The 90s: Bad for Bizarro

ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #510, DC Comics, March 1994
Post-Crisis, the Superman mythos took on a more reasonable bent, but we lost a little something too. One Silver Age concept deemed too silly for John Byrne's new Superman was Bizarro World. We still had a Bizarro, but instead of having been created by Luthor's whacked copy machine, he was a failed, confused clone.

After one brief appearance in the Man of Steel mini-series, he was punched into a fine powder by the Son of Krypton, seemingly never to be seen again. But that's the funny thing about clones... They have a habit of making comebacks. Back in Adventures of Superman #510, 1994 triangle #11, the latest Superman copy unveiled his version of Bizarro World. But this isn't your father's Bizarro World, no, it's actually called Bizarro's World.
I'm sorry to be underwhelmed, but after decades of a planet punched into a cube shape by Superman's mighty Silver Age fists, suddenly having to settle for the interior of a warehouse takes some getting used to.

Not to mention's Bizarro's haircut.
Bizarro uses his new digs to recreate the dangers of Metropolis and then hopefully saving Lois Lane from them (the Jimmy Olsen dummy doesn't fare so well).

But the big question is: Is this Bizarro's World "opposite"? Well, let's see, Superman still saves Lois from dangers (but he causes them - opposite!). However, he still works at the Daily Planet as Clark Kent and hates Lex Luthor. Not so opposite. There are still some callbacks to the old square planet though:
A blocked exit. Oh, my sides! I do like Lois' typewriter though:
It uses audio tape (written word the opposite of audio)! I don't understand the castle though, and the makeshift Perry White represented by a bottle of Perrier, well... that's not opposite, it's just part of the surreal (read: lame and often incomprehensible) sight gags found throughout Bizarro's World. I mean, what does this mean? (Other than indicating this is the biggest warehouse you ever did see.)
Is that a rebus in the top right hand corner? Crib-Toe-Dog-Soup?

Look, even Lois knows this isn't an exercise in opposites, perhaps recalling some long lost pre-Crisis memory:
The comic's saving grace is that Lois beats Bizarro all by her lonesome, with Superman only showing up to clean the mess.
Now that is opposite!


De said...

The origin of this Bizarro really baffled me at the time. Did he re-form out of the blindness-curing dust from the Man of Steel mini or was he some other clone?

Siskoid said...

Another of what was collectively called the LexCorp Bizarros. I think Superboy was the only successful progeny of the program, but then he wasn't really cloned from Superman.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a mistake, though (and a mistake DC has been earnestly repeating over and over) to look at Bizarro as merely "opposite."

Look at the Bizarro Code. It does indeed say "Us do opposite of all Earthly things!" But I think the final bit is the real organizing principle of Bizarro, so to speak: "Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!"

Bizarro isn't the "opposite" of Superman, per se, he's an imperfect duplicate of Superman. He's imperfect in all ways, including being imperfectly opposite!

What drives me up the wall about many recent Bizarro stories is that they write him as being perfectly opposite. Where his every utterance should simply be parsed to its reverse. That am not what Bizarro am all about!

This story has its flaws, but it's infinitely superior to having Bizarro show up, hit Superman, and say something like "Goodbye, Bizarro am not hitting you now because me am happy with you!"

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that rebus is supposed to be Krypto the Super-Dog. Crib toe Soup dog. Oh, my sides!

Siskoid said...

Sue, for what it's worth, I completely agree with you. But so long as they make the opposite claim, I'll be pointing and laughing.

Anon: Thanks! I knew SOMEone would dekrypt it. (Stop me before I pun again.)

Dan said...

This Bizarro was created by Luthor's chief science-guy, in hopes of using a clone of Superman as some sort of cure for a disease that was afflicting all the clones in Metropolis at the time, including Luthor, who was in a cloned body pretending to be his own son.

Superboy was a product of the Cadmus Project, which was (as I recall) not connected with LexCorp, and existed primarily as an excuse for Dan Jurgens and Roger Stern to bring back the Guardian and the Newsboy Legion.

Good lord, do I know way too much about mid-'90s Superman continuity.

Siskoid said...

Is it me or were the 90s clone-happy?

Austin Gorton said...

Who did the art in that issue? Lois looks almost Kitson-esque in some of those panels.

Siskoid said...

Yep, Kitson and McCarthy.


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