There are many formidable alien races in the Marvel Universe; the Skrulls, the Kree, and the Shi’ar have all carved out reputations for themselves throughout the galaxy. However, none are more predacious, savage, or evil as the dreaded Brood. These large insect-like aliens have often been compared to demons, both because of their appearance, as well as for the wicked enjoyment they receive from causing the suffering of others.
The Brood’s first official appearance was back in Uncanny X-Men #155. According to creating artist Dave Cockrum, the creatures were originally meant to be “miscellaneous alien henchmen,” as Chris Claremont described them in writing the plot for the issue. Cockrum says he simply drew the most horrible looking thing he could possibly think of at the time. What resulted were large brown insect-like creatures with sharp fangs for teeth. Those horrendous creatures went on to become some the most feared villains in the history of Marvel.
Originally written as generic henchmen for the villainous Deathbird, the origin and history of the Brood was explored in later issues. Considered the universe’s first natural predators, Brood origin goes back before the emergence of Galactus. They are said to have existed in the Milky Way galaxy since at least 2620 BC. The Brood have infected hundreds of worlds in the galaxy throughout thousands of years.
The Brood have a matriarchal society, led by the supreme Empress Brood, who controls the entire hive-mind of the race. She is the leader of the entire species, which consists of several different colonies led by Brood Queens. The queens carry out the will of the Empress Brood. They control their own spawn telepathically, and are capable of implanting embryos into other species. Most of the Brood army consists of slightly smaller insectoids, which were aptly nicknamed “sleazoids” by the X-Men. These drones carry out the Queen’s will without hesitation.
The Brood have proven themselves to be a relentless enemy, having tangled with the X-Men, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Carol Danvers, and the original Captain Marvel. Their earliest known contact was with the Kree Empire, who captured and experimented on them, eventually releasing the Brood upon their sworn enemies, the Shi-ar Empire.
The Brood’s first contact with Earth occurred in 2620 B.C. They attempted to invade ancient Egypt, but were repelled by Imhotep, En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse), and Khonshu.
The Brood later allied themselves with the Shi’ar defector Deathbird, who tried to use them to remove her sister Lilandra as ruler. The attack was thwarted with the help of the X-Men. However, this left the mutants as mortal enemies of the Brood. The X-Men went on to defend Earth from several more attacks from the ruthless alien race.
An event which would come back to haunt the Brod was their first contact with the Kree Empire. During their experiments, the Kree produced a patriarchal element to be used on the Brood known as the King Egg, which they could use to assert complete control over the entire Brood society. The King Egg produces a mutated Brood King. The King is able take control of the hive-mind. The Kree utilized this Patriarch as their ultimate weapon to destroy the Shi’ar Empire. The King Egg was most recently consumed by Broo, a Brood-mutant hybrid who was allied with the X-Men. After consuming the egg, Broo became the new undisputed King of the Brood.