Brain Drain


Real Name: Werner Schmidt

Identity/Class: Human (German) mutate technology-user (World War II, 1959 and modern era)

Occupation: Employee of the Master;
   former Nazi scientist

Group Membership:  Omega Flight (Bile, Miss Mass, Sinew, Strongarm, Tech-Noir);
frormerly Icon (Axis Annie, Baron Blood, Count von Blitzkrieg, DoctOrangutan, Fräulein Fatale, Geist, Hollow Men, Fritz Krone and his robots, Leopard Woman, Madame Mauser, Penny Panzer, Planner, Dieter Skul, Spider-Queen, Vunderknight, others), unnamed Axis team (Master Man, Skyshark & Slicer, U-Man)

Affiliations: None;
   formerly worked for Adolf Hitler and the Master;
   former Nazi scientist (helped create Master Man), worked above several scientists including Colonel Krieghund (Wilhelm von Strohm);
   former enslaver of Star-Gods (Brunnhilde, Donar, Froh, Loga)
   former employer of Ubermadchen (Madame Mauzer, Vichy Vixen, Axis Annie, Fraulein Fatale, Penny Panzer)

Enemies: Agent Twelve, Alpha Flight (Aurora, Feedback, Guardian (Heather Hudson), Guardian (James Hudson), Northstar, Sasquatch, Shaman, Weapon Omega/Wild Child, Wyre), Avengers (Blonde Phantom/Louise Mason, Dominic Fortune, Nick Fury, Kraven/Sergei Kravinoff, Powell McTeague, Namora, Sabretooth/Victor Creed), Beta/Gamma Flight (Laura Dean, Goblyn, Manikin, Persuasion, Windshear, Witchfire), Invaders (Bucky (Barnes), Captain America (Rogers), Human Torch (android), Sub-Mariner, Toro), Liberty Legion (Blue Diamond, Jack Frost, Miss America, Patriot, Red Raven, Thin Man, Whizzer), Micromax, Omerta, Peregrine, Prodigy, Shamrock, Talisman (Elizabeth Twoyoungman), Thing

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Operative A.1416

Base of Operations: Unrevealed base(s) of the Master;
   formerly castle in German Alps,
   mountain crater in Germany

First Appearance:  (mentioned) Giant-Size Invaders#1 (June, 1975); (seen) Invaders I#2 (October, 1975)

human form

Powers/Abilities:  Brain Drain is a human brain and two eyes in a jar; presumably he could not survive outside the life-sustaining jar, but this is not certain. His intellect was vastly heightened by exposure to alien Axi-Tun technology; following that exposure he spent years studying their technology before the destruction of their ship. He has hypnotic powers capable of mesmerizing multiple superhumans simultaneously, forcing them to do whatever he desires. This hypnosis generally is a close range phenomena, but with preparation and proper equipment it can be conducted electronically at planetary distances.


(Alpha Flight I#108 (fb)) - Werner Schmidt was a scientist for the Nazi party; his work involved test tubes in some capacity.

(Invaders I#2 (fb)) - Werner Schmidt stood on a German mountainside when a huge meteorite crashed into it, creating an enormous cave/crater. Schmidt was nearly killed by the meteorite-caused explosion, but aliens traveling within the ship saved his brain and eyes, placing them within a floating bubble which they then attached to a humanoid robotic body. Hoping Schmidt could help them repair their ship (within the meteorite), they exposed him to a powerful "ring of the nebulas" which immensely heightened his mental and mechanical powers. Schmidt seized the ring and placed the aliens under his control, renaming them after German mythological figures: Brunnhilde, Donar, Froh, Loga. However, one (Brunnhilde) resisted and fled, amnesiac, taking the ring with her. The Nazis built a base within the crater to study the ship, and Schmidt (now called A.1416, or Brain Drain) was placed in control of the operation.

(Marvel Premiere I#30 - BTS) - Brain Drain developed a space-warping device for the German government; the Red Skull later adapted this device to his own ends and used it as an entrapping energy funnel against the Invaders. One of Brain Drain's scientists was named Krieghund.

(Invaders I#17 (fb) - BTS) - At some point Brain Drain invented a special belt-apparatus that translated the user's speech into any other language and translated everything he heard into his own universal translator. He built it for Adolf Hitler himself.

(Giant-Size Invaders#1 - BTS) - With the help of Brain Drain, German scientists (including Krieghund) built a secret underground base beneath a Virginia farm; there they were creating their own German super-soldier, Master Man. Using a mind-draining device (the Psyphon) developed by Brain Drain, they learned everything American scientists Dr. Anderson (a scientist on the super-soldier project) knew of Dr. Erskine's super-soldier work. With this, they completed Master Man, though the in-the-process-of-forming Invaders attacked and destroyed the project (rescuing Dr. Anderson, who told them of Brain Drain's existence); Master Man's enhancements proved only temporary.

(Invaders I#1 - BTS) - While looking for information on Brain Drain, the Invaders coincidentally (?) found Brunnhilde (still amnesiac and now calling herself Hilda). She recognized the name Brain Drain, and was able to point the Invaders toward the mountain where the German crater base was. The Invaders flew there, but their ship was knocked out of the air by Donar, Froh, and Loga.

mechanical nazi body

(Invaders I#2) - At the crater base, Brain Drain pursued research channels when the Invaders entered the area. Hilda and Captain America were captured; she recovered her memories in facing Brain Drain but he reclaimed the ring from her and began draining the life forces of all four aliens. Rather than serve in shame, she threw the ring into a mysterious pool of alien liquids, starting an atomic reaction, and jumped in after (calling her fellow aliens to join her). As a last act, she mind-controlled Brain Drain into jumping in after her -- this act destroyed his robotic body, but not his brain capsule. The Invaders fled, and a few minutes later the entire mountain was destroyed in an atomic blast.

(Invaders I#2 - BTS) - Brain Drain survived the explosion through undetermined means.

(Marvel Two-in-One I#20 - BTS) - American bundists (Nazi sympathizers) found a time-lost half-canister of Vibranium which made its way to Brain Drain. Using secrets harvested from that Vibranium to perfect its stabilization, Brain Drain built a new Nazi super-weapon: a jet-powered flying swastika which spun at high speeds, and which should prove capable of destructively spinning through buildings with no harm to itself. It was piloted by Brain Drain himself. To enhance his own mental abilities, he recruited Skyshark to steal an American super-gyroscope from New York City for him.

(Marvel Two-in-One Annual#1) - Skyshark, U-Man and Master Man were sent out into the greater New York area to commit similar thefts (Skyshark's task being to locate an American super-gyroscope for Brain Drain) but none of the three succeeded as the Liberty Legion stopped them all. The flying swastika attacked New York, cutting through a skyscraper like butter as it did so. The time-traveling Thing (Ben Grimm), used a flagpole as a catapult to launch himself at the swastika.

flying swastika

(Marvel Two-in-One I#20) - Leaping onto the swastika, the Thing encountered Brain Drain (its pilot), and Brain Drain quickly hypnotized the Thing and had him reveal his backstory. However, the Thing broke free and began destroying the ship; Brain Drain quickly returned to an offshore carrier platform where his allies U-Man, Master Man, and Skyshark could attack the Thing. The Liberty Legion quickly followed and the Nazis were defeated. The Thing reclaimed the Vibranium and destroyed the flying swastika, but Brain Drain's head capsule had been outfitted with jet capabilities of its own; he separated from the swastika and flew away to freedom (Skyshark also escaped, though the other Nazis were captured).

(Miss America Comics 70th Anniversary Special#1 - BTS) - Miss America, Whizzer, and Blue Diamond were told by Captain America that American Agent 12 had been inside Brain Drain's new hideout. They rescued Agent 12 from a barn of mind-controlled German agents, and he reported that Brain Drain had an agent in American shipyards, and was targeting a new attack-transport ship (the Destiny class U.S.S. Markham). Miss America went undercover in the shipyards and eventually ended up fighting the Ubermadchen (Madame Mauzer, Vichy Vixen, Axis Annie, Fraulein Fatale, Penny Panzer), but protected the ship and claimed the device Mauzer had been using to mind-control shipyard-workers. With the device, she traveled to a castle in the German Alps and there took control of the mind-controllees who were fighting Blue Diamond and Whizzer, ordering them to capture Brain Drain. However, Brain Drain apparently had some further threat in the "dark dungeon" below the castle.

(Avengers 1959#2 (fb) - BTS) - After the war around 1959 Brain Drain joined Geoffrey Sydenham's secret US intelligence organization Icon.

(Avengers 1959#2) - (Avengers 1959#2) - Baron Blood and Brain Drain were stationed on a ship in the South Pacific near China. Following a lead the Avengers were teleported on to the ship by Powell McTeague and fought the former Nazi agents.

(Avengers 1959#3) - While fighting Sabretooth Brain Drain was teleported to Washington DC by Sydenham, who was aided in this feat by his master Dormammu. Meeting their leader, Sydenham, in person for the first time Baron Blood and Brain Drain, chained in mystic chains, listened as Sydenham asked him to earn the freedom he had granted him.

(Avengers 1959#5) - Brain Drain joined Sydenham in Washington DC alongside Baron Blood, Geist, Spider Queen and some Hollow Men. They fought the Avengers, who attempted to take down Icon. Brain Drain's dome was destroyed by one of Dominic Fortune's bullets.

(Avengers 1959#5 - BTS) - Brain Drain survived and escaped.

(Alpha Flight I#108 (fb)) - An experiment gone awry left Brain Drain trapped in a snow mound for five decades, during which time he came to regret his loyalty to the Nazi cause. Eventually he managed to take control of the mind of a lone hiker who passed nearby, and had himself dug out and freed.

(Alpha Flight I#108) - Prior to the first Pan-European Conference on Super-Human Affairs (held in Geneva, Switzerland), Brain Drain had his capsule hidden within an ice sculpture. He placed hypnotic commands into the minds of Peregrine, Micromax, Omerta, Prodigy, and Shamrock, ordering each to kill their country's (respectively France, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Ireland) leaders with the intent of destroying European unity. Alpha Flight's Aurora seized his canister and threw it far across the Alps while the rest of Alpha Flight saved the various leaders. The Master soon recovered Brain Drain's canister.

current body

(Alpha Flight I#110 - BTS) - Between the Master and Brain Drain, the pair created a new purple-costumed robotic body for Brain Drain, this one capable of passing for a large human (well, excepting the brain-and-two-eyes-in-a-jar for a head!).

(Alpha Flight I#111 - BTS (fb)) - Fearing the powers of the alien Magus, the Master designed a plan to release the alien Ska'r into Canada, with the goal of sacrificing Canada to the Ska'r to save Earth from the Magus. He sent Omega Flight (including Brain Drain) to free the Ska'r using the powers of Talisman (Elizabeth Twoyoungman).

(Alpha Flight I#110) - At a mall in Toronto, the new Omega Flight (Brain Drain, Bile, Miss Mass, Sinew, Strongarm, Tech-Noir) attacked Talisman. Easily taking her down, Brain Drain then took control of Talisman's mind, forcing her to do what they wanted. The team then abandoned Talisman and left.

(Alpha Flight I#111) - While Toronto's residents slowly went violently insane under the influence of the Ska'r, Brain Drain and Omega Flight confronted Gamma Flight (who were attempting to stop the Ska'r) in Toronto's streets.

(Alpha Flight I#112) - Persuasion turned Bile against the rest of Alpha Flight, and given the Ska'r influence as well, Brain Drain was unable to control Bile (or apparently any others). Brain Drain and most of Omega Flight fled.

(Alpha Flight I#129) - At the Master's behest, Omega Flight returned to confront Alpha Flight.

(Alpha Flight I#130) - When Omega Flight and Alpha Flight fought, Brain Drain briefly took down Feedback and Wyre, but both recovered before the battle was done. The Master was defeated when his "Antiguard" (James McDonald Hudson, a former Alpha Flight member) regained himself and turned on the Master; Brain Drain's fate was not shown.

Comments: Created by Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Frank Robbins (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker)

   Given that Brain Drain revealed jet packs built into the bottom of his canister in Marvel Two-in-One#20, it seems highly likely that those are how he survived the end of Invaders I#2 -- he flew away from the mountain before the nuclear explosion destroyed it (clearly he had plenty of time as the Invaders also had time to get to their ship and fly away in that same time interval).

   Brain Drain's modern-era resurrection in Alpha Flight I#108 references (in pictures but not in words) his defeat in Invaders I#2, and ignores his subsequent World War II appearances. Some people debate whether or not the Marvel Two-in-One appearances took place in the 616 universe or in an alternate universe (as some time-travel events have diverged alternate universes); in either case, the "accident" which left Brain Drain entombed for 50 years is vague enough to be just about anything; by the by, the Marvel Two-in-One adventure is subsequently referenced within the pages of the Invaders, and Marvel's Official Handbooks have since confirmed that the Liberty Legion's battle with Brain Drain did indeed take place in Earth-616's World War II. For more information on this "controversy," see the Appendix entry for Slicer.

   Though his eyes are connected to his brain by two nerve strands, they are free-floating as well and not physically fixed to the brain. Since most frontal images (as above) make it look like they're attached to the brain, I wanted to make that clear; there have been side images which have shown them floating separately.

   Brunnhilde, Donar, Froh, and Loga are revealed as aliens in Invaders I#2, but their race is never given. The Axi-Tun race entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#15 is where their race is revealed.

   Brain Drain never actually appears in Miss America Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1, but is referenced so many times that we're assuming above that he was really behind the scenes there.

   Though we know Brain Drain had a big part in Master Man's creation, we don't know what other Nazi projects he had his (metaphorical) hands in -- with his brain power and access to alien technologies, there could have been many; presumably he should have been one of the Nazis' greatest sources of weapons/powers! I'd also note that if anyone ever took any of the Axi-Tun technology out of that cavern (highly likely) then it could have been floating around out there from the 1940s to present day.

   Thanks to John McDonogh for pointing out Brain Drain's mention in Marvel Premiere#30 by way of the Red Skull OHOTMU Deluxe Edition entry.

A "brain drain" is an emigration of trained and talented individuals to other nations or jurisdictions, due to conflicts, lack of opportunity, health hazards where they are living, discrimination or other reasons.
--John Kaminski

Timely Comics created 3 disembodied brains 2 of them pre-date Donovan's Brain (1943)---Professor Donaire (Marvel Mystery Comics#15 (January, 1941; Angel foe) and the Eternal Brain. Tiger Duncan called the Murder Brain in the title (Captain America Comics#41 (August, 1944; Captain America story). The Atlas Age has at least one disembodied brain called the Brain seen on the cover of Marvel Tales#99 (February, 1951). Plus Timely Comics has 2 unofficial disembodied brain characters---Killer Kole (Captain America Comics#17 (August, 1942; Captain America story---Human brain in large gorilla body) and Olaf Olsen (Captain America Comics#29 (August, 1943); Captain America story--Human brain in Iguanodon body).

Profile by SQUEAK

BRAIN DRAIN has no known connections to and should not be confused with

images: (without ads)
Alpha Flight I#108, p6, pan1 (main image)
Invaders I#2, p8, pan5 (human form, before explosion)
Invaders I#2, p10, pan1 (original Nazi mechanical body)
Marvel Two-in-One I#20, p2, pan2&4 (flying swastika)
Alpha Flight I#129, next-to-last page, pan1 (current body)
Alpha Flight I#108, cover (hiya kids)

Giant-Size Invaders#1 (June, 1975) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Frank Robbins (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker)
Invaders I#1-2 (August-October, 1975) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Frank Robbins (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker)
Marvel Premiere I#30 (June, 1976) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Don Heck (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker)
Marvel Two-in-One Annual#1 (1976) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Sal Buscema (penciler), Sam Grainger, Tartag, & George Roussos (inker)
Marvel Two-in-One I#20 (October, 1976) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Sal Buscema (penciler), Sam Grainger (inker)
Invaders I#17 (June, 1977) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Frank Robbins (pencils), Frank Springer (inks)
Alpha Flight I#108 (May, 1992) - Scott Lobdell (writer), Tom Morgan (penciler/inker), Rob Tokar (editor)
Alpha Flight I#110 (July, 1992) - Simon Furman (writer), Pat Broderick (penciler), Chris Ivy & Bruce Patterson (inkers), Rob Tokar (editor)
Alpha Flight I#111-112 (August-September, 1992) - Simon Furman (writer), Pat Broderick (penciler), Bruce Patterson (inker), Rob Tokar (editor)
Alpha Flight I#129-130 (February-March, 1994) - Simon Furman (writer), Dario Carrasco Jr (penciler), Bruce Patterson (inker), Rob Tokar (editor)
Miss America Comics 70th Anniversary Special#1 (August, 2004) - Jen Van Meter (writer), Andy Macdonald (artist), Stephen Wacker (editor)
Avengers 1959#2-3 (December, 2011 - January, 2012) - Howard Chaykin (writer/artist), Lauren Sankovitch (editor)
Avengers 1959#5 (March, 2012) - Howard Chaykin (writer/artist), Lauren Sankovitch (editor)

First Posted: 07/24/2007
Last updated: 08/12/2018

hiya kids

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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