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Brainiac 5
Cover to Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 5) #1 (2005).
Art by Barry Kitson
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Action Comics #276
(May 1961)
Created by Jerry Siegel
Jim Mooney
In-story information
Alter ego Querl Dox
Species Coluan
Place of origin Colu
Team affiliations Legion of Super-Heroes
Notable aliases Brainiac 5.1, B-5, Brainy
Abilities Twelfth Level Intelligence

Brainiac 5 (Querl Dox) is a fictional character who exists in the future of the DC Universe. He is a long standing member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Brainiac 5 is from the planet Colu.[1]


Publication history

Brainiac 5 made his first appearance in Action Comics #276 (May 1961).

Fictional character biography

Original Continuity (1958-1994)

Brainiac 5 is a green-skinned, blond-haired teenager, dressed in a purple jumpsuit, who claimed to be descended from the original Brainiac, a Superman villain. He wished to join the Legion as atonement for his great-great-grandfather's misdeeds. When Brainiac 1 was revealed to be an android created by the Computer Tyrants, Brainiac 5 "discovered" he was actually descended from Brainiac 2, the leader of the rebellion against the tyrants, whom Brainiac had briefly "adopted". Brainiac 5's ingenuity led to the invention of, amongst other things, the Legion flight ring (perfecting an invention of the original Invisible Kid based on a metal discovered by Mon-El), the anti-lead serum that allowed Mon-El to leave the Phantom Zone and the force field belt which became the signature device of the character. Another of Brainiac 5's creations would have less beneficial effects. The super computer Computo, which he created, attempted to take over the world, killing one of Triplicate Girl's three selves. He successfully destroyed his creation with "an anti-matter force", but this highlighted one of his major flaws: a habit of initiating projects without considering the dangers. A much later example was his transformation of fellow scientist Professor Jaxon Rugarth into the psychotic, all-powerful Infinite Man in conjunction with honorary Legionnaire Rond Vidar.

In fact, as time went on, Brainiac 5 began to be portrayed as unstable. Long attracted to Supergirl, Brainiac 5 created a robot duplicate of her in his sleep, convincing himself this was the real Supergirl.[2] He seemed to recover from this, but a few years later would become even more unbalanced. The Legion later encountered Pulsar Stargrave, a villain who convinced Brainiac 5 that he was the Coluan's long-lost father.[3] Brainiac 5 joined Stargrave to battle the sorcerer Mordru, but the android's influence would haunt him long after that. It was claimed in Superboy #225 that Stargrave was actually the original Brainiac android, but the truth of this is uncertain.

When Stargrave murdered Ultra Boy's girlfriend An Ryd, Brainiac 5, driven mad by Stargrave, framed Ultra Boy for the murder. Chameleon Boy, who suspected this from the beginning, finally found proof when Brainiac's madness led him to an attempt to destroy the universe, utilizing the Miracle Machine, a device that turned thoughts into reality. He was stopped by Matter-Eater Lad, who ate the machine, and both were committed to a mental institution, the energies of the Machine having driven Matter-Eater Lad insane as well. Brainiac 5 eventually recovered his sanity and rejoined the group. Shortly afterward, however, he was accused of having murdered Ultra Boy's girlfriend himself. To prove his innocence, he went after Stargrave and finally defeated him. He later managed to cure Matter-Eater Lad's insanity as well. Around this time, he also undid another of his mistakes by finally finding a way of controlling Computo.

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Brainiac 5 enters a state of deep melancholy upon the thousand-year anniversary of Supergirl's death.[4][5] However, as the Crisis eliminated Supergirl from existence, Brainiac 5 (as well as everyone else) had no recollection of her. Beyond this, however, Brainiac 5's history was relatively unaffected by the Crisis, although it would be some time before he received an origin that reflected the new Brainiac 1. Following the death of the pocket universe Superboy, Brainiac 5 was one of a number of Legionnaires who swore revenge on the Time Trapper. To this end, he recreated the Infinite Man. The Infinite Man and Time Trapper seemingly destroyed each other, but Brainiac 5 quit the Legion after being accused of murdering Professor Rugarth. He rejoined in Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 3) #63 (Aug 1989), shortly before the "Five Year Gap".

"Five Year Gap"

Five years after the end of the "Magic Wars", things had radically changed for the heroes, most notably the disbanding of the Legion and an ongoing war with the Khund Empire, which had resulted in Earth's government (Earthgov) signing a deal with the Dominators. When Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) began, Brainiac 5 was dedicated to finding a cure to the Validus Plague, a virulent disease that had afflicted an entire planet and crippled the former Lightning Lad, Garth Ranzz. Soon after the start of Legion (vol. 4) a retcon removed the Superman family of characters almost completely from Legion continuity. Supergirl was replaced by Laurel Gand, a Daxamite descendant of Lar Gand's brother. Unlike Supergirl, she was a native of the 30th century. Brainiac 5 and Laurel did have a relationship, but the couple eventually separated and she became the common law wife of Rond Vidar (a Legion ally and Green Lantern who had been a close friend of Brainiac 5).

Brainiac 5 joined other Legionnaires in searching for the space pirate Roxxas, and was present when the team officially reformed. The reassembled Legion repelled a Khund invasion fleet, and confronted Darkseid, but shortly thereafter, was swept into the war against the corrupt Earthgov and the Dominators. During the Dominators' subjugation of Earth, the members of their highly classified "Batch SW6" escaped captivity. Originally, Batch SW6 appeared to be a group of teenage Legionnaire clones, created from samples apparently taken just prior to Ferro Lad's death at the hands of the Sun-Eater. Later, they were revealed to be time-paradox duplicates, every bit as legitimate as their older counterparts. After Earth was destroyed in a disaster reminiscent of the destruction of Krypton over a millennium earlier,[6] a few dozen surviving cities and their inhabitants reconstituted their world as New Earth. The SW6 Legionnaires — including their version of Brainiac 5 — remained.

Not long after the destruction of Earth, Brainiac 5 discovered the timestream was extremely unstable, and that Legion history was in a state of constant flux. This was the first indication of Zero Hour, the event that would lead to the Legion's whole history being rebooted. During a battle with Glorith, a time-warping sorceress, Brainiac 5 was rapidly aged into a weathered, enfeebled older man. Due to the trauma of this rapid aging, Brainiac's already-prickly personality took a turn for the worse, and he became colder, more clinical, and even amoral. When the Legion was forced to go on the run as fugitives after being framed by Universo and the Khund Empire, Brainiac wore a high-tech combat suit to protect his ravaged new body, and went by the simpler moniker of "5". When "Zero Hour" befell the Legion, Brainiac 5 redoubled his efforts to try and save the timestream and reality as the 30th century knew it. Despite all the brilliance of Brainiac and his youthful SW6 counterpart combined, they could not save themselves from being swallowed up by temporal entropy, and their timeline was rebooted.

Zero Hour Reboot Continuity (1994-2004)

Following the Zero Hour event and the rebooting of the Legion, the "new" Brainiac 5 was extremely antisocial and disrespectful of his colleagues. He barely interacted with the other Legionnaires, although he was still somewhat attracted to Laurel Gand, now called Andromeda, who was now also something of an outsider. When Andromeda was believed killed, he was the only person who really missed her, a wrenching experience for someone used to suppressing emotion.[7] It was later revealed that, even amongst Coluans, Querl Dox had been something of a loner, due to his even higher intelligence, interest in practical experiments rather than "pure" thought, and lack of concern about the consequences of his experiments. It was also revealed that his mother, Brainiac 4, had abandoned him at birth, having no emotional attachment whatsoever to her newborn child.[8] As a child, he was cared for by robots and given almost no contact with other living people, developing no social skills. Having created a method of traveling back to the 20th century, leading to the Legion's rescue of Valor, Brainiac 5 was arrested for unauthorized time-travel. He was later pardoned when R.J. Brande became President of the United Planets.

Trapped in the 20th century

Brainiac 5 was one of a number of Legionnaires who were trapped in the 20th century. He spent his efforts then trying to find a way back to his own time using 20th century equipment. He finally produced a computer capable of doing this, utilizing a 30th Century Omnicom, a New Gods Mother Box loaned to him by Metron and the responsometer of Veridium of the Metal Men. Unfortunately, this became the post-Zero Hour C.O.M.P.U.T.O. The Legion had to defeat it and separate it into its component pieces before returning to their own time. While in the 20th century, he also encountered his ancestors, Brainiac and Vril Dox II, as well as the post-Crisis Supergirl. Ironically, he was attracted to Supergirl due to her similarity to Andromeda (some stories suggested that Brainiac 5's attraction for tall blonde women was linked to his desire to find his mother, a tall blonde who had abandoned him at birth).[citation needed]

Brainiac 5.1

Upgrade: Brainiac 5.1

Upon his return, he was part of a team that investigated a mysterious space anomaly. The anomaly "upgraded" him: he was now more considerate of others, and had vastly improved people skills. He also internalized his force shield apparatus. His friend Gates dubbed the improved Querl Dox "Brainiac 5.1", a name he adopted.[9]

Shortly after that, the Legion investigated the criminal/terrorist organization called the Dark Circle. Querl learned his mother, Brainiac 4, was the leader of the Dark Circle, having found that mass destruction was the only thing capable of making her feel emotions.[10] The shock of this almost caused him to revert to his former, distant self. Although he did not revert, he began to be somewhat sarcastic and impatient again. He also began researching without considering the consequences again, inadvertently transforming the team into a "Bizarro Legion".[11]

Legion Lost

Brainiac 5.1 was one of a number of Legionnaires who were cast into a distant galaxy when the Stargate network was shut down. They spent a year travelling through the "Lost Galaxy". During this time, he felt a great amount of stress, as his teammates all believed he could devise a way of getting them home in addition to all the other responsibilities forced upon him by the circumstances of their situation. As he eventually confessed to Saturn Girl, he didn't have a clue how to get them home - or even where "home" was, relative to their location. In the same conversation, he also complained that he'd "always hated [his] name upgrade," and on the way out, as well as reassuring him, she made a point of redubbing him "Brainiac Five," and he dropped the ".1" from his name thereafter.[12] Eventually, using his teammate Shikari's tracking skills and an interdimensional doorway they'd earlier found, but been forced to leave, he did get them home. Upon their return, Brainiac began developing a replacement for the Stargates, based on the "threshold" doorway they had used to return from the Lost Galaxy. Restoring the connection to the planet Xanthu, they learned that it had been at war with Robotica, the "robot homeworld", until they mysteriously disappeared. Robotica's leader was revealed as C.O.M.P.U.T.O. A strike team was launched against it, but Brainiac 5 tricked it into upgrading itself, so it no longer sought vengeance.[13] It was revealed that the Coluans disapproved of artificial intelligence, however, and Brainiac 5 was made a pariah on his homeworld for saving machine-life from destruction.[14]

"Threeboot" Continuity (2004-2009)

In volume 5 of the Legion of Super-Heroes title, Brainiac 5 is portrayed as similar to his ancestor Vril Dox II in L.E.G.I.O.N.. He is just as arrogant and unthinking of others as the previous version was initially, but is more politically savvy. He has a tendency to put plans in motion without consulting Legion leader Cosmic Boy, who suspects him of planning a coup. He also has problems with Dream Girl as he hates that she is able to predict the future without scientific means. "Brainy" was also unnerved when she told him that they would one day marry. When she was killed during Terror Firma's attack on the Legion HQ on Earth, he became obsessed with "outthinking death." In a botched experiment to restore her to life, he however manages to store her consciousness in his own subconscious mind, enabling the girl to interact with him in his dreams, and keep using her precognition in his behalf. Following Cosmic Boy's disappearance, Brainiac 5 has become the advisor to Legion leader Supergirl and later to Lightning Lad.

Brainiac 5 eventually proposes to Dream Girl after spending the night together in which Dream Girl inhabited the body of a spiritualist, however, on the same night, Princess Projectra has his own urges and primal, repressed emotion, viciously attack Dream Girl upon her return to Querl's mind, viciously beating her and gouging out her eyes, leaving the girl blind and powerless, thus hoping to strip Brainiac 5 of her costant counseling. [15] He much later manages to turn their dream into reality when, forced to rebuild new bodies for his teammates, mangled to shreds by a race of digitalized aliens while connected to the cyberspace, creates a new body for Dream Girl, imprinting her personality, into the cloned body. Successful in his attempt, that, despite Nura's previsions, even restored her lost sight, Brainiac 5 happily extends to all the legionnaires his invitation to their marriage, holding hands with his resurrected soon-to-be bride [16]

Unbeknowst to Brainiac 5, the dark side of his mind, the avatar of his repressed urges and dark feelings, was granted a physical body by Princess Projectra and sent to the physical body. [15]

Post-Infinite Crisis (2007- )

The events of the Infinite Crisis miniseries have apparently restored a close analogue of the Pre-Crisis Legion to continuity, as seen in "The Lightning Saga" story arc in Justice League of America and Justice Society of America, and in the "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" story arc in Action Comics. This incarnation of the Legion shares roughly the same history as the original Legion up to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths.[17]

The Lightning Saga

The original Brainiac 5 from the Pre-Crisis universe briefly appeared in the Justice League/Justice Society Lightning Saga crossover. He was revealed as the mastermind behind the Legion's plot to return to the 21st century to retrieve someone connected to the Flash. At the end of the storyline, Brainiac 5 was seen holding one of the lightning rods the Legionnaires used on 21st century Earth, and told his teammates that the Legion had gotten what it came for. This Brainiac 5's agenda does not end there, however; in the pages of Countdown, Una arrived in the present to stop Karate Kid from returning to the 31st century, explaining that Brainiac 5 says the two of them have another mission in the present day.

Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes

In this follow-up story to the Lightning Saga (Taking place in Action Comics #858-863), Brainiac 5 is masquerading as a tyrannical dictator of Colu, but only to delay Colu, which is the strategical beachhead of a United Planets attack on Earth, and keep them from completing their calculations. Brainiac still possesses the Lightning Rod, and states that the person inside is crucial to stopping the "Crisis of the 31st century". However, his ruse is discovered, and Brainy leaves with the Legion, with only four hours until the United Planets go to war.[18] After Superman and the Legion defeat Earthman and his "Justice League of Earth", and convince the armada to stand down, Brainiac 5 tells Superman that the Legion won't forget him this time.

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds

In this Final Crisis tie-in, Brainiac 5 is driven to breaking point by his being outcast by Colu, and Earth's continued xenophobia. He considers leaving the Legion, but is convinced to remain as a way to prove all his naysayers wrong. When Superboy-Prime attacks Takron-Galtos and frees the Legion of Super-Villains, Brainiac 5 informs his fellow Legionnaires of his plan to recruit their post-Zero Hour and "Threeboot" selves to help.[19] His plan succeeds, Brainiac meets his alternate selves from two other realities. The "Threeboot" version of Brainiac refuses to work with his older self, due to his rebellious nature, while the post-Zero Hour version sees his older counterpart as wiser and more experienced, and tries to mediate between his alternate selves.[20] However, despite their differences, all three versions of Brainiac 5 work together to set in motion the final phases of the original Brainy's master contingency plan against Superboy-Prime. This plan, which involved the resurrections of Superboy-Prime foes Bart Allen aka Kid Flash (whose essence was in the lightning rod) and Connor Kent aka Superboy, was devised long before when Brainiac 5 was forewarned of Prime's arrival by one of Dream Girl's prophesies.

Powers and abilities

Brainiac 5 possesses a "Twelfth level Intellect," which grants him superhuman calculation skills, amazing memory and exceptional technical know-how. By comparison, 20th century Earth as a whole constitutes a "Sixth level" intelligence, and most of his fellow Coluans have an "Eighth level" intelligence. 31st century Earth as a whole is a "Ninth level" intelligence. His memory allows him to retain knowledge of events that all other characters forget such as the first meeting of the three different Legions.[21]


Since Brainiac 5 processes a super intelligent mind, his main method of aiding himself and his fellow Legionnaires has always been through devices he himself invented. His primary role in any version of the Legion has always been that of the scientist. One of his most important inventions is the Legion Flight Ring, which he has either invented or had a significant role in creating over the various reboots of the Legion. Another invention, which has proved invaluable to him, is the force field belt which has remained his main method of self defense in cases where he found himself in battle in every version of the Legion.

In various storylines, another invention of his has been the super computer C.O.M.P.U.T.O. This machine has been included in most versions of the Legion, but always reworked in the storyline to suit the situation required. From time to time, Brainiac 5 found a way to create methods of time travel to send or bring other DC characters to and from the 31st century. Other methods of travel that have not involved time travel have included devices such as the developments on the Threshold technology and the wormhole-conduit teleporter.

Not all of Brainiac 5's inventions have proved useful to the Legion. Both versions of C.O.M.P.U.T.O. each proved to be among Brainiac 5's worst mistakes. While not a product of his own research but rather stolen data, Brainiac 5.1 also managed to create Bizarro versions of many of the Legion members.

Other media

Superman: The Animated Series

In Superman: The Animated Series, Brainiac 5 made an appearance in the episode "New Kids In Town", chatting with fellow teammate Triplicate Girl. Its unclear if he, in fact, uses the name Brainiac 5 or has any connections to Brainiac. However, his costume included a chest symbol comprising three circles forming an inverted triangle. This closely resembled the discs on the animated Brainiac's forehead (and his icon when he was a computer program), suggesting some kind of connection between them. It was revealed on commentary on the Superman: The Animated Series Vol. 3 box set that this character was in fact Brainiac 5.[citation needed]

Justice League Unlimited

He reappeared in an episode of Justice League Unlimited ("Far From Home") voiced by Matt Czuchry. It is revealed that Brainiac learned to pass its code biologically and created Brainiac 5 as an organic being; unfortunately for Brainiac, Brainiac 5 rejected evil and joined the Legion of Super Heroes. Here, he brings Green Arrow, Supergirl, and Green Lantern into the future to help him battle the Fatal Five. In the short time of meeting each other, Brainiac 5 and Supergirl fall in love.

Legion of Super-Heroes animated series

In the new Legion of Super-Heroes animated series, airing Saturday mornings on The CW, Brainiac 5 is a part of the core Legion team and its youngest member (in season 1). His voice is provided by actor Adam Wylie. In the series, Brainiac 5 is Coluan, a nano-based cybernetic organism that not only possesses 12th-level intelligence, but can assume a human-like form. His human-like form can also alter its shape to create tools and weapons, much like the reboot Legion member, Gear. His AI core is based on the original Brainiac 1.0 (voiced by Corey Burton), from whom he tries to distance himself as best as possible.

Unlike many versions where he is portrayed as cold and unfeeling, this version of Brainiac 5 is considerably more emotional. He often appears eager to prove himself to his older teammates, particularly the original Superman; Brainiac 5, unlike his villainous ancestor, idolizes Superman. However, his high intellect and his emotional nature often cause him internal conflict; for example, he idolizes Superman, but knows intellectually that he cannot reveal many of the things he knows lie in the future for Superman once he is returned to his own time, as Superman's knowledge of 'future' events could change what is, for the Legion, history. In the second season episodes "Chained Lightning", and "Message in a Bottle" Brainiac 5 grows close to Shrinking Violet; however, as the series ended it remains unknown if this was an intended romance or not.

In the second season premiere, Superman X (a clone of Superman from the 41st century) hints that someday, Brainiac 5 will be responsible for something terrible in the future. The starting phase occurs in "Message in a Bottle", when Brainiac 5 was forced to tap into the data of Brainiac, who had been observing Brainiac 5 since he came online. Brainiac 5 travels within himself to meet with his ancestor, where he is offered data from the original Brainiac. Brainiac 5 forcefully accepts the 'gift' of data he needed to stop Imperiex from his ancestor, who hinted it to 'open new avenues of possibilities'.

Soon after using the info he obtained to save Kandor and restore it to original size, Brainiac 5 begins to suffer data corruption as Imperiex intended from the start, becoming cold and unfeeling in the process. Once completely under his ancestor's influence during the "Dark Victory" series finale, Brainiac 5 assumes a new form in homage to his ancestor and leaves the Legion to join Imperiex's army, taking command after killing Imperiex. Once overpowering the hivemind on his homeworld of Colu with his will, Brainiac 5 intends to bring "order" to the universe, destroying any who interfere. Thanks to Superman and Superman X, Brainiac 5 managed to regain control over himself and overpower his ancestor. In the process, Brainiac 5 becomes a pure organic being as he discards his robotic armor. To cope with this new state and his recent actions, Brainiac 5 leaves the Legion. The robotic parts, in turn, combine to form a new evil Brainiac, leaving Season 2 with a cliffhanger, which Season 3 was intended to finish until it was canceled.

DC Universe Online

Brainiac 5 is set to appear in the upcoming MMORPG DC Universe Online.


In the Smallville episode "Legion", Clark Kent and three Legionnaires (Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy) extract Brainiac from Chloe Sullivan's body, leaving his nanobots a condensed ball of metal. Shortly before leaving, Rokk (Cosmic Boy) states that the Legion will attempt to repurpose any programming they can use from the core. Imra hopes that "Brainiac 5" will be friendlier.


  1. ^ Beatty, Scott (2008), "Brainiac 5", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 60, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5 
  2. ^ Superboy #204 (September-October 1974)
  3. ^ Superboy #224 (Feb 1977)
  4. ^ Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 3) #16 (November 1985)
  5. ^ Supergirl was killed by the Anti-Monitor in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (October 1985).
  6. ^ Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #38 (Late Dec. 1992)
  7. ^ Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #72 (Sept 1995)
  8. ^ Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #77 (Feb 1996)
  9. ^ Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #104 (May 1998)
  10. ^ Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #108 (Sept 1998)
  11. ^ Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #114-5
  12. ^ Legion Lost #9 (Jan 2001)
  13. ^ The Legion #14 (Jan 2002)
  14. ^ The Legion #15 (Feb 2004)
  15. ^ a b Legion of Super-Heroes #47 (December 2008)
  16. ^ Legion of Super-Heroes #50 (March 2009)
  17. ^ IGN: Superman/Green Lantern interview
  18. ^ Action Comics #862 (March 2008)
  19. ^ Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1 (August 2008)
  20. ^ Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #2 (October 2008)
  21. ^ Legion of Three Worlds #3

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