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Cover art for Ms. Marvel (vol. 2) #2.
Art by Frank Cho.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceUncanny X-Men #155 (March 1982)
Created byChris Claremont (writer)
Dave Cockrum (artist)

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 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

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

Physical characteristics

Despite their resemblance to humans, 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.


The Brood is governed by a supreme matriarchy, at the top of which sits the Brood Empress. The Brood reproduces asexually and therefore has no clear divisions of gender. Although the Brood lives by a caste system, some of the roles have proven to be flexible.

Note: Surprisingly, the ability of an individual Brood to lay eggs does not necessarily make it a Queen. Several Warriors-Prime have been known to implant eggs in other hosts. This fluidity in the Brood caste system suggests the hierarchy is not as rigid as it initially appears.


The parasitic Brood have the ability to impregnate a host (of any lifeform) with an egg. 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.


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".[3]

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, but such is their relentless evil, legend holds that the Brood originated not through natural evolution, but in otherworldly sorcery. 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.

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

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.[4]

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 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.

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.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7]

Hannah Connover, previously infected with a Queen, soon begins to demonstrate attributes of Brood.[8] 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.[9]

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. 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.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12] When it is discovered that Miek was the one who let the Hulk's shuttle explode, No-Name and Hulk attack Miek.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18]

During the Infinity storyline, the Brood Queen appeared as a member of the Galactic Council where she represents the Brood race.[2] 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.[19]

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.

During The Black Vortex storyline, the Brood strike a deal with Mister Knife to takeover 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.[20]

Dario Agger and Roxxon Energy Corporation managed to obtain some Brood. Using some parasites on some wolves, Dario 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.[21] The Brood-infected human named Blake appeared in a cage with Roxxon's Man-Thing in a Roxxon facility until they were freed by Weapon H. After it was revealed that Roxxon had opened a portal to Weirdworld, Blake and Roxxon's Man-Thing took their leave as Dr. Ella Stirling suggests he seek out Doctor Strange to remove the Brood parasite from him. When the Skrullduggers emerge from the portal and start attacking the nearby humans, Blake and Man-Thing assist Weapon H into fighting the Skrullduggers until it was discovered that the Skrullduggers are shapeshifters.[22] Blake and Man-Thing are sent to keep more Skrullduggers from emerging from the portal. When Weapon H and Dario later check up on them, it was discovered that they had some help in defeating the Skrullduggers from Korg.[23] While commenting that he will need to come up with a codename, his condition to helping Dario deal with the Skrullduggers is $10,000,000.00 and being restored to normal. He even asked Man-Thing if he has a human form to which he doesn't get an answer to. As Weapon H leads the mission to Weirdworld, they are attacked by a tribe of blue-skinned humanoids who blame them for breaking the Earth and allowing the Skrullduggers to take their queen.[24]

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.

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.[34]

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.[8]


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.


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

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.

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.

In other media


Video games


See also


  1. ^ Meth, Clifford (August 1993). "How a Typhoon Blew in Success". Wizard: X-Men Turn Thirty. pp. 50–52.
  2. ^ a b Infinity #3
  3. ^ Claremont, Chris. Uncanny X-Men #234
  4. ^ The Untold Legend of Captain Marvel #1-3
  5. ^ Uncanny X-Men #155-157, #161-166
  6. ^ Uncanny X-Men #232-234
  7. ^ Ghost Rider vol. 2 #26-27, X-Men vol. 2 #9
  8. ^ a b X-Men Vs. Brood: Day of Wrath #1-2
  9. ^ Contest of Champions II #1-5
  10. ^ S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 (2010)
  11. ^ Ms. Marvel vol. 2 #1-3
  12. ^ The Incredible Hulk vol. 3 #92-105
  13. ^ World War Hulk #5
  14. ^ Heroes for Hire vol. 2 #11-15
  15. ^ Astonishing X-Men vol. 3 #38
  16. ^ Astonishing X-Men vol. 3 #40
  17. ^ Astonishing X-Men vol. 3 #42
  18. ^ Wolverine and the X-Men #27AU
  19. ^ Legendary Star-Lord #10
  20. ^ Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Omega #1
  21. ^ a b Weapon H #3. Marvel Comics.
  22. ^ Weapon H #5-6. Marvel Comics.
  23. ^ Weapon H #7. Marvel Comics.
  24. ^ Weapon H #8. Marvel Comics.
  25. ^ Ghost Rider Vol. 3 #26
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Uncanny X-Men #232
  27. ^ Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #40
  28. ^ X-Men vs. Brood #1
  29. ^ Uncanny X-Men #233
  30. ^ S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
  31. ^ Incredible Hulk Vol. 3 #92
  32. ^ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 #2
  33. ^ Deadpool: Dracula's Gauntlet #4
  34. ^ The Exciting X-Patrol #1