DCAU #171: Ghost in the Machine

IN THIS ONE... Brainiac takes over LexCorp and forces Luthor to rebuild his body.

CREDITS: Written by Rich Fogel; directed by Hiroyuki Aoyama.

REVIEW: The only episode to really focus on Mercy Graves, in Ghost in the Machine, it's quite clear to the viewer (and later, to Lois) that she's in love with Lex Luthor. This mirrors Harley Quinn's story in more than one way as Lex is absolutely wretched to her and treats her like a lap dog. Even she admits that he "made" her, an urchin off the streets trained to be his bodyguard/work-wife. And that has a strong pull on her no matter what he's up to and how he treats her. Unfortunately, we're very far from her getting her due.

The return of Brainiac is merely acceptable however, regaining mobility with 4 minutes to go and getting blown up almost immediately. He's actually more effective and terrifying as a computer program infecting the technology around him. He has cool crab-like drones. He sabotages LexCorp operations (but really, Lex sabotages himself by staging incredibly dangerous presentation and firing missiles at his own board room; he might not NEED Brainiac to ruin him). He sends missiles to Clark Kent's apartment (triggering a cool sequence where Clark catches a sidewinder and then has to deal with damaged bridge pieces collapsing on one another). All without a body. Sure, that's HARDAC's shtick, but what's good for the bat is also good for the gander (so to speak).

Whenever we see Lex and Brainiac team up in the comics, it's never a good thing for Lex. While this isn't a team-up per se - Lex is a hostage - they do need to collaborate. Lex simply rebels too late, and Brainiac proves he's the colder and smarter villain. He needs stronger plots to fulfill that promise though.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Of interest mostly for the exploration of Mercy's relationship to Lex, this is otherwise a fairly ordinary affair.


Anonymous said...

I too liked the Marcy aspect of this episode, and in fact feel like this was a stand-out episode for that reason, all other weaknesses aside. And those weaknesses are pretty profound all right.

Timothy Brannan said...

I thought I had seen everything from the DCAU and this one doesn't ring a bell at all.

I'll have to go back and check my Superman DVDs.

LiamKav said...

I really liked this one for 3 reasons:

1. I love Clark doing super stuff in his civies, especially if he's still got his glasses on. (I've also grown to accept the idea that he keeps his full suit on under his regular clothes at all times, even though that means he's putting on his regular shoes OVER his boots.)
2. The censors allowing Lois to get away with saying that Lex was suffering from "Premature Product Launch".
3. This episode might have given me a small crush on Mercy.

On the other hand, super computer genius Brainiac says that he "downloaded" himself into Lex's computers, when he actually means "uploaded". Swings and roundabouts. Also, is this the first time in the DCAU that we've really seen the "Lex is also a scientific genius" part of Luthor's personality? I know at first they really played up the post-crisis "thin Kingpin" aspect, and then like the comics gradually re-introduced the "evil scientist" stuff as time went on. I know we've seen him talk clever and plan clever, but I don't recall him rolling up his sleaves and getting elbow deep in circuits before now.,


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