Abigail Brand is harder than you.
Abigail Brand is mean to everyone she knows, even (especially) those she cares about.
Abigail Brand is damned good at her job.
“We came, we saw, everything caught fire and we ran the %#&# away-”
Created by Joss Whedon in Astonishing X-Men, Abigail Brand represents the extraterrestrial defence force S.W.O.R.D., an offshoot of homeland defence force S.H.I.E.L.D. She’s a green-haired, tough-talking half-alien space agent who doesn’t suffer fools, shouts her way out of every problem, and is totally hot for Hank McCoy (Beast).
After also appearing in the Secret Invasion storyline, Brand had her own series, collected in S.W.O.R.D: No Time To Breathe in which she leaps from one intergalactic catastrophe to another, dragging Beast and tiny angry dragon Lockheed in her wake as she battles bureaucratic red tape, giant robot bounty hunters, and a sinister plot to banish all aliens from Earth.
Sadly the series was cancelled after 5 issues, but it wraps up beautifully as a self-contained story and is definitely worth reading – as of course is the Joss Whedon & John Cassaday run of Astonishing X-Men, of which Abigail Brand is just one of many, many joyful and wonderful aspects. The development of her relationship with Beast is funny and irreverent, and she never lets it get in the way of doing her job.
Brand is such a vivid character that I assumed she was someone like Maria Hill or Nick Fury who had been around the Marvel Universe and then some – it was only when I started researching her that I realised I had read almost all of her major appearances in the comics. This never happens! I am, however, overdue to gread Marvel Heralds, which is mentioned nowhere on Wikipedia but does feature Brand alongside other prominent Marvel women on its cover.
Brand does, however, make appearances in a couple of different Marvel animated series in which, among other things, she punches out Hank Pym (Ant Man).
I’m sorry to hear that there isn’t more Abigail Brand awesomeness that I can read right now, but such a snarky and kickass space-based character won’t be left on the shelf of neglected Marvel women for long, right? RIGHT?
I have faith that her greatest and most sarcastic adventures are still to come. So, Marvel? BRING IT.