What better way to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of Superman’s debut in Action Comics #1 than by reinventing 2 of his greatest villains for the 80s?
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I read this when it was originally published, and was quite taken by the cover art. I didn’t think Luthor’s “new look” was all that different from his then-current purple and green jumpsuit (What is it with villains and secondary colors?). I saw it simply as a minor upgrade. Brainiac, on the other hand, certainly looked different — much more artificial and menacing, both in his new body and his skull ship. I had mixed emotions about his new look. It certainly made sense that Brainiac, as an artificial life form, ought to look artificial, but, as a child of the Silver Age, I had, and probably always will have, a soft spot for the green humanoid Brainiac with his bare legs, pink shirt, and flying saucer space ship. That’s just me, though. There’s no arguing taste.
As for the stories in the issue, Luthor’s story, with the death of his wife and son, along with the entire planet of people who had long regarded him as a hero, certainly gives Lex a new and stronger hatred of Superman, with the potential for stories with higher stakes than we would have seen in the Silver Age. Brainiac’s story, in my mind, just introduces the idea of the warped (insane) super-computer causing mayhem, which, while interesting, doesn’t feel all that “new” to me. Again, though, that’s just me.
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