The Neglected Nemeses: Brainiac


3When Zack Snyder first came on board to direct Man of Steel, one of the first baddies to be sdiscussed for the film was Brainiac. This isn’t the first time the villain has been discussed to oppose Superman in a film, as he was a possibility for Superman III, as well as the scrapped Superman Lives and Superman Reborn. The character was also a part of Kevin Smith’s discarded script, along side Doomsday. So, if you ask me, he’s been tossed aside too many times in favor of Kal-El’s main nemesis, Lex Luthor, and it’s time for him to move into the spot light.
Brainiac has a long history in DC Comics, first appearing in Action Comics #242 in 1952. He was a bald, green humanoid who came to Earth and shrank several cities, including Metropolis, and stored them in jars, preserveing them so that he could use them to restore his home planet Bryak. Brainiac has many, many different versions and reincarnations to include here, but he has solidified himself as one of Superman’s most dominate foes. His powers and/or abilities includes a “12th Level Intellect,” which allows for calculations, enhanced memory, and an advanced understanding of mechanical engineering, bio-engineering, physics and many other theoretical and applied sciences and an extensive knowledge of numerous alien technologies. Brainiac has created such devices as a force field belt and a shrinking ray that, as mentioned previously, has the capabilities of shrinking cities. His superior mental capacities have allowed him to possess imagesCASAO6FNother beings, transfer his consciousness, manipulating computer systems and even some control over time and space. More recently, Brainiac has possessed strength and durability to challenge Superman, as well as some telekinesis and telepathy.
In 1964, a bit of ret-conning was done for Brainiac, turning him into a machine that was created by the Computer Tyrants of Colu,making him a spy, allowing them to invade other worlds. Lex Luthor learned of this new “computer” and set out to make it his own and take advantage of the advanced knowledge that Brainiac possessed. But the computer outsmarted Luthor and hypnotized him, and having him removie the explosive timer that Luthor had placedwithin Brainiac.
During the Bronze Age of comics, Brainiac was once again reinvisioned, alongside Lex Luthor, to help boost lagging sales. At the same time Luthor received his green and purple battle suit, Brainiac had constructed a giant, computer-controlled artificial planet, which he used at an attempt to destroy Superman. His defeat at the hands of the Man of Steel, however, left him trapped within the confines of his own creation. Brainiac was forced to destroy a nearby star to create a nova, which in turn would destroy the artificial planet he was trapped in. After escaping, he reformed his body to resemble a skeleton that resembled living metal that included a honeycomb-patterned braincase. He also created a starship that was an extension of himself to house the newly created body. The ship resembeled his own skull and featured metal tentacle, which he could manipulate at will. He retained this look until after ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths.’
SupermanBrainiacNoDAteSo how would incorporate Brainiac? Since DC and Warner Brother’s seem hell-bent on keeping Lex Luthor in the picture, which is fine, because he is the yang to Superman’s yin, I like where Tim Burton was headed with the character. The idea was also used in the popular Justice League Unlimited as well as in the comic book story Superman: What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Essentially, Lex Luthor and Brainiac melded into one being, combining the goals of Brainiac and the ambitions and cruelty of Luthor, creating a being that would dominate mankind and beyond. Having said that, this would be a story that would be difficult to convey without it delving into the world of cheese and corn, but someone like Snyder definitely has the the know-how to pull it off. I wouldn’t mind seeing Kevin Smith’s script come to life either, bringing Doomsday into the picture, but that would obviously have to come along later in the franchise.

daybreakers03Many actors have been suggested for the role of Brainiac, including Jason Isaacs, James Marsters (who played the role on the TV series Smallville), Jude Law and Hugo Weaving. I went with a different choice here. Sam Neill has been a favorite actor of mine for some time and has proven time and again that he is a very capable and talented actor. His work in Jurassic Park is probably his most widely known role, but it was his part in the sci-fi/horror film Event Horizon, in which he played a possessed scientist, that really impressed. More recently, he played the rather naughty Cardinal Wolsey on The Tudors, as well as one of the main villains in the questionable yet cool-looking Daybreakers. Neill’s voice has potential to add a creepiness and a darkness to any villain and I’d love to see what he could do with a character like Brainiac.


Ecksmanfan (Josh Johnson/GeekBoy) is a contributor here at Comic Book Therapy, helping readers to control the geek within. Josh is the owner and editor of GeekBoyMovieNews, your go-to  website for all things related to geek movies, plus a little bit more. If you have suggestions for the next installment of The Neglected Nemeses, be sure to mention it in the comments below! You can view past installments of The Neglected Nemeses by CLICKING HERE.

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