Gustav Brandt is German, but served as a member of the French forces in the First Indochina War (1946 - 1954). At the time, he only had the typical skills of a trained soldier and mercenary. In Saigon, he fell in love with Lua, a local woman, and they eventually married. This earned him an enemy in his brother-in-law Monsieur Khruul, a Vietnamese crimelord with a grudge against all Europeans.
Gustav and Lua had a daughter, the latter Mantis. Her first name has not been revealed. However, this was taken as a personal insult by Khruul, who sent his agents to eliminate this discredited branch of his family. They used flame throwers when attacking the family, resulting in the death of Lua, but Gustav managed to grab Mantis and flee through the flames. The experience left him blind. He found refuge with the Priests of Pama. They offered to train him to "see" in other ways. However, they took custody of Mantis and refused to allow any contact between father and daughter. Gustav had no choice but to agree.
As a founder of the Zodiac Cartel, he was a member of a criminal network spanning the entire United States. His own sector was in the Pacific territories and his headquarters were in Honolulu, Hawaii. He met other Zodiac members in a meeting in Texas where Scorpio revealed himself to be an LMD and had all the members killed. However due to his study of the Balance he was able to fool the LMDs into thinking he was dead. Libra has survived the other founders of the organization. Various replacement Libras have surfaced at time, either assuming Gustav is dead or taking advantage of his long absences.
Libra was created by Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema in 1969 and first appeared in The Avengers # 72.
A new Libra recently appeared in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man.
Powers & Abilities
Libra has psychic senses which serve him better than his sight ever did. He is effectively as "blind" as Daredevil, actually aware of his surroundings at a superhuman degree. The Priests of Pama taught him martial arts originating from the Kree Empire. While he avoids physical combat if he can, Brandt appears to be surprisingly skilled. He has demonstrated moves capable of taking down even Mantis herself, with both Mantis and Moondragon having been trained all their lives to be the best students of the Priests.
Brandt has mystical skills and serves the Balance, the "Winding Way" between Good and Evil, Now and Then, What Is and What Might Be. Uncertain if this is the same Winding Way followed by Margali Szardos. He can access a "Place Between Places", an other dimensional location which leaves him untraceable. Even the scannings of Immortus failed to locate him. He can effect the perceptions of others and has used it to fake his own death at times. He has stimulated the Destiny Force lying dormant within Rick Jones and somehow directed its use. He can sense disruptions in the balance of all things and take actions to their stability. However, he has admitted to often knowing what needs to be done without actually knowing why it needs to done, nor the eventual repercussions of his actions. He seems to have aged little in the decades since reaching the Priests.