The Brain is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics commonly as a frequent enemy of the Doom Patrol. He is a French mastermind and criminal genius.
|First appearance||Doom Patrol v.1 #86 (March 1964)|
|Created by||Arnold Drake (writer)|
Bruno Premiani (artist)
|Team affiliations||Brotherhood of Evil|
Secret Society of Super Villains
The Brain first appeared in Doom Patrol #86 (March 1964) and was created by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani. Drake later commented, "I used that same concept in a Jerry Lewis comic book, and in a Bob Hope comic I had a totem pole that talked to him. Often times, I wrote the same storylines for the comedy stuff that I wrote for the serious stuff. I just turned it on its head."
As a scientist, the Brain performs experiments on animals to raise their intelligence. One of these is on a gorilla, who he names Monsieur Mallah and educates for almost a decade before making him his personal assistant. His colleague, Niles Caulder grows jealous of his work and arranges for the Brain to get caught in an explosion, which destroys his body. Only the brain survives, which Caulder plans on putting into a robotic body. Mallah rescues the Brain, transferring him to a computer network that keeps him functioning.
The Brain and Mallah form the Brotherhood of Evil in hopes of conquering the world and getting revenge on Caulder. Caulder, now known as the "Chief", through a series of other accidents that he manipulated, forms the Doom Patrol. (Caulder's involvement in the events which transformed the Doom Patrol, and the Brain, was a retcon decades after the creation of the Doom Patrol and the Brain; originally the incidents were genuine accidents.) The Brain, Mallah, and their Brotherhood's criminal activities also pit them against the Teen Titans. The Brotherhood go against the newly formed Justice League, with the Brain using a genetic splicer to take the Flash's legs, Green Lantern's ring, Black Canary's vocal chords, and the Martian Manhunter's eyes. The Brain is defeated by the League and the Doom Patrol, the League using cybernetic implants created by Niles Caulder to compensate for their lost powers. Aquaman is thrown to the Brain, overpowers his control of the ring, and separates the Brain from his makeshift body.
During Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run, Mallah places the Brain in Robotman's new body (Robotman's brain had been removed from it due to it malfunctioning). In his new body, the Brain confesses to Mallah he is in love with him. When Mallah reveals he feels the same way, the two kiss. However, Robotman's body, having developed sentience and vowed never to be enslaved by a brain again, triggers a self-destruct mechanism, and explodes as they kiss.
The two later resurface (the Brain back to floating in a jar), with no explanation of how they survived the explosion. The Brotherhood begin raiding genetic research facilities to unlock the secrets of cloning and create a new body for the Brain, so he and Monsieur Mallah can resume their romance. After a short while the Brain's new clone body begins to break down, so he has Mallah rip off his head and put his brain back into another jar.
In the Salvation Run storyline, Brain and Monsieur Mallah appear amongst the villains that were sent to the planet Cygnus 4019. An altercation between Monsieur Mallah and Gorilla Grodd ends with Grodd beating Monsieur Mallah to death with Brain's chassis, also killing Brain in the process.
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In an alternate future of this new timeline, Brain and Monsieur Mallah assist Gorilla Grodd in taking over the remains of Central City at the time when The Black had taken over most of the world. They capture Animal Man and the heroes that are with him. Animal Man's group is saved by Frankenstein and his Patchwork Army. He appears in DC Rebirth Titans.
One of the most formidable villains ever encountered by the Doom Patrol, or even in DC Comics, The Brain is more of a cerebral opponent but all the more dangerous for it. A former polymath, The Brain has a genius level IQ which he puts to use as a criminal mastermind and is more than capable of plotting out perfect crimes. The Brain is completely single-minded, and motivated almost entirely towards domination of others, the committing of even more perfect crimes, and ultimate revenge against Niles Caulder.
Adept in psychology, he is also a master of coercion, deceit and manipulation, being able to persuade almost anybody to do his dirty work for him, even to the point where his agents are under the illusion that they are not actually committing evil or immoral acts. It is, however, hinted that it is a result of mind control through telepathy by The Brain. It was through these cerebral abilities that The Brain was able to unite various villains under his leadership, forming the Brotherhood of Evil.
Although others often act as brawns to his brain, most notably his assistant–partner Monsieur Mallah, The Brain has occasionally used agile robotic bodies to give him mobility. The different contraptions which have been seen to hold his brain were designed by The Brain himself (also a master in biology and robotics) and have proved time and time again to be durable and even nigh-indestructible. On the rare occasion when The Brain has been vulnerable without robotic protection or assistance from other villains, he has protected himself by attacking opponents through telekinesis.
Except for the times when he possesses robot bodies, the Brain is portrayed as an ordinary human brain, albeit housed within what could be described as a life-sized chess piece which contains the equipment required to keep him alive; it is this portrayal that was adapted in the animated versions of the Brain as mentioned in this article. In the original Doom Patrol series, he was regularly portrayed as a disembodied brain, bobbing inside a sealed dome filled with a nutrient bath, hooked up with numerous machines, including a loudspeaker to convey his voice.
During a confrontation with the newly-formed Justice League and the Doom Patrol, the Brain used genetics equipment provided by the mysterious Locus organization to 'steal' the Martian Manhunter's eyes, Black Canary's vocal chords, the Flash's legs and Green Lantern's right arm, granting him access to the Manhunter's vision abilities, Canary's sonic scream, the Flash's speed, and Green Lantern's power ring. However, during this time he was only ever shown using the ring, and was caught off-guard by its vulnerability to yellow, with Aquaman eventually managing to overpower the Brain's will and use the ring to sever him from his makeshift body.
DC Comics previously had another villain named the Brain during the Golden Age of Comics. He was an ordinary criminal who earned his nickname for his cleverness, and was not literally just a brain. He alongside Captain Bigg, Hopper, False-Face and Rattler were one of five small-time villains hired by Black Star to commit a bank robbery. They were all foiled by the Seven Soldiers of Victory.
In Smallville season 11, The Brain appears on the back of Monsieur Mallah, robbing the Musée du Louvre. They are both taken down by Superman, and Impulse. In this version, Brain and Mallah are revealed to be lovers.
1963 in comics,
1965 in comics,
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