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How DC’s Newest Villain Echoes Zack Snyder’s DCEU

In the latest issue of Justice League, the League’s newest villain employs a tactic similar to one used by the villain of Zack Synder’s DCEU film.

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Justice League #60 by Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, Tamra Bonvillain and VC’s Cory Petit, on sale now.

Between the release of the DCEU’s long-awaited Snyder Cut of Justice League and writer Brian Michael Bendis taking over the main Justice League comic title, DC fans have had quite a lot to celebrate. There are also some notable similarities between the villains each version of the League faces.

While the film focuses on the New God Steppenwolf’s attempt to conquer the Earth, the comics introduce a new villain and would-be conqueror named Brutus. Both are godlike entities from another world, and curiously, both of them decided to begin their invasion by attacking the island of Themyscira.

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Brutus in Justice League #60 by Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez

So far, Brutus is an enigma. He was first introduced in the previous issue, where he showed up out of nowhere, appearing in a corona of flame and attacking Black Adam. With demonic-looking curled horns sprouting from his head and a muscular humanoid body, Brutus appears to be a fearsome foe. The Justice League showed up and after a short brawl, Brutus fled through a portal. However, both Superman and Black Adam realized that Brutus had the same energy signatures as the new hero Naomi McDuffie, who comes from another Earth that exists somewhere outside the multiverse and is believed to have been destroyed in a war between superpowered beings. Brutus appears to be one of the few survivors of the war, intent on conquering a new planet to escape the devastation inflicted on his world.

His confrontation with Black Adam seems to have been a scouting mission. Brutus’s first serious invasion attempt comes in Justice League #60, when he attacks the island of Themyscira. The Amazon warriors immediately engage him, including Queen Hippolyta, who drives him back through a portal into the charnel ruins of a city on his own world. He rallies, punching her so hard that she creates an impact crater in the ground. However, Brutus spots the League approaching and so retreats, saying he will return with friends next time.

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There are some major similarities between Steppenwolf’s opening moves in the Justice League film and this attack by Brutus. Both make the decision to try invading Themyscira, each using a portal to do so. Both also personally engage with Queen Hippolyta. However, Steppenwolf has a clear motive to attack the island, as one of the three Mother Boxes he seeks is being guarded by the Amazons. He also comes with an army of Parademons, rather than trying to fight alone. And yet the Amazons still hold their own against him for quite a while, despite his status as a god.

Unlike Steppenwolf, Brutus has no reason to attack Themyscira. With the possible exception of Atlantis, there is no other place on the planet with an entire population of trained warriors as strong and skillful as the Amazons. Brutus acts like he is surprised upon his arrival, even asking where he is. However, if he really traveled to Earth from somewhere beyond the multiverse and had no specific location in mind, it seems statistically unlikely that he would just happen to land on a remote island whose population is connected to both the gods and one of the Justice League’s founding members. The villain’s Roman-inspired name and the fact that he speaks a language that Earth’s heroes can understand also raise questions about his identity and the nature of his home world. Brutus may not know a lot about Earth, but there definitely seems to be a method behind his invasion strategy.

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