Late last week, DC Comics announced the four-issue event series Justice League: No Justice, by Scott Snyder and Francis Manapul. The series, coming hot on the heels of Dark Nights: Metal‘s conclusion, will find the world’s greatest heroes teaming up with their villains in order to save the world. According to the official release, the ringleader of this entire operation will be Brainiac — but what, exactly, is his end game?
The preview art DC released with the announcement depicts the Justice League under the thrall of Brainiac. As he fights Superman, a vision of the future seemingly stops the battle. It is an apocalyptic scene, with cities toppled and Brainiac robots defeating superheroes right and left, with the Titans and Teen Titans in particular appearing to be on the verge of death. This is apparently what makes Brainiac want to work with the Justice League, instead of fight against them.
Brainiac may be a villain, but he’s typically depicted as a collector, not a destroyer. That doesn’t mean he’s afraid to kill whole swaths of living beings in order to get what he wants, but his style is not usually to simply decimate an entire population. Even in Superman: The Animated Series, where Brainiac was closely associated with Krypton, the villain wasn’t responsible for the planet’s destruction — he just decided not to help the Kryptonians out. So what’s changed? Why is his army of robots destroying everything? Has someone taken control over him in the future?
While Brainiac may not always want to destroy, he’s neither been depicted to have a heroic side. Instead, his status as a biological and cybernetic being with a computer-like mind has made him a being of pure logic, one with no emotions and a strong sense of self-preservation. When Brainiac abandons Krypton, it’s because he’s put all his effort into preserving his own being. So if he’s helping the Justice League save the world, it’s because he needs them to help him save himself.
Can Brainiac Be Trusted?
It’s then important to wonder if the Justice League can really trust Brainiac during the events of No Justice. Everyone has been quick to point out the four different teams with their matching outfits. There’s the team of aliens in burgundy, the team of brawlers in black, the magic users in purple, and the science team in red. However, everyone seems to be forgetting about the element of the costumes that tie them all together—the pink energy discs.
There hasn’t been an official explanation as to why everyone is wearing these discs, but they are likely more than just a cool design choice. Even Starro, who doesn’t wear any clothes, has glowing pink discs attached directly to his body, so they have to serve some kind of purpose over the course of this mission. Whatever they ultimately do, it’s clear that the teams have all been equipped with some kind of Brainiac tech.
Brainiac has taken many forms over the years, but one design feature that is constantly present is the presence of pink energy discs on his body. These discs are often used by him to interface directly with his computers, so it’s worth wondering if the Justice League will be able to do the same in No Justice. It’s also important to wonder if that’s all they will be able to do, because Brainiac’s past actions indicate that he’ll have a secondary plan in place. Could this tech ultimately take control of those who wear it in order to get them to do his bidding?
The expansion of the Justice League during this event and the multiple titles that will spawn out of it feel like a return to the world of Justice League Unlimited. The cartoon turned practically the entire DC Universe superhero community into one unified operation, managing resources intelligently and easily deploying the heroes who are right for the job exactly where they need to be.
If this is what the DC Universe will be like moving forward, it’s only fitting that Brainiac will be a part of it. The villain held a special place in the DC Animated Universe, making his role in the expansion of the Justice League comic franchise a logical next step. Even if Brainiac doesn’t have an ulterior motive, which seems unlikely, the tech he outfits the teams with make it clear that this is Brainiac’s Justice League. If we’re going full JLU here, are we going to see Brainiac merge with Lex Luthor again? That’s something we’ll have to wait to see.
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