By MisterAnderson 9 Comments
By and large, the New 52 reinterpretation of the Superman mythos leaves me cold. However, with the introduction of Project B-Zero in Forever Evil #2 - Rats, I am completely taken with the new imagining of Bizarro.
At his core, Bizarro is the antithesis of Superman. For some reason, the Pre-52 portrayal was a consciously evil creature with an awful understanding of grammar; I say awful rather than opposite because not all writers were successful at writing completely opposite dialogue, and continuity let it fly. However, in the New 52, readers get a daringly original version of this character that makes him much more sympathetic than his predecessor(s).
This is not just the story of good versus evil. Superman, in any of his alter egos, is a mature adult male who feels accountable for the whole planet. His existence is a projection of his selfless desire to protect others, an extension of the values passed to him by both the Kents and the legacy of his Kryptonian parents. The new Bizarro, on the other hand, is a child, who sees Lex Luthor as his mother-God. He has no violent urges unless either he or his "mother" are threatened. This is demonstrated in both his debut and in Forever Evil #3 - Prisoners when Lex Luthor is threatened and we see Bizarro stirred to anger. However, we also see child-like desire to be acknowledged. Bizarro is not a creature without will, and he does not feel compelled to carry out his maker's will until Luthor acknowledges the flower the clone has picked for him. Where Superman is a parent to the world, Bizarro is a child, an entity who has not developed a sense of right or wrong, good or evil. This opens up many storytelling possibilities.
1. When (not if) Luthor abandons his "child," who will "raise" Bizarro? Paulo Freire posits that traditional education uses the "banking model," where students are empty accounts that teachers make deposits of information into. Potentially, anyone could supplant Luthor as an authority, heroic or villainous, and either way the results are going to be awesome.
2. Will Superman be as offended by Bizarro's creation as Thor was when Tony Stark and Co. cloned him during Civil War? If so, the Man of Steel may be bent on his destruction, ignoring the creature's fundamental rights as a living creature. If not, the conflict between Superman and Bizarro may transcend just physical battles. Either way, wonderful characterization opportunity for Superman.
3. How will Superman's engagement with Bizarro affect his perceptions of his own roles and values?
Finally, I also really like that Bizarro's logo is backwards because he couldn't figure out how to put on his shirt correctly.