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  1. #16
    Incredible Member OpaqueGiraffe17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Overlord View Post
    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?
    it's a good video. Though for a character whose been around since the late 50s, it's not that much more complicated than average. With some exceptions he usually doesn't stray too far from his basic premise. He's usually an alien/android who likes to collect stuff. And he has some descendents. I've read quite a lot of Brainiac's appearences without ever getting confused.

  2. #17
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superlad93 View Post
    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.
    Although I call it the same problem it's also a thing where Superman is a protagonist with no less than three appearances every month, so I'd say Brainiac does have it worse to a degree impossible for Superman.

    So when it's a matter of underused vs overrated I think it's easy to agree. Lex has mostly been poor in live action (if we consider that he's arguably only second to the Joker when it comes to comic book villains) but they keep trying him and they've kinda figured out the audience a bit through feedback. Brainiac has potential spread across like half a dozen takes but they don't go through that trial and error.

    I was pretty bummed about the recent Legion of Doom stories because it was a big story in a popular title, using him only when Lex wa there and generally making him forgettable. At least what I read, wasn't anything to make someone want more of him.
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  3. #18
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    Just cut off the bit about him being a scientist. Start his story at the part where he's made by the Robot Overlords and turn Milton Fine into basically a lackey. Done.
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  4. #19
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    I think for the past few years or so he's been pretty consistent, and that's led to some successful media adaptions:




  5. #20
    Spectacular Member oldschoolfan's Avatar
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    It's funny how a character like Superman has had a lot of different creators work on his books, even going back to the Golden Age, and each creator brings something different to the table. You get a fresh take on the character, sometimes you like it, sometimes you don't. I have always had soft spot for Superman vs. Brainiac stories. But, I have to admit, the essence of the character has been very maliable. If I tried to boil it down, consistently Brainiac has had a complete disregard for Superman and loves to verbally abuse him. Brainiac wants to subjugate everything to his will. Those are the only two/three consistent things about the character, here is my argument:

    When Brainiac first appeared, he appeared to be humanoid and had a pet "monkey". He made fun of Superman and shrank cities into bottles. The next two or three appearances of Brainiac stuck with this.
    Then we get the 1964 Brainiac origin from Edmond Hamilton and now Brainiac is a living computer.
    More or less, this is the same Brainiac for the next 15 years or so.

    Then in 1983 (or there abouts) George Perez redesigns the character and this is the model until crisis.
    1987, John Byrne introduces "The Great Brainiac" who is a human mentalist that is controlled by an alien sentience. The Triangle Superteam jiggers the character a little bit and we get a recognizable Brainiac with Green Skin and yellow beard, but its still a human body with an alien mind. The nineties, Dan Jurgens in particular, works this Brainiac back to the silver age Edmond Hamilton version, See Superman vol 2 #148, 150. And Jurgens even has Brainiac/Doomsday team up in a JLA/Doomsday 3 issue miniseries.

    Then there is the cartoon version of Brainiac, originating from Krypton.

    Then Johns changes the character, and then Grant Morrison's worm version....I still remember the Johns story as one of the great "Superman throws up" moments.

    Sooooo……..yeah the character has had some interesting ups and downs. What's funny about it? I loved them all. I remember Elliot S! Maggin's literate Brainiac, insulting Superman with Kurt Vonnegut Jr. jokes. (Vol 1)#271 (or there abouts).

    I really agree with Kwagaton…...those Post Crisis Brainiac stories are some of the best. Panic in the Sky was so much fun.

    Now compare this with Lee/Kirby's time on FF and how Dr. Doom is handled. The Dr. Doom you read today is very similar to the one that was introduced. I attribute that to the fact that the talent stayed with the character for a good nine years and established it. Whereas Superman demanded more than one writer/senor editor and so you get these multiple "takes" on the character.
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  6. #21
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    I don't see it as that convoluted, because the different versions of Brainiac pretty well exist in different continuities. The first one did seem to be an organic alien, but then was explained to actually be a living computer in humanoid form and later on he/it gives up all pretense of humanoid appearance and expands his program. That's not hard to understand.

    The next Brainiac belongs to a completely different continuity, you don't have to know anything about the pre-Crisis continuity (in fact it's better to ignore all that) to understand the Milton Fine Brainiac. In the 1990s things get a touch complex, but no more than for other Superman villains or for DC characters in general. It seems like those DC writers believed convoluted stories were the best and they did everything in their power to deliver the most complicated material they could spin out of their brains. That's just as true for Lex Luthor who had a son that wasn't really his son, or for matrix and angel Supergirl, or for any number of DC characters--Hawkman, Aquaman, Cyborg, Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, Wonder Woman, Donna Troy, Dark Angel, the Shade, Lobo, Doom Patrol. The '90s were gnarly.

    Later continuities have given easier to understand concepts of Brainiac. As long as you don't get all the continuities mixed up, the stories themselves aren't convoluted. Obviously, if you just read a random pile of comics that all feature a character called Brainiac, pulled from sixty years worth of comics, without any context, and you tried to read these stories as if they were all supposed to be in a single continuity--then you would think it's convoluted. But what if you did the same with Superman--just jumbled all the eighty years of Superman comics in a complete mess and then assumed that was the story of one character--wouldn't that appear to be just as convoluted?
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  7. #22
    Spectacular Member oldschoolfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    I don't see it as that convoluted, because the different versions of Brainiac pretty well exist in different continuities. The first one did seem to be an organic alien, but then was explained to actually be a living computer in humanoid form and later on he/it gives up all pretense of humanoid appearance and expands his program. That's not hard to understand.

    The next Brainiac belongs to a completely different continuity, you don't have to know anything about the pre-Crisis continuity (in fact it's better to ignore all that) to understand the Milton Fine Brainiac. In the 1990s things get a touch complex, but no more than for other Superman villains or for DC characters in general. It seems like those DC writers believed convoluted stories were the best and they did everything in their power to deliver the most complicated material they could spin out of their brains. That's just as true for Lex Luthor who had a son that wasn't really his son, or for matrix and angel Supergirl, or for any number of DC characters--Hawkman, Aquaman, Cyborg, Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, Wonder Woman, Donna Troy, Dark Angel, the Shade, Lobo, Doom Patrol. The '90s were gnarly.

    Later continuities have given easier to understand concepts of Brainiac. As long as you don't get all the continuities mixed up, the stories themselves aren't convoluted. Obviously, if you just read a random pile of comics that all feature a character called Brainiac, pulled from sixty years worth of comics, without any context, and you tried to read these stories as if they were all supposed to be in a single continuity--then you would think it's convoluted. But what if you did the same with Superman--just jumbled all the eighty years of Superman comics in a complete mess and then assumed that was the story of one character--wouldn't that appear to be just as convoluted?
    When I was a kid and trading piles of comics were a thing, we had this pile of Tales of Suspense that skipped around 5 or 10 issues at a time. There were like seven issues or so, we would sit and read them and try to figure out how Iron Man and Cap got from point A to point B and it was very frustrating because you couldn't find the in between issues.

    BUT, when I read Superman I didn't have that problem. Action Comics was different because those stories would continue, but Superman had self contained stories. I loved, and still love, those books. Do I have a point? Nah. Your post just brought back a cool memory.

    I didn't think the nineties Brainiac was *that* convoluted, I just got the feeling that Dan Jurgens (of whom I am a fan) wanted to take Brainiac back to his Edmond Hamilton roots circa Superman #167.

    And your point of each Brainiac being consistent within his continuity is valid. I am hard pressed to think of a Superman villain that was consistent going back to the Silver Age. It is possible to pick up random issues of Superman and have Lex Luthor look consistently the same, you would have to skip certain years(91-94 for example), but it is possible.
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  8. #23
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Well I guess Mxy is oddly enough pretty close to that. Metallo, Lex, Zod, Brainiac, Toyman, Parasite... not so much. Maybe Bizarro is second, although they don't keep his speech pattern consistent so it gets rough. Bizarro and Prankster to me have always been severely underrated and Jack will always be the best Toyman to me.

    Brainiac from the early 70s up to Forever Evil is my favorite villain though, and that incorporates nearly every change he's gone through. 1977 to 1983, 1988-1994, and 2011-13 have my favorite stories and he's my favorite villain even if you can't avoid being for Lex at all.
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  9. #24
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    He certainly has the prettiest colours.
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  10. #25
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    Brainiacs origin seems to be the more frustrating element but now we're in the age of 3d printing organs it makes everything smooth over so much easier.

    It also allows both pre and post crisis origins to feasibly work. In pre the Coluans ignore Brainiac long enough for him to geberate a body and begin his reign of terror. Post Crisis they figure his shit out but he teleports into a human body before they destroy him.

  11. #26
    Extraordinary Member Zero Hunter's Avatar
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    I have never liked the origin where he starts out as just a computer program. I much prefer he was a brilliant Coluan who became obsessed with collecting and hording knowledge and over time using that knowledge he upgraded his body using tech. I thinking keep him at least partially organic is important to the character. Plus you need him to be organic so you can have his bloodline carry on with Vril Dox II, Lyrl Dox, and finally Querl Dox (Brainiac 5).

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