Brainiac Attack is probably tied with Green Lantern vs Sinestro as the budget winners of 2015’s spectacular lineup of DC Super Heroes Justice League sets. Featuring an exceptional cast of Tier 1 DC Comics characters such as Superman, Martian Manhunter as well as the long-time-coming debuts of Brainiac and Supergirl as minifigures, Brainiac Attack is definitely a standout set and modern classic in the DC LEGO universe.
Name: Brainiac Attack
Set Number: 76040
Price: AU$39.99 (Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA])
Exclusive to: Myer
Theme: DC Super Heroes Justice League
Year of Release: 2015
Instructions: LEGO 76040 Brainiac Attack instructions
Following the footsteps of Black Manta Deep Sea Strike and Green Lantern vs Sinestro, Brainiac Attack once again pays homage to one of DC’s greatest villains, the hyper-intelligent being known as Brainiac. The term “iconic” gets bandied around pretty often, but when the name of a comic book supervillain enters the modern day lexicon as an informal term for “genius”, Brainiac is pretty much the real deal when it comes to supervillains.
In the United States, Brainiac Attack is a Target exclusive. Here in Australia,
details are a little hard to come by, but my money is on Brainiac Attack being a Toys ‘R’ Us exclusive. I hope I’m wrong as it’ll be a shame if this set is only available at Toys R Us as not everyone lives near one. Brainiac Attack is a Myer exclusive.
The official release date for Brainiac Attack and the other DC Super Heroes sets should be in March, but with LEGO Australia being notoriously sloppy when it comes to release dates and communication with the fans, I wouldn’t be surprised if these sets only make an appearance closer to April.
Like most Super Heroes sets, the real draw of these sets have always been the minifigures, so let’s take a look at the four minifigures included in Brainiac Attack which includes Supergirl, Superman, Brainiac and the Martian Manhunter.
It makes sense to have two Kryptonians in a set with Brainaic as he’s been a primary villain of Superman since his debut in the 50s. Most notably, we have the debut of Supergirl in LEGO minifigure form to accompany the Man of Steel himself, Kal-El.
Supergirl is an extremely attractive minifigure – sporting the iconic blue and red colour scheme, Supergirl or Kara Zor-El as she’s known in Krypton is a very welcome addition to the DC minifigure roster. I’m not too familiar with Supergirl and I get the feeling that she’s not that popular of a character apart from her being related to Superman (they’re cousins) but the more Kyptonians we have, the better.
Like Superman, Supergirl has a blue suit with a red skirt (instead of exterior undies) and a bright red cape as well. Her most defining feature has to be her blonde hair. Quintessentially, she’s just a female version of Superman, except that she has a skirt. I haven’t kept up with the New 52, but I kind of wished that we had a midriff-baring Supergirl because that’s how I’ve always pictured her.
Superman, like Aquaman in Black Manta Deep Sea Strike is a little disappointing as he’s quite simple – almost an exact clone of his 6862 Superman vs Lex Luthor Power Armour version. His torso print and legs are exactly alike. Despite that, it’s still nice to have Superman show up in a retail LEGO set again as he’s arguably the world’s most popular and recognizable super hero.
It’s cool cause it gives newer fans a chance at getting a Superman minifigure if they missed out on his previous outing in 2012. I do wish we had a newer updated version of Superman in his sleek New 52 costume.
The printing on their torsos are a little dull to me, especially when you compare them with the bright red cape and legs of both minifigures. The lines are all sharply printed but I wish that LEGO would somehow improve their torso printing capabilities to print more vibrant colours. The stylized S logo on their chests would’ve looked so much better if they matched the capes.
Supergirl and Superman both come with the newer fabric-er capes which are a huge improvement over their paper predecessors simply because they drape on the minifigs much more effectively. They also feel much more premium and high quality. You know that you’ve got an upgrade on your hands when you secretly want to convert all your old caped minifigures to the newer fabric.
With minifigures in proper LEGO sets, it would be more surprising for them to NOT have back printing. Both Supergirl and Superman have decent back printing which have some nice back muscle definition but you will never be able to see them anyway because they’ll be obscured by their capes most of the time.
Supergirl and Superman both have an angry alternate face – with their eyes lit up menacingly as they prepare to shoot lasers out of their eyes. I quite like their laser eye look, even though they kind of look like rabid individuals with anger issues. Superman’s alternate face is the only main differentiator from his 2012 version.
Did I mention that Supergirl has awesome printed legs with details that go round the side as well? This has to be one of the most detailed leg prints I’ve seen in my life.
There is cause for concern as there are is no LEGO embossed inside her legs, which is one of the most reliable ways to tell if the legs originate from China. The printing is great and all but you can definitely tell that they’re not the same quality as other legs in this set. To me this is quite concerning as I’ve never encountered Chinese-made parts in normal LEGO sets.
You can read my review/rant about Chinese-made minifig parts for some context behind my displeasure. I really hope this doesn’t become a norm for LEGO. Supergirl’s legs set a very dangerous precedent despite how good they look.
Here’s Brainiac, an alien and avid collector of shrunken civilizations who boasts one of the highest intellects in the DC Universe. His green skin is a little too limey for my tastes as I’m more familiar with a darker shade in the comics.
His minifigure is relatively plain but contains all the essential Brainiac elements such as his signature diodes implanted on his head and a great alien suit with pink tubes and pipes which give it a very cyborg look. I’m just extremely happy to own Superman’s second most popular villain in a LEGO set.
He doesn’t have an alternate face but has more diodes on the back of his head and back printing as well.
Next up we have J’onn J’onzz, better known as the Martian Manhunter. He’s one of my favourite members of the Justice League, and I still fully consider him to be a core member, much more so than Cyborg. Our green Martian friend share a lot of similarities with Superman – they’re both aliens and the last remaining members of their race and have similar powers and abilities such as super strength, flight and eye lasers.
This is the Martian Manhunter’s debut in a retail set (he was initially released as a promotional polybag last year) which is great for people who missed out on the polybag! One thing is pretty weird though, because the version in Brainiac Attack seems to be a more classic Martian Manhunter rather than the New 52 version. More on the comparison later.
J’onzz has his trademark martian green skin, a sad but intimidating face and his classic red criss cross body bands, yellow cloak clasps and billowy cape. He also has a popped collar, which is a little tacky, but I’m not going to raise it up with the Martian Manhunter.
No alternate face for the Martian Manhunter which is a little surprising but I’ll live with it since his back printing is pretty decent.
Here’s the comparison with the polybag version of the Martian Manhunter (left) which was given out in March 2014 as a promotional exclusive. Oddly enough, the polybag version seems to be the New 52 version, which is strange since you would think that DC would want to promote the New 52 version in this set since a lot of people are going to buy it purely for J’onzz.
I’m not really fussed either way and it’s great that we have 2 variations of one of my favourite Justice League characters, but I kind of prefer the New 52 version with his swanky loincloth.
I don’t normally talk about LEGO boxes but Brainiac Attack has a pretty strange box design. Firstly, the shape is quite unconventional and the finger punch outs to open the box are located at the bottom of the box instead of at the top like you would normally expect.
Here’s my slightly mangled sticker sheet. I wonder when LEGO will actively take steps to ensure that sticker sheets don’t get damaged when they come in smaller sets.
Brainiac Attack is a pretty small set, weighing in at only 179 pieces but it has some pretty interesting parts such as the round transparent green dome. The spread is pretty useful if you’re into building spaceships and stuff.
Here’s Brainiac and his spooky vehicle, the Skull Ship. Luckily, this tentacular monstrosity looks a lot more menacing than its name suggests and was a pretty fun build that only took me about 30 minutes to assemble.
The Skull Ship is an interesting mix of alien design elements and supervillain megalomania. It also reminded me a lot about the Tripod Invader from 2011’s brilliant Alien Conquest theme.
I love the over the top, comic book feel of the Skull Ship. You can vividly picture the Skull Ship scuttling about Metropolis, blasting at innocent civilians and buildings with its comically huge laser cannon as Brainiac cackles in his cockpit.
Let’s talk about the skull. This is quite possibly one of the best designed skulls I’ve ever come across. The yellow eyes that are bordered by black and the absolutely perfect triangle nose cavity as well as the curved forehead give it an impressively horrifying look. I had such a great time constructing the skull and watching it all come together.
The skull ship has some pretty serious weaponry – the main cannon has two blasters, a very cool looking transparent green barrel that’s fed by a long hose. Seeing as its Brainiac and they’re going up against two Kryptonians, I’m positive that the cannon is powered by Kryptonite.
The cannon has a forced play feature which involves the super jumper. Remember, do not use the super jumper as it damages your minifigures. Do not let your precious minifigures anywhere near it.
The idea is to launch your minifigures at the cannon to knock it off, thereby disabling the Skull Ship. The design of the cannon makes it extremely fiddly – and there’s a simple solution to fix it at the end of this review.
On the other side, there’s a boring flick fire missile. To make it sound a bit more dangerous, I’ll just pretend that it’s a Kryptonite-tipped missile. One tip when applying the sticker decals, make sure they align themselves as closely to the edge as possibly so the green hexagons line up.
Here’s the Skull Ship’s behind where it has two significantly large thrusters to propel it forward or fly through space to Brainiac’s mothership.
Brainiac’s cockpit is a little bare, he doesn’t even have a proper chair. He has a small stickered console and two levers to pilot the Skull Ship. Brainiac might be a smart person but there’s a slight design flaw with the Skull Ship..
The giant ornamental skull completely blocks Brainiac’s vision while he’s seated in the cockpit and he has to stand to even get a chance at seeing above the skull. Pretty silly, methinks.
Here’s a quick fix to ensure that the cannon stays put and not jump out of place at the slightest touch.
You should have two of these technic pins lying about your spare parts drawer. Just swap the tan pins out for these and the cannon will stay put. Easy!
What I liked:
- Another superb bunch of minifigures, including the retail debut of Martian Manhunter
- The Skull Ship blends horror and space design elements
- Building the giant ornamental skull
What I didn’t like:
- That this set will most likely be a retailer exclusive
- Tentacular legs are quite rigid
- I didn’t know that I had to align the stickers before it was too late
Final thoughts: Brainiac Attack like Green Lantern vs Sinestro packs a lot of value in a relatively small set. With 4 very desirable DC Comics characters included – two of which are important Justice League members. That and you also get one of Superman’s most important adversaries, Brainiac and his skirt-wearing Kryptonian cousin as well.
The stellar lineup of minifigures is further complemented by Brainiac’s Skull Ship, which was a joy to build. The end result is pretty satisfying in itself as it looks great and is an ideal display model thanks to its very distinct appearance.
I love it when LEGO sets perfectly balance great minifigures and an excellent model to go along with it. My only significant complaint is that the Skull Ship wasn’t bigger. I would’ve really enjoyed a model that was 2 or 3 times larger than it currently is. More tentacles and a detachable spaceship portion would’ve been pretty cool to build and display as the current iteration still kind of looks like a toy jellyfish.
At $40, this set has crazy value especially if you’re a new DC Super Heroes fan. This new wave of DC sets are doing it right – giving everyone equal opportunity to collect all the important DC Super Heroes, even if some of the sets are quite expensive. Thankfully, Brainiac Attack manages to do things right by offering what all LEGO Super Heroes fans love – tantalising minifigures and a terrific model.
I don’t encourage speculating, but I can definitely see this set appreciating in value due to the perfect storm of LEGO investing factors such as being a retailer exclusive and containing 4 highly coveted minifigures.
Oh and Batman doesn’t even show up in this set, which is some sort of DC miracle! Not that I have anything against Bats – he just needs to give his other Justice League colleagues a little space!
Be sure to check out the Review Hub to discover more LEGO DC Super Hero reviews!
Signing off with an epic Kryptonian staring contest. Let me know in the comments who you think would blink first!