We return to Kenner’s Super Powers Collection, where the DC heroes were both influenced by and influenced Super Friends. Kenner did something different with this line. Each character given a toy had his or her own minicomic, and that included the villains. As we complete the rest of the line in proper order we reach Brainiac. Throughout the various continuities Brainiac has gone back and forth between alien humanoid and robotic android, but his mission is usually the same, even if his reasoning has also changed. Brainiac usually shrinks cities for his collection. In his first appearance he was trying to repopulate his planet, in some other versions he collects cities of dying worlds or like in Superman: The Animated Series is satisfied with taking the planet’s sum history and knowledge and then blowing up the planet so that he alone has that knowledge. Because coming back in a decade and noting all the changes and advancements is too much like work or something. Maybe he hates his job?

In the Super Friends Powers world Brainiac is an android looking to enslave humanity because robots are superior. This version has him losing his humanoid body in favor of a fully robotic design. I don’t know if it was DC, Hanna-Barbera, or Kenner that chose this new design but while it’s certainly off for the character I rather like the design itself and I guess it does make for a more stand-out figure in the toy line. So what does old chromedome want to do to us this time, and how can Batman and Superman put a stop to it?

Brainiac’s milkshake brings all the heroes to the yard.

Super Powers Collection #5

featuring Brainiac

DC Comics/Kenner (1983)

As usual no title or credits given. It’s too bad because I’d love to know who writes and draws these comics. Such is the norm with mini-comics.

First the Pentagon and then the on-board computers of a plane flying over Gotham City are knocked out. Seeing the plane and not being able to catch falling planes, Batman uses his belt radio to call in someone who can, namely Superman. Then two trains are about to collide, which Batman says are given their routes by computer as well. Where are the TRS-80 Computer Whiz Kids when you really need them? Luckily their friend Superman is able to stop the trains, but who is behind all the computer failures?

“How did you hear us all the way up there?” “How do any of us do that in comics?”

Brainiac shows up in his spaceship, and that’s the design they were going with. It doesn’t look like they ever made a toy of it or even prototyped one. Too bad, because I think it could have sold. The aforementioned Superman DCAU show had their own variant and I don’t think that was made into a toy either. That’s something somebody should work on.

Brainiac then sets off a set of explosions all over Gotham, and I wonder if that had anything to do with the Pentagon’s missile-monitoring computer going out earlier? The dude likes his long plans. As Superman heads off to rescue people Batman heads to the Batcave to come up with a plan, because that meme about Batman needing prep time to defeat Galactus came from somewhere. He manages to get aboard Brainiac’s ship because warning sensors apparently aren’t standard, and confronts Brainiac, attacking the robot and getting kicked away. I think. What does it look like to you?

Behold Brainiac’ gimmick feature from his figure, the “computer kick”. Impressed?

This panel comes after Batman’s initial leap at Brainiac. Either Brainiac just kicked Batman backwards but somehow he still looks like he’s going for a second lunge or he is going for a second lunge and Brainiac is putting a kick up to meet him. And then Brainiac just…shorts out. Why? As Batman tells Superman on the page after the splash of the robot shorting out the Dark Knight wired his suit to give off an electromagnetic charge so when Batman pounced on him he began the memory wipe process. I’m not sure if that’s how it works but apparently he backed himself up somewhere because I don’t believe this is his last appearance in these comics.

I keep feeling like there’s a page missing from the scans I’m using because it just feels like it’s short. Perhaps a lack of a “the end” or not having the physical book to see it is the last page is throwing me off. Overall for a sixteen page story of two-panels maximum per page it has a decent beginning, middle, and end. The science is a bit off but otherwise it still works. Brainiac isn’t going to win even in his own story since he is the villain here. It’s serviceable at least.

For our next installment we should be seeing the return of the Transformers “Unicron Trilogy” minicomics to begin our trip through Energon, but if you missed seeing a Transformers comic review this week I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a bit longer for your fix. In our next installment I have another four-issue minicomic miniseries in conjunction with the last of the He-Man Newspaper Comic reviews to see how the minicomics handled the second toyline. See you next time for that.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

One response »

  1. Sean says:

    It’s always interesting to see how computers were portrayed in 1980s comics. Those TSR-80 Whizkids comic books were pretty nifty! And this Braniac mini-comic is a nice trip down memory lane. Including a mini-comic with each DC Super Powers action figure added a pleasant bonus to purchasing one of these toys.


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