Mild Mannered Reviews – Superman: House of Brainiac Special #1 (One Shot)

Superman: House of Brainiac Special #1

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Superman: House of Brainiac Special #1 (One Shot)

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 16, 2024
Cover date: June 2024

“House of Brainiac” – Part 2.5

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Chapter I – “Secrets of Czarnia”

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Edwin Galmon
Cover: Jamal Campbell

Brainiac is updating his internal journal files and while doing so looks at the similarities between Lobo and Superman much as they had done recently in before their clash with General Chacal.

Down the memory rabbit hole Brainiac remembers Czarnia and their pursuit of science. Unlike Krypton and its obsession with genetics, Czarnia wanted to unlock immortality, but when they did, their populace split into two halves. One was similar to Krypton, opulent and clinical and the other indulging in their darker impulses, knowing they’d never really pay a price for it.

General Tribb aimed to retain the science, peace and prosperity and invited Brainiac to make a deal. She would gift Brainiac the city General Chacal inhabited, ‘cleansing’ Czarnia in return for the secret of immortality and leaving them be.

Of course Brainiac betrayed Tribb, taking the city and the secret of immortality with him. However during his theft he watched as a single Czarnian fought for survival despite the inevitable; and this sparked curiosity in him.

He left Czarnia to survive and would see what would become of the planet after his intervention. However when he returned centuries later, Czarnia had become the desolate wasteland General Tribb had desperately fought to curb.

The similarities of his recent attack on Metropolis haven’t escaped Brainiac and he watches how his influence has affected Earth…

Chapter II – “Campaign Headquarters”

Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Steve Pugh

The race for Mayor of Metropolis has escalated due to recent events. Garon Blake is campaigning for a city free of alien refugees, while Perry White has a more solid campaign to help the city thrive through equality.

Brainiac’s recent actions have caused a surge in pro Blake support and it has many worried for the future, including Lois, Jimmy and Bibbo.

Perry is struggling with the growing hatred and though he knows Lois is on his side, he can’t hide his hurt that the Daily Planet is remaining impartial. When he visits the Ace of Clubs he struggles with how people have forgotten how aliens, such as Superman, have done such good for the city… and the world.

A visit to the bar by a pro Blake supporter renews his resolve when the loudmouth can’t answer any campaign promises other than ‘get the refugees out of Metropolis’. Bibbo reinforces that talking about how cultural influence, diversity and inclusion have only made society better.

The next day a political rally in Centennial Park gets out of hand. Perry calls out Garon for using Brainiac as an excuse to get into power but with no other plans for his campaign. Perry puts forward a strong case but Blake riles up the crowd and when they find an young alien child watching the rally the crowd turns to violence aiming to kill the child. If not for Bibbo’s intervention blood would be on their hands.

Later one of the thugs visits the Ace of Clubs, full of remorse. He explains that though he’s not fully behind refugees, what happened at the rally was too much for him and he wants no part of it…

Chapter III: “Signal”

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Fico Ossio

Brainiac is surprised at the turn of events, how on both Czarnia and Earth, even in the most dire of circumstances ‘humanity finds a way’. Deciding to analyze more on the situation he decides to look at someone he has a personal connection to… Amanda Waller.

She is waiting on a Suicie Squad status report, and when she receives some data she heads to a private comms room for an audience with The Light. The Light is not impressed that she is looking into their origins and straying from the path of being their sleeper agent. She agrees to continue her mission for them if they reveal their identity. The Light does indeed reveal themselves but just as Brainiac betrayed General Tribb, Waller also turns against them. The Light swears a terrible revenge.

To Be Continued in “Action Comics #1065” and “Absolute Power: Ground Zero”.

5Story – 5: Chapter I
Where “Superman #13” failed, this special more than makes up for. I enjoyed the history of Czarnia and how Brainiac was involved in its evolution… or is it devolution? It was interesting to see Brainiac exploring his actions and influence even if he did it with an analytical eye. I thought it was interesting to look deeper into Lobo and Superman’s connection and even moreso that they were both indirectly influenced by the villain’s actions.

Chapter II
I’m sure I don’t need to draw parallels with what’s going on in politics right now but unless you’re living under a rock you can’t fail to see how the issue reflects our current climate. Swapping out galactic aliens for human beings this chapter hits hard. I’m sure it will have a few readers upset or feeling targeted with a ‘woke’ story and I guess that’s the point of it. I’ve always enjoyed when Superman stories spend time with his supporting cast so to see Perry and Bibbo take the lead was also a welcome change of pace.

Chapter III
I’m not the biggest Amanda Waller fan to be honest, so the revelations about her weren’t much of a surprise, nor all that interesting to me. The change to the members of The Light was far more interesting, and also made much more sense with how everything has played out since the latest “Superman #1”. I like that this bookend references past storylines because it adds more depth to “House of Brainiac”.

4Art – 4: Chapter I
I wasn’t a big fan of the art in this chapter but its cel shaded quality worked well with the flashback style and panel composition.

Chapter II
The art here really worked well to convey the emotional impact of the story. It is very character driven art and given the theme it was a good match. If I had one criticism it is that Jimmy looked very young compared to earlier issues.

Chapter III
The mysterious aspect of the story suits the art well. The benday dots styling, blends well with the shadows and inking. Waller’s weight fluctuates a little from panel to panel which is a little distracting as there is an effort to make her look like Viola Davis from the movies in some panels.

5Cover Art – 5: Aside from the spoiler on the cover of a new villain yet to enter the fray, this is a pretty cool montage cover of what has transpired in “House of Brainiac” so far. I really like the ominous feel of the art and feel it helps illustrate how dark the storyline is and the scale of this story arc.

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