Who Are the Brotherhood of Evil?

Who's This? A group of non-mutants.

The facts: Not to be confused with Magneto's team (although the fact that one fought the X-Men and the other the Doom Patrol further highlights the similarities between those teams), the Brotherhood of Evil has two distinct iterations (with the Brain and Mallah common to both). They first appeared in Doom Patrol v.1 #86 (March 1964), essentially the Brain, Mallah and Madame Rouge, with General Immortus and Garguax stand-alone villains who joined later to plot against the heroes. They were eventually destroyed from the inside by Madame Rouge. To explore Changeling's connection to the Doom Patrol, the Brain and Mallah returned with a new Brotherhood in New Teen Titans #14 (1981) and have since become a Titans enemy (Grant Morrison's weirder DP opted for a Brotherhood of Dada). Other line-ups popped up in the 2000s, one with Rouge's daughter Gemini, for example, another strictly New52 (for the first time without the Brain and Mallah).
How you could have heard of them: The Teen Titans animated series features the Brotherhood of Evil as the main antagonists. It's the classic line-up (sans Garguax). It gets name-checked in the Doom Patrol TV series.
Example story: The Brave and the Bold #65 (April-May 1966) "Alias Negative Man" by Bob Haney, Dick Giordano and Sal Trepani
After a few pages of getting-to-know-the-Doom-Patrol business, we move our scene to France, where little girls are dancing and singing at a boarding school, and right under them...
How creepy! The Brotherhood of Evil is singing and tapping along, even the Brain - that's his voice box there on the desk. Just a small break while planning "Operation Lead Coffin", a scheme to destroy the most powerful member of the DP, Negative Man. If they can trap his energy self outside his body past his 60-second limit, it will turn into undirected energy when Larry Trainer dies! So when the French police call the Doom Patrol to request Negative Man go into some Balkan country and arrest a Nazi war criminal (which he believes he can do in 30 seconds flat), we the readers can see the writing on the wall. When he gets there, he peeps the Nazi's open casket funeral procession, gets close to make the I.D., and SNAP!
"Horst" is a real person, and staged his own death to help the Brotherhood (I wonder if he wants to join). But the Chief has a gadget that allows him to monitor the signals the Negative Man is sending Larry's body, and it somehow knows it's been captured by Horst's pal, General Immortus. He quickly freezes Larry's body so he doesn't die from being separated from, let's say it, his soul. Back in France, the Brotherhood is sharing their victory with an absent member.
Garguax has his role to play as the Brotherhood launches "Operation Darkside" - he launches a rocket from the Dark Side of the Moon. Whatever they've engineered, the world suddenly goes crazy, civil wars erupt, people try to kill or destroy what they love, and... Larry walks into the room? No, not Larry - BARRY. It's the Flash posing as Negative Man, and the costume even lets him go all black, like the energy form. It's all part of a ploy to make the Brotherhood believe they DIDN'T get Larry after all.
See, the clever Chief has sent a jamming signal to stop the radiation counter from working. The coffin appears empty. The Flash's recon has revealed that the Brotherhood has seeded the world with subliminal sky writing that's making everyone go mad, but only one going at superspeed could see the blinking messages. So that's why they needed the Negative Man out of the way. From there, the Chief convinces the military to shoot down Garguax's subliminal satellite. But the Brotherhood's not finished yet! General Immortus calls the DP to tell them they're gonna shoot Larry's coffin into space, effectively calling their bluff. The heroes fly to Immortus's base in the Sahara, showing their hand, but Garguax has been heading to Earth and is ready for them.
The Chief IS captured, but the other heroes jump out and survive to sneak up on the rocket tipped with the lead coffin. Well, you might think the Brotherhood is over-stacked with masterminds and you'd be right, but that's why they have Mallah.
But he's just one gorilla. And while he's a match for Robotman's strength, he can't stop Elasti-Girl and Flash from grabbing the coffin before it reaches the stratosphere. Still, Garguax holds the Chief hostage, so the Brotherhood might escape yet. Madame Rouge, who hasn't gotten the chance to do anything, calls them all bunglers. Maybe she can kill the Chief the old-fashioned way.
She fails as well, but the villains escape anyway. This might have been the last drop for Immortus because he's not seen again until the new Doom Patrol (the one run by Celsius) appears on the scene. And Madame Rouge is going to betray the Brotherhood soon enough...

What's clear from this story (and others I've read) is that Brotherhood stories are often a chess game between Niles Caulder and the Brain. They each scheme against the other and cause all sorts of reversals, until the more physical members of each team have to meet to resolve the situation one way or the other. If you look at the new Brotherhood of Evil, the behind-the-scenes villains (other than the Brain) are replaced with power sets better suited to one-on-one action against later versions of the Doom Patrol or, as it turned out, the Titans. But it's at least interesting to see them here as a kind of club for masterminds, building schemes together.

Who's Next?
A rag doll.



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