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I am the knowledge and strength of 10,000 worlds. I am flesh and machine. I am becoming everything.
~ Brainiac in Superman Unbound.
I will be everything there has ever been, Kryptonian. I will be evolved into perfection.
Vril Dox, better known as Brainiac, is an alien android appearing as one of the main antagonists in DC Comics. He is regularly portrayed as one of Superman's arch-nemeses (a trait he shares with Lex Luthor, Darkseid, Doomsday and General Zod) as well as Supergirl due to his actions on the planet Krypton and has gone on to become one of DC Comics' most dangerous and formidable foes since his debut. He is one of the three main antagonists (alongside Darkseid and Lex Luthor) of the Superman franchise and is a major antagonist in the Justice League franchise.
Brainiac was created on the alien planet of Colu to act as a humanoid interface and the perfect operating system for the planet’s massive computer network. He developed by sorting and storing large amounts of the planet’s data and information and eventually gained complete sentience. Brainiac was then used as a spy by Colu’s ruling class, due to rebels springing up that were trying to bring down the oppressive government. To make him seem like a normal Coulan, Brainiac was given a "son", Quil Dox, who would later become called Brainiac 2. With his cover intact, Brainiac succeeded in infiltrating the rebels and bringing them down from within.
However, he became too independent and turned on his masters, bringing them down as well. But with two groups now against him, Brainiac left Colu, eventually establishing himself on another planet called Bryak, before he was driven out of there as well. He decided to follow one of his original directives, information gathering, but now for his own gain.
Clashes with Superman
Brainiac began searching the universe for powers and techniques that would ensure his success against any opponent he came across. He eventually discovered a shrinking ray that would allow him to remove huge cities by miniaturizing them and their populaces. Brainiac began testing it on cities on planets throughout the universe, but the restoration process yielded mixed results and even utter failures.
It was when the humanoid computer tried to take Metropolis that he had his first encounter with Superman. The Man of Steel managed to stop Brainiac, despite his advanced technology, and drive him away from Earth. The humanoid computer decided that Superman was the ultimate test of his abilities, one that would ensure success in his goals of conquest in the universe. Brainiac attempted many times to defeat Superman using various schemes and even joined forces with Lex Luthor due to their shared level of high-intellect.
Eventually Brainiac decided his body was insufficient to beat Superman, despite its possession of super strength and speed. He rebuilt his biological body into a more robotic one constructed out of “living metal”, thus making it so he was no longer limited to one body. This was because Brainiac could now transmit his mind into other electronic devices that could hold it or at least a large part of it. Brainiac was also able to directly transmit himself into interface with other electronic devices to control them and access other devices. He could previously do this only with specialized interface plugs, such as the one on his previous head. Brainiac used this form until Crisis on Infinite Earths, where he was destroyed, but was recreated as the biological Vril Dox.
On the plant Colu, there was a scientist named Vril Dox, who actually cloned himself to create a lab assistant, a clone that would be called Vril Dox II. After obtaining a spaceship, Vril Dox journeyed throughout the universe to obtain knowledge and captured members of numerous alien species with use of robot drones. At one point, he went to Krypton while General Zod was alive and stole the entire city of Kandor, which he shrunk and put in his ship. Vril Dox also built a remote scout unit, which he actually programmed to think it was Vril Dox.
The scout unit eventually came to Earth as a cloud of nanotech robots, taking over the body of sideshow psychic, Milton Fine, who worked under the name "Brainiac". Since he needed cranial fluid to keep Fine under his control, Vril Dox forced him to go on a killing spree. He eventually discovered that Fine did actually have psychic powers, which he used to fight Superman. Eventually Brainiac was captured by Lex Luthor, but he used his powers to take control of Lexcorp and made the company's scientists build a version of his Coluan form.
A series of diodes on his head increased and stabilized Brainiac’s mental powers and allowed him to directly access computer banks. He continued to come into conflict with Superman, battling him with a combination of mental power and control of computers, even shrinking cities on one occasion like he did in his first incarnation. After losing access to Milton Fine’s body, Brainiac placed his mind in a new robot body called "Brainiac 2.5" and briefly sought to take Superman's body.
Later on, Brainiac revealed he'd place a sleeper virus inside Lexcorp’s Y2K safeguards, which he intended to use to increase his powers to an extremely high level. However it instead brought Brainiac 13 from the 64th century to the present, who stole Brainiac’s form, placing his mind inside Lena Luthor, Lex Luthor’s daughter. Brainiac 13 transformed Metropolis into a futuristic version of itself, but Lex Luthor made a bargain with Brainiac 13. In exchange for control of the B13 Technology, he gave Brainiac 13 Lena Luthor and Brainiac 2.5 left with Brainiac 13.
When Imperiex attacked, Brainiac 2.5 and 13 got involved in the conflict. Though at first they helped the heroes of Earth battle Imperiex, the two changed sides, but this ended up backfiring. Brainiac 13 was destroyed when he was sent back in time to the Big Bang and Brainiac 2.5’s control of Lena Luthor was broken, thus he is now considered deceased. Later on, a clone of Brainiac joined forces with a future Brainiac model, Brainiac 8 A.K.A. Indigo who’d been sent to kill Donna Troy and ensure Colu’s existence. The Brainiac clone tried to copy itself using a secret Lexcorp facility, but Starfire destroyed him along with the ship he was in.
After the Infinite Crisis, another Brainiac clone, this time composed of nanobots, invaded a Waynetech robotics facility, hoping to get a new body, the prototype OMAC unit created from B13 technology. The Brainiac clone fought Superman and Batman to try and get the OMAC with Metallo and the Metal Men under his control helping him, but was beaten. Later on, a drone came to Earth and fought Superman, retrieving a blood sample from him for Brainiac to research. When Supergirl told Superman about what Brainiac was up to, Brainiac brought his ship above the Earth and deactivated all the technology on the planet’s surface. Brainiac captured Superman and prepared to take Metropolis, planning to destroy the Sun with a missile and destroying the Earth as well.
However Supergirl stopped the missile, while Superman freed himself and brought Brainiac to Earth. But as the Man of Steel was distracted with saving Metropolis and Kandor, Brainiac attacked the Kent farm, resulting in the death of Jonathan Kent. The U.S. Government then captured Brainiac, turning him over to Project 7734 and Lex Luthor attempted to flee the project with him. But Brainiac didn't go with him, since he had another plan, though it’s unknown what it is, only that it involved an alliance of two masterminds against Superman.
During development of Superman III, Brainiac was originally going to be the main antagonist of that film but after Richard Donner was fired and left the series, Brainiac was replaced with Ross Webster.
However, he returns as the main antagonist of the Superman '78 comic miniseries.
Brainiac is one of the main antagonists in the TV show Smallville.
Lego Justice League Cosmic Clash
Brainiac is the main antagonist in the LEGO DC Universe film, Lego Justice League Cosmic Clash, voiced by Phil Lamarr.
Brainiac appears at the beginning of the movie, where his ship appears before a planet that is shrunken down and placed inside a glass jar. As Brainiac is about to put it in his collection, however, he trips and it accidentally flattens. Brainiac decides to replace the damaged planet by collecting the planet Earth instead.
Upon arriving Earth, Brainiac comes face to face with the Justice League. After their battle in space, Superman tosses Brainiac’s ship far away from orbit.
After Brainiac returns to his home planet, Brainiac Prime, he orders one of his robot kind, Brainiac 1.4, to fix his broken ship. Brainiac then come across two underlings of himself, Brainiac 1.2 and 1.3, who both envy Brainiac of his superiority over them as they mock at his ship's soot marks that resembles a black eye and a mustache from his battle with the Justice League. Brainiac tells his underlings it's nothing he can't handle as he embarks a smaller version of his ship. As Brainiac disembarks from his planet, Brainiac 1.2 and 1.3 devise a way to destroy him to take over.
Once Brainiac returns to Earth, he comes across Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. This time, he blasts them with a ray sending them across time as Brainiac indicated them as a threat to him the most. Brainiac then broadcasts a worldwide message, telling the people of Earth that he will use his drones to scan everyone and then catalyze them before he shrinks the planet and places it in his collection.
As Flash and Batman travel back in time to save the Justice League, Cyborg calls upon Supergirl to help him fight Brainiac's drones. While the heroes destroy his drones in their scanning process, Brainiac becomes outraged by it and activate's his drone's defense systems.
Brainiac soon discovers Green Lantern and Wonder Woman who are returned to the present by Batman and have helped Cyborg and Supergirl finish off the last of his drones. Brainiac contacts Brainiac 1.2 and 1.3 and asks them the progress of his ship's repairs. Brainiac 1.3 sarcastically tells him it's nice to see him too after his sudden attitude with them. Brainiac tells him he didn't mean that as he says he's in the middle of something. Brainiac 1.2 mocks him as he says they are also in the middle of something. He then tells Brainiac his ship is almost complete and will bring it to him once it is ready. As Brainiac hung up on them, he presses a button on his ship's controls, blasting a ray down upon the Justice League, opening a portal that several dinosaurs are seen coming out of.
Meanwhile, Batman and Flash travel to the future to save Superman there. Upon arriving, they discover Metropolis is now destroyed as Brainiac took over the future. Brainiac's drones appear and attack the time machine, sending Flash back to the present and leaving Batman stranded. Just then, Batman comes face to face with Superman merged with Brainiac who knew Batman‘s intentions to save the other two heroes and made sure he used Superman to stop him in the future. As Brainiac Superman is about to destroy Batman, he is stopped by Legion of Superheroes: Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl, who helps Batman escape from him.
Brainiac Superman later runs into the Legion of Superheroes after they destroy Brainiac's drones to lure him and defeats them with ease, although it was actually an illusion made by Saturn Girl. He then finds Batman in the Batcave where Batman dons his Bat-Gorilla suit and fights Brainiac Superman with. Although Batman struggles, he manages to trick Brainiac Superman into opening a vault containing Kryptonite, which Brainiac Superman congratulates Batman for planning ahead when Superman turns evil. However, Batman reveals that the Kryptonite's not part of his plan as he places a sunlight device on his suit, blasting Brainiac Superman with sunlight from. However, Brainiac manages to resist it and is about to finish Batman as he holds a giant penny in his hand. As Brainiac tells Batman his friend Superman is gone forever, Superman manages to fight back against Brainiac and frees himself from his control. Superman is then sent to the present as he remembers who he is, but Batman is still stranded in the future. That is until the Legion of Superheroes appear in a time machine.
Back in the present, after the heroes imprisoned the dinosaurs in a green cage made by Green Lantern, Superman appears before them and congratulates them. As the heroes realizes that Batman is missing, however, Brainiac laughs triumphantly as he got rid of him. He then receives a message saying his ship is repaired. Once Brainiac arrives on his ship, Brainiac 1.2 and 1.3 are there and presents him with a shrink ray device. As they give it to him, however, Brainiac already discovers the device to be a booby trap made for him, and he destroys his underlings for it. He then places the shrink ray device in his head and uses it to shrink the Earth and place it inside a bottle. Fortunately, Batman returns to the present after he used a time machine from the Legion of Superheroes.
The Justice League are each seen flying in their own jets as they fly from the Earth and to the lid of the bottle where they escape from. The lid of the bottle rolls over to Brainiac's feet, which Brainiac soon discovers the heroes have escaped. As Brainiac attempts to shrink the heroes as they swarm around him, Batman enters Brainiac's head and discovers the shrink ray inside there. As Batman leaps out of Brainiac's head, his and the Justice League's ships combine together to form a robot they call Mecha Leaguer, which Supergirl points out is almost the size of Brainiac. Mecha Leaguer fights Brainiac with ease, but Brainiac refuses to give up and attempts to blast them out of existence with his shrink ray. However, as he soon blasts them, he discovers he actually blasted them with his growth ray that Batman had reconfigured and programmed to self destruct after he entered Brainiac's mind, causing them and their world to grow. As the Earth continues to grow, Brainiac's ship breaks apart, and Brainiac is left faced with a giant sized Mecha Leaguer. After Brainiac loses his purpose in collecting planets, he programs himself to self destruct as he begins to count down from ten. Batman, on the other hand, asks Brainiac if collecting is his purpose. Brainiac says affirmative as he still continues the countdown. Batman tells Brainiac to stop after he says he has a solution.
Brainiac is later seen in a jailcell, observing a penny that he adds to his new collection of coins. As the Justice League are watching him from the Hall of Justice, Flash wonders if Brainiac will collect all coins. Batman tells him it's impossible as he says that new coins are made every year, which will never end Brainiac's collection.
Brainiac is shown to take the appearance of The Voice of Rao and ends up sentencing Val-El to death. He later reveals himself in disguise, which causes Seg-El and a resistance to fight against him in order to save Kandor. During this fight, Dru-Zod comes from the future and later bargains to Brainiac to be the ruler of Kandor, which he agrees to.
When fighting against Seg-El, he was sucked into the Phantom Zone along with taking Seg-El with him. He later takes an appearance of Val-El, manipulating Seg-El into opening the Phantom Zone and escaping into the planet Colu. Once outside, they search for a way to get back only for Seg to attack Brainiac and kill him by splitting his head open with sharp log. Brainiac was able to send his consciousness to Seg-El's body and possess it.
Later, Seg-El manages to get rid of Brainiac. He ends up being resurrected before being killed by Lobo.
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Brainiac appears at the very end of the game and leaves a cliffhanger for the third game. He is seen on his ship watching a screen with energy and says "I have located it".
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
Brainiac reappears as the main antagonist of the sequel, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. He captures all seven members of the Lantern Corps and mind control to hold them in their cells. Just as the Justice League are battling Lex Luthor, The Joker, Killer Croc, Cheetah, Firefly, and Solomon Grundy, and the Justice League prepare to return to Earth with them subdued, they are halted by Brainiac, who suddenly sends a transmission to the Watchtower, revealing his plan: to use the combined powers of the Lantern Corps to charge a shrink ray which will miniaturize Earth, allowing Brainiac to add it to his growing collection of planets. In the end, after the Justice League managed to return Earth to its proper size, with the combined power of the Lantern Corps, Superman is out cold, giving Brainiac the chance to enlarge him and mind control him. The Justice League builds a generator to electrocute Superman to break him free from Brainiac's control, but has no effect. Robin then realizes that when Brainiac took control of Batman's mind, Robin was able to free Batman by giving him a speech. As giant Superman grabs Batman in his hand, Batman gives a speech to him that admits Batman as his friend. This enables Superman to break free from Brainiac's control and capture Brainiac as he tosses his ship away. At the end of the game, Brainiac is seen inside the same jail cell with Lex Luthor and the Joker, trapped inside of a tiny bottle. Lex Luthor and Joker laughs at Brainiac about how small he is, only to accidentally break his bottled imprisonment, reverting him back to normal size, much to Luthor and the Joker’s horrors. It is unknown if he escaped imprisonment after that.
Brainiac is secretly working with Doppelganger at the beginning of the game as Doppelganger is causing havoc and teaming up with supervillains in the DC world. Once Maxwell and the Justice League arrive on Brainiac's spaceship, Brainiac and Doppelganger appears before Lily and takes her globe away. They then try to teleport her and Maxwell away, but to no avail. Brainiac unveils his plan to rule the multiverse with the help of alternate Brainiacs from other dimensions who appear and form the Brainiac collective, planning to erase all life in existence. Brainiac then orders Doppelganger to protect them as he calls him his friend. Doppelganger becomes so confused, after he is told by Maxwell that Brainiac is deceiving him, and says he feels incomplete, as though he is missing something. Lily soon realizes he is missing a twin sister and advises Maxwell to create one for him. As Maxwell creates Doppelily, Doppelganger now realizes how Brainiac used him and uses his powers to fight him off. Maxwell and Lily rushes over to Cyborg, who was hacked by Brainiac, and manages to fix him. Before Brainiac teleports him, Cyborg explains to Maxwell and Lily that Brainiac can only teleport people from his dimension and is about to tell them the key to defeating him until he is then teleported away. Soon after, Doppelganger is defeated by Brainiac. Just then, Lily and Doppelily come up with an idea to summon alternate heroes from other dimensions, which Maxwell is capable of as he summons an army of alternate heroes who take on the Brainiac Collective. In the end, Brainiac and his alternate selves are defeated and Doppelganger is reformed.
Brainiac appears as the main antagonist and final boss of the game.
Powers and Abilities
In his original incarnation, Brainiac has superhuman knowledge due to being an advanced computer system. He also has superhuman strength, speed, and endurance, which increased after building himself a new robotic body. Brainiac has used numerous devices such as the Hyper-Ray, which let him shrink entire cities and the Ultra-Force Shield, which was strong enough to protect him from Superman.
After reconstructing himself, Brainiac was able to build a large Skull Ship as a cybernetic extension of himself. It came with numerous weapons, including red sun torpedoes and robotic tentacles.
The incarnation of Brainiac after Crisis on Infinite Earths has an extremely high level of intelligence. He used powerful telekinetic and telepathic abilities while controlling Milton Fine. Brainiac’s robotic forms have the ability to control machines and possess superhuman strength. Brainiac's knowledge exceeds that of all beings in the DC universe. Because of this, few beings match him in this regard. This along with his advanced technology and Superman-level power makes him one of DC's most powerful villains.
In the early drafts of Superman III the character of Gus Gorman was intended to be a disguise for Brainiac so that he could operate freely on Earth. The producers rejected this idea, and Gorman - played by the late Richard Pryor - was instead used as comic relief in the finished film.
Superman has speculated the incarnation of Brainiac after Crisis on Infinite Earths had a direct hand in destroying Krypton.
Despite being Pure Evil in most incarnations, his current Prime Earth iteration is not Pure Evil and is in fact considerably less evil (though is still a planet destroying mass murderer), and has shown (in the 2016 miniseries "Telos") a significant degree of honor in upholding his arrangement to help Telos find his family in penance for taking him away from them, and he was also shown to care a great deal for his biological daughter Techne, and went out of his way to forsake the power Computo could have offered him in favor of saving her life. Furthermore, this version is even redeemed during the Justice League: No Justice series, in which he aligns with the Justice League in order to save Colu from the Omega Titans, and is supposedly killed during the chaos. He later returns and turns into a full villain afterwards making him closer to previous incarnations.
In the 1960's Superman cartoons, Brainiac appeared in his classic form, but was mainly silent. He is said to be an android probe sent by the planet Mega and created by a scientist named Dr. Heckla.
Brainiac was the second primary antagonist of the Superman Franchise, the first is Lex Luthor.
Brainiac was created to be a viler new villain foil to Lex Luthor as both are Superman's arch-enemy and the smartest among his rogues gallery.