DC Animated Universe

Superman: Brainiac Attacks is a non-DCAU direct to video movie featuring Superman. It was released in 2006 as a marketing tie-in with the live-action movie Superman Returns. The movie used the art style of Superman: The Animated Series, whilst Tim Daly, Dana Delany, George Dzundza, David Kaufman, Mike Farrell, and Shelley Fabares reprised their roles from the series.


Lex Luthor is moaning over his failure to find a substantial amount of Kryptonite in space, and his plans being constantly thwarted by Superman. He informs Mercy Graves of Lexcorp's new satellite, the Lex9000, built to defend the Earth against extraterrestrial threats. However, the satellite fails to stop a meteor crashing into the command center. Brainiac breaks free of the meteor, breaks into the command center and proceeds to drain its computer systems of all its data. At the Daily Planet, Perry White informs the staff of Brainiac's attack. Lois Lane grabs Jimmy Olsen and heads towards the site. Superman gets there first, and Brainiac tries to divert attention by using his new connection to the LexCorp support system to send missiles towards Metropolis. Successfully destroying them, Superman heads back to finish off Brainiac, which leads them into a battle in which Brainiac reveals he can also control the Lex9000 satellite. Shooting beams from space, Brainiac has the upper hand for some time, before Superman uses his ice breath to freeze him, before destroying him with one punch. As Superman then flies off to save Lois from a falling pylon, Luthor surveys the damage, impressed with how close Brainiac and the Lex9000 came to destroying Superman. He then finds Brainiac's central processing chip, and pockets it.

Back at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent rejects Perry's offer to become the Daily Planet's Foreign Correspondent, whilst Jimmy Olsen fawns over his pictures of Mercy, rejecting Lois's suggestion of Sarah, the Food Critic. With talk changing to Lois's fawning over Superman, she says that it's not just about his obvious appeal, but the "connected feeling" she gets when she looks into his eyes. Clark overhears, clearly feeling the same way. In the laboratories of LexCorp, Luthor brings Brainiac back to life, and tries to offer him a deal; in return for Luthor giving Brainiac the means to destroy Superman, Brainiac will allow Luthor to take the credit, and leave Earth for him to rule. In Smallville, Clark talks to his parents about his feelings for Lois, and his concerns over Lois trusting him if she ever found out about Superman, as well as his enemies getting to him through her. Meanwhile, Luthor prepares to send Brainiac into space, giving him the little Kryptonite he has along with a strand of Superman's DNA. The rocket then sends Brainiac to the Lex9000 satellite.

Over the next few days, Clark constantly misses opportunities to talk to Lois and Jimmy constantly avoids Sara. One night, Sara falls ill due to food poisoning, so Perry sends Lois and Clark to Le Chateau Laboe for the food column. Meanwhile, up in space, Brainiac completes his integration with the Lex9000, fashioning himself a new robotic body and heading back to Earth. At Lexcorp, Luthor tells Mercy of his plan to take down Brainiac after he destroys Superman. At Le Chateau Laboe, Clark nervously tries to talk to Lois, but then Brainiac attacks the restaurant. Changing into his costume, Superman finds Brainiac a challenge, with his Kryptonite rays and his ability to locate him by his DNA. During the intense battle, Lois is hit by the Kryptonite rays. Quickly (seemingly) destroying Brainiac, Superman goes to her, and finds her deathly pale and very weak. Using his X-ray vision, he finds that shards of metal are fusing with her blood cells. At the hospital, it is revealed that, if this fusion process continues to happen, Lois may not have much time left. As Clark steals Lois's blood sample for tests, a dejected Jimmy convinces him that it is best to shed his "Clark Kent" identity as he goes off to the Fortress of Solitude. He consults the Krypton database for any information on her condition. The database informs him that the only possible cure for her condition is located in the Phantom Zone. It also warns Superman that the more time he spends in the Zone, the weaker he becomes, and that he too will need to consume the cure to protect himself from Brainiac's advanced Kryptonite. Just then, Brainiac invades the Fortress, and tries to absorb the data from the database, using Superman's DNA to gain access. Superman stops him by initiating the self-destruct sequence, which destroys the Fortress, and seemingly kills Superman. However, Superman was able to make his way to the Phantom Zone through a portal.

Superman's and Clark Kent's absences do not go unnoticed, with Luthor celebrating, and Perry and Jimmy believing that Clark left to spare himself the pain of seeing Lois die. In the Zone, Superman locates the cure and flies back to Earth with it. Meanwhile, Perry sends a depressed Jimmy to Luthor's party as a reporter to keep his mind off things. At the hospital, Superman gives Lois the cure. Awakening, Lois mistakes Superman's shadowed face for Clark's, and Superman uses this opportunity to finally come clean to her. Meanwhile, Luthor's party is in full swing, until Brainiac attacks the city. Luthor and Mercy head off to find his robotic suit, unaware that Jimmy has followed to gather evidence. Outside the hospital, Lois fawns over Clark, which he soon begins to find suspicious especially when she dismisses the threat of Brainiac. He realizes that Lois is actually a phantom, and that he is still in the Phantom Zone. Fighting his way through an army of phantoms, he makes his way back to Earth. In Metropolis, Luthor tries, and quickly fails, to take on Brainiac in his robot suit. Brainiac claimed he would never hand Earth over to Luthor, to which Luthor tries to set off a self-destruct sequence implanted in Brainiac. However, Brainiac had already located and deactivated the sequence, and easily defeats Luthor before moving on. Superman then finally makes it back to Earth, and reneges on saving Lois to take down Brainiac first.

The climatic climax involves Superman fighting Brainiac, Jimmy trying to stop Mercy from destroying his incriminating camera film, and Lois's condition worsening. Mercy is eventually taken out by Jimmy using one of Luthor's suits (along with the camera), whilst Superman again appears to destroy Brainiac. However, the robot head survives the battle, and destroys Superman's cure before he can use it. Enraged, Superman finally destroys Brainiac once and for all by shattering his central processing chip. He returns to find Lois close to death. Holding her in his arms, Superman kisses her, tears running down his face. The two glow as the share of the substance he took to protect himself heals Lois. Awakening, she again mistakes Superman for Clark, but this time, he does not reveal himself.

Back at the ruins of the Fortress of Solitude, Superman finds a crystal that has retained the Kryptonian database. He decides that he has to retire Clark Kent, for Lois's safety. Meanwhile, Luthor is interrogated by the press about his connections to Brainiac's attack, especially when the Lexcorp logo is found on Brainiac's Kryptonite, and Jimmy is visited in hospital by Sara. Clark greets Lois outside the hospital with flowers, and Perry informs them of an attack by Mr. Mxyzptlk. Clark tries to quit his job, but after seeing Lois leap recklessly into action, he realizes that Lois lives dangerously, whether he is there or not. He decides to keep his secret identity, so that both Superman and Clark Kent can protect her.


Background information[]

Production notes[]

  • The film was directed by Curt Geda, who also worked on Superman: The Animated Series. The animation style was desired by Warner Bros, with Geda adding more humor and romance than previously explored in the animated series.[1]
  • Writer Duane Capizzi has stated that Brainiac Attacks wasn't intended to be in continuity with the DCAU, and elements of the story do not mesh well with the established DC Animated Universe.[2]