WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Supergirl #36, by Marc Andreyko and Eduardo Pansica, on sale now.
Of all of Superman's enemies, none are more cold and calculated than Brainiac. The computerized collector from Colu has had varying levels of mechanization throughout his history, but he is almost always portrayed as fittingly cold, heartless, and utterly emotionless. That all changed in the recent Supergirl #36, with a change of heart for one character, in particular, striking an unwelcome fear into the nonexistent heart of one Vril Dox. It isn't another villain that achieves this feat, either. Instead, the Brainiac who fears is induced by the Supergirl Who Laughs!
Awakened In the Fortress of Solitude
The issue opens with Kara in Superman's Fortress of Solitude, as Brainiac attempts to commandeer both her body and the Fortress' technology. Her attempts to fight off the Coluan's control are intermittent, with him constantly regaining sway over her through nanotech. It's her cousin's distressed sounds, however, that finally allow her to act of her own accord. Rushing throughout the Fortress to find Superman, she finds that her cousin and Batman are busy fending off the combined forces of Sky Tyrant and the Scarab. These two "villains" are actually Hawkman and Blue Beetle, who have fallen prey to the mind-altering infection of the Batman Who Laughs. Also among the adversaries are Deathbringer, King Shazam, and The Commissioner, as well as infected versions of Donna Troy, Billy Batson, and Commissioner Gordon.
The mind-controlled heroes lash out aggressively at Superman for his attempts to reason with them, with the Scarab launching an infected Batarang toward the Kryptonian. Realizing that it might do damage to someone even of the Man of Steel's caliber, Kara races toward the weapon in time to clasp it in her hand. Unfortunately, not only does it pierce her skin, but it has the added effect of infecting her as well. The Batman Who Laughs' Secret Six is completed, with the aforementioned villains now being joined by a Joker-faced, black-clad Supergirl.
Supergirl the Infected
Brainiac, still trying to take control of Kara himself, immediately recognizes that he isn't the only one with that goal. Supergirl the Infected thinks back to how Brainiac had ambushed her at the Fortress and infected her with nanites, causing her to desert the rest of the Secret Six to take care of the Coluan. Pleading with and trying desperately to maintain control of Kara, Supergirl the Infected outright refuses to allow anyone to hold her back any longer, namely Brainiac. She grabs his current body by the neck, as said body wimpishly flails in her titanic grasp.
As much as she had resisted Brainiac's control before, the new and unleashed Kara truly has the realized power to do away with his attempted programming. Brainiac belies the fact that he was mere moments away from completing control of Superman's cousin, to which she replies by asking if the mechanoid is scared. Faced with a Kryptonian removed from any sense of morality or restraint, the usually emotionally placid and dauntless Brainiac responds by answering in the affirmative. Supergirl celebrates her newfound strength by seemingly killing Brainiac, decapitating the robot with her heat vision as she cackles a threat to the world.
Supergirl #36 is available now.