Related Videos

Supervillain Origins: Brainiac

VO: Dan
He is one Superman’s greatest foes, and over the years there have been several incarnations through reboots and retcons. In the original incarnation, this brainy maniac was introduced as an alien named Vril Dox from the planet Colu. First shrinking Earth's cities, he was foiled, before Lex Luthor discovered that he was in fact a machine, and partnered with him to take on Superman. Join as we explore the comic book origins of Brainiac.

You must register to a corporate account to download this video. Please login


Supervillain Origins: Brainiac

This robot is one of superman’s oldest and most intelligent foes. Welcome to, and today we will explore the comic book origins of Brainiac.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginings and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline that unfolded in 1958’s Action Comics #242 and was expanded upon in 1964’s Superman #167 and 1983’s Action Comics #545 and #546.

One of the greatest of Superman’s foes, there has been several incarnations of this foe through reboots and retcons. In the original incarnation, this brainy maniac was introduced as an alien named Vril Dox from the planet Colu.

Brainiac made his debut when Lois Lane and Clark Kent had taken a flight into space to report on the army’s latest rocket ship. Once in orbit, they came across his hostile flying saucer.

With Clark using his powers to probe the ship, he saw and overheard the green alien talking to itself. The alien wondered out loud if the humans had launched the rocket to stop his upcoming attack on the Earth.

Unable to act without revealing his true identity, Clark put on a space suit and fled the ship, leaving Lois to think he cowardly abandoned ship to float back to Earth.

Using an asteroid for cover, Clark took on his Superman identity and flew to capture the alien, only to be stopped by the ship’s force field barrier. Un-phased, the alien began shrinking entire cities and placing them in jars to fill out his collection.

After helping Lois’ rocket return to Earth safely, all Superman could do was use his X-ray vision to watch the alien work. Hoping that he could defeated him when he exited his ship, Superman waited for Brainiac to leave earth and stretch his muscles on a nearby asteroid while his ship recharged. However, when Superman made his move, it was revealed that Brainiac wore a personal shield as well that protected him while he was outside his ship.

Defeated and arriving back on Earth to protect his alibi, Superman was soon shrunk and abducted with metropolis. With Brainiac finished his invasion, he went to sleep while his ship’s autopilot took him home with his new prizes. With Brainiac asleep, Superman flew up and uncorked the bottle, discovering a miniature Kryptonian city that had been abducted as well.

Entering the Kryptonian bottle and losing his powers, Superman met a scientist who had learned the secret of how to restore the cities by studying Brainiac’s computers through a telescope. Using a rocketship, Superman flew up and used the computer panel to transport and restore himself and all of the Earth cities back to normal.

In an issue published several years later in 1964, Lex Luthor used his Time-Space-Thought-Scanner to locate the greatest intelligence in the universe to help him defeat the man of steel.

The result of the universe probing was to witness Brainiac’s history on a planet where genius aliens created machines even more intelligent than themselves that eventually rebelled against their creators. This revealed that Brainiac wasn’t an alien at all, but a machine built to spy on other worlds by abducting their shrunken cities.

Lex also discovered that Superman had captured Brainiac, caging him off world. Building a spaceship with the information gleaned, Lex rescued Brainiac and the two joined forces, with Lex upgrading the robot’s brain with intelligence of the twelfth degree. Despite their combined brilliance, Superman still managed to find a way to foil their plans.

In 1983, Brainiac was reborn as the “New Brainiac”, ditching his humanoid disguise and taking on a fully robotic form. He even piloted a ship that closely resembled his new look, and led an army of aliens in with the final goal of total universal domination and the demise of the Man of Steel.

In the years that followed, Brainiac continually returned to cause problems from the inhabitants of earth. He eventually re-adopted his organic look and spawned descendants. He eventually made appearances across various media, becoming one of Superman’s most dangerous adversaries.

Are you a fan of the supervillain possessing intelligence to the twelfth degree? For more in-depth comic book origins, be sure to subscribe to

Sign in to access this feature

Related Blogs