Posts tagged ‘Brainiac’

Action 583 – “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” concludes

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Action 583 (Sept. 86) brings to a close the era of the Pre-Crisis Superman, with the concluding half of an Imaginary Story by Alan Moore, Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger.

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The entire story is one of dark foreboding, and is related by Lois Lane, now married and with a son, to a reporter, writing a story about the last days of Superman.  Many of Superman’s friends and enemies appeared in the first half of the story, and most of the villains have died.  Superman has brought Lois, Lana, Jimmy, Perry White and his wife to the Fortress of Solitude.  Cosmic King, Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen have come from the future, knowing that this was the end of Superman, to join in the fun.  They find the Kryptonite Man, as well as a disturbing union of Luthor and Brainiac.

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Many of Superman’s friends are shown throughout the issue, trying to get through the force-field surrounding the Fortress.  Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Captain Marvel and the Martian Manhunter are shown, along with Vartox, and pre-Crisis Superwoman.

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The story is filled with heart-wrenching sequences.  Jimmy takes his Elastic Lad serum, and Lana bathes in the pool that gives her super-powers, so they can join the fight against the assembling villains.  Her super-hearing allows Lana to hear Superman explain to Perry White that it is Lois that he truly loves, but he cared too much for Lana to ever let her know.

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Lana and Jimmy both fall to the Legion of Super-Villains, while Krypto sacrifices himself to take out the Kryptonite Man.

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This is all turning far too bloody and dangerous for the villains from the future, and they flee in their time bubble.  Luthor and Brainiac are the last, but perish in the snow.

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Who was the villain that brought this all about?  Mr. Mxyzptlk, the most powerful adversary Superman has, who chose to be a pest, but has now chosen to be a destroyer.

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Superman winds up using the Phantom Zone projector to rip the 5th dimensional being in half, but he has knowingly, and willingly killed.

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Though Lois gives him all manner of justifications, Superman has violated his own code.  He enters a chamber of gold kryptonite, which permanently removes his powers, and is never seen again.

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The reporter leaves.  I was teary eyed and emotionally drained by this point when I read this the first time, but so thrilled at the end, as the baby turns a lump of coal into a diamond.  And then I really looked at the face of Lois’ husband.

I believe Alan Moore has now dismissed this story as garbage, as he is wont to do.

I don’t care what he thinks.  This is the crowning gem of the first 50 years of the character.

 

Action 546 – Superman, the Justice League and the New Teen Titans vs Brainiac

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Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane pull out the stops for Action 546 (Aug. 83), the conclusion of the new Brainiac saga.

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Superman gathers the Justice League and , unusually, the New Teen Titans.  They were the hottest selling property DC had at the time, and Wolfman wrote their comic.  But it’s still not like Superman called on the Teen Titans from time to time.

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Anyway, both teams see a lot of action in this story.  The Atom Firestorm, Flash, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Red Tornado, Wonder Woman and Zatanna work with Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Changeling, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire and Terra against the invading alien armies under Brainiac’s domination.

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Lois Lane gets one scene in the story, back on the farm of her rarely appearing parents, Sam and Ella Lane.  Superman talked her out of staying on assignment in the Middle East, and she is furious to see that Lana Lang is doing the interview she worked so long at.

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While the others deal with the armies, Superman confronts Brainiac himself.  He manages to draw out solar flares, which disrupt Brainiac’s headship, and render him vulnerable.  He retreats, to fight another day.  And once Brainiac leaves, his armies, no longer mind controlled, back down.

Yup, Brainiac is definitely more of a threat than he was before.

 

Action 545 – Superman in the headship

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Wolfman and Kane continue with the new Brainiac storyline in Action 545 (July 1983).

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Much of this story really just shows how extensive Brainiac’s control is within his ship.  Superman first tries to simply attack the robotic body of Brainics, but that does nothing.  The central control is his next target, but Brainiac is not limited to that either.

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Even working his way out of the ship is a battle, as Brainiacs is in direct control of every part of the headship.

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The story interjects a scene, as Rip Hunter and Cave Carson meet up with Dane Dorrance of the Sea Devils.  For the first time, the name Forgotten Heroes is used by them to refer to their new team, and mention is made of Rick Flagg and Dolphin.  No indication at all really of what they are up to.

Dane Dorrance was last seen in the late 70s in a Human Target story in the pages of Detective Comics, in which Christopher Chance impersonated Dane.

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The story concludes as Brainiac prepares to assault Earth with the armies of two worlds he has conquered and destroyed, as Superman decides he needs to summon help.

Action 544 – Luthor loses it all, and Brainiac reboots

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Action 544 (June 1983)is a double-sized anniversary issue, with two stories, as Lex Luthor and Brainiac each get an upgrade for the 80s.

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Luthor’s story, by Bates, Swan and Anderson, comes first.  It begins as he loses yet another battle with Superman, and his robots send his wounded body off to Lexor.

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The anti-Luthor revolution that was going on when the planet was last seen must have fizzled out, as he is once again considered a planetary hero.  Ardora has had a son by Lex since the last time he was on Lexor, presumably a visit that did not make it into the comics, or else Ardora had an extremely long gestation.

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Lex decides to live out his life as a father and husband on Lexor, and be a good person.  Still, he knows that Superman will one day come for him.  He stumbles into a laboratory form a forgotten, advanced culture, and gets an idea…

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Lex performs numerous good deeds for Lexor, including a weird huge pole, going right into the centre of the planet, that will keep it safe from a Krypton-like destruction.

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But at night a mystery marauder wreaks havoc.  Who could it be?

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Superman shows up to take Lex back to Earth, and he publicly battles Superman in his new armor, which synthesizes a number of power sources, and proves dangerous to Superman.  But the Lexorians recognize the outfit, and are horrified that Lex is the mystery villain.  They shouldn’t be.

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Lex fires a blast at Superman that rebounds and hits the rod.  Lex realizes this will destroy his planet.

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Luthor tries to save Ardora and his son, but fails.

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Refusing to admit he had any part in this disaster, he blames Superman, and swears vengeance.  This storyline continues in the pages of Superman.

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George Perez’s rendition of the costume looks great,although that headpiece just doesn’t work for me.

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Wolfman and Kane handle the Brainiac story, which brings the character back to the aritifical world he had created.  He merges with the central computer, but loses his android body in the process.

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After a journey through all of time and space, in non-corporeal, mental form, which basically drives him insane, Brainiac constructs a new body for himself out of the planet.

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Brainiac also fashions the headship, which I think is the coolest Brainiac-related thing ever.

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Superman enters the ship, expecting the Brainiac he knows, and is stunned by the mechanical construct in front of him.

The story continues in the next issue.

Action 530 – Brainiac becomes evil again, and the Atom rescues Aquaman

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Wolfman, Swan and Adkins bring the team-up with Brainiac to a conclusion in Action 530 (April 1982).

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Superman once again penetrates the world-ship, finding some massive tunnels in its interior. He finds the core, it’s huge computer brain, but gets sucked into it.

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Brainiac is evil again, now that Superman has re-programmed him.  He is content to let Superman die, and have the artificial world consume everything, and birth a new universe.  Superman picks up the point that this a world-building machine as well.  He super-vibrates, figuring correctly that this will mess up the computer, which fees him.

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Superman strips the armored shell off the world, revealing the idyllic planet underneath.  Brainiac is powerless to stop him, as Superman frees the new world inside, and finds a spare bit of galaxy to put it in.

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Aquaman reveals the traitor as Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte bring this story arc to a close.  The one who attached himself to Air Wave in the first place, he did so as a spy.  Well, that was easy.  And despite Aquaman agonizing over how he can get home, all he has to do is get shocked by an electric creature.

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Ray Palmer and Jean Loring have spent the past three days on a sailboat, waiting for Aquaman to return.  When he does, Ray jumps into the ocean after him.  Umm, why?  Are you afraid he will drown?  All right, I’ll concede maybe you want to see if he is injured.

Anyway, the Atom “rescues” Aquaman, but that’s about all he does in this long story.

 

Action 529 – Superman ignores problems, and Aquaman on an alien world

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Wolfman, Swan and Dan Adkins continue the struggle of Brainiac and Superman against the not-Death Star in Action 529 (March 1982).

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Brainiac finds his ship under attack from the artificial world that he created.

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He uses his shrinking technology to save a city about to be destroyed, and finds the experience rewarding.  But this is the re-programmed Brainiac, made into a good person by Superman.  Superman, by the way, isn’t doing much of anything, even though a volcano has burst through the streets of Metropolis.  An effect of the blast from the ship is that he cannot see the ship now, or any of its effects.

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Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen make him realize the situation, and he carries Jimmy along with him, to point out the disasters he needs to fight.

Superman realizes they need more information about the ship than they have, and that the only way to learn more would be to re-program Brainiac to his original state, in which he created the Death Star type world.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Bob Rozakis, Alex Saviuk and Pablo Marcos having some surprising twists in this Aquaman chapter of the ongoing back-up story.  Aquaman fights the land invaders, although they manage to knock him out and take him into a desert.

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Aquaman finds out that they are not land based beings at all, but more underwater creatures, disguising themselves.

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Aquaman returns to the war zone, and though they defeat the invaders, he realizes that his own side has a traitor among them.

The story continues next issue.

 

Action 528 – Superman and Brainiac vs the Death Star

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Ok, it’s not called the Death Star in the story, but it so totally is.  And that’s what people I knew called the story in Action 528 (Feb.82) at the time it came out, after Empire Strikes Back.

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They even use Star Wars style lettering for the title of this story, by Wolfman, Swan and Chiaramonte.

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There is a totally non-Star Wars related plot in the story, as Morgan Edge intends to sell off the Daily Planet, which is losing money for Galaxy Communications.  Perry White is not the only one upset, and Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Steve Lombard and Jimmy Olsen spend the story awaiting news on this.

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Superman gets far more interesting stuff to do, having been contacted by Brainiac, who warns him of an approaching, all-consuming artificial world.  Brainiac did build the thing, before realizing how all-destroying it would be.  Oops.

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The two heroes work together, Superman penetrating the world, while Brainiac advises him from his ship.  This invasion proves fruitless, and Brainiac tries turning the planet “off,” putting it in a dormant state while Superman attacks.

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But even “asleep,” the planet takes down Superman.

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A really good, suspenseful ending.  An injured Superman collapses in front of the waiting Daily Planet staff, while Brainiac observes the destructive effects of the not-Death Star’s approach to Earth.

The story continues in the next chapter.

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Aquaman gets a solo chapter as part of Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte’s continuing story arc.

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Materializing on the alien world Air Wave had been drawn to, Aquaman finds a race of intelligent sea creatures, who are being exploited and enslaved by land dwellers.  Aquaman decides to help them, just as the land dwellers show up.

The story continues in the next issue.

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