Brainiac 5

Created by Jerry Siegel & Jim Mooney

Querl Dox of Colu

Kajz Dox (Brainiac 4, father, deceased), unnamed mother (deceased), Querl (maternal ancestral grandfather), Lyrl Dox (ancestral grandfather), Vril Dox II (ancestral grandfather), Stealth (ancestral grandmother), Vril Dox (Brainiac, ancestral grandfather)

Legion of Super-Heroes

Action Comics #276 (May 1961)

Brainiac 5.1

Querl Dox of Colu

"Brainiac 4" (mother, unnamed), Computo (offspring), Vril Dox (Brainiac, ancestral grandfather), Vril Dox II (ancestral grandfather), Stealth (ancestral grandmother), Lyrl Dox (ancestral grandfather).

Legion of Super-Heroes

Legionnaires #0 (Oct. 1994)
As Brainiac 5.1: Legion v.4 #104 (May 1998)

Querl Dox of Colu


Legion of Super-Heroes

Teen Titans/Legion Special (2004)

Brainiac 5's first appearance, and the issue in which he joined the Legion (Action #276), is most likely out of current continuity. This is because the story also involved Supergirl's entry into the Legion, and her status is in constant flux. In Legion: Secret Origin, Paul Levitz crafted a different scenario for the young scientist to join the group.

From Legion: Secret Origin #1 (2011); art by Chris Batista and Marc Deering.
Supergirl on her day of joining. From Action #276 (1961); art by Jim Mooney.
Brainy's "progeny"—Computo and Bizarro Computo. From Adventure #341 (1966); art by Curt Swan.
Super-brain! From Adventure #349 (1966); art by Curt Swan.

On the accepted galactic intelligence scale, the average Earthling is a sixth-level intellect. The average Coluan is a ten. Querl Dox is a twelve.This is something he inherited from his 20th century ancestor, the original Brainiac, and his son, Vril Dox II, who freed the people of Colu (often called "Yod" by the natives) from slavery to the computer tyrants.

After Brainiac 3 (Lyrl Dox), the Brainiac title fell into such notoriety that the Dox family stopped using it for centuries. In the late 30th century, Querl's father, Kajz Dox, picked up the mantle and named himself Brainiac 4. Querl—who was orphaned as a child—became only the fifth person to earn the title, and he did so at the age of twelve. The Dox family retained secrets knowledge to certain technologies such as force fields, knowledge they have never shared with others on Colu.

One of Querl Dox's first meetings with non-Coluans came when a giant wormhole opened in space, and alien invaders began coming through. He examined the remains of an attack and was prepared to advise the United Planets' Starfleet when the wormhole expanded. (Legion: Secret Origin #1-3) After this he ventured to Earth, where he met Circadia Senius of the Time Institute, and the two discussed theoretical time travel. (#4)

While he was there, he encountered the Legion when they came into conflict with the Green Lantern Corps over his use of a Time Viewer. (Legion v.2 #295) He declined Senius' offer to become his assistant, and also turned down Phantom Girl, who suggested he join the Legion. (Legion: Secret Origin #4)

He refused the offer at first but he did lend the Legion his nascent time travel technology and its manifestation: the Time Bubble. With it, they unsuccessfully attempted to recruit Superman from the 20th century. (#5) The Bubble was greatly damaged, but this proved an asset, as its unstable energies were used to destroy the wormhole for good. At the end of this adventure, Brainiac 5 fixed the flaws in the Time Bubble so that the Legion could successfully meet Superman. (#6)

He then returned home but it wasn't long before he saw the Legionniares again. His curiosity led him to open a vault that imprisoned remnants of his ancestor, the malevolent Brainiac. Rulers called the Legionnaires to help cleanse the planet and save a young child—a rarity on Colu, for they are long-lived and reproduce rarely. After this, Brainiac 5 left Colu to join the Legion as their eleventh member. (Legion v.7 #0)

Later, he developed the Legion's flight rings using an isotope discovered by Mon-El. (Legion v.2 #267)

But such extreme intelligence sometimes comes at a cost. Years later, "Brainy" (as his teammates loved to call him) began to show signs of mental instability. (Perhaps it began with his first term as Legion leader. [Adventure #337]) First, he invented Computo, a killer computer which ultimately killed one of his teammates, Triplicate Girl. (Adventure #340) Ironically, Computo was defeated by his creation of a Bizarro Computo. (#341) Then he was targeted by an android created by the Coluan Computer Tyrants that were overthrown by his ancestors. (#342) This android took the name Pulsar Stargrave and pretended to be Querl's long-lost father. (Superboy v.1 #223-224)

Stargrave drove Brainiac 5 mad and induced the Legionnaire to frame his teammate Ultra Boy for the murder of his former girlfriend, An Ryd. (Superboy & the Legion #239) In truth, Stargrave had murdered Ryd, the truth of which was eventually discovered by Chameleon Boy. (#250)

By this time, Brainy had gone truly mad and his unrestrained genius created two powerful threats. He accidentally transformed his friend, Professor Jaxon Rugarth, into the psychotic, nearly all-powerful Infinite Man. (#233) Then he used the Controllers' Miracle Machine to create the virtually unstoppable Omega. (#250) The Legion called in the former Legionnaire Matter-Eater Lad, was able to consume the Miracle Machine and stop Omega, but at the cost of his own sanity. Following this case, both Brainiac 5 and Matter-Eater Lad were remanded to psychiatric care. (#252, 273)

Soon, Brainiac 5 was released to lead the Substitute Heroes against the League of Super-Assassins. (#254) and with the help of Saturn Girl, purged his mind of lingering childhood trauma. (#256)

After this, Brainiac 5 committed himself to curing Matter-Eater Lad's insanity. (Legion v.2 #289, 296)

Despite this success, Brainy was doomed to repeat this kind of tragedy. When young Danielle Foccart was brought to him for the treatment of a rare neurological disorder, the young girl's body was possessed by Computo. (Legion v.2 Annual #1) Once again, he triumphed over adversity and cured Danielle. (#309-311)

NOTES: Braniac 5 is the seventh generation after the first Brainiac—over 1,000 years. This means Coluans are exceptionally long-lived. Brainiac 5 is named after his mother's great-great-grandfather. His father's name was revealed in Adventure #9 (2010).

Jim Shooter on Brainiac 5: A computer-brained adolescent. A child genius, who always has the rigth answer but most likely hasn't been laid yet. His emotions have reached from soppy-sentimentalism and self-pity to tantrums of rage. He is, however, intellectually aware of his short-comings, giving him a bit of control. He knows his long suit, and he attempts to think his way out of immaturity just as he thinks his way out of everything else. On his side he has confidence, leadership and a healthy ego. His self-approach is confined to his personality, and in any situation against any odds he has faith in his brain. Setbacks merely inspire new intellectual efforts, he treats adversoty as a problem to be solved. This is a strength and a weakness, for should a foe ever shake that self-confidence or somehow negate the value of Brainy's mind, he would fall apart! All his eggs are in one basket, albeit an armor-clad one. —Interlac (1976)

Tom & Mary Bierbaum on Brainiac 5: Too intelligent for his own good. It seems like he doesn't understand his teammates, but he actually understands them down to their tiniest impulses. He just hasn't quite figured out how to process all that information. He's forced himself to live in such emotional disconnect that he doesn't always respect the emotional needs in his teammates he perceives so easily. His biggest hangup: Colu genetically manufactured him and hammered into his childhood psyche the notion that his happiness didn't matter. His duty is to serve the common good of Colu. —Interlac (2000)

Legion 1.5 (v.4)

From Who's Who in the DC Universe #3 (1991) art by Chris Sprouse and Al Gordon.

In the history that unfolded after the first Crisis (no longer valid), there was no Supergirl. Her place in Legion continuity was taken by a multilpowered Daxamate named Laurel Gand. His intellect could fix almost anything — save for his romance with Laurel. With age, Brainy began to feel that it was unbecoming for one with twelfth-level intelligence to waste time on emotional pursuits when there was so much wrong with the universe. This disposition intensified to the point where, after the conspiracy against Glorith for revenge over her genocide of Daxam (Legion v.3 #45-50), and his subsequent court-martial for insubordination, he left the Legion for Colu without even consulting Laurel. (#51)

He remained on Colu until 2994, when he left for Winath to assist the Ranzz Family in dealing with the Validus plague that afflicted one of their sons. He rejoined the Legion when it re-formed in the aftermath of the hunt for Roxxas the Butcher. (Legion v.4 #4) Laurel was there as well and the tension between them was worse for the fact that she had fallen in love with Brainiac 5's friend, Rond Vidar. As ever he applied himself to his work and was almost totally responsible for the defeat of the Khunds in their latest expansion campaign. (#15-17)

The Legions was framed by Universo and its members went on the run, in disguise. (#50) They had also been changed by Glorith, whose powers made Brainy age into a old man. (#53) He had to use an exoskeleton for his weakened body and adopted the codename B5. He had no time to reconcile his relationship with Laurel before her death from a bomb placed by the Khunds. (#58) He became even more cold and withdrawn.

During this time, it was discovered that the Legion had been cloned when they were younger, and the clones (called Batch SW6) emerged on Earth. (#20) Naturally the younger Brainiac 5 was still in love with his Laurel (who took the codename Andromeda). The SW6 Brainy collaborated with Rond Vidar, Invisible Kid, and his older counterpart, to discover that the timestream was unraveling. Their solution was for every set of older and younger Legionnaire to merge with one another. Total destruction was avoided but the timeline was reconstructed from scratch. (#61)

Legion 2: Earth-247

Nara Minsork takes a walk through the mind of a genius. From Legion v.4 #77 (1996); art by Lee Moder.

The Legion was entirely rebooted during the events of Zero Hour. Later, when the DC multiverse was recreated, this timeline was said to be of Earth-247. At the time of its publication, it was considered the canonical 30th century.

The Querl Dox of universe-247 was not so different from his Earth-0 counterpart…

Querl Dox is the most recent native of the planet Colu to be awarded the title of "Brainiac." This title passed down through time, and was taken back from Colu's most notorious terror. Before Querl, his mother bore the title.

Querl is a descendant of the 20th century Coluan Vril Dox II, who founded the L.E.G.I.O.N. Querl was blessed with a 12th-level intellect, above average even for the super-intelligent Coluan race. The boy's research methods were in conflict with his government's, and Colu sent him away to aid the industrialist R. J. Brande. After several lab disasters, Brande could no longer afford to bankroll Querl, so he in turn sent him to study at the Time Institute on Talus. (Querl's interest in time-research was driven by the desire to see his mother, who'd abandoned him as an infant.) There he worked with another time-science prodigy, Rond Vidar.

Querl became so wrapped up in his experiments that he ignored his draft notice to become join the new Legion of Super-Heroes as Colu's representative. (Legionnaires #0) He capitulated as soon as someone noticed he was missing. (Legion v.4 #63)

As Brainiac 5, Querl proved instrumental in many Legion cases, most notably the construction of a stargate that saved Earth from the White Triangle Daxamites. (#72) In his laboratory is where he maked his greatest contributions to the Legion, like unraveling the nature of Mano's powers, his healing Triad, curing of Andromeda of lead poisoning (#70), and the creation of the anti-gravity metal from which the Legion's flight rings are made.

While working with Andromeda, he developed a crush on his fellow Legionnaire. After she'd apparently been killed, Brainy buried himself in his first love, time research. New discoveries helped the Legion travel back in time and save the life of Valor. This invoked the ire of the United Planets, who imprisoned Brainiac 5 because time-travel research was illegal. (Legionnaires #32) He was released from prison fairly soon to help the Legion in their battle against the Fatal Five. When R. J. Brande became the new President of the United Planets, he officially legalized time travel. (Legion #80)

His experience would serve him well when he was part of a group flung back into the 20thy century by the Emerald Eye. (#85) In the 20th century, his technology resources were limited and the Legionnaires spent several months in that era before their 30th century comrades could rescue them. (#100) While he was in the 20th century, he acquired a pet white monkey named Koko, met his ancestor, Vril Dox II (Showcase '96 #11-12 ), and created one of the universe's first artificial intelligences: C.O.M.P.U.T.O. This being was borne of a Metal Men responsometer and a Mother Box. (#98) NOTE: The original Koko was the pet of Brainaic, a monkey with antennae (Action Comics #242, July 1958)

Following his return to the 30th century, answered a call from Andromeda to examine an anomaly in space. He and others disappeared into the anomaly. When they emerged, each was transformed in some way. As for Brainy, his attitude had changed; he was now much more friendly, and there were grafts on his forehead that he could use to control his force field. He laughed when Gates suggested he now call himself Brainiac 5.1—a name that stuck for a time. (#104)

His newfound optimism was nearly undone when he finally rediscovered his mother, Brainiac 4. She had gone evil and tried to kill Querl. (#108) Not long after, Koko left him as well, to live with other primates on Tenazor-4. (#121)

Following the Blight's attack on Earth, Brainiac 5 became one of ten Legionnaires who disappeared into a rift in space. (#125) Once again, it was left to him to find a way to return home. After a year in what they dubbed the Second Galaxy, Brainy found a way to harness the pathfinding abilities of Shikari to lead the team home through a space warp. (Legion: Lost)

When the lost Legionnaires returned home, many things had changed. Though Earth had recovered from the Blight's attacks, a new threat loomed. A conquering collective of artificial intelligence called Robotica had begun its march towards Earth. Brainy would discover that this mass was engineered by Computo, who had survived the ages and considered itself Brainiac 5's progeny. (The Legion #10) Computo managed to convince its creator that he was, in essence, its "father"; it explained that it had survived the centuries after being awoken by Brainiac 13. It then scoured the galaxy, assimilating other discarded artificial intelligence. (#13) What neither Brainiac nor Computo knew, however, was that the Coluans of the 25th century were responsible for nearly destroying Computo for good. They introduced the Metallo virus and forced it into dormancy. Now in the 31st century, the Coluans were ready to step in again to destroy what they considered an abomination, a challenge to their own intellectual greatness. Brainy agreed to help Computo achieve the satisfaction it had sought for so long (#13) They sent an agent, Sharn Nux to deliver a fatal virus into Computo.

Brainiac 5 gave Computo what it sought—the next stage in its evolution. Instead of destroying its creator, Computo was enlightened and pacified. Gone was its pettiness and rage. This new Computo was a sublime intellect, near infinite in scope. It proceeded to call off its Robotican forces, and ordered them to make peace with organic life. Just then, Sharn Nux struck at last, intent on delivering a new virus into Computo. Both of them were consumed in a conflagaration and have not been seen since. (#14) The remains of Robotica relocated to Warworld, which lies in the former orbit of Pluto.

NOTES: Olivier Coipel on Brainiac 5: The more I drew him, the more I got to know him so his look came more naturally. At the beginning he made me think of a nerd (in a good way), with the Alfalfa look coming on! —Comic Book Resources

Legion 3: Earth-Prime

Querl Dox hails from the planet Colu, whose legacy includes advanced and a mastery of the technologies for miniaturization and force fields. He considers himself superior to most sentients, who possess merely 6th level intelligence. His own 12th level intelligence earns Querl the title of Brainiac. Most Coluans possess a 10th level intelligence. Brainiac 5's time with the Legion has been marked by great accomplishment, but also great tragedy, even deceit.

Though Brainiac 5 has never been elected leader—he ran once (#30)—he conducts himself as if he were. His machiavallian antics led to a serious rift within the Legion when he clashed with the leader, Cosmic Boy over tactics and authority.

But Cosmic Boy could never deny Brainiac 5's worth to the team. He is not only brilliant in and of himself, but in knowing how and when to use the Legionnaires' abilities. He considered Dream Girl's powers of precognition an abomination to science; nevertheless, he used her visions to anticipate and stop a terror attack on United Planets diplomats. (#2)

It was during this time of tension that the United Planets came under attack by a mysterious threat called Lemnos. Lemnos was a powerful telepath who could mask his own appearance. Lemnos once visited Brainy and sealed his fate. Though Lemnos wiped his mind of the encounter, Brainy's powerful mind would recall the memory very soon. (#6) Lemnos targeted Brainy as a personal adversary and sent him a warning: "Colu is next." Brainy took several Legionnaires to his homeworld where he found that the entire population had been turned into relative vegetables (including his mother). The Legionnaires uncovered Lemnos's presence which triggered Brainy's memory of their meeting. Meanwhile, back at Legion headquarters, Cosmic Boy and other broke into Brainy's lab. (#7)

Cosmic boy's methods might have been suspect, but his aim was to unite the Legion against Lemnos' growing threat. When Brainiac 5 discovered his lab had been compromised, he incited the Legionnaires to take sides between he and Cos. (#8)

This petty squabbling was put aside when Lemnos' agents, Terror Firma, stepped up their attacks. While most of the Legion provided the sheer strength to overcome, Brainiac 5 took out Terror Firma's most powerful member, Elysion's by "firing" Atom Girl into his body, from where she burst out. (#12) In the end, both Brainiac and Cosmic Boy worked together to capture Lemnos in his own lair. (#13)

In the aftermath, Brainy was left to confront his own emotions. The girl whom he'd fallen in love with—Dream Girl—was killed in the terror attacks. Upon her death, he shielded her with a force field, reasoning that a soul is merely energy which he could store. He placed her in suspended animation and began plotting to restore her to life. (#18) To accomplish this resurrection, he employed the powers of Lemnos, Element Lad, Light Lass, Atom Girl, and the cosmic power of a pulsar. The plan was a near-success. Instead of restoring Dream Girl truly to life, her body disappeared and her psyche came to reside on an astral plane. From now on, she would visit him only in his dreams. (#19-21)

Once again, his cunning turned the tide in the Legion's next great battle against the Dominators. Brainy constructed to a "bomb"— which was actually a Phantom Zone projector — to the core of the Dominion. During this time, he also synthesized an anti-led serum from kryptonite for Mon-El. (#25-30)

Brainiac 5 was among the first to crack the mysteries of time travel as well. He first constructed a Chronexus, which could view into the past. (Action Comics #850) He was soon able to send Supergirl home to the 21st century by partnering with Evolvo Lad to further develop his technology. (#36)

After Cosmic Boy disappeared, Brainy continued to pursue his own agendas within the Legion. He manipulated three missions which resulted in the arrest of Mekt Ranzz, (#33) boosting Timber Wolf's powers, and the recruitment of a potential new Legionnaire (E.R.G.-1). (#35)

While his list of accomplishments grows with every Legion mission, his greatest ambition was still to restore Dream Girl to the flesh. Brainiac 5 began spending more time in sleep to be with her. He found a way to allow Nura to inhabit the body of a psychic. During their date, his fellow Legionnaire, Princess Projectra struck at Dream Girl on the astral plane. Projectra was plotting vengeance against her own team, and wanted to prevent Dream Girl's from prophesizing her attack. The attack left Dream Girl blind, but Querl proposed marriage to her regardless. She accepted. (#47)

The name Querl means "idealistic" in Coluan.

Other Versions

Brainiac 5 was a prominent member in TV's Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon.

Brainiac 5 with Bouncing Boy. From "Chained Lightning," Legion of Super-Heroes season 2, episode 4.



All Brainiac 5s are from the Coluan race, which is blessed with enhanced intellects. Braniac 5 descends from a line of even higher (12th level) intelligence which began with his evil ancestor, Vril Dox (Brainiac). They also make frequent use of Coluan force field technology, and the practical application of their intellects is nearly limitless. Brainiac 5 has commented that the power source for the force field is unique, and a "family secret."

The Brainiac 5 of Earth-247 has also shown aptitude at thwarting telepaths; he has total control over his own thoughts and can construct spaces and barriers therein.

Appearances + References