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Brother Blood I

Alias: Brother Sebastian

Related Links: Mother Mayhem
Bethany SnowAzraelRaven
Brother Blood II

Teen Titans File Photo:

 History


Blood History

The cult of Brother Blood is over 700 years old. It began when a Christian priest named Brother Sebastian came upon what may be the prayer shawl of Christ. Whatever it was, it gave him invulnerability and drastically slowed his aging process. In order to gain the shawl, Sebastian had to slay the priest that led the Crusade’s armies to invade Zandia. With his dying breath, the rebel priest cursed Sebastian, saying that the son must slay the father before the father’s 100th birthday. Ignoring the curse, Sebastian donned the mantle and declared himself Brother Blood. It was this Brother Blood who began the practice of bathing in blood.

ABOVE: Mother Mayhem recounts the origin of Brother Blood
in NEW TEEN TITANS (second series) Annual #2 [1987].
BELOW: Blood and Mother Mayhem make arrangements in NEW TEEN TITANS #28 [1983]. 

There were seven Brother Bloods before the current one, who was born in 1941. The 20th Century Blood had the benefit of an Oxford education and extensive travels. He eventually returned to Zandia, slew his father, and became the new Brother Blood. Under his guidance, the Church of Blood grew to become a worldwide organization, with some members coming from prominent national governments. Brother Blood’s desire and alleged destiny has always been to rule the world.

Pray For The Titans

Blood ran afoul of the Titans when Cyborg’s ex-girlfriend, Marcy Reynolds, tried to escape the local branch of the Church of Blood. There were several clashes with the Titans, including a campaign of false information, set-ups and dirty tricks, engineered with the help of church member Bethany Snow. The devoted Snow used her job as a news reporter to offer horrendously slanted reports about the Titans, and to turn the tide of public opinion against them.

Brother Blood sinister agenda, as told in NEW TEEN TITANS #22 [1982].

Brother Blood even managed to capture Dick Grayson and brainwash him, the result causing severe personality flaws in Dick for a long period of time. Raven was also captured by Blood and used to help in his phony “resurrection.” The as-yet-unnamed winged man was recruited as well, and told that he was in fact Azrael, the angel that separated life and death. He, too, was used as a prop in Blood’s “resurrection.”

Eventually, Blood’s reach exceeded his grasp. He added the revived Raven’s powers to his own, but was defeated by the Titans, his mind destroyed in the battle. Azrael brought the shattered Blood to a monastery, where the would-be conqueror lived an inoffensive life, seemingly unaware of his past actions.

Raven brings about the end of Brother Blood in
NEW TEEN TITANS (second series) #31 [1987].

Blood’s mate, Mother Mayhem, pregnant with his heir, was captured by the Wildebeest. The Titans rescued her, and the baby turned out to be a girl, implying that Brother Sebastian’s curse had finally ended.

Son Of A Blood

Years later, Brother Blood returned to his fanatical ways. He enacted a plan to steal newborns,  with the intention of amassing a new cult he could raise from infancy. His plans were abruptly halted when he was slain by a boy claiming to be his son. This new teenaged Brother Blood dumped the corpse of his father into a river and assumed his role as head of the vicious cult.

 Powers and Abilities


In his glory, Blood is a formidable opponent who is backed by a massive number of fanatical followers. He is an expert manipulator who feeds off of the faith of his members. Blood can act gentle and merciful, or be filled with righteous indignation. He loves to gloat over his helpless captives, and even if he is beaten, he manages to turn events to his own advantage.

It should be noted that Brother Blood is immune to Raven’s soul-self due to his shawl’s powers.

TT 

 Essential Reading


New Teen Titans #21-22 [1982]: After Marcy Reynolds is gunned down while trying to escape from the Church of Blood, Robin, Kid Flash, Raven and Wonder Girl, in their civilian identities, infiltrate the church and are discovered; Raven’s soul-self is temporarily shattered when she tries to envelop Brother Blood, who escapes; The Titans rescue their captured members but are made to look like the aggressors by WUBS reporter and covert Church of Blood member, Bethany Snow. Death of Marcy Reynolds in issue #21. First appearance of Brother Blood, Mother Mayhem and the Church of Blood in issue #21. First appearance of Bethany Snow in issue #22.
New Teen Titans #40-41 [1984]: Brother Blood rises from his pool in Zandia; The Titans appear on Snow Storm in order to convince the American people not to let their politicians ship arms to Zandia; Dick travels incognito to Zandia, joins the Church of Blood, and is brainwashed by Brother Blood; The Titans arrive only to be defeated and captured by Brother Blood. Raven’s soul-self is injured when she tries to envelop Brother Blood; Terra’s powers free the Titans, but they are recaptured; Zandian President Marko’s troops close in on the Church of Blood; Brother Blood tries to force Dick Grayson to activate the laser cannon that will destroy his teammates, but Dick cannot kill his friends; Brother Blood apparently dies when the laser cannon falls on him.
New Teen Titans (second series) #12 [1985]: When Dick Grayson sees the ghost of a young girl in his apartment building, the Titans work to solve the mystery while Mother Mayhem meets with the Winged Man and tells him that he is actually Azrael, the angel that separates life and death.
New Teen Titans (second series) Annual #2 [1987]: Mother Mayhem tells the Titans the origin of Brother Blood and asks that they not interfere with Blood’s destiny, which is to be killed by his son, whom Mother Mayhem believes she is carrying.
New Teen Titans (second series) #26 [1986]: Mother Mayhem uses the media to hype the upcoming resurrection of Brother Blood: Nightwing and Raven are brainwashed and shown anxiously awaiting the rebirth of Brother Blood; The Titans opt to go after Raven and Nightwing, and Mento is angered that they are ignoring him; The Hybrid convinces Mento to let Aqualad live; The Titans, with Starfire and Jason Todd back with the team, head to Zandia to learn at which Church of Blood Nightwing and Raven are being held; With the help of a villainess called Twister, the leaders of Zandia recruit the New Brotherhood of Evil to stop the Titans from entering their country.
New Teen Titans (second series) #27 [1987]: The Titans battle the Brotherhood of Evil and Twister, and Jericho is captured and tortured by the villains; While Wonder Girl rescues Jericho and Cyborg taps into the Church of Blood’s computer, Monsieur Mallah places the Brain in Brother Blood’s pool in order to renew his life; The Zandian Church of Blood blows up due to Cyborg’s tampering
New Teen Titans (second series) #28-31 [1987]: Azrael is the opening act for Brother Blood’s resurrection; Frances Kane arrives at Titans’ Tower just before the Titans head for the Church of Blood in Washington D.C., where Nightwing and Raven are being held; Robotman and Jason Todd join the Titans for this case. Brother Blood, his acolytes and a brainwashed Raven battle, defeat and capture the Titans; Meanwhile, Frances Kane recruits several heroes to aid her in a rescue attempt. Brother Blood is channeling the emotions of his followers through Raven; A jealous Mother Mayhem wants Brother Blood dead; Raven returns to normal and attacks Brother Blood with all her might; Azrael saves Brother Blood from certain death and flies him to a monastery in Virginia; Starfire wants everything between Dick and herself to be the same as it was before her marriage to Prince Karras: Dick does not think this is possible. Brother Blood defeated in issue #31. Azrael finds a new calling as his ‘caretaker’ in issue #31.
New Teen Titans (second series) #41-42 [1988]:
 Wildebeest attacks S.T.A.R. Labs and captures Mother Mayhem, who is soon to give birth to Brother Blood’s heir; The Titans arrive in time to bring Mother Mayhem to the hospital, where she gives birth to a girl, seemingly ending the Brother Blood curse.
Titans/Legion of Superheroes: Universe Ablaze #1-4 [2000]: DC’s two premiere super-teams meet for the first time in a deluxe mini-series written and drawn by Dan Jurgens, with Phil Jimenez providing finished art. The series brought the Titans to the future, where they battled Brother Blood, Universo and Blackfire.
Outsiders #6 [2003]: As the team attempts to shut down Blood’s global satellite-activation system before he’s able to activate his sleeper agents, an act of kindness could end the life of a hero. A new Brother Blood assumes the role by killing the former. First appearance of Brother Blood II.


Brother Blood, from the VS System Card Series.

TT

 Creating Brother Blood


Marv Wolfman on Brother Blood [from The Titans Companion, 2005]

TTC: Just before your third year on the Titans, you started to take on social issues, starting with the Brother Blood storyline, where you wrote about religious cults.

MW: Actually, I think we can go back to the very first Titans story Len [Wein] and I did, where we were preaching that the whole world should be a lot friendlier towards each other, and don’t be angry at Starfire because he’s Russian. I’ve always been involved with that sort of material. Then in the New Teen Titans, George and I did the “Runaways” stories [and] the Brother Blood stuff, so that’s always been in my background, to do socially relevant stories, because that’s where I stand politically.

TTC: And Bob Haney used to have social messages in his stories, too.

MW: Oh, yeah. Comics used to. Comics did that quite often, and I grew up as very much a New York liberal, and I believed in stories [like that]. If there was a problem with the original “Jericho” story, it’s that we were trying to save the planet with a comic book story, as opposed to telling a good story first. I learned that pretty quickly. So any of the stories we did in the future, when they were socially relevant, were a good story first.

TTC: Where did you get your inspiration for Brother Blood as a character?

MW: I wish I knew. That’s lost in time. It came out of my horror stuff, all the material I did for years on Dracula, but where he came from specifically, I don’t know. He has one of the best origins of any of my villains. There’s a story [I did] with Jim Baikie [New Teen Titans Annual Vol. 2 # 2 – Ed.] that I thought was a fairly complex origin for a villain, and aside from Deathstroke that George and I did, that was the best origin, I thought.

TTC: There were obvious shades of Jonestown in your Brother Blood stories. Was there any concern about handling a topic like that in a comic?

MW: No; nobody said, “Boo,” to me.

TTC: You also touched upon the topic of “truth in media” with the character of Bethany Snow. Is that a theme which interests you as an author?

MW: It interested me as a person, because I had been doing a lot of interviews for various reasons with the press, and invariably they got it all wrong. Each time you do an interview, or you read something on comics – back then, certainly – you realized that the reporter probably did a real interview and then wrote whatever they sort of maybe remembered. If they screw up the little things, the unimportant things, you’re pretty quick to be aware that they probably screw up the major stuff, too, so I’ve always had a very harsh criticism of the way the press operates, because I don’t think that they are accurate to the degree that they need to be.

 A Brother Blood commission by George Pérez.

George Pérez on Brother Blood [from The Titans Companion, 2005]

TTC:  How about Brother Blood?

GP:  Brother Blood. Now that was something that Marv did a wonderful job [on]. He wanted to do something with the cults. In hindsight, my biggest [mistake] in designing Brother Blood was even though everyone liked the design, I said, “Isn’t he a little too obviously villainous looking for people to be following him as a cult? Shouldn’t he look a little more benign in order to make him acceptable to the modern media on first glance?” He comes off as, “Oh yes, I’m a devil. Worship me!” and I’m glad that my second interpretation of his mask didn’t last long. I worsened the sin by giving him a skull that looked even more demonic on his head, but I liked the stories. I thought Marv was great.

It fed to my rebelliousness towards my Catholic upbringing a bit, too, with Mother Mayhem and all the nun-like characters there playing to my anxieties as a graduate, or survivor, of the Catholic high school system. So it was a lot of fun. Marv liked to deal with issues. Also, I believe it was one of the first times that the Titans own religious backgrounds were dealt with, with the exception of Raven. Most of them, you had no idea what their religious affiliations were, so having them deal with religion and their own doubts – I believe there was a conversation between Dick and Wally regarding that – was also a fun thing to explore. Again, playing up to Marv’s strengths in characterization.

I think if I were to do it now, I would’ve gone a little more subtle with Brother Blood, and part of it’s because Romeo and I were starting to diverge in styles. We weren’t working as well together stylistically. I would have gone a little darker in how I drew the entire book, but still, it’s a book that’s very fondly remembered by a lot of people, and Brother Blood became rather a strong character who would return later, even after I left the series. It did explore stuff that was fun to do.

TT


Sources for this entry: DC Who’s Who Series, The Official Teen Titans Index [published by ICG in 1985], The New Titans Sourcebook [Mayfair Games, 1990], supplemented by titanstower.com


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