Posts tagged ‘Bizarro World’

Adventure 329 – The Bizarro Legion

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I really wish I had lots of wonderful things to say about the story in Adventure 329 (Feb 65), but about the best review I can give Jerry Siegel’s story is that it’s not awful, and occasionally amusing.

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The tale starts off by reminding the reader that the Time Trapper is still out there, and Mon-El, Superboy and Ultra Boy have a lot of determination to break that Iron Curtain of Time, if no success at it.

Brainiac 5 reveals the new Legion flight rings, replacing the ugly flight belts that had been seen in previous issues.  This story does not connect it with the anti-gravity metal invented by Mon-El a while earlier, but later continuity would link the two.

At first the ring simply enables flight, through mental control, but as time passed it would be modified to include communications and monitoring abilities.

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A Bizarro Superboy appears, wanting to join the Legion, but is turned down.  This is an entirely new character, not any of the Bizarros that have appeared before, and he never appears again after this story.

He returns to Bizarro World and uses the Duplicator Machine to create a Bizarro Legion of his own.

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The rest of the tale is Bizarro wackiness, although it does build to a climax as they threaten Superboy, demanding that he turn diamonds into coal.  This impossible task is achieved thanks to Element Lad’s transmutation abilities.

The Bizarro Legion does not appear again, but a different Bizarro Legion is created in the Reboot Legion (post-Zero Hour).

 

Adventure 299 – Bizarro World ends

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After a couple of issues in which the series really felt like it was spinning its wheels, Bizarro World came to an end in Adventure 299 (Aug 62) with another tv parody, this time of Car 54, Where Are You?

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Bizarro and his son come to Earth to get jobs as police officers, and wackiness ensues.  Being Bizarros, they of course help the bad guys and cause more trouble than they are worth, but the police captain has no idea how to get rid of them.

Finally, after a bump on the head, he awards Bizarro a gold badge, which so offends him he heads back to Bizarro World.

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A plot that is so very sitcom really would have suited another writer more than Jerry Siegel, but as he was the only writer on this strip, that was not to be.

Bizarro and his family and friends would continue to appear throughout the Superman books.  There would occasionally be one-shot Bizarro World stories, but never again an actual series.

Adventure 296 – Bizarro Perry White gets murdered

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The Bizarro World series takes a different slant in this issue, playing as a parody of the popular Perry Mason tv series.  It’s not a bad story by any means, but again indicates this series has lost some of its steam.

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Bizarro Jimmy Olsen is the prime suspect, and Bizarro becomes his defense attorney – although on Bizarro World that means he is trying to get his client convicted and executed.

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There are some funny moments, and opportunities for many of the Bizarro World residents to appear.

In the end, it turns out Bizarro Perry White was not killed, in fact he has been in disguise as the judge throughout the trial.  He wanted to make sure there was a really boring news story that day.

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Adventure 295 – Bizarro Lois vs Bizarro Titano

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Bizarro Lois becomes a successful wrestler in the story in Adventure 295 (April 1962), but her string of victories could see her exiled from Bizarro World for being a winner.

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Bizarro decides he must create a new Bizarro in order to defeat her, so he creates Bizarro Titano, who has blue kryptonite vision instead of green.

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In the big match, Bizarro Titano runs away, which the Bizarros think is because he is frightened, so he is proclaimed the winner, and Bizarro Lois is safe from exile.

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To me this story sort of falls flat.  It even seems like Jerry Siegel feels there is something off, with his declaration in the final panel “Are you annoyed, irritated, confused?  Go sue Bizarro World!”

Adventure 294 – JFK, Marilyn Monroe and the best Bizarro World story

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Jerry Siegel hits the gold mine with Adventure 294, with my favourite Bizarro World story.  In truth, I was disappointed the first time I read it, as it appears in the Overstreet Price Guide listing as “Bizarro JFK and Marilyn Monroe,” and I was fully expecting those people to appear in the story.  But once that disappointment passed, I was able to enjoy the story hugely on its own merits.

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It’s Halloween on Bizarro World, and they don masks of terrifying creatures – such as JFK and Marilyn Monroe.  Jerry Lewis is another, and Mickey Mantle.  Seems like there is a hint of something subversive in this scene.  Including a baseball player is b0und to make one think of Marilyn’s ex, Joe DiMaggio.  Just having her and JFK in the same panel is enough of a sly wink.

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The story then becomes about joyously torturing Bizarro Krypto, who runs away from home, seeking love.

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Bizarro Lana Lang treats him too well, but Kltpzyxm sends him against a variety of deadly beasts.  Bizarro Krypto murders them all, and then sobs because he has no more friends to play with.

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So Kltpzyxm brings the real Krypto to Bizarrow World, and the two dogs fight viciously, until Krypto saves his counterpart from blue kryptonite.   Bizarro Krypto then heads to play with Bizarro Luthor, who is trying to make the cube shaped Bizarro World a globe, but Krypto makes the robots he sends out play paddycake with each other instead.

In the end, he returns home to Bizarro.  The final panel is so twisted. Is it funny, frightening, or sad?  All three really.

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There are only a couple more Bizarro World stories before the end of the run.  None of them top this one for sheer insanity.

Adventure 293 – The Legion of Super-Pets, and Bizarro Luthor

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Jerry Siegel does double-duty on Adventure 293 (Feb 62), writing both the Superboy and Bizarro World features.  Curt Swan draws the Superboy tale, but alas not the Bizarro World one.

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Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl show up in Smallville and try to trick Superboy into freeing General Zod and Jax-Ur from the Phantom Zone.  Mon-El, still a resident of the Zone at this time, warns Superboy.  The Legionnaires then attack Superboy, and are revealed to be under the mental control of the Brain-Globes of Rambat.

When they notice that Krypto is not vulnerable to the Brain-Globes powers, the team decides to form a battle squad of animals, and zip through time, recruiting Streaky the Super-Cat, Beppo the Super-Monkey and a Super-Horse.  This is Comet, making his first appearance.  He is introduced as an animal that will soon become Supergirl’s pet.

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The animals defeat the Brain-Globes, who flee, and are never heard from again.  Saturn Girl rewards them by officially creating the Legion of Super-Pets as an auxiliary unit of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

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The Legion of Super-Pets will return and have some of my favourite goofy adventures from this era.

 

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Bizarro Luthor gets created in this issue.  And as Lex Luthor does bad deeds, Bizarro Luthor of course does good deeds.  But when Bizarros try to do good deeds these often turn out badly.  So when Bizarro Luthor tries to do good deeds they turn into bad deeds but not really bad deeds, more like…

My brain hurts.

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Although this story is really fun, overall the series is beginning to feel repetitious, and the constant inclusion of new Bizarros means that few actually get to do anything significant in the story.  While Bizarro Luthor gets the spotlight in this tale, a Bizarro Bottle City of Kandor and Bizarroe Superman Emergency Squad are also created in the tale, but pretty much shoved to the side.

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Adventure 292 – Bizarro creates a monster

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BIzarro seeks to make a horror movie, and uses the Imperfect Duplicator Ray on a caveman, creating Apollo, the most horrifying thing they have ever seen, in Adventure 292 (Jan 62)

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This story by Jerry Siegel is pretty simple, played entirely for the laughs of a handsome man being considered ugly. Bizarro versions of Lana Lang and Lucy Lane are also created in this story, though they really don’t do much.

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Poor Apollo cannot understand why everyone on Bizarro World fears him, except for an insane Bizarro Lois who falls in love with him.  Eventually Kltpzyxm uses his magic to turn Apollo back into a caveman.  He goes on a destructive rampage, and everyone loves him for it.

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Adventure 291 – Bizarro Lois gets kidnapped!

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Bizarros are almost invariably presented as confused but well-meaning.  They may be destructive, even deadly, but are not malicious.  In this story, Jerry Siegel introduces three residents of Bizarro World that break that mold.

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They kidnap Bizarro Lois, and force Bizarro to commit crimes before they will free her.  He heads to Earth and begins a sort of rampage, although since the Bizarros value what humans consider worthless, his “crimes” are more like good deeds.

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He gets them garbage, worn out tires and sawdust, and thrilled as they are, the evil Bizarros keep demanding more treasures.

It’s Superman who steps in to save the day, disguising himself as Bizarro, he leads the three to a planet made entirely of coal.  The evil Bizarros are in such glee that they reveal Bizarro Lois’ location.  Superman intuits that the evil Bizarros are so greedy that they will never leave their planet of riches, and as they never appeared again, it seems he was right.

Adventure 290 – Superboy meets Sun Boy, and Bizarro World gets invaded

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There is an awful lot of deception going on in Adventure 290 (Nov 61).  Tom Tanner, who happens to look identical to Clark Kent, escapes from a reform school and just happens to wind up in Smallville, where everyone, including Ma and Pa Kent, assume he is Clark.

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So he steps into Clark’s life while Superboy meets Sun Boy just outside of town.

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Sun Boy had appeared as a Legion applicant in a recent appearance of the team, in which Supergirl was recruited (Action 276), and is revealed to be a member now.   His origin is told in brief, gaining his powers though an accident in his father’s lab.  At this point Sun Boy’s powers are limited to emitting light.

He sends Sueprboy off to gather sealed containers, the contents of which will build a weapon, and Superboy goes.  But this is not the real Sun Boy, simply an imposter.  So we have two phonies in this story!

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Of the two, Tom is having the more impressive time, passing one of Lana’s tests to prove Clark is Superboy, and also making Clark look much tougher at school.

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Sun Boy builds his silly looking killer robot, but fails in his plans, because Superboy knew all along he was a fake.  Why?  Because he did not use the secret Legion handshake.  There never had been a secret Legion handshake before this story, and never would be again.

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There’s some stuff with Tom that is too complex and contrived to bother explaining, but he becomes a good person and goes off to live his life, and is never heard from again.  Nor is the Sun Boy imposter.  Of all the Legion stories that pre-date their series, I think this is the one I like least.

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The Bizarro World story is probably the most serious tale of the run, if only because they risk the destruction of their world.

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Creatures made of blue kryptonite (which is deadly to Bizarros) emerge from underground and begin attacking.  The Bizarros respond by cheering them on.

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Jerry Siegel includes a detail that no other Bizarro story will acknowledge, that only Bizarros based on Superman are vulnerable to blue kryptonite.  So a squad of Bizarro Loises are sent out to fight.

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In the end its Bizarro Jimmy Olsen who saves the day, creating Bizarro versions of Superman’s lead suit, which protects them and allows them to defeat the creatures.

Adventure 289 – Does Pa Kent really gain super-powers again? And Bizarro hunts for heroes

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Oh, no, is it yet another story where Pa Kent gets powers?  Nope, it just seems to be.  Otto Binder does a great job decoying the reader with this tale, in Adventure 289 (Oct 61)

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Clark, and the reader, are lead to believe that Pa Kent has gained powers as the result of exposure to an alien gem, and with two such stories in the last few years, no one was likely to be surprised, or question it.

Pa Kent adopts the identity of Super-Dad, and acts quite obnoxiously towards Clark.  But then, not so different from how Pa Kent behaved in the story where he became Strongman.

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Ok, maybe throwing a lead bucket onto Superboy’s head is a bit much, but it almost feels like it’s being played for laughs.  Things get serious though, when Clark discovers his father stockpiling kryptonite in order to kill him.  Would Pa Kent really do this?

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No, he wouldn’t.  This is Jax-Ur, an escapee from the Phantom Zone, making his first appearance.  We learn that he was sentenced to the Zone for destroying an inhabited moon of Krypton, and Superboy sends him back there at story’s end.

This is a good tale, almost a great one, except for the revelation of how Superboy figured out Pa Kent was not Pa Kent.

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Groan.

 

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Bizarro goes time-travelling in this little romp by Jerry Siegel.  He promises the citizens of Bizarro World that he will find real heroes from the past that they can feature on tv on their world, and heads in search of the Abominable Snowman, Frankenstein’s monster and the Devil.

In each case, it is Bizarro himself who is assumed by people in that time period to be the monster he is seeking.

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He winds up in the prehistoric era, and runs into Titano, who he calls Tiny. and returns to Bizarrow World to tell them all about the great hero he found.

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He is accused to ripping off King Kong for his story about Tiny, which makes Bizarro World cheer him, for hoaxing them all.

Bizarro logic, what can you do?

 

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