some of the tiny Viruses and fled the scene with a horde of Virus duplicates right behind him. Virgil used his electromagnetic powers to slide down an abandoned elevator shaft to the subbasement level, where he donned his Static gear just as the Virus horde literally rained down on him.[1]

Despite Static’s valiant efforts, he was nearly overwhelmed by Virus’ sheer numbers and retreated deeper into the subbasement. The battle soon spilled into the shrine to Virus’s mom, which was destroyed in the process. Distraught over losing the last vestiges of his mother, Virus broke down and stopped fighting. Realizing his foe was not really bad, Static consoled Virus, who revealed his origins. A now sympathetic Static took Virus to St. Peter’s Mission, where he would get a safe home and much needed emotional support.[1]

Recently, Virus was among scores of Bang Babies kidnapped by the Traffic Men, superhuman agents of the superhero turned criminal mastermind, John Tower. Tower discovered that ingesting a serum derived from Bang Baby blood not only enhanced his self-healing abilities, but granted him a wide range of additional powers. So, Tower organized the Traffic Men to capture an ample supply of Bang Babies and other metahumans to drain of their blood with the promise of giving his minions a cut of his special serum. Fortunately, a band of superheroes including Static located Tower’s underground lair and freed Virus and the other captive Bang Babies, who then helped their rescuers defeat Tower.[2]

Virus has since returned to St. Peter’s Mission, where he resides to this day.

Powers

Bio-Fission: Virus can divide into proportionately-sized physical duplicates of himself. This occurs because Virus creates his replicas from the mass of his own body rather than from an extradimensional source as is the case with Reprise's similar power. Hence, when a duplicate body "splits off" from Virus, he undergoes a mitosis process like that of cells and becomes identical twins, each with half the mass of the original. Like the original Virus, the twin also possesses the ability to divide into new, smaller replicas. Hence, if both continuously replicated, the twin Viruses would become thousands of thumb-sized copies in a matter of seconds. This appears to be the limit to the number of replicas that Virus can create from his own mass. Virus’ control over his powers is such that he can create copies of himself in any combination of sizes.

Virus can use his replicating powers in clever ways. He can slip free of conventional bonds like ropes and chains by dividing himself until the resulting copies are small enough to escape. By splitting into thousands of copies who link themselves together, Virus becomes a human ladder that enables him to climb over walls or safely descend to the ground from great heights. Virus reintegrates himself once completing his ascents and descents.
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Virus duplicating himself

When conducting robberies, Virus would split into hundreds of tiny replicas to bypass a store's security systems and larger replicas to serve as decoys.

Virus’ powers grant him offensive abilities as well. If attacked, Virus can quickly divide into a swarm of copies, who are small enough to evade his foe and launch a counterattack. Though Virus’ copies are weaker than the original due to their small size, they can still overwhelm and defeat a normal sized person through sheer numbers.

Each of Virus' replicas is capable of independent thought, feeling, and action though they share a telepathic link. If one is injured, it is traumatic for all the existing counterparts. It is unknown if the death of the original Virus would automatically kill all the other copies.

Virus' copies remain in existence for as long as he wishes. When he wills them out of existence, they are seemingly "absorbed" back into his body. It is not known whether they always automatically disappear if the original is rendered unconscious.[1]

  • Virus was among several characters to appear in the Milestone: The Dakota Universe trading card series that debuted in 1993. He appears on Card #30.

Related

Footnotes


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