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|First appearance||Doom Patrol #86 (May 1964)|
|Created by||Arnold Drake (writer)
Bruno Premiani (artist)
|Team affiliations||Brotherhood of Evil
Secret Society of Super Villains
The Brain is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly as a frequent enemy of the Doom Patrol. He is a French mastermind and criminal genius.
Fictional character biography
As a scientist, the man who would one day become known as the Brain performed experiments on animals to raise their intelligence. One of these was on a captured gorilla, raising its I.Q. to the genius-level of 178. He named the gorilla Monsieur Mallah and educated him for almost a decade before making him his personal assistant.
His colleague, Niles Caulder grew jealous of his work and arranged for the scientist to get caught in an explosion, which destroyed the scientist's body. Only the brain survived, which Caulder planned on putting into a robotic body.
Mallah rescued the scientist, taking his brain and transferring it to a computer network that kept it functioning (Caulder would later engineer another accident causing the racecar driver Cliff Steele to crash his car; Caulder then put Steele's brain in the artificial body originally meant for the scientist).
Now known simply as the Brain, the scientist and Mallah gathered together the criminal organization known as the Brotherhood of Evil in hopes of conquering the world and getting revenge on Caulder. Caulder, now known as the "Chief", through a series of other accidents that he was later shown to have manipulated, would form the superhero group known as the Doom Patrol (Caulder's involvement in the events which transformed the Doom Patrol, and the Brain, was retconned decades after the creation of the Doom Patrol and the Brain; originally the incidents were genuine accidents). Setting out to destroy the Chief's 'pets', the Brain, Mallah, and their Brotherhood became enemies of the Patrol. Their criminal activities would also pit them against the Teen Titans. One story saw the Brotherhood go against the newly formed Justice League, with the Brain using a genetic splicer to take the Flash's legs, Green Lantern's ring- by taking the arm wearing it- Black Canary's vocal chords- and thus her sonic scream- and the Martian Manhunter's eyes. Despite using his stolen powers, the Brain was defeated during a confrontation with the League and the Doom Patrol- the League using cybernetic implants created by Niles Caulder to compensate for their lost powers- when Aquaman was thrown to the Brain and overpowered his control of the ring (Aquaman also noting that the Brain's overreliance on the ring meant that he overlooked use of the other abilities), allowing Aquaman to separate the Brain from his makeshift body and allow the League to undo what had been done.
During Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run, Mallah had the Brain placed in Robotman's new body (Robotman's brain had been removed from it earlier, due to it malfunctioning). In his new body, the Brain confessed to Mallah he was in love with him. When Mallah revealed he felt the same way, the two kissed. However, Robotman's body had developed sentience and vowed never to be enslaved by a brain again; when Mallah placed his lover in the body, he triggered a self-destruct mechanism, which exploded as they kissed.
The two would later resurface (the Brain back to floating in a jar). It is uncertain if the two somehow survived the explosion, or if they were brought back to life by some alteration of reality (in Zero Hour, the world was destroyed and recreated with subtle differences, and in Infinite Crisis, Superboy-Prime's pounding on the "walls of reality" created ripples which altered reality and caused history to repeat itself for several characters).
The Brotherhood later began raiding genetic research facilities; their plan being to unlock the secrets of cloning in order to create a new body for the Brain, so he and Monsieur Mallah "can finally live happily ever after." The Brain was ultimately able to clone a new body for himself, but after a short while it began to break down, so he had Mallah rip off his head so he could put his brain back into another jar.
In the Salvation Run storyline, Brain and Monsieur Mallah appear amongst the villains that were sent to the planet Cygnus 4019. Brain and Monsieur Mallah arrive at Joker's camp, and Monsieur Mallah asks Gorilla Grodd to speak with him away from the others. Mallah proposes to Grodd that as fellow gorillas, the natural kings of the jungle, they should team up, and through their combined might be able to rule the entire place by themselves. Gorilla Grodd laughs at Monsieur Mallah for considering himself, an "absurd science experiment," comparable to "a proud child of Gorilla City." Monsieur Mallah strikes Gorilla Grodd and calls him a beast, causing Grodd to fly into a rage and try to kill him. Although Monsieur Mallah also has a gun and shoots Gorilla Grodd several times, Gorilla Grodd still has the upper hand, and is about to kill Monsieur Mallah when Brain interjects, pleading for Monsieur Mallah's life. Thinking better of it, Grodd picks Brain up and beats Mallah to death with Brain smashing Brain's protective hull in the process and killing him as well. Before breathing his last breath, Monsieur Mallah says he dies happy taking solace in that he and Brain will finally be able to be together forever.
In The New 52, Brain and Monsieur Mallah have assisted Gorilla Grodd in taking over the remains of Central City at the time when The Black had taken over most of the world. They end up capturing Animal Man and the heroes that are with him. Animal Man's group is saved by Frankenstein and his Patchwork Army who defeat most of the gorillas as a few of them are allowed to escape in order to tell the tale of their defeat.
Powers and abilities
One of the most formidable villains ever encountered by the Doom Patrol, or even in DC Comics, The Brain is more of a cerebral opponent but all the more dangerous for it. A former polymath, The Brain has a genius level IQ which he puts to use as a criminal mastermind and is more than capable of plotting out perfect crimes. The Brain is completely single-minded, and motivated almost entirely towards domination of others, the committing of even more perfect crimes, and ultimate revenge against Niles Caulder.
Adept in psychology, he is also a master of coercion, deceit and manipulation, being able to persuade almost anybody to do his dirty work for him, even to the point where his agents are under the illusion that they are not actually committing evil or immoral acts. This has however on occasion been hinted to be a result of mind control by the use of telepathy on the part of The Brain. It was through these vast cerebral abilities that The Brain was able to unite various villains under his leadership, and form the Brotherhood of Evil.
Although others often act as brawn to his brain, most notably his assistant–partner Monsieur Mallah, The Brain has occasionally used agile robotic bodies to give him mobility. The different contraptions which have been seen to hold his brain were designed by The Brain himself (also a master in biology and robotics) and have proved time and time again to be durable and even nigh-indestructible. On the rare occasion when The Brain has been caught vulnerable without robotic protection or assistance from other villains, he has protected himself by attacking opponents through telekinesis.
Except for the times when he has possessed robot bodies as mentioned above, the Brain is normally portrayed as an ordinary human brain, albeit housed within what could be described as a life-sized chess piece which contains the equipment required to keep him alive; it is this portrayal that was adapted in the animated versions of the Brain as mentioned in this article. In the original Doom Patrol series, he was regularly portrayed as a disembodied brain, bobbing inside a sealed dome filled with a nutrient bath, hooked up with numerous machines, including a loudspeaker to convey his voice.
During a confrontation with the newly formed Justice League and the Doom Patrol, the Brain used genetics equipment provided by the mysterious Locus organization to 'steal' the Martian Manhunter's eyes, Black Canary's vocal chords, the Flash's legs and Green Lantern's right arm, granting him access to the Manhunter's vision abilities, Canary's sonic scream, the Flash's speed, and Green Lantern's power ring. However, during this time he was only ever shown using the ring, and was caught off-guard by its vulnerability to yellow, with Aquaman eventually managing to overpower the Brain's will and use the ring to sever him from his makeshift body.
DC Comics previously had another villain named the Brain during the Golden Age of Comics. He was an ordinary criminal who earned his nickname for his cleverness, and was not literally just a brain. He alongside Captain Bigg, Hopper, False-Face and Rattler were one of five small-time villains hired by Black Star to commit a bank robbery. They were all foiled by the Seven Soldiers of Victory.
In Smallville season 11, The Brain appears on the back of Monsieur Mallah, robbing the Musée du Louvre. They are both taken down by Superman, and Impulse. In this version, Brain and Mallah are revealed to be lovers.
In other media
- The Brain appears as the main antagonist of the fifth and final season of the Teen Titans animated series, voiced by Glenn Shadix in a computer-altered voice. His appearance is very similar to a Dalek, major antagonists in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, and indeed the producers of Teen Titans mentioned the British show in interviews about Season Five. When interviewed at the unofficial Transformers convention TFCon, Derrick J. Wyatt stated that the Brain was a "Total Dalek", claiming that he even talked like one, and the resemblance was intentional. Like Mallah, his sexuality was not mentioned due to the targeted young audience. Considered the leader of the Brotherhood of Evil, he (like his comic counterpart) is a brain preserved in a robotic jar. The Brain seems to do very little during the series, and acts behind the scenes coordinating the villain attacks. When he appears in his secret base, he is frequently seen playing chess with Mallah and comparing it to the game of wits he considers himself to be playing against Robin. In the rare instances where he himself fights, he appears to possess limited telekinetic and telepathic abilities. He is otherwise defenseless and an easy target several times in the series, not even able to defend against a slap on the back from Beast Boy. As a result of his defenselessness from a physical standpoint, he relies almost entirely on his evil subordinates to carry out his plans, with Brain providing the strategy and intelligence. This reliance proves mostly justified in the episode "Calling All Titans." In this episode, the Brain uses a stolen Teen Titans communicator (Robin's, to be precise, who gave it to Madame Rouge thinking she was Hotspot) to track down and capture every honorary Teen Titan by sending villains to capture them. In most cases, the Brain is able to provide exactly the evil opponent (or more than one opponent) needed to capture any hero (e.g. overpowering the hero Speedy with the villain Cheshire, who can block all of Speedy's arrows with her superior reflexes, and sending the shape-shifting Madame Rouge to capture the physical fighter Robin). However, the Brain's over-reliance on his subordinates also eventually proves to be his undoing due to several key mistakes belying his usual intelligence; he sends the Kardiak monster to capture Beast Boy, but Beast Boy wins the fight; he sends both Atlas and Adonis to overpower Pantha, but Pantha defeats them both; he sends Cinderblock and Johnny Rancid to capture Mas y Menos, but the two villains only manage to capture Menos, and Mas escapes; he sends Fang and Private H.I.V.E. to take down Jericho, but Jericho is victorious; he sends Warp and See-More to capture Herald, but Herald successfully fights off both of them. The Brain seems unable to adapt to any possible holes in his plan, and this flaw costs him dearly in the very next episode "Titans Together" as the remaining heroes (plus Cyborg, Starfire, and Raven, who while not victorious in their respective ambushes still managed to escape capture) infiltrate his base to free the captured heroes. In a last-ditch effort to escape when the tables turn, he detaches the skull jar from the rest of his body, simultaneously turning it into a fusion device to blow up his base so he could escape (saying that sometimes the best strategy is to "clear the board completely"), which he immediately activates. As he gets alarmingly close to leaving the now-ravaged Brotherhood base, the Brain is knocked off the scafford by Beast Boy, which Robin retrieves seconds before the jar smashes onto the ground, and is subsequently flash-frozen by a smirking Beast Boy (who jokes about "brain freeze", to everyone's disgust).
- Brain appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Journey to the Center of the Bat!" voiced by Dee Bradley Baker in a French accent. He controls Chemo and uses him to attack a Bialyan city. After Chemo steals and eats a nuclear missile, Brain makes his demands for the people to surrender. After Chemo was defeated, Batman went to look for Brain and finds him in an offshore submarine. Batman fell on top of Brain, immobilising them both. After the Atom and Aquaman destroyed the seed cell behind Batman's illness, Brain managed to stand himself up only for Batman to recover and defeat him. Brain later appears in a cameo in the episode of "Deep Cover for Batman!" where his good counterpart appears [clarification needed] fighting against the Injustice Syndicate. The original Brain later joins Owlman and other villains in the following episode, but is defeated in a psychic battle against an alternate universe version of Batman, who also had psychic powers. Unlike in his previous Teen Titans appearance, this version of the Brain showed visible emotion, and openly mocked Batman as he attempted to fight him. Besides his psychic powers, he displayed a variety of weapons mounted on extendable robot arms, most of which proved ineffective once Batman was healthy again. In "The Last Patrol!", he was shown with Monsieur Mallah and the other Doom Patrol villains. He and Monsieur Mallah target the Chief, noting his old rivalry with him, only to end up fighting Batman. He and Monsieur Mallah later appear on General Zahl's ship with the other villains and end up defeated.
- Brain appears in Young Justice voiced by Nolan North in the first appearance and by Corey Burton in all subsequent appearances with both voice actors using a French accent. He and Monsieur Mallah were behind a plot to use mind-control collars on India's wildlife which he had enhanced into enlarged monsters using Kobra Venom. When Captain Marvel was trapped, Brain plotted to surgically extract Captain Marvel's brain to see what effect "the wisdom of Solomon" had on it. The team managed to find a way into Brain's lair and stop them but Brain and Monsieur Mallah end up getting away. In "Revelation", it is revealed that Brain is L-6 of The Light (Project Cadmus' Board of Directors). In "Misplaced", Brain is in a meeting with The Light where his discussion with Klarion the Witch Boy stated that the spell that he, Blackbriar Thorn, Felix Faust, Wizard, and Wotan performed was enough for a diversion that involved Riddler and Sportsmaster stealing an alien organism from S.T.A.R. Labs. When Riddler and Sportsmaster brings the canister containing the organism (which turned out to be a sample of Starro) to him, Brain tells Klarion the Witch Boy and the other members of the Light present that they plan to bring the organism "into the Light". In "Insecurity", Brain, alongside Monsieur Mallah and Klarion the Witch Boy meet up with Sportsmaster and Professor Ivo. Brain, Klarion and Professor Ivo then experimented on the Starro sample. When Artemis crashes into their lab, Klarion uses a spell that gets the villains out of the warehouse leaving behind ice replicas that quickly break apart. In "Auld Acquaintance", Brain (alongside Monsieur Mallah) appears with Ra's al Ghul, Lex Luthor, Queen Bee, and Ocean Master where they raid Cadmus and steal all the clones. In "Summit", Brain and Monsieur Mallah join the Light in a summit with the Reach within the caves of Santa Prisca. During a three-way fight between the Team, the Light, and the Reach, Impulse managed to defeat Brain by disarming him of his weapons.
- Brain appears in the Teen Titans Go! episode "Brian" voiced by Scott Menville. He captures the Teen Titans in order to steal their powers and fuel his Project B.R.I.A.N. (short for Brain's Robotic Indestructible Armor Nexus) with the naming part being a mistake on Brain's part. A recurring gag in that episode is that the Teen Titans thought that Brain's name is Brian. This causes the little buddies of the Teen Titans to end up saving the Teen Titans and defeating Brain.
- Brain appears in DC Universe Online, voiced by Leif Anders.
- Brain appears as a final boss in the DS Version of Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Videogame.
- The Brain has a cameo appearance in Injustice: Gods Among Us. He is seen in the Insurgency Level where he is placed next to Lex Luthor's battlesuit.
- Brain made an appearance in issue #29 and a cameo in the Teen Titans Go! comic book series.
- Although he never appeared in Justice League himself, a version of the Brain from this continuity appeared in a comic story based on the series, where the League faked an elaborate 'auction' to lure all of their villains into one place. When the Brain realizes what is happening, he attempts to deduce which members of the auction are actually League members in disguise, but his deductions are thwarted by the assumption that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were not among the League members (being seemingly frozen in time by Chronos) and he only had to track down Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter, when in reality even Chronos's role was faked (Chronos being a disguised Batman) and the League managed to capture the villains.
- Jimenez, Phil (2008), "Brain", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 60, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5
- JLA: Year One #5
- JLA: Year One #6
- Teen Titans (vol. 3) #34 (May 2006)
- Teen Titans (vol. 3) #35 (June 2006)
- Teen Titans (vol. 3) #36 (July 2006)
- Teen Titans (vol. 3) #37 (August 2006)
- Salvation Run #1-7 (January–July 2008)
- Animal Man Vol. 2 #15
- Leading Comics #2 (Spring 1942)
- Smallville Season 11 #9
- Brain at DC Comics Wiki