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DC is promising a major retcon of Superman villain Brainiac as we finally learn his "true history" in June

Is he a robot? A despotic alien? Something in between? DC is promising we'll find out what Brainiac is really all about this summer

Image credit: Jorge Jimenez/DC

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It’s the end of an era for DC in June 2024, with the final full month of the 'Dawn of DC' — and also the end of the 'House of Brainiac' crossover in the Superman titles, and maybe the end of Batman’s inner conflict, as well. (Nah, that’ll never happen.) What’s behind all of this? Well, just the oncoming event that is Absolute Power, in which Amanda Waller puts her master plan into action and tries to save the DC Universe from… itself…? As if that weren’t enough, Nightwing’s origin is getting the anniversary treatment, and one iconic Superman villain is getting a bit of a historical makeover.

In the final installments of a three-month storyline centering around longtime villain Brainiac, we’re being promised a chance to finally learn what he’s really all about.

The original Brainiac first appeared all the way back in 1958’s Action Comics #242 as a green-skinned alien with a fondness for shrinking down cities and storing them in glass jars. (Look, everyone needs a hobby.) He’d go on to appear in Superman comics on a relatively regular basis for the next few decades, with his backstory becoming increasingly complicated as he did so: he would be revealed to be a robot that merely looked like a green-skinned alien, perhaps the ancestor of the 30th century member of the Legion of Super-Heroes known as Brainiac 5, a villain that had part of Superman’s homeward in one of his glass jars — thereby meaning that Kal-El was not, as he famously claimed, the “last son of Krypton” — or, perhaps, the consciousness of an alien possessing a human mentalist from across the cosmos.

Yeah, it’s safe to say that Brainiac’s history is a little complicated. We’re not even getting into that whole Convergence thing, when Brainiac apparently merged with multiple versions of himself from across the Multiverse, only to become sick from the experience and almost break reality before returning to normal. We’re still not entirely sure what happened there; he might have rewritten reality in the process…?

All of this might be something we don’t need to concern ourselves with anymore after June, however — the climactic issues of this Spring’s crossover between the Superman and Action Comics series, House of Brainiac, are promising to reveal “the true history of Brainiac” — which is likely to clear everything up, just in time for the villain to help shape the future of the DCU as part of the Absolute Power crossover that’s starting in July.

What is the true history of Brainiac…? Well, that’s something we can’t even really begin to speculate at least until the start of House of Brainiac — which arrives in Action Comics #1064, released March 17, as the City of Tomorrow gets overrun by an army of versions of fan-favorite berzerker alien Lobo, all working for Brainiac. But… why? Wait, does Brainiac have a secret connection with Lobo? Is that part of his true history? It’s certainly seeming like it’s going to be a packed next few months ahead of the Man of Steel and his friends and foes, at least…

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Graeme McMillan

Staff Writer

Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.