The November 14 episode of Supergirl introduces another villain from the Superman comics, Parasite. We saw the villain at the end of the previous episode, “Crossfire” and we will learn more about the TV show version of him in “Changing.” While Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kresiberg and the other Supergirl writers often stick to the comic books for the villains, they are going on another tangent with Parasite.
Parasite In the Comics
There are two different Parasites in the comics. The first is Raymond Maxwell Jensen, who was introduced in Action Comics #340 in 1966 and was initially wiped out of existence during Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985. Jensen got his ability to absorb power from Superman by touching him after he was exposed to biohazard materials at a research lab.
After Crisis, a second Parasite, Rudolph ‘Rudy’ Jones, was introduced in Firestorm Vol. 2 #58 in 1987. In the comics, Darkseid manipulated Jones into recreating the origin of the original Parasite at S.T.A.R. Labs by opening a waste container. The material gave Jones the same powers Jensen had.
Jones is the Parasite that appeared in Superman: The Animated Series. Brendan Fletcher played Jones in Smallville.
Parasite in Supergirl
In Supergirl, Jones is played by William Mapother, an experienced television actor who is best known for playing Ethan Rom in ABC’s Lost. He is a doctor and the material that turns him into Parasite isn’t just biohazardous material. According to the episode description, the Parasite is an alien itself and Mapother becomes its host.
In the episode, Jones is obsessed with saving the world from global warming. When his team digs up a wolf thats been buried in ice for thousands of years, they also uncover an alien parasite. The parasite takes over Jones as a host, with Jones giving it a mission: going after climate change deniers.
Mapother is currently only credited for one Supergirl episode. In the final battle with Kara, Mon-El and Guardian (James Olsen in disguise), Kara used plutonium to literally blow-up Parasite. It looks like Parasite’s run on Supergirl will last much shorter than it did in the comics.