Brood (comics)

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Brood

Cover art for Ms. Marvel (vol. 2) #2.
Art by Frank Cho.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Uncanny X-Men #155 (March 1982)
Created by Chris Claremont
Dave Cockrum

The Brood are a race of insectoid, parasitic, extraterrestrial beings that appear in the comic books published by Marvel Comics, especially Uncanny X-Men. Created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Dave Cockrum, they first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #155 (March 1982).

The Brood possess wings, fanged teeth and a stinging tail. They have a hive mentality and mindlessly follow a queen. To reproduce, they must infect other races with their eggs.

Concept and creation[edit]

According to Dave Cockrum, the Brood were originally conceived to serve as generic subordinates for the main villain of Uncanny X-Men #155: "We had Deathbird in this particular story and Chris [Claremont] had written into the plot 'miscellaneous alien henchmen.' So I had drawn Deathbird standing in this building under construction and I just drew the most horrible looking thing I could think of next to her."[1]

Brood species[edit]

Physical characteristics[edit]

Despite their resemblance to insects, the Brood have endoskeletons as well as exoskeletons. Also unlike insects, they have fanged jaws instead of mandibles. Their skulls are triangular and flat, with a birthmark (such as the battle axe which is most common in broodlings but are different for each Brood) between their large eyes. Their two front legs are actually long tentacles they can use to manipulate objects.

Due to their natural body armor and teeth, the Brood are very dangerous in combat. In addition, they have stingers that can deliver either paralyzing or killing poison.

Reproduction[edit]

The parasitic Brood have the ability to impregnate a host (of any lifeform) with an egg, making them somewhat similar to Aliens from the Fox franchise. Each host can only support one egg. When the embryo is grown, the host becomes a Brood, and is effectively dead.

They use a hive mind to pass memory to their hosts, which also passes an individual's knowledge, given to a broodling, to the hive and back to the queen, meaning newborn brood know what any member of a race knows. Until the embryo gains the host's body the embryo can only gain temporary control of the host, often without the host noticing as the host is unaware when it loses control.

If the host possesses any genetic powers, the resultant Brood will inherit them. The persona of the host once the Brood is "born" appears to be extinguished, but in some cases the host's will may be strong enough to survive and coexist with the Brood's.

Brood also have the ability to morph into their host's original form and a hybrid form with characteristics of both the host and the Brood body.

Civilization[edit]

The Brood are sadistic creatures that enjoy the suffering they intentionally cause others, especially the terror their infection causes their hosts. They have been compared to "demons".[2]

The Brood have a civilization based on the typical communal insect societies, such as those of the bees and ants. The Queens are the absolute rulers, while the "sleazoids" do all the work; despite their evil, they never rebel against their Queens, perhaps due to the latter's telepathic abilities. However, the Queens have no allegiance to each other. They also have developed, or stolen, advanced technology.

Their true planet of origin is unknown. They arrived in the Shi'ar galaxy long ago, and began infesting many worlds, becoming deadly enemies to the Sh'iar. In this galaxy they found certain large space-dwelling creatures that they decided to use as living starships. These include the whale-like Acanti, and the shark-like Starsharks. The Brood use a virus that effectively lobotomizes the creatures, then they use bionics to control them. The Brood hollow out part of the creatures (by eating them) and use the space created to live in, like termites eating a tree. This eventually kills the living ships, requiring them to capture new ones.

One of the Acanti they captured was of unusual size (its rib cage alone was the size of a mountain range.) They used it as their main base, and, when it died and crashed onto a planet, used it as their main city. The corpse was so large, it took centuries just to rot halfway. However, predators from the planet they landed on infested the area of the dead Acanti's brain, so the Brood avoided it.

Types[edit]

There are several types of Brood.

  • Broodlings - brown, nearly the size of a human, and have transparent wings. Broodlings have flexible abdomens that they need to coil most of the time. They have an image on their forehead crest, though no meaning is known from symbol to symbol. These are nicknamed "sleazoids" by Kitty Pryde. Most infected hosts become Broodlings. Broodlings are only created by infecting another host with an embryo.
  • Firstborn - "pure" Brood, they are born directly from hatched eggs and subservient to their mother, the Empress, only. They are green, black, and red in color, and are roughly the size of a human, but smaller than a queen.
  • Brood Queens - Looking like the Broodlings but slightly larger than humans the Queens are much rarer and infect hosts for the Brood Hive. Queens fulfill the mental command of an Empress, a unique alien who houses the hive mind. Queens can communicate with their spawn by telepathy, even across interstellar distances.
  • Empress - The Empress, who houses the Brood's hive mind, is green with minor black and red colors. There is only one Empress at a time, and she is massive. It can be assumed that when the Empress dies, a Brood Queen will be selected to become the new Empress of the Brood as seen during the Infinity event, a Brood Queen is seen among the Galactic Council.

History[edit]

Cover to Uncanny X-Men #166. Art by Paul Smith. Featured are the X-Men (Kitty Pryde, Lilandra, Colossus, Cyclops, Wolverine, and Nightcrawler) fighting the Brood

The first Marvel hero to encounter the Brood was the Kree warrior Mar-Vell, who had been ordered to make contact with the stranded Grand Admiral Devros on a planet in the Absolom Sector, a region known to be infested with Brood. Mar-Vell's team, which includes the medic Una and Colonel Yon-Rogg, is ambushed by Brood warriors after landing on the planet and taken prisoner by the Brood-infected Devros. The colony's Brood Queen impregnates each captive with Brood embryos, but Mar-Vell and Una manage to escape, destroy both leaders of the Brood colony, and ridding themselves of their infections using Una's modified omni-wave projector which had been designed to eliminate Brood embryos. After rescuing Colonel Yon-Rogg, the trio escape the planet and are rescued by the Shi'ar royal Deathbird.[3]

Deathbird later allies with The Brood to gain their help deposing her sister Lilandra as ruler of their empire. As a reward for their help, Deathbird gives the Brood Lilandra, the X-Men, and the powerless Carol Danvers, along with Fang of the Imperial Guard, to use as hosts. The Brood infect the entire party, except for Danvers, who they perform experiments on because of her half-human/half-Kree genes. Wolverine's healing ability purges him of his embryo, and he helps the others escape. Unfortunately, he is unable to save Fang, who becomes a Brood warrior before they leave.

The Brood Queen orders her forces to find them, until she is contacted by the Queen embryo that is implanted in Cyclops. It explains that the X-Men are returning to Broodworld. Resigned to their dooms, the heroes help the Acanti race recover the racial Soul, a supernatural force that must be passed from one Acanti leader ("The Prophet-Singer") to the next. The Soul is located in a crystalline part of the dead Acanti Prophet-Singer's brain.

The Queen goes with her minions, and battles the X-Men, turning them into Brood warriors. The Prophet-Singer Soul is almost infected by the evil of the aliens, and Wolverine tries to mercy-kill his friends and the Queen but they are saved when Danvers, now a mighty being called Binary (due to the experimentations), arrives and releases the Soul. Before it goes to its next host, the racial Soul cures the X-Men and Lilandra, and turns the Queen into a crystal statue. It also causes the Broodworld to explode, but the X-Men and their allies, escape. Some of the Brood also manage to escape before the planet explodes. The new Prophet-Singer then leads the Acanti to safety in deep space.[4]

A Brood-filled starshark later crashes on Earth, leading to the infection of several nearby humans by the Brood. One of the victims is allowed to live as a human assistant, but when he leads the aliens to some mutants, the Brood infect him and the mutants as well. This is the first Earth-based confrontation with the Brood and it is revealed that the Brood can morph into the host's form, or a hybrid of the two forms. In the course of the battle, an Earth woman named Hannah Connover is infected with a queen, though this problem would not develop until later.[5]

Another branch of the Brood manage to land on Earth and infect more mutants, along with the Louisiana Assassins Guild of which X-Man Gambit belongs to. The X-Men kill most of the infected people. Fortunately they, along with Ghost Rider, manage to rescue many of the Brood's other uninfected prisoners, only to have the "Spirit of Vengeance" become infected himself. Psylocke manages to separate Ghost Rider from the Brood host before it could kill Danny Ketch, the current host of the Ghost Rider, and he and the X-Men saved New Orleans.[6]

Hannah Connover, previously infected with a Queen, soon begins to demonstrate attributes of Brood.[7] She uses her new-found "healing" powers to become a faith healer and cure many people with her reverend husband, but secretly her Brood nature causes her to infect many people with embryos. Across the Galaxy, on the "true" Brood Homeworld, the Brood Empress sends her "firstborn" Imperial Assassins to kill Hannah for going against the Empress' wishes. Unable to stop future waves of Assassins from coming, the X-Man, Iceman, freezes Connover, putting her in suspended animation and causing the current firstborn to kill themselves, as in their minds the mission was accomplished. Connover is assumed to still be in suspended animation with her Queen host in the custody of the X-Men.

During the Contest of Champions II, the Brood abduct several heroes and pose as a benevolent species willing to give the heroes access to advanced technology after competing against each other in a series of contests. However, in reality, the Brood intend to use Rogue, infested with a Brood Queen, to absorb the powers of the contest winners and become unstoppable. Fortunately, Iron Man realizes that the Brood are drugging food to amplify aggression- relying on his armor's own life-support systems to prevent him succumbing to the 'infection'- and is able to uncover the plot.

Although the Queen had already absorbed the powers and skills of the various contest winners- in the form of Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Jean Grey and the Scarlet Witch-, the remaining heroes managed to defeat her. The Brood Queen was extracted from Rogue with the aid of Carol Danvers, who forced the Brood Queen to flee by threatening to kill Rogue. After confirming that Rogue was cured, the heroes returned home.[8]

The Brood return to Earth in the Ms. Marvel series and battle Carol Danvers, who as Binary played a key role in their earlier defeat. Strangely enough, none of the Brood present recognize who she is, possibly because of her inability to fully access her cosmic powers, which also changed her physical appearance.[original research?] The Brood are also stalked and summarily exterminated by the alien hunter called Cru, with whom Ms. Marvel also came into violent contact.[9]

During the invasion of Annihilus and his Annihilation Wave, the Brood were almost decimated and the species is now on the brink of extinction. Some Brood appear in the arena of planet Saakar in the Planet Hulk storyline of The Incredible Hulk, one of them even becoming a main character. A Brood referred to as "No-Name", who becomes a genetic queen because their race is becoming rarer, becomes the lover of insect king Miek and also appears in World War Hulk.[10] When it is discovered that Miek was the one who let the Hulk's shuttle explode, No-Name and Hulk attack Miek.[11] Near the end of the War the "Earth Hive", the shared consciousness of every insect on Earth, use Humbug as a Trojan Horse to deal a crippling blow to No-Name, rendering her infertile and poisoning the last generation of hivelings, growing in Humbug's body. No-Name is a rarity among the Brood, as she learned to feel compassion for other living beings.[12]

The Brood reappeared once again in the pages of Astonishing X-Men, however these Brood are revealed to be actual genetically-grown hybrids created by a geneticist known only as Kaga who started growing and redesigning them with missing data about post M-Day work on Henry McCoy's research computers.

In the 2011 "Meanwhile" storyline Astonishing X-Men, S.W.O.R.D. scientists successfully find a way to remove a Brood embryo from a human host, but not before the Brood they are studying escape and attack, prompting a botched rescue mission led by Abigail Brand and another rescue mission led by the X-Men.[13]

Given the chance to lower the Brood's numbers further, they discovered that the Annihilation event had caused the interstellar ecosystem to destabilize, since the Brood, dangerous as they are, served as natural predators for even worse species. These remaining species are now breeding out of control and present a greater threat than the Brood ever did. With no other choice, the X-Men act to prevent the Brood extinction. According to Bishop, there would be a race of benevolent Brood in the future, prompting the X-Men to willingly serve as Brood hosts, so that they could instill them with the same compassion felt by No-Name. After being connected with the hive-mind, the X-Men learned of a nearby Brood who was born with ability to feel compassion, making him the Brood equivalent of a mutant. While such Brood are typically destroyed upon birth, this one was permitted to live, given the Brood's dwindling numbers.[14] After rescuing the Brood mutant and defeating the Brood in battle and allowing them to escape, the X-Men had their Brood embryos removed, to be raised aboard the Peak, with the Brood mutant acting as their mentor.[15]

The 2012 X-Men subseries Wolverine and the X-Men featured a Broodling as a student at Wolverine's Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Nicknamed "Broo" by Oya, the Broodling was a mutant, and both intelligent and non-violent able to wear clothing and glasses (which he felt made him look less frightening). Broo expressed a desire to join the Nova Corps. In a possible future timeline seen by Deathlok, Broo was a member of the X-Men alongside Oya, Quentin Quire, and Kid Gladiator.

During the Age of Ultron storyline, it is revealed that while in a hidden S.H.I.E.L.D. substation decades in the past, the future-Wolverine released and was infected by a less menacing Brood. When he cut the embryo out of his body, the Brood Collective responded to the attack by altering the physical structure of all future Brood to the form it is now known for.[16]

During the Infinity storyline, the Brood Queen appeared as a member of the Galactic Council.[17]

Other versions[edit]

Bishop's timeline[edit]

According to the time-traveling X-Man Bishop there are benign factions of Brood in the future. It is speculated that these "good" Brood are originated from Hannah Connover.[18]

Age of Apocalypse[edit]

In the Age of Apocalypse timeline, without the X-Men to aid them, part of the Shi'ar Imperium was consumed by the Brood, who infected its populace with Brood implants, including the still-captive Christopher Summers. Escaping to Earth, Summers fought to control his Brood implant, but was captured by Mister Sinister. Sinister turned him over to the Dark Beast, who would then proceeded to experiment upon him for years. Summers eventually escaped, and began infecting other humans (Including the AoA version of Joseph "Robbie" Robertson, as well as friends of Misty Knight and Colleen Wing). Ultimately Corsair was killed by his son Cyclops after he transformed into a Brood Queen and almost killed Alex, the Summers brothers cremating their father (And thus indirectly depriving Sinister of the chance to carry out further tests on Brood DNA).

Amalgam Comics[edit]

In Amalgam Comics, the Brood is combined with Brother Blood to form Brother Brood, and with the Cult of Blood to form the Cult of Brood. The Brood appear alongside Brother Brood, but are presented as supernatural rather than extraterrestrial.[19]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

The Brood appeared as a Danger Room training exercise during the Tempest arc of Ultimate X-Men. The Brood are later revealed to be creatures native to the mindscape, where the Shadow King dwells.

X-Men: The End[edit]

In X-Men: The End, taking place in a possible future, the Brood hatch a plan with Lilandra (possessed by Cassandra Nova). Nova plans to solidify her rule over Shi'ar space by smuggling an other-dimensional pure-Brood queen from an alternate universe. This realm is one where the X-Men failed to ever fight the Brood, they are described as 'pure'. This Brood Queen is implanted in Lilandra's sister, Deathbird.

JLA/Avengers[edit]

The Brood have a brief cameo scene, where they are seen attacking Mongul and apparently invading Warworld as the two universes begin to come together.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • A heavily altered version of the Brood (called The Colony) appears in the X-Men animated series episode "Love in Vain". These aliens looked more reptilian than insectoid and were equipped with metallic tentacled armors instead of having organic tentacles. In addition, instead of laying their eggs in other people, they infect other races and transform them into their own kind. The classic Brood appear in the episode "Mojovision", as generic aliens that fight Beast and Rogue in one of Mojo's shows as well as the Japanese intro for the X-Men Series. A classic Brood Queen also appears in the episode "Cold Comfort" as an illusion projected by Professor X to scare away the soldiers attacking Iceman.
  • The Brood are also briefly mentioned in the anime series Marvel Anime: X-Men. In the eighth episode, the X-Men battle monsters and Wolverine mistakes them for being the Brood, joking "Have the Brood landed again"?

Video games[edit]

  • The title of one of the tracks in X-Men 2: Clone Wars is "The Brood Queen & Her Claws", and phalanx clones are enemies in the later levels.
  • In X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, the Cerci are a race of insect enemies which are based on the Brood from the comics; they are referred to as such in the game's viewable concept art, and one type of Cerci is called a "Brood Queen". However, while the Brood are highly intelligent aliens, the Cerci are genetically engineered creatures with animal-like intelligence. As you fight the Cerci, some have a name with "Brood" in the title, as well.
  • In Lego Marvel Super Heroes, the Brood are mentioned on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier's intercom where it's possible that their eggs were in the tapioca pudding.

Collectibles[edit]

  • One of the Marvel Milestone statues features Marc Silvestri's Brood-infected Wolverine cover for Uncanny X-Men #234.
  • Brood Queen is one of the "build a figure" toys in the Marvel Legends series.
  • Broodling toys have been produced by Toy Biz (winged, for their X-Men line) and Marvel Select Toys (unwinged and based on Fang's transformation, in a two pack with a Skrull warrior).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Meth, Clifford (August 1993). "How a Typhoon Blew in Success". Wizard: X-Men Turn Thirty. pp. 50–52. 
  2. ^ Claremont, Chris. Uncanny X-Men #234
  3. ^ The Untold Legend of Captain Marvel #1-3
  4. ^ Uncanny X-Men #155-157, #161-166
  5. ^ Uncanny X-Men #232-234
  6. ^ Ghost Rider (2nd series) #26-27, X-Men (2nd series) #9
  7. ^ 'X-Men Vs. Brood: Day of Wrath' 1-2
  8. ^ Contest of Champions II #1-5
  9. ^ Ms. Marvel (2nd series) #1-3
  10. ^ The Incredible Hulk (3rd series) #92-105
  11. ^ World War Hulk #5
  12. ^ Heroes for Hire (2nd series) #11-15
  13. ^ Astonishing X-Men (vol. 3) #38
  14. ^ Astonishing X-Men (vol. 3) #40
  15. ^ Astonishing X-Men (vol. 3) #42
  16. ^ Wolverine and the X-Men #27AU
  17. ^ Infinity #3
  18. ^ X-Men Day of Wrath 1, 2
  19. ^ The Exciting X-Patrol #1

External links[edit]