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Quote1 This is a planetary defense system. If planets didn't need defending, it never would have been sent here. You get me? Quote2
Starbrand (Ken Connell)'s future self[src]

A Star Brand or Starbrand is a planetary defense system designed by the Builders.[2][3] The glyph can appear anywhere on the body.[4][5][6] Normally, it is given to an individual upon a White Event.[7][2] It can also be transferred,[4][8][9] but only to another living being. Attempting to transfer it to an inanimate object will release the Star Brand's energies in an explosion, which is in essence an uncontrolled White Event.[8]

Starbrands are "sentient systems" and "tools" of the Builders.[3] Along with Nightmasks, Justices, and Ciphers, they replace the Builders' older systems of Gardeners, Abyssi, and Alephs.[10][11]

History

Origin[]

White Event from Avengers Vol 5 7 001

A station in the Superflow firing a White Event

The Starbrand was designed by an ancient race called the Builders.[2][3] In the Superflow, the dreamspace that connects universes, the Builders created stations that would scan worlds on the verge of ascending on a universal scale and/or would enter the Builders' "newuniversal structure." Upon finding one, a station would fire a White Event to give a select individual, who meets special criteria to prevent misuse, the power of the Starbrand to defend the planet, as well as others like a Nightmask, a Justice, a Cipher, and possibly more.[2][7] Each affected planet has its own set of Starbrands, Nightmasks, Justices, Ciphers, etc. If two different Starbrands meet, they become attracted to each other to avoid destroying one another.[12] A planet can be hit by White Events multiple times in its history.[13] The Starbrand can also be passed down from one bearer to the next without the need of another White Event.[1]

Earth-616[]

Early Starbrands[]

Starbrand (Dinosaur) (Earth-616) from Avengers Vol 8 26 003

A T. rex gaining the Starbrand upon a White Event

The first known White Event occurred 66 million years ago when an asteroid was drawn to the planet Earth, with the ensuing impact causing a mass extinction event that wiped out the majority of life on the planet, including the dinosaurs. This cracked open the Superflow and the White Event empowered a Tyrannosaurus rex as the first Starbrand of Earth. In time the Tyrannosaurus rex perished and a mystical oasis called the Garden of Eden grew over its resting place.[1]

Vnn (Earth-616) from Avengers Vol 8 26 0002

The T. rex's Starbrand being transferred to Vnn

65 million years later, the Garden was destroyed when the Starbrand on the dinosaur's corpse was transferred over to a prehistoric human named Vnn. As the new Starbrand, Vnn was recruited into the prehistoric Avengers and defended Earth against various threats.[1] He too met his end during a battle against Doom Supreme of the time-travelling Multiversal Masters of Evil.[14] Eventually, the Starbrand reappeared in the Old West, either by a White Event or by being transferred.[15]


The Last White Event[]

Avengers Vol 5 6 Textless
Captain Universe
Quote1 This was not a normal White Event. Quote2
Avengers Vol 5 34.2 Araujo Variant Textless
Nightmask
Quote1 The machine is broken. The universe is broken.[16] Quote2
Kevin Connor (Earth-616) and Avengers (Earth-616) from Avengers Vol 5 7 001

The Last White Event granting Kevin Connor the Starbrand

Due to the collapse of the Multiverse, in events called "incursions," the Builders' structures in the Superflow were being destroyed at a rapid pace. A Caretaker ordered all remaining stations to fire White Events randomly. One of these, dubbed the "Last White Event," hit Earth of Earth-616 and ascended two individuals: Adam as the Nightmask and Kevin Connor as the Starbrand.[2]

The explosion from the White Event destroyed Kevin's college and he was confronted by the Avengers. After a quick brawl, Nightmask explained Kevin's situation and brought him to the Garden to see Ex Nihilo and Abyss, two older Builder systems and Adam's creator.[17]

Kevin Connor (Earth-616), Adam Blackveil (Earth-616), Abyss (Ex Nihilo) (Earth-616), and Ex Nihilo (Earth-616) from Avengers Vol 5 9 001

Builder systems: Starbrand, Nightmask, Abyss and Ex Nihilo

When the Builders, in an attempt to stablize the Multiverse from the incursions,[18][19] began an assault on the universe to destroy the Earth, the incursion point, Captain Universe warned the Avengers that they must expand to face the Builder threat. They recruited Builder systems Starbrand (Kevin Connor), Nightmask (Adam), Ex Nihilo, and Abyss.[20]

Kevin Connor (Earth-616) from Infinity Vol 1 3 002

Kevin Connor during the Builder War

During the Builder War, Kevin Connor unleashed the power of the Starbrand against the Builders and aided in their defeat.[21] However, Starbrand and Nightmask found an Aleph roaming in the universe long after the Builders left the universe. When they learned that the Alpeh was pushed into Earth-616 because of the impending total collapse of the Multiverse becoming more severe, they joined Sunspot's Multiversal Avengers to find out the cause.[22] Eventually, they found the Beyonders but were killed by them. However, as Kevin Connor died, the Starbrand detonated in front of an unexpecting Beyonder and destroyed it.[23]

Va-Sohn (Earth-616) from Starbrand & Nightmask Vol 1 5 001

Va-Sohn becoming Starbrand from a White Event

When the Multiverse was restored as the Eighth Cosmos,[24] Kevin Connor returned with hazy memories.[25] Meanwhile, the Kree world Kree-Pama was hit by a White Event and the Kree Va-Sohn became the Starbrand. However, she immediately killed the Nightmask and the Justice, sparing only the Cipher. Believing that the best way to defend her planet is to destroy other planets before they could pose a threat, she attempted to destroy the Earth but encountered Kevin Connor. A built-in failsafe caused both Starbrands to be attracted to each other and forced them to stop the conflict.[12]


Starbrand Reborn[]

Suzanne Selby (Earth-616) from Avengers Vol 8 30 002

Kevin Connor's Starbrand is transferred to Suzanne Selby

Brandy Selby (Earth-616) from Avengers Vol 8 30 001

Kevin Connor's Starbrand is transferred again to Brandy

After Kevin Connor's untimely death,[26] his Starbrand was transferred to a pregnant woman named Suzanne Selby. She died during labour but the Starbrand was transferred once more to her daughter, whom the Avengers named Brandy.[9] For some reason, the Starbrand was aging Brandy up rapidly and it eventually reached the point that she was elderly.[27] After a conflict against the Mephisto's Council of Red and the Multiversal Masters of Evil, she sacrificed herself along with a Phoenix to restore the Earths that the Masters had ravaged.[28]


Earth-148611[]

A brand granting the bearer infinite power, limited in application only by their imagination. Though it exists on several different worlds and takes slightly different forms on each, it always resembles a multi-point star burst. First known in the New Universe, where it was wielded for years by the mysterious figure known only as "the Old Man", who had possessed the brand since the Middle Ages.[citation needed]

Tired of immortality, the Old Man at one point attempted to bond the brand to an asteroid, getting rid of it without passing on the burden of its awesome power. He failed, and the energy released resulted in the White Event. Giving up, the Old Man gave the brand to Ken Connell. Ken Connell used the Star Brand to become a superhero for a time, before he too grew tired of fighting off aliens, super beings, and even a now-mad Old Man, who all also wanted the Brand.[citation needed]

He too tried to fly into space to dispose of the brand's power (unaware that a former attempt to do so had caused the White Event), saving just a small portion of its infinite power to bring him safely home. He did not fly far enough away from the Earth, and the resulting blast completely destroyed Pittsburgh, leaving only a mutative, radioactive pit. This later became known as the Black Event, and led to a global war when President Reagan assumed it to be an act of hostility by the Soviet Union.[citation needed]

On Earth-886 the bearer of the Star Brand uses it to fight evil monstrous forces that threaten the world, and she is something of a celebrity for doing so. The bearer of Earth-723's Star Brand uses the power to create music that can influence human behavior, to the extent that he has unified the people of his world as single hive mind. Earth-541 is the home of a Star Brand bearer who has conquered his world and installed himself as the head of a benevolent monarchical dictatorship. This world is apparently peaceful, happy, and efficient, despite the lack of freedoms.[citation needed]

Eventually, the hero Quasar came to the New Universe while lost on a trek through alternate realities. Ken Connell had passed the brand on to a U.S. Air Force Pilot, who Quasar found and convinced to give him the brand. He used its power to return to Earth-616, but he accidentally brought Earth-148611 with him.[citation needed]

After a conflict between warring factions vying for control of the brand, the Living Tribunal declared the brand to be a threat to the universal order. He then sealed Earth-148611 behind an impenetrable barrier, so that the brand could never interact with the rest of the universe.[citation needed]

Arden, a multiversal observer of the New Universal continuum theorized that while every Star Brand ever conceived is different everywhere and everywhen within existence, the one constant they all share, besides being a conduit for an energy source no matter what universe it's in, is that none of them adhere to the natural physics of said universe, that all are tapping into a looping energy source which is derived through the multiverse itself.[29]

Earth-555[]

Earth-555 from Newuniversal Vol 1 1 002

Ken Connell receiving the Starbrand via the White Event

The newuniversal structure is an artificial web, a machine constructed by an ancient race, whose strands are lightyears long and the laws of physics as they are known to humanity do not apply. When a planet enters the web, to ease to transition, a White Event is triggered where the machine automatically selects four recipients to receive the power of the Starbrand for planetary defense, the Nightmask to access the Superflow, the Justice to judge sinners, and the Cipher for technological advancement.[30][6][31]

Earth of Universe 555 has skirted the edge of the newuniversal structure before three times.[30][13] The first one produced the Starbrand Starr, as well as an accompanying Nightmask, a Cipher, and a Justice. They made the city Zardath, located in modern-day Latvia and predated Uruk,[5] the most advanced on the planet.[32]

Kenneth Connell (Earth-555) from Newuniversal Vol 1 1 001

A fourth White Event occured when Earth entered the newuniversal web, believed to be for long-term contact.[30] It occured on March 2nd, 2006, and produced a Starbrand (Ken Connell), a Nightmask (Izanami Randall), a Justice (John Tensen), and a Cipher (Jenny Swann). Unfortunately, the overflow of the Starbrand killed Ken's girlfriend Maddie. He was arrested but killed the police officers, including Maddie's vengeful father, in self-defense.[33]

Ken's actions alerted the world of the Starbrand's existence. Ken retreated to the Wichita Mountains where he met three other Starbrands, two from other universes and the third was himself from 50 years into the future. Old Ken warned him about misuing the Starbrand, but they were interrupted by the US military attempting to kill him. The Starbrands survived and Ken escaped with Nightmask.[34]


Capabilities[]

Kevin Connor (Earth-616) from Infinity Vol 1 3 001

Kevin Connor unleashing the Starbrand's power against a Builder fleet

Adam Blackveil (Earth-616) and Kevin Connor (Earth-616) from Avengers Vol 5 16 001

Nightmask demonstrating to Kevin Connor one of the Starbrand's features

The Starbrand is one of the tools that the Builders use to help shape the universe.[35] As the Starbrand is intended to defend a world, it also has the power to destroy one.[16][36] Starbrand users (also called Starbrands) have many powers, such as flight, immense strength, immense durability, energy projection, and the ability to travel through space.[37][36][9] In addition, whomever possesses the Starbrand is granted immense analytical abilities to aid the task of protecting life and can detect nearby life.[38]

The Star Brand gave its bearer god-like powers, limited only by the wielder's imagination. The most easily attainable powers of the Star Brand are flight, incredible strength, invulnerability and the ability to unleash blasts of destructive energy, up to the equivalent of a nuclear explosion in force (this last power is problematic, as the blast manifests as a sphere centered on the wielder indiscriminately destroying everything in his vicinity).[citation needed]

In addition, the brand makes the bearer immortal, preserving him from aging and reviving and regenerating his body upon its violent death (Upon reviving, the Star Brand bearer will first take on a transitory but freakish alien shape before reverting to his normal human appearance; more than once, this has lead observers to erroneously believe that the bearer is an alien masquerading as a human). The Star Brand's power also has a minor mutagenic aspect, in that those who wield it for a great number of years will grow taller and more massive. It is possible that all these "basic" abilities are the result of the infinite power of the Star Brand responding to the subconscious desires of the bearer.[citation needed]

The power of the Star Brand must be called up by the bearer's will (except for its preservative properties, which function subconsciously). If the bearer is frightened or disoriented, it is possible for their control to slip and leave him defenseless. Anger focuses the power, and will automatically activate it before the user can consciously do so. In time, the bearer uses the Star Brand instinctively until, if he wishes it, he has to consciously choose to turn it off.[citation needed]

With time, imagination and will, the bearer of the Star Brand can expand its abilities into anything he can conceive of. Early examples are learning to direct its destructive energy into controlled bolts and healing wounds of the bearer or others at will. Expanded powers have included the ability to "burn-out" the powers of other paranormals, creating objects from nothing (up to entire cities), reconstructing and redesigning the bodies of living beings, rendering inert all nuclear warheads on the planet and even time travel.[citation needed]

The brand itself is roughly the size of the palm of the hand and as far as has been shown is immaterial and effectively only two-dimensional. The Brand is utterly black in color and is smooth and warm to the touch. As long as it is somewhere on their skin the bearer may wield its powers. The brand can be transferred to another part of the body if the bearer wills it by skin-to-skin contact, thus the bearer can choose to place the Star Brand anywhere on his person, willing it into his hand then placing it anywhere on their body.[citation needed]

However, this transfer involves some energy discharge, and the brand will burn off any hair it is placed over. The Star Brand and its power can be transferred to another person, but former owners are always left with a remaining residue of about 10% of its power, a residue which regenerates and in time will grow to equal that of the original. In the series it was stated that the power of the brand is infinite. So 10% of infinite power is still infinite power.[citation needed]

The Star Brand must be carried by a sentient being, otherwise its energy is spontaneously released in a massive uncontrolled explosion. The two most significant events of the New Universe, the White Event and the destruction of Pittsburgh, were caused by attempts to transfer the Star Brand to inanimate objects.[citation needed]

There is some risk of "fallout" from massive uses of the Star Brand's power. Backlash from the Star Brand has occasionally altered nearby landscape and life.[citation needed]

Trivia

See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/starbd.htm

References

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