Brain Drain
Season 1, Episode 10
Brain Drain
Air date February 17, 2007
Written by Rob Hummell
Directed by Tim Maltby
Episode guide
Lightning Storm
The Substitutes


A major malfunction sends Brainiac 5's genius IQ plummeting. To obtain the rare element needed to save him, Superman and Timber Wolf must travel to the most inhospitable planet in the galaxy—and thanks to a transporter accident, they have only Brainy's head to guide them.


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Several Legionnaires are outside of Brainiac 5's lab, worried because he hasn't come out for days. Brainy opens the door, walks to a wall and rips off a control panel, and walks back into his lab without saying a word. Superman knocks and tells Brainy that they're worried about him, and Brainy replies (with the sound of crashing machinery) that nothing is wrong. They ask Computo to override the locks and let them in, and Brainy tells them that the large structure in the middle of the lab is a containment chamber, which is being built to contain him Brainy shows the group Video File TK-421, and explains that every third solar cycle, Coluans undergo The Alignment, in which everyone's memory is uploaded to the Coluan Hivemind and shared with everyone else. It's supposed to be a painless procedure, but since Brainiac 5 has separated himself from the Hivemind, it's different for him. Without the Collective to provide balance, he'll have little control over himself - for a period of 10 hours, he'll be unpredictable, aggressive, and incoherent. He built the containment chamber because it's his first Alignment without the Collective and he's embarrassed about what he might be like. Saturn Girl tries to comfort him, but a light starts flashing, signaling the imminent start of the Alignment. Brainy tells the group no matter what he says or does, don't let him out. The countdown timer starts. For hours he paces, then his limbs stretch and flail. He bangs on the door, yelling "Where's my Koko!". Which may be a reference to the monkey Brainiac 5 commonly carried around in the comic books, who was named Koko. He dances and jumps around the room, sometimes speaking gibberish. As the timer counts down to zero, Brainy is still acting under the influence of the Alignment, and things start to spark and smoke around the chamber. Computo's voice announces that "synaptic dispersion is exceeding recommended levels." Computo detects microfissures in the power relays, with failure imminent. Brainy is pounding on the door to be released, saying something is wrong. Superman breaks into the chamber to rescue Brainy, and they all escape as the chamber explodes. In another testing area, Saturn Girl scans Brainy, and says that his neural pathways are degrading and that he's in danger of going offline permanently. Computo says that exposure to a high dosage of Zuunium will reverse the effect, and it can only be found on Zuun. Timber Wolf says he knows it, it's the most inhospitable planet in the galaxy. The only way to get there fast enough is via an unstable transmatter gate. Timber Wolf tells the group that he grew up there, and thus he is selected to lead this mission. The group goes to the Transmatter Station Depot Prime and convinces the dispatcher to allow them to use the gate to Zuun. Timber Wolf, wearing a Legion flight suit, goes through first with no problem, then Superman leaves but becomes gate-sick on the other side. The machine malfunctions as Brainy goes through - only his head has made it to Zuun, and Superman finds that his powers are gone. Superman is confused about why he is unpowered. He knows that magic is one thing that can remove his powers, but Brainy says "too much red" (referring to red sun radiation), which the others dismiss as ramblings. Superman declares that despite his power loss, he's staying to help Brainy, and puts on an atmospheric containment suit. Back at Depot Prime, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl are directed to a different gate where Brainy's body has appeared. Walking through a Zuun city, Superman expresses amazement that Timber Wolf grew up on Zuun, while Brainy's head unknowingly explains Kryptonite to Superman: "Green rocks killed the last sun (son?)... there's red, blue, gold, purple..." The group meets a gang of miners who have been mutated by the toxic air, and a fight breaks out. Timber Wolf takes out the whole group while the powerless Superman learns that he can still fly by aid of his flight ring. Meanwhile, Brainiac 5's headless body is running around the towers of Diaphus 3, nearly causing damage, when Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl find him. Back on Zuun, Superman escapes with Brainy's head, followed by Timber Wolf and some mutants. Lightning Lad zaps Brainy's body to bring him down, but the body turns into its mecha form and fights back, then runs off. On Zuun, Timber Wolf says that without Superman's powers, they can't get into the vault, so they'll have to go through the Core via a cave in a different mine. They escape detection from one spider-like mine-bot, but soon encounter a colony of them. And they are irritable. The mine-bots attack Timber Wolf and Superman, and Brainy's head rolls away during the fight. Superman escapes into a storage room while Timber Wolf beats back the mine-bots. Declaring he wants to play spider too, Brainy's head grows legs and he scurries away. Superman has found a mine-worker's suit with mechanical extensions and armor, allowing him to fight off the mine-bots with ease. They find Brainy, who has found his own mine-bot body and attached his head to it. Now Brainy is mobile again, but Timber Wolf's timer goes off, and they only have a few minutes to get help to Brainiac 5. On Diaphus 3, Brainy's headless mecha body is still running around, nearly causing damage. At the suggestion of Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl creates an illusion that lures the headless body back through the transmatter gate. In the mines of Zuun, Superman and Brainy head for the cave while Timber Wolf fights off scores of mine-bots. The pair fall down the side of a pit, and Superman's battle harness and suit are overheating and malfunctioning as they get closer to the Zuunium. Brainy, slowly fading away, calls the "last son" his friend and declares that he has a 12th level mind - he is Brainiac 5. His eyes fade out as Superman holds him up to the Zuunium - but it worked, Brainy's mind is restored. He and Superman make their way out of the pit to find Timber Wolf finishing off the last of the mine-bots, and the three head back to the transmatter gate. Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl await on the other side with Brainy's body. Back at LSH HQ, Superman asks Brainy to help him figure out why he lost his powers on Zuun - but Brainy already knows that Superman's powers only work under the light of a yellow sun. Brainy never told him that, saying that there are some things Superman needs to find out in his own century. Superman wonders what else Brainy hasn't told him....


  • This was produced as episode 1.09 but aired as the 7th new episode.
  • Brainiac 5 directs Computo to display Video File TK-421. That number is the ID code of a Stormtrooper from the movie "Star Wars" ("TK-421, why aren't you at your post?").
  • Brainiac 5 in his post-Alignment state is like dealing with a 3-year old Venusian Wiggler.
  • Zuunium is the rarest substance in the galaxy. It can only be found on Zuun.
  • Gate 11 at the Transmatter Gates Station is known as "Old Chompy".
  • Superman makes a reference to magic removing his powers, a reference to the episode Child's Play which had not aired yet in the US the first time this episode was shown.
  • The towers of Diaphus 3 are a true wonder of the cosmos. Each tower is extremely fragile and could come crashing down at the slightest touch.
  • A sign in the Zuun mine looks like Interlac but is not.
  • The voice of Computo is not credited.
  • The quote "I alone am Brainiac 5!" also appears in Adventure Comics #306, page 10.
  • The scene in which Superman wears an armored suit is reminiscent of Ripley in the movie Aliens fighting off the mother Alien.