Real Name: Roland Burroughs
Identity/Class: Human mutate
Savage Six (Crime-Master/Bennett Brant, Fly/Richard Deacon, Jack O'Lantern, Megatak,
formerly Deadly Dozen (Basilisk, Bird-Man, Cyclone (André Gerard), Firebrand (Gary Gilbert), Hijacker, Human Fly, Lascivious, Letha, Megatak, Miracle Man, Mirage), Legion of the Unliving, Serpent Society (Anaconda, Asp, Black Mamba, Bushmaster (McIver), Cottonmouth, Cobra, Diamondback (Leighton), Princess Python, Rattler, Sidewinder (Voelker) ), Serpent Squad (Anaconda, Black Mamba, Sidewinder)
former employee of Roxxon Oil
Enemies: G.W. Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Tyler Bridge, Captain America (Steve Rogers), Iron Man (Tony Stark), Rosie Thompson and tenants in her building, MODOK, Porcupine, Princess Python, Punisher, Scourge of the Underworld, Stingray, Thing, Triton, Venom (Flash Thompson)
Known Relatives: Mr. Burroughs (father), father's wife (likely Roland's mother)
Base of Operations: New
York City, USA;
formerly Serpent Citadel
First Appearance: Marvel Two-in-One I#64 (June, 1980)
Powers/Abilities: Death Adder had a bionic tail implanted and was also provided with gills on his neck, rendering him into a true amphibian, able to survive indefinitely underwater. An accident during the gill-implantation surgery paralyzed Roland's vocal cords, rendering him mute. He is able to withstand water pressure up to 400 feet in depth, has nictating membranes over his eyes which allow heightened underwater vision, could press a half ton on land and swim and 25 miles per hour. His armored suit doubled as a pressure suit, extending the depths to which he could travel and cushioning him against blows; his gloves contained a variety of venoms capable of knocking out or killing a full-grown male; he carried the antidotes to these in his belt. This poison could be injected through titanium spikes built into his fingers; those fingers could extend to up to 15 inches in length.
Weight: 150 lbs.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe#3) - Roland Burroughs was born in Rochester, New York. After he acquired a college degree in engineering, Roland was selected by Roxxon Oil agents to be a special covert operative. He was bionically and genetically altered at Roxxon's Brand Corporation facility.
(Marvel Two-in-One I#65 - BTS (fb)) - Roxxon outfitted and trained Sidewinder, Anaconda, Black Mamba, and Death Adder as the Serpent Squad to find the Serpent Crown and bring it to them. To this end, they placed an oil derrick in the Pacific and used it as a base; once they found the Crown they set off underwater explosions to bring it to the surface; this had the unintended side effect of damaging the derrick. When the hero Stingray investigated underwater, Anaconda threw him back onto the derrick.
(Marvel Two-in-One I#64) - At that Pacific Roxxon oil derrick, the Serpent Squad revealed themselves to Ben Grimm (the Thing), demanding that he surrender.
(Marvel Two-in-One I#65) - When the Thing checked on Stingray, Anaconda snuck up behind him and punched him, giving Death Adder time to get his claws on Stingray; Sidewinder used the threat of Adder's toxins to force Grimm to agree to being chained, with Stingray, to a pylon. The Squad returned underwater, where Anaconda found the crown and gave it to Sidewinder, the Thing and Stingray soon returned, with the Inhuman Triton. Death Adder engaged all three and withstood blows from each, but the cumulative effects knocked him out. With Black Mamba and Anaconda, he was buried in an underwater landslide accidentally caused by the escaping Sidewinder.
(Iron Man I#160 - BTS (fb)) - Anaconda unburied Black Mamba and Death Adder from a couple of tons of silt.
(Iron Man I#160) - Anaconda, Black Mamba, and Death Adder broke into the Long Island Zoo, with Black Mamba killing a guard, Harry. Their employer wanted them to steal a Stark microscanner which could be used to power a weapon, but their information on the location of the control room proved wrong. They released several zoo animals to create a diversion and cover their search; Death Adder had to kill a gorilla which threatened him. Finding the control room, they had Death Adder use his acid-tipped claws to break the lock; Mamba grabbed the scanner and inserted it into the weapon. She tested it on a zoo executive, apparently killing him as well, but Iron Man intervened. Death Adder grabbed a hostage while Anaconda grabbed Iron Man, but he sent an electrical pulse through her arms and knocked her out. A repulsor beam took out Death Adder, and Black Mamba soon followed. Iron Man reclaimed the sensor.
(Captain America I#307) - Anaconda, Black Mamba, and Death Adder broke into Sidewinder's apartment. Their target was not home, so they decided to sit and wait for him.
(Captain America I#308) - While rifling through Sidewinder's belongings, Black Mamba found and showed the other two a series of files on them on several other snake themed criminals, including Princess Python, Asp, Cobra, and Constrictor. Sidewinder returned home and interrupted them, he teleported away, donned his costume, and returned. Anaconda demanded the money he owed them from their first job together ($10,000 each), and Sidewinder retrieved it from his safe with about 20% added interest from investments he'd made with the money. He then asked the trio to stay and listen to his proposal for an original criminal operation, which would make the money they just got seem like subway fare.
(Captain America I#309) - Death Adder visited Princess Python at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and handed her a card reading "If you are interested in acquiring great wealth, accompany me. Signed - Death Adder." Python went with Death Adder.
(Captain America I#310) - At a posh midtown Manhattan hotel, Sidewinder (Seth Voelker) had invited several serpent-themed mercenaries to attend the organizational meeting for the Serpent Society. Those present were Sidewinder, Black Mamba, Death Adder, Princess Python, Cottonmouth, Diamondback, Constrictor, Bushmaster, Cobra (later King Cobra), Asp, Rattler, and Anaconda. Sidewinder's pitch was to mimic the heroes and to band together as a united group. He'd spent the previous nine months laying the groundwork for his new group, and promised a guaranteed pay scale, insurance, medical plans, pensions, greater access to tools and data, and, thanks to Sidewinder's teleportational abilities, no fear of long-term imprisonment. All but one attendee agreed to join; Constrictor refused and left.
(Captain America I#310) - To test their ability to be team players, Sidewinder split the group into three sections, and set each group out in a van to retrieve objects that he felt would be of use to the Society. While Anaconda, Cobra, and Rattler went to retrieve mutagenics equipment from Brand, it is not known what the other groups were not what they retrieved.
(Captain America I#311) - Following the successful completion of all three tasks, the group reconvened in their new headquarters, the Serpent Citadel. Seeking to advertise the group, Sidewinder broke them into teams of two and sent them to contact all the major criminal and subversive organizations in America. Among the potential contactees were the Maggia, Zodiac, Secret Empire, Kingpin, AIM, and Hydra. Asp and Cottonmouth made contact with the Kingpin in Manhattan, while Diamondback and Bushmaster made contact with AIM's inner council (convincing them to hire the group to assassinate MODOK). The make-up of the other groups and that each contacted is unrevealed.
(Captain America I#313) - Princess Python and Death Adder were in an elevator shaft investigating a possible MODOK hideout when another team located their quarry in New Jersey and Sidewinder ordered the pair there. Death Adder searched local homes until another serpent located MODOK hiding in a local mall; Diamondback took charge of the Society members and they headed in. After a "gas leak" announcement (arranged by Captain America) emptied the mall, the team cornered MODOK but Captain America intervened; Death Adder and Cottonmouth were the last Serpents standing and delivered the killing blows to MODOK, though Captain America attacked them from surprise, knocking out both, but too late as MODOK died in front of him.
(Captain America I#315 - BTS) - Sidewinder freed from jail those serpents who had been imprisoned.
(Captain America I#315) - Commendations and monetary bonuses went to Death Adder for inflicting the killing blows (with Cottonmouth). When the Porcupine claimed to have captured Captain America, Sidewinder sent Death Adder, Rattler, Cottonmouth, and Diamondback to investigate, but it proved to be a trap arranged by Captain America, who captured three of the four (Diamondback escaped). Sidewinder soon freed them all from jail.
(Captain America I#318) - Death Adder was assigned to transport Princess Python to Peoria to ransom her to the Circus of Crime for $10,000. His Serpent Saucer was shot down over the South Bronx; after drugging and hiding Princess Python he forced a convenient taxi to pick him up, but the taxi driver proved to be a disguised Scourge, who shot and killed him.
(Captain America I#319) - Sidewinder found Death Adder's body in the local morgue and returned with it to the Serpent Society's headquarters.
(Avengers Annual I#16) - When the Grandmaster intended to trigger a new big bang, the Avengers challenged him to a contest of skill and he created his own Legion of the Unliving to battle the Avengers; a Death Adder simulacra was one of the Legion. Death Adder was teamed with the simulacra of Drax, the Green Goblin, and Captain Mar-Vell against Tigra, Captain Marvel (Rambeau), She-Hulk, and Moon Knight. He attacked Tigra underwater but was eventually forced to pursue her into the trees; he was then thrown to the ground but not before stabbing Tigra with his tail, fatally poisoning her and helping give his side the victory. Death Adder was brought back to fight in the second round, but the Avengers called off the battles and switched to a different contest. Grandmaster lost and the Avengers were restored by Death and sent back to Earth.
(Captain America I#426) - At a cemetary near Pawling, New York, the Dead Ringer and Super-Patriot (Mike Farrell) dug up a grave marked Roland Burroughs. Dead Ringer touched the corpse, allowing him to duplicate Death Adder's form and powers, complete with Roland's muteness. Later that evening, he used Death Adder's form and powers in aiding the Super-Patriot against the Resistants (Crucible, Meteorite, Occult).
(Punisher VII#5) - Aided by Dormammu's dark magic, the Hood resurrected Death Adder along with several other of Scourge's victims to fight the Punisher.
(Punisher VII#6) - The Hood addressed the assembled resurrected villains (including Death Adder), warning them that failure to kill the Punisher would leave them dead again after 30 days, but lying to them that it was the Punisher disguised as Scourge who had killed them. Each one resurrected had been augmented, armed and costumed by the Hood. Soon after, Basilisk and Death Adder walked out from the group after Mirage suggested himself as leader. The two later made their way to G.W. Bridge's home because of his links to the Punisher, and tortured his wife Sandy and stepson Tyler to make Bridge talk.
(Punisher VII#7) - The two took their three captives to the remains of the Bar With No Name (where Scourge had gunned down many villains) and threatened to kill them. Bridge finally agreed to help set up a meeting with the Punisher.
(Punisher VII#8) - Basilisk and Death Adder were satisfied that Bridge's distress signal was sent and that the Punisher's hacker would find it, coming to the derelict building. By then, Sandy Bridge had died.
(Punisher VII#9) - G.W. Bridge broke free of his restraints and attacked Basilisk and Death Adder, but was not strong enough. The Punisher then smashed through a wall using the Hijacker's tank. G.W. Bridge then ran after Death Adder and tried to gun him own before Death Adder could hurt Tyler, but the assassin threw him away instead.
(Punisher VII#10) - While Basilisk kept the Punisher on a rock surrounded by lava, Death Adder attacked and the two tumbled into a building where the two fought tenaciously until Basilisk knocked the Punisher out.
(Punisher VII#10 - BTS) - Basilisk and Death Adder took the unconscious Punisher and G.W. Bridge to the Hood.
(Venom II#17 (fb) - BTS) - The new Crime-Master recruited Death Adder to be part of his Savage Six group marshaled against Venom (Flash Thompson).
(Venom II#17) - Crime-Master introduced the Fly to his existing team of Megatak, Death Adder and Jack O'Lantern. Unwittingly warned by Eddie Brock and shielded by Megatak, Death Adder was caried up by the Human Fly and he launched himself at Venom, who escaped despite the group's violent retaliation. Crime-Master then had Death Adder prepare a lab where the crimelord had the symbiote Toxin bond with Brock.
(Venom II#20) - Death Adder waited at Rosie Thompson's house in a trap for Venom. A brutal fight ensued between Venom and Death Adder, whose claws left Venom poisoned. Distracted by other tenants in the building (or overly confident in his poison), Death Adder attacked the civilians, but Venom recovered and snapped Death Adder's neck to protect them.
Comments: Created by: Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (writers), George Perez (penciler), Gene Day (inker).
Iron Man I#160 featured the Serpent Squad, created by Mark Gruenwald (and Ralph Macchio), and later to be long-running villains (as the Serpent Society) when the Gru wrote Captain America. The Letters Page of that same issue notes that this is Mark Gruenwald's first turn as an editor. Hmm, must be something to that editorial power!
Death Adder and the later serpent villain Copperhead (Davis Lawfers) were both born in Rochester, New York. Coincidence, or as-of-yet unrevealed storyline?
Death Adder was buried in Pawling, NY (home of the Serpent Society's first Serpent Citadel).
A second Death Adder, modeled on the first, has been seen to be associating with those Serpent Society members drafted into the "Thunderbolts Army."
On a strictly personal note, I also loved Death Adder - he had a great creepy vibe to him, and the muteness only enhanced it. After the Scourge's murder spree finally ended, Mark Gruenwald noted in a letters page or Mark's Remarks column that he though all his "victims" deserved their deaths (i.e. the characters were irredeemably lame), excepting one. He invited the readers to guess which one that was; while I've never seen an answer, I've always believed he was referring to Death Adder.
Some of the members of
Grandmaster's Legion of the Unliving have apparently since been
revealed as simulacra of the real characters. So, it is possible that
it wasn't really Death Adder that was part of that group.
Death Adder is
shown on the front cover of Venom II#18, but doesn't actually
appear in the issue.
Thanks to Ron Fredricks for cleaning up the main image from the handbooks.
Profile by SQUEAK (with updates by Grendel Prime).
DEATH ADDER should not be confused with
Mr. and Mrs. Burroughs
After Death Adder was killed by Scourge, Black Mamba visited his parents seeking any information that might help her and the Society locate his killer. The male was identified as Mr. Burroughs; presumably the female was Mrs. Burroughs, Roland's mother.
--Captain America I#319
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe#3, pg 15 (main image)
Marvel Two-in-One I#65, pg8, p3 (extended claws)
Captain America I#315, p21, pan7 (unmasked)
Marvel Two-in-One I#65, cover (vs. Triton)
Captain America I#319, pg8, p3, (parents)
Punisher VII# (bloodied resurrected form)
Marvel Two-in-One I#64-65 (June-July, 1980) - Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (writer), George Perez (penciler), Gene Day (inker), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Iron Man I#160 (July, 1982) - Denny O'Neil (writer), Steve Ditko (penciler), Dan Green (inker), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#307-311 (July-November, 1985) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Neary (penciler), Dennis Janke (inker), Mike Carlin (editor)
Captain America I#315, 318 (March, June, 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Neary (penciler), Dennis Janke (inker), Mike Carlin (editor)
Captain America I#319 (July, 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Neary (penciler), Joe Sinnott (inker), Mike Carlin (editor)
Avengers Annual I#16 (1987) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Bob Hall/Keith Pollard (penciler), Tom Palmer (inker), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#426 (April, 1994) - by Mark Gruenwald (writer), Dave Hoover (penciler), Danny Bulanadi (inker), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Punisher VII#5 (July, 2009) - Rick Remender (writer), Jerome Opena (art), Axel Alonso (editor)
Punisher VII#6-10 (August-December, 2009) - Rick Remender (writer), Tan Eng Huat (art), Axel Alonso (editor)
Venom II#17 (July, 2012) - Rick Remender & Cullen Bunn (writers), Kev Walker (pencils), Terry Pallot (inks), Tom Brennan (editor)
Venom II#20 (September, 2012) - Cullen Bunn & Rick Remender (writers), Lan Medina & Robert Atkins (pencils), Nelson DeCastro & Rick Ketcham (inks), Tom Brennan (editor)
First Posted: 06/13/2007
Last updated: 02/06/2019
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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