(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and their many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
When it comes to the
Darkseid is excellent, Lady Styx is still an unproven commodity, and the Anti-Monitor is kinda clunky.
In my book, the original alien is the best alien. No, no, not Superman. His best foe (sorry, Lex): Brainiac!
In the New 52 (to keep current), Brainiac (referred to at first as “The Collector of Worlds”) is seen as the mysterious informant that supplies Lex Luthor information of Superman and his alien nature. Clarkis having a dream of Krypton's final moments in which an artificial intelligence that controls the planet wakes up robots in an attempt to preserve the Kryptonian culture. Later, while Clarkconducts an interview in a robotic factory, the same harvester robots appear.
At the same time John Corben, who is receiving his last adjustments in his transformation into Metallo, is suddenly possessed by the artificial intelligence who demands Superman. The robots create havoc throughout Metropolis but Superman soon realizes that they are really after him. Superman fights the possessed Metallo with the help of John Henry Irons.
Although they managed to defeat him, the alien sentience had already miniaturized and bottled the city of Metropolisand took it to his ship in space. Superman travels to the ship to find many alien bottled cities, Kandor included. The alien identifies himself as a being from the planet Colu where he was known as C.O.M.P.U.T.O and on Krypton he was called Brainiac 1.0. He claims that without Superman and the ship that brought him to Earth, his Kryptonian collection is incomplete, and for that he must pass a test: pulling the life support of both the Kandor and Metropolis bottles, he must decide which city to save, using indestructible Kryptonian clothes he also preserved.
Superman decides on neither and wears the Kryptonian clothes (which instantly morph in the familiar Superman costume). Brainiac sends Metallo to attack Superman, but due to Superman reasoning with him over his feelings for Lois Lane, he breaks free of Brainiac's control and joins Superman in his attack. Superman then uses his rocket from Krypton that had also been miniaturized with Metropolis to attack Brainiac's mind, which the rocket was able to do since its primary mission was to protect Kal-El. In doing so, Metropolis was returned to Earth and Superman took possession of Brianiac's ship and made it his new super citadel.
Notably, the ship Clarkwas placed into as a child was described as having "Brainiac AI," leaving the identity of the Collector of Worlds in doubt. The Colony of the Collector of Worlds told Superman that its AI technology went by different names, beginning on Yod-Colu as C.O.M.P.U.T.O. On Noma, he was called Pneumenoid; on Bryak it was Mind2; on Krypton he was called Brainiac 1.0; and, finally on Earth, he is the Internet.
Brainiac has a "12th-level intellect," allowing calculation abilities, enhanced memory and advanced understanding of mechanical engineering, bio-engineering, physics, and other theoretical and applied sciences, as well as extensive knowledge of various alien technologies. Compare this to the population of 20th century Earth as a whole constitutes a 6th-Level intelligence and the population of 31st century Earth as a whole is a 9th-Level intelligence.
The character has created devices such as a forcefield belt and a shrinking ray capable of reducing cities. Brainiac's advanced mental powers have shown him capable of possessing others, absorb information from other beings, transferring his consciousness, creating and manipulating computer systems, replicate multiple versions of himself, and exerting powers to transverse or control over space and time. (John Byrne’s re-imagining of the character possessed telepathy and telekinesis that were further augmented by an implanted electrode head-piece.)
Our most recent version of the splendid Brainiac (a living Coluan who utilizes android "probes") is connected to his ship in such a way that he can be disabled for a short periods if separated without warning. While inside his ship he is capable of fighting evenly with and overpowering the likes of Superman. He heals from injuries at incredible speed. After being separated from the ship he physically starts to deteriorate and is far less powerful.
Our New 52 Brainiac is a biological creature that has altered his body to acquire more knowledge to become "better." With his ship, knowledge and technology, Brainiac has captured thousands of cities and destroyed just as many civilizations.
Even in the New