The following contains major spoilers for Captain Marvel #44, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
When Captain Marvel took to the stars alongside her mutant companions, they were almost immediately met with the worst thing any of them could have imagined. Not only have the Brood returned to menace the Marvel Universe all over again, they have done so after years of being on the same side as the X-Men. Even worse, the fact that no one knows why has some ominous implications in itself, and even the best of them makes the situation all the more dire.
Captain Marvel #44 (by Kelly Thompson, Sergio Dávila, Sean Parsons, Arif Prianto, and VC’s Clayton Cowles) finds the titular hero and her mutant allies staring down none other than Rogue, albeit after having undergone a monstrous transformation at the hands of the Brood. While Carol isn’t especially happy about having to obliterate her old rival in order to escape the threat she poses, that is exactly the decision she ends up making. Understandably, the other heroes aboard the ship with her are upset by the proceedings, it isn’t Carol’s actions that have soured their mood. Rather, it is the fact that the Brood have turned on them in the first place, especially when their king is one of Krakoa’s own.
The X-Men’s Brood Have Changed – And That’s a Major Problem
The Brood themselves have been a mainstay of the X-Men’s world since their first appearance in 1981’s Uncanny X-Men #155 by legendary creator Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, though what that looks like has changed in profound ways over the years. Originally, the Brood posed much the same kind of threat they do now. As insectile monstrosities from beyond the stars, the Brood are well versed in striking terror into the hearts of their victims, something they take just as much pleasure in as they do their abject cruelty. This coupled with their parasitic nature cemented the Brood’s place as one of the most horrifying breeds of villain in the entire Marvel Universe.
This changed with the introduction of Broo, a young Brood ostracized as a mutant by his own kind for his innate ability to feel and understand concepts such as empathy and compassion. Apart from giving a new layer of intrigue to the Brood as a whole, Broo gave his fellow mutants an opportunity to understand his kind in ways that were never afforded to them previously. He also managed to single-handedly bridge the divide between the two factions upon absentmindedly consuming the Brood’s King Egg, the single patriarchal element to their society under which all Brood were united.
The Brood is Once Again a Threat to the Marvel Universe
Since Broo’s unwitting ascension, the Brood have been allies to mutantkind and Earth in general. This hasn’t made them any less terrifying on the surface, but it did alleviate the most obvious concerns anyone might have regarding their presence. Now that the Brood are openly antagonizing the heroes once more, it is clear that something has shifted within their society all over again, although what that could be is anybody’s guess.
Fans have seen small factions of other Brood attempt to rebel against their king, most recently during the eponymous team of Vita Ayala and Rod Reis’ New Mutants #21 trip to the moon. None of these factions have managed to last very long, however, as they have been culled nearly as soon as they emerged. Assuming that isn’t the case with the latest Brood attack, then there is a deeper shift taking place beneath the surface, one that Broo clearly has no control over. Hopefully, whatever it is won’t be what brings the full might of the Brood crashing back down on the heroes, or at least not before they can figure out exactly why it is happening to begin with.