Superman: Unbound (2013)

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The singular DC animated movies are either hit or miss. This one is the former. It has no aspirations to do something more complex than a conventional superhero vs villain brawl, but works quite well within these limitations by having relatable characters and well done action scenes. The story presents Supermans first meeting with Brainiac, though the whole story is more Superman/Supergirl vs Brainiac than just Superman alone. I’m not entirely sure, but it does feel like a sequel to Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, where Superman first met Supergirl.

Brainiac is one of Superman’s better foes, despite his ludicrous obsession with cataloging worlds/cultures and inadvertently (well, not really) destroying them. I think this is also the first time where I’ve seen it acknowledged how foolish Brainiacs character motivation at its core really is.

Instead of explaining it away, they actually managed to make his character even more chilling by admitting the inherent insanity of what Brainiac is doing and why. In some regards this interpretation of Brainiac – that the cybernetic (and clearly faulty) aspects have become so integral to Brainiacs meaty core that they are him even more than his original self – shows a frightful and interesting failure mode for a sort posthuman transformation that seems worse than his other incarnations, despite sharing similar delusions.