The brand itself is roughly the size of the palm of the hand and as far as has been shown is immaterial and effectively only two-dimensional. The Brand is utterly black in color and is smooth and warm to the touch. As long as it is somewhere on their skin the bearer may wield its powers. The brand can be transferred to another part of the body if the bearer wills it by skin-to-skin contact, thus the bearer can choose to place the Star Brand anywhere on his person, willing it into his hand then placing it anywhere on their body. However, this transfer involves some energy discharge, and the brand will burn off any hair it is placed over.
The Star Brand and its power can be transferred to another person, but former owners are always left with a remaining residue of about 10% of its power, a residue which regenerates and in time will grow to equal that of the original. In the series it was stated that the power of the brand is infinite. So 10% of infinite power is still infinite power.
When the Brand is transferred to a lower animal or plant, they burn out quickly and do not survive. When it is transferred to an inanimate object, it creates an enormous explosive release of energy with mutagenic and destructive results, capable of destroying a city or even affecting a whole planet.
In the New Universe, on July 22, 1986, the Earth was bathed in a blinding flash of light. In the wake of this “White Event” people all over the world began developing strange paranormal powers, some mutated physically in ways which seemed to defy medical science.
The White Event was triggered when the Old Man attempted to pass on the Star Brand onto an inanimate object, in this case an asteroid in order to get rid of the power. The brand released a huge amount of energy which bombarded the Earth. Realizing that that he would not be free of the Star Brand so easily, the Old Man came to Earth and gave the Brand to the first person he met, Ken Connell.
Connell was a car mechanic from Pittsburgh; he often tried to use the Star Brand’s power to help others, but was often thwarted by the complexities of the real world. Though given a suit by the Old Man, but he found he rarely had the time to change in the face of a real emergency and supposedly it was as invulnerable as he, its invulnerability was exposed as an illusion. He later donned a spandex body suit and mask to openly fight terrorists, but this led to disaster. Though intelligent, he was self-involved and lacked the imagination and curiosity that would allow him to understand and wield the brand to its fullest potential. He eventually decided that he would be better off without his powers, and unintentionally caused the destruction of all of Pittsburgh the “Black Event” when attempting to transfer the brand to a bar-bell.
While possessed of the Star Brand, Connell conceived a child with Debbie “The Duck” Fix. The child was born fully conscious of its power, growing at an accelerated rate physically and mentally through the influence of the Brand. Despite being painfully naive to the ways of the world, the Starchild was much more selfless and had a much more instinctual grasp of the power than his father ever did. After several attempts to better the world through direct usage of his power, the child retreated out into space to meditate onto how to best use the power. The child chose an elderly man who was less impulsive; deciding that the key to proper use of the Brand was to give it to someone was more wise and experienced in worldly matters. Jacob Burnley was a retired janitor and veteran of World War II, who only used his power after much consideration and put it to many new uses. In time he de-powered the power-hungry President of the United States and attempted to rebuild Pittsburgh.
Eventually, the Star Child soon realized that the Brand was a cosmic anomaly which no good could come from, therefore should be locked away for all eternity. It learned that the original White Event actually created the Brand itself, sending its energies 500 years back in time, when the Old Man originally lived. In fact, it turned out that the Old Man, Ken Connell, and the Starchild were all the same being. The Starchild then replicated and manipulated the original event to make it happen in a safe temporal loop.
However, the Star Child neglected to isolate the power which had accidentally been transferred to pilot Jim Hanrahan, who later, when Quasar was blasted into the New Universe, transferred his portion of the power to Quasar.
When Quasar took the Brand back to his universe, he accidentally passed it on to his secretary, Kayla Ballantine, who quickly found herself in the middle of a cosmic power-struggle, during which the Brand was stolen by the Deviant, Ereshkigal, and the Stranger. Eventually the Living Tribunal ruled (as the Star Child had before) that the Star Brand should be quarantined from the main universe. It was therefore returned to Kayla and she was marooned on the same Earth that the Star Brand first manifested upon.
The Star Brand has recently been bestowed on another naive person, Earth-616's Kevin Conner, who is very similar to the New Universe's Kenneth Connell. In the process of giving him his power, it was said that his White Event went wrong. It was also said that many other Star Brands exist in other alternate realities. Ken Conner was capable of easily battling high-level heroes like Hulk, Hyperion, and Thor mere minutes or hours after receiving the Brand.
The Star Brand has popped up in various other realities including the newuniversal reboot of the New Universe, an Exiles story on Earth-15731, and a few other realities referred to in the Untold Tales of the New Universe: Star Brand story.
Powers imparted by the Star Brand
The Star Brand is an immensely powerful weapon that possibly channels much of the energy of the multiverse itself, depending on its incarnation:
Even novice users can gain the following powers:
• Flight: far in excess of lightspeed
• Super-Strength: easily in the class-100 level
• Invulnerability: capable of surviving a nuclear bomb at ground zero with no ill effects at all
• Destructive blasts: unidirectional blasts up to the equivalent of nuclear explosion in force (this last power is problematic, as the blast manifests as a sphere centered on the wielder indiscriminately destroying everything in his vicinity)
• Energy blasts: although the Brand's power usually manifests as a unidirectional sphere of energy, it has sometimes been used to make standard energy blasts of great power
• Regeneration: even when seemingly killed, users turn into a scaly reptile/alien-looking creature and slowly regenerate into their normal health
• Survival in the cold and vacuum of space
More skilled users of the Star Brand, such as the Starchild, are capable of far more. They are essentially capable of doing whatever they imagine, including extensive reality and temporal manipulation. Kevin Connor was able to use Star Brand's power to kill one of the Beyonders although it cost him his life. Its upper limits are unknown.