This article is another one of Caine's explorations into the Lost Universes of defunct companies. You can read other Lost Universe articles here. - Jim
Today we'll be focusing on another archetype; The Strong man, Muscle Bound, Larger than life BRUTE.
Unlike "The Shooter" (who's large thrust of popularity is often fleeting and relatively new to the last thirty years or so), The Brute is a comic book staple that reaches back to the golden age and even beyond in some cases. If superheroes or villains gathered together and joined forces for the common good (or bad) then you can be sure at least one brute was drafted for the team. Fantastic Four has The Thing, The X-Men has Colossus, The Titans have Cyborg, The Wildcats has Maul, and The Power Company has Bork.
For clarification purposes we won't really be including characters like Prime, who are larger than life but don't really fit the bill as a complete Brute.
To me, when researching this archetype, I was surprised I didn't find more "Brute" characters. Maybe it's the very fact that The Hulk, The Thing, and Colossus are such iconic characters that those publishers making their way in the comics boom wanted to do something different.
Much like DC, Valiant doesn't have a large number of shall we say "dim" muscle bound characters running around their universe the way Marvel does. While you might be able to argue that XO Man of War or a few members of the Eternal Warriors are quite brutish they don't really have a character on par with The Hulk or The Thing. The same could be said for Epic, Comico, First, Now and many more.
We did find some Brutes out there though.
Mecha is an interesting take on "The Brute" archetype.
The "elevator pitch" is that he's a blue color grunt riding around in a 10 Million dollar piece of high tech machinery that calls him master.
In a way Mecha is the opposite of The Hulk.
Where as Bruce Banner is a brilliant scientist who becomes trapped in the body of a raging simpleton driven on nearly instinct alone, Art Thomason is a simple man who found his way into the most advance weapon he's ever experienced in his life.
Art is also continuously driven by honor and duty, something that's always a part of him and only enhanced by his association with Mecha, unlike the core of The Hulk which has always been severely dampened by gamma radiation and rage.
The ULTRAVERSE: Sludge
Frank Hoag was a corrupt NYPD detective who finally grew a spine when he was asked by his mob bosses to kill a fellow dirty cop.
When he refuses, his own murder is ordered; he dies by a hail of bullets as well as a bomb. The explosion covers him with chemicals, which combine with the sewage from where the mobsters dump his body.
The chemicals had regenerative properties and tried to heal Hoag, but combined the sewer substances with his body, transforming him into a huge mass of living slime.
He awakens with a raging anger against criminals and an inability to think and speak coherently. Many words come out replaced with one that sounds similar, such as 'munch' instead of 'mutual'.
Do you have a favorite "Brute" character?
Did I mention it?
Let us know.
Have a great weekend,