Brewer Report: A look at X-Treme X-Men #7.1 and the return of the Brood!
For those who are not familiar with the X-cellent Exiles-like ongoing written by Greg Pak (and why aren’t you, it is stellar), Marvel is giving those precious “new readers” a “jump-on” point in December with X-Treme X-Men #7.1, one of two issues out during the holiday month.
Starring our own world’s Dazzler and alternate Earth versions of other prominent X-Men serving to protect the Multiverse by popping from alternate world to alternate world, Pak has promised that the large threat underneath their stories will eventually boomerang back to the good ol’ 616 and its Earth – our own Marvel Universe Earth!
In #7.1, Dazzler and her team find themselves in a war against a familiar alien foe of our X-Men: the Brood! However, in #7.1, the dimension Dazz’s X-Men land in is, for them, a little too close to home.
You know, in the days – and they are well on us again here, folks – when Marvel Cosmic pickin’s were a might slim – I satisfied my thirst for same with the X-Men and their encounters with the Shi’ar, Starjammers and – the Brood!
The Brood is a race of insect-like, parasitic, extraterrestrial beings. They 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 “sleazoids,” as Wolverine calls them, 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.”
They have a civilization based on the typical communal insect societies, such as those of 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. It must be noted, however, that 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.
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. Queenscan 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!
The first Marvel hero to encounter the Brood was the Kree warrior Mar-Vell, who is ordered to make contact with the stranded Grand Admiral Devros on an unnamed planet in the Absolom Sector, a region known to be infested with Brood. Mar-Vell's team, which includes the medic Una and the inflammatory Colonel Yon-Rogg, is ambushed by Brood warriors after landing on the planet and taken prisoner by the Brood-infected Devros. The colony's queen impregnates each captive with Brood, but Mar-Vell and Una manage to escape, destroy both leaders of the Brood colony, and rid themselves of their infections thanks to Una's modified omni-wave projector which is designed to eliminate Brood embryos. After rescuing Colonel Yon-Rogg, the trio escape the planet and are rescued by the Shi'ar royal Deathbird.
The Brood soon are allied with Deathbird to help her depose her sister Lilandra as ruler of their empire; as a reward, Deathbird gives Lilandra and the Shi'ar allies the X-Men and the powerless (because Rogue stole her powers) Carol Danvers, along with Fang of the Imperial Guard, to use as hosts. The Brood infect the entire party, except for Danvers, who the aliens perform experiments on because of her half-human/half-Kree genes.
Fortunately, Wolverine's healing ability purge him of his embryo, and he helps his friends 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 explained 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 herself goes with her minions to that area, and battles the X-Men until they become more 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 soulforce 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, including Lockheed, escape alive. 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.
The Brood return to Earth in the Ms. Marvel series and battle 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 apparent inability to fully access her cosmic powers, which also change 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.
During the invasion of Annihilus and his Annihilation Wave, the Brood was 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. When it is discovered that Miek was the one who let the shuttle that brought Hulk to Sakaar explode, "No-Name" and Hulk attack Miek. 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.
No-Name notwithstanding, the Brood in general are nasty! They are only good in cosmic sagas on the other end of someone else’s blaster gun. (Egg infestation: Eww!)
Good luck to Dazz and her X-tremists!