Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Bizarro Origin of Superman's Nemesis Bizarro, Part 2

The Bizarro Origin of Superman's Nemesis Bizarro, Part 2

By RJ Sullivan

(to read part one, click here)

So part two opens with Superboy finding Bizarro passed out in a field, thinking the danger is over. He brings the body to our still unnamed scientist character (If I were him, I wouldn't want my name published in this, either). Bizarro wakes up, and the scientist thinks "Both Superboy and I forgot his heart wouldn't beat, nor his lungs breathe." Well, okay, whatever makes you feel better about yourself.

Demonstrating his usual skills at diplomacy, the scientist says, "Stay here, Bizarro…nobody likes you around…oof!" The "oof" being when Bizarro runs him over on his way to flying out the window.

So Bizarro crashes the Smallville High School gym class where Clark happens to be working out with a few classmates. He wants to play with them, but no one will have anything to do with him. He throws a few balls through walls and wreaks havoc on the gym equipment, etc., before the other kids' combined taunting drives him away. That's right kids, bullying can be used as a weapon to fight evil.

Now we come to one of my favorite parts where Superboy concludes, "Bizarro doesn't really mean harm, but his super-blundering makes him a menace. I must get rid of him for good, and Kryptonite will do it." So his super-plan to locate Kryptonite involves flying past several meteor showers until he finds one where he feels pain and weakness.

He then flies back to Earth while "keeping an eye on his find with his telescopic vision" (He's Superboy; why not?) and flies to a lead manufacturing plant where he creates a suit of armor. (A suit of armor with a visor that, over several panels, clearly shows eyeslots, so….oh, never mind).

So using his supersenses he flies back to the meteor shower, strips it of a globe of the green stuff, then flies down to the loudest footsteps he can hear in Smallville (good thing the elephants didn't have another convenient stampede). Anyway, he throws the kryptonite at Bizarro, who thinks Superboy wants to play catch. And before you can scream "but he wasn't born on Krypton, you idiot." Bizarro has flung the rock back, tore a hole through his suit of armor and left him passed out next to the rock.

Bizarro walks off, thinking Superboy has decided to take a nap, and that Superboy is his friend. Several panels later, the man of steel, the man of tomorrow, he with powers far beyond those of mortal man, is saved by…a passing cop on the beat, who gathers the lead pieces and wraps the Kryptonite in it, allowing Superboy to wake up.

One would think that after such an experience, it might occur to most people that maybe brute force isn't the answer, maybe they should, I don't know, try talking to the poor misunderstood creature.

But no. Instead, let's ask the guys at our local army base for help. Superboy rallies up the troops with his next plan—essentially to bomb the bejesus out of Bizarro.

But first, our hero, our boyscout, the world's most powerful role model, can't just challenge Bizarro to a fight and lure him into firing range. No, he can't even trick him with the obvious ploy that Bizarro thinks Superboy is his friend. No, a threat like Bizarro requires a special level of deviousness.

Bizarro flies along and finds his friend Melissa. "I've been looking for you everywhere!" She says. "Please fly me on a sight-seeing tour…I'll tell you which way to go." Bizarro is overjoyed and only too happy to oblige. Then comes the reveal (which actually DID surprise me, because it's such a lousy sneaky no-good thing to do) that Superboy has made an elaborate mannequin in the shape of Melissa and is using his super-ventriloquism to make him think she the real thing. (Hey, he's Superboy—okay, nevermind).

Bombs go boom, flame throwers throw flames, missiles 'splode. "That thing wrecked half of my military equipment!" enrages the army commander. No, sir, I beg to differ. It's Superboy's brilliant plan that caused the loss of half your weapons.

But don't worry. Supes has another plan. Drop the A-bomb. Yes, drop the A-bomb, right outside a population center.

Bizarro catches said A bomb and throws it back at Superboy, who, rather than deflecting it someplace where it can blow harmlessly, lets it pass so it can blow up on the moon. (Gee, thanks, Superboy!)

In what is clearly an act of desperation, Supeboy grabs Bizarro by the ankles and flings him into space. "When he's out of sight of Earth, he'll be too dumb to find his way back." Good plan, turn Bizarro loose on the rest of the galaxy and who knows what other sentient lifeforms, but not in my backyard.

Alright, more silliness of the same nature occurs for a couple more pages until we come to the finish, where Superboy suddenly remembers how the destroyed bits of the duplicator were glowing. "It's quite logical!" he declares. "My Kryptonite was formed from each of the fragments. Similarly…the broken machine became his Kryptonite."

Whoa, whoa, whoa, it may be "quite logical" to Superboy, but that makes no sense. As any Super-geek can tell you, Kryptonite is lethal to Superman because the chunks of planet emitted a form of radiation put out by his home planet's sun when it exploded. Superman is not harmed by the chunks of rock themselves, but by the radiation seeping off of them.

What is "quite logical" is that since Superboy was unharmed by the explosion of the duplicator (which went boom, yes, but did not leave behind residual radiation) Bizarro would not be harmed by it either. Okay, now that I've gotten nerdy enough to embarrass Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, let's continue.

So armed with his Bizarro-nite, Superboy flies at our supervillain, whose final words are "You going to kill me? I not run away." And with that, Bizarro explodes into a puff of illogic. We then cut to Melissa the blind girl, who exclaims, "The vibration in the air…I can see now!"

Superboy then uses his…and I'm quoting the book…"superwits [to] furnish the answer." (Clearly this is the first time he's activated that power the entire story.) "Sometimes the shock of changing air-pressure can cure deaf passengers. Likewise, the shockwave of our super-collision stimulated your optic nerve back to life."

Okay, I know Otto Binder had a career writing science fiction, so to be fair, I did a quick Google search. And no, this has never happened. There are many documented cases of changes in air pressure causing temporary hearing LOSS, but not one case that I could find in which hearing returned. But whatever.

Superboy then muses, "Did poor Bizarro have one flash of super-inspiration…did he sacrifice himself for his only friend?" The final panel shows Melissa musing "I know from his gentle voice he must have had a kind face." Superboy, who seems to have activated his super-pompous powers, gets the final word: "Little does she know. I won't disillusion her with the truth."

Gosh, Superboy, what truth are you not wanting to share with Melissa? By my tally, Bizarro was constantly hounded for the "crimes" of ugliness, low intelligence, and not understanding his own strength. In the end, the "bad guy" sacrificed himself to help the only friend he knew.

Contrast that to the "good" guy, who immediately resorted to brute strength, justified his homicidal actions because of the technicality that his opponent was not "really" alive, set a devious booby trap that took advantage of the creature's desire for friendship, set another trap in which his own overthinking nearly results in his own death, and yet a third trap that resulted in millions of dollars in US Gov't property getting destroyed, and for an encore, he set off an A-bomb on the moon. Yeah, I wouldn't "disillusion" her with the truth if I were you, either.

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