Syfy's Superman prequel series, Krypton, has introduced a new version of Brainiac, one of Superman's oldest villains in the comic books. The character, played by Blake Ritson, has been set up to serve as the show's first "big bad".
Set two generations before the birth of the Man of Steel, the show centers on Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), Superman's grandfather. Seg-El's family was stripped of its rank when he was a child, leaving them with nothing to their name. After reaching adulthood, Seg-El meets a time-traveler from Earth named Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos). Strange tells him of a conspiracy to prevent the birth of his future grandson, Kal-El, who is destined to become the "greatest hero in the universe". The villain behind this conspiracy is the alien known as Brainiac.
There have been multiple versions of Brainiac since his first appearance in Action Comics #242 in 1958. The classic Superman villain is generally portrayed as a green-skinned alien with a computerized mind from the planet Colu. His backstory is difficult to nail down, considering that the character has been retconned and rebooted numerous times. In certain accounts of his backstory, Brainiac is responsible for the destruction of Krypton.
What all versions of Brainiac have in common is that they all share a deep hatred for Superman. Brainiac traveled the universe, looking for civilizations to shrink and place in his collection. The android's journey eventually brought him to Earth, where he tried to shrink Metropolis. Over the years, Brainiac's thirst for power has led him to look for new bodies to control. After finding a suitable body, Brainiac transfers his consciousness into his intended target and assumes their identity. To defeat Superman, Brainiac has often found himself forming alliances with other villains, such as Lex Luthor.
In Krypton, the planet's inhabitants are oblivious to the existence of alien life. However, there are a few who know the truth, including Seg-El's grandfather who believed that something dangerous was on its way to Krypton: Brainiac. From what we've glimpsed of Brainiac in the trailer and the pilot's final scene, the character appears to be an accurate portrayal of the green-skinned alien from the comics.
According to Adam Strange, Brainiac has traveled from the future with a mission to destroy Krypton and keep Superman from being born. Strange explains that Brainiac is "coming for everything", and not just Krypton. The alien has already conquered countless civilizations, killing billions of people along the way. The idea of an immensely powerful alien force destroying planets in its journey across the universe may remind some viewers of Marvel's Galactus, a cosmic entity whose great hunger causes him to devour entire planets.
Adam Strange calls Brainiac the "collector of worlds", which could have a connection to his comic book counterpart's reputation for shrinking civilizations like Kandor and Metropolis for his collection (a goal that would spell doom for the city at the heart of Krypton).
Since 1958, thwarting Brainiac's schemes has consistently been a challenge for the Man of Steel, despite the hero's superhuman abilities. This means that stopping Brainiac will be even more difficult for Seg and the other Kryptonians, who unlike Superman, won't be given powers by the yellow sun.
Krypton continues Wednesday, March 28 on Syfy.