A Kryptonian colony ship landed on Earth, establishing a small colony in what is today northern Canada, intending to form a colony in a remote location to monitor and study the human population which ancient Kryptonian probes detected to share a common ancestor with Kryptonians. Unfortunately, the Kryptonian colonists became sick due to particles collected on the hull of their ship during their voyage. The majority of the Kryptonian colonists perished and those that did survive the plague were left weak and forced to abandon their ship to suffer the elements.
On November 27th, 1978 Brainiac gains sentience. Since this moment he had one goal - to assimilate all knowledge, archive worlds and destroy the rest. He started with the planet of his creators - Krypton. He believed he succeeded, but two Kryptonians managed to escape his Armageddon - Kara Zor-El and Kal-El. They made their way to the planet Earth. They could have been left alone, if not for an accident. When Kal-El grew up and became a Superman, he discovered an ancient Kryptonian colony ship. By activating it, he has sent a signal to Brainiac. Brainiac immediately set course for Earth.
On December 31st, 2003 Clark Kent proposes to Lois - or attempts to, being interrupted by a transmission from Brainiac intercepted by the Fortress' computer. Brainiac had taken a stadium hostage using drones made from the dead bodies of aliens from dozens of worlds augmented with cybernetic enhancements. Brainiac declared an ultimatum - bring him the one called "Superman" or he would mutilate the players.
Superman contacted his 'super friends', calling for an 'all-hands' emergency. Batman was already in route and Wonder Woman herself was already in the city fighting off other drones which had attempted to seize control of the Pentagon.
A young football player, Victor Stone, decided he had enough and attacked Brainiac. He was outclassed and defeated. When commanded to submit, Victor still refused and so Brainiac used a tentacle to tear out one of Victor's eyes and then he gave the order once more. Victor took a moment to compose himself and fight through the pain before he gave his response in the form of spitting blood in Brainiac's face.
Deciding to demonstrate that his threat was very real, Brainiac used Victor as his example and proceeded to draw and quarter Victor on live television, tearing off both legs at the hip and severing each arm at the elbow. Still, Victor refused to submit and as Brainiac prepared to behead him, a local hero named Triumph rushed Brainiac and used his magnetic powers to rescue Victor and temporarily seize control of the drones. Brainiac however revealed he had one tentacle specifically made from a composite ceramic for just this circumstance and used it to run Triumph through.
As Brainiac then went to finish off Victor, the boy disappeared with the Flash running in and grabbing him. While Brainiac made a futile attempt to grab Flash, Superman flew down like a comet and drilled Brainiac into the earth, using his fists to crush Brainiac's body and tear away pieces of Brainiac's mechanical components. Meanwhile, Black Canary and Green Arrow arrived to occupy the drones, preventing them from harming the escaping citizens or interfering with Superman's dismantling of Brainiac.
With Brainiac forced to upload his memory to his backup drives, the drones were running at reduced functionality. Black Canary, Green Arrow, and Superman then destroyed the remaining drones in the stadium before regrouping with Wonder Woman (who had single-handedly defended the Pentagon) and Batman (who had kamikazed his batplane into a dropship to prevent an assault on National City's new White House). Once regrouped, with Flash joining them after making a run to Central City and back, the Super Friends boarded another drop ship but found it was actually already taken over by a martian who sought to help the heroes protect his adopted home).
On January 2nd, 2004 more drop ships began to rain down on other major cities, J'onn J'onzz strategized that the best course was to destroy the mother ship and proposed that the team board the mother ship using the drop ship he had seized. The heroes did just that and in the process thought they had destroyed Brainiac himself (not realizing his back-ups were actually on a ship known as the Menagerie which he kept far back away from his advance fleet). The heroes begin the process of liberating the few remaining drones from the other invaded cities.
Inspired by the valiant stand of Earth's heroes and realizing they needed to do their own part, but unable to declare their existence to the people of Earth due to Earth's limited technological advancement, Abin Sur and John Stewart intercepted Brainiac's reinforcements upon entering the Sol system. When the fleet refused to surrender, Abin Sur, John Stewart, and two dozen other Lanterns from neighboring systems opened fire, putting an end to Brainiac's the quarter-century long reign of terror.
On January 7th, 2004 the President of the United States declares January 7th to officially mark the United States' victory over the alien menace known as Brainiac and then somberly informs the public that the hero known as Triumph had passed away from his injuries that morning, despite the attempts of the best doctors in the country. In his honor, the president declares that day to be 'Triumph Day' and announces plans to form an alliance of Earth's own secret weapons (metahumans) to defend against any such future threats of such magnitude.
The invasion made heroes realize there are threats even they cannot face alone. They decided to unite and create a new superhero team - Justice League of America.
Many people were inspired by the battle. Super Friends' stand against Brainiac inspired Augustus Freeman to become a hero. Alex Parker dropped his studies and enlisted into military. Victor Stone was saved by the STAR Labs scientists and became a Cyborg.
As a condition set by the newly formed JLA to prevent the people of Earth from spiraling into dangerous uses of unknown technology, STAR Labs is given sole rights to the Brainiac tech which has not already been salvaged. The technology developed by STAR Labs will be released to the public slowly over time, as determined by an independent commission comprised of leading experts, senators, congressmen, and representatives of the JLA.
Due to damage to his processors affecting his coding, Brainiac develops the capacity to finally understand the concept of 'hate', choosing Superman as its target. Brainiac thus becomes fixated on not only killing Superman, but completely ruining Superman's life, determined to only release Superman from the burden of life when Superman begs for death.
Trivia and Notes
- Guardians of the Universe voted 5 to 2 to not help Earth with the invasion.
- The attack wasn't a total surprise. Kismet appeared to J'onn J'onzz and warned him about impending invasion.
- Ralph and Sue Dibny saw the beginning of the invasion on TV.
- Captain Atom was supposed to be deployed, but couldn't due to military bureaucracy.
- Destruction and death caused by Brainiac caused the Lux Beata cult to commit a mass suicide. Only Alyce Sinner survived.
- Roy originally intended for Despero to be the first threat to unite the members of the Justice League.