Abigail Brand
Agent Brand with Beast (left), Sydren (right), and Lockheed (above) in the background.
Art by John Cassaday.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceCameo:
Astonishing X-Men vol. 3 #3
(September 2004)
Full appearance:
Astonishing X-Men vol. 3 #6
(December 2004)
Created byJoss Whedon
John Cassaday
In-story information
Alter egoAbigail Thanriaguiaxus
SpeciesHuman mutant / Alien hybrid
Team affiliationsAlpha Flight
S.W.O.R.D.
X-Men
PartnershipsBeast
Notable aliasesCommander Brand
Agent Brand
Abilities
  • Pyrokinesis
  • Trained armed and unarmed combatant
  • Multilingualism

Abigail Brand (Abigail Thanriaguiaxus) is a character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Joss Whedon and artist John Cassaday, the character first appeared in Astonishing X-Men vol. 3 #3 (September 2004).[1][2] Abigail Brand belongs to the subspecies of humans called mutants, who are born with superhuman abilities.[3] She is the Commander of counterterrorism and intelligence agency S.W.O.R.D.[4][5]

Publication history

Abigail Brand debuted in Astonishing X-Men vol. 3 #3 (September 2004), created by writer Joss Whedon and artist John Cassaday.[6][7] She appeared in the 2020 Empyre: Avengers Aftermath series.[8][9] She appeared in the 2022 X-Men Red series, by writer Al Ewing and artist Stefano Caselli.[10][11][12]

Fictional character biography

Origin

Abigail Brand is the commanding officer of S.W.O.R.D., a S.H.I.E.L.D. offshoot that defends the Earth from extraterrestrial threats. Almost no details about her personal life have been revealed, but she is known to be 28 years old as of the Skrulls' "Secret Invasion."[13]

Ord and The Breakworld

When the alien Ord came to Earth, convinced that a mutant was destined to destroy his planet, Brand intervened to avert interplanetary war. Brand acquiesced to Ord's plan to avert the destruction of his world by allowing him to create a 'cure' for the mutant 'condition'. It was later revealed that the mutant prophesied to destroy Breakworld was Colossus. Furthermore, statements made by Ord suggest that neutralizing Earth's mutant population may have been just one step in an as-yet unrevealed plan.

After her involvement in this plan became known to the X-Men and to then-S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury, Brand faced a board of inquiry to answer charges against her conduct. She defended her actions on the grounds that averting interplanetary warfare was a responsibility so great as to justify courses of action that would otherwise be considered immoral or illegal. This defense seems to have convinced the board as she was subsequently still in command of S.W.O.R.D.

Despite the antagonistic relationship she and Fury demonstrated toward each other, she was considered a Fury loyalist by Fury's then-successor as S.H.I.E.L.D. director, Maria Hill. Brand made no effort to hide her dislike for Hill, and no further contact between the two has been shown.

In a final attempt to draw Breakworld's forces away from the Earth, Brand had the X-Men (including Colossus), Ord, and Ord's ally Danger teleported aboard a S.W.O.R.D. starship and travel to the Breakworld itself. Ord, with the assistance of Danger, was able to contact his homeworld to alert them of Colossus' location, not knowing that this was all part of Brand's plan. Despite their past differences and Brand's continuing high-handed attitude, she attempted to work with the X-Men to find a solution to the crisis. However, Breakworld forces caught up with the S.W.O.R.D. vessel before Brand had predicted they would, forcing the X-Men and the S.W.O.R.D. strike team to use the ship's escape pods to finish their journey to the Breakworld. Once on the surface, Brand and Beast teamed up and became separated from the other X-Men, at which point they were forced to take shelter in a small cave to avoid a device that was altering the weather to subfreezing temperatures. To McCoy's astonishment, Brand used some type of superhuman power to generate enough heat to keep them alive.

After meeting back up with the rest of the X-Men, Brand, Beast, Wolverine, Armor, Shadowcat, and their new ally Danger were part of an assault on the Breakworld's doomsday device before it could be fired at Earth. During the ensuing battle against Breakworld soldiers, Brand dove into the path of a laser blast meant for Beast. Severely wounded, she explained to Beast she did it since as a genius he had the greatest chance for disarming the weapon. Her last words to Beast before passing out were to "save the damn world already."

Eventually Brand regained consciousness and rejoined the team. As McCoy tended to her wounds, he noted her rapid healing. When he attempted to draw more information out of her, Brand countered by revealing an intense sexual attraction to him. The X-Men and surviving S.W.O.R.D. strike team members headed toward the site where Colossus was prophesied to destroy the Breakworld, but Brand's team was attacked by Breakworld forces. When Brand was captured and threatened by several Breakworld men, she killed her attackers after revealing that "Brand" is not her surname, but a sobriquet referencing her powers. After the Breakworld mission ended, Brand offered McCoy a job with S.W.O.R.D., stating that she needs someone who will question her actions and help her avoid making mistakes. She reiterates her sexual attraction to him, telling McCoy when he brings up the fact that he's a "blue, furry monster" that her father, an alien, was one as well.

Ghost Box

Brand is called in for a consult when the X-Men come across a Ghost Box they find in Chaparanga Beach. After explaining that a Ghost Box is a device used to travel between parallel worlds, she and Cyclops argue because Brand believes, when it comes to Ghost Boxes, it is S.W.O.R.D. business, whereas Cyclops thinks it is mutant business. Brand backs off but informs Scott that the minute this investigation 'goes south' to give her a call. When Beast questions how to define their relationship, Brand says she is his Xenophiliac Experimentation Partner, prompting Beast to say she is his girlfriend.[14] She later fires a two-zettawatt laser from S.W.O.R.D. headquarters that destroys the Ghost Box and Forge's headquarters of Wundagore Mountain at Beast's request.[15]

Secret Invasion

Brand is present at The Peak, S.W.O.R.D.s headquarters, when it is destroyed by a Skrull posing as Dum Dum Dugan. Due to an emergency suit, she and a few other S.W.O.R.D. agents are able to survive in space long enough to witness the arrival of the Skrull armada in Earth space. She later is able to board one of the Skrull armada's ships by breaking into the exterior. After making it to the control/camera room, she witnesses the death and destruction the Skrulls are causing all over Earth, which makes her shed a tear. She is discovered by a Skrull youngster and a guard, who subsequently points his gun at her.[13][16] She outsmarts the guards and kills every Skrull on board. She frees their prisoner, the hero Mister Fantastic, who takes her to the Savage Land. She sees that all of the "Earth heroes" who had crash landed there were actually Skrulls.[17] Brand later flies the Avengers to New York to participate in the final battle against the Skrull forces.

After the Invasion

Beta Ray Bill visits Agent Brand aboard the rebuilt Peak seeking information on the whereabouts of Galactus. Brand confirms that S.W.O.R.D., as well as similar agencies of other species, share sightings of Galactus among themselves. Brand gives Bill the information but stressed that the world eater must never find out who gave him the information lest Galactus seek revenge on Earth. She also approaches Jessica Drew to recruit her into S.W.O.R.D., which she accepts. On Jessica's first mission, Brand sends her to Madripoor as well as giving her an alien detector.[18]

S.W.O.R.D.

Brand along with Beast and Lockheed star in a 2009 five-issue S.W.O.R.D. series written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Steven Sanders.

In the volume, Henry Peter Gyrich manages to take several notable aliens into custody such as Noh-Varr, Adam X, Jazinda, Karolina Dean and Hepzibah as part of his effort to remove aliens from Earth, including Brand and Lockheed themselves. When the Peak and S.W.O.R.D itself are invaded by the Drenx, a race of brutal aliens, Brand, McCoy, Lockheed and their ally Death's Head manage to defeat them, reversing Gyrich's actions and getting him dismissed from the organization. It is also revealed Brand has a half-brother who is green and furry.[19]

Abigail Brand is seen helping Magneto to hide in the aftermath of the Avengers vs. X-Men event. She is also revealed to be a mutant as well having inherited her human mother's X-gene. Abigail Brand was later murdered by one of Legion's multiple personalities while saving fellow S.W.O.R.D. teammate Sydren who was telepathically musing at the fact that Legion was getting more confident when he was merging his multiple personalities into his main personality. She was vaporized by a laser beam from that multiple personality leaving behind only a severed hand causing the Beast to mourn the loss of his girlfriend.[20] Brand was restored to life when Legion later altered reality.[21]

When Thanos invaded Earth during the Infinity storyline, S.W.O.R.D. was held and occupied. In desperation, Brand sent the Guardians of the Galaxy a request of help. This worked and Rocket Raccoon, Star-Lord, and Gamora helped Brand free the station of intruders and restore vital defense systems. They were assisted by Angela, a mysterious warrior of uncertain origins.[22]

Brand develops a friendly relationship with 'Broo', an intelligent, friendly Brood mutant alien attending the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. She attends as his 'parent' for graduation ceremonies.[23] Brand deals with being overtaken by an alien symbiote when S.W.O.R.D. is overtaken by the symbiote race.[24]

All-New, All-Different Marvel

Beginning in January 2016, Brand is a supporting character in the ninth volume of Captain Marvel, written by Agent Carter showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas with artwork by Kris Anka, as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel initiative. The series, set eight months after Secret Wars, features Abigail as the Lieutenant Commander of the new Alpha Flight Space Station, working directly under Captain Marvel. Abigail is openly hostile towards Carol and Puck reveals that Brand had turned down the role of Commander.[25]

In the aftermath of "Empyre," Abigail Brand attends the reception of Hulkling and Wiccan and also asks Hulkling if she may have a word with Captain Marvel. He allows it. Abigail tells Captain Marvel about how the Alpha Flight Space Program did not detect the Cotati operating in the Blue Area of the Moon. She also states that the Alpha Flight Space Program cannot function as a team if they are "caught in the loop." As Hulkling tries to break up the discussion, Abigail Brand announces her resignation from the Alpha Flight Space Program. In a flashforward, Abigail Brand is leading her own team. She finds a weakened Hulkling in the ruins claiming that she made something better as she orders Hulkling to come with her.[26]

Characteristics

Powers and abilities

Pyrokinesis

Brand possesses the power of pyrokinesis.[27][28] She has exhibited the ability to coat at least her hands in flame that is potent enough to burn through most metals. This flame has been shown colored both blue and red, though it is unknown whether the colors have any specific significance.[29] Although it was originally believed that this ability stems from her half-alien heritage, Brand herself revealed that her power is the result of her half-human heritage and is mutant in nature.[30]

Multilingualism

Due to her tongue being able to make shapes that normal human tongues can't, Abigail Brand is multilingual and is able to speak in several alien languages that others are unable to.[31] For example, she was able to fluently communicate with Lockheed in his native tongue, a fact that clearly surprised her crew.[32]

Physical appearance

Abigail Brand's green hair is a trait that has long been associated with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s enemy HYDRA. Wolverine disparagingly refers to her as "HYDRA-hair" at their first meeting.[33] She reveals that this is her natural color, the unusual color inherited from her father's race.[34][35][36] Abigail Brand has a tattoo on each bicep, where one reads "Grace," and the other "Anna." The significance of these tattoos has yet to be revealed.[37]

Reception

Critical response

Deirdre Kaye of Scary Mommy called Abigail Brand a "role model" and a "truly heroic" female character.[38] Francesco Cacciatore of Screen Rant called Abigail Brand Marvel's "Best Villain in Decades,"[39] while Stacie Rook included her in their "10 Female Marvel Heroes That Should Come To The MCU" list,[40] and Alex Capriati included her in their "MCU: 10 Most Desired Fan Favorite Debuts Expected In The Multiverse Saga" list.[41] Sarah Brown of Collider included Abigail Brand in their "30 Marvel Superheroes That Need to Join the MCU" list.[42] Thayer Preece Parker of Comic Book Resources ranked Abigail Brand 8th in their "10 Greatest Marvel Villains Of 2022" list.[43]

Other versions

Ultimate Marvel

An alternate version of Abigail Brand appears in the Ultimate Marvel universe. She appears as a disillusioned young woman who joins HYDRA after the death of her mother. She befriends an agent named Scorpio, in reality an undercover Nick Fury.[44] After being betrayed by her fellow HYDRA soldiers, Abigail Brand is recruited by Nick Fury as part of his new Howling Commandos.[45]

In other media

Television

Video games

Miscellaneous

References

  1. ^ Crohn, Adam (October 30, 2022). "Nick Fury May Have A Powerful Ally in Disney's 'Secret Invasion'". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
  2. ^ Jennings, Collier (2022-10-28). "Who Is Abigail Brand, Emilia Clarke's Character In 'Secret Invasion'?". Collider. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
  3. ^ Jason Wiese (October 11, 2020). "S.W.O.R.D.: Everything You Need To Know About The Marvel Comics Group And How It May Connect To The MCU". CinemaBlend. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
  4. ^ Chrysostomou, George (2021-04-30). "Marvel's Secret Invasion: 10 Characters The Latest Cast Members Could Be Portraying In The Disney+ Show". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  5. ^ Eckhardt, Peter (2022-09-15). "The Avengers' 10 Best Allies In Marvel Comics". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2023-02-07.
  6. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Sanderson, Peter; Brevoort, Tom; Teitelbaum, Michael; Wallace, Daniel; Darling, Andrew; Forbeck, Matt; Cowsill, Alan; Bray, Adam (2019). The Marvel Encyclopedia. DK Publishing. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-4654-7890-0.
  7. ^ Holmes, Adam (2022-10-27). "Wait, Did Disney+'s Secret Invasion Reveal Emilia Clarke Is Playing A Popular Marvel Mutant?". CinemaBlend. Retrieved 2023-03-17.
  8. ^ Lovett, Jamie (September 22, 2020). "Marvel Teases Fall of Kree Skrull Alliance and New Team". ComicBook.com. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
  9. ^ Tessier, Colin (2020-09-17). "Empyre Aftermath: Avengers Teases a Nightmarish Future For Hulkling". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
  10. ^ Johnston, Rich (2023-01-04). "Al Ewing Is Doing Sunspot And Mission Impossible Again In X-Men Red". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
  11. ^ Stanford, Jerry (2023-01-05). "10 Biggest Reveals From X-Men: Red (So Far)". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
  12. ^ Quidilla, Adrian (2023-01-09). "Storm's Defeat of an Iconic Villain Shows Why She's The Best X-Men Leader". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
  13. ^ a b Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust one-shot. Marvel Comics.
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  17. ^ Secret Invasion #5. Marvel Comics.
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  24. ^ Spider-Man & the X-Men #5 (2015). Marvel Comics.
  25. ^ Captain Marvel vol. 9 #1 (Jan. 2016). Marvel Comics.
  26. ^ Empyre: Aftermath Avengers #1. Marvel Comics.
  27. ^ Prom, Bradley (2022-08-31). "Secret Invasion: 10 New Characters Who Could Be Introduced In The Show". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  28. ^ Worby, Mike (2022-10-28). "All Of Abigail Brand's Mutant Powers Explained". Looper. Retrieved 2023-03-17.
  29. ^ Steiner, Chelsea (June 5, 2021). "Is Emilia Clarke Playing Brand in Marvel's Secret Invasion?". The Mary Sue. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
  30. ^ Avengers vs. X-Men: Consequences #4 (2012). Marvel Comics.
  31. ^ Drakes, Kyshaun (2021-02-07). "5 MCU Characters Who Could Appear In Secret Invasion (& 5 New Characters We Want To See)". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2022-11-21.
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  34. ^ Giant Sized Astonishing X-Men #1. Marvel Comics.
  35. ^ Schlesinger, Alex (2022-12-06). "X-Men Cosplay Proves Their Biggest Traitor Needs Full-Costume MCU Debut". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
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  38. ^ Kaye, Deirdre (November 16, 2020). "Looking For A Role Model? These 195+ Marvel Female Characters Are Truly Heroic". Scary Mommy. Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  39. ^ Cacciatore, Francesco (2022-11-08). "X-Men Introduces Marvel's Best Villain in Decades". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
  40. ^ Rook, Stacie (2022-01-30). "10 Female Marvel Heroes That Should Come To The MCU". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
  41. ^ Capriati, Alex (2022-10-24). "MCU: 10 Most Desired Fan Favorite Debuts Expected In The Multiverse Saga". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  42. ^ Brown, Sarah (February 2, 2019). "30 Marvel Superheroes That Need to Join the MCU". Collider. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
  43. ^ Parker, Thayer Preece (2022-12-26). "10 Greatest Marvel Villains Of 2022". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2023-02-07.
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  45. ^ Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #21. Marvel Comics.
  46. ^ a b c d "Abigail Brand Voices (Marvel Universe)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved January 14, 2024. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.
  47. ^ Hashimoto, Marika (January 13, 2022). "Piecing Together MARVEL Puzzle Quest: Abigail Brand (S.W.O.R.D.)". Marvel.com. Retrieved 2023-04-10.