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Legion of Doom Team Member

Real name: Vril Dox
Species: Android (body)
Coluan (mental patterns)
Homeworld: Colu (aka Mega)
Universe: Earth-One
Hair: None
Eyes: Red
Relatives: Hecla (father)[1]
Vril Dox (son)
Brainiac 3 (grandson)
Brainiac 4 (great grandson)
Brainiac 5 (great-great grandson)
Base: Hall of Doom
Skull Ship
Affiliations: A.P.E.
Legion of Doom
Rogue of: Superman
Abilities: Tenth-Level Intelligence
Superhuman Strength
Generate Ultra ForceShield
Become Invisible
Weaponry: Proton Shrinker
Voiced/Played: Season 3: Ted Cassidy
1983 Shorts: Stan Ross
Seasons 8 & 9: Stan Ross
Brainiac Gallery

Brainiac after his transformation.

Filmation's Version

Brainiac is an android from the planet Colu. He is one of Superman's worst foes. By the mid 1970’s he had become an active member of Lex Luthor’s Legion of Doom. He originally appeared as a male humanoid, with typical Coluan green skin. He was equipped with highly advanced artificial constructs and cybernetic components. The most obvious of which, was his mental computer input nodes that encircled his head.

Background Information

In the parallel universe of Earth-One, on the distant planet of Colu (not given in this story),[2] brilliant scientist had created completely computerized system with tenth-order intellect (as opposed to Coluans'[3] who possessed a sixth-level Intelligence) to run most mundane aspects of their society. In time, this system developed its own sentience and took over society by force. This complex network became known to their people as the Computer Tyrants. These self-imposed overlords had an ambitious plan to expand their rule to the rest of the universe, by creating a sophisticated android spy (with humanoid appearance) they called ‘Brainiac’.[4] They armed him with a powerful force field and shrinking ray. The Computer Tyrants debated over the issue of Brainiac’s computer mind – whether it should possess a twelfth-level or tenth-level computer brain. Out of fear, they made him the same intelligence. To complete the creation, they needed to give him human mannerism, so they integrated a dying Coluan scientists mental pattern into Brainiac. To further their devious scheme, the Computer Tyrants chose a Coluan boy named Vril Dox (name was not given in this story) to masquerade as Brainiac's biological son. They renamed the boy "Brainiac II" and tattooed the name on the boy's palm. The boy however fled from Colu rather than aid Brainiac, leaving the android to continue his mission alone.[5] One (retconned) account has the boy with Brainiac on a mission or two, before he steals tech and leads a revolt on Colu against the computer masters.[6]

NOTE: According to Filmation continuity, Brainiac is an electronic computer in human form from the planet Mega (not Colu), who was created by Doctor Hecla who was also from Mega. Brianiac has built-in circuitry that can envelope him in a shield of force or turn him invisible.[7]

Brainiac’s mission over the years became more than spying on alien civilizations for analysis and evaluation. He was sent out to steal entire cities by miniaturizing them with the intent of repopulating his home planet, because Brainiacs (unnamed) home planet’s population had been wiped out by a plague (perhaps to be ruled by Computer Tyrants). One early target, before the destruction of Krypton, was the great Kryptonian city and the planet's capital, Kandor.[8]

Over the years, on one unknown planet, Brainiac found a primitive monkey-like alien animal he named Komo, which became his pet.[9]

Brainiac eventually came to Earth to find cities for his collection. He is successful in stealing Rome and other significant urban and cultural centers. Superman was unable to do anything to stop him because his ship was protected by Brainiac’s "ultra-force barrier". As Brainiac begins to take Metropolis, Superman flies inside. After he shrinks Metropolis and adds it to his collection, Brainiac lays down to apparently recharge. Aboard Brainiac's ship, Superman finds Brainiac’s collection of stolen cities. Superman finds one bottle without its stopper and flies inside. Surprisingly, the city inside the bottle is Kandor! Superman As Brainiac sleeps, Superman takes control of Brainiac's Hyper-Ray and restores all of Earth's cities back to their normal size and geographic location. With only enough power in the Hyper-Ray to re-size either himself or Kandor, Superman restores himself and takes Kandor with him, giving it refuge in his Fortress of Solitude.[10]

Angered by Superman, Brainiac decides to head back to earth and attack him by blasting him with a combination of Green and Red Kryptonite. Over the course of their battle, Superman released a burst of heat-vision disintegrating the Ultra-Force shield and deliver a knock-out punch to Brainiac. Apparently, the combination of the two Kryptonite’s altered Superman’s power.[11] After another exile and battle by the two, Brainiac is defeated and turned over to the intergalactic police.[12]

After a few years, Brainiac broke free, but Superman caught the menace and had him imprisoned on the planet Kronis. After breaking out of prison himself, Luthor was able to use a device of his making that he called a time-space thought scanner he used from secret hideout outside of Metropolis. With this device, he was able to pear into the past and see that Brainiac was actually a ‘programmable’ computer android from Colu. He also was able to fast-forward to the present and determine Brainiac’s current location. Luthor was able to use a ship, he created with his brilliant mind and fly to Kronis to release Brainiac. He promised to upgrade Brainiac’s computer mind from a tenth-level intellect from a tenth-level intellect to a twelfth-level intellect, provided Brainiac swear allegiance to Luthor in his crusade to defeat Superman. Brainiac agreed, but of course Luthor built in a fail-self that would kill Brainiac should he go back on his word.[13]

According to Filmation continuity, the Big Top Circus is in Metropolis. Superman is on hand as an added attraction and Lois Lane is reporting for the 5 o’clock news later that day. It turns out that Brainiac is their too, shrinking down the animals for his menagerie. He's collecting animals to re-populate Mega after the atomic wars devastated the planet (perhaps connected to the great plague mentioned above). Brainiac’s built-in Force Shield protects him from Superman’s attack, long enough for him to shrink the two down in size and bring them to his ship. Retaining his X-Ray Vision, Superman sees that Brainiacs’ brain is just advances circuitry. Superman tells Lois to turn her portable transmitter to its highest frequency, which renders Brainiac inoperative. As Superman tries to shrink Brainiac, he turns invisible and escapes. As Superman takes Lois away from the ship for safety, it explodes.[14] A short time later, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are on their way back to Metropolis when Brainiac shows up to shrink the pair for his collection. Jimmy uses his ‘signal watch’ to call Superman for help. Superman is unable to get to Brainiac because of his Force Shield and is shrunken down to the size of an Ant. Realizing that Brainiac’s Force Shield does not reach under his feet, Superman flies up under the Force Shield and uses his heat vision to render the electronic man inoperative. Superman destroys the ray gun, but could not do the same with Brainiac’s ship as it has disappeared, presumably along with Brainiac.[15] During this time, Brainiac decides to stay on earth for a while and joined a short-lived, team of villains led by Lex Luthor, called A.P.E.[16]

Brainiac began to focus his efforts and resources towards the downfall of Superman. To that end, Brainiac would team up over the next twenty years with other members of Superman's rogues' gallery on a regular basis, including (but not limited to): the Superman Revenge Squad (a coalition of aliens originally from the planet Wexr II), the Marauder,[17] Grax,[18] Genia (a humanoid female computer-being Brainiac created),[19] the so-called Anti-Justice League (led by Queen Bee),[20] the Legion of Super-Villains (from the 31st century),[21] earth villain, Clayface,[22] (future fellow Legion of Doom member), the Toyman,[23] and naturally, Lex Luthor.[24]

According to Earth-1A continuity, by the mid to late 70’s Brainiac had become a member Luthor’s Legion of Doom. Together with eleven others, they caused trouble for the Justice League and the SuperFriends for several years.[25]

According to Earth-1A continuity, in 1983, off the cast of the Hawaiian Islands, Aquaman saves a group of surfers from a shark. As Aquaman sends the beast on his way, his hand is scratched by its fin. Meanwhile, in the Andes Mountains in South America, part-time SuperFriend, El Dorado saves a couple of mountain climbers from a hawk who is trying to tear through their ropes. In the process, El Dorado receives a nice scratch on his arm. Later, at a mysterious island in the Pacific, the hawk enters the secret lair of Brainiac. He is using the DNA samples of both Aquaman and El Dorado to create clones to aid in the defeat of the SuperFriends, by having the people turn against them by committing crimes. El Dorado cleverly pretends to be invisible and is able to escape and capture Brainiac.[26]

Brianiac Reborn

Brainiac explaining his Upgrade.

After being trapped inside the core of the prison planet while its sun Epsilon 4 goes supernova, Brainiac’s body begins to lose physical cohesion. His consciousness becomes a data stream that travels across the galaxy absorbing massive amounts of information. His consciousness eventually returns to the prison world where it interfaces with the planet's computer systems. A new body is formed to house Brainiac's conscious. Brianiac is reborn! He is now completely composed of "living metal" in a robotic form. His first act is to construct for himself a powerful starship in the shape of a giant skull. He will use this ship to take over the universe. Interfacing directly with the ship, Brainiac decides to begin his campaign against the Master Programmer on a planet whose natives had Superman's protection. Brainiac begins turning its population into his personal slave force. A survivor of Brainiac's carnage survived barely long enough to reach the Fortress of Solitude and inform Superman of the massacre. Meanwhile, Brainiac has mobilized the planet's armies and armadas into the prototype for his intergalactic army. Superman arrived just in time to become incapacitated by a red-sun radiation missile, rendering him powerless, after which Brainiac took Superman captive and subjected him to some manner of tests.[27] Brainiac eventually turns his hordes toward Earth. Superman is able to escape and call upon the Justice League and the New Teen Titans to help him repel their attack. Superman drove Brainiac off in his new ship into the depths of space by simulating sunspot activity that almost crippled his electronics.[28]

About a year later (according to Earth-1A continuity), Brainiac turns up in space summoning Darkseid to aid him in giving life to the robots of Superman and Wonder Woman he had built. He needs the power from Darkseid’s ‘omega beams’. Together, they successfully captured the Superfriends with the robots but Darksied wanted Wonder Woman himself. Brainiac wouldn't allow it so Darkseid attacked him. During the battle the Superfriends escaped.[29]

According to Earth-1A continuity, Brainiac returns a few months later to take over a small mining town called Buzzard's Roost, by hypnotizing everybody there. He planned on using them to help repair his Skull Ship but in the end he was defeated by the Superfriends.[30]

According to Earth-1A continuity, about a year later, Brainiac successfully kidnapped Cyborg and telepathically placed his mind into a giant robot. Superman and Firestorm soon arrive at Brainiac's ship, stop him and free Cyborg. However, Brainiac was able to escape. .[31]

Crisis on Infinite Earths

When the Crisis on Infinite Earths occurred, Brainiac sensed the extent of the disarray in the Multiverse and summoned his old acquaintance Lex Luthor to make him a most tempting proposition: generalship of an army consisting of villains from across numerous alternate worlds. The plan: to swoop in and finish off the heroes whilst they were weak from battle. After the Anti-Monitor destroyed almost the entire Multiverse, except for Earth-One, Earth-Two, Earth-Four, Earth-S, and Earth-X, he was temporarily thwarted by the noble sacrifices of the Flash of Earth-One and Supergirl of Earth-One, and the Monitor, who managed to put a delay in the Anti-Monitor's timetable and placed the five surviving worlds in an alternate dimension where they would be temporarily safe. It was then that Brainiac and Luthor made their move, unleashing their legions of evil-doers from the five surviving worlds upon the heroes in a bid to become the absolute rulers of all that remained of the Multiverse. Psimon and the Luthor of Earth-Two rebelled against Brainiac and the Earth-One Luthor's leadership, plotting to take over the over the united villains. Psimon destroys Brainiac and as he turns his attention towards Lex Luthor, Brainiac, who's consciousness has been downloaded into the circuitry of his ship, instantly forges a new body for himself and blasts the top off of Psimon's crown with a beam of energy. Meanwhile, the Anti-Monitor resumes his plan at the dawn of time. Spectre and the Multiverse's heroes were sent back to the dawn of time to fight the Anti-Monitor. Unfortunately, they failed in their task and the five remaining worlds were instead reborn at the moment of the Big Bang as a New Earth with a history that was essentially a composite of all its predecessors (using Earth-One as a template). This ‘reset’ wiping all memory of a Multiverse from everybody's minds, except those who were personally there at the dawn of time when the reset happened. As such, Brainiac's memories of the Crisis and the villain army he had amassed were all erased from his databanks. Nevertheless, the Legion of Super-Heroes (from Earth-Ones future) convinced Brainiac that something did happen and to aid them in the coming final battle against the Anti-Monitor for the sake of the universe. Conceding that he would be unable to match the might of a being like the Anti-Monitor, Brainiac brought them instead to Apokolips and the court of Darkseid. Darkseid's assistance (given pragmatically to secure his own future) proved instrumental in bringing about the fall of the Anti-Monitor.[32]

Shortly after the Crisis, on the New Earth, the menace of Brainiac was defeated once and for all by the Omega Men in an undocumented confrontation.[33]

Powers and Abilities

  • Unique Physiology: Upon his recreation as a post-lifeform, Brainiac became a bodiless intelligence. In that state, Brainiac could perpetuate his consciousness through energy form, mechanical vessels,[34] and even transition between the two modes, enabling him to recreate his physical bodies from free energy even after they are destroyed.[35]
  • Intangibility
  • Superhuman Intellect
  • Superhuman Strength: Due to his artificial body, he possessed superhuman strength and endurance. His later Robotic form had far more strength and endurance than his biological-simulation body.
  • Superhuman Durability: He's not at the level of durability that Superman is, as he has had a hole punched through his robotic body before. Nevertheless, he is incredibly tough and most people can't hurt him if they tried.
  • Force Field: According to Filmation continuity, his intricate circuits and envelope him in a shield of force. This shield is unbreakable, even by Superman.[36]
  • Invisibility: According to Filmation continuity, his intricate circuits provides a built-in cloaking device.[37]
  • Mind Control: He has the technology to control people's minds, as he demonstrated in the town of Buzzard's Roost.
  • Technopathy
  • Energy Projection
  • Lie Detection [38]
  • Psychokinesis [39]
  • Genius-Level Intellect: Originally 10th-level intellect like the Computer Tyrants. Later upgraded by Lex Luthor to a 12th-level intellect, like his 30th-century "descendant" Brainiac 5.
  • Eidetic Memory
  • Science: He has an understanding of pretty much all things scientific.
  • Robotic Engineering: He has built many bodies for himself, the first one built by his original creator, Hecla (according to Filmation). He has also built a number of robots to destroy the JLA.
  • Computer Engineering: Brainiac, being a computer himself, is the king of computer systems.
  • Indomitable Will: Brainiac never seems to give up trying to kill the Super Friends, despite the fact that he always loses. He always manages to confidently be certain that on his next conflict, he will win against the Super Friends...despite the fact that the odds are never in his favor.
  • Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Brainiac has a mastery of every martial art in the known universe.[40]


  • Technological Reliability: Brainiac is reliant upon the working order of his internal mechanics in order to function in any meaningful capacity. Notable occasions when this weakness has been exploited include: When Brainiac's inability to comprehend Superman's enhanced strength levels made him suffer a crippling internal computational error[41]; and after Brainiac's rebirth, when simulated sunspot activity caused electronics failure in Brainiac and throughout his Skull Ship, forcing them to tap into backup power reserves in order to escape.[42]
  • Delusions: After his rebirth, Brainiac oriented all activities towards the conquest of a supremely powerful "Master Programmer" and held the conviction that Superman was divinely appointed to be his personal "angel of death." This was due to a series of bizarre visions gleaned by Brainiac through the mind's eye while his consciousness inhabited an organic supercomputer on an alien world. This kind of all-consuming "fear of God" is oddly illogical considering that Brainiac is emotionless and a coldly rational being.[43]



Many offensive and defensive devices used in his plans of conquest:

  • Hyper-Ray / Proton shrinker: A size-reduction ray used in the capture and bottling of cities.
  • Ultra ForceShield: A virtually impenetrable force-field that Brainiac boasted could even resist the force of colliding with the Earth itself. Projected by Brainiac's various models of starship, as well as by a personalized force-field belt, the Ultra-Force Shield could even withstand Superman's mightiest blows under normal conditions. The force-field belt was inherited down the line by Brainiac 5, member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.


Brainiac small ship.png

  • Jet Boots: Brainiac used jet boots to fly under his own power.

Various interstellar transport ships

  • Brainiac's ship
  • Skull Ship: A mighty world-razing death machine, built in the image of the "new" Brainiac. It was equipped with massive tentacles, an force-field projector, truly deadly laser weapons systems, red-sun radiation missiles, and a teleportation beam.



  • Brainiac first appeared in Action Comics, #242 (July 1958).[44]
  • He was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino.
  • In Filmation’s The New Adventures of Superman version of Brainiac, he appears in a medium outside of the comic books at that time. This version of Brainiac was created by writer Oscar Bensol. Later stories revealed the character's name to be Vril Dox.
  • On the parallel-universe of Earth-One, Brainiac went through at least two incarnations:
    • In his first Silver Age-incarnation, Brainiac was a bald, green-skinned humanoid who arrived on Earth and shrinking various cities, including Metropolis, then storing them in bottles with the intent of using them to restore Bryak, the planet he ruled. He protects himself from Superman using an ultra-force barrier, not even Superman can break through it.[45]
    • In his second Silver Age-incarnation, Brainiac was created on the distant planet of Colu as the humanoid interface for a massive computer network, Brainiac was created as a perfect operating system that began developing by cataloging and storing massive amounts of data and information of the planet. Gaining functional sentience, Brainiac was processed into a functional spy for the ruling class of Colu who were being assaulted by rebels who sought to overturn the repressive government.[46][47] It was this version of Brainiac that first appeared with a distinctive grid work of red-diodes across his head, which later stories explained as the "electric terminals of his sensory nerves". This would remain his appearance throughout the 1960s and 1970s.[48]
  • Brainiac's legacy was revealed in Action Comics, #276 (May 1961),[49] in a Legionnaire back-up story.
  • The New Earth Brainiac is a biological Coluan scientist named Vril Dox with a biologically related "son."
  • The Prime Earth Brainiac is more similar to the New Earth Brainiac in this regard, save for that his son truly does appear to be his biological son and not a clone as in New Earth continuity.
  • In his first appearance Brainiac states that he must a suspended animation chamber to make the one-hundred light year trip from Earth to Colu without aging, but a machine would not need such a chamber.


  • Brainiac’s origin and back story in Superman, #167 (February 1964) was created when DC discovered that the name 'Brainiac' was trademarked by the inventor of a real-life computer kit.
  • Brainiac's name is a portmanteau of the words brain and maniac.[50]
  • In 2009, Brainiac was ranked as IGN's 17th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[51]

External links

Appearances in Other Media

Coming Soon!


  1. He may not have been his biological father, but he was his father in the sense that he made him into a computer.
  2. The name did come from this issue, it came from …
  3. The name did come from this issue, it came from …
  4. The name ‘Braniac’ at the time was a trademark registered by Berkley Enterprises, Inc. Manufacturers of the famous ‘Brainiac Computer Kit.’
  5. As revealed in Superman, #167 (February 1964).
  6. As revealed in a retconned flashback from Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes, #2 (February, 1981).
  7. As revealed in the Filmation series The New Adventures of Superman (1966-1969) episode: The Return of Brainiac (1966).
  8. As revealed in Superman, #141 (November 1960).
  9. As revealed in Action Comics, #242 (July, 1958).
  10. As revealed in Action Comics, #242 (July, 1958). This is confirmed in the Season 4 episode: Terror at 20,000 Fathoms (October 27, 1979) of the Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends TV Show.
  11. As revealed in Action Comics, #275 (April 1961).
  12. As revealed in Action Comics, #280 (September 1961).
  13. As revealed in Superman, #167 (February 1964).
  14. As revealed in the Filmation series The New Adventures of Superman (1966-1969) episode: Superman Meets Brainiac (1966).
  15. As revealed in the Filmation series The New Adventures of Superman (1966-1969) episode: The Return of Brainiac (1966).
  16. As revealed in the Filmation series The New Adventures of Superman (1966-1969) episode: A.P.E. Strikes Again.
  17. As revealed in Action Comics, #417 (October 1972);and #418 (November 1972).
  18. As revealed in Action Comics, #342 (October 1966); #417 (October 1972); and #418 (November 1972).
  19. As revealed in World's Finest Comics, #164 (February 1967).
  20. As revealed in Action Comics, #443 (January 1975).
  21. As revealed in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, #86/3 (July 1965).
  22. As revealed in World's Finest Comics, #144 (September 1964).
  23. As revealed in Superman, #299 (May 1976).
  24. Brainiac would team up with Lex Luthor on several occasions. These team-ups are recorded in: Superman, #172 (October 1964); Action Comics, #318 (November 1964); #332 (January 1966); #335 (March 1966); World's Finest Comics, #183 (March 1969); Action Comics, #413 (June 1972); #417 (October 1972); #418 (November 1972); and Superman Spectacular (1977).
  25. As revealed in third season (1978) of the Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends TV Show.
  26. As revealed in the Season 7 episode: Superclones (October 8, 1983) of the Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends TV Show.
  27. As revealed in Action Comics, #544/2 (June 1983).
  28. As revealed in Action Comics, #545 (July 1983); and #546 (August 1983).
  29. As revealed in the Season 8 episode: The Wrath of Brainiac (September 15, 1984) of the Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends TV Show.
  30. As revealed in the Season 8 episode: The Village of Lost Souls (October 29, 1984) of the Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends TV Show.
  31. As revealed in the Season 9 episode: Brainchild (October 16, 1985) of the Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends TV Show.
  32. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #3 (June 1985); #6 (September 1985); #7 (October 1985); #9 (December 1985); #10 (January 1986); #11 (February 1986); #12 (March 1986).
  33. As revealed in History of the DC Universe, #2 (1986).
  34. As revealed in Action Comics, #544/2 (June 1983).
  35. As revealed in New Teen Titans Annual, Vol. 2 #1 (September, 1985).
  36. As revealed in the Filmation series The New Adventures of Superman (1966-1969) episode: The Return of Brainiac (1966).
  37. As revealed in the Filmation series The New Adventures of Superman (1966-1969) episode: The Return of Brainiac (1966).
  38. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #11 (February 1986).
  39. As revealed in Superman, #271 (January 1974).
  40. As revealed in Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, #3 (May, 1985).
  41. As revealed in Action Comics, #490 (December 1978).
  42. As revealed in Action Comics, #546 (August 1983).
  43. As revealed in Action Comics, #544/2 (June 1983); #545 (July 1983); #546 (August 1983); and New Teen Titans Annual, Vol. 2 #1 (September 1985).
  44. Go to DC Database for more on Action Comics, Vol. 1 #242 published in July 1958.
  45. As revealed in Action Comics, #242 (July 1958), which can be found at the DC Database.
  46. "Metropolis Mailbag (column)" Superman, #167 (February 1964), New York: DC Comics
  47. Engblom, Mark (28 April 2009). "Which Came First? Brainiac or BRAINIAC?".
  48. As revealed in Superman, #167 (February, 1964), which can be found at the DC Database.
  49. As revealed in Action Comics, #276 (May 1961), which can be found at the DC Database.
  50. "Brainiac". The Word Detective. July 31, 2007.
  51. "Top 100 Comic Book Villains".