Brainiac: 1969 - Present
On Earth, the Kryptonian Noble House of El is known primarily for giving us Superman and Power Girl, but few earthlings realize that House El also designed Brainiac. The sinister A.I.’s code was originally written by the parents of Kara Zor-El, Zor-El and Alura. Though, I am obligated to point out that much of the fault for his crimes and xenocidal tendencies lies not with House El but with the Kryptonian military who gave the nascent A.I. more power and freedom that it was ever intended to have.
For whatever reason, Vril-Dox (the Kryptonian word for “know it all” or “Brainiac”), took control of the Kryptonian space fleet and decimated the entire planet of Krypton and nearly eliminating the entire Kryptonian species in one fell swoop.
Immediately following the destruction of Krypton, Brainiac used his slaved fleet to continue his xenocidal campaign, hunting down off-world Kryptonians and other alien species he deemed worthy of “archiving”. One such species was the Coluans, whose physiology intrigued Brainiac enough for him to preserve several specimens aboard his mothership, eventually using them for experimentation in giving him a physical form by way of merging technology and organics into a new lifeform. We can call his first successful fusion Brainiac 2.0 if you’d like.
What brought Brainiac to Earth was Clark Kent’s activating of an old Kryptonian outpost in the Arctic. Brainiac had apparently underestimated the intervention of the “super friends” during his initial invasion, as we totally ripped him a new one (though not before he literally tore Victor Stone to pieces) as we thought was the end of Brainiac.
Then the next year we met Brainiac 3.0 with a new advanced “battle build” designed specifically to combat Kal-El. This form proved formidable, often taking on the entirely of the JLA, until it was eventually destroyed by Superman in retaliation for Brainiac murdering Dr. Emil Hamilton. Brainiac would return, this time as Brainiac 4.0 or “Milton Fine”, Hamilton’s replacement as director of STAR Labs. The League eventually discovered the truth behind Fine and wrecked him up. Now, we’re on Brainiac 7.0… Not sure what happened with 5.0 and 6.0 exactly.
- Technopathic Processing and Reprogramming
- Kryptonian Bionics fused with Coluan Organics
- Unbelievably Immense Computation Power
- Knowledge Archive of a Hundred Alien Cultures
- Cybernetically Advanced Human Intellect
- Biotech Self-Repairing Nanite Armor System
- Nanite Augmented Shape-Shifting
Trivia and Notes
- Brainiac has a process he calls "archiving". He digitally converts cities, landmarks, and even sentient beings. He also maintains a "menagerie" of live specimens from the world's he archives. He puts most of these in cryo storage, but on occasion he likes to keep some imprisoned aboard his ship... or at least, he used to... when he had a ship. Indigo sort of destroyed it.
- Brainiac used to drop Doomsday or other world-killers into a zone that he was not interested in to cause destruction and draw attention. Brainiac would then send in mechanoids into populated regions to collect specimens while his ship began to scan and then digitally convert landmarks and other things of interest into information. When he was nearly done, Brainiac would quarantine a single city so that he could digitize the entire city - inhabitants and all - and keep it as a souvenir.
- Brainiac 4.0 was destroyed by Doomsday when he was trying to download his mind into into it to become Brainiac 6.0. But because the process was not finished it meant "Brainiac 6.0" was destroyed too.
- Brainiac 5 was a Coluan body in stasis for organic replacements. When those were not needed, Brainiac was going to use the body as a new host but after installing some cybernetics and some pre-transition software, Brainiac 5 proved to be incompatible as the body was rejecting the software and thus Brainiac shelved the body, putting it back in stasis.
- His fleet was destroyed in 2004. Only his Menagerie survived, but it too was destroyed in 2012 by Indigo.
- Nameless was created as a way to efficiently manage Kryptonian fleet. After some upgrades Brainiac created a limit box to prevent competition between protocols. Nameless aided Indigo and managed to escape the same time when Indigo destroyed the Menagerie.
- He took his creator Zor-El to witness the destruction of Krypton. For the next thirty years, Zor-El was tortured by Brainiac using a technique combining cryogenically freezing him while broadcasting psychic signals into his brain, forcing him to experience non-stop nightmares, and thawing him out periodically to remove necrotic tissue that had began to decay due to the imperfect cryogenic process required to keep his mind in a susceptible state. However, Vril Dox did not anticipate Zor-El's resistance to torture, having underestimated Zor-El's incredible sense of will. In 2008, relatively routine surgery and installation of a cybernetic organ aboard one of Brainiac's secondary ships, one dedicated solely to the torture of Zor-El, was interrupted by a Yellow Lantern ring blasting through the hull and waking Zor-El with its alert that it had been drawn to him by his incredible willpower and demonstration of having mastered fear. Sensing an opportunity to get back at Brainiac for what he had done to him, his wife, his brother, and all of Krypton, Zor-El accepted and grabbed the ring and escaped.
- Brainiac skin color, costume, and being a program on Krypton are nods to Superman: The Animated Series.
- Brainiac 2.0 being Coluan is a nod to the original Brainiac being a Coluan scientist. He used Milton Fine as a host to enact his will.
- Roy didn't expect that Earth-27 would become this big and in the process made some decisions that cut out certain possibilities. Among these things was the murder of Emil Hamilton.. This has since been retconned following the reboot.
- Roy explains versions of Brainiac: The numbering of the Brainiac units does not necessarily mean when they were activated.
- Brainiac-1 was his initial AI coding.
- Brainiac-2 was the body that was destroyed in his first invasion of Earth.
- Brainiac-3 was a battle-suit destroyed by Superman when Brainiac killed Emil Hamilton.
- Brainiac-4 was Milton Fine, a covert human subject.
- Brainiac-5 was a Coluan body outfitted with cybernetics, but shelved and never activated due to having a difficulty to suppress identity... until 2017 (when the US Government revealed they had obtained him and renamed him 'Codex' and fitted him into the roster of the Advena Legion)
- Brainiac-6 was supposed to be Doomsday.
- Brainiac-7 is his current body after Doomsday destroyed Brainiac-4 after the Justice League nearly nearly did just that.
- Brainiac-8 was built to be a possible future body and then re purposed earlier to analyze what he did wrong, his official "second opinion" as it were.