General Miles "Mayhem" Manheim is a military man. A soldier since his youthful days, he later served under Joe Colton as part of the Adventure Team. During this time, Manheim got his nickname from Colton because of his innate talent for causing disruption and chaos among enemy forces. Miles was a brilliant soldier and one of Joe's best friends.
However, Mayhem's heroic actions soon gave way to villainous intentions. Carrying a deep desire for wealth and power, Mayhem is methodical and a master manipulator. He is able to use the people around him like pawns in a game of chess. He is incredibly cold and is willing to sacrifice anyone, deeming human lives an "acceptable loss." His ultimate desire is control over the world, and he's more than happy to sell out his allies and side with whomever he must to gain what he believes he deserves.
Mayhem served as head of Project Spectrum along with Cornelius Trakker, devising technology to defend the planet, later overseeing the training of a group of operatives, including Cornelius's son Matt, that would form the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand and their rival black ops unit V.E.N.O.M. As part of V.E.N.O.M., Mayhem pilots the Switchblade vehicle and wears the "Python" Mask.
Much of Miles Manheim's past is shrouded in mystery. He grew up in a rough neighborhood in Philadelphia before enlisting in the U.S. Army. Rising through the ranks after his graduation, Miles impressed his commanders with his capabilities in espionage and black ops strategy. Manheim was also willing to sacrifice whatever he needed to, even if it resulted in "collateral damage". At one point early in his career, Manheim was captured by opposing soldiers and tortured for information. He ended up giving up the location of his allies' base, and later killed his tormentors in revenge. The experience changed Miles, and he swore to never "be weak" again.
Miles later joined the Adventure Team, where he received his infamous nickname of "Miles Mayhem" from the team's leader: "G.I. Joe" Colton. During this time, he went on many adventures, including encountering the British agent Action Man, though he didn't find the experience very memorable.
On one of their missions, the Adventure Team responded to a distress call from the Tomb of Amtoltec in Dashur, Egypt, where they fought roboticized mummies that Garrison Kreiger had unearthed. While Stalker, Bulletman, and Atomic Man occupied the numerous robots outside, Mayhem followed G.I. Joe into the tomb and saved his colleague when Soundwave blew out a tomb floor. They followed Soundwave further in to find Kreiger with the Talisman. Their teammates soon arrived and their continued interference annoyed Soundwave to the point that the Cybertronian violently departed the pyramid. The debris would have crushed the humans if not for Atomic Man, newly modified by the Talisman, using his powers to block the debris. In the aftermath, the Adventure Team took custody of the Talisman and handed it over to the British S.I.S.
After the Adventure Team was shut down and replaced by G.I. Joe, Mayhem began to secretly sell weapons to multiple parties on the black market, while continuing his career in the Army, quickly advancing to become one of the youngest Generals in history.
Years later, General Manheim served as head of Project Spectrum, an effort to develop cybernetic weapons to combat the Transformers crafted by Cornelius Trakker. He became good friends with Trakker, as well as his wife Alessandra and son Matthew. However, Manheim ultimately ended up betraying Trakker and murdering him.
Manheim was present during the trial of Sylvester "Sly" Rax, who had been arrested by Lt. Christopher Lavinge. Lavinge mentioned to Manheim that Rax's skills could be useful for counter-intelligence work. Manheim agreed, and Rax was soon enlisted to the U.S. Army. Despite his quick dishonorable discharge, Manheim still saw potential in him, and recruited him to Project Spectrum.
One of the many illegal activities Manheim was involved in was betting on illegal fight club matches. His associate, Big Boa, turned him onto a fighter named Cliff Dagger. After Dagger won a fight that Manheim betted on in his favor, Manheim and Boa met to discuss his fighting prowess. While Boa commented on Dagger's lack of intelligence, his physical capabilities were exceptional. Manheim concluded that he'd make a fine addition to "the team."
Manheim used Project Spectrum as training ground for a special black team of operatives, created to use their previously designed weapons and vehicles to combat Cybertronians. He personally recruited Matt Trakker to the program, having been asked by Matt's mother. Manheim oversaw each recruit's training personally, even bringing in the likes of Dr. Armand Singh to help evaluate the best members for his team. He was disappointed to see Matt not living up to his potential, but found promise in Vanessa Warfield, bringing her into his inner circle.
As the training continued, Manheim began to show his flagrant disregard for the lives of his recruits, something that deeply troubled Matt. During their final test, Manheim used hard-light holograms to create a group of civilians the recruits were unable to rescue from an exploding train, wanting to test their reaction to failure. Bruno Sheppard.Among those incensed by this manipulation was
Manheim met with Joe Colton and Scarlett to discuss the activities of the Transformers on Earth. He interjected during Colton's rant to point out Optimus Prime had come back to save them from the Decepticons and help them rebuild, but he was pretty dismissive of G.I. Joe. Eventually Colton revealed Manheim was there because Ore-13 was going critical thanks to Transformer activity and was likely to devastate the planet, and he was hoping Manheim could reverse-engineer something to help them fight from a captive, mutilated but still conscious Blitzwing. Manheim was more than happy to be given a chance to overthrow a tyrant like Optimus Prime!
After the battle between G.I. Joe and the Transformers in Portland, Oregon, Manheim sent Matt Trakker, Gloria Baker, Brad Turner, and Julio Lopez to G.I. Joe's headquarters at Governor's Island, where he introduced Scarlett to the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand! While at Governor's Island, Manheim continued his dissection of Blitzwing, keeping him alive throughout the process. When Scarlett asked him if the robot was in pain, he dismissed her concerns since it was only a machine.
Mayhem later led an attack to neutralize the Autobots Kup and Aileron in Greece. After the initial M.A.S.K. agents (including Warfield, Rax, and Sheppard) engaged the Transformers, Mayhem arrived in the Switchblade, firing on Kup. Mayhem decided that the truck was more valuable alive then dead and decided to wound him so that he could be captured. He then transformed the Switchblade to go after Aileron. She escaped, but not before Mayhem ordered Matt Trakker to jam her communications with Autobot City. After the battle, Trakker confronted Miles about the fact that Transformers weren't the mindless machines he thought, but living beings. Mayhem just responded that this was war. In war, people–and things–get hurt. When Trakker confronted Scarlett, Mayhem took the young recruit to ease his mind. Trakker tried arguing that the Cybertronians were living beings, which Manheim objected to, claiming they weren't alive, right in front of Kup. He continued on to say that all he was doing was for the Greater Good. As they talked, the base came under attack, with the M.A.S.K. vehicles being the best assets on hand. When Trakker felt unsure, Miles suggested he trusted him, like Matt's dad had, which definitely wasn't at all suspicious. As Matt left, Miles talked to Vanessa and Sly, telling them to make sure nobody found out about Kup. By the time Manheim and Trakker were in the air, the base's attacker had already managed to get to Kup and free him. Thanks to some interference from the Joes, Kup and his rescuer escaped, prompting Miles to change his priorities from "capture" to "kill". On landing, he pegged Mainframe as being responsible, only for Agent Helix to cover for him. Convening with Vanessa and Sly, Manheim suggested it was probably time for them to start packing.
The next morning, Miles received a call from Caleb Awan, the stolen human identity of the Dire Wraith leader, telling him that they were running out of time; the Wraiths were ready to move, regardless of what happens with their "other allies." Manheim reported that there was a sizable amount of Ore-13 underneath Autobot City before being interrupted by Matt. He quickly ended the call and told Matt to pack his bags. Mayhem led the M.A.S.K. team in an assault on Autobot City, where he called in his reinforcements: a squadron of flying Dire Wraiths! M.A.S.K. and the Wraiths pushed through the city’s defenses, Mayhem reveling in the fact that he will control Earth once he and his allies are victorious. However, as he gloated, the Dire Wraiths attacked the Switchblade, causing it to crash to the ground as Matt yelled at him for betraying the Earth. Mayhem countered that he knew aliens were coming, and that he planned to take any step necessary to save the world. Using the Switchblade’s Cybertronian technology, he connected to the Autobot City spacebridge and activated it, allowing his other ally, Baron Karza, to come through from Microspace. Karza then used his Enerchange ability to merge with the Wraiths, transforming into a monstrous fusion of Microspace, Cybertronian, and Dire Wraith power.
As the Karza-Wraith began laying ruin to Autobot city, Trakker accused Mayhem of creating the monster. Miles claimed that he merely revealed the inevitable result of what aliens will do to Earth and ordered Trakker to continue attacking the Transformers. After Mayday informed the Joes that the ore-13 was about to ignite, Sly Rax asked if Mayhem had a plan, which Mayhem assured he did. With Metrotitan moving away from the Ore-13 deposit, Mayhem decided to launch a final attack towards the Karza-Wraith, crashing the Switchblade into it and seemingly sacrificing himself in the process.
After the battle, Matt Trakker discovered a note (unsigned) that Mayhem left on the windshield of wrecked the Thunderhawk, saying that illusion was the ultimate weapon, and that he would see Matt soon.
Back at their base, the M.A.S.K. recruits wondered if Mayhem could really be dead. Matt speculated he wasn't and posited that he could be working with the Cybertronians to maipulate the defense agencies. Shortly afterwards, Bruno took the prototype Rhino out for a solo drive. However (against Mayhem's earlier warnings), he pushed it too far, resulting in the Rhino exploding. Before the Rhino was completely destroyed, Mayhem used technology the Earth Defense Command appropriated from Skywarp) teleported Bruno, Sly, and Vanessa to a secret base. Unfortunately, Bruno was badly burned in the ordeal, forcing Mayhem to replace much his with flesh with cybernetic enhancements. When Sly asked Mayhem what was going on, Vanessa revealed that M.A.S.K. was merely a front for the General's real plan: a black ops unit called V.E.N.O.M. Together, they would destroy Matt Trakker and the rest of the M.A.S.K. team!
With the world believing them dead, V.E.N.O.M. used their vehicles to attack high-profile military installations, framing the remaining members of M.A.S.K. in the process. With them busy running from the law, Mayhem planned to hunt down the Cybertronians on Earth and sell their technology on the black market. However, he still felt the need to take M.A.S.K. off the board, confronting them in a reconstructed Switchblade near Harrison's Cave, Barbados. As M.A.S.K. fled into the cave, V.E.N.O.M. ambushed them. With the M.A.S.K. team questioning who else could have their tech, Mayhem took of his Mask to reveal himself, along with Vanessa, Sly, and the now-cyborg Bruno, much to the shock of their former comrades. Mayhem expressed his disappointment in Matt, saying he was just a lesser version of his father, just as Matt blinded him with his Spectrum Mask and M.A.S.K. escaped out the cave. Pursuing them, he engaged Matt's Thunderhawk in aerial combat. During the fight, Matt was able to sustain damage to the Switchblade and V.E.N.O.M. was forced to retreat.
Miles Mayhem also ran a laboratory staffed by morally bankrupt scientists who had captured the Micronauts in the wake of the Revolution incident. After the small adventurers had escaped, Commander Klain claimed to Mayhem that their recapture was imminent.
After their first confrontation with M.A.S.K., V.E.N.O.M. traveled to Toronto, Canada, where Mayhem held an auction for several prototype Masks, based on designs originally created by Cornelius Trakker. However, M.A.S.K. had infiltrated the auction, and Matt and Gloria attacked Mayhem. Luckily, he had Bruno and Vanessa waiting in the wings to protect him. Matt cornered him, but soon Alessandra Trakker entered the room, begging her son not to kill him. This proved advantageous to Mayhem, who took Alessandra hostage with a gun to her head. Mayhem lectured Trakker on how weak he was before pulling the trigger.
Mayhem was one of many Earth villains contacted by Baron Karza, who offered to let them become his barons in exchange for accepting his dominion over Earth. Having dealt with him before, Mayhem defiantly proclaimed that Karza would be expelled from Earth once more.
At some point, Mayhem hired out V.E.N.O.M. to Destro, who wanted them to retrieve the crashed body parts of the Transformer Astrotrain. Mayhem met up with Destro in Alice Springs, Australia to exchange Astrotrain's head, but the meeting was interrupted by Matt Trakker and Scarlett. While the G.I. Joe leader engaged Cliff Dagger, Mayhem retreated to the Switchblade. He tried attacking Joe sniper Sci-Fi, only to be stopped by Trakker in the Thunderhawk, and the two began dogfighting. During the battle, Trakker lured Mayhem into a trap, with Scarlett using Dagger and his Torch Mask to light the Switchblade on fire and forcing it down. Mayhem was able to escape as Matt retrieved the head.
- Miles Mayhem was never an Adventure Team member in the toyline (nor in the Joe line). He was added to the crew by IDW in order to tie the M.A.S.K. comic to G.I. Joe and made into the toyline's Sea Adventurer figure.
- A younger Mayhem is depicted with the red hair of the Sea Adventurer figure in "Secret Raiders" and "The Secret of the Mummy's Tomb", but is seen with the character's traditional white hair during a flashback in M.A.S.K.: Revolution.