Cynthia Brand (Scorcher)

scorcherfilmThe second character appearing in Supergirl episode Welcome to Earth is the freak-of-the-week, the alien baddie that our heroes unite to take down: Scorcher, portrayed by Nadine Crocker. In the show, she’s an extremist alien who tries to kill President Olivia Marsdin, not trusting her law about alien immigrants; the nature of her powers makes everyone believe the culprit behind the terrorist attacks be Mon-El, but she’s later identified and defeated (it remains a mystery how she’s able to take a punch from Supergirl but she’s knocked out by Maggie Sawyer with a pipe, but invulnerability and super strength are not exactly consistent in this show…). In the comics, there are five different individuals who took the name Scorcher over the years, but only one physically resemble the alien we saw in the episode. Let’s see together.

Not much is known about Cynthia “Cindy” Brand‘s early life: she was born somewhere in the United States of America, and apparently she was a girl like any other…apart from a small, hidden detail. Since her childhood, in fact, Cindy had the power of pyrokinesis, an ability that made her feel like some sort of freak. When she was still a teenager, she was found and abducted by a secret government group, the R-Complex, a paramilitary organization collecting supernatural “freaks” like her. Cindy was brought in a secret facility in New Mexico, where she became part of Operation Prodigy, a project aimed to study and possibly weaponize supernatral abilities. There were scorchercomics1many others unwilling residents in the base, and Cindy became friends particularly with one of them, Arnold Burnsteel, a young man imbued with Egyptian magic who could transform into an arcane demon hunter, Fate. R-Complex performed a number of gruesome experiments on the residents of the lab, but Burnsteel was among the few ones who didn’t give up, and he organised a massive escape, involving Cindy as well. The day of the “prison” break, however, something went wrong, and Burnsteel escaped with only four other inmates; Ciny Brand, unfortunately, wasn’t among them, and she was left behind. Feeling betrayed, desperate and scared, Cindy was now alone, still trapped in the hell she had wanted to feel from.

Years passed, and Cindy’s life didn’t get any better, quite the opposite. In order to punish her for helping the others escape, and to break her spirit to prevent any other breakout attempt, R-Complex performed even more gruesome experiments on her, and the personnel also physically and psychologicaly tortured her. All Cindy’s anger focused on Burnsteel and her other friends, since they had abandoned her in New Mexico. When her psyche had been manipulated enough, R-Complex made her chose: either she started working for them, thus putting a stop to the tortures, or she lived the way she had done so far for some other years; for the young woman, that was a no-choice, and she became one of their operatives, codename Scorcher. As an R-Complex agent, Scorcher had one task: to hunt down and capture Bursnteel and the other escapees, who were hiding in plain sight as the rock band Scare Tactics. Scorcher led a team of human agents, and she managed to find her former fellow prisoners in Boston, during a tournee. Apart from Burnsteel, the team counted werefolf Jake “Fang” Ketchum, vampire Nina “Scream Queen” Skorzeny, the sludge monster Philbert “Gross-Out” Hoskins and humanoid reptile James “Slither” Tilton: they took scorchercomics2care with no effort of the agents, but they were no match for Scorcher, who had years of anger and grudge to vent on them, and who had been trained properly to counter her former friends’ powers. When she was about to have them captured, however, some words from Burnsteel made them come back to her senses, and she realised she didn’t want anybody else to suffer the same things she had to, not even the ones who had abandoned her. Making a choice, Scorcher let the Scare Tactics go…preparing to become a fugitive herself, pursued by the same men her “enemies” were escaping from.

Cindy Brand is a scarred and damaged young woman, who suffered a lot in her young life, and who converted her pain, her loneliness and her sadness into raging fury. As Scorcher, she possesses pyrokinesis since her birth, and she’s able to create and manipulate fire at will (she’s also able to cover her entire body in flames, creating an effective “fire armor”), to control temperature and intensity of her flames, and to concentrate them into highly destructive blasts from her hands and even in a wide-spreading fire-breath; she’s also fireproof, immune from the side-effects of her powers. Vengeful and wounded, Scorcher fights for the people she hates against the ones she used to love and trust, an excruciating crusade that tests even more her tried emotions.

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