Bizarro

bizarro-profile-SM_Cv42-v1-401x600-masthead.jpg
CHARACTER

Bizarro

Though he's not the most intelligent of Superman's foes, what Bizarro lacks in brains he makes up for in brawn -- as both villain and antihero.

Introduction

Aliases: Bizarro #1, El-Kal, Kent Clark, Subject B-Zero, B-0
First Appearance: SUPERBOY #68, 1958

 

 

 

Few villains in the DC Universe are Superman's equal in power, but there is one who can always go toe to toe with the Man of Steel in a fight -- his twisted doppelganger, Bizarro. The tragic result of a bizarre science experiment gone horribly wrong, Bizarro is an imperfect duplicate of Kal-El, with none of his intelligence or self-control. Looking like a pasty white, zombie-like version of the Last Son of Krypton, he invariably strikes fear into those he encounters. Often a creature more to be pitied than feared, Bizarro nevertheless is as dangerous as it gets -- whether he means to be lethal or not. 

 

There have been many versions of Bizarro over the years, some created by science and some by magical means, but he has been a persistent thorn in the side of Superman's since the earliest days of the Silver Age. Usually wanting nothing more than to be seen as the hero that his famous counterpart Superman is, he has often developed a strong hatred for his "perfect" brother. Sometimes misguided, sometimes genuinely malevolent, and even sometimes a true hero himself, Bizarro is nevertheless a force to be reckoned with.

 

Origin

Silver Age

bizarro-origin-DCBRD_15_24-v1.jpg Although one of Superman's most well-known and powerful enemies, Bizarro actually first appeared as an adversary for Superboy. The original Bizarro was created during a lab accident, when a scientist was showing off his latest invention for Superboy, a form of duplicating ray, which could manifest a physical copy of anything that came in contact with its beam. When the scientist accidentally knocked over his new device, it hit the visiting Superboy, inadvertently creating an imperfect copy of the Boy of Steel. This creature, dubbed "Bizarro", was a chalk-white and craggy-skinned version of Kal-El, who could only speak in broken English and had limited intelligence. The scientist insisted the duplicate was not a living being, but it nevertheless escaped from his lab on its own.

 

The Bizarro creature had no ill intentions, but his strange appearance and odd behavior frightened the locals of Smallville, mostly because he had no real concept of how to use his own super powers. In an echo of Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN, the creature then made friends with a young blind girl. But not long after, Superboy discovered that the remains of the machine that created Bizarro weakened him, much as Kryptonite would for a Kryptonian. Bizarro then lunged at Superboy, who was holding the machine's remains, somehow having intuited that the resulting shockwave from his destruction would cure his young friend's blindness.

 

Years later, when Superboy had become Superman, a second Bizarro creature was created by his arch nemesis Lex Luthor, who recreated the original duplicating ray and used it on Superman, with the hopes he could use the duplicate version to attack the Man of Steel. Similar to the original Bizarro in appearance, this version also spoke in "opposite speak," using phrasing such as "Me hate you" meaning "Me love you," and always referred to himself as "Me" instead of "I," resulting in phrases like "Me am not Superman, me am Bizarro!" Unfortunately for Luthor, this Bizarro did not bow to his wishes, and instead attempted to emulate Superman rather than destroy him. Sadly, all of his attempts to copy Superman's feats of heroism were thwarted by his own limited intelligence, and he often did more harm than good. 

 

Being an imperfect copy of Superman, he fell in love with Lois Lane the moment he saw her, and subsequently kidnapped her to force her to marry him. But it was actually Lois who found a way to defeat Bizarro, when she created a Bizarro-Lois for him using the duplication ray. Seeing themselves as rejected by the people of Earth for the strangeness, the Bizarro couple then moved to the world of Htrae (Earth backwards), which had ancient advanced technology, which Bizarro used to populate the planet with other identical creatures. This Bizarro world was even square and not round. 

 

The original Bizarro now referred to himself as "Bizarro #1", and Lois Bizarro was also deemed #1. The rest of the planet was filled with millions of duplicate versions of themselves, and eventually Bizarro versions of the Justice League and Supergirl. The Lois and Clark Bizarros even had a pair of super Bizarro children. At one point, Bizarro travelled to the future to join the Legion of Super-Heroes as Superman once did, but was rejected, so he created his own Bizarro Legion. 

 

 

Bronze Age

For much of the Silver Age, Bizarro was less of a villain, and more of a misunderstood nuisance. But that all changed during the 1970s, as Bizarro would become less sympathetic, and more of a malevolent menace. During this era, Bizarro's powers actually changed when he was struck by a meteor, and now he actually had the opposite powers of Superman, such as ice vision instead of heat vision, flame breath, microscopic vision that actually enlarges things, and so on. Bizarro once again tried to kidnap Lois Lane, but instead of just being an annoyance to Superman, he now wanted to eliminate his "perfect" counterpart once and for all. Superman saved Lois, but there was now a real animosity between the original and the duplicate.

 

It was during this time that Bizarro became a fully-fledged criminal, and even joined the Secret Society of Super-Villains. This iteration of Bizarro lasted through the end of the Bronze Age. He came to a tragic end before the events of the universe altering Crisis on Infinite Earths, when Bizarro was driven mad by another once of Superman's foes, the imp from the 5th dimension, Mister Mxyzptlk. Under his control, Bizarro #1 destroys his own Bizarro World, and ultimately commits suicide, bringing his sad story to a close.

 

 

Modern Age

After the continuity of the DC universe was rebooted following the events of the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, a new version of Bizarro emerged. Lex Luthor, now a billionaire with endless resources and his company LexCorp at his disposal, orders scientist Doctor Teng to create a clone of Superman. At this time, it was believed Superman was just a metahuman and not an alien, so not taking into account the alien DNA, this clone was very flawed from inception. Luthor orders the imperfect copy to be destroyed, but it survived. This Bizarro had an even more limited intelligence than the original, but also had vague remembrances of Clark Kent's life, based on a kind of genetic memory, and tried to mimic the Man of Steel by wearing Clark Kent's clothes over his Superman uniform. 

 

Based on remnants of Clark's memories, Bizarro kidnaps Lois Lane. Superman is not only afraid that he will harm Lois and others, but he will inadvertently expose his secret identity as Clark Kent. Bizarro is destroyed when colliding with Superman in mid-air, crumbling to dust. When Lois Lane's sister Lucy, who had recently been blinded in a terrorist attack, is exposed to Bizarro's remains, she regains her sight, in an homage to the original version of Bizarro from the Silver Age.

 

Years later, Luthor recreated Bizarro in an effort to study him, hoping that his DNA might yield an answer on how to stop a so-called "clone plague" that was engulfing Metropolis. As before, this Bizarro escaped captivity, and once again kidnapped Lois Lane. He took Lois to his "Bizarro World", which was not an actual planet, but instead a warehouse set up like a twisted and strange version of the Metropolis in Superman's memory. Using his twisted logic, he subjected her Lois to actual danger, all so that he would then be able to also rescue her from it. Lois managed to escape, and Bizarro was recaptured by Lexcorp, where he eventually died.

 

The post-CRISIS era Bizarro that most resembled the original Silver Age version was created by another famous DC villain, the Joker. During the “Emperor Joker” storyline, the Clown Prince of Crime gains the limitless powers of Mr. Mxyzptlk, and used them to recreate the world in his own warped version of reality. One of these creations was a new Bizarro, who closely resembled the classic version of the character. The Joker even created a square Earth for Bizarro and his duplicates to live on, just as he had in the pre-Crisis universe. After the Joker was defeated and stripped of his godlike powers, this new Bizarro remained however, and was the hero of his own twisted world.

 

 

New 52

With the DC Universe's history rebooted once again due to the events of Flashpoint, a new version of Bizarro once again emerged. Lex Luthor had begun creating an army of Superman clones to use to eventually fight the Man of Steel, but the cloning process was complicated and slow. During 2013's FOREVER EVIL storyline, which saw the Crime Syndicate, the evil doppelgangers of the Justice League from Earth-3, invade our reality and defeat the League, Lex Luthor awakened one of his clones too early in an effort to fight the Syndicate. 

 

However, since this clone, which was designated B-0, had not yet fully matured and was released prematurely, he was dim witted and slow, but still possessed all of Superman's powers. Unlike previous Bizarros, this version did not have the ability to even speak. In a deviation from past Bizarros, this version was actually like something of a beloved pet to Lex Luthor. When Bizarro died fighting the Crime Syndicate, Lex becomes enraged and vows to bring down the other dimensional villains and avenge his creation.

 

 

DC Rebirth

bizarro-essential7-rebirth-REDHOTO_Cv1_ds-1-v1.jpg After the events of 2016's DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1, another clone of B-0 is found within a cryo-tube, inside a train car stolen by the Batman villain Black Mask. The hero known as the Red Hood, along with the Amazon named Artemis, attempt to steal the living weapon from Black Mask, not even realizing it's a clone of Superman. After being freed, this new Bizarro eventually joins Red Hood's team, the Outlaws.

 

In an echo of what happened to other past Bizarro clones, he is eventually stricken with a disease which cause his cells to rapidly deteriorate, and after saving his new friends the Outlaws, he dies. Lex Luthor, having affection for Bizarro, takes his body in order to bring him back to life. But he only does so on the condition that this Bizarro is the property of LexCorp. This latest Bizarro is actually extremely smart, to the shock of nearly everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Powers and Abilities

bizarro-powers-FEVIL_7_P15dylux-v1.jpg As a clone of Superman, Bizarro has essentially all of Superman's powers, although his understanding of them and his control are extremely limited. Although originally having identical Kryptonian abilities, Bizarro further mutated into having "opposite" powers as Superman's. He now had freeze vision instead of heat vision, flame breath" over freeze breath, and vacuum-breath instead of super-breath. He also developed "Bizarro telescopic vision" which allowed him to see a "short distance behind his head" rather than a "long distance in front of his head." His "Bizarro microscopic vision" actually made objects smaller, and his "Bizarro X-ray vision" allowed him to only see through lead, instead of the traditional Kryptonian ability to see through anything except lead. 

 

Other later versions of Bizarro have gone back to basics however, and once again had all of Superman's traditional abilities, minus his ability to properly control them. Certain versions of Bizarro have one big Achilles' heel, as his biggest weakness was often shown to be blue Kryptonite, which is lethal to him. Green Kryptonite, which is deadly to the real Superman, actually makes Bizarro stronger. Another weakness of many versions of Bizarro is cellular decay, which causes premature death, due to imperfections in the cloning process which created him. On at least two separate occasions, the substance which makes up Bizarro's skin has caused cellular regeneration in the eyes of the blind.

 

For all his weaknesses, Bizarro has one important advantage over the Man of Steel. The most recent incarnation of Bizarro is different from the real Superman in one another key way, as he does not rely upon solar radiation in order to tap into his super-powers like the real Kal-El does. He also not need to eat or drink, and can function for an indeterminate amount of time without ever needing to rest.

 

Essential Storylines and History

"The Boy of Steel vs. the Thing of Steel" (SUPERBOY #68, 1958)

bizarro-essential1-asuperpoweredfrankensteinmonster-Superboy068_01-v1.jpg In his first-ever appearance, Bizarro was nothing more than a misunderstood misfit, a product of a science experiment gone wrong. People shunned him because of his strange appearance, and the only friend he made was a young blind girl who could not see his ugly visage. Although later stories would take on a far more comedic bent to the imperfect Superman clone, this original Bizarro tale was heartbreaking and tragic. 

 

 

 

"The World of Bizarros" (ACTION COMICS #263, 1960)

bizarro-essential2-animperfectworld-AC_263_Cvr-v1.jpg After Bizarro and his Bizarro Lois take to the stars, they find an abandoned world for them to live on, which they then populate with millions of duplicates of themselves. When Superman chances upon this backwards world, he finds that everything there was the opposite of how it was on Earth, including broken down homes for its citizens. When Superman decides to repair the various houses, he is arrested for the crime of perfecting something on a world where imperfection is the norm. 

 

 

 

Bronze Age (1976 – 1985)

"Backward Battle for the Bizarro World!" (SUPERMAN #306, 1976)

bizarro-essential3-lessfunnymoredeadly-SM_306_COVER-v1.jpg After many years as a powerful but harmless nuisance to the Man of Steel, Bizarro becomes a far more deadly adversary to Superman in this story. In this story, Bizarro becomes convinced that Superman has destroyed the Bizarro World, although its destruction was just a mirage, and Htrae still exists. Bizarro gains new and deadly powers in this story, and from here on out, considers the real Superman as his true enemy who must be destroyed.

 

 

 

"The Mirror, Crack'd" (MAN OF STEEL #5, 1986)

bizarro-essential4-anewbizarro-TMOS_05_C1A-v1.jpg In the post-CRISIS reintroduction of Bizarro, LexCorp scientists try clone the Man of Steel, but all that they can create is a bizarre clone that is dying from almost the moment it is born. Living with jumbled memories of the real Superman, this new Bizarro means no true harm, but with Superman's powers and no real knowledge of how to use them, he becomes a menace to Metropolis. In his first appearance he dies, but other versions of Bizarro will soon follow.

 

 

 

"Superman: Arkham - It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World!" (SUPERMAN #160, 2000)

bizarro-essential5-classicbizarroreturns-Superman-#160_cover-1-v1.jpg As part of 2000's "Emperor Joker" storyline, the demented clown is granted the infinite godlike abilities of the 5th dimensional imp, Mr. Mxyzptlk. With these unlimited new powers, he creates a twisted version of Superman, one which resembles the Silver Age incarnation of Bizarro. Despite being created by the decidedly evil Joker, this Bizarro is more slow witted and clumsy than evil, and he gets the chance to become the hero of his own world.

 

 

 

"Crisis of Self" (FOREVER EVIL #7, 2014)

bizarro-essential6-lexluthorspetkryptonian-FEVIL_Cv7_ds-1-v1.jpg When the Crime Syndicate of America from Earth-3 invade the Prime Earth and banished of the Justice League, Lex Luthor has to step up and save the world. He unleashes his clone of Superman, Subject B-Zero, which he releases from the maturation process too soon, and is therefore not fully formed. This new Bizarro Superman is even more slow and unintelligent than previous versions, but Luthor nevertheless has tremendous affection for him. When he dies fighting the Syndicate, Luthor mourns him as he would for very few other beings on Earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Affiliations

  • • The Bizarro Justice League
  • • The Bizarro Legion of Super-Heroes
  • • The Secret Society of Super-Villains
  • • The Legion of Doom
  • • The Injustice League
  • • The Outlaws

Appearances in Other Media

Television

Main Character Appearances

 

Live Action:

  • • Superboy
  • • Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
  • • Smallville
  • • Supergirl (as Bizarro Supergirl)

 

Animation:

  • • Challenge of the Super Friends
  • • Super Friends
  • • Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians 
  • • Superman: The Animated Series
  • • Justice League
  • • Justice League Unlimited

 

Guest Appearances/Cameos

 

Animation:

  • • DC Nation Shorts
  • • Justice League Action

 


Film

Main Character Appearances

 

Animation:

  • • JLA Adventures: Trapped In Time
  • • LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League

 

 

Video Games

  • Superman (1999)
  • Superman: The Man of Steel
  • Superman Returns
  • DC Universe Online
  • LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
  • LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us
  • Injustice 2
  • LEGO DC Super-Villains