Brainiac in Superman: Secret Files and Origins 2009
(October 2009). Art by Francis Manapul.
|First appearance||Action Comics #242 (July 1958)|
|Created by||Otto Binder|
|Alter ego||Vril Dox|
|Place of origin||Colu|
|Team affiliations||Anti-Justice League|
Legion of Doom
|Notable aliases||Dr. Milton Moses Fine, Pulsar Stargrave, the Terror of Kandor, the Collector of Worlds|
Brainiac is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, usually as an adversary of Superman. Brainiac is Superman's second-deadliest archenemy after Lex Luthor, and also a frequent enemy of the Justice League.
Brainiac is typically depicted as an extraterrestrial cyborg or android. He is responsible for shrinking and stealing Kandor, the capital city of Superman's home planet Krypton. In some continuities, he is also responsible for Krypton's destruction. Due to multiple 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, with a set of linked electrode-like objects (sometimes glowing) protruding from his skull.
First appearing in Action Comics #242 (July 1958), Brainiac is a bald, green-skinned humanoid who arrives on Earth and shrinks various cities, including Metropolis, storing them in bottles with the intent of using them to restore the then-unnamed planet he ruled. He was originally notable only for having shrunk the bottle city of Kandor with his shrinking ray and for using a force field.
In subsequent appearances in this early period, Brainiac was used mostly as a plot device rather than as a featured villain of the month. Brainiac's next appearance was mostly behind the scenes, when he tried to kill Lois Lane and Lana Lang, prompting Superman to give Lois and Lana superpowers. But the villain remained unseen except as a plot twist at the end of the story. Brainiac's next appearance was in "Superman's Return to Krypton" in Superman #141 (November 1960), in which the villain stole the bottle city of Kandor, the only city on Krypton that believes Jor-El's warning of doom for the planet, and which had already built a space ark within the city to save the population. Brainiac's next present-day appearance was in Action Comics #275 (April 1961), which showed the villain planning to defeat Superman by exposing him to both red and green kryptonite, giving Superman a third eye on the back of his head, forcing him to wear various hats to hide it. Superman soon defeated Brainiac and sent him off into the distant past. This was the first in-story appearance of Brainiac's iconic red diode/electrode-like objects atop his head, which had previously appeared on the cover of his first appearance in Action Comics #242 (July 1958), but were not shown in the actual story. In "Superboy" #106 (July 1963), an infant Superman meets Brainiac, and it is explained that Brainiac looks the same due to his 200-year life span. It is revealed that he came from a planet called Bryak and, after a voyage in space, he returned to find everybody dead from a plague. He intended to get people from other planets (in shrunken cities to be enlarged with his growth ray) to repopulate Bryak, where he would rule them.
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 Bryak, 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, for which he was given a non-computer appearance. Brainiac's distinctive gridwork of red diodes across his head are also explained. He was created with visible "electric terminals of his sensory 'nerves'" that he required to function. Luthor discovers that the Computers could have given him a twelfth-level intellect, but gave him a tenth-level, the same as them, so he would not try to dominate them. Luthor frees Brainiac from a prison on another world and increases his intelligence; however, he implants a timer that will make Brainiac black out so the computer does not betray him, as only Luthor can reset the timer and if Brainiac tries to tamper with it, one touch will cause an explosion. However, Brainiac tricks Luthor by making a device that hypnotizes Luthor, who removes the timer and forgets Brainiac is a computer. 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 and based on the Geniac that predated the creation of the comic book character.
The boy, whose name was Vril Dox, went on to lead a revolt against the Computer Tyrants, eventually destroying them. Brainiac sees a monument to this when he returns to Colu.
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". He became a powerful enemy of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and once masqueraded as Brainiac 5's biological father. In current continuity, Brainiac's connection to Pulsar Stargrave remains an open question, one even Brainiac 5 has yet to resolve.
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 Lexorian battlesuit, Brainiac was re-envisioned (under the auspices of writer Marv Wolfman and artist Gil Kane). 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. 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, Epsilon 4, explode in a nova in order to destroy the machine-world. It, however, also dissolved Brainiac's humanoid body into a stream of sentient molecules that, after a fantastic voyage through time and space, returned to the present and reinstated as a living computer with no trace of human emotions and a mind steeped in logic. His new body (designed by Ed Hannigan) had the appearance of a skeleton of living metal with a grey (sometimes iridescent), honeycomb-patterned "braincase." 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 miniseries.
The Silver/Bronze Age Brainiac met his end in the "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" storyline that closed out the Pre-Crisis Superman chronology. Lex Luthor found Brainiac's robotic head and was fused with it, making him immortal to everything. Brainiac took control of Luthor's body and sought to destroy Superman once and for all, teaming up with the Legion of Super-Villains. Fighting Brainiac's control, Luthor begged a superpowered Lana Lang to kill him; she complied by breaking his neck. Though Luthor died, Brainiac was able to retain control of the body for a little while before rigor mortis set in and his brain was forced to leave it. "Propelled by sheer malice", the skull crawled a few inches before finally running down.
In the Post-Crisis 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 Moses Fine, a human sideshow mentalist who worked under the alias "The Amazing Brainiac". Needing cranial fluid to maintain his possession of Fine, Dox went on a murder spree. He discovered that Fine had genuine psychic powers and was thus a metahuman, which he frequently wielded against Superman.
In the early 1990s, Brainiac returned in the "Panic in the Sky" storyline. He seized control of Warworld and manipulated Maxima into assisting him. Then he brainwashed Supergirl 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.
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. 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). Brainiac briefly took control of some of Earth's heroes, but it was not enough to turn the tide. Maxima would shortly switch sides in the fighting too, perceiving Brainiac as the true villain at last. 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.
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. 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. Superman and Brainiac squared off in Metropolis, where Superman taunted the evil villain, claiming that at heart he was really just Milton Moses 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.
During a later skirmish with Superman in Metropolis, Milton Moses 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.
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 at that moment being transported by Superman to the best Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit in the country-as the template for his new body. 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. 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 himself believed would be forever trapped, as he could not abandon it.
At the turn of the millennium, Brainiac 2.5 revealed that he had placed a sleeper virus in LexCorp's Y2K bug safeguards. This virus was intended to dramatically boost his abilities. However, the virus instead 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 then began transforming Metropolis into the 64th-century version of the city, which he controlled, and also began upgrading Metallo into a giant-sized version of himself. Brainiac 13 then took control of several android superheroes, such as the Red Tornado and Hourman, and used them against Superman. The Metal Men's responsometers were able to protect them from his programming, and allowed them to help defeat Metallo.
During a fight with the Eradicator (who was attempting to 'hijack' the B13 virus and use it for its own ends), Superman discovered that Brainiac 13 could not cope with Kryptonian technology, due to incompatibility issues. This gave Superman a plan to stop Brainiac 13's scheme. With the aid of the rebuilt Kelex, Superman tricked Luthor into connecting a Kryptonian battlesuit to one of Brainiac 13's power conduits. Kelex then reactivated the Red Tornado to help Superman break Brainiac 13 down into his respective nanobots and trap him in the suit.
Brainiac 13 was able to work with Brainiac 2.5--now transferred into the aged body of Lena Luthor--and prepared a tactic against Imperiex for the upcoming Imperiex War. The Brainiacs successfully engineered Imperiex's defeat, allowing Brainiac 13 to absorb Imperiex's power and use it to overpower the combined heroes and villains of the universe while simultaneously devastating both Earth and Apokolips. Brainiac 13 planned to use the power he stole from Imperiex to conquer the universe and reshape it in his image, and is made so powerful by the absorption that none of the heroes, not even Superman, can hope to damage him. However, with help from Lex's temporal displacement technology and Darkseid's Boom Tube technology boosted by magic supplied by Tempest and the Amazons, Superman was able to destroy Brainiac 13 and Imperiex by sending them through a temporal Boom tube where they were annihilated in the Big Bang. Brainiac 13 had his body disintegrated and the remnants of his mind scattered across sixty trillion light years, finally killing the chronologically last known version of Brainiac.
After the death of Brainiac 13, Superman discovered that the version of Krypton he previously visited via the Phantom Zone was, in fact, a trap created by Brainiac 13. Having been defeated by Kryptonian technology, Brainiac 13 had traveled back in time to the real Krypton prior to its destruction. There, he stole the Eradicator matrix and Jor-El's diaries, and created a false Krypton based on Jor-El's favorite period in history.
Sometime later, Superman traveled into the future and battled Brainiac 12. He learned that everything Brainiac 13 did in the past was 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.
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. 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.
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 Moses 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.
History of the DC Universe mentions his defeat by the Omega Men, although this is not seen in Crisis on Infinite Earths itself, and noted a second Brainiac was created in 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 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.
Following revisions to Superman's continuity in Infinite Crisis and Action Comics #850, Brainiac reappeared in a self-titled five-part story arc in Action Comics. In Action Comics #866 (August 2008), a Brainiac robot probe (resembling his skeleton-esque Pre-Crisis incarnation, and mistaken for the real Brainiac by Clark) arrives on Earth and battles Superman. After the probe is defeated, information about Superman's blood is sent to the original Brainiac. As Brainiac wakes up, his computer announces "Attempt #242 in progress", a reference to Brainiac's first appearance in Action Comics #242, and to the many encounters between Brainiac and Superman. In the following issue, Supergirl reveals to Superman that Brainiac shrunk the Kryptonian city of Kandor and placed it in a bottle, and that all previous incarnations of Brainiac that Superman has encountered were just probes, clones, and nanite-controlled bodies. She notes that no one has ever actually seen Brainiac. Inspired by Supergirl's story, Superman attempts to find Brainiac and stop him. He heads to a world under attack by Brainiac just in time to be caught in a supernova as Brainiac destroys the system's star and the populated world along with. The supernova knocks Superman out, and he is caught and brought onto Brainiac's ship.
Superman escapes from his imprisonment and sees Brainiac emerging from his "bio-shell". This 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 he 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. Superman attacks Brainiac, but Brainiac manages to overpower the Man of Steel before restraining him with the help of his ship's internal systems. Brainiac inserts the subdued Superman into a machine that allows him to read the Kryptonian's mind, with the intent of assimilating his brain. 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 ends up captured along with the rest of Metropolis, but Superman breaks out of his restraints again and frees her. Supergirl stops the missile, while Superman battles Brainiac. Brainiac appears to have the advantage in physical combat yet again, but 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. 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.
Notably, upon learning of Brainiac's modus operandi of destroying planets by destabilizing nearby stars when he is done collecting cities and knowledge from said planets, Superman openly speculates that Brainiac destroyed Krypton, which was destroyed when its sun went nova soon after Brainiac abducted Kandor and Argo. He also asks the alien what he did to Krypton's sun. Brainiac ignores the query, neither confirming or denying his responsibility, though he does heavily imply it ("In fifty-seven minutes, my solar aggressor will reach your sun. It will flare up, and the Earth will be incinerated. Just like Krypton."). Superman still believes Brainiac had a part in Krypton's destruction after the end of this story arc.
Following this Brainiac, now in possession of his ship again, unleashes his robot army against the newly created planet of New Krypton, and the Kryptonian citizens rise up to fight the drones. General Zod's army proves totally unable to fend them off, as the Brainiac's ship's force fields are seemingly invulnerable and his drones are equipped with red sunray guns, allowing them to kill tens of thousands of Kryptonians. Superman, being the only one who knows how to penetrate his force fields (having learned the trick in the previous story arc), manages to enter Brainiac's ship. Supergirl leads the Kryptonians against the drones, but is attacked by an anti-Kryptonian Brainiac probe. Superboy, Mon-El, and the Legion of Super-Heroes join the fight and save Supergirl.
After this, Brainiac shrinks Kandor again and re-bottles it, including a miniature red sun to de-power all the Kryptonians inside. The Legion, Supergirl, Superboy, Zod, and Superman all make it on to Brainiac's ship, thanks to Brainiac 5 hacking his ancestor's force fields and allowing them entry. The Legion explains to Zod that, just as Krypton's city of Kandor is held in a bottle onboard Brainiac's ship, other planets' cities are also imprisoned, and, therefore, Zod cannot destroy Brainiac's ship until the cities can be rescued. Zod sends Supergirl off and then arrests the Legionnaires, branding them terrorists. Meanwhile, Superman is about to face off against Brainiac when he is knocked down by a kryptonite energy blast fired by Lex Luthor and subsequently captured. Brainiac locks him in captivity with the intent to experiment on him, but Superman escapes and meets up with the rest of the superheroes and Zod on a separate section of the ship. Zod enters the scene and engages Brainiac in combat while Supergirl, Superboy, and the Legion recover the bottled cities on Brainiac's ship, including Kandor. Zod seems to be losing his fight with Brainiac, when suddenly Superman gets up and tackles Brainiac from behind. Before the battle between the two Kryptonians and the villain can continue, Brainiac's ship starts to destabilize and descend towards the planet. It is revealed that Lex Luthor sabotaged the ship and re-sized one of the cities while inside.
Luthor's intervention causes the ship to crash into New Krypton, destroying it while Supergirl and the Legion re-size Kandor. However, the city that Luthor expanded is still growing, now putting Kandor at risk. As Brainiac 5 works on the problem, Supergirl is shocked to discover Superman impaled by pieces of Brainiac's ship as a result of the explosion. Superman appears to have been fatally stricken. Luthor, though reeling from the explosion, is pleased with all the destruction he has caused. Brainiac confronts Luthor in the ruins of the ship and is furious that Lex sabotaged his ship. Luthor mocks him and spits in his eye before Brainiac angrily snaps Luthor's neck, killing him.
Now deprived of his ship and technology, and seemingly depowered by his ship's destruction, Brainiac finds himself faced by an entire city of angry, solar-powered Kryptonians. Zod is eager for a final showdown with Brainiac, who calls Zod a coward for confronting Brainiac with his powers intact and an army of super-powered Kryptonians at his back. In response, Zod fires the red sun radiation from an Archer rifle at himself, to remove his powers and thus supposedly level the playing field as he prepares to take Brainiac down. Brainiac 5 gives Superman a transfusion of Conner's blood and exposes him to a very large dose of concentrated synthesized yellow sun rays. Using these techniques, Brainiac 5 is able to revive Superman.
Despite the loss of his powers, Zod is able to get the upper hand on the similarly-powerless Brainiac and force him to his knees. Zod is about to shoot Brainiac when Superman intervenes. This causes a heated argument between Superman and Zod. Zod commands his soldiers to restrain Kal-El so Zod can proceed with the execution of Brainiac. Brainiac 5, sensing that this is his moment of destiny, steps in and teleports himself and Brainiac off of New Krypton.
It is revealed that Lex used a Luthor robot, supplied by the Toyman, to accomplish his mission on New Krypton, and that Brainiac killed the robot instead. Lex is very much alive and discussing with General Lane how his objective, to bring chaos to New Krypton, was achieved. Lex has been working as an agent of General Lane all along. The disarray that Lex caused provides Lane with a window of opportunity as he prepares for the impending war with New Krypton. Lex receives a Presidential pardon for his efforts. The story ends with Zod rallying his people as he declares war on the planet Earth. The story concludes in the next miniseries, Superman: War of the Supermen.
Mon-El plants the many bottled cities that Brainiac has captured over the years on various planets across the galaxy. These cities will one day become the United Planets by the 31st century, the same planets that will produce the members of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Brainiac 5 takes Brainiac to their homeworld of Colu where he hands him over to Vril Dox II, a.k.a. Brainiac 2. Vril Dox happily turns his "father" over to his people for his crimes. However Lyrl Dox, a.k.a. Brainiac 3, releases his "grandfather" with a weapon called Pulsar Stargrave. What then occurs is an all-out battle for Colu between all three present-day Brainiacs. Vril Dox even calls in Lobo for help. Brainac breaks out of his prison and, after causing much damage on Colu, escapes with Pulsar Stargrave in tow for parts unknown.
Brainiac's origin in The New 52 is revealed in Superman #23.2. Vril Dox was acknowledged as the greatest scientist on his homeworld, Yod-Colu, given his advances in force field technology and miniaturization. He developed an artificial intelligence, C.O.M.P.U.T.O., allowing him to discover the fifth dimension. Dox discovered the fifth dimension was in a state of war, and a group of its inhabitants, the Multitude, had entered their dimension and destroyed over a hundred planets. Realizing Yod-Colu was next in the Multitude's path, Dox tried to find a way to save his planet, even performing experiments on his son. The magistrates of Yod-Colu sentenced Dox to exile, but Dox used C.O.M.P.U.T.O. to take control of Yod-Colu's computer networks. Copying the planet's database, Dox constructed an army of robot servants called Terminauts and miniaturized the city his wife and son lived on and bottled it in a force field, while the rest of Yod-Colu was destroyed by the Multitude.
After the destruction of Yod-Colu, Dox constructed an army of starships and distributed his consciousness across a series of robots that would each travel the universe in order to preserve planets from the Multitude, becoming known as the Collector of Worlds. One of these robots attacked Krypton. Dox became fascinated by Jor-El, a Kryptonian scientist who actually saved his homeworld from the Multitude. Upon returning to Krypton, however, Brainiac discovered Krypton had been destroyed.
Referred to at first as 'The Collector of Worlds', Brainiac is first seen as the mysterious informant that supplies Lex Luthor information of Superman and his alien nature. Clark is having a dream of Krypton's final moments in which an artificial intelligence that controls the planet wakes up robots in an attempt to preserve the Kryptonian culture. Later, while Clark conducts an interview in a robotic factory, the same harvester robots appear.
John Corben (the soon-to-be supervillain Metallo) is suddenly possessed by the artificial intelligence. It demands Superman. The robots create havoc throughout Metropolis, but Superman soon realizes that they are really after him. Superman fights the possessed Corben with the help of John Henry Irons.
Although they managed to defeat him, the alien sentience had already miniaturized and bottled the city of Metropolis and took it to his ship in space. Superman travels to the ship to find many alien bottled cities, Kandor included. The alien identifies himself as a being from the planet Colu where he was known as C.O.M.P.U.T.O and on Krypton he was called Brainiac 1.0. He claims that, without Superman and the ship that brought him to Earth, his Kryptonian collection is incomplete. The alien intelligence demands Superman make a choice: the intelligence will disable life support in both the Kandor and Metropolis bottles, and Superman must choose which city to save using indestructible Kryptonian armor found on the ship.
Superman decides on neither and wears the armor (which changes instantly into the current Superman costume design). Brainiac sends Metallo to attack Superman, but due to Superman reasoning with him over his feelings for Lois Lane, he breaks free of Brainiac's control and joins Superman in his attack. Superman then uses his rocket from Krypton that had also been miniaturized with Metropolis to attack Brainiac's mind, which the rocket was able to do since its primary mission was to protect Kal-El. In doing so, Metropolis was returned to Earth and Superman took possession of Brainiac's ship and made it his new super citadel.
Notably, the ship Clark was placed into as a child was described as having "Brainiac AI", leaving the identity of the Collector of Worlds in doubt. The Colony of the Collector of Worlds told Superman that its AI technology went by different names, beginning on Yod-Colu as C.O.M.P.U.T.O. On Noma, he was called Pneumenoid; on Bryak it was Mind2; on Krypton he was called Brainiac 1.0; and, finally on Earth, he is the Internet.
After this defeat, Brainiac retreated to deeper parts of the cosmos, and eventually came across the planet Tolerance, the setting of a bounty hunting glimmernet game show called The Hunted. Striking a deal with Lady Styx, overlord of the Tenebrian Dominion, he bottles a portion of the Sh'diki Borough of Tolerance to add to his collection. He encounters Jediah Caul, a former member of the Green Lantern Corps, who combats and infects Brainiac's ship. Ultimately, Brainiac abandons his plans with the Sh'diki Borough and ejects Caul and the bottled city before leaving for parts unknown.
Back on Earth, during an investigation of 20 kidnapped people who developed metahuman powers after being kidnapped by Brainiac, one of these 20 infects Lois Lane, thereby giving Brainiac control over a close ally of Superman. Brainiac plots his return to Earth, using Lane to infiltrate Earth's defense systems to allow an easier path for his physical return. and even upgrading her body to contain his 12th level intelligence. His minion Cyborg-Superman (a reconstructed Zor-El, father of Supergirl) constructs a portal to allow Brainiac's command ship and "daughter ships" to travel to Earth from throughout the galaxy.
Superman, whom Brainiac had conspired to 'infect' with the monster Doomsday in order to drive him away from Earth, uses his augmented power to attack Brainiac's gigantic mothership and break through to its core and, finally, Vril Dox himself. The Coluan appears still-humanoid, and explains his reasoning for stealing minds from throughout the universe: he has concluded that if he can 'unite' the minds of a certain critical number of people, he will be able to change reality itself. His motivation for this appears a desire to right the wrongs he feels responsible for: the loss of his wife and child back on Colu. His plan is undone when Superman drags him, mothership and all, into a black hole. But then, Vril Dox is snatched away to safety, it seems, by a being who appears to be the true Brainiac: an immensely powerful entity from outside the universe itself.
This version of Brainiac, a composite of Brainiac from around the Multiverse, is revealed to be the pre-Flashpoint era Brainiac who, having found his way into the Source Wall and into the Multiverse, was thrown back in the timestream and mutated by the effects of "crisis" events such as Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, and 52, creating a godlike being. He then uncovered the location of Vanishing Point from nearly killing New 52 Earth-0's Michelle Carter, from which he could roam the complete history of the Multiverse, collecting doomed cities from defunct timelines, alternative futures, and parallel worlds to add to his collection, in Convergence, leaving behind an agent, Telos, to rule a planet of the same name containing the cities. Brainiac's attempt to do this to a future timeline of Earth-0 was narrowly averted by the heroes in the story The New 52: Futures End; Brainiac was contained in a T-sphere, leaving Telos stranded without his master, prompting the events of Convergence in which the planets are bid to fight each other. When the events of Convergence nearly end in an irreversible destruction of the Multiverse, the time traveller Waverider, formerly the pre-Flashpoint Booster Gold, frees Brainiac, who reveals he is sick from his mutations and only wishes to return to normal, to being Brainiac of Colu. He sends most of the heroes home, and with help from the Zero Hour Parallax and the pre-Flashpoint Superman, averts the collapse of the Multiverse from Crisis on Infinite Earths, and is returned to the normal Brainiac. His actions also allow various parallel universes and alternate timelines to exist as the new Multiverse.
Brainiac's name is first referenced in an issue of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. The entirety of the Green and Yellow Lanterns (including Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, and John Stewart), along with Starro the Conqueror, are lured into a trap and subsequently hit with a shrink ray while on the planet Xudar, leaving them tiny and helpless. In the next issue, they are trapped in a bottle, and their jailer is revealed to be a robot claiming to run on "Brainiac 2.0" software. The robot heavily resembles both Brainiac's 1983 skeleton-esque incarnation and the robotic drones utilized by the post-2008 version of Brainiac. It has a collection of shrunken bottled planets, and travels in a ship resembling Brainiac's skullship. At the time it was not clear if this was the true Brainiac after Rebirth or yet another one of his drones.
The machine's victory is short-lived, however, as it is revealed that Larfleeze was able to reprogram it to his side using an Orange Lantern ring, having rebooted its life systems after finding it inactive on his homeworld with its ship. Larfleeze is impressed that the machine was able to capture the Green Lanterns and Starro, and even more impressed with the machine's shrinking technology, and plans to hijack its technology to put together his own collection. He takes the ship and collection to his homeworld of Okaara. However, upon being informed that the Yellow and Green Lanterns are still fighting inside the bottle and trying to kill each other, Larfleeze's own greed for having everything gets the best of him and he ends up breaking the container. This frees the Lanterns, and somehow restores them to their normal size and strength, after which they immediately start rampaging inside the ship and trashing Brainiac/Larfleeze's collection. Hal, Kyle, John and Guy go on to lead the attack on the Orange Lantern Corps. With everyone fighting together, the Orange Lantern Corps are quickly overwhelmed. Larfleeze accuses the robot of playing him; when it responds that it simply did what he programmed it to do, Larfleeze destroys it in a rage.
The Superman storyline "New World" later confirmed via a flashback cameo that the Post-Crisis, post-2008 version of Brainiac (the tall, muscular, green-skinned cybernetic alien scientist) still exists in the post-Rebirth continuity, and has encountered Superman in the past. Thus, the robot that defeated Starro, the Green Lantern Corps, and the Yellow Lantern Corps before subsequently being dispatched by Larfleeze was, in fact, one of his drones.
Brainiac later arrived on Earth again and battled the Justice League, who proved no match for him and his ship, until Superman arrived. However, he did not come to destroy the Earth, but to deliver a warning: that there is a cosmic-level threat in the universe coming to Earth, one that the heroes of Earth are woefully ill-prepared for. Brainiac thinks he can defeat the threat, but it means teaming up with Superman and the Justice League and combining members of the League with some of the most dangerous supervillains in the DC Universe and sending them into battle against this extinction-level menace. Four teams outfitted with Brainiac's technology are formed (including among other members, Lex Luthor, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Sinestro), with Brainiac himself working directly alongside his nemesis, Superman.
The No Justice miniseries begins with the Omega Titans, the aforementioned threat, attacking Colu, Brainiac's homeworld, which explains Brainiac's kidnapping of Earth's superheroes and supervillains. Brainiac claims to have developed a plan to defeat the Omega Titans and the superheroes only need to follow his orders to win, but Amanda Waller uses the hidden Protocol XI, which involves kidnapping the world's most dangerous psychics, to probe Brainiac's mind and find out what he knows. The strain of the psychic attack causes Brainiac's head to explode, apparently killing him.
In Scott Snyder's Justice League run, in order to fill in the gap left by Black Manta and the Joker, Lex Luthor sets Professor Ivo to work reconstructing Brainiac, with the intention of him joining the Legion of Doom. Despite teaming up with them, Brainiac does have his own motivations, including planning his revenge against Waller.
Brainiac's most consistent power (endemic to all versions) is his "twelfth-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. For comparison, the population of 20th century Earth as a whole constitutes a sixth-level intelligence and the population of 31st century Earth as a whole is a ninth-level intelligence. His Post-Crisis incarnation claims that his brain can process and sort the knowledge of over four hundred ninety octodecillion beings (490 × 1057), which is a enormous number, about five billion times the estimated number of atoms of the Earth. The character has created devices such as a force field belt capable of withstanding Superman's most powerful blows, and a shrinking ray capable of reducing cities.
Brainiac's advanced mental powers have shown him capable of possessing others, absorbing information from other beings, transferring his consciousness, creating and manipulating computer systems, replicating multiple versions of himself, and exerting powers to traverse or control space and time. Among organic beings, Brainiac views only his frequent partner Lex Luthor as a peer intellect. Brainiac is usually depicted with an incredibly high degree of super strength and durability; the exact level varies, but usually hovers at around Superman's strength. Brainiac's exact abilities vary drastically throughout his various incarnations.
Originally, Brainiac was a scientist with no superhuman abilities aside from his intellect. He fought Superman via the use of his advanced technology and cunning, similar to Lex Luthor. Among these were a forcefield belt which projected a shield that made him immune to all harm (even Superman's blows), a shrinking ray, and a headpiece consisting of a cluster of diode/electrode-like objects. His cybernetic headpiece lets him interface with technology and project energy blasts from his head, which were powerful enough to significantly harm Superman. Superman described the blasts as "blindingly painful... almost unbearable" and as a threat to his life. The Pre-Crisis Brainiac was referred to by an omniscient narrator as "the super-computer space pirate-- Superman's most powerful nemesis."
Brainiac being unpowered and reliant on external weaponry was largely still the case even when he was retconned as an android, but in the 1980s, this changed and he gained the abilities that would stick to all subsequent incarnations: superstrength and durability, technopathy, and super longevity. His technopathic abilities extend to control of his ship, with which he shares a symbiotic relationship. The android version of Brainiac was capable of downloading his consciousness to spare, robotic bodies in the event that his original was destroyed or damaged. He could also possess organic beings in certain circumstances, as he did to Luthor during Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?.
The final body utilized by the Pre-Crisis Brainiac (resembling a robotic skeleton) was technopathic, had superstrength and durability, could discharge energy blasts capable of hurting Superman, and knew of how to "spin" the psychokinetic energies he generated into a web-like net which could hold Superman at bay. Among the knowledge he absorbed was extensive information on hand-to-hand combat techniques, making him a very skilled combatant. Despite this, he saw physical confrontation as beneath him, and preferred to defeat foes with his mind.
John Byrne's re-imagining of the character possessed telepathy and telekinesis, as well as the ability to discharge energy blasts. He was an alien consciousness who had possessed the body of a powerful human psychic and awakened his powers, further augmenting them with an implanted electrode head-piece. His vast psychic powers allowed him to seriously challenge Superman, and defeat multiple members of the New Gods (including Orion) with a single psionic energy blast, but the body's lack of Superman-level durability was a major liability and eventually led to it being rendered useless in a gasoline explosion. After this organic body was destroyed, Brainiac's consciousness built and possessed various robotic bodies and occasionally hijacked other organic bodies (such as Doomsday's). His abilities were dependent on the body he was inhabiting at the time, which could vary from as weak as a normal human to far stronger than Superman. His nanoswarm incarnation, for instance, could shapeshift, regenerate, project energy blasts and force fields, and match Superman blow for blow; Superman stated Brainiac to have physical strength on par with Doomsday's in this form. His strongest incarnation was Brainiac 13, who, even prior to absorbing Imperiex, was so physically formidable that Superman could not remotely affect, much less damage, him. By contrast, Brainiac was easily able to kill Superman, and would have done so in a short time had he not been devoted to torturing the Man of Steel.
It was later revealed that this version of Brainiac (like the previous ones) was merely a mentally-controlled probe of the real Brainiac, who was a living Coluan that had genetically and cybernetically enhanced himself. The true Brainiac lacked psychic powers, but still possessed super physical attributes, intelligence, and technopathy. He possesses a level of strength vastly surpassing that of a full-powered Superman; capable of easily overpowering the Kryptonian in a grapple and flooring him with a single punch, breaking his near-invulnerable skin by squeezing Superman's head with his fingers, and catching one of Superman's punches and crushing his hand until it bled, forcing Superman to his knees. His durability is also far greater than Superman's, shown when he absorbs several consecutive blows to the face from the Man of Steel without visible harm and later claims that Superman's punches did not hurt him at all. Even a concentrated and sustained burst of heat vision directly to Brainiac's eyes did not seriously debilitate him, though it inflicted noticeable damage. At one point Brainiac 5 warns that Superman would most likely die against Brainiac in a straight fight.Superman Secret Files and Origins 2009 further state that Brainiac is "as strong and invulnerable as a Kryptonian."
Despite his enormous physical enhancements, Brainiac had several weaknesses. Like the Pre-Crisis Brainiac, he is mentally connected to his ship in such a way that he can be disabled for a short period if separated without warning. Initially, he had the weakness of being disabled by his mysophobia and sensory overload when dumped into Earth's atmosphere, though he does not seem to have this defect in his later battles on Earth, such as when he defeated Superboy, suggesting that he had fixed it, or that he is only overloaded in particularly dirty environments. Finally, being separated from his ship for prolonged periods causes him to physically deteriorate and become far less powerful, as Lex Luthor observed while studying his unconscious body over the course of several days when it was in the custody of the U.S. government.
This Brainiac is an incredibly powerful physical fighter, but like his Pre-Crisis counterpart is most dangerous due to the advanced technology he wields, much of it of his own invention. These include his classic shrinking ray and force fields, as well as other gadgets such as missiles capable of causing stars to go supernova. His force fields are so impregnable that a direct hit from an energy weapon that kills several fully powered Kryptonians as collateral damage did not leave so much as a single scratch on his ship. Brainiac also possesses an army of at least tens of thousands of humanoid robotic "probes". These probes are strong enough to draw blood from Superman and tough enough to survive some of his powerful blows. During the New Krypton story arc, Brainiac upgraded his probes with red-sun ray guns for the purpose of fighting Kryptonians. When Brainiac orders these drones to attack New Krypton, they quickly kill over eleven thousand solar-powered Kryptonians.
He is a biological creature that has altered his body to acquire more knowledge to become "better". With his ship, his vast knowledge, and his powerful technology, Brainiac has captured thousands of cities and has assimilated and destroyed just as many civilizations, making him the worst mass murderer in the history of the Milky Way and one of the most feared beings in the known universe. He is considered one of the most powerful villains Superman has ever faced.
Brainiac, in The New 52, seems to have kept most of the powers and equipment of his Post-Crisis incarnation (including his shrinking ray, force fields, and robot army), with notable additions. Brainiac's ship has been massively upgraded in this incarnation; it is now larger than the entire Earth & Moon planet system, and carries within it a massive invasion fleet of many types of smaller ships. He still appears to possess the physical strength and near-invulnerability of his Post-Crisis counterpart, as shown when he easily defeats the Cyborg Superman. By the Superman: Doomed story arc, Brainiac has used his twelfth-level intellect to become an enormously powerful psychic and telepath, augmented by the minds that he has stolen and digitized from across the galaxy, and capable of taking control of all seven billion minds on Earth at the same time. He also demonstrates considerable reality warping abilities; he claims that the combined psionic power of all the minds he has captured throughout the universe can allow him to change reality to his will, and plans to use this power to remake the universe in his image. However, this plan is prematurely ended when Superman battles him telepathically and crashes his ship into a black hole.
Following the Doomed story arc, it is further revealed that the Pre-Crisis Brainiac somehow escaped the Crisis on Infinite Earths itself, and mutated from the various crises since, becoming a godly being. This version of Brainiac is nigh-omnipotent and omniscient, with the ability to warp universes and time travel. Using this newfound power he either recreated or interacted with all the different iterations of himself throughout the multiverse, using his New 52 incarnation as yet another one of his many probes. He has grown so much in power that now he can collect cities from other universes at will. At the end of the Convergence story arc, Brainiac recreates the DC Multiverse.
The character has been depicted in various out-of-continuity stories. In the Amalgam Comics line, which was a joint venture between DC and Marvel Comics, readers are introduced to Galactiac, a combination of Brainiac and Marvel Comics antagonist Galactus. Brainiac also appears in Superman: Red Son,JLA: Shogun of Steel, and the novel The Last Days of Krypton by author Kevin J. Anderson.
In the Superman: Red Son graphic novel, Brainiac (here depicted as an alien AI) serves as the main antagonist. He first appears working with Luthor to undermine Superman, eventually shrinking and bottling the city of Stalingrad. Superman defeats Brainiac soon after, but his failure to restore Stalingrad becomes his one failure and a recurring source of guilt. After his defeat, Superman has Brainiac reprogrammed in order to serve him and the Earth, and help run Superman's Global Soviet Union, a task he takes to for the next four decades. While serving Superman, Brainiac repeatedly advises him to take more drastic courses of action to resolve his problems, such as suggesting he merely invade Luthor's United States, though Superman always rebuffs his most extreme suggestions.
At the climax of the story, Superman eventually does decide to attack the United States, and Luthor deploys a futuristic U.S. Pacific Fleet and an army of superbeings (including Wonder Woman and Doomsday) in an attempt to stop him. They are either incapacitated by Superman or cut to shreds by Brainiac's ship, and Luthor himself is yanked down deep into the recesses of the Fortress by Brainiac to be converted surgically into a Superman robot. Brainiac and Superman storm the White House after defeating all the U.S.'s defenders. They are greeted by Lois Luthor with the last weapon, a small note written by President Lex Luthor that reads, "Why don't you just put the whole world in a bottle, Superman?". Superman, realizing the error of his ways, is horrified by the revelation that he has essentially become another Brainiac- "an alien bullying a less-developed species." He calls off the invasion, but Brainiac objects; he reveals that his twelfth-level intellect let him easily subvert any attempts at reprogramming him, and that he has never been under Superman's control. He attacks Superman with a kryptonite beam weapon, nearly killing him while boasting about how he will conquer the entire universe after finishing off all his foes on Earth. However, he is finally defeated when Luthor (having escaped surgery through undisclosed means) hacks and shuts off Brainiac from the inside. His body is promptly destroyed by Superman.
In one last act of spite, Brainiac's death automatically triggers his ship's self-destruct, which, according to Luthor, would eradicate the entire Earth and everything within a 15,000,000 mile radius. As the gravitational singularities powering Brainiac's ship threaten to explode, Superman rockets it into outer space, where it blows up. The Earth is saved, but Superman is thought to have been caught in an explosion and killed. In the epilogue at Lex Luthor's funeral a thousand years in the future, it is revealed that unbeknownst to the rest of the Earth, Superman survived the destruction of Brainiac's ship. He walks quietly away from the ceremony, planning to live among humans rather than ruling over them.
In the JLA: Earth 2 one-shot, the Justice League are drawn to the anti-matter universe to defeat the Crime Syndicate of America, their villainous anti-matter counterparts, with Brainiac apparently acting as the robotic servant of Ultraman. However, after the Syndicate travel to the League's universe, it is revealed that the true mastermind of the scheme was Brainiac, who is revealed to be an organic life form trapped in a tank acting as Ultraman's servant, having manipulated both teams into a position where they will be trapped in each other's worlds and thus unable to win, as the nature of each world means that 'good' and 'evil' will always win in each world. However, Brainiac is defeated when the League deliberately walks away so that the Syndicate can return in time to stop him.
In Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, set in a world where heroes have been publicly 'retired' for years as Lex Luthor took over and blackmailed assorted heroes into acting as his discreet 'servants', Brainiac is working with Luthor to keep the city of Kandor contained, the two destroying one Kryptonian family each time Superman defies them. He is eventually destroyed by Lara, the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman, who claims to be surrendering to him only to allow the Atom to break the bottle from inside and allow the Kryptonians within to access their powers, decimating Brainiac with their heat vision.
Bizarro #1 created this doppelganger of Brainiac to live on Bizarro World. Since Brainiac shrunk the city of Kandor, his Bizarro counterpart felt compelled to do the opposite, and expanded a city in Antarctica, creating Big City.
In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Brainiac is the ruler of 31st century Earth, and has captured Kid Flash, whom he then placed in stasis, but Hot Pursuit managed to rescue the young speedster. 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.
Brainiac is one of the villains in the Justice League/Power Rangers crossover, when the Power Rangers and Lord Zedd accidentally travel to the DC Universe through a teleportation accident, with the Rangers arriving in Gotham City, while Zedd finds himself in one of the trapped cities on Brainiac's ship. Escaping from the bottle, Zedd proposes an alliance with Brainiac in exchange for providing Brainiac with a city from his Earth, Zedd releasing a wave of monsters across the world to distract the Justice League. Using the distraction of Zedd's monsters, Brainiac dispatches his drones to take control of the Rangers' zords, stealing their powers and fleeing back to their world, forcing the Rangers and the Justice League to 'borrow' the Hadron Collider to create a temporary dimensional transporter that will allow them all to get back to the Rangers' world. Back in the Rangers' world, Brainiac nearly takes control of Cyborg, but Billy Cranston is able to regain his powers in time to take Cyborg down so that Batman can reboot him. Brainiac has captured Alpha 5, officially to question him as the only other example of independent artificial sentience he has ever met, but Alpha, although speculating that Brainiac abducted him because the villain is lonely, rejects the idea that the two are similar, arguing that Brainiac's actions show a selfishness and an inability to grow where true sentience relies on making oneself open to working with others. After regaining their powers, the Rangers are able to rescue Alpha and force Brainiac into retreat.
In the Adventures of Supergirl comic, which takes place in the universe of the Supergirl TV series, a very different version of Vril Dox appears as a recurring villain. In this series, he is a greedy, green-skinned alien hacker from the planet Yod who was hired by an as-yet-unknown individual to frame Supergirl's ally Winn Schott for funding and aiding terrorism. When Supergirl accesses Winn's computer, he presents himself falsely as an A.I. system called V.R.I.L., and pretends to be a creation of Schott's. He figures out Supergirl's real identity and plans to expose her, then he electrocutes her ally James Olsen from through Winn's computer. Eventually, Vril is tracked down by Supergirl with the aid of Winn and an expert hacker he knew, and Supergirl easily defeated him, after which he was arrested.
Brainiac appears in the second episode of Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles (a companion to Justice League: Gods and Monsters), voiced by Tara Strong. This version is depicted as a contingency plan set by Doctor Sivana to take down Superman. Brainiac is shown to have lost control over his immeasurable psychic powers, creating an energy dome around himself in Metropolis. The effects are shown to take down attack helicopters and send cars flying. As stated by his creator, only a small nuclear warhead could stop him, or Superman. Superman shows up and penetrates the dome, seeing Brainiac for who he is: a crying, blue-skinned child with three diodes on his head, missing his left arm. Despite his attempts to reason with him and talk Brainiac into controlling his powers, Superman reluctantly kills Brainiac with his heat vision to put him out of his misery, much to his regret.