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Vril Dox (Earth-One)

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Quote1 I have been reborn and re-formed and given a destiny anew. My foes are but two-- the angel of death who calls himself Superman... And his master... my master... who seeks my second ending. But I shall outwit them both. I shall raise armies and march into Hell itself to destroy those who would destroy me. I am no longer machine, no longer a cold and lifeless computer. I am more. I have been imbued with life. Organic and yet more. I have become greater than life, greater than machine. I am Brainiac. And that is more than enough for any! Quote2
-- Brainiac src


On the distant planet of Colu, a race of green-skinned humanoids with an average 6th-level intelligence developed a supercomputer designed to possess a 10th-level intelligence, making it as far beyond Coluans as they were beyond humans. This computer became a sentient existence upon its first activation and immediately decided to overthrow and enslave its creators, duplicating itself numerous times in the process. The ruling caste of supercomputers that came from this, known as the Computer Tyrants of Colu, came to desire supremacy over all biological lifeforms across the universe and began to work on the construction of an android spy capable of convincingly posing as a biological lifeform himself while secretly being a "living computer" like them. After designing and building the robotic endoskeleton of their android, the Computer Tyrants programmed him to possess a 10th-level intelligence like themselves. They initially contemplated making him a more efficient operative by imbuing him with an as-of-then unheard-of 12th-level intelligence but decided not to, remembering that the Coluans' mistake in creating them was to give them a superior intellect so as to inadvertently facilitate their usurpation. The Computer Tyrants then used a synthetic skin to make their android appear like a biological Coluan, disguising the sensory diodes on his head as an exotic headdress. Lastly, to instill their creation with human emotions and personality to complete his facade, the Computer Tyrants summoned a dying yet brilliant Coluan scientist and downloaded his neural impulses up until the time of his death into the android's CPU. Activating the android, the Computer Tyrants christened him with the deceptively organic name of Vril Dox, though he would also go by the appellation Brainiac. In order to further strengthen Brainiac's disguise, the Computer Tyrants even forced a Coluan boy named Vril Dox II, or Brainiac 2, into Brainiac's service as his adoptive "son." All the while, Vril Dox II planned to escape from his "father's" control and liberate his people from the mechanical dictatorship that oppressed them for so long. Deployed at first for mainly exploratory activities, Brainiac would scour the universe in search of knowledge and experience, gaining ample of both in his prime directive to shrink, capture, and bottle the most culturally significant cities of any encountered inhabited planet's civilization. In time, Vril Dox II fled from Brainiac during a sojourn on another world and returned to Colu, becoming the leader of a rebellion which successfully destroyed the Computer Tyrants, though Brainiac did not learn of this until many years later.[1] Before the destruction of Krypton, Brainiac reduced and absconded with the great Kryptonian city of Kandor, which was once the planet's capital. Brainiac would amass quite a collection of bottle cities, as well as a veritable arsenal of hi-tech weaponry. On one unknown planet, Brainiac found a primitive monkey-like alien animal, which became his pet.[2]

The Man of Circuits vs. the Man of Steel

Brainiac eventually came to Earth, shrinking and bottling several of its greatest cities, including Metropolis. The otherworldly fiend initially devised the false background for himself that he was once the ruler of the dead planet Byrak and claimed that his motivation for stealing cities was to repopulate Byrak so he could reign over it once again. While still diminutive in size due to Brainiac's size-reduction device, the Hyper-Ray, Superman learned of the continued existence of a thriving Kryptonian community in Kandor. Meanwhile, Brainiac entered a state of suspended animation after supposedly setting his starship on a course for Byrak, unsuspecting of Superman's efforts to free his captive cities, starting with those belonging to Earth. After this deed was performed, Superman realized that the Hyper-Ray had only enough power left to restore Kandor or himself to full size. Deciding on Kandor out of heroic selflessness, Superman was restored to full size instead regardless because of the actions of Kandorian scientist Professor Kimda, who predicted Superman's decision and realized that Earth needed a Superman.[3]

For unrevealed reasons, Brainiac recovered from his suspended animation coma prematurely and returned to Earth to pursue his personal ambitions of collection and conquest and to avenge his past failure on Superman out of spite. By threatening the Earth once again, Brainiac blackmailed Superman into letting him use Lois Lane and Lana Lang as test subjects for an experiment necessitating they be in the proximity of an exploding bomb. Although he reluctantly agreed, Superman spared his two romantic interests from certain death by arranging for a transfusion of his Kryptonian blood, which had the effect of temporarily granting them his set of superpowers.[4]

Next, Brainiac attacked Superman directly by blasting him with a combination of Green and Red Kryptonite radiation. Unbeknownst to Brainiac, the Red K did have the effect of causing Superman to grow a third eye on the back of his head, which he concealed using various types of hats while claiming that the Red K compelled him to stop crimes in strange ways while wearing them. Using the element of surprise to his advantage, Superman subdued Brainiac by firing bursts of heat vision from all three of his eyes before placing the spacefaring collector in a state of suspended animation once more and stranding him in the Mesozoic Era.[5]

Entire periods of the geologic timescale passed until Brainiac was finally freed when humanity invented the first wheel, which smashed the dome of the spaceship where Brainiac lay dormant and allowed the suspended animation-inducing gas to escape. Returning to his proper time period, Brainiac hatched a new scheme against Superman, which involved neutralizing Superman's powers with Kryptonite dust and shrinking Lois Lane, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, and him while they investigated an uprising by natives in the Congo for the Daily Planet. This time, Brainiac sought to make a mockery of his formerly mighty adversary by containing him with his friends in a glass bottle, but the unexpected intervention of Congorilla saved the day.[6]

Brainiac was handed over to intergalactic extraterrestrial authorities after this defeat, though he was subsequently relocated, possibly after an undocumented run-in with Superman, to a cage comprised of Supermanium on a desert world. While there, he was contacted and emancipated by Lex Luthor, who witnessed his true origin as a Coluan android using a mental probe and intended to strike up an alliance against Superman with him. Together, Brainiac and Luthor conspired to shrink, paralyze, and de-power Superman and entrap him in a birdcage in their observatory base of operations. Along the way, Brainiac also briefly revisited Colu and learned that his "son" had long ago toppled the Computer Tyrants, making his quest to shrink cities meaningless. Luthor also managed to get Brainiac to agree to a procedure whereby he would enhance the android's intellect to a 12-level intelligence, though it was merely an excuse to implant a device in him that would cause him to deactivate should he move to betray Luthor. In the end, Brainiac retaliated by mesmerizing Luthor into removing the device and forgetting about his secret origin, and the Superman Emergency Squad defeated the both of them in the nick of time. Brainiac was then put on trial in Kandor for his crime of shrinking and stealing it, with Lex Luthor as his defense attorney. Despite his best efforts, Luthor proved unable to successfully argue Brainiac's case, but he did blackmail the Kandorians into letting them go by pointing out that they would still be necessary to restore Superman. Brainiac and Luthor were then allowed to escape without a fight on the condition that they return Superman to normal; unusually, the two villains held up their part of the bargain.[7]

With his obligation to his creators cancelled thanks to their destruction by his adoptive son, Brainiac began to focus his efforts and resources towards the downfall of Superman. To that end, Brainiac would team up with other members of Superman's rogues gallery on a regular basis, including the Superman Revenge Squad, the Marauder, and the Legion of Super-Villains. Yet, of all of Superman's hate-driven adversaries, the one Brainiac would ally himself with most often and with the closest-to-successful results was none other than Lex Luthor. On one occasion, Brainiac even forged an unusual alliance with Clayface against the World's Finest team of Superman and the Batman.[8]

Brainiac was also revealed to be the culprit when a mirror-image illusion of Metropolis appeared above the city during a strike against Galaxy Communications mogul Morgan Edge. Superman determined that the "mirror-Metropolis" in the sky was slowly descending and that its nature would be to assure the real Metropolis mutual obliteration once it came into direct contact with it. Superman saved the day by using a capsule containing a set of instructions to direct WGBS technicians into reversing the polarity of Brainiac's machinery, negating the mirror-image's threat, while Morgan Edge organized a simulation of Metropolis's destruction on Superman's orders using a projected image of a model of the city in order to deceive Brainiac into believing he had succeeded. At the same time, Superman fought Brainiac directly and caught the humanoid supercomputer off-guard by feigning insanity induced by the sight of Metropolis's "destruction," forcing Brainiac to modify his combat strategy. Superman took advantage of Brainiac's confusion when he revealed his trickery to ensnare Brainiac in a web made from the very psychokinetic energies Brainiac utilized in battle, sending him aimlessly hurtling into outer space.[9]

Later, Brainiac would join up with Queen Bee and the Anti-Justice League in order to strike at the JLA, and Superman by extension. However, this group disbanded after its first defeat.[10]

On the day when light from Krypton's explosion was predicted to be visible from Earth, Brainiac used a magnetic device within his starship to attract Superman to its hull, allowing him to position Superman's helpless body so that he would gaze directly into the light emitted by Krypton when it was destroyed. This had the unique and thankfully temporary physiological effect of causing Superman's body to become overcharged with energy whenever Superman gazed directly into a light source. Due to the physical need to expend this energy quickly, Superman would enter into uncontrollable, furious rampages that would only end once Superman exerted himself. Ever the opportunist, Brainiac capitalized from the situation by using a tractor beam from his starship to guide Superman during one of his rampages into smashing the Justice League Satellite into scrap.[11] Ultimately, the swift action of Hawkman prevented Superman from doing any permanent damage, and Superman defeated Brainiac in a rematch by intensifying and channeling his rampage's ruinous potential against Brainiac and his starship. In besting Brainiac through this method, Superman also burned out his surplus energy supply for good and undid the effects of the light from Krypton's explosion.[12]

The New Brainiac

The last encounter Brainiac had with Superman before his rehabilitation was his attempt to use the technology and contents of the Fortress of Solitude against its owner.[13] After Superman prevailed over the threat at hand, he also reprogrammed Brainiac for good instead of evil, changing his personality from that of a homicidal space-marauder to that of a friend and ally. Regrettably, this arrangement did not prove to be the long-term status quo, as it was soon apparent that Brainiac, before his reprogramming, had one contingency in store in the event that he would be permanently defeated. He had built the Planet-Eater, his very own version of the weaponized artificial planet Warworld, and set it to embark on a course towards Earth's decimation.[14] Also, to prevent himself from undoing his final revenge in the scenario of his reformation, Brainiac also prevented himself from accessing the information pertinent to stopping his Planet-Eater unless if reverted to his original predisposition. Although loath to return Brainiac to the side of evil, Superman was forced to do what had to be done to save the world and restored Brainiac's original program. Predictably, the again-evil Brainiac attempted to absorb Superman into his creation's computer core, with the ultimate intention of allowing it to consume all matter in the universe outside of itself and create a new world for him to control. Instead, Superman escaped and tore Brainiac's world-destroyer asunder, relocating the planet created within to a hospitable galaxy. As for Brainiac, he was abandoned and left entrapped in the hollow core of his wrecked creation.[15]

After some weeks immobile at the Planet-Eater's core, Brainiac remotely induced a nearby star to go supernova, hoping that it would shatter his newfound prison and enable him to escape. Things did not go as planned, as the supernova not only atomized the Planet-Eater but also Brainiac's physical form as well. Although his body was disintegrated, Brainiac's consciousness remained, guiding the particles that once composed his physical form inexorably towards the supercomputers of a world inhabited by a manner of lifeform which was both mechanical and organic at the same time. Absorbing all the knowledge that was to be learned from these computers' databanks, Brainiac expanded his already considerable understanding of the history and nature of the universe to the extent where it could be argued Brainiac had unwittingly achieved total omniscience. Yet the final secret of the universe that Brainiac perceived, and would become haunted by, was the existence of a "Master Programmer" who created all there is and supposedly appointed Superman his angel of death to bring about the cessation of Brainiac's existence, in spite of whether either Superman or Brainiac would become aware of this role or not. Brainiac's consciousness and particles then returned to the remnants of the Planet-Eater, where they would gestate within its futuristic machines as Brainiac would be recreated anew.

Action comic544

Brainiac and Luthor both get upgrades.

At the end of his lengthy period of gestation, Brainiac would be reborn in a new physical body synthesized by the Planet-Eater's machinery, this one simultaneously both robotic and organic at the same time. For the very first time in his existence, Brainiac would not be commanded by a pre-programmed alignment into obtaining knowledge and secrets but would use this virtually all-encompassing knowledge to rule his own destiny independently, and while Brainiac could now truly be called a living, carbon-based entity, he was also stripped of whatever artifice of emotions and humanity he had ever possessed, save for hate of Superman and the "Master Programmer" and fear of death. Now driven by the conviction that Superman's demise has to be a necessity, not to satisfy a petty revenge-driven obsession as much as for mere self-preservation, Brainiac designed and built a new and fearsome techno-organic starship, which would become a literal extension of his body and will whenever he would interface with it.

Brainiac set about on a quest to conquer the universe, intent on raising an intergalactic army with which he would defy the designs of the "Master Programmer" against him and exterminate Superman. Brainiac's first takeover would be a planet whose inhabitants foolishly launched their entire arsenal of missiles at his Skull Ship. With but a thought, Brainiac activated a magnetic device on his Skull Ship which redirected the missiles at the planet's surface, causing devastation on a colossal scale and instantly frightening the surviving natives into submitting to Brainiac's overlordship. A single alien being from that world managed to escape to Earth to tell Superman of Brainiac's onslaught at his Fortress of Solitude before dying from his wounds. Superman easily did away with the conquered planet's fleet of warships, which was conscripted into Brainiac's service, but a red-sun radiation missile weakened Superman enough for Brainiac to feel confident enough to appear in person before him.[16]

Brainiac then captured Superman, seeking to analyze him to learn more about the "Master Programmer," even while he allowed the subjugated populace of his conquered planet to rebel in the knowledge that the revolt's inevitable futility would only demoralize any future possible insurgents. However, Superman managed to escape Brainiac in his powerless state using a miniature starcraft, with Brainiac's Skull Ship in hot pursuit. Superman endeavored to lose Brainiac by navigating an asteroid field, reasoning that the Skull Ship's immense size would hinder it. Unfortunately, Brainiac's impeccable reflexes, near-omniscient ability to predict future occurrences, and force field generators gave him the advantage, and Superman, unused to navigating with his craft, accidentally crashed it into an asteroid. Fortuitously, Superman's powers returned to him at that moment, allowing him to survive what otherwise would have killed him. Superman then challenged the Skull Ship head-on, but even with his powers, he found himself to be no match for its formidable defenses and retreated to Earth.[17]

To the Kryptonian hero's chagrin, Brainiac followed him to Earth and unleashed his army of warriors on the planet. The Justice League and the Teen Titans worked together to stop Brainiac's invasion from succeeding on Earth's surface, while Superman and Brainiac's Skull Ship had another battle in outer space. The prolonged confrontation was ended when Superman resorted to artificially creating sunspot activity to disrupt Brainiac's and his Skull Ship's electronic components, forcing Brainiac to tap into reserve power to make his getaway.[18]

After then, Brainiac would continue to appear regularly as an enemy of Superman, being defeated on one occasion by the Teen Titans and the Vanguard and on another by time-traveling members of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Crisis on Infinite Earths and Beyond

When the Crisis on Infinite Earths struck, Brainiac realized the potential to capitalize off of the disarray in the Multiverse and so summoned his old acquaintance Lex Luthor to his Skull Ship upon Luthor's most recent failed scheme to make him a most tempting proposition: generalship of an army consisting of villains from across numerous alternate worlds. 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, Supergirl, and the Monitor, who managed to put a delay in his timetable and place the five surviving worlds in an alternate dimension where they would be safe for a time, although the inevitability that they would destroy each other unless returned to different planes of reality ensured it would be only a temporary solution. It was then that Brainiac and Luthor made their move, unleashing their legions of evil-doers from the five surviving worlds upon them in a bid to become their absolute rulers. Though any motive aside from greed and the lust for power was not explicitly given, Brainiac's ambition to overrun the five Earths, which were all that remained of positive-matter reality at that point, may have related to his end goal to outdo the "Master Programmer." Though Psimon and the Lex Luthor of Earth-Two rebelled against Brainiac and the Earth-One Luthor's leadership, both were summarily terminated for their impudence. Once Brainiac and Luthor commanded their army to attack, the heroes of the five worlds retaliated in force, but the war between good and evil was only halted by the Spectre, who revealed the urgency of the worlds' current situation and convinced heroes and villains to work together to save existence. As the Spectre and the Multiverse's heroes were sent back to the dawn of time to fight the Anti-Monitor before he could prevent all positive-matter realities from ever existing, the Multiverse's villains were sent back in time to the planet Oa millennia ago to stop Krona from witnessing the Big Bang. Unfortunately, they failed in their task due to their crippling pettiness, 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, though using Earth-One as a template and borrowing most of its elements from it. The Forgotten Heroes then contacted Brainiac when the Anti-Monitor tried to destroy the New Earth reality and convinced him that the Crisis did occur but was wiped from his memory as a result of the rebirth of the universe. Believing the heroes, Brainiac traveled to Apokolips, explaining that though he lacked the power to be of much help that he could bring them to the court of Darkseid, who would be, and did become, a highly useful ally against the Anti-Monitor.[19] Shortly after the Crisis, Brainiac was defeated once and for all by the Omega Men in an undocumented fight, and though the continuance of his original timeline would have fated him for recreation in a laboratory on Earth two years afterwards[20], the temporal effects of the Crisis, once they settled in, recreated Brainiac as a New Earth dimensional with a restructured history.

The events of Convergence revealed that the Brainiac of Earth-One was absorbed into his New Earth counterpart as the Brainiac of New Earth was flung beyond the Source Wall through every universe and timeline that had ever existed. As a consequence, the Earth-One Brainiac became part of the omnipotent, godlike "composite" Brainiac who was indirectly responsible for the Convergence. The Convergence came to an end when this "god-machine" version of Brainiac sent the Superman of New Earth and Parallax back to the time of the Crisis along with Earth-One's Flash and Supergirl, changing the outcome of the event so that the Multiverse was not destroyed and condensed into one Earth but was rather restored to an infinite myriad of parallel universes, including Earth-One.[21]

In the 30th/31st century of the Earth-One universe, there exists a Legion of Super-Heroes enemy named Pulsar Stargrave, who was at one point claimed to be the future incarnation of Brainiac. While Pulsar Stargrave's origins have been elaborated upon in post-Infinite Crisis New Earth continuity, the truth behind Stargrave's origins in pre-Crisis Earth-One continuity is still unknown, and other possible alter egos for Stargrave other than Brainiac have been given.


  • Android Body
    • Intangibility
    • Superhuman Strength
    • Mechanokinesis: Brainiac could interface with his Skull Ship and "become one with it," learning about all that occurs inside the ship. Once linked to his Skull Ship, Brainiac could also transfer his consciousness into another android body should the one he was currently manipulating be damaged or destroyed.
  • Psychokinesis
    • Telekinesis: The network of sensory diodes atop Brainiac's head gave him limited psychokinetic abilities. While it was outside of Brainiac's capabilities to read minds like a telepath, Brainiac could expel telekinetic force-blasts capable of even repelling Superman from his head and knew of how to "spin" the psychokinetic energies he generated into a web-like net which could hold Superman at bay. However, Brainiac too was susceptible to his own psychokinetic energies and was neutralized by them on at least one occasion.
  • Genius Level Intellect: At first possessed of a 10th-level intelligence and thus intellectually equivalent to a Computer Tyrant of Colu, future modifications by Lex Luthor upgraded his mental faculties to 12-level intelligence. His adoptive son's 30th/31st-century descendant Brainiac 5 also possesses a 12-level intelligence, although the impossibility of a direct genetic link between Brainiac 5 and Brainiac suggests this is purely coincidental.


  • Genius Level Intellect: At first possessed of a 10th-level intelligence and thus intellectually equivalent to a Computer Tyrant of Colu, future modifications by Lex Luthor upgraded his mental faculties to 12-level intelligence. His adoptive son's 30th/31st-century descendant Brainiac 5 also possesses a 12-level intelligence, although the impossibility of a direct genetic link between Brainiac 5 and Brainiac suggests this is purely coincidental.
  • Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Though Brainiac is an intellectual who prefers to solve problems (or more often, create them) with his cunningly brilliant computer brain, Brainiac was programmed with a comprehensive understanding of the techniques and philosophies of every form of martial arts in the known universe.[22]


  • Technological Reliability: Brainiac is an android being and as such is reliant upon the efficiency of his own robotics and programming for physical and mental adequacy. Brainiac's main forms of offense and defense are also technologically facilitated (e.g. force fields by his Ultra-Force Shield Belt; shrinking capabilities by his Hyper-Ray; psychokinetic shockwaves by his cephalic sensory diodes; intergalactic flight and battle capabilities in outer space by his starship/Skull Ship)


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

  • Hyper-Ray: A ray which was designed to consecutively shrink cities and/or people and teleport them instantly afterward into a bottle aboard Brainiac's starship.
  • Ultra-Force Shield: A virtually indestructible force field generated by Brainiac using a force-field belt of his design. The Ultra-Force Shield rendered him more invulnerable than Superman and could withstand all manner of super-strong blows from the Man of Steel. While using the fullest extent of his powers, however, Superman could break through the Ultra-Force Shield, albeit with difficulty. The Ultra-Force Shield was also adapted for projection by Brainiac's various starships, including his Skull Ship, and was later modified by Brainiac to not only shield its user from physical damage but also simultaneously repel the attacker. In the 30th/31st century, Brainiac 5 will wear and use a further upgraded version of the Ultra-Force Shield Belt as an LSH member.


  • Various interstellar transport ships
  • Jet Boots: Brainiac used jet boots to enable personal flight and high-speed transportation. While they allowed Brainiac to defy gravity and attack Superman in midair, however, it is not presumed that they were designed to carry their wearer into outer space. It is also presumed, due to the alien and presumably Coluan construction of most of Brainiac's weapons, that the design of Brainiac's jet boots is fundamentally different from the design of the jet boots Lex Luthor used as a part of his hi-tech purple-and-green costume.
  • Skull Ship: Final interstellar mobile platform employed. It possessed mighty tentacles attached to its lower half, which it could use for offensive purposes. It also possessed the ability to project an impenetrable force shield and teleport individuals directly into it at Brainiac's whim. The Skull Ship's weapons systems possessed the raw destructive power to render entire worlds barren of life, containing both a magnetic pulse device capable of redirecting missile fire and a red-sun radiation missile capable of damaging Superman and temporarily stripping him of his powers. Superman once contemplated whether he would emerge from an encounter with Brainiac's Skull Ship alive.


Brainiac had access to a wide variety of futuristic weaponry:

  • Laser Blaster
  • This version of Vril Dox (Earth-One), including all history and corresponding appearances, was initially erased from existence following the collapse of the original Multiverse in the 1985-86 Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series. However the ending of Convergence retroactively prevented that collapse saving all the alternate realities though in an "evolved" form. Even though versions of the character may have since appeared, this information does not apply to those versions.
  • Unlike the current incarnation of the character, the Earth-One Brainiac is an manufactured android and not a biological being. The New Earth Brainiac is indeed the cover that this incarnation pretended to be, a biological Coluian 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.


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