Who are the all-time quintessential members of the Brotherhood of Mutants?
The Brotherhood of Mutants has been around basically as long as the X-Men. The name has become synonymous with that of Magneto, the group’s founder and default leader. The organization operates under his credo and does his bidding. In the early days, when they were known as the “Brotherhood of Evil Mutants” their aspirations were less nuanced and reflected the black/white, good/bad world that the X-Men book was prior to Chris Claremont. Over the years the team is less, bad to be bad, and more akin to terrorists with a cause (ignoring Bendis’ iteration that had them robbing a bank or something…).
With a more robust reason for existence, their roster has been both par the course, stocked with traditional members, and interesting by hosting characters that sometimes come out of left-field. Examples are X-Men such as Havok and Nocturne who joined different incarnations of the team as spies. Or how once nearly all New Mutants used the name while being manipulated by Donald Pierce. Don’t ask, it was a Marc Guggenheim story (Young X-Men)- I barely understood it myself. Without bringing Magneto into the conversation, here are 10 of the most impactful members of the Brotherhood of Mutants.
Like Toad, Pyro, and Blob, Avalanche is one of the main staples of the Brotherhood of Mutants. Dominikos Petrakis first appeared as part of the 2nd version of the group. Probably the least politically-minded and narratively developed out of his teammates, Avalanche is best distinguished by the big “A” on his classic costume and the silver bucket on his head. The presence of his design has become such a necessity, that even after his death in Uncanny Avengers, his namesake was taken up by Lance Alvers. The similarly powered mutant joined the latest version of the Brotherhood. There may not be too much to the character, but readers have gotten used to seeing Avalanche flanked by his brothers.
Victor Creed has never been much of a believer in Magneto or Xavier’s dreams for the mutant race. All he’s ever really cared about, while in his right mind, is money, sex, and vengeance. What took precedence depended on whom was in front of him at the time, but it usually resulted in bloodshed. It just happened that his interest aligned more with Magneto’s questionable code of ethics, so he became something of a short-term hired gun for the Brotherhood. He’d show up in several incarnations of the group, but would never stay longer than their most recent defeat. If nothing else, Creed functioned as one of Magneto’s big sticks that inspired fear in his targets- mutant and human alike. In a way, he’s the embodiment of the lengths the Brotherhood is willing to go to achieve their goals.
A prime reason as to why the Brotherhood of Mutants used to have the word “Evil” in its title, Frederick ‘The Blob’ Dukes is by far one of the most memorable members. At least from an aesthetics standpoint. Towering above most opponents, feet wider, and possibly thousands of pounds heavier, the Blob looks more like he belongs as a member of the Morlocks. However, if the fact that he typically wears a leotard says anything about his confidence, he’s come to love his freakish appearance. Dukes is the anchor of the Brotherhood. He’s as strong as he is durable and equally immovable as he uses his ability to manipulate the effects of gravity on his body. His appearance is iconic, to say the least. Not one to function as a solo act, it ensures that when he’s featured readers know who and what they are dealing with. His motivations for being a member of the Brotherhood are steeped mostly in having a good time. But his loyalty to Magneto and Mystique can’t be questioned.
If nothing else, the Brotherhood was never short on personality. The Australian-born pyrokinetic mutant St. John Allerdyce has been known as one of the more quippy characters in the entire X-Men catalog. He’s probably also the least likely to be handed any degree of redemption. His ability to control fire has given him a natural pension to see things burn. Out of all the members of the Brotherhood, Allerdyce probably enjoyed his role of ‘shock and awe’ the most. With all that he’s destroyed, his most important contribution came in his death. Pyro was infected by and died as a result of the Legacy Virus. His final days were spent in the company of one, Dr. Cecilia Reyes, possibly the most reluctant X-Men in history. During their time together, the noted villain/terrorist put his humanity on full display. As his health degenerated, he proved that he and his comrades could be more than just mustache-twirling bad guys.
6. Professor X
Once upon a time, Professor-X wiped the mind of the Master of Magnetism. He left Magneto little more than a vegetable for years to come. However, there was another unforeseen side effect of the action. Having gone so deep into the mind of his old friend, a remnant of Magneto’s mind found refuge within Xavier’s subconscious. The remnant, Onslaught, grew, gained sentience, and cut through Earth’s heroes like butter. Even after they defeated Onslaught, it was still responsible for the death of dozens of Earth’s finest. Politicians took advantage of the devastation and enacted Operation: Zero Tolerance.
Xavier was among the first to be apprehended and jailed along with a host of others including many members of the Brotherhood of Mutants. In Uncanny X-Men #363 Professor-X is shown leading new and classic members of the group. What this action demonstrated wasn’t Xavier’s gift in being a leader (though he turned them into a competent fighting force), but the members of the Brotherhood’s willingness to follow. Because of their past deeds and villainous appearances, it’s easy to forget that they aren’t just honor-less thugs. They do fight for a cause. They just need something to believe in. Xavier proved that anyone, given a chance, can be reasoned with.
You probably didn’t see this one coming.
A product of the more terrorist-cell based version of the Brotherhood, led by Mystique and Destiny, Rogue came onto the scene with a splash in the pages of Avengers Annual #10. After famously dispatching Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel), she’d go onto tear apart the World’s Mightiest Heroes. This turned the Brotherhood into more than just an X-Men problem. Up to that point, the X-Men and Avengers worlds rarely touched one-another outside of sharing a character or three. That all changed when a super-villain group from the X-Men’s rogues gallery humbled Captain America and company. The heroes would eventually get even with the Brotherhood, but the effects left on one of their own in Ms. Marvel would leave the character reeling for years. While this is probably Rogue’s most famous feat as a member of the Brotherhood, it’s her lasting connection to the group through her foster mothers, Mystique, and Destiny that left the biggest impression. On more than one occasion, it was the root of mistrust between the Avengers and the team that Rogue would ultimately join, the X-Men.
Like the X-Men, sometimes you don’t necessarily have to be a mutant to join the Brotherhood. All you need is a grudge and the magically endowed power to be unstoppable. Cain Marko, the step-brother of Professor Charles Xavier, joined the Brotherhood for one reason. It wasn’t to build a better tomorrow for mutants by any means necessary. Wasn’t to see the peaceful coexistence between them either. It was to get even with his brother by demolishing his dream and his X-Men.
Matter of fact, he believes so little in either man’s mission that he’s been both a member of the Brotherhood and an X-Man. Despite this, the Juggernaut has become a staple member within the Brotherhood. His strength is so immense that he can single-handedly occupy an entire X-Men roster including powerhouses like Rogue and Colossus. In essence, this makes him the ultimate distraction, which is what he normally is used as. A giant, unstoppable, distraction, whilst his handlers achieve their goals.
Out of the four staples, Toad is by far the most enduring. He’s never been quite imposing having the powerset of a frog, but he’s a survivor. The original Pyro and Avalanche both died and the Blob was depowered (and repowered?) after the events of House of M. Toad retained his powers after M-Day and migrated to the X-Men island Utopia where he fought as a deputized X-Man against Bastion’s horde of Nimrods. After Schism sent half the X-Men back to Westchester, Toad joined the staff of the Jean Grey School. Mind you, as the school’s janitor.
When several students and staff members joined the Hellfire Academy, Toad, along with Husk left with them. While Husk went on to become an instructor of the student body, Toad was again relegated to being a janitor. This minor role was turned on its head as Toad became the catalyst that led to the Jean Grey students exiting the Hellfire Club, as well as saving Husk from herself as she spiraled into insanity due to her shifting powers. He again proved that being a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants doesn’t automatically equal “evil.” In the end, Toad may not have become a full-fledged X-Man, but for a while, he walked along the sides of angels.
Every group needs a control. Destiny was Mystique’s lover and Wikipedia before the birth of the internet. She was very much like the team’s conscious during its 2nd incarnation while led by Mystique. But not in the way of how they behaved. Normally soft-spoken and calculating due to her ability to see possible futures, Destiny rarely tried to steer the Brotherhood down more altruistic avenues. Instead, she’d guide them towards more impactful targets that would eventually affect the future in ways that were more in line with their goals. With Destiny guiding their steps, the Brotherhood wasn’t just aimlessly causing chaos like they tended to do during Magneto’s reign but were actively trying to mold the future of the mutant race. Even if that meant leveling a city block. Even after her death, her dairies would play a pivotal role in the creation of an entire X-Men team (X-Treme X-Men) tasked with tracking them down and deciphering their secrets.
I’m sure, it wasn’t a secret which member was going to end up at the top of the list. When Raven Darkholme became a member of the Brotherhood, the group evolved from just simply being bad for the sake of it. The Brotherhood, while still basically ‘not good’, began building upon the idea that mutant rights were something that needed to be fought for. With violence when applicable. Mystique, with assistance from Destiny, used terrorism as a way of striking back at a system built to oppress mutant kind. Over the years Mystique’s name became as synonymous with the Brotherhood as Magneto himself. Matter of fact, there are several iterations of the group led by Mystique which didn’t include Magneto at all.
Magneto may be the original founder of the Brotherhood, but Mystique is responsible for giving them real direction. While Magneto was palling around with the New Mutants and then moved onto the Acolytes, Mystique transformed the Brotherhood into a threat capable of taking down the Avengers. They weren’t just the villain-of-the-month anymore. The Brotherhood became the antithesis of the X-Men. An example of what they could be had they been exposed to a different set of principles. The machine that Mystique cultivated within the Brotherhood has become the model in which all modern iterations of the group have built upon.
Which member do you think is the most impactful? Let us know below!