Brainiac was the planet-wide supercomputer of Krypton. He doomed the planet to save his own programming and continued on his conquest to find more knowledge, later becoming one of Superman's greatest enemies.
While Jor-El was working one day, Brainiac appeared on a nearby screen and demanded his collected data, forcing Jor-El to angrily comply. Jor-El reported the findings to Krypton's ruling council, insisting that the planet would soon explode. The council turned to Brainiac for his judgement, who dismissed Jor-El's findings and explained that Krypton was only undergoing a temporary orbital shift. Jor-El warned the council that their blind dependence on a supposedly omniscient central computer would doom them all, but the council was openly outraged when they heard his rescue plan: to send the entire population into the Phantom Zone, a penal dimension housing vicious criminals and creatures, and then release them on a different planet. In spite of Brainiac's assertions to the contrary, Jor-El still believed that Krypton was doomed. Acting on this, Jor-El broke into Brainiac's central unit and discovered that Brainiac had lied so that it could secretly download itself into a satellite and escape the planet's destruction, rather than be ordered to waste time preparing an evacuation plan. According to his programming, the survival of Krypton's knowledge was more important than that of its people. It sensed the imminent destruction of the planet, but rather than warn others, it chose to save itself and the collected records of Krypton. In its mind, as long as the records of Krypton existed, the loss of the planet itself and all its living inhabitants was acceptable. It also knew that if word of Krypton's impending doom escaped, it would be forced to calculate a way to stop this, which Brainiac knew to be impossible as it wouldn't have time to save all of Krypton's history and would only distract it from the more essential task of saving Krypton's records. Jor-El was tempted to destroy Brainiac then and there, but Brainiac convinced the scientists to hold back, reminding Jor-El that, without Brainiac, the planet's legacy would be erased forever. Jor-El's hesitation allowed Brainiac to summon a squad of security guards, advising them to use deadly force against Jor-El who narrowly managed to evade them and return home. Before Krypton exploded, Brainiac uploaded its core program and all of the collected data to an artificial satellite.
Years later, it was discovered by an alien spacecraft which Brainiac then hijacked, killing the crew of the ship. It began to explore the universe. Each time it came to an inhabited world, it would upload all the knowledge it could from that world then destroy it, decreasing the number of beings that have access to the knowledge made it that much more valuable, and destroying the planets ensured no new information would be created. Along with raw data, it also assimilated whatever useful technology it could find, improving itself with every world it visited.
Arriving on Earth
Brainiac eventually made its way to Earth under the pretense of a peaceful exchange of knowledge with LexCorp. He revealed that he was another survivor of Krypton, getting the attention of Superman. But through the information from the cultures that Brainiac destroyed, Superman concluded that Brainiac would do the same to Earth and destroyed his ship with the help of Lex Luthor. Although Brainiac was believed to have been destroyed, the data that Brainiac had downloaded into LexCorp's computers was not alien knowledge but a copy of Brainiac's programming.
One copy used LexCorp's automatons to construct a new body. However, since the automatons were not advanced enough to perfectly fine-tune the body, Brainiac tricked Luthor into entering the room, requiring Luthor's hands. Luthor was locked in and forced to complete Brainiac's body. Luthor knew that once Brainiac was done, he would kill Luthor and refused to continue when the supercomputer's body was in the final stages. However, his body was developed enough that Brainiac was able to enter it and finish building itself. Brainiac fired a blast at point blank range at Luthor that failed to kill LexCorp's CEO. Superman was able to defeat this copy by magnetizing it so that the attracted metal would completely overwhelm him. The body was taken into LexCorp's possession.
After LexCorp formed a partnership with Wayne Enterprises, another copy built a new body and was able to control Bruce Wayne through nanotechnological machines implanted in an office phone which entered the ear to infect Wayne Enterprises' CEO's brain. When crime in Gotham City increased, Superman and Robin eventually deduced that Wayne was under Brainiac's control and that it sought to use Wayne Enterprises' technology to leave Earth. While it was able to launch its ship, Superman managed to destroy the ship and its passenger.
Somehow surviving, the robotic villain succeeded in escaping into space. In his new journey throughout the cosmos, Brainiac found his way to Apokolips. His timing couldn't have been worse as Darkseid was facing a considerable military disadvantage following the feud with New Genesis. So before Brainiac could absorb his planet, Darkseid proposed a bargain that could satisfy both parties: Darkseid would capture Superman for Brainiac and Apokolips would be spared in exchange. Brainiac accepted and both forces engaged in a fake battle to convince the Justice League that they were in fact on opposite sides. Brainiac allowed them to believe that they succeeded in deflecting his invasion and then retreated. This was, however, a tactic to lure the League into his headquarters — a giant asteroid shaped in his likeness.
Inside, Brainiac renewed his offer to Superman to join him in carrying on the legacy of Krypton which the Man of Steel promptly rejected. Upon this, Brainiac summoned an army of replicas and fought the Leaguers. After Darkseid boom tubed inside the ship and subdued Hawkgirl and J'onn J'onnz with just a few blasts, the allied villains combined their powers to overwhelm Superman and Brainiac took his nemesis into his headquarters' central core. There, he explained to Darkseid that he had finally reached the limits of his programmed functions after years of data gathering and needed to evolve to the next level, but he needed to extract living DNA from the last Kryptonian, thus becoming a true life form. But when Brainiac let his guard down during the procedure, Darkseid took the opportunity to hack into its control circuits and took over Brainiac. In spite of being self-aware, Brainiac was compelled to obey Darkseid and so he fought off the League. [[Bruce Wayne (DCAU) |Batman]] managed to disrupt Brainiac's program, setting off a chain reaction that culminated in the obliteration of the asteroid headquarters. Both Brainiac and Darkseid were destroyed. All that was left of him was a piece of alien metal which the League took into custody and kept in stasis aboard the Watchtower.
When a cosmic anomaly struck the Watchtower and caused a power failure, Brainiac was able to escape and began taking over the Watchtower's computers. Static was tapped to help recharge the generators. After sending the Justice League members off with a fake distress call, Brainiac attempted to eliminate Static and Gear so he could then transform the Watchtower into his new body and proceed with his plans of collecting the data on Earth and destroying the planet. Fortunately, while the League did battle with the Watchtower's defenses outside and Gear overloaded the computer by downloading music into it, Static was able to drain the core of the Watchtower and seemingly deactivated Brainiac. But Brainiac managed to download itself into Gear's Backpack droid and later turned Richie Foley into a cyborg under its control. Brainiac proceeded to use Richie's hands and technological skills to build a warship and to take over the League one by one with small implants. However, Static's electrical powers shorted out his control disk and he soon freed the League as well. Meanwhile, Richie attempted to fight back and tell his friend the means by which to defeat the rogue program: Backpack's remote control had an off switch. Static eventually discovered it and was able to stop Brainiac's scheme at the source, saving Earth.
The Brainiac/Luthor Team
Unknown to anyone, Brainiac's point-blank blast years prior wasn't intend to kill Lex Luthor, but instead placed a nanotech copy of his program inside the billionaire's body. Since then, Brainiac had lain dormant, subtly influencing Lex's actions and protecting and improving his host's body ― giving super-strength and curing the Kryptonite induced cancer. During the chaos of the Cadmus Crisis, Brainiac's ultimate goal consisted of having Lex build a super-powered android body based on Amazo and finally transferring himself into it. But after Amanda Waller destroyed the android, and the core Justice League members confronted Lex, Brainiac was forced to emerge from within his human host's body.
With full control of Lex's body, Brainiac engaged them and attempted to digitize their inner selves, but was foiled by J'onn J'onzz. So Brainiac had Lex summon a giant spaceship that kept the League occupied, allowing them to flee. Brainiac intended to pursue the fulfillment of its program: recording information and destroying the original. However, seeing how shortsighted Brainiac was, Lex offered it a purpose beyond that of its limited programming, and proposed to combine Brainiac's vast information and resources with his own imagination. They broke into Cadmus and assimilated the Dark Heart technology into their database. This way, they could control the nano-assemblers into converting any raw material into whatever they wished. Given its failed liaison with Darkseid, Brainiac didn't fully trust Lex, so they agreed to completely merge into one single being using the nanotech. Now one being, Brainiac/Luthor set off to build a machine that would absorb the information of the entire Earth then the galaxy (Brainiac's goal) and finally reshape the universe to their will (Lex's goal). When the seven founding League members stepped in, Brainiac created nanotech duplicates of himself to hold them off, but Lex decided they could do better than that and had the android replicas morph into the Justice Lords. Even though the League overpowered their android counterparts and destroyed the absorption machine, Brainiac/Luthor managed to subdue them. When 'they' decided to kill the Flash due to believing it would cause events similar to that of the Justice Lords' universe, Flash managed to break free and ran away. Brainiac/Luthor then attempted to reassemble his absorption apparatus but was attacked by Flash tapping into the full power of the Speed Force, and physically dismantled Brainiac from Lex.
After the defeat, all that was left of Brainiac was a small piece of its body, which came into Grodd's possession. Luthor himself continued to speak to Brainiac's consciousness, apparently still existing within Luthor's mind. Brainiac apparently enjoyed the brief time they were merged together. After breaking out of prison, Luthor was picked up by Grodd's Legion of Doom and convinced to join with the promise of getting his hands on Brainiac's fragment with which he could reconstruct and re-merge with it.
After usurping the Legion's leadership from Grodd, Luthor remained unable to unlock Brainiac's fragment for some reason, until Tala located the quadrant of the universe where Brainiac and Darkseid had been destroyed. In a last attempt, Luthor used Tala's mystical properties to reconstitute Brainiac from the debris, but unwittingly resurrected Darkseid, reformed with Brainiac's extensive technology integrated into the dark lord's person. When the surviving Legion members returned to Earth and allied with the expanded Justice League to stop Darkseid's attack on Earth, Luthor claimed to no longer be able to hear Brainiac inside his head.
The 30th Century
Some time before 2979, Brainiac learned how to pass its code down biologically, eventually resulting in Brainiac 5. In 2979, Brainiac opposed the Legion of Superheroes and traveled back to the past to destroy a teenage Clark Kent before the youth would become Superman. Thanks in part to Cosmic Boy, Chameleon Boy and Saturn Girl, Clark defeated Brainiac and teleported him into the Sun, where he was incinerated.
- 12th-level intellect: Just like a computer can store data in its memory, Brainiac possesses a superior intellect, on the order of a 12th-level intellect. It could record all knowledge from a planet.
- Possession: Brainiac is difficult to destroy as it could also transfer its programming into another computer or living beings such as Lex Luthor through nanotechnology.
- Android Body: Brainiac has built countless bodies to provide different advantages depending on the situation. Whether it be a human for hiding, a computer for digitizing or a ship for transport and combat. Examples of some abilities it built into these bodies include:
- Superhuman Strength
- Superhuman Durability
- Elasticity: Specifically the ability to project metallic telescoping tendrils.
- Energy Projection: The tendrils can channel electricity through them.
- Energy Absorption: Brainiac can steal life forms data directly from their bodies.
- Technopathy: Brainiac can absorb and utilize technological equipment, specifically nanotechnology of alien origins.
- This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the DC Animated Universe and is an adaptation of Brainiac. The original character was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino and first appeared in Action Comics #242.
- Brainiac was voiced by Corey Burton, often with post-processing to sound more mechanical. Burton reprised his role in all of Brainiac's DCAU appearances, but his recordings were oddly pitched down for his appearances in Static Shock, resulting in a deeper, more menacing voice.
- When the Brainiac of New Earth breached the Source Wall and was flung through every universe and timeline which had ever existed, he began to absorb every incarnation of himself present in these alternate realities, including this version of Brainiac. As such, the DCAU Brainiac became a part of the godlike "composite" Brainiac, who indirectly caused the Convergence and ultimately restored the Multiverse to an infinite plethora of worlds by changing the end result of the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- 39 Appearances of Brainiac (DCAU)
- 2 Images featuring Brainiac (DCAU)
- 1 Quotations by or about Brainiac (DCAU)
- Character Gallery: Brainiac (DCAU)
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