REVIEW: Superman: House Of Brainiac #1

‘Superman: House of Brainiac Special #1’ is an anthology of three stories that further examines Braniac’s motivation for this event. Taking place during Superman and Lobo’s approach of Brainiac’s ship in ‘Superman’ #13, Brainiac reflects on the past, present, and future as his quest for Ultimate Knowledge rages on.

Jamal Campbell graces us with his talents for the cover art. Cleverly using Brainiac’s signature three circle symbol, Campbell gives us a tease of the three stories inside. Superman serves as the central focal point as Brainiac and a mysterious unidentified figure looms in the background. In what feels like a strange occurrence, the only variant for this issue is a foil version of the standard. With how the lighting plays around the image, it should be extra shiny as a foil.

Superman: House Of Brainiac #1

Crossover scribe Joshua Williamson, with letters by Dave Sharpe, sets the stage as to how the issue will segue into the other stories. Starting out with “Secrets of Czarnia”, Artist Edwin Galmon takes Brainiac on a reflection of the past. The story sheds some fascinating light on Czarnian culture as well as detailing how Brainiac acquired the bottle city from which new mad man, General Chacal resides. It also serves as an intriguing comparison of Kryptonian and Czarnian societies and the notion that Superman and Lobo have more in common than either would like to realize or admit.

Brainiac then shifts focus to the present and his greatest obstacle, Earth and how the indomitable spirit of humanity reminds him of his interactions with Czarnia. Writer Mark Russell, Letterer Dave Sharpe, Artist Steve Pugh, and Colorist Jordie Bellaire gives us chapter two of the anthology entitled, “Campaign Headquarters”. Here we follow the ins and outs of Perry White’s campaign to be Mayor of Metropolis.  Mostly seen through the perspective of Bibbo as he uses his Ace O’ Clubs bar as Perry’s campaign headquarters during the morning hours. There’s a lot of heart and comedic moments during this story as it hits on some relevant political issues and social injustices. Russell does a fantastic job writing Bibbo and keeping the very obvious political stances from feeling force fed to the reader.

Switching back to Brainiac’s ship, Joshua Williamson teases things to come in chapter three. Entitled “Signal”, Artist Fico Ossio, Colorist Rex Lokus, and Letterer Dave Sharpe reveal a mystery from ‘Dark Crisis’s #7, tie in events from ‘Suicide Squad: Dream Team’, and lay more foundation for the upcoming ‘Absolute Power’ event. We also get a better look at how many variant Brainiacs are involved and a glimpse of something they’re creating. More questions get asked as others get answered as House of Brainiac marches on!

(7.5/10) The art and storytelling are all top notch, where my issues lie are with the relevancy of this ‘book ‘Superman: House Of Brainiac Special #1’ to the House of Brainiac crossover. Chapter one starts us out strong, giving us some backstory to the new Czarnians in play but the book struggles from there. Chapter two takes up the bulk of the issue and while the politics discussed are relevant and important to current global situations, it feels disjointed from the rest of the crossover. By the time we get back to Brainiac in chapter three, it feels more like a teaser for ‘Absolute Power’ than an advancement to ‘House of Brainiac’. Overall I enjoyed the book, but I think the Mark Russell tale deserved its own spotlight outside of the current crossover.

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