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Comic Book / Brute Force

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"Protectors of the Environment!"

Brute Force is a short lived (4 issues, August-November, 1990) Marvel Comics creation, originally by Charles Viola, written by Simon Furman, and illustrated by Jose Delbo. It stars a team of animal cyborgs known as "Brute Force", later opposed by another team of cyborg animals known as "Heavy Metal". It existed as a shameless attempt to sell toys (without a toyline, Marvel was allegedly expecting toy companies to buy the toy rights from them).

The book was meant to be part of Marvel's Star Comics line of kid's comics, going as far as having ads for that line in the issues instead of the mainline Marvel books.

The team made a return in the Deadpool Bi-Annual, going up against Deadpool, and have made a few appearances since then, becoming a minor but present part of the Marvel Universe.

Not to be confused with the Xbox game or the arcade game with the same name.


For a similar concept (cyborg animals with weapons and increased intellect), but with more pathos, reality, and without Rule of Cool, check out We3.

Brute Force has examples of:

  • Animal Stereotypes:
    • The heroic animals of Brute Force are a lion (Lionheart), an eagle (Soar), a dolphin (Surfstreak/Dr. Echo), a grizzly bear (Wreckless/Bear), and a kangaroo (Hiphop/Boomer).
    • Heavy Metal is made up of mostly "evil" animals: a shark (Bloodbath), a rhinoceros (Ramrod), an octopus (Armory), a vulture (Tailgunner), and a gorilla (Uproar).
    • Deadpool's plan to take out Lionheart is to have him chase after a laser pointer. The sad part is that this works perfectly.
    • Soar, when leader of the group, set out on a campaign to destroy... snakes. Literally, he had the group chasing snakes for months because eagles don't like snakes.
  • Anti-Hero: Lionheart. There's a time for lambs and there's a time for lions.
    • By the time of the Deadpool crossover, they've essentially become well-meaning environmental terrorists, as they do commit crimes in order to help the suffering animals of Water World.
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  • Arc Welding:
  • X-Men (2019) reveals that the cybernetic enhancements that created Brute Force were part of the Weapon Plus program (specifically under the Weapon II program, which consisted of attempts to scientifically enhance animal life for use as living weapons).
  • Deadpool Bi-Annual reveals that Agent Coulson was on of the agents involved in the original series.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Strapping rocket launchers and laser guns to animals might run into some problems, particularly when you don't give them any training. The collateral damage and screwups that ensue are spectacular- not to mention hilarious.
  • Badass Normal: Dr. Pierce takes out two security guards off-screen on his own.
    • He also takes down Frost in a few hits after jumping from a helicopter.
    • Car Fu: As well as taking out a mercenary by driving a jeep into him.
  • Berserk Button: Lionheart doesn't like water. At all.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Being a vehicle for toys, the original comics were mostly kid friendly. The crossover with Deadpool does not tone down the Merc's violent ways, and the team themselves are shown violently killing dozens of bad guys.
  • The Bus Came Back: After fading into the mists of obscurity for years, the team's finally making their big comeback in the Deadpool Bi-Annual.
  • The Cameo:
    • They appeared as a cameo in the Marvel: A Fresh Start oneshot staring Ziggy Pig Silly Seal.
    • A more major cameo is in X-Men (2019), tying them into the history of Weapons Plus.
  • Corporate Warfare: What it turns out Frost wanted the Brute Force technology for- cyborg animals to serve as a private attack group, targeted at enemies of Multicorp. Uproar's first time in the field was to help clear out a rainforest for the Flex Corporation (a Multicorp subsidiary), Heavy Metal gets its debut attacking oil tankers belonging to a Multicorp rival, and the second-to-last time we see them is backing up a false-flag operation to stop an environmental group inconveniencing one of Frost's nuclear plants.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The foes Brute Force fought were this, or working for an executive: either the head of Multicorp, Frost, or the Philanthropist Businessman (DeMal) who wanted to turn all of humanity into pollution breathing mutants.
    • The CEO of Water World wants to use high ticket prices to his parks and inhumane conditions to fund an army of Brute Force-esque sea life to take over the world.
  • Eco-Terrorist: One problem with the series is that the actions of the protagonists can sometimes cross the line into this.
    • Soar decides to unilaterally drop a boulder down a smokestack of a factory, shutting it down via massive damage.
    • In the Deadpool Bi-Annual comic, they openly attack several Water World theme parks. While it was later revealed that Water World was evil, and even before that their ethics were... not really that great, they're still attacking privately owned property to protect animals and nature.
    • Multicorp launches a few false-flag operations to discredit environmental groups, such as the one seen in the opening of the fourth issue.
  • Filler: Of the original four-part miniseries, issue three could be considered this. The main threat is a different man (DeMal) instead of Frost, has nothing to do with the ongoing storyline involving Heavy Metal, Multicorp, or Doctor Pierce, and isn't mentioned in the miniseries' finale. Presumably, had the series been picked up, with Frost arrested De Mal was set up as the new Big Bad or at least another villain.
  • For the Evulz: There's no real logical reason for Frost or the head of Not-Sea World to be evil. They just are.
    • Averted with DeMal- he has a reason for being evil, namely, he thinks his plan is the only one that will allow mankind and nature to survive, undercut by that he's... well, kind of insane, and his plan is cribbed straight from The Airzone Solution.
  • Green Aesop: They're a group dedicated to the protection of Earth from pollution and environmental destruction. This was somewhat inevitable.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The CEO of Water World manages two in as many pages: He hoists Deadpool and Brute Force by bringing out Tatanka-Tank, a Killer Whale made of the same technology that Brute Force uses, and which is capable of taking out the whole team. This technology wouldn't have been acquired if Brute Force hadn't attacked Water World in the first place, and if Deadpool hadn't cut off Dr. Echo's robot arms, which were used to reverse-engineer the technology. On the other hand, the CEO is immediately killed by Tatanka-Tank.
    • Brute Force is this in general for Frost. The technology to create them came from his own company, and it wouldn't have seen release until he captured the gorilla from his own labs, causing Pierce to create the team. The team even lampshade that the group that ends up backing Brute Force, Fresh Air, was funded thanks to donations from Frost in a publicity stunt.
    • De Mal gets killed by his own pollution rocket.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: It turns out that if you slap power armor onto random animals and give them incredibly deadly weapons of war, there might be some teething issues. Brute Force, in their first outing, nearly causes as much destruction as the mercenaries they're trying to stop, and when they first fight Deadpool, the various members fight among themselves more often than they do their foes (to the point where Soar and Lionheart knock themselves out while trying to attack Deadpool). Heavy Metal... fails nearly every single mission they are assigned to, usually catastrophically. Tatanka-Tank, being a heavily abused killer whale, immediately turns on his boss, killing him in seconds.
  • Humans Are Bastards: It's implied that by the time of the Deadpool teamup, this is roughly the opinion that Brute Force has about mankind. It's shown, though, that though they are running a campaign to save Earth and animal life, they do still like some people- chief among them Phil Coulson.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Hiphop the kangaroo, who loves music and has a surfer-dude mentality.
  • Logical Fallacies:
    • Multicorp preforms armed robberies on its own child companies because... uh... they're evil?
    • The rainforest is being destroyed? Quickly! Strap wild animals into power armor, give them no training, and throw them into battle! This can only end in good.
    • Send Brute Force in to stop environmental terrorists who are threatening to blow up a nuclear reactor! Keeping in mind Brute Force's track record thus far (which has been... less than stellar), it's only the fact that it's a False Flag operation that wasn't actually going to blow up the plant that prevents massive damage.
  • Mega-Corp: Multicorp employs its own mercenary outfit and owns its own farms, oil tankers, and nuclear power plants.
  • Merchandise-Driven: An interesting example as the series was purportedly created by Marvel with the hopes that toy companies would jump on board and create toys of the characters, but to no avail. Word of God from series editor Bob Budiansky was that Marvel's then-Editor-In-Chief Tom DeFalco was the main motivator for the series.
  • Monster Clown: The first panel in the entire series shows a group of clowns wielding machine guns bursting into a high-tech lab to steal a gorilla being given cybernetic upgrades. Not only does this establish precisely how utterly mad this series could get, it's actually evidence of a later plot point.
  • No "Police" Option: After Uproar is stolen from Dr. Pierce's lab, Pierce goes to Mr. Frost to report it. He suggests going to the police (or to the army), which Mr. Frost shuts down.
    Mr. Frost: No. No Police.
    Dr. Pierce: What? We have to tell them- -
    Mr. Frost: Tell them what? That we built a super-powered gorilla and lost him to a bunch of clowns? At best we'd be laughed at!
  • Power Armor: It's what gives the animals their human-level intelligence, speech, and various powers and weapons.
  • The Psycho Rangers: Each member of Heavy Metal is a Foil for one of the members of Brute Force:
    • Armory (octopus) is the opposite of Hiphop (kangaroo), as his arms were supposed to restrict Hiphop's leaping.
    • Bloodbath (shark) is a rival to Surfstreak (dolphin), as sharks and dolphins are natural enemies.
    • Ramrod (rhinoceros) is the counter to Lionheart (lion), as rhinos hate lions.
    • Tailgunner (vulture) is an evil counterpart to Soar (eagle).
    • Uproar (gorilla) is this to Wreckless (bear), as their strength levels should be comparable.
  • Rule of Cool: Who needs logic when you can have ROBO-BEAR VERSUS CYBER-GORILLA?
  • Self-Deprecation: When Deadpool has the concept of Brute Force explained to him, he says the kids will go crazy for it. A footnote points out "They did not."
    • When Dr. Pierce asks why the animals thinks that he's going to take the special armor from Brute Force, the bear points out that they screwed up a lot, lost the gorilla they were specifically brought here to retrieve, and destroyed even more of the rainforest they were supposed to save.
  • Shout-Out: The "I Am... Bear?" line in the Deadpool Bi-Annual is believed to be a reference to Linkara's "I am a Man!" running gag, especially since he played a large role in bringing the team back into the public eye. Linkara's said he'd be honored if true.
  • Smug Snake: Oddly for a series with uplifted animals, not an actual snake- this role is filled by Tailgunner of Heavy Metal. He nearly lets Uproar (the gorilla) get shot in the back because he admires the sneakiness of the human who tried it.
  • Super Prototype: A less extreme example: the gorilla was the first to receive the upgrades, and later becomes the leader- and strongest member- of Heavy Metal.
  • Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats: Marvel's attempt at this trope.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the Deadpool crossover Surfstreak, now called Dr. Echo, was in charge of upgrading the team's armor. He explicitly compared it to Iron Man's Extremis upgrade, but without the "bugs and limitations" that Tony kept in his version.
    • On the other hand, Deadpool's plan for taking him out is to fill a pool with elbow macaroni and letting the stress of "Things not being in the right place," take him out.
  • Totally Radical: Hiphop talks like this.
  • True Companions: Played with. Brute Force often times barely gets along with one another, and frequently get in each other's way. That being said, they've stuck together since the nineties with no sign that they've split up at any point.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The (working) animal augmentation program appears to be public knowledge, but the people you think would care don't seem to.
    • The fact that cyborg animals with deadly weapons attacked Water World is shoved off the news quickly because "Are Frisbees Back?" On the other hand, not only is this the Marvel Universe, where this is far from the weirdest news story one could conceive of (compared to, say, Galactus showing up, or the regular superhero brawls in the streets of New York), but Water World's CEO is trying to prevent people from knowing his parks are being targeted.
  • Uplifted Animal: All of the animal characters.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Toxic Horror from issue three dies instantly when Surfstreak shoots it in the face with clean water, since "it was adapted to polluted water, so clean water must have been like poison to it."
    • Lionheart is a cyborg lion. He can be distracted by a laser pointer.
  • Weaponized Animal: The animals' uplift suits include built-in weapons systems.
    • The CEO of Water World wants Brute Force technology to create an army of marine life to take over the world.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The main villain from the third issue is a rather stupid example; he wants to create lifeforms that thrive on pollution, but his plans would most likely end up on the rest of the earth nuking him.
    • In the Deadpool crossover, it's revealed they turned against Dr. Pierce and went rogue to rescue animals from human abuse.
  • Western Terrorists: Of the Eco-terroist variety.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Dr. Pierce, the scientist behind Brute Force, is absent in the the teams reappearance in Deadpool Bi-Annual, with the only explanation given being that the latter turned on the former.
    • Pierce's son disappears after the first issue of the original series.