Brood
Brood vs Ms Marvel.jpg
Cover art for Ms. Marvel vol. 2 #2.
Art by Frank Cho.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Uncanny X-Men #155 (March 1982)
Created byChris Claremont (writer)
Dave Cockrum (artist)
Characteristics
Place of originSleazeworld
Inherent abilitiesThe 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.

The Brood are a fictional race of insectoid, parasitic, extraterrestrial beings appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, especially Uncanny X-Men. Created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Dave Cockrum, they first appeared in The Uncanny X-Men #155 (March 1982).[1]

Concept and creation

According to Dave Cockrum, the Brood were originally conceived to serve as generic subordinates for the main villain of The 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."[2]

Biology

Physical characteristics

The Brood are an alien race of insectoids beings. They are a specialized race, one that has evolved to reproduce and consume any available resources.[3] They 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".[4]

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

The parasitic Brood reproduce asexually and therefore have no clear divisions of gender. They reproduce by forcibly implanting their eggs into other sentient organisms (host). Each host can only support one egg. Upon hatching, the host will effectively die as the Brood egg releases enzymes into the bloodstream of its host, gradually mutating them. At the same time, the Broodling begins to psychically attack its host, taking control of its mind, absorbing its genetic material and incorporating all its knowledge and memories into the Brood. They appear to be capable of even infecting demons or someone who is possessed by a demon like Ghost Rider.[5]

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 the 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.[6] However it is implied that hosts with advanced healing ability are unable to turn, for example when an egg was implanted in Deadpool, instead of turning into a Brood, a small Brood burst out of Deadpool's body.[7]

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

The Brood have a civilization based on the typical communal insect societies, such as those of the bees and ants. The Empress is the absolute ruler, while the Queens lead individual Brood colonies and 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. Some of the roles have proven to be flexible.

Technology

The Brood, like most alien species, possess advanced technology, however due to their nature it's unknown if they developed it themselves or assimilated it for their own benefit. These include:

Fictional species biography

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
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 Brood are the Main Universe's first natural predators, spawned on a dark galaxy prior the emergence of Galactus from his incubator. Their planet of origin is unknown, but such is their relentless evil, legend holds that the Brood originated not through natural evolution, but in otherworldly sorcery from a different universe. After its collapse, the Brood invaded this world with hopes of satisfying their insatiable hunger. In this dark galaxy they found certain large space-dwelling creatures that they decided to prey to use as living starships to infest neighboring star systems and initiating an intergalactic campaign to build a fearsome empire. These space-dwelling creatures included the whale-like Acanti, and the shark-like Starsharks.[16]

The Brood use a virus that effectively lobotomizes these creatures, the Slaver Virus as it is known is a powerful force that dismantles the cores of reasoning within the target's brain causing the sources of self-awareness and the conscious mind to simple shut down, turning the creatures into faithful zombies. 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.

Thousands of years before the modern Marvel Universe, its revealed the Kree had captured some Brood's species and experimented on them as they understood the Brood's volatile nature, and decide to weaponize the species and use them to take down the Shi'ar Empire. The Supreme Intelligence sees the experimentation has a compelling potential but guesses that it'll take millions of years to create a large enough army to fully be unleashed as a weapon against their enemies.[12]

Thousands of years later, Kree warrior Mar-Vell, has 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, was 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.[17]

They eventually reach the Shi'ar galaxy and began infesting many worlds, becoming deadly enemies to the Sh'iar. Deathbird later allies with The Brood to gain their help deposing her sister Lilandra as ruler of their empire.[14] 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 adamantium skeleton allowed his healing ability to purge him of the embryo, and he helps the others escape. He is unable to save Fang, who becomes a Brood warrior before they leave.[6]

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 experimentation), 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. Returning to Earth with the Starjammers, the X-Men defeat and detain the Brood Queen infecting Charles Xavier in the first Earth-based confrontation with the Brood. The advanced medical facilities at the Starjammers' disposal are able to transfer the consciousness of Xavier from the Brood Queen's body to a new cloned body, enabling Xavier to walk again.[14][6]

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. 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.[18]

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 is a member. The X-Men kill most of the infected people. They and 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.[19]

Hannah Connover, previously infected with a Queen, soon begins to demonstrate attributes of Brood.[20] 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 with the help of the Badoon 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.[14]

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.[15]

A mixed team of X-Men and Fantastic Four was formed to investigate what happened to the NASA space station Simulacra, only to discover that it had been taken over by the Brood scouting party, leading the way to Earth for the Brood armies. After battling them, they left the station leaving the infected crew members alive despite the desires of Wolverine and Emma Frost to kill them due to the interference of the Invisible Woman. Soon a Brood invasion arrived at New York City. The X-Men and Fantastic Four defended the city from the Brood despite facing overwhelming odds. Using an enhanced Cerebro, Emma Frost projected a telepathic hallucination of the Phoenix and Galactus appearing in the city, which caused the Brood to panic and recall their forces to the dozens of Acanti ships after which they fled Earth.[21]

It was also revealed that at some point in the dawn of civilization during the year 2610 BC, a spaceship filled with Brood crash landed in Egypt, marking the end of the second great dynasty due to the massive damage they've done. They went as far as turning a Pharaoh into one of their own and it also would have been the very end of days if not for Imhotep and a group of soldiers, among them En Sabah Nur, who were able to successfully fend off the invasion. Imhotep himself killed the Queen.[22]

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. The Brood are also stalked and summarily exterminated by the alien hunter called Cru, with whom Ms. Marvel also came into violent contact.[23] It later turned out that there had been escape pods from the Acanti, and the other one had the Brood Queen who had landed on Moster Island. Cru itself was back on Earth, having regenerated and was searching the Brood Queen. Ms. Marvel, seeing her as a threat, fought Cru again and in the process merged part of their minds temporarily making them unable to use their powers and therefore vulnerable to the Brood. The Brood Queen had established a nest on the island and infected the Moloids with their eggs. Ms. Marvel then discovered that the Brood Queen who ruled over the Brood of Sleazeworld had survived and now had a crystalline form. Upon arriving on the island, Operation: Lightning Storm strike team and Wonder Man battled the Brood, while Cru and Ms. Marvel having regained the ability to use their powers fought the Brood Queen. In the process Cru was killed, after which the Brood Queen was taken into space by Ms. Marvel who destroyed her with a nuclear weapon.[24]

During the invasion of Annihilus and his Annihilation Wave, the Brood were decimated, and the species is now on the brink of extinction.[25]

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.[26] When it is discovered that Miek was the one who let the Hulk's shuttle explode, No-Name and Hulk attack Miek.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29]

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 the ability to feel compassion, making him the Brood equivalent of a mutant. While such Brood are typically destroyed upon hatching by their kind, this one was permitted to live due to the Brood's dwindling numbers.[30] 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.[31]

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.[32]

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.[33]

During the Infinity storyline, a Brood Queen appeared as a member of the Galactic Council where she represents the Brood race, which indicates that the Brood Empress was apparently one of the casualties of the Annihilation Wave.[9] She later made a deal with J'son, the former Emperor of the Spartoi Empire which consisted in J'son surrendered the planet Spartax to the Brood, and in exchange, J'son would acquire one planet for every ten worlds they conquered ever since.[3]

In Spider-Man and the X-Men, the Brood made a pact with the Symbiotes but ended up being betrayed and possessed until Spider-Man, with the help of the X-Men and S.W.O.R.D managed to defeat them.[34]

During The Black Vortex storyline, the deal between the Brood Queen and J'son is discover as the Brood began their takeover of Spartax and use the entire planet as hosts. The plot is foiled once Kitty Pryde is cosmically powered by The Black Vortex and banishes the Brood from the planet.[35]

Later the Galactic Council manipulated Thanos into attacking the Earth so he could make way for them to raze the planet, the Queen of the Brood was killed by Angela before she and the other leaders of the Galactic Council could begin their attack.[36]

Dario Agger and Roxxon Energy Corporation managed to obtain some Brood. Using some parasites on some wolves, Agger and one of his scientists sent them to track down Weapon H. When Weapon H slayed them, Dario Agger had Brood Drones, Brood-infected Space Sharks, and a Brood-infected human riding an Acanti into attacking Weapon H. After the Brood Drones and Brood-Space Sharks are slain and the Acanti is knocked out, the Brood-infected human states to Weapon H that Roxxon wants to hire him. Weapon H stated that those who claim to help people will kill them anyway and has the Brood-infected human carry a message to Roxxon to leave him alone.[37]

Later a Brood Queen came to Earth to find the perfect host so she can initiate the process to become the new Brood Empress. Her attempts at targeting astronauts were thwarted by the discovery that J. Jonah Jameson is the perfect host but Frank Castle was able to interfere.[38]

Known Brood

The following characters are either Brood and/or were turned into Brood:

Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

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 then proceeded to experiment on 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 transformed into a Brood Queen and attempted to kill Alex but was killed by his son Cyclops. The Summers brothers cremated their father and indirectly deprived Sinister of the chance to carry out further tests on Brood DNA.[59]

Amalgam Comics

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.[60]

Bishop's timeline

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.[20]

JLA/Avengers

In JLA/Avengers, 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.[61]

WildC.A.T.s/X-Men

In WildC.A.T.s/X-Men: The Silver Age, alien hybrids of the Brood and Daemonites are created by Mister Sinister.[62]

Ultimate Marvel

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, 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.[63]

X-Men: The End

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.[64][65][66]

Marvel 2099

During the attack of insanity brought by Psiclone, the androgynous harlot Cash imagined the Brood between the races of extraterrestrials who swarmed the streets of Transverse City.[67]

X-Men '92

In the comic book series of X-Men '92, which is set in the X-Men animated series' universe, a cadre of Mutant Brood called X-Brood (composed of Hardside, Fastskin, Phader, Sharpwing and Openmind) were tracked down by the Shi'ar, until they were saved by the X-Men.[68]

Earth X

In Earth X, while telling to Isaac Christians of the Dire Wraiths exiled by the Spaceknights in Limbo, Kyle Richmond mentions the Brood, when wondering why the invasion attempts were always done by shapeshifting races as the Skrulls, the Impossible Men or the Brood.[69]

Marvel Zombies: Resurrection

In Marvel Zombies: Resurrection, the infection that has transformed most of Earth's heroes into zombie-like beings is revealed to be the result of a Brood infesting Galactus, which allowed the Brood to achieve a new state of being and expand their resources even further.[70]

Heroes Reborn (2021)

In the 2021 "Heroes Reborn" comic, the Brood were responsible for infecting the Imperial Guard who were allied with Hyperion.[71]

In other media

Television

Video games

Collectibles

See also

References

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