Brian Laborn, publicly known as the villain Grue, is a member of The Undersiders.


Brian has an overly professional demeanour and a desire for personal freedom separate this. He takes online classes that allow him a flexible schedule. He readily accepts burdens when it comes to his family and friends but he values his ability to walk away from it at anytime.[1]

He's an organised individual who's careful to divorce emotion from his actions and agenda. He falls back on order, rules, self discipline in times of stress.[2] Tattletale described him as pragmatic, with a tendency to take a lot for granted and act automatically brought on by several years' experience as a cape.[3]

Brian is well versed in multiple martial arts, being able to pick up the basics very quickly,[4] but he does not dedicate himself to one particular style, being more interested in using a plurality of styles. He was confident enough to train his teammates how to fight.

Relationships Edit

Aisha Laborn Edit

Brian had a falling out with his sister a year after he got his power and a year before joining the Undersiders.[citation needed] While he does love his sister, their extended time together has made it easier for his sister to know what annoys him and exploit it.

Taylor Herbert Edit

Brian is initially unaware of his feelings toward the teammate that is closest to him in temperament. He had not had many relationships with unrelated women given his upbringing with his father.

The author described theirs as a "failed relationship".[citation needed]

Alec Edit

The two teammates share an interesting friendship. Both of them seem to enjoy trading barbs and general put-downs but their insults generally lack any real venom or bite to them.


Lisa and Grue had a recurring argument over the fact that he lived separately to the team, leaving him nowhere to go when he was injured.[5]


Grue was willing to use physical force to enforce his authority if needed.[6] He didn't understand how to relate to Rachel.

Shadow StalkerEdit

Shadow Stalker believed Grue was her "nemesis", perhaps because of the interaction between their powers. She used lethal force against him, violating her probation with the Wards and, eventually, genuinely earning his enmity.

PRT/Authority Figures Edit


Brian is an African-American teenager, physically mature for his age, with a muscular frame, and a lantern jaw. He is usually dressed fairly well, in a manner that's not opulent but still stylish. Multiple characters seem to consider him rather handsome.

As Grue, Brian dressed in motorcycle leathers and a motorcycle helmet with a full-face visor sculpted to look like a stylized skull.[7] These incorporated side vents to allow the darkness he creates to flow outward, creating an eerie, dramatic effect.

His equipment would receive defensive upgrades when Skitter finished making spider-silk costumes for all the Undersiders. The new outfit possessed a helmet with a more demonic design, as opposed to the skeletal motif of his previous helmet. It was based on a figurine Brian bought for the express purpose of inspiration.

Abilities and PowersEdit

Story StartEdit

Brian can generate clouds of smoke-like darkness that erase all light, mute and distort sounds, and confuse the sense of touch. It also interferes with microwaves, radio frequencies, radiation, and certain Breaker powers such as those possessed by Shadow Stalker and Velocity.[8] He does not actually 'see' this darkness, he is aware of its location and when it is affected but it does not obscure his vision in the least.[9] Further whenever he uses his power he temporarily induces inodorosity [10],[11] pushing the particles that make up his 'smell' away with his darkness. This makes it hard for those with an enhanced sense of smell compared to base line humans to track him.[12]

A common tactic of his was to wreathe himself in his darkness to obscure his voice and distort where his body is. He displays further versatility by making a body double out of his darkness that was often convincing enough to distract an enemy,[13] This tactic would later be borrowed and improved upon by his teammate Skitter. Grue is able to cause his darkness to dissipate at will,[14] and could selectively dissipate sections at a time.

Post-Slaughterhouse NineEdit

After his second Trigger Event, Brian's darkness became thicker, heavier, and came out less quickly, but grew exponentially. He also gained the ability to use the powers of other parahumans while they were in his darkness, while suppressing their powers at the same time. While using these powers, he was essentially using them for the first time, lacking the experience and skill of previous users.

History Edit


Grue was abused by his mother's boyfriend when he was young, and fought to develop the strength and fortitude to never be that weak again. After going to help his sister deal with the same man at his mother's house, he was brought back to his weakest, darkest moment as he dealt with his mother's boyfriend. With the man's eyes on him, he found the power to immerse the world in darkness. The combination of the environment, malign attention, and the desire to protect his sister all factored into his power being what it was.[15]

Early CareerEdit

Brian was active as the solo super-villain Grue for two years.[3][16] He started out committing petty crimes, and acting as an enforcer for others, slowly scaling up over time.[16][1] During this phase of his career, Brian learned about the importance of reputation. Choosing the name Grue due to its obscure etymology, he did so with the presumption that the alias would attract a more sophisticated clientele.[17]

During this time Brian met The Adepts, and by extension Epoch. From this encounter, Brian discovered a deep hatred for people whose powers messed with time.[18]

He was eventually collected by Coil along with the other Undersiders and persuaded to form a team with them[19] around a year before the beginning of Worm.[16] With them, he began committing higher-profile robberies.[16]

At some point, he was injured in a fight with Shadow Stalker and bled all over the Undersiders' couch.[5]

Story StartEdit

Coming off a successful robbery of the ABB's Ruby Dreams underground casino, they ran into a new bug-themed super-villain. Saving the villain from Lung, they were able to quickly make their escape before Armsmaster arrived on the scene.

They would meet up with the villain later in civilian garb to recruit her to the Undersiders. They were successful and Taylor joined the team.

After Rachel attacked Taylor in an attempt to test her and possibly drive her off, Brian stepped in to stop things from going to far. He admitted to Taylor he would much rather have her on the team than Rachel but that his hands were tied.

He was devastated to learn that his teammate and closest confidant on team was a hero who had been planning to betray them.


Weeks later, with his sister now a member of the Undersiders, Grue was forced to get let Skitter back into the Team.

Trivia Edit

  • Contrary to popular belief, Grue didn't name himself after the darkness-dwelling monster from Zork According to Wildbow, "That's not actually what the Grue refers to." 'Grue' as in gruesome, is Old English for creepy or scary".[17]
  • Clones of Grue made by Echidna are called 'abhorror's, a variation of abhor meaning a strong aversion or repugnance, essentially grue's name taken to an extreme.[20].
  • Like many characters in Worm, Grue took his turn as the protagonist for one of the stories many drafts.[21]

Fanart Gallery Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1 It's sorta kinda permanent. You think they're just going to let you leave, when you've seen the faces of local heroes? When you've seen behind the curtain and have seen dirty laundry aired (like how someone could comment on Kid Win's unofficial weapon, for example). Or are they going to lean super heavily on you until you agree that maybe you could compromise and move to a small town with 2-3 capes and minimal activity, or let you go but maintain weekly visits and more oversight and more regulation?
    Joining the Wards/Protectorate is a big deal. I mean, you're signing up for partial school days, heavy oversight, testing, and all that. Brian is helping to deal with Aisha the hellion, and maybe for a time, he just can't see himself having that time to set aside to deal with official stuff.
    Look at things from his perspective. If he signs up, he's adopting this more regimented, official lifestyle, and he's seen how his dad has struggled to deal with Aisha from the same vantage point. Once he confines himself, limits himself, then that just gives Aisha more leeway to mess with him or go do her own thing. If he's stuck with official stuff to do, what can he do if Aisha recognizes that and decides that every time she's going to run away, she's going to hop on the first bus out of town?
    Could the PRT deal with that? Maybe. Probably. Could they give him leeway? Bend rules or pull resources, as part of his bargaining with them to join? From Brian's standpoint, even if he's cynical about it, I imagine he imagines they could.
    But Brian has to weigh the negatives against the positives, and keep in mind that he's dealt with the 'system' for a time (CPS and Aisha and his parents), and even if he's more like his dad than his mom, pay attention to the small details - he does martial arts but doesn't stick with one class. He's in school but he's doing it online, more freeform. He walks his own path, he doesn't subscribe to much - he could theoretically ditch the Undersiders at any time. Less so with the PRT.
    If it goes wrong, he can't back out easily.
    It's likely he didn't just jump into high profile burglary for high profile clients. Smaller jobs, smaller stuff, to cover Aisha's bail or help his dad pay for something to keep things more copacetic in the household. Maybe he found he was setting money aside, he started thinking about looking after Aisha himself, things scaled up, and then he found the Undersiders (or the Undersiders found him).
    Edit - this is why I'm reading the let's read and discussion - I'm looking at fleshing out Brian a bit more in the rewrite/polished version, and I'd thought about this stuff but writing this out it dawned on me how little I'd shared. - SufficientVelocity
  2. Orders, demands, statements, condemnations, use of skull in costume: solo operator, organized, careful to divorce emotion from action & agenda. Falls back on order, rules, self discipline in times of stress.-8.x (Bonus Interlude)
  3. 3.0 3.1 "You and Brian are similar, but I wouldn't say he's cautious.  He's… pragmatic.  You both are.  The difference between you two is that he's been doing what he does for three years, now.  Two years of experience, before he joined the group.  So a lot of what he does is automatic.  He doesn't give a second thought to the little things he's done dozens of times already.  He takes a lot for granted." - Shell 4.2
  4. Comment by Wildbow on Agitation 3.2
  5. 5.0 5.1 Insinuation 2.7
  6. On the opposite side of the room, Brian was rubbing the back of one of his hands. The three dogs were sitting in a neat line ten feet away from a girl who was lying on the ground. The girl had blood running from both of her nostrils. I recognized her from the picture I had seen on her wiki page. Rachel Lindt. Hellhound. Bitch.
    “I fucking hate it,” Brian growled at the girl, putting emphasis on the swear, “When you make me do that.” - Insinuation 2.8
  7. Gestation 1.5
  8. Tangle 6.6
  9. Monarch 16.6
  10. 'wipes' his scent
  11. Comment by Wildbow on Buzz 7.7
  12. “Bitch, hold up,” speaks the scentless man. Scentless man makes Brutus nervous because he is big but he has no smell. But he is Master’s alpha so Master stops and listens.
    “You’re going out?” the scentless man asks. --Excerpt from Interlude 4
  13. Shell 4.9
  14. Prey 14.3
  15. Comment by Wildbow on Reddit
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 I looked up Grue.  There was actually information about him, but nothing detailed or definitive.  The wiki stated he had been active for nearly three years, dealing in petty crimes such as robbing small stores and doing some work as an enforcer for those who wanted a little superpowered muscle along for a job.  Recently, he had turned to higher scale crime, including corporate theft and robbing a casino, together with his new team.  His power was listed as darkness generation in the sidebar under his picture.  The picture seemed crisp enough, but the focus of it, Grue, was just a blurry black silhouette in the center. [...] The sightings and encounters with the homeless girl ended around a year ago – I figured that was when she joined forces with Grue, Tattletale and Regent. - Excerpt from Insinuation 2.2
  17. 17.0 17.1 Comment by Wildbow on Sufficient Velocity
  18. Comment by wildbow on Reddit
  19. Interlude 8 (Bonus)
  20. root word definition
  21. Comment by Wildbow on Prey 14.8


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