WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for No Justice #2
DC's Brainiac is dead, long live Brainiac (2.0)! Superman's greatest villain's tenure as the new leader of the Justice League didn't last too long. The miniseries Justice League: No Justice, a prelude to Scott Snyder's upcoming run on Justice League, saw Brainiac split various DC heroes and villains into separate teams. These teams were meant to protect Brainiac's homeworld of Colu (and by consequence the rest of the universe).
However, by the end of No Justice #1, leader of the Suicide Squad Amanda Waller managed to kill Brainiac, turning the would-be galactic savior into a cloud of green alien dust. Yet the smartest being in the universe isn't one to go into war without a back-up plan. No Justice #2 reveals that while Brainiac might be dead, his "son" is waiting in the wings.
Waller's murder of Brainiac came with the best of intentions, or at least the best intentions that Amanda Waller can muster. But it's quickly revealed in No Justice #2 that by killing Brainiac, Waller has actually doomed the entire universe (leaving only Green Arrow to protect Earth). Brainiac was leading the charge to save his own planet from the apocalyptic Omega Titans, but with him out of the way, the Titans have turned their focus towards Earth and its destruction.
No Justice #2 finds the various heroes and villains that Brainiac recruited (kidnapped?) to save the universe trying to pick up the pieces. The issue mainly focuses in on Team Entropy, one of the new "Justice League" teams which gathers together Batman, Lex Luthor, Deathstroke, Lobo and Beast Boy. At the very end of the issue, Team Entropy encounter a surprising new figure.
A mysterious resident of Colu tells the team that they were idiots for not trying to simply run when Brainiac died. Recognizing the figure immediately, he informs Lex Luthor (and the audience) that the man's name is Vril Dox. Dox, however, prefers another name...
Batman, being Batman, seems to know a lot more about Vril Dox than anyone else. Yet the character isn't completely new, even if No Justice #2 is Brainiac 2.0's DC Rebirth debut. Vril Dox's very first appearance was in 1967 during Superman #167, where just like the character that appears in No Justice #2, Vril Dox was the perfect genetic clone of Brainiac. The key difference? He was actually a force for good, all things considered. But this new version doesn't seem nearly as altruistic.
When someone is intimidating Batman, that alone should signal everyone present to keep their guard up. Vril appears to have very little respect for the Justice League in this first appearance, which he may have shared with his father. It appears that Vril will step into the role that Brainiac was meant to fill in No Justice. before his death. Which means Vril's introduction is every type of ominous, but he will likely be at least a temporary ally for the new, motley Justice League. The four new teams might be some of the most impressive collections of DC heroes and villains ever - but they still need some guidance. Between Lex Luthor and Batman alone, Brainiac was the only figure powerful enough to lead this new League. So far, Vril Dox appears to have his father's commanding presence, if nothing else.
Even if Vril Dox's takes over Brainiac's role in No Justice, that doesn't mean he has to literally become his father. Despite his first appearance, there's every possibility that Vril Dox could forge his own more heroic path, just like the original version. In fact, basic comic book logic dictates that Vril's scariest first appearance will result in the exact opposite of his overall arc. The more threatening a character seems in the first appearance, especially if it's on the final page of an issue,
the more heroic they usually end up becoming. It's far more likely that Brainiac 2.0 represents a new hope for the DC Universe than the second coming of his dictatorial father.
Justice League: No Justice #2 is available now from DC Comics.