Raymond Maxwell Jensen (Parasite)

Finally, the true identity of the traitorous Agent Jensen, first appeared in Supergirl‘s season premiere The American Alien, has been revealed in the latest episode, Parasite Lost, as he’s full name is reported as Raymond Jensen… and he receives from Agent Liberty abilities we’ve been led to know well by now. This is a nice nod to the Earth-One continuity, as Raymond Jensen is that reality’s version of the Parasite, the original one before Rudy Jones took over the role and became the best known incarnation of the character. Let’s take a look at this monstrous and lethal villain, a jump to the past that takes us to his first appearance in 1966.

Raymond Maxwell Jensen was born in Metropolis, in the suburbs. Not exactly from the high society, he turned to a life of crime since he was very young, and ended up in jail several times for petty thieves and other minor felonies. Between one incarceration and the other, Maxwell got married, and even had children from his (unnamed) wife. It was maybe for them that he resolved to look for a honest job, for a change, and got hired as a plant worker in a research center. Old habits die hard, though, and it didn’t pass much time before Maxwell got tempted to increase his wage by stealing the company payrolls. He observed his employers for some days, until he got convinced that they hid the money in some containers they never allowed anybody around. This idea turned out to be terribly wrong, as the containers were off-limits simply because they were radioactive and dangerous, as in them the center had stored some space matter brought by Superman returning from one of his trips out of the atmosphere. The cosmic radiation rewrote Maxwell’s genetic structure completely, transforming him in a large, purple humanoid being, and giving to him a crippling hunger. Scared by what he had become, Maxwell sought help, but as soon as he touched a security guard, he instantly drained him of all his physical and mental energies, sating his hunger and becoming stronger and smarter. The Parasite was born. Maxwell found out that he could absorb all the energy he wanted from other people, effectively killing them, but that if he touched a superhuman, someone like Superman, he could also obtain part of their power, calming his hunger for a longer time. Needless to say, Superman instantly became his primary target.

Intoxicated by his new abilities, Parasite started wreaking havoc in the city, with the precise intent of luring Superman out… and so he did. The hero, not knowing the new foe, was taken by surprise, and Parasite managed to absorb a huge amount of his strength and durability, becoming nearly unstoppable. Plus, the more they fought, the more he could absorb from his adversary, increasing his strength. Even Parasite, however, didn’t know his powers well yet, and he absorbed also Superman’s weakness to Kryptonite. For once, the space rock became the hero’s ally, and it allowed him to defeat the menace. There was no prison in the world able to hold Parasite, though, and he returned soon after, always addicted to other people’s energy, always craving Superman’s one. Even this time, though, his inexperience with his powers costed him a lot, as he absorbed too much of Superman’s energy, overcharging his organism and subjecting his cells to a terrible pressure, that eventually dispersed his physical body. He managed to reform time later, but he decided for another tactic. He absorbed the energy of people he found around, increasing his intelligence and devising a plan to defeat his adversary. While getting smarter, the Parasite was also able to discover Superman’s secret identity, and using the knowledge that he was actually Clark Kent, he dressed up and pretended to be a reporter himself and obtained a job from Perry White at the Daily Planet, asking to be mentored by Kent… all the while absorbing little by little his energy. Even this plan was eventually foiled, and this time Parasite was locked in a special cell designed for him by the Master Jailer. But he would have returned yet again, alone or allied with other criminals such as Terra-Man and Solomon Grundy: his hunger knew no peace, and he had developed quite a taste for the energy of one man in particular…

Raymond Maxwell Jensen is basically a greedy man, who always wants more of everything, a trait that is reflected perfectly in his new alien powers. As the Parasite, he’s an energy vampire who can absorb life force from other living beings, eventually becoming addicted to it, increasing his strength and smarts in the process; in case of superhumans, he temporarily absorbs their powers, and is also able to distribute them at will. Intoxicated with all this power, Parasite at first didn’t even realize the backlash of it, but now that he’s way more intelligent than before, his absolute solitude, his impossibility to even touch his wife and children, are pretty clear to him… and generate a sadness that only fuels his destructive rage.

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