Superman Vol 3 23.2 Brainiac Textless

Full Name

Vril Dox




Increase his knowledge of the universe and ultimately rule it


Defeated by Superman

I will be everything there has ever been, Kryptonian. I will be evolved into perfection.
~ Brainiac

Brainiac is a major antagonist in the Superman comics. He is most commonly portrayed as an extraterrestrial android and is one of Superman's primary enemies, responsible for shrinking and stealing Kandor, the capital city of Krypton, Superman's home planet. 


Brainiac was an android created on the planet Colu to act as a spy to allow them to invade other planets. To further give the illusion that Brainiac was a normal Coluan, a young Coluan boy named Vril Dox II, later known as Brainiac 2, was forced to be Brainiac's "son". Gaining sentience by collecting the planet's data, Brainia turned on his masters and abandoned Colu and scoured the universe, shrinking and capturing the most culturally signifiant cities of a populated planet. One of the cities Brainiac stole was Kandor, the capital city of Krypton, prior to the planet's destruction.

Brainiac eventually came to Earth, where he began shrinking and bottling several cities, including Metropolis, which led him into confrontation with Superman. Though the Man of Steel managed to defeat Brainiac, the extraterrestrial super-villain would make many more attempts to defeat him, including teaming up with Lex Luthor, Superman's arch-enemy.

The New Brainiac

After a failed attempt to kill Superman, Brainiac was reprogrammed for good. However, prior to his reprogramming, Brainiac had constructed the Planet-Eater and sent it on a course for Earth. Reluctantly, Superman was forced to revert Brainiac to his original programming so that he could stop the Planet-Eater. Though Brainiac pretended to help Superman, he ultimately betrayed him, and was left trapped in the core of his own creation.

An attempt by Brainiac to free himself resulted in his physical form being destroyed, but his consiousness remained, continuing to consume knowledge throughtout the universe. Eventually, he would be rebuilt in a more robotic form, and sought the death of Superman, seeing it as a necessity, and constructed a starship. Brainiac then set out on a quest to conquer the universe. Managing to take over a planet, Brainiac launched an attack on Earth, forcing the Justice League and the Teen Titans to work together to repel him. Despite his defeat, Brainiac would continue to target Superman on multiple occasions.

Crisis on Infinite Earths

After the Anti-Monitor destroyed almost the entire Multiverse, Brainiac joined forces with Lex Luthor and attempted to take over the remaining worlds. In the battle that ensued, Psimon and Alexei Luthor were both killed. However, the battle was halted by the Spectre, who convinced the heroes and villains to work together to save existence. The Multiverse's villains were sent back in time to the planet Oa a millenia ago to stop Krona from witnessing the Big Bang. However, the villains ultimately failed in their task, and the five remaining worlds were reborn as a New Earth with a reconstructed history. As a result, Brainiac was recreated in the New Earth dimension with a reconstructed history. 

New Earth

In the New Earth, Brainiac was a Coluan scientist named Vril Dox, who cloned himself and travelled throughout space to acquire the universe's knowledge. Along the way, Brainiac abducted various alien specimens, as well as stole the city of Kandor from planet Krypton.

Arriving on Earth, Brainiac took over the body of a mentalist named Milton Fine and went on a murder spree, feeding on human spinal fluid to maintain his possession of the mentalist. He was eventually defeated and captured by Lex Luthor, but managed to outsmart him and took control of Lexcorp. Brainwashing Lexcorp scientists into recreating his Coluan body, Brainiac continued to hound Superman and plague Earth. He later placed his consciousness into a robotic body after the loss of Milton Fine's body. When Brainiac 13 arrived in Dox's timeline, he stole Brainiac's body and placed Brainiac's mind into Lena Luthor's body.

During the Imperiex War, both versions of Brainiac worked with the heroes against Imperiex, but later tried to betray them. Their betrayal backfired, however, as Brainiac 13 was sent back in time to die during the Big Bang while Brainiac 2.5 lost control of Lena and was presumed dead.

DC Animation Universe

Batman Beyond Universe Vol 1 6 Textless

Brainiac as he appears in the DC Animated Universe

Brainiac appears as on of the major antagonists in the DCAU, here depicted as the supercomputer that runs most of the day-to-day affairs of the planet Krypton. Learning of the planet's imminent destruction, Brainiac abandoned his homeworld to die, downloading all of Krypton's knowledge into himself. Taking humanoid form, Brainiac travelled from planet-to-planet, assimilating the world's information and then destroying the planet; he intends to continue this objective until he has destroyed all of creation. He became a recurring enemy of Superman, making numerous attempts to destroy Earth. He was seemingly destroyed, along with Darkseid, during a battle on Apokolips. However, a piece of Brainiac remained in the form of a nanotech integrated into Lex Luthor's DNA. Brainiac subtly influenced Luthor's actions, curing his cancer and giving him super-strength, planning to download his subconscious into an android body. When his plans were discovered, Brainiac formed an alliance with Luthor, merging with him to create a more powerful being. The two were ultimately defeated by Flash, purging Brainiac from Luthor's body. However, Brainiac's consciousness survived within Luthor, who joined Gorilla Grodd's Secret Soiety to obtain a piece of Brainiac and revive him. Taking over the Secret Society, Luthor attempted to use Tala to gather Brainiac's essence and revive him, but instead resurrected Darkseid with Brainiac's technology. As a result, Brainiac was removed from Luthor's consciousness.

Other appearances


New Adventures of Superman 1x17A 002

Brainiac as he appeared in The New Adventure of Superman

Brainiac made his television debut in The New Adventures of Superman. In this version, Brainiac was from the planet Mega, and was an android created by Professor Hecla, the the sole survivor of the planet's population. Hecla sent Brainiac to Earth to use his shrinking ray to shrink a male and female of each species on Earth to take back to Mega and repopulate the planet. Brainiac would become a recurring enemy to Superman.

Brainiac was a recurring villain in the Super Friends series, debuting as a member of the Legion of Doom in Challenge of the Super Friends. He later appeared in the short episode "Superclones", where he cloned Aquaman and El Dorado. The mechanical iteration of the character later appeared in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians.

Powers and abilities

Brainiac's massive intellect vastly surpasses that of a human being, allowing for calculation, enhanced memories and extensive knowledge of engineering. He is a brilliant scientist, able to construct multiple machines, including a shrink ray which has the ability to shrink entire cities. Some iterations of the character also possess telepathy and telekinesis. Brainiac's strength is also superior to that of a human, and can match Superman in sheer physical force.


  • Brainiac's name is a combination of the words brain and mainiac.
  • Brainiac was ranked 17th on IGN's Greatest Comic Book Villains of All Time.
  • Brainiac is often considered to be Superman's most evil recurring enemy, surpassing even Superman's arch-enemy, Lex Luthor.

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