Special “Villains Month” Title: Brainiac 1
Tony Bedard, Pascal Alixe
Forever Evil Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
This Superman (or Action Comics) tie-in to Villains Month was entirely told in flashback, which was okay by me. I’ve always liked Tony Bedard, but was a bit hesitant to enjoy a title about Brainiac, or, as I like to call him, the most convoluted character in DC Comics history. I mean, how many versions have we seen even in the last few years since the reboot? It’s like he’s the ultimate “eh, whatever” character in every writer’s arsenal. So it was a pleasant surprise to see a writer at least try to explain some of the more ridiculous plotlines and character changes in recent issues, all while not completely alienating potential new readers who picked up the issue out of curiosity. Even if the art wasn’t the greatest, Pascal Alixe did a decent enough job getting the story from point A to point B.
The issue tells the story of Vril Dox, the more humanoid version of Brainiac (and my personal favorite), and how he was pretty much a jerk from day one. He was too smart for his own good, and essentially let everyone he ever cared about die or be imprisoned in the process of his mission to eradicate everything that wasn’t “necessary” after obtaining an entire civilization’s (or planet’s) history, including his own family. We then get to see him in all of his various forms, which are actually vessels and not really even him. The green alien is Brainiac (a name he despises and was given to him by a Kryptonian scientist, and newly-admitted kindred spirit, Jor-El) and the rest are robots. I get it. And as silly as that sounds, it totally works for continuity purposes. I like the fact that Brainiac isn’t a robot, but rather a completely insane and misguided intergalactic villain with a God complex. It makes him a lot scarier. Otherwise, he’s just a sometimes green Ultron. The highlight of the issue for me was the fact that Brainiac is actually somewhat disappointed when Krypton blows up (even though he was on his way back there to do just that) because Jor-El is now dead. It adds an interesting new perspective to his rivalry with Kal-El, and makes him that much more exciting of a character to face off against Superman.
So all in all, it’s actually worth the extra dollar for the awesome cover. And for fans of Superman of the past, it’s a nice throwback to classic tales. In terms of actual New 52 continuity, it’s also nice to see a writer that actually cares about making things make sense. You know, the whole rationale behind the reboot in the first place. Let’s hope that writers like Scott Lobdell, Greg Pak, Scott Snyder, and whoever else decides to take over the Superman family titles keep Tony Bedard’s hard work in mind when they use Vril Dox again.
My Rating: 4/5