Monday, March 26, 2012

History of the DC Universe Superman as Nightwing & Brainiac by DC Direct

This Series 4 Superman as Nightwing and Series 3 Brainiac conclude the reviews of  DC Direct History of the DC Universe action figures I got from Mike's Comics'N Stuff last year. While I photographed the two previous parings recently, these photos were shot around the time I got these, so it was fun to look at them again. This Golden Age pairing may be my favorite of the six I have, for both their history & novelty.

If you aren't familiar with the origin of Nightwing: before Dick Grayson (aka Robin the Boy Wonder) assumed the alias, Superman (his favorite superhero) used the moniker as a vigilante in the Kyptonian city of Kandor. Shrunken down & stored in a bottle by Brainiac, Superman fought crime alongside Jimmy Olsen, who assumed the persona of Flamebird. Without the superpowers our yellow sun provide Superman, the duo used jet belts to get around. No, I'm not kidding... I've not yet read this far out adventure, but it's hallowed classic.

Nightwing Superman wasn't even mentioned in History of the DC Universe, but he is the kind of footnote that's quirky enough to deserve reference. Let's face it though, the existence of this obscure character in plastic form proves we live in The Golden Age of Action Figures. And DC Direct nailed it, as you can plainly see, right down to the arrangement of nodules on his jet belt. The inside of Nightwing's cape is black, and like the Superman from this line, the weight of it causes upright issues. You must either lean him against something to support his weight, or hunch him over with his non-descript, black disc base pegged to the hole in his right heel.

Yes, this Silver Age version of Brainiac is dressed like he's on his way to a tennis match at the country club with his boyfriend, but he looks very much like Curt Swan's version which debuted in 1958. His raygun also looks comic accurate; he holds it well enough, though his hand isn't sculpted particularly well for the task like some action figures are now. He looks pretty hilarious by today's super villain standards, but makes a great pairing with Nightwing. Brainiac is most often depicted as an extraterrestrial android, and is the longtime nemesis of Superman. Possessing a "12th-level intellect", his advanced understanding of mechanical and bio-engineering, physics, and sciences, as well as knowledge of countless alien technologies are a few of the powers attributed to him. 

Brainiac is an interesting character who has gone through a lot of transformation since his introduction. The character was in his robot incarnation during Crisis on Infinite Earths, but a year ago I also read Geoff Johns' Superman: Brainiac (DC, 2008). While I still have not read any of the other New Krypton related books,  this book tells the story of  the citizens of Kyrptonian city of Kandor freed, Brainiac having shrunk it many years ago. The artwork, featuring a very Chris Reeve-looking Superman was totally awesome! See the suggested reading order of the New Krypton series by Saranga over at New readers... start here! Definitely on my list of things to read  :)

History Brainiac with Robot Brainac and New Krypton Brainiac:

* See my post on History of the DC Universe Captain Atom & Black Lightning!
* See my post on History of the DC Universe Superman & Martian Manhunter!

More Later- Make It FUN!


  1. Both of these are on my bucket list. Who ever thought we would ever get a Nightwing figure? I like the way the Superman cartoons made Braniac such a scary villain with his ties to Krypton. Once again, great photos.

    1. Thanks Cal! They are something, aren't they ;)

  2. Nice figures! I like this version of old Brainy because of my memories of him from Super Friends.

    1. Exactly- I loved Super Friends as a kid- never missed it on Sat. morning :D

  3. "Yes, this Silver Age version of Brainiac is dressed like he's on his way to a tennis match at the country club with his boyfriend..."

    Best costume description ever!