Spoilers ahead for this week's Justice League: No Justice #1.
With the launch of the four-week event series Justice League: No Justice, readers have been expecting Brainiac to join with Earth's heroes and villains to fight a threat from beyond the Source Wall.
But at the end of the event's first issue, Brainiac's role in the plotline appears to be finished. In fact, his head literally explodes.
This leaves the team without their main strategist in a battle against a threatening group of world-eaters called the Omega Titans.
Justice League: No Justice #1 is the first issue in the four-issue series by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson and Francis Manapul (with Marcus To joining later). The series sets up events for several new Justice League-related comic books that are launching this summer.
But the first issue ended with the teams in a crazy predicament. Let's take a look how the events unfolded in Justice League: No Justice #1.
Build the Wall
To review how we got to this point, the ending of Dark Nights: Metal left the Source Wall destroyed, and the Green Lanterns are just figuring out how bad that is for the universe.
At the beginning of Justice League: No Justice #1, there are Lanterns galore working together to seal the breach. As John Stewart, Hal Jordan, Kyle Raynor and Guy Gardner discover, there's a "cosmic ocean of destructive energy" that now has access to the known universe.
OK, that sounds like it might be bad.
Back on Earth, a team-up of the Suicide Squad, The Titans, The Teen Titans and the Justice League are trying to battle Brainiac, who just showed up.
But it turns out that Brainiac doesn't want to conquer the world. He wants to recruit its heroes and form them into teams that he thinks will be more effective against an invading force called the Omega Titans.
He does so forcibly, knocking out a slew of characters and bringing them onto his skull ship, dividing them into the teams he formulated and giving them new costumes.
And Brainiac proves to Justice League members (including Superman, Batman, Flash, Cyborg, and Wonder Woman) that his motivations are honest by allowing Diana to wrap her golden lasso around his arm.
So who are the Omega Titans? According to Brainiac, they're four cosmic brothers who embody the "fundamental energies of sentient life": Entropy, wisdom, wonder and mystery.
These four beings planted seeds of their cosmic energy in various worlds in the universe. And now they're apparently coming back to "re-absorb" worlds as part of a sort of competition between their four energies.
Brainiac has redistributed Earth's heroes into teams that embody the four energies. And the teams don't just include heroes. As advertised, several villains get involved as well.
This is a problem, because even though Brainiac has calculated that the various characters have powers that will work well together, he seemingly hasn't taken into account how poorly they're get along.
Brainiac has taken the Earth characters to Colu, his homeworld, where the Omega Titans have already started their destruction of worlds. Because Colu is all about brain power, the Omega Titan who's consuming the planet's energy is "Wisdom."
Brainiac wants the Earth heroes and villains to "reignite" the other Omega Titans, and they are going to have to follow Brainiac's every order.
And if they don't?
Well, Brainiac has given them some added motivation to do his bidding. He somehow made sure that the next planet the Omega Titans visit will be Earth.
So…Brainiac's crazy plan has to be followed exactly.
Back on Earth, Amanda Waller has taken the opportunity of Brainiac's visit to Earth to begin hacking into Brainiac's ship, using the power of DC's psychic characters. She wants to learn Brainiac's knowledge and find out about threats to Earth.
So, as Brainiac tries to explain his plan to the heroes and villains on Colu, he's interrupted by Waller's invasion of his mind.
He's unable to fight back. The Earth psychics are too powerful.
Brainiac's brain explodes.
As the issue ends, the Earth characters are left standing on Brainiac's ship, ready to fight the Omega Titans on Colu. But they have absolutely no idea what to do next.
Justice League: No Justice #2 comes next on May 16.