Max Exterminus is a human/insect hybrid whose only appearance to date was in "Creepy Crawly Much?". A former exterminator turned genomicist, he starting leading the insects, becoming their King after realizing he couldn't kill every bug in his neighborhood, much less the whole world, and began using military secrets and knowledge on genetic code modification for his own purposes, using his trained insects (which he refers to as his "swarm" and his "brood", and who act similar to soldiers of, and subjects to, a king) to obtain memory chips and top secret data to create a rocket (in the shape of a can of insecticide with "Exterminus" on the front) filled with more than enough "bug venom" to kill every living human and non-insect animal on Earth, as well as a machine he calls a "Bug Maker" that has the power to inject insect DNA into the human body, transforming a person into a humanoid insect with prolonged use, reconstructing their body chemistry.
Max's insect army defend their master (and Alexandra, had she chose to remain his queen) with extreme prejudice, attacking anyone who dares approach Max and Alex. This is evident when Sam and Clover escape Max's headquarters to rescue Alex.
Exterminus has therefore been injecting himself with mega-doses of cockroach DNA via the bug maker, reconstructing his body chemistry and giving him the disgustingly handsome appearance of a humanoid cockroach. He places Alex inside the machine during the break, only giving her enough cockroach DNA to give her antennae, hairlike protrusions on her legs and arms, two extra insectoid arms, and cockroach-like wings on her back, creating what some see as an incomplete transformation.
He has the ability to control and command any type of insect species (such as bees, flies, cockroaches, caterpillars and termites), and is mechanically gifted (as he invented the bug maker and the venom-filled rocket). He also has sharp claws, six insectoid arms, and can fly by utilizing his cockroach wings; when not in use, the wings move in the wind like a regal cape. He also wears black jeans with the bottoms torn away, and is barefoot. He is also bare-chested. He also has a hairstyle exactly like that of the Dragon Ball Z character Vegeta, and also fellow Totally Spies! villain Diminutive Smalls. He tells Alex that she reminds him of the black widow spider, whom he erroneously describes as "the queen of all insects", when in fact the black widow is really an arachnid, not an insect in the traditional sense.
He seeks to release the bug venom inside his rocket into the Earth's jet stream and "exterminate" all of humanity by poisoning them, with the only survivors being his bugs, Alexandra, and himself. He is one of few "Totally Spies!" villains that appears to have romantic love for one of the spies, namely Alex. He presumably dies when his rocket plummets near some abandoned nickel mines and explodes. It is interesting to note that Max's final line in the episode is "No! I won't let go of my precious rocket! This is my life's work!", implying that he has spent many years of his adult life working on his technology. After his presumed death, it is later discovered that the insect DNA injected into a human body wears off after a while; the presumed trick is that one has to continue the injection by staying in the bug maker for a prolonged period, as he did. He refers to humanity as "the real pests" as well, and only addresses Alex as "my [his] queen" (e.g. "Don't fret, my queen. All bugs have hairy legs.", "What have you done, my queen?"), never by name (as he never bothered to ask what her name was).
Needing a queen to rule by his side after his "human genocide" plan would come to fruition, he becomes lovestruck with Alex after hearing her say "Your venom fills my world; my world's venomized". This, along with her gothic outfit from earlier in the episode, was really a poem she was trying out to impress a guy she was dating named Seth (a goth that liked depressing poetry), but Max did not notice or realize she was seeing someone else (however, it can be implied that Seth and Max are actually the same person). His attraction to her is a purely physical attraction (though he does show signs of emotional attraction), as he says that Alex is "dark, leggy, and quite dangerous" when comparing her to the black widow spider (whom he mistakenly refers to as the "queen of all insects"), and saying that "she's perfect the way she is" when she demands to be changed back to normal. However, unlike similar villains like Gelee, the Black Knight, Jazz Hands, Salty Schooner, and Mr. Auguste that follow the trope of needing a queen/empress as part of a plan to conquer Earth, Max was actually more chivalrous and gentle with his chosen consort, rather than domineering and forceful.
His headquarters is what appears to be an old hotel that has been converted into a laboratory where he conducts his research on synthesizing insect DNA with human DNA. At some point after he realized he couldn't exterminate every bug in his neighborhood, he became the sole occupant of said abandoned upscale hotel, the second floor of which he converted into a combination laboratory/living quarters. (The episode itself actually refers to this place as his office, but with one of the floors of the building being a hotel room, the latter is likely as well; Max casually refers to the area as his "insectarium").
Despite only appearing in just one episode of the show, Exterminus is a villain that you can battle in the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 2 video game "Totally Spies! Totally Party"; he can be battled in level 4 and can only be defeated with a level 4 spy trap when his energy is reduced to one life point. This video game reveals that the girls' new house is located directly underneath a WOOHP prison, and because of that, Jerry Lewis reveals that Max survived the rocket explosion and now is incarcerated for the crime of conspiracy to commit genocide, but has escaped with the intention of enacting revenge on the spies for foiling his earlier scheme (and indirectly on Alexandra for rejecting him as her king and spouse).
His "The Amazing Spiez!" counterpart is Victoria Brathwaite (aka Queen Bee), who similarly synthesized her DNA with the DNA of bees.
It is unknown if Max will make a reappearance in future seasons but if he is going to, he will most likely get his revenge on the girls and come after Alexandra once again. Unlike most of the villains of the series, he is not after revenge; he instead wants to conquer the world using his insect warriors, and take a wife to produce heirs and rule his ideal insect kingdom by his side.
Powers and abilities
Formerly an exterminator with what we can assume is his own line of pest control products for commercial use, Max is now a scientist specializing in biogenetics and bioengineering who is capable of controlling insects according to his desires. Perhaps as the result of an experiment performed on himself, he too possesses various insect-related powers, including enhanced strength and winged flight. He has invented a machine capable of synthesizing human DNA with the DNAs of various forms of insects, which he states he has tried on himself in his bid to become the king of all bugs. He uses his machine on Alex when he chooses her as his insect queen, but she is shocked at her (apparently incomplete) transformation.
- Max is, so far, the first "Totally Spies!" villain to choose Alex as his queen, following the common trope of male villains choosing female protagonists as consorts, usually very unwillingly.
- He apparently became infatuated with her over her dark skin, her long legs and her hair.
- Max is voiced by John Stocker, who also voices Diminutive Smalls in "Attack of the 50 Foot Mandy" a season later.
- Max's American voice actor is actually confusing to figure out the name of, depending on which website you visit. TV.com lists the actor as John Stocker, while the Internet Movie Database lists Rob Stefaniuk as Max's voice actor. What is known is that the same actor was allowed to come back and voice Diminutive Smalls is "Attack of the 50 Foot Mandy".
- Max's presumed death from the rocket explosion is a reference to Major Kong's death in the movie "Dr. Strangelove".
- Max may be the inspiration for the character of Clancy from "Ben 10", as they both are the only buglike enemies in their respective shows so far, and both live in an abandoned building.
- He has objectives similar to those of Cohila, the South American insect demon from the animated series "Extreme Ghostbusters". Both characters are male bug-themed villains that, in order to conquer the world, decide they need a consort in order to rule. However, Janine's transformation into a bug (in her case: a butterfly-like creature) was complete while Alex's (in her case: a cockroach) was incomplete.
- He may also be based on Seth Brundle, the scientist that created the teleportation/insectification machine in David Cronenberg's 1980s horror remake "The Fly", played by Jeff Goldblum. Just like Seth, he converted an old, abandoned building into a laboratory where he conducts his research.
- Max's scheme is similiar to the storyline in the film "Meet the Applegates" about insects assuming human form.
- This episode shares elements and themes from the 1986 David Cronenberg remake film of the 1958 film "The Fly", albeit less disgusting.
- As Max is flying towards his rocket with Alex, he tells her "One day, we'll tell our larvae about how we met." A larva (plural: larvae) is the offspring of insects, therefore he wants to have a family with her.
- Max is featured in one game based on the show: Totally Party. However, he has yet to make further appearances in the show itself.
- Unlike the Black Knight, Max is not a sexist; Max actually treated Alex with a lot more respect than the Knight did to Clover (saying things like "Excuse me, my Queen..." and "You're perfect the way you are..." to her when they were flying on his rocket together). Similar to Gelee referring to Clover as his "companion", Max even stated that he and Alex would both "control every insect in the world" together and that he has dreamt of getting together with someone like her. It is not made clear, however, on whether these were statements that were coming from his heart or that he was saying them solely for the fact that his plan to conquer the world required him to have a consort at his side.
- The Scorpion Man from "Trent Goes Wild" may be an homage to Max, and Feline Dion uses a similar scheme to his own (even choosing Alex in her plan), but with cats instead of bugs.