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  1. #1
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    Default Is Brainiac the most convoluted Superman villain?

    Is Brainiac the most convoluted Superman villain? This video goes into how convoluted the character is:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyBl8Usm_gM

    There are different takes on Lex Luthor and he is fairly easy to follow, for the most part.

    This video only covers Pre Crisis Brainiac and early Post Brainiac, not the more recent stuff, but it is this still a mess almost from the start. It may be why Brainiac often works better in adaptions in other media, where the back story can be more streamlined. If you think Brainiac is convoluted, how would you make him less convoluted?

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Not even close. Post Crisis Brainiac sucked and was a mess, but ever since Johns rebooted him he’s been pretty consistent in terms of both appearance, background, and motivation. Toyman is waaaaaay more convoluted especially since there are multiple Toymen.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    Not even close. Post Crisis Brainiac sucked and was a mess, but ever since Johns rebooted him he’s been pretty consistent in terms of both appearance, background, and motivation. Toyman is waaaaaay more convoluted especially since there are multiple Toymen.
    Agreed. I was a fan of Post-Crisis Superman, but the Post-Crisis Brainiac was a smelly, smoldering mess. A failed attempt to differentiate him from Luthor.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Mr. Mxyzsptlk would not like anyone being more convoluted than him.

  5. #5
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    The post crisis Brainiac was awesome. Aside from Hannigan's revamp they seemed to struggle with him before, but not only did they figure out how to make Brainiac's science different from Lex (and a psychic, which is pretty rare in DC) but also gave him those rivalries with Brainiacs 2 and 5 as well as his of his most memorable stories before Johns (Trilogy, Exile, Panic, Dead Again, Identity Crisis, Y2K, OWAW).

    Ironically, in trying to reconcile all that Johns made things more confusing.
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  6. #6
    Fantastic Member qwertyuiop1998's Avatar
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    Watched this video last night. Agreed in some degree, yes, Brainiac is convoluted but so is Lex, Or Bizarro etc etc etc.
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  7. #7
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    He's not convoluted. Not really. He's actually kind of overrated and vague, if anything.

    Lex is a deeply insecure and delusional narcissist who has his ego pinned to a wall by Superman's very existence. What's Brainiac's primary motivation beyond the nebulous thirst for knowledge, and why should that inherently put him at odds with Superman beyond the fact of "hey dude, that's my city you're shirking"?

    The most engaging I've seen Brainiac is in the DCAU when he was basically a giant mcguffin that truly and genuinely had no want or need for anything else but to amass knowledge and blow up the universe so he's be the only one to have it, and he got interesting when smarter more interesting villains would take control over him.

    It was like putting a leash on hurricane and directing it. He was kind of a cross between the Venom symbiote and Galactus, and it really worked.

    I'm not saying he can't be done differently and see success, but for now he'd quite overrated.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superlad93 View Post
    He's not convoluted. Not really. He's actually kind of overrated and vague, if anything.

    Lex is a deeply insecure and delusional narcissist who has his ego pinned to a wall by Superman's very existence. What's Brainiac's primary motivation beyond the nebulous thirst for knowledge, and why should that inherently put him at odds with Superman beyond the fact of "hey dude, that's my city you're shirking"?
    Isn't that enough? By this logic, we shouldn't bother with any supervillain who isn't evil specifically because they hate Superman. Hell, most versions of Luthor are already evil without Superman's existence setting him down that path.

  9. #9
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Yeah you can say Brainiac is vague because he has so many different versions... but you can define any character as well or not well as it suits your stance. Zod was absolutely not like his comic self and now that movie version is him. Except he's also a phantom puppeteer to some Russian mutant who took up his name, a super old man in post apocalyptic armor, and a mind scrambled savage who shares a son with Superman. Is that not convoluted?

    Brainiac is the Bad Alien. Where Superman uses his might to protect the universe, on the flipside Vril's mind is used to subjugate the universe. Naturally, his subjugation doesn't resemble the physical conquest we see with other characters. Why does that put him against Superman? How does it not? Kal will always be in his way and Brainiac truly hates him for it. He also hates Lex but will team up with him because Superman is worse... which then in some ways makes Vril and Lex bigger rivals.

    Essentially, Brainiac is the biggest jerk in the universe. Again I think he really shines when you have Vril Jr, Lyrl, and Querl, because they're all so clearly related.
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  10. #10
    AT EASE, LOO-SUH! Superlad93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    Isn't that enough? By this logic, we shouldn't bother with any supervillain who isn't evil specifically because they hate Superman. Hell, most versions of Luthor are already evil without Superman's existence setting him down that path.
    You're missing my point. I said he's overrated and vague. That doesn't stop him or any other villain of Superman's from being popular, but it also doesn't stop my point from being valid.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superlad93 View Post
    You're missing my point. I said he's overrated and vague. That doesn't stop him or any other villain of Superman's from being popular, but it also doesn't stop my point from being valid.
    I wasn't arguing about popularity, I was arguing your point about Braniac's motivations.

  12. #12
    AT EASE, LOO-SUH! Superlad93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kuwagaton View Post
    Zod was absolutely not like his comic self and now that movie version is him.
    Zod has also sucked pretty hard for basically his whole existence. At the very least they've recently settled on the idea that he's a patriot/devoted to the idea of Krypton at heart. That gives you something very distinct to work with and build on. It also gives you great direct contrast between him and Superman. There's dozens of "bad alien" characters in Superman's roster, and even if you

    Brainiac is the Bad Alien. Where Superman uses his might tp protect the universe, on the flipside Vril's mind is used to subjugate the universe. Naturally, his subjugation doesn't resemble the physical conquest we see with other characters. Why does that put him against Superman? How does it not? Kal will always be in his way and Brainiac truly hates him for it. He also hates Lex but will team up with him because Superman is worse... which then in some ways makes Vril and Lex bigger rivals.
    And if that works for you that's cool. I just think Superman has tones of "bad alien" foes, and I think the DCAU's and Morrison's Darkseid do the idea of a universal force that subjugates all logically having to come at odds with Superman better than any version of Brainiac. And in both incarnations it legitimately feels like an unrelated unstoppable force meeting an unrelated immovable mass simply because nature says "well, duh", and it works so well because they don't have to keep meeting like a Saturday morning cartoon. It's like a legit crossover when they clash in those versions.
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  13. #13
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    When it comes to bad aliens it's the same as it is with our Good Alien... Brainiac was first. People have many criticisms about how Superman has been left behind in the superhero game which I obviously refute hard, and it's a lot of the same thing with Brainiac to me. Darkseid is pretty often used better (mileage varies on these things of course. I said "post crisis is awesome" but I can understand that opinions will always vary and people won't care for my favorite story from 30 years ago) but he's also much different firstly because he's in the realm of a god, not an alien. We at this point have a number of Darkseid vs Brainiac stories to build a solid contrast.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    I wasn't arguing about popularity, I was arguing your point about Braniac's motivations.
    Gotcha. Well, my point on that front wasn't that Lex's is specifically built as Superman's foe from the jump, but rather that because of his intrinsic character flaws he makes a good opposite to Superman that is personal for him as a character. I have zero issue with Brainiac's rivalry with Superman starting out as incidental. In fact, I love that, and I usually resist how they linked them so hard in the DCAU at the start. It's the after that I find pretty dull.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kuwagaton View Post
    When it comes to bad aliens it's the same as it is with our Good Alien... Brainiac was first. People have many criticisms about how Superman has been left behind in the superhero game which I obviously refute hard, and it's a lot of the same thing with Brainiac to me.
    But unlike Superman no one seems to want to make a stand and go "this is why Brainiac does it better than everyone else". With Superman you can't go two minutes with a thick piece masked as a comic explaining to you why Superman works and is awesome. But with Brainiac the only thing they tend to do is just occasionally use him. It would be like you and me telling people how that Superman character from the 40s is awesome whenever he occasionally shows up in comics, tv, or movies, but the only thing he's doing is lifting a green car and then flying with only vague hints at a characterization.

    He's a character that I feel like writers have let get too flabby and out of shape, but they still have him flex like he's defined. My opinion of course.
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