The man known as William Carmody was actually a member of the Eternals, god-like beings of great cosmic power. As each member of the Eternals focused their vast powers to a specific skill or trait, the being who eventually became called the Eternal Brain focused his cosmic powers to becoming a massive brain. However, the Eternal Brain had enemies and in order to hide from them he created a normal human body to hide in. However, by his own accounts, he was found by these enemies and his human body slain.
This is in contradiction to the first recorded story and origin that identified him as William Carmody, a brilliant scientist, who developed a technological means of keeping the human brain alive indefinably after the human body failed to sustain it. In this account, shortly after this discovery, Carmody's daughter was kidnapped by criminal Peg-Leg Martin, who brought the girl to his master the Mongolian leader Ulan Bator. During the kidnapping attempt, William was fatally shot and had his assistant Jim Fitzpatrick perform his brain transplant procedure, turning Carmody into the Eternal Brain.
Using his expanded mental powers, Carmody then directed Jim in his travels to Mongolia where he came to Mary's rescue. Ultimately, thanks to the aid of the Eternal Brain, Jim succeeded and Ulan Bator and his minions were slain. Upon learning what happened to her father, Mary blamed Jim for his condition.
It could be considered that William Carmody was the name that the Eternal Brain assumed when he was posing in his human body and that his "experimental process" of brain transplants was merely a ruse to continue living in secret. As Mary did not have any powers to speak of, it is possible that she was adopted at a young age as a further ruse to confuse his foes.
Although this "origin" story was published in the 1940s, the story itself was set in the 1980s. An introductory caption on the very first page reads: "Following the experiments of Col. Charles Lindbergh, a half century after the air hero had experimented with mechanical substitutes for human organs, Prof. Carmody is reaching completion of his life work ...." Lindbergh invented an early artificial heart in the 1930s, ergo the story of the Eternal Brain is a bit of futuristic science fiction set fifty years later in the 1980s. This was confirmed when Carmody latter appeared in the Marvel: The Lost Generation limited series.
By the early 1980s, Jim and Carmody developed a mechanical body so that his Eternal Brain form mobility, although Mary was still having difficulties adapting to the radical changes in her father. Shortly thereafter, Carmody was approached by Effigy of the super-hero team First Line who sought to recruit his assistance in rescuing their captured team member Mister Justice and a number of American diplomats being held hostage in the nation of Halwan. The Eternal Brain used his telepathic powers to guide the team, leading to the ultimate liberation of Mr. Justice and the other diplomats.
The Eternal Brain joined the First Line, offering the Carmody Institute as their headquarters. The group then began operating in a more clandestine nature. The Eternal Brain then underwent a process of transferring his consciousness into a homunculus form. He hid this fact from all others, still fearing attacks from his enemies. He also constructed the first model of an artificially intelligent robot named Walkabout to eventually carry his newly developing body in secret. Carmody detected an intrusion of the Institute by CIA agent Nick Fury who soon discovered that the First Line were still in operation. That same night the base was incidentally attacked by the Deviants led by Warlord Kro who detected an Eternal life signal from within the Institute. This was due to the fact that among the First Line's membership was an Eternal named Pixie, suggesting that Carmody was able to mask his Eternal origins from Deviant technology. During the battle, Carmody called for Walkabout and linked with the robot to apparently join them in battle, but he was not present during the fight, possibly in order to avoid detection. At the battle's end Carmody was asked to probe the mind of Cassandra Locke a time-traveller from the 22nd century of Earth-700 who claimed that the team would be killed defending the Earth from a Skrull invasion. Carmody claimed that due to his homunculus form, his mental powers were not yet at their peak. Locke later escaped by travelling further into the past hoping to stop the tragic deaths of the First Line in their near future.
Several years later, the fully reborn First Line, with the Eternal Brain (now operating in a fully shielded Walkabout robot) battled the Line's oldest foe Nocturne who used his achem-tech to spread a technogranic virus that spread across the first eight floors of the Baxter Building in New York City. Walkabout/The Eternal Brain freed his captured teammates and Pixie used her Pixie-Dust to turn Nocturne into stone that then crumbled to bits. Using his scanners, Carmody detected that the technorganic virus had also adapted organic material, allowing Pixie to destroy it with her dust as well, saving New York in the process.
A few years prior to the current age of heroes, Carmody joined the combined might of Earth's heroes and villains in an assault on a Skrull invasion fleet. During the battle, Carmody's current Walkabout unit was severely damaged by Skrull blasters revealing Carmody's still developing homunculus form. This left Carmody vulnerable for an attack from Nocturne, who blasted the homunculus form, seemingly killing Carmody.
The Eternal Brain survived this attack and resurfaced in the modern age. It's possible that the cloned body inside Walkabout was merely another falsehood to protect himself from his enemies.
The Eternal Brain built a new mechanical body for himself and was eventually recruited into Howard the Duck's Ducky Dozen who were sent on a mission by ARMOR to prevent a zombie plague from spreading outside of Earth-12591, a world where the Nazis won World War II by using the zombie contingent.
The Eternal Brain and his teammates battled the likes of zombified Nazis, the Invaders, and Asgardians with the help of the Suffragists and Loki Laufeyson. While Loki, Dum Dum Dugan, and Miss America sought out Fat Boy, an American nuclear weapon captured by the Nazis, the Eternal Brain and the others were left to fight off a horde of infected Nazis and Asgardians alone. Surrounded, the Eternal Brian decided to sacrifice his life so that his teammates could escape. He had the Suffragist member Riveter smash the dome which contained his brain. The Eternal Brain then allowed himself to resume his massive brain form, enticing the zombies to feast upon him while the others escaped. As the surviving members of the Ducky Dozen teleported back to Earth-616, the nuclear bomb went off seemingly destroying the Eternal Brain.
Powers and Abilities
The Eternal Brain is a member of the Eternals, an offshoot of humanity that were endowed with a mastery of cosmic energy. Each Eternal focused their cosmic powers to a specific skill or trait. The Eternal Brain focused his on the brain, becoming a massive human brain and gaining telepathic abilities. He could also change the size of his brain at will.
A brilliant scientist, the Eternal Brain was an expert in genetics and robotics. He created two human bodies to live inside, the first growing to old age, the other did not grow beyond an embryonic state. He also constructed a number of devices to house his brain form, including mechanical bodies that replaced the need for a physical one.
Carmody was often transported inside Walkabout
In the letter pages of various issues of Marvel: The Lost Generation, the series' writer Roger Stern notes that the events of the Eternal Brain from Red Raven Comics #1 took place in the 1980s. This is confirmed by a close reading of the original Eternal Brain story, where the narration opened with, "Emulating the experiments of Col. Charles Lindbergh, a half-century after the air hero had experimented with mechanical substitutes for human organs". Charles Lindbergh began studying organs in 1931, and designed the glass perfusion pump in 1935. A half-century after Lindbergh's study and invention would therefore be the 1980's. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #4's profile on the character also verifies this. Whether or not recent revelations that the Eternal Brain was also a member of the Eternals are true, remains to be seen. Either story could have been a ruse.
Eternal Brain's last words were a variation on the Most Interesting Man in the World's catchphrase in the Dos Equis beer commercials.
- 11 appearance(s) of William Carmody (Earth-616)
- Mentions (or invocations) of William Carmody (Earth-616)
- 12 image(s) of William Carmody (Earth-616)
- 1 quotation(s) by or about William Carmody (Earth-616)