Carl Mach was a volunteer/mercenary for the Life Foundation, an organization that was preparing for the M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction) fallout of the Cold War and sought to provide a comfortable life for their wealthy clients after the impending nuclear holocaust. Carl was one of the organization's security force members who was chosen to be made into one of the superhuman police force members for the utopian future that the Life Foundation sought to bring about. This was done by forcibly extracting multiple offspring from the alien creature known as Venom, after which the offspring were artificially aged to maturity. Carl was bonded with one of these symbiote offspring and became one of the Life Foundation's Guardians.
Lasher was created by David Michelinie, Ron Lim, Sam DeLarosa and Al Milgrom, and he first appeared in 1993's Venom: Lethal Protector #4.
The symbiote name Phage, was largely derived from a Venom toy line that released around the same time. Like Riot however, Carl Mach was never officially known as Phage as this was actually the name of a different symbiote-like character. Carl Mach being named Phage was therefore largely fan-based, but in 2012's Carnage U.S.A. however, Carl's symbiote was officially identified as Phage for the first time. So in the end, the name "Phage" stuck.
Major Story Arcs
During Venom's time as Lethal Protector of San Francisco, Phage and his "siblings" were defeated by Venom and Spider-Man.
It was later revealed that the symbiotes had survived due to efforts by the Life Foundation. They broke Eddie Brock out of prison and kidnapped him in a last ditch effort to communicate with their alien "others." Unfortunately Eddie refused to aid them, due to Carnage's example that his "children" became psychopathic killers. After Leslie was killed, supposedly by Brock, Carl went on a rampage to avenge her by killing Brock. Scream covertly killed Carl with a sonic knife however, having snapped from her schizophrenia and her symbiote's influence, believing that the symbiotes and any who host them were evil. Carl's death assisted Donna in misleading the others into thinking Eddie Brock was picking them off. She went on to kill the rest of the symbiote hosts even after her ruse was revealed.
Phage survived, and was imprisoned/experimented upon in the Vault along with its siblings (except Carnage and Scream). The symbiotes eventually merged together, and bonded with a man known as Scott Washington to form Hybrid.
In Carnage: USA, the Hybrid symbiote was revealed to have been forcibly separated behind the scenes. The Phage symbiote, along with its siblings, were rendered catatonic as a result of the trauma of the separation. Covert Government Mercury Team, trained with them to teach them specialized tasks. Phage was bonded to Lieutenant Rico Axelson, Navy Seal Sniper. It was used to augment Axelson's vision.
They were called on as a contingency team when the Avengers failed to free the town of Doverton, Colorado from Carnage's control.
Deadpool vs. Carnage
In Deadpool vs. Carnage, Deadpool stole the symbiotes from a government facility to help him combat Carnage. After defeating Carnage he puts the symbiotes on a dog and instructs it to take them back to the government.
King in Black
The dog that Deadpool left the symbiotes in the care of was distracted by a crying young girl named Sadie. She was having family problems, so the symbiotes bonded to her family (with Phage bonding to Sadie’s brother) to keep them together. Piloting their bodies, the symbiotes make their way to Manhattan to assist in the Knull Invasion.
Under Carnage’s orders, they hunt down Dylan Brock and Normie Osborn. Unfortunately, they were left with The Maker, who was currently inventing ways of ending the symbiote threat. Maker kept them busy while Dylan and Normie hid. Phage almost catches up with them, but he is attacked by Sleeper, saving them. The Maker was able to remove them from their hosts and stick both the hosts and the symbiotes in stasis pods.
Dylan was growing distrustful of Maker and tried shooting his and Normie’s way out. Instead of hitting Maker though, he freed the symbiotes from their stasis pods, allowing them to all bond to Maker. This hybrid chased them into the streets where Spider-Man had led a few Avengers to help. They are eventually chased off by Hawkeye’s multiple anti-symbiote arrows.
Separated, they continued to look for Dylan in New York during Knull’s invasion. They are confronted by their sibling, Scream, who is now bonded to Andi Benton. Scream and Andi were defending the various children the symbiotes were assaulting. The symbiotes combined into Hybrid again to take on Scream, but Andi’s Hell-Mark powers ripped them apart. Wounded they escape through the sewers
After the defeat of Knull, Phage laid low as a simple hunting dog to the mercenary, Bullet. When he sensed Carnage- during a Peter Krane television appearance, he bonded to Bullet and got a job as head of security for Krane’s campaign. Without Knull in power of the hive-mind, Carnage filled the void and was able to control his children, depicted by Phage’s red face.
One of his first jobs was to take out Andi Benton, who was very publicly taken into custody by Alchemax. This also got the attention of Flash Thompson (Anti-Venom). He got there just in time for Phage to turn his hand into a blade and jam it through her chest. Andi was saved when the last of the Scream symbiote was spliced with Flash’s Anti-Venom material, creating Silence.
Silence was able to disconnect Phage from the hive-mind causing Bullet to jump out of a window. With Bullet incapacitated, Bullet’s dog lapped up the Phage symbiote and joined Krane by his side. Once the rest of his siblings were assembled by Carnage, they killed Sen. Krane during an anti-alien demonstration. After Flash, his team, and the Guardsman intervened, Phage was captured and contained at Alchemax.
While Dr. Stevens was researching how to put the symbiotes to good use, a mercenary named Corwin Jones broke in and stole Phage and the other symbiotes using special drones.
In Other Media
- Phage appears as a boss enemy in Spider-Man and Venom: Separation Anxiety for the SNES and Sega Mega Drive.
- Phage appears as an alternate costume for Hybrid in the Marvel: Avengers Alliance Facebook game.
- Phage appears as a playable character in Spider-Man Unlimited.
- A faction enemy type resembles Phage in Insomniac's Spider-Man 2. It is a orange mid-size enemy with air combo counters.
- Phage was featured in Hasbro's Marvel Legends line as part of the Venompool Build-a-Figure wave.