Who's Brainiac 5?

Who's This? The Legion's smarty-pants.

The facts: A member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Brainy was created by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney for Supergirl's induction in the team back in Action Comics #276 (May 1961). He is also inducted that day and has since been a mainstay of the team, whatever its incarnation. I dare say it's because he's the descendant of a major Superman villain, but he's been easier to integrate into reboots or adaptations as a result. His popular reverso-legacy, Vril Dox, helped cement his existence in new continuities too. Because when you think about it, a Legionnaire whose power is simply to be super-smart might not otherwise get the nod.
How you could have heard of him: Well, like I said. Along with the three Founders, he's probably the most likely to be adapted to other media. They make him a cyborg in the Legion of Super-Heroes animated series. James Marsters played him on Smallville, then Jesse Rath on Supergirl. In the comics, he's one of the most unchanged of Bendis's Legionnaires.
Example story: Legion of Super-Heroes #311 (May 1984) "Destruction by Design" by Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt
That cover ain't lyin'. The way they play Brainiac 5's genius is that he is both a creator and a destroyer. He can create the most wonderful things, but as a teen Frankenstein, that came come at a cost, or else his intense focus makes him miss a small detail and everything goes boom. So as Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel bring a Legion contest winner to the HQ for a tour (Flynt Brojj is an amalgam of Mike Flynn and Harry Broertjes of Legion Outpost fanzine fame), the above-ground level part comes tumbling down.
Brainy was the only one inside (and is in the sub-basements besides), but strangely, the force field around the headquarters is still intact, so the heroes can't enter to rescue him. It's all his fault of course.
He's tryng to cure Daniell Foccard, Invisible Kid's sister who was infected with Computo's consciousness in the recent LSH Annual #1. Yes, Computo, his ultimate Frankenstein project, a super-computer that achieved sentience and immediately decided to destroy all biological life starting with one of Triplicate Girl's bodies. In trying to isolate the HQ's systems so Computo couldn't get at them during the excision procedure, he overloaded them and blew up the base. And now the only thing between him and Computo's rage is his personal force field.
Even under pressure (or especially under pressure?), Brainiac 5 can't stop thinking of ways to turn a bad situation into an advantage... and Spock-like, also calculating likelihood of success. He goes for it, first reversing his force field on Danielle's possessed body.
Whatever he does next, it leads to the image on the cover. Brainy is propelled high into the air by an explosion. In the end, only his dignity might be bruised from the way he's saved.
Now he's gonna need to explain himself. Well, see, the explosion was a result of his dropping his field to make a specially prepared globe absorb Computo's machine mind. And Danielle should be fine, somewhere in the ruins. But not ruins for long! Here's where it gets kind of Doctor Who. The wreckage starts to reform itself and turn into a brand NEW HQ (which is really the one *I* think of when someone mentions the Legion HQ (sorry, Fortress Lad).
Brainiac 5's genius is fully revealed: He had not only been planning to auto-convert de building (somehow) into a new design, but Computo, in its new format, is helping with the 5-second reconstruction! What, Computo's not dead?! They don't belabor the point, but Duo Damsel whose "sister" was murdered by the machine and Bouncing Boy her husband look rightfully shocked.
But that's correct, the new HQ comes with its own floating majordomo and THIS Computo is completely benign and voiced by Paul Bettany. And while some iterations of the character have been serious, cold, or misanthropic, not the original Brainy (who, after all, did date Supergirl for a long time, he had to be somewhat pleasant). No, this Brainiac 5 can laugh.
He's a bit of a madman, that one.

From time to time, someone does a B5 solo story, and they're usually like this one, i.e. he tries to do something incredible, ends up causing a lot of problems, then fixes the problem incredibly. He's his own worst enemy, but also his own best solution.

Who's Next?
A TALL brain more than a BIG brain.



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