A group of punks infiltrated an electric plant in New York and blew up a powerful dynamo because they believed the government would have no power if they couldn't get any electricity. The dynamo ruptured and started a chain reaction in the atomic chamber. The energy started an unknown form of fusion and consumed the human minds in its path. The energy gained sentience and transformed into Zzzax where it would absorb the electricity of the people's minds around him for its own thoughts. The monster was loose around Union Square and it attracted the attention of Hawkeye when the terror was displayed on the news. Bruce Banner stumbled upon Zzzax in an alley when he got zapped. Zzzax was about to consume Banner when Hawkeye struck the energy behemoth with an electric arrow, hoping to disrupt its body. Banner recovered, transformed into the Hulk, and the two monsters clashed throughout the city until they reached the harbor area. Hawkeye was tossed into the water by Zzzax and realized its power was self contained and the electric bolts fired from its hands dissipated when it struck the water. Hawkeye came up with an idea and shot an arrow attached with wire through Zzzax's body. The arrow landed in the water, where the energy current from Zzzax flowed through the wire to set up a complete circuit and Zzzax's entire body dissipated inside the harbor.
Zzzax was created by Steve Englehart and Herb Trimpe in 1973 and first appeared in The Incredible Hulk # 166.
For a time, General Thunderbolt Ross' consciousness was inside Zzzax, but he managed to retrieve it. When Electro freed the villains of the Raft, Zzzax ran away with some others. Its current whereabouts is unknown.
Avengers: The Initiative Special
Zzzax escaped from SHIELD custody after their systems were sabotaged and come into conflict with the Arizona based team, the Desert Stars and another Initiative team called the Heavy Hitters. Zzzax was going after the generators in Hoover Dam in order to feed on the electromagnetic energy. Both teams responded to the red alert emergency since Hoover Dam is on the Arizona and Nevada border. Johnny Cool used his cold powers to plug up a hole in the dam while the hot-headed Supermax rushed into battle with Zzzax. Supermax tried to knock Zzzax into the river but was zapped with an electric bolt when that maneuver failed. Zzzax was defeated when Hardball placed an energy ball into Zzzax's stomach and expanded it, causing him to explode. Johnny Cool was able to contain Zzzax by freezing his scattered pieces.
Right before the Fear Itself tie-in to Hulk. M.O.D.O.K. buys Zzzax from some ex-HAMMER employees. He then upgrades Zzzzax's ablities, so now he can absorb brain energy. While testing Zzzax's new power they are interupted by the Red Hulk. After a brief battle MODOK realized he did not have complete control over Zzzax, so he took it back to his lab and continued his research.
When Sin's army attacked New York City, MODOK and Zero/One made a deal to fight her instead of each other. MODOK then released Zzzax and used him as a weapon against the invaders.
Avengers vs. X-Men
New Avengers met Zzzax in Estonia while they flew back from Helsinki. Zzzax fought the New Avengers, but when Colossus as one of the Phoenix Five arrived Zzzax talked with him and they resolved their issues. Zzzax agreed to be a power source to eastern Europe.
Zzzax would be involved in a story taking place in the Marvel Adventures comics, which are standalone stories and does not take place in the current Marvel Universe continuity.
Zzzax would escape from a military research base outside of Las Vegas, Nevada when its containment unit was cracked and he absorbed the minds of two soldiers. Zzzax appeared at the Miss Teeny Teen pageant where Johnny Storm and Bobby Drake were judges. The Human Torch and Iceman engaged Zzzax when it started to absorb the minds of the teenage contestants. Zzzax was defeated when both heroes created steam as a conductor to dissipate electricity. Zzzax could no longer hold itself together and exploded.
Powers and Abilities
Zzzax is capable of absorbing and discharging powerful currents of electricity; manipulating nearby electrical fields and equipment. Zzzax's size and strength level increases in relation to the amount of electricity absorbed. Zzzax survives by absorbing all available electrical energy including that of human brains. When it absorbs the energy from a human brain, the body is incinerated and it becomes more intelligent. It likes doing this and does so whenever possible. It doesn’t seem to be able to absorb the energy from Hulk's brain but has at times been able to control him. When it is fighting against Hulk, it absorbs his energy to grow into larger size, which it then uses to its advantage.
In other media
- Zzzax appears in the The Incredible Hulk (Animated Series, 1996) in Season 1, Episode 3 - Raw Power.
- Zzzax appeared in Ultimate Spider-Man (TV Show, 2012) where he fights the Incredible Hulk. He was destroying New York City and was invisible. He was later defeated by the combined might of Spider-Man, Hulk and SHIELD.
- In Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (2012), Zzzax makes a cameo appearance as one of the many villains breaking out of the Cube. He later reappears in the Cube as one of the many Hulk-sorted villains who decided to stay and work for the Leader.