Ellen Brandt

Ellen BrandtLast tv spots from Iron Man 3 gave us a look of a couple of other characters who will be present in the movie. The first one is quite a surprise: Ellen Brandt, portrayed by French actress Stephanie Szostak. In the movie, she’ll be an assassin loyal to A.I.M. and its leader, Aldrich Killian, and she’ll fight against Iron Man while powered by Extremis virus. She presents a scar on the left side of her face, and is said to be a sadistic. Well, the comics version has quite a different background: she never clashed with Iron Man, as far as I know, and her scar was much wider than a circle on half her cheek. She is a supporting character of another Marvel superhero, as you can guess from her marital name: Ellen Sallis

Surely Ellen Brandt didn’t have much of a happy childhood: she grew up with a father who was emotionally stone-cold, unable to show her any kind of human feeling, being it love or hate or disdain. Being raised in such an environment, Ellen started to distrust anyone she ever met. Everything changed when she met Ted Sallis, a fellow University student with whom she fell in love. She was only nineteen, but the strength of the new emotions she was feeling brought her to the firm decision of spending her whole life with Ted. She ran from her home and her father, and eloped with her beloved one. The two got married, and spent the best time of their lives in their honeymoon. During their trip, they met ellenbrandtcomics1an old fortuneteller, Madame Swabada, who foresaw a great calamity for them; the two, young and in love, didn’t give importance to the old woman’s prophecy. Ted’s intellect and knowledge attracted the attentions of S.H.I.E.L.D., which chose him as the head scientist of Project Gladiator, a research taking place in Citrusville, in the Florida Everglades, that would have tried to replicate the Super Soldier Serum, the same who gave birth to Captain America back in the ’40s. Ellen was at first happy for her husband’s achievements, but she soon felt lost and abandoned: completely in love with his work, Ted became more and more distant, to the point Ellen saw in him the same lack of emotions of her father. She started to hate the man she once loved, and easily fell in the arms of Eric Schist, apparently a fellow scientist of Ted, but in reality a spy for scientific terrorist organization A.I.M. Ellen started and affair with Eric, and when she knew of his real nature, she embraced his point of view and became a A.I.M. agent herself. From that point, Ellen started spying her husband, who still trusted her, and acknowledged her lover Schist on every progress Ted made in his research.

Finally, when Ted Sallis developed the first, untested version of his serum, Ellen showed her true colors, and pointed a gun to her husband ordering to give her the formula. Ted tried to flee, but Ellen mercilessly shot him several times in the back: the man had just the time to drink the serum in the hope of hiding it from A.I.M., before falling into the swamp. Ellen then started to search for Sallis’ notes in the lab, sure she wouldn’t have seen her husband again… but she was wrong. The serum was imperfect, and, along with the chemicals present in the ellenbrandtcomics2swamp, it had mutated Ted Sallis into a plant-like monster, the Man-Thing. The creature came back to the lab, and found Ellen: the woman was overwhelmed by fear, and her emotion started a chemical reaction into the monster, since whatever knows fear, burns at the touch of Man-Thing! What was once Sallis touched the woman’s face, emitting an acid ignited by Ellen’s fear: her once beautiful face burnt, and she became a disfigured freak. She barely escaped with her life, and came back to A.I.M. to inform her superiors about Sallis’ mutation. Burning with rage and hatred towards her former husband, Ellen insisted to guide a unit of A.I.M. shock troops to the swamp to hunt down the Man-Thing, under the excuse of capturing it for further researches. Ellen and the troops killed several civilians in their hunt for the creature, hoping to force him to march. Unfortunately for her, Man-Thing had meanwhile formed an alliance with Jennifer Kale, a young witch who lived in the swamps: she cast an illusion spell that made the troopers kill one another, while Ellen was confronted by Man-Thing in person. None of her weapons was useful against the very embodiment of the swamp’s natural forces, and she was defeated. Years later, after giving birth to Sallis’ son, Ellen would have reformed and come back to her husband’s side to protect the Nexus of All Realities, overcoming her natural distrust for people and the scars of her soul with the help of Sorrow and Doctor Strange, but time would have passed before that…

Ellen Brandt is a deeply scarred woman, whose soul had been corrupted by years of emotional abuses. She doesn’t know love or affection, and she is ready to aim her hatred towards any man she can identify with her father, responsible of her condition. As an A.I.M. agent and spy, she is well trained in armed and unarmed combat, and she possesses many other skills, being both a tactician and an assassin. Thanks to Sorrow’s intervention, she is finally able to feel hope and love, and she has accepted to help Man-Thing to protect the Nexus: for that task, she’s been given powers not yet revealed.

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