Brainiac

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CHARACTER

Brainiac

One of the most intelligent beings in the universe, the wicked Brainiac's genius has challenged Superman time and again.                                                              

Introduction

Aliases: Vril Dox, Milton Moses Fine, The Collector of Worlds
First Appearance: ACTION COMICS #242, 1958

  

 

Superman’s nemesis Lex Luthor may be the smartest criminal mind on Earth, but his intellect is not match for the alien artificial intelligence known as Brainiac. Nevertheless, Brainiac shares Luthor’s intense hatred of the Man of Steel, and has continued to use his Twelfth-Level intellect over the years to bring down the Last Son of Krypton. 

 

Originally from the planet most frequently named Colu, Brainiac’s artificial mind and body have morphed several times over the decades, but his unquenchable thirst for absolute knowledge, regardless of the billions of innocent lives which might be destroyed in the process, has made him one of the deadliest villains the universe has ever seen. For Brainiac, the knowledge he acquires is only valuable if he and he alone possesses it, and no one else.

 

Thanks to his highly advanced, computerized brain, Brainiac is always ten steps ahead of his opponents, even ones as clever as Superman. Ultimately, his inability to see beyond pure logic has always been his downfall. But like a bad computer virus that can never be fully purged, Brainiac always manages to turn up again when one least expects him. 

 

 

Origin

Silver Age

In his first appearance, Brainiac wasn’t even specifically identified as an android. He appeared on Earth as green skinned, humanoid alien, one who tried to shrink Superman’s hometown of Metropolis, along with several other cities on Earth. The original idea for this scheme was that he would regrow the cities to their full size on an unnamed planet on which he ruled, in order to repopulate that world and create a population of enslaved citizens. 

 

 

It wasn’t long after their first encounter that it was revealed to Superman that Brainiac had also shrunk the Kryptonian city of Kandor before the planet’s destruction, and kept its miniaturized population inside a bottle. This gave Superman a whole new reason to consider Brainiac among his arch enemies, as Brainiac had the only known survivors of his home world (aside from his cousin Kara) trapped inside his bottle city.

 

 

After many schemes against Superman, Brainiac’s true origin was revealed – he had been created by the Computer Tyrants of the planet Colu (sometimes called Yod, or Bryak) as a spy to invade other worlds and collect their knowledge. The Computer Tyrants only programmed Brainiac with a Tenth-Level intellect, so as not to surpass their own Twelfth-Level intelligence, and overthrow them. Brainiac was later able to boost his intelligence to level twelve, with the help of fellow Superman enemy Lex Luthor.

 

 

As part of his disguise as biological being, Brainiac was given a Coluan boy to raise as his son. This boy, also named Vril Dox, would grow up under the name “Brainiac 2” and eventually overthrow the Computer Tyrants of Colu himself. His descendant, Brainiac 5, would become a member of the 30th Century Legion of Super-Heroes. The original, android Brainiac would also survive into the 30th Century, where he went by the name Pulsar Stargrave, and often came into conflict with the Legion.

 

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Bronze Age

After decades of suffering defeat at the hands of Superman, Brainiac built a giant computer generated world under his complete control, with which he hoped to finally defeat Kal-El for good. Instead, he found himself trapped by Superman in the center of this computer planet, and to escape, he had to make the nearby sun go nova, obliterating the entire world, and his own android form. 

 

 

While his android body was destroyed, his consciousness was able to reincorporate in a new, skeletal metal body, one which appeared much more fearsome than his previous form, that of a green dude in tiny short-shorts. In addition to his new robotic body, Brainiac also built a giant “skull ship” from which to travel the cosmos, which resembled his new head, and in fact was an extension of his own consciousness. In this form, Brainiac terrorized the Man of Steel until the multiverse-shattering CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.

 

 

Post-CRISIS

After 1985's CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, the history of the known universe was changed, and Brainiac had an entirely different back story. In this new history, Brainiac started out in life as a biological being, a brilliant scientist on the planet Colu. When he attempted to overthrow the Computer Tyrants of his home world, he was executed. But his powerful consciousness survived in the form of microscopic nanites, and after travelling across the vastness of space, bonded with that of a sideshow carnival mentalist on Earth named Milton Fine, whose stage name was “the Amazing Brainiac.”

 

Because he needed cranial fluid to survive and maintain his possession of Fine, Brainiac began a murder spree that caught the attention of Superman. Milton Fine, despite being a carnival attraction, actually possessed mental powers, powers that were much more amplified while in the control of Vril Dox.

 

Eventually, Brainiac was captured by Lex Luthor, but used his mental powers to take control of Lexcorp away from him. Using Luthor’s vast financial resources, he was able to have Lexcorp scientists recreate his original green Coluan body, upgrading from the human form of Milton Fine. His new, advanced mental powers allowed him not only psychic manipulation, but also control of computer systems. Brainiac 2.5, as he referred to himself, was well on his way to becoming a fully artificial lifeform.

 

 

Post-INFINITE CRISIS

It was after the second so-called "Second Crisis," that the real truth behind Brainiac was revealed to Superman, by none other than his cousin Kara, better known as Supergirl. When an android sentry arrived on Earth, one resembling the Bronze Age, Pre-Crisis Brainiac, it was taken out quickly by Superman in battle. It was then that Superman’s newly arrived cousin Supergirl revealed to Kal-El that all the Brainiacs that he has faced over the years are not the real thing, but merely his probes, clones, or nanite controlled bodies, sent throughout the universe. Superman had never met the real Brainiac.

 

Supergirl also reveals that Brainiac had stolen the city of Kandor from Krypton before its destruction. This leads Superman out into space to find the true Brainiac, in an effort to confront him and free the last of his people. Superman encounters Brainiac capturing a city from a distant world and miniaturizing it, and then destroying that same world. Brainiac believes knowledge is valuable, and after stealing a city from a planet, he destroys that planet in an effort to increase the value of said knowledge.

 

Kal-El eventually finds himself captured on Brainiac’s vessel, and discovers that he is no match for the true Brainiac’s power. After reading his mind, Brainiac travels to Earth and manages to shrink Metropolis, but is ultimately defeated by Superman. Metropolis is restored to its real size, and the city of Kandor becomes New Krypton. 

 

 

New 52

After 2011's FLASHPOINT event, the continuity of the DC Universe was reimagined once more. In this new reality, Vril Dox was once again one of the greatest scientists on the planet of Yod-Colu, becoming famous due to his discoveries of miniaturization and his advances in force field technology. Thanks to the A.I. he discovered called C.O.M.P.U.T.O., he also managed to discover the Fifth Dimension. 

 

This dimension was ruled by beings called The Multitude, who entered our existence and destroyed hundreds of worlds. In an effort to save his world from the Multitude, Dox used C.O.M.P.U.T.O to take control of the computer systems on Colu, miniaturizing the city his wife and son resided in, and letting the rest of his world be destroyed after he was branded a criminal.

 

After the destruction of Yod-Colu, Dox constructed an army of robots to travel the universe in an effort to save elements from each world from the Multitude. It is here he earned the name “the Collector of Worlds.” Dox then journeyed through the cosmos, and upon finding a world that is targeted by the Multitude, he would take control of that world’s infrastructure and most advanced computer systems. 

 

He then created an army or robots who took all the aspects of that world he deemed worthy, placed it into one city, and then miniaturized and froze it, letting the rest of the world be destroyed. Each of these planet’s inhabitants refer to Dox by whatever they call their most advanced computer system. On Krypton, he was called Brainiac 1.0, and on Earth, we simply called him “the internet.”

 

Brainiac eventually arrived on Earth, hoping to miniaturize Metropolis as he had in previous timelines. He also wanted Superman, because he felt his bottle city of Kandor was incomplete without the addition of the last Kryptonian. Superman was able to defeat Brainiac, and even commandeered his ship to serve as his headquarters in the North Pole, his Fortress of Solitude. Brainiac attempted revenge on the Man of Steel many times after this, becoming one of his greatest adversaries. On one attempt, Superman eventually threw Brainiac into a Black Hole. But Dox emerged on the other side….where he met yet another being who went by the name Brainiac.

 

The Brainiac encountered by the New 52 version was an amalgamation of all the previous Brainiacs from before and after the various multiversal crisis, who mutated into a nearly God like being. This “ultimate Brainiac,” instead of capturing cities from doomed planets, actually captured cities from doomed realities, versions of Earth and other worlds destroyed by the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, and other Multiversal upheavals. These domed cities were placed on a planet outside the known Multiverse, in the Bleed, and watched over by Brainiac’s agent Telos.

 

After the event known as the Convergence, the domed cities were freed and let go into the Multiverse. The “Ultimate Brainiac” revealed his was now sick and dying from his mutations, and wished to simply go back to being simply Vril Dox again. 

 

 

Rebirth

After the events of 2016 DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1, the pre-FLASHPOINT history of Superman was mostly restored, and it seems the Brainiac he faced in the post-INFINITE CRISIS timeline is the current version of Brainiac once again. Aside from Superman, this Brainiac has also recently fought the Green Lantern Corps. 

 

 

Powers and Abilities

brainiac-powers-NoJustice_01_06-07_CMYK-v1.jpg Although Brainiac has various tools at his disposal, by far his most powerful weapon is always his Twelfth-Level mind. This vast intellect allows him to understand all kinds of alien technologies, and made him vastly more intelligent than most ordinary sentient beings, even Superman. He has an advanced knowledge of all known sciences, and in one instance, claimed he could process and sort the knowledge of over four-hundred octodecillion beings.

 

Brainiac can manipulate computer systems, mentally possess others, and transfer his consciousness into other lifeforms and machines. He can also manipulate energy, and use his access to advanced technology to miniaturize cities, not to mention travel through space at great distances. His physical form is also very strong, enough to go toe-to-toe with Superman in battle. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essential Storylines and History

"The Super-Duel in Space" (ACTION COMICS #242, 1958)

brainiac-essential1-silverage-AC_242_Cvr-v1.jpg In Brainiac’s first appearance, it wasn’t known that he was an android, and he was assumed to be a biological being from another world. The green skinned alien came to Earth to shrink Metropolis down and make it part of his collection of shrunken alien cities, but was thwarted by Superman. In this early appearance, Brainiac didn’t yet have the diodes attached to his head which would become his signature look, despite having them on the cover image. He was also accompanied by a pet white monkey named Koko.

 

 

 

"Rebirth!" (ACTION COMICS #544, 1983)

brainiac-essential2-bronzeage-SMCC25Y_02_C057-v1.jpg After decades of various attempts at destroying Superman, Brainiac became a more deadly version of himself when he upgraded to a new robotic form, one that was far more menacing than the green skinned humanoid one he had occupied for so long. After his body was destroyed in a nova, his consciousness became a data stream which connects with the computer systems of a distant prison world. There, he forms a new, skeletal body for himself, and a new starship in the shape of a giant skull. This deadlier form of Brainiac was a far more formidable threat than his earlier incarnation.

 

 

 

“The Amazing Brainiac” (ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #438, 1988)

In the new, post-Crisis reality, the consciousness of Coluan scientist Vril Dox, in the form of nanites, traveled across the cosmos, and connected with a down and out, chubby circus mentalist named Milton Fine. Although going by the name “Brainiac,” most people thought Fine to be a charlatan. It turns out that Fine actually possessed a real psychic ability, one that was now augmented through his possession by Dox.

 

Needing fluid to survive, Brainiac went on a killing spree, one which ultimately brought him into conflict with Superman. His mental power prove to be formidable, but he is ultimately defeated by the Man of Steel. Eventually, Brainiac realizes his must upgrade the human body of Milton Fine into something more alien if he ever hoped to defeat the Last Son of Krypton.

 

 

 

“Panic in the Sky” (ACTION COMICS #674-675, SUPERMAN #65-66, SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL #9-10, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #488-489, 1992)

brainiac-essential3-invadersfromouterspace-AC_675_Cover-v1.jpg After using Lex Luthor’s team of scientists at Lexcorp, Brainiac upgraded his body into something resembling his original, Coluan form. He departs Earth in a newly created spacecraft, one that looked very much like his Bronze Age, pre-Crisis skull ship. While in space, Brainiac captured the warlord Mongul’s mechanical planet known as War World, and actually defeated the New Gods Orion and Lightray when they attempted to stop him. 

 

Setting off for Earth, word reached Superman that Brainiac was coming with all the resources of War World at his disposal to conquer the planet, so he assembled a group of Earth’s greatest heroes for a preemptive strike against Brainiac’s forces.  Ultimately, the army of Earth’s heroes, led by Superman, managed to defeat Brainiac once again, and the alien despot was placed in a vegetative coma.

 

 

 

“Y2K” (SUPERMAN: Y2K SPECIAL #1, ACTION COMICS #763, SUPERMAN #154, SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL #98, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #576, 2000)

Eventually coming out of his coma state, at the turn of the 21st Century, Brainiac placed a sleeper virus inside of Lexcorp’s Y2K bug safeguards. This virus was intended to give a massive boost to his already formidable abilities. But the plan backfired on him; instead the virus allowed his far future self, designated Brainiac-13, to come into the past from the 64th Century and take over the current day Brainiac’s body. 

 

Upon possession of the original Brainiac’s body, B-13 started to transform Metropolis into something resembling his high tech 64th Century home. Eventually, with his nemesis Lex Luthor’s help, Superman was able to trap B-13’s consciousness, which had been reduced into the form of nanites, into one of the ancient Kryptonian armored power suits. 

 

 

 

“Brainiac” (ACTION COMICS #866-870, 2008)

brainiac-essential4-postinfinitecrisis-AC-Cv868-ns-1-v1.jpg After the arrival of Supergirl on Earth, she informs her cousin Kal-El that all the different versions of Brainiac he has encountered up until now were merely probes, extensions of his own programming sent out by the real Brainiac, who exits somewhere out in deep space. But Kara remembers from her childhood when the alien presence came to Krypton and stole the city of Kandor. Upon learning that his fellow Kryptonians were still out there, Superman goes into deep space to find the true Brainiac and release his people. 

 

 

The alien AI ultimately captures him, and attempts to miniaturize Metropolis, just as he had with many alien cities before centuries. But Superman breaks free from Brainiac’s control, and the two end up in a fist fight in a dirty swamp – the first time Brainiac has left his hermetically sealed ship in centuries. 

 

 

Disoriented from being in a real, organic environment, one that he has no control over, Superman is able to defeat him in a physical brawl. However, as Superman is restoring both Kandor and Metropolis to their real sizes, Brainiac manages to launch a missile which destroys Clark Kent’s boyhood home, the Kent farm in Smallville. This causes Superman’s father Jonathan Kent to have a fatal heart attack.

 

 

 

 

The Collector of Worlds (ACTION COMICS #4-18, 2012-2013)

brainiac-essential5-new52-AC_Cv8_ds-1-v1.jpg Following the events of 2011's FLASHPOINT, the DC Universe found its history reimagined once again. In this new reality, Brainiac came to Earth early in Superman’s career. This version of Vril Dox originated from the planet Yod-Colu, where he was one of its most brilliant scientists. The computer intelligence came to Earth and made contact with Lex Luthor, the only human who could come close to understanding his complex programming. 

 

 

Luthor traded information on Earth for advanced tech, but Brainiac used the information he gathered to determine which human city he would miniaturize and capture – and he decided it would be Luthor’s home city of Metropolis. He was ultimately stopped by a brand new hero who had just arrived on the scene named Superman, who used the remains of Brainiac’s ship to create his home base, later called the Fortress of Solitude.

 

 

 

 

Rebirth

Following the events of 2016's DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1, it appears that much of Superman’s history, and apparently those most associated with him, reverted to a form of their pre-FLASHPOINT continuity. This means Brainiac is a version encountered by Superman in the post-INFINITE CRISIS era, or one very much approximating him. 

 

 

Team Affiliations

• Anti-Justice League

Appearances in Other Media

Television

Main Character Appearances

 

Live Action:

  • • Smallville 

 

Animation:

  • • New Adventures of Superman
  • • Super Friends
  • • Challenge of the Super Friends
  • • Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show
  • • Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians
  • • Superman: The Animated Series
  • • Justice League
  • • Justice League Unlimited
  • • Legion of Super Heroes
  • • Batman: The Brave and the Bold

 

Guest Appearances/Cameos

 

Animation:

  • • DC Nation Shorts

 

 

Film

Main Character Appearances

 

Animation:

  • • Superman: Brainiac Attacks!
  • • Superman: Unbound

 

 

Video Games

  • DC Universe Online
  • Justice League Heroes
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us
  • Injustice: The Regime
  • Injustice: Fall of the Gods
  • Injustice 2