Maximus the Mad

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Maximus the Mad

(pop culture)
Maximus the Mad is the black sheep of the Royal Family of the Inhumans, the reclusive race given extraordinary abilities by the mutagenic Terrigen Mist. First seen in Fantastic Four vol. 1 #47 (1966), in a multi-chapter Stan Lee/Jack Kirby storyline introducing the Inhumans into the Marvel Universe, the wild-eyed “Maximus, the Magnificent” is ruling the Inhumans' “Great Refuge,” the city of Attilan, in the absence of its rightful king, Maximus' older brother Black Bolt. Upon the return of the silent monarch Black Bolt, who has been away searching for the amnesiac Inhuman Medusa, readers discover that the “Magnificent” Maximus is quite mad, fanatical in his belief that he, and only he, should govern his people. He steps aside for his sibling to reclaim his crown while conspiring to usurp it, attempting to eradicate humankind with his quake-producing Atmo-Gun so that the Inhumans might “inherit the Earth” under his rule. Maximus possesses psionic powers, obtained during his infancy from Terrigen exposure. He can influence the behavior of individuals and groups within close proximity, and he can induce memory lapses. Notwithstanding his abrupt mood swings and delusional rants, Maximus is in fact a technological genius who has created a range of diabolical devices to bolster his mental control, including nerve potions, the Nerve Beam, and the Hypno- Gun. Under his thrall are the Alpha Primitives, a subclass of Inhumans, who have aided him in his subsequent schemes—several of which were successful, albeit short-lived—to dominate Attilan. An Inhumans backup series by Lee and Kirby in Thor #146–#152 (1967–1968) revealed Maximus as the second-born son of Attilan geneticists Agon and Rynda. An unsociable teen, he forged a pact with alien warriors the Kree. His older brother Black Bolt intervened by using his ultimate, and forbidden, superpower—his sonic scream—to stop an escaping Kree spacecraft, its ensuing crash tragically killing the siblings' parents. From that moment, Black Bolt realized that he could not trust his younger brother—nor could he trust the force of his own voice. In addition to his ongoing conflicts with his fellow Inhumans and their friends the Fantastic Four, Maximus' efforts to be proclaimed Emperor Eternal have put him at odds with the Incredible Hulk, the Avengers, X-Factor, and Quicksilver. While he insists on being called Maximus the Magnificent, the egomaniac's reign of atrocities against his own people and others have permanently earned him the title Maximus the Mad. Mark Hamill, a veteran at voicing cartoon villains, portrayed Maximus in two episodes of the animated series Fantastic Four (1994–1996).
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