Brainiac (comics)

Brainiac (comics)
Brainiac battling Superman.
Promotional art for Superman vol. 2, #219, by Ed Benes.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Action Comics #242 (July 1958)
Created by Otto Binder (writer)
Al Plastino (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Vril Dox
Species Coluan
Place of origin Colu
Team affiliations Anti-Justice League
Partnerships Lex Luthor
Notable aliases Dr. Milton Fine, Pulsar Stargrave, The Terror of Kandor
Abilities Twelfth-level intelligence; variable superhuman powers, including the mimicking of Kryptonian superpowers

Brainiac is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Action Comics #242 (July 1958), and was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino.

An extraterrestrial android (in most incarnations), Brainiac is a principal foe of Superman, and is responsible for shrinking and stealing Kandor, the capital city of Superman's home planet Krypton. Due to complex storylines involving time travel, cloning, and revisions of DC's continuity, several variations of Brainiac have appeared. Most incarnations of Brainiac depict him as a green-skinned being in humanoid form. He is bald, except for a set of diodes protruding from his skull.

The character is the origin of the informal eponymous word which means "genius".[1] The name itself is a portmanteau of the words brain and maniac, with influence from ENIAC, the name of an early computer.[2] In 2009, Brainiac was ranked as IGN's 17th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[3]


Publication history

Silver Age

Brainiac's first appearance in Action Comics #242. Art by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye.

First appearing in Action Comics #242 (July 1958), Brainiac was a bald, green-skinned humanoid who arrived on Earth and shrank various cities, including Metropolis, storing them in bottles with the intent of using them to restore Bryak, the planet he ruled. He protected himself from Superman using an ultra-force barrier which not even Superman could break through. While fighting Brainiac, Superman discovered that the villain had previously shrunk the Kryptonian city of Kandor when he entered it. Brainiac then went into suspended animation for the journey back to his planet. Superman was able to break out of the bottle. He was able to restore the Earth cities to full size, but the Kandorians sacrificed their restoration to help him. Superman stored the city in his Fortress of Solitude, vowing to return the natives to full size. Later Brainiac appeared again and threatened to destroy Earth unless Lois Lane and Lana Lang got into a warehouse at the moment he was destroyed. On that day Superman must be in another Galaxy. However Superman gave the two temporary superpowers, allowing them to survive the explosion. Their powers wore off soon after. Despite being tricked, Brainiac did not destroy Earth.

Brainiac's legacy was revealed in Action Comics #276 (May 1961), in a Legion of Super-Heroes back-up story. This story introduced a green-skinned, blond-haired teenager named Querl Dox, or Brainiac 5, who claimed to be Brainiac's 30th century descendant. Unlike his ancestor, Brainiac 5 used his "twelfth-level intellect" for the forces of good and joined the Legion alongside Supergirl, with whom he fell in love. His home planet was given variously as Yod or Colu.

In Superman #167 (February 1964), it was retconned that Brainiac was a machine created by the Computer Tyrants of Colu as a spy for them to invade other worlds. Explaining the 1961 introduction of Brainiac's descendant Brainiac 5, his biological disguise included an adopted "son", a young Coluan boy who was given the name "Brainiac 2". In the same issue, the letter column contained a "special announcement" explaining that the change in the characterization of Brainiac was being made "in deference" to the "Brainiac Computer Kit", a toy computer created by Edmund Berkeley which predated the creation of the comic book character.[4][5]

It was later revealed[when?] that the boy's name was Vril Dox, and that he went on to lead a revolt against the Computer Tyrants, eventually destroying them. It was in this story that Brainiac first appeared with a distinctive gridwork of red diodes across his head, which later stories explained as the "electric terminals of his sensory nerves".[volume & issue needed] This would remain his appearance throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

30th century (Pre-Crisis)

At some indeterminate point in time, Brainiac fled into the 30th century. Developing the ability to absorb and manipulate massive amounts of stellar energy, he remade himself as "Pulsar Stargrave".[6] He became a powerful enemy of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and once masqueraded as Brainiac 5's biological father.[7] In current continuity, Brainiac's connection to Pulsar Stargrave remains an open question, one even Brainiac 5 has yet to resolve.[8]

Bronze Age

Brainiac's robotic incarnation, from Action Comics #544. Art by Ed Hannigan.

In the 1980s, DC Comics attempted to re-define several aspects of its Superman series in order to boost sagging sales. At the same time as Lex Luthor acquired his green-and-purple battlesuit, Brainiac was re-envisioned (under the auspices of writer Marv Wolfman). In Action Comics #544 (June 1983), Brainiac had constructed a giant, artificial, computer-controlled planet and used it in his latest attempt to destroy Superman; unfortunately, his defeat at the hands of the Man of Steel left him trapped at the center of the planet, unable to escape. He was forced to make a nearby star explode in a nova in order to destroy the machine-world and allow him to recreate his form. His new body (designed by Ed Hannigan) had the appearance of a skeleton of living metal with a grey (sometimes iridescent), honeycomb-patterned "braincase."[9] He also created a starship to house his new body which was actually an extension of himself; the ship was shaped like his own skull, with metal tentacles dangling from it that he could manipulate at will. Brainiac retained this appearance until after the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Modern Age

In the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths DC Universe, Brainiac's history was completely rewritten. The post-Crisis version of Brainiac was now a radical Coluan scientist called Vril Dox who, having attempted to overthrow the Computer Tyrants of Colu, was sentenced to death. In his last moments before disintegration, his consciousness was attracted light years away to Milton Fine, a human sideshow mentalist who worked under the alias "Brainiac".[10] Needing cranial fluid to maintain his possession of Fine, Dox went on a murder spree. He discovered that Fine had genuine psychic powers, which he frequently wielded against Superman.[11]

Panic in the Sky

In the early 1990s, Brainiac returned in the "Panic in the Sky" storyline. He seized control of Warworld and manipulated Maxima into assisting him.[citation needed] Then he brainwashed Supergirl (Matrix) and the alien warrior Draaga before capturing Metron and setting off for Earth. Orion and Lightray of New Genesis attacked Warworld, but they were quickly taken down by Maxima and Supergirl. Brainiac sent the mental image of the New Gods captured to Superman in order to taunt him, and he also sent his "headship" (a green-hued variant of the pre-Crisis skull-like ship) to Earth in a punitive expedition.[citation needed]

These acts prompted Superman to go on the offense rather than wait for the inevitable invasion. He gathered a coalition of most of the world's superheroes and launched a preemptive strike at Warworld before it could arrive on Earth.[citation needed] A small, elite force was left behind for any scouting forces that would be sent ahead. Superman led the attack on Warworld, where Supergirl and Draaga managed to shrug off their brainwashing and rally to Superman (although Draaga was killed in the fighting). Maxima would shortly switch sides in the fighting too, perceiving Brainiac as the true villain at last. Brainiac briefly took control of some of Earth's heroes, but it was not enough to turn the tide. Flash, Maxima, and the Metal Men attacked him in his lair, where Maxima managed to lobotomize him (but was stopped short of killing him). His vegetative body was taken back to New Genesis for observation.[citation needed]

Dead again

Brainiac would next emerge about a year after the death and return of Superman. After a dead body appeared in Superman's tomb, prompting the world to wonder if the Superman who was flying around was the original or a fake, Superman began to track down all of his foes who might be capable of such a hoax.[citation needed] While Brainiac was initially eliminated as a suspect, he soon turned out to be the true culprit, creating the illusion even in his comatose state on New Genesis. He managed to revive himself there and returned to Earth in secret. While hidden, he created even more delusions, causing Superman to question his very sanity before realizing who was really at fault.[citation needed] Superman and Brainiac squared off in Metropolis, where Superman taunted the evil villain, claiming that at heart he was really just Milton Fine, a cheap entertainer. This caused some break in Brainiac's mind where Fine's personality reasserted himself, burying Brainiac's. Fine was then escorted off to a psychiatric facility.[citation needed]

The Doomsday Wars

During a later skirmish with Superman in Metropolis, Milton Fine's body was irreparably damaged, leaving Brainiac with only a short time to live. In order to preserve his life, he concocted an elaborate scheme by having an agent of his, a Coluan named Prin Vnok, use a time machine to travel to the End of Time itself and retrieve Doomsday, who had been left there by Superman and Waverider to ensure that he would never be a threat again, and use Doomsday as a new host body.[citation needed]

Seconds before the forces of entropy destroyed him forever, Doomsday was taken to safety by Vnok and returned to Colu. There, a terminally-wounded Brainiac transferred his consciousness into Doomsday's body, temporarily becoming the most powerful being in the universe; a genius psychic mind inside an unstoppable, indestructible titan. However, Doomsday's own raging mind would eventually overwhelm Brainiac's will, and he reacted too quickly for Brainiac and Vnok to erase his mind using chemical or psionic treatments, forcing Brainiac to find another body. While still lodged in Doomsday's head, Brainiac decided to acquire a sample of human DNA that he could modify with Doomsday's DNA to create a new version of Doomsday that did not possess the creature's mind. Brainiac chose to use Pete Ross and Lana Lang's newborn baby, born eight weeks premature and being transported by Superman to the best Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit in the country, as the template for his new body, after he intercepted Superman during the trip to the hospital and stole the baby to hurt his long-time foe, correctly deducing that it was the child of someone close to Superman. However, Superman thwarted Brainiac's plot by driving him out of Doomsday's body with the use of a telepathy-blocking 'psi-blocker' that he had used in his last battle, forcing Brainiac out of Doomsday and leaving him with no other option but to adopt a recently-designed robotic body, dubbed Brainiac 2.5, where he would be forever trapped as he could not abandon it.[citation needed]

Brainiac 13

At the turn of the millennium, Brainiac revealed that he had placed a sleeper virus in LexCorp's Y2K bug safeguards which was intended to dramatically boost his abilities. Instead, it allowed his upgraded future self, Brainiac 13 (or "B-13"), to travel from the 64th century to the present day and take control of Brainiac 2.5's body. Brainiac 13 began transforming Metropolis into the 64th century version of the city, which he controlled. Although Brainiac 13 was able to gain control of several android superheroes, such as the Red Tornado, Hourman, and the Metal Men, and use them against Superman, Superman discovered during a fight with the Eradicator — attempting to stop the Kryptonian program from 'hi-jacking' the B13 virus and using it for its own ends — that Brainiac 13 could not cope with Kryptonian technology because he was not compatible with it, giving Superman a plan to stop Brainiac's scheme.[citation needed]

After the death of Brainiac 13, Superman discovered that a version of Krypton which he had visited via the Phantom Zone had in fact been created by Brainiac 13 as a trap for him. Having been defeated by Kryptonian technology, Brainiac 13 had traveled back in time to the real Krypton prior to its destruction, stolen the Eradicator matrix and Jor-El's diaries, and created a false Krypton based on Jor-El's favorite period in history.[12]

Sometime later, Superman traveled into the future and battled Brainiac 12, learning that everything Brainiac 13 had done in the past had been designed to ensure things reached the point where Brainiac 13 would be created. Brainiac 12's defeat before his upgrade apparently reversed the advances Brainiac 13 had made to Metropolis.[13]

The Insiders

Brainiac with his descendant Brainiac 8, as they discuss his use of organics. Art by Matthew Clark.

Around the time of the Graduation Day event, a future version of Brainiac, called Brainiac 6, used his "granddaughter", Brainiac 8 (also known as Indigo), to kill Donna Troy in order to ensure the fate of Colu. Indigo then infiltrated the Outsiders until she attacked the team, along with Brainiac 6 and his allies, Lex Luthor, and a brainwashed Superboy, who had attacked the Teen Titans.[volume & issue needed] In the ensuing battle, Indigo died and Superboy broke away from the brainwashing, while Luthor escaped. While his ship was destroyed, Brainiac's condition and whereabouts after the battle are unknown.[volume & issue needed]

Silver Age Brainiac in the post-Crisis universe

Later stories revealed that elements of Brainiac's pre-Crisis history occurred in the post-Crisis character's history prior to his possession of Milton Fine and his first encounter with Superman. The citizens of Kandor recall that Brainiac stole their city from Krypton, and not the alien wizard Tolos.[13]

History of the DC Universe mentions his defeat by the Omega Men, although not seen in Crisis on Infinite Earths itself, and noted a second Brainiac was created on a laboratory on Earth two years later. In the Silver Age: JLA one-shot, the Injustice League discovered numerous shrunken alien cities found in Brainiac's abandoned spaceship.

Brainiac's updated mechanical form

Brainiac later reappeared as a swarm of interlinked nanotechnological units. Its operation was to sabotage a Waynetech research facility accomplished by infecting Metallo with a computer virus and controlling him from orbit. Superman and Batman tracked Brainiac's signal to an orbital facility and attacked. Brainiac's nanoswarm body was destroyed, though he had infected the Metal Men during their previous encounter with Metallo. Brainiac proceeded to use them to acquire a prototype OMAC unit, which Bruce Wayne had developed through the use of Brainiac 13 nanotechnology. Superman and Batman destroyed the OMAC body with the aid of the Metal Men, after the Metal Men overcame Brainiac's control.[volume & issue needed]


Following recent revisions to Superman's continuity in Action Comics #850, Brainiac reappeared in a self-titled five part story-arc in Action Comics. A Brainiac robot probe arrives on Earth and battles Superman. After being defeated, the probe sends information about Superman's blood to the original Brainiac. Supergirl then reveals to Superman that Brainiac shrunk the Kryptonian city of Kandor and placed it in a bottle, that Milton Fine was infected by nanite probes, (which later migrated into Doomsday, the Brainiac 2.5 android, and finally into Lena Luthor), sent by the "original" Brainiac to look for Superman and that, in current continuity, no one has ever actually met the "real" Brainiac. Superman is soon captured by Brainiac after Superman finds him attacking an alien planet and preparing to steal a city from its surface.

Superman escapes from his imprisonment and sees Brainiac emerging from his "bio-shell". This new version of Brainiac resembles a much larger and more muscular version of the original, pre-Crisis Brainiac, and has motives similar to the Superman: The Animated Series incarnation of the character in that Brainiac travels the universe and steals the knowledge of various alien cultures, abducting and shrinking cities from each planet as samples, and then destroys the planet so that the value of the destroyed civilization's knowledge is increased. Brainiac's ship then travels to Earth and prepares to abduct the city of Metropolis.

Brainiac successfully steals Metropolis, and prepares to fire a missile that will destroy the sun and the Earth itself. Supergirl stops the missile while Superman battles Brainiac. Superman knocks Brainiac out of his ship and into a swamp, where Brainiac is overwhelmed by the microscopic organisms covering his body. Superman uses this distraction to defeat Brainiac. While Superman frees the cities of Metropolis and Kandor, the villain launches a missile to the Kent farm in an act of spite. The farm is destroyed, and Jonathan Kent suffers a fatal heart attack because of it.[14] Brainiac is brought to a top-secret military base, where the imprisoned Lex Luthor is assigned to discover his secrets. Luthor eventually manages to use Brainiac's connection to his ship to kill the soldiers assigned to watch him. Brainiac manages to free himself from Luthor's control, forcing him on board the ship, and the two make their escape.[15]

Powers and abilities

Brainiac has a "12th-level intellect", allowing calculation abilities, enhanced memory and advanced understanding of mechanical engineering, bio-engineering, physics, and other theoretical and applied sciences, as well as extensive knowledge of various alien technologies. The character has created devices such as a force field belt[16] and a shrinking ray capable of reducing cities.[16] Brainiac's advanced mental powers have shown him capable of possessing others, transferring his consciousness,[17] creating and manipulating computer systems, and exerting some control over time and space. John Byrne's re-imagining of the character possessed telepathy and telekinesis that were further augmented by an implanted electrode head-piece. The most recent version of Brainiac (a living Coluan who utilizes android "probes") has proven to be capable of mimicking the superhuman abilities of Superman and other Kryptonians, although he is vulnerable to bacterial infections when outside of controlled environments such as his ship or his prison cell.

Alternative versions

The character has been depicted in various out-of-continuity stories, such as the JLA: Earth 2 one-shot, where he is an organic—but still villainous—lifeform. He also appears in The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Superman: Red Son, JLA: Shogun of Steel, and The Last Days of Krypton novel by author Kevin J. Anderson.[18]


In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Brainiac is the ruler of 31st century Earth, and has captured Kid Flash, who he then placed in stasis, but Hot Pursuit managed to rescue the young speedster.[19] Escaping from Brainiac's base, Kid Flash and Hot Pursuit formulate a plan to return to the 21st century. Kid Flash then allows himself to be recaptured by Brainiac and put into stasis. Kid Flash uses his super-speed in the virtual reality access port to shut down the security program and Hot Pursuit then blasts Brainiac from behind. While they used his orb energy to return to the past, Brainiac impaled Hot Pursuit and attacked Kid Flash. Hot Pursuit breaks the orb energy projector to allow Kid Flash's super-speed to return. Kid Flash then returns to the 21st century, promising to rescue Hot Pursuit from Brainiac.[20]

In other media


  • The pre-Crisis green-skinned version of Brainiac with robotic diodes made his first in-film appearance in the episodes of the Filmation animated series The New Adventures of Superman. In this series, Brainiac was from the planet Mega whose entire population had perished in a series of atomic wars with the exception of one survivor, Professor Hecla. Hecla created Brainiac and sent him to Earth to use his shrinking ray to create a sort of "cosmic Noah's Ark", by shrinking a male and female of each Earth species to take back to repopulate Mega. Brainiac appeared in several episodes of this series which began in 1966.
  • Brainiac also appeared in a Super Friends short episode "Superclones." He ended up cloning Aquaman and El Dorado. Brainiac voice was now done by Stanley Ralph Ross who took over for the late Cassidy in 1980.
  • The mechanical version of Brainiac appeared in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show in the episodes "The Wrath of Brainiac" and "The Village of Lost Souls" again voiced by Stanley Ralph Ross. In "The Wrath of Brainiac," Brainiac reveals that he shed his earlier appearance when he worked alongside Darkseid.
  • Brainiac next appeared in The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians episode called "Brain Child" once again voiced by Stanley Ralph Ross.
Brainiac in Superman: The Animated Series.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Brainiac (voiced by Corey Burton) is the supercomputer that ran most of the day-to-day operations on the planet Krypton. He heeds Jor-El's warning about the imminent destruction of Krypton, but rather than validate Jor-El's claims, he dismisses them as false while secretly working to save himself, as he contains the collected records of Krypton. Brainiac reasons that, should he inform the government, they would put him to work to stop the inevitable and doom both parties. Brainiac survives Krypton's destruction and takes to the cosmos, absorbing the knowledge and history out of every planet he encounters then destroying them. He eventually makes his way to Earth, under the pretense of a peaceful exchange of knowledge with Lex Luthor. Superman, however, discovers Brainiac's true intentions, and with the help of Luthor, defeats Brainiac. He appears a few more times over the course of the story but is defeated each time. The distinct animated interpretation of the character is rated the 94th greatest villain of all time by Wizard magazine.[21]
  • Corey Burton reprises his role of Brainiac when he reemerged in the Justice League' episode "Twilight." He ends up attacking Apokolips after Darkseid had suffered a major defeat at the hands of Orion. This prompts Darkseid to come to the Watchtower and ask the Justice League for help. The story was a ruse, however, one intended to lure the Justice League, Superman in particular, to Brainiac's mainframe. Brainiac's full plan was to assume the body of Superman for him to inhabit. Darkseid betrayed Brainiac, however, and in the subsequent battle, both the machine intelligence and Darkseid were destroyed.
  • In the Static Shock two-part crossover episode "A League of Their Own", Brainiac (now reduced to a single circuit board kept in stasis and again voiced by Corey Burton) escaped confinement following a power failure at the Justice League's Watchtower. Static and Gear had been recruited by the Justice League to help recharge the Watchtower's generators. During that time, Brainiac slowly began gaining control of the Watchtower. He sent the Justice League a fake distress call to lure them away, then attempted to dispose of Static and Gear before turning the Watchtower into his new body. Fortunately, the teen superheroes discovered his plan and alerted the Justice League to return. The voice of Brainiac here sounds quite different, but it is still Corey Burton; the producers of Static Shock decided to pitch Burton's voice significantly lower for their show.[22]
Brainiac combined with Luthor
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "For the Man Who Has Everything", Superman was experiencing a dream world when attached to the alien hallucinogenic Black Mercy plant. In his dream, Brainiac is still in his position as Krypton's monitoring system and the planet did not explode at the time Superman was an infant. Brainiac himself later reappears in the season 1 finale once again voiced by Corey Burton. When the League confronts Lex Luthor, it is revealed in a major plot twist that he had put a part of himself in Luthor in their confrontation years earlier, and the two combine into a hybrid villain. The heroes purge Luthor of him and Brainiac is seemingly destroyed. He would return in the series finale, melding with a returned Darkseid in the same vein and invading Earth, only to be defeated, ironically, thanks to Luthor.
  • In Legion of Super Heroes, Brainiac 5 is a descendant of the original Brainiac 1.0 (voiced again by Corey Burton) who is an unwanted robot on his home planet. In the second season episode "Message in a Bottle", Brainiac 5 reveals the past atrocities caused by his predecessor, one such atrocity being the shrinking and abduction of the Kryptonian city of Kandor, which would cause a chain of events leading to the demise of Krypton. While the Legion of Super-Heroes television series does not share the same continuity as the Justice League Unlimited series or its predecessors, the version of Brainiac which appeared on the show is also voiced by Corey Burton and shares the same musical leitmotif from his DC animated universe appearances.
  • In the fifth season of Smallville, Brainiac is introduced as a recurring villain played by James Marsters. He takes the name of Prof. Milton Fine, posing as a professor at (fictional) Central Kansas A&M University. "Brainiac" is mostly referred to by his assumed name, although Jor-El refers to him in the fifth season finale "Vessel" as the "Brain InterActive Construct", and Raya is the first person to call him "Brainiac" in Season 6's "Fallout." Smallville's interpretation of Brainiac is similar to the DC animated universe version; that of a self-aware computer in humanoid form with a Kryptonian origin.
  • Brainiac is featured in Batman: The Brave and the Bold voiced by Richard McGonagle. Brainiac's earliest outfit (albeit with slight modification) as a Coluian is seen in the episode "The Siege of Starro" Pt. 2 as a trophy in the spaceship of the Faceless Hunter (the minion/herald of Starro). In "Battle of the Superheroes!", Brainiac shows up at the end of the episode following Lex Luthor's defeat plotting to shrink Metropolis in order to repopulate his destroyed planet causing Batman and Superman to spring into action.


  • Brainiac returned in the 2006 direct-to-video animated feature Superman: Brainiac Attacks voiced by Lance Henriksen. The movie begins with Brainiac landing on Earth in a meteor. Brainiac goes around absorbing information until Superman destroys him with his super-breath. However, Lex Luthor is able to save a piece of Brainiac and forms an alliance with the Kryptonian robot. Luthor gives Brainiac a new body, made from his satellite weapon. Brainiac is also equipped with a kryptonite beam and the ability to track Superman by his Kryptonian DNA. Luthor and Brainiac's bargain revolves around Brainiac using his new body to destroy Superman, and afterwards, Brainiac would allow himself to be "defeated" by Luthor and leave for another planet so that Luthor would appear as a hero. However, Brainiac betrayed Luthor after he believed Superman was destroyed, but in the end, Superman returned to defeat Brainiac after a lengthy battle. This time, Superman made sure that this copy of Brainiac was completely destroyed.
  • In All-Star Superman, a statue of Brainiac resembling his pre-Crisis green-skinned version with robotic diodes is seen in Superman's Fortress of Solitude.
  • Brainiac was considered to be the main antagonist for Superman III, along with Mister Mxyzptlk, when Ilya Salkind made an early treatment. In the treatment, Brainiac was from Colu and has discovered Supergirl in the same way that Superman was found by the Kents. Brainiac is portrayed as a surrogate father to Supergirl and eventually fell in love with his "daughter", who did not reciprocate his feelings, as she had fallen in love with Superman.[citation needed] However, Warner Bros. rejected the treatment, and the final product featured a powerful computer as a major "villain."
  • Brainiac was considered as a villain in the scrapped Superman Reborn and Superman Lives film projects. Most notably, the villain was featured with Doomsday in Kevin Smith's version of the script, which was later discarded by director Tim Burton. Burton's own script included Brainiac's intellect bonding with Lex Luthor, as would later happen in Justice League Unlimited (and which had previously been seen in the comic book story Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?)[23]
  • Brainiac was being considered, along with Lex Luthor, to be the main antagonist for the upcoming Superman film The Man of Steel.[24] A role that would eventually be given to General Zod.


A Brainiac loosely based on the Silver Age version appears in The Last Days of Krypton, a novel by Kevin J. Anderson.[18] This version of Brainiac is known as the Brain InterActive Construct, later renamed Brainiac by Commissioner Zod. Brainiac had admired the beauty and architecture of Kandor, and wanted to preserve the city from destruction should disaster strike Krypton as it did on his home planet of Colu. Zod permitted Brainiac's taking of Kandor, stating that Brainiac could have the city, as the rest of Krypton belonged to him. Brainiac's ship fired three lasers that pummeled the surrounding crust around Kandor and literally upheaved the city from Krypton's surface. A force field was then erected around the city which contracted, shrinking the city and its inhabitants. Brainiac departed without causing further destruction or seizing other Kryptonian cities.

Video games

  • Brainiac served as the final boss in the Superman arcade game published by Taito Corporation in 1988.
  • Brainiac was the main antagonist and boss in the 1992 Sunsoft game Superman.
  • In Superman 64, Brainiac, from the DCAU, appears not only as a villain and level boss, but also as a playable character in multiplayer.
  • Superman was forced to stop Brainiac and save the world after Brainiac kidnapped Lois Lane in the Sega Master System and Sega Genesis video game Superman: Man of Steel.
  • In the Xbox video game Superman: Man of Steel, Brainiac 13 is the final boss of the game. Players must compete against B13 drones throughout the game, before facing the android on the final level.
  • Brainiac was featured in the concept art in the 2006 video game Superman Returns, looking vastly different than other incarnations.
  • Brainiac is a featured major villain in the video game Justice League Heroes voiced by Peter Jessop. In the game, Brainiac first invaded S.T.A.R. Labs and ordered a huge legion of robots to seal off the area. Batman and Superman head for S.T.A.R. Labs, destroy Brainiac's robots, and battle Brainiac.
  • Corey Burton reprises his role as Brainiac and is the main antagonist in DC Universe Online. Here, Brainiac returns to Earth and both super heroes and other villains of the DC universe appeal to a truce to combat Brainiac. He is also (indirectly) the source of the player characters' powers, as a future version of Lex Luthor used his technology to create "exobytes", highly-advanced nanorobots with the ability to infuse an organic host with superpowers.

Cultural references

  • The band The Dukes of Stratosphear, an alter ego for XTC, released a song called "Brainiac's Daughter" on their 1987 album Psonic Psunspot. The lyrics include references to the bottled city of Kandor and the Daily Planet. Songwriter Andy Partridge has said of the song: "Right, well, Brainiac is the character in the Superman comics, the evil genius with the green skin and the sort of lightbulb screwed in his head. He was like a Martian Lex Luthor and I thought he'd be a wonderful psychedelic subject to write about, and his potential daughter: I do not think he had one but if he had she would have been, well, colorful, mauve and purple."[citation needed] This reference eventually came full circle when Alex Ross and Mark Waid created a background character named "Brainiac's Daughter" in the 1996 limited series Kingdom Come. The band Royal recorded a cover version of the song for the 2006 compilation album Sound of Superman, released by Rhino Records in conjunction with the opening of the movie Superman Returns.
  • In the list of people "playing" in the song "The Intro and the Outro" by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Brainiac is on banjo.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Leonard tried to impress Penny by showing her the miniature replica of Kandor and mentions Brainiac.


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  2. ^ "Brainiac". The Word Detective. July 31, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Top 100 Comic Book Villains". IGN. 
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  5. ^ Engblom, Mark (April 28, 2009). "Which Came First? Brainiac or BRAINIAC?". Comic Coverage. Retrieved August 20, 2009. 
  6. ^ As revealed in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #226-227 (April–May 1977)
  7. ^ Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #224, #226 (February / April 1977)
  8. ^ Adventure Comics vol. 2, #9 (Late May 2010)
  9. ^ Who's Who in the DC Universe[volume & issue needed]
  10. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). "Brainiac". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 61. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. 
  11. ^ Adventures of Superman #438 (March 1988)
  12. ^ Loeb, Jeph, Joe Casey, Mark Schultz, et al. (w), McGuinness, EdDuncan Rouleau, Pascual Ferry, et al. (p), Smith, Cam, Marlo Alquiza, Tom Nguyen, et al. (i). Superman: Return to Krypton (March 2004), New York: DC Comics, ISBN 978-1840237986
  13. ^ a b Superman vol. 2, #200 (February 2004)
  14. ^ Action Comics #866-870 (June–October 2008)
  15. ^ Adventure Comics vol. 2, #0 (April 2009)
  16. ^ a b Action Comics #242 (July 1958)
  17. ^ Action Comics #544 (June 1983)
  18. ^ a b Anderson, Kevin J. (October 2007). The Last Days of Krypton. Harper Entertainment. ISBN 978-0061340741. 
  19. ^ Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost #1 (June 2011)
  20. ^ Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost #2 (July 2011)
  21. ^ Wizard #177
  22. ^ "Brainiac". ToonZone. 
  23. ^ Hughes, David (2002). "The Death of Superman Lives". The Greatest Sci-Fi Films Never Made. Titan Books. pp. 176–179. ISBN 1-84023-428-8. 
  24. ^ Graham, Bill (February 24, 2010). "David Goyer Writing Next Superman, Plot Details Emerge, Called The Man of Steel". Collider. Retrieved February 24, 2010. 

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