Bizarro

Bizarro is a super villain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Otto Binder and artist George Papp as a "mirror image" of Superman and first appeared in Superboy #68 (1958). Since then, various iterations of Bizarro have appeared in which he is often, but not always, portrayed as an antagonist to Superman.

Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books (1956 - c. 1970), the character has appeared in both comic books and graphic novels, and other DC Comics-related products such as animated and live-action television series, trading cards, toys, and video games.

Bizarro was Ranked #25 on IGN's List of 100 Top Comic Book Villains, and the term itself has entered the lexicon beyond pop culture

Pre-Crisis

General Dru-Zod had originally created bizarro duplicates of himself to dominate the planet, Krypton. The bizarros had no power because they were not under a yellow sun, but they were soldiers ready to kill and die without hesitation. This was the reason why Zod was banished to the Phantom Zone for 25 Krypton sun-cycles (Phantom Zone #1).

Some 12 years later, totally oblivious to these facts, a scientist on the Earth is demonstrating his newly invented "duplicating ray" to Superman, and an accident causes the ray to duplicate the superhero. The copy, quickly labeled "Bizarro", is a flawed imitation as it possesses chalky white skin and childlike erratic behavior. Shunned by the people of Smallville, Bizarro befriends a blind girl, and loses all hope when he realizes that the girl didn't shun or flee from him, because she was blind. Superman is eventually forced to "kill" the "less than perfect" clone, using the remains of the duplicating machine, which acts like blue kryptonite (as opposed to green kryptonite, Superman's weakness) on the copy. The whole business proved unexpectedly easy as Bizarro deliberately destroyed himself by colliding with the duplicating machine's fragment. The ensuing explosion miraculously restores the girl's eyesight.

Years after this adventure, Superman's arch-foe Lex Luthor recreates the "duplicating ray" and uses it on the hero, hoping to control the duplicate. The Bizarro that is created, however, is confused, stating: "Me not human... me not creature... me not even animal! Me unhappy! Me don't belong in world of living people! Me don't know difference between right and wrong good and evil!" Luthor is arrested by Bizarro for re-creating him, but forgotten as Bizarro attempts to emulate Superman, creating havoc in the city of Metropolis and almost exposing Superman's secret identity as Clark Kent. When Bizarro falls in love with reporter Lois Lane, she uses the duplicating ray on herself to create a "Bizarro Lois", who is instantly attracted to Bizarro. The Bizarros leave Earth together, determined to find a home where they can be themselves.

Superman encounters the couple once again, discovering that Bizarro now called Bizarro #1 has used a version of the duplication ray to create an entire world of Bizarros, who now reside on a cube-shaped planet called "Htrae" (Earth spelled backwards). Bizarro #1 and Bizarro-Lois #1 also give birth to a child who while super-powered, appears to be totally human. Considered a freak by Bizarro standards (out of resentment for the way he was treated by earth humans, Bizarro #1 made a law that they must act the opposite of humans,causing no end of lunacy), the child is the catalyst for a brief war between Htrae and Earth. Blue Kryptonite is also invented during this war, as well as the -temporary- existence of Bizarro-Supergirl. Bizarro also has a series of adventures on Htrae, aiding a normal Jimmy Olsen when he is accidentally trapped on the Bizarro world, preventing an invasion of blue kryptonite statues, and stopping the Bizarro version of Titano.

Bizarro's influence is also felt on Earth: Jimmy Olsen is inadvertently turned into a Bizarro for a time, and a new teen version of Bizarro travels to the 30th century, attempting to join the Legion of Super-Heroes. When rejected by the Legion, the Bizarro teen creates his own Bizarro version of the Legion, which Superboy eventually persuades him to disband.

When Bizarro encountered Superman once again, he had developed certain powers that were the opposite of Superman's (such as possessing freeze vision as opposed to heat vision and heat breath as opposed to freeze breath), and unsuccessfully attempts to once again kidnap Lois Lane. Bizarro also temporarily joins the Secret Society of Super Villains to battle the Justice League of America and Captain Comet.

Bizarro was seen going berserk in an imaginary 2-parter and, after destroying the Bizarro World,and its inhabitants, goes to Metropolis and, after wreaking havoc and mayhem there,commits suicide. This and many other deaths turn out to be the machinations of Mr. Mxylptlk who had begun a rampage of crime. Superman is unable to undo the deaths, but kills Mr. Mxylptlk and then uses gold kryptonite on himself.

Bizarro's final pre-Crisis appearance was in DCCP #99, which was also the final issue of that series. After being empowered by a hideously disfigured Phantom Zone sorceror, Mr. Mzylptlk destroys Zrfff and then causes the Bizarro world to implode, killing all its inhabitants. Bizarro's broken off head is caused to crash onto Clark Kent's desk and address Clark Kent before his simulated life ends. Bizarro does not appear in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, apparently because of this story's events.

This story directly contradicts a World's Finest story where it is revealed that sometime in the future, Htrae is transformed into a more normal world (egg-shaped rather than cubical) by the radiation from an exploding celestial body. The Bizarroes are changed into normal non-powered people as well. Yet they still retained vestiges of their Bizarro laws (curtains hung outside the windows of a house, etc.)

Post-Crisis

After the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Lex Luthor orders his scientific team to create a clone of Superman. However, wrongfully starting from the assumption that Superman is a human with metahuman abilities (his alien origin had not yet been discovered by Superman, let alone publicly revealed), the process results in a flawed copy, which Luthor dismissively refers to as "...this bizarre -- Oh, forget it", before ordering for the subject to be disposed of. The monstrous clone survives and, although mute and possessed of only limited intelligence and vague memories of Clark Kent's life, attempts to mimic Superman; he kidnaps Lois Lane and is finally destroyed when colliding with Superman in mid-air. Each time he exerted himself, the clone crumbled slightly, and, upon being exposed to this dust, Lois Lane's sister, blinded by a terrorist's acid, began to see again.The cure was completed when she was hit by a shower of the dust when Superman smashed the clone.

A 2nd Bizarro, able to speak and think better due to genetic engineering by Luthor prior to using the clone process, appeared in Superman #87 in a 5-issue substory in the clone plague story-arc. Before he died, this Bizarro seriously injured Happersen, kidnapped Lois, created a ramshackle dummy version of Metropolis in a warehouse (to parody Superman's frequently having to rescue her, he deliberately exposed her to- and "rescued" her from-one lethal danger after another), abducted Lana Lang, proposed to Lois (presenting her with a ring, actually a stolen table display)and finally died in Luthor's labs (Superman #88). During this period, Superman also had to cope with an unending increase in his powers due to exposure to "purple kryptonite" in the climax of the Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen story-arcs.

There was one other Bizarro created by Lex Luthor's clone process,by Lex Luthor's estranged wife. shortly after Superman regained his normal powers when he expended his electromagnetic ones . This Bizarro abducted Lex Luthor's baby daughter and intended to send her by rocket to another planet, emulating Kal-El's escape from Krypton. His pile of explosives and bombs -meant to launch the rocket-however, would have killed her instead, and Superman had to shield her when Bizarro threw the launch switch. Bizarro 2,already self-destructing from a genetic booby trap,encoded into him by his creator, perished in the terrific explosion.

The version of Bizarro currently depicted in DC's mainstream continuity possesses all the abilities of Superman but with a childlike mentality and method of speech. He is created by Batman's arch-foe the Joker when the villain steals the powers of the fifth-dimensional imp Mr. Mxyzptlk. Creating a twisted version of Earth called "Jokerworld" a perfect cube with Joker's image on each facet the villain designates Bizarro to be the planet's greatest hero and leader of a reimagined "JLA" (the "Joker's League of Anarchy"). When Mxyzptlk regains his powers, the imp allows Bizarro and several other beings to remain on the restored Earth.

Bizarro suffers a setback when captured by the Pokolistanian dictator General Zod. Zod beats and tortures Bizarro, apparently simply because the creature resembles Superman. The hero rescues Bizarro, and to help him adjust to the normal Earth rebuilds Bizarro's "Graveyard of Solitude" (the opposite of Superman's Fortress of Solitude). During the Infinite Crisis, Bizarro is tricked into joining the reformed Secret Society of Super Villains by Flash's foe Zoom, and during a battle with superteam the Freedom Fighters accidentally kills the Human Bomb, constantly hitting the hero to observe the flashes of light that are produced from the kinetic energy of the blows.

Bizarro becomes involved when Kryptonian criminals led by General Zod escape to Earth, but wishing to create a home for himself, Bizarro travels into deep space to a solar system occupied by a blue sun. After creating a cube shaped planet, filled with abstract versions of various buildings and locations on Earth, Bizarro is still lonely. The blue sun, however, gives Bizarro a new ability called "Bizarro Vision", which allows him to create new Bizarros. When this fails, Bizarro kidnaps Jonathan Kent, Superman's adopted father on Earth. Superman rescues his father and helps Bizarro become his world's greatest hero.

Bizarro eventually appears on the planet Throneworld, befriending and aiding Earth hero Adam Strange and allies Prince Gavyn, Captain Comet, and the Weird. Together they participate in the war between alien worlds Rann and Thanagar, and against villains Lady Styx and Synnar. Bizarro eventually visits the grave of a deceased Jonathan Kent, and is then sent (by rogue Kryptonians) with other Superman foes to the inter-dimensional prison, the Phantom Zone.

Bizarro has a series of encounters with former Secret Society ally Solomon Grundy, and during the events of Blackest Night, Bizarro confronts the Black Lantern version of Grundy. Bizarro eventually destroys Grundy by driving him into the heart of the Sun.

Later, while investigating an object that crashes into a Metropolis park and leaves a massive crystallized crater in its center, Dr. Light and Gangbuster discover a Bizarro-like creature that resembles Supergirl. The Bizarro Supergirl takes the heroes hostage, but is ultimately defeated in battle by the real Supergirl. It is revealed that the Bizarro Supergirl is a refugee from the cube-shaped Bizarro World, and was sent to Earth by her cousin after their planet was attacked by a being known as the Godship. Dr. Light attempts to take the Bizarro Supergirl to S.T.A.R. Labs, only to be violently knocked unconscious by Supergirl, who then absconds with her doppelganger and her ship, hoping to stop the Godship and save Bizarro World. After taking Bizarro Supergirl back to Bizarro World, Bizarro Superman is reunited with Bizarro Supergirl.

The New 52

In "The New 52" (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), Bizarro is seen in the "Forever Evil" storyline. As a part of "Villains Month" in Superman 23.1, or Bizarro #1, Lex Luthor attempted to splice Superman's DNA with human DNA and decides to inject it into a teenage test subject named Bobby in order to create his personal army of Supermans. Instead, Bobby is transformed into a hulking white-skinned monster with cryonic vision, incendiary breath, and immunity to Kryptonite. Deducing his weakness, Lex kills him with concentrated solar radiation that over saturates the Kryptonian cells causing him to explode. Lex then takes samples of the creature to continue his experiment. This time, Lex Luthor tries to clone a purely Kryptonian body. Five years later, a capsule labeled B-0 is shown. After the Crime Syndicate of America takes over the world, Luthor releases his new clone. Though his transformation has not yet been completed (Luthor comments it needed another five years), he kills a security guard named Otis on Luthor's orders. Luthor is pleased and uses Bizarro in his plan to take the Syndicate down.

Other Media

Bizarro appears in the Challenge of the Super Friends, voiced by William Callaway. He is seen as a member of the Legion of Doom as an unambiguous villain. In one story he shows knowledge of how to construct a Growth Ray that makes someone 100 feet tall.

Bizarro appears in the 1980 Super Friends. In "The Revenge of Doom," Bizarro is seen with the Legion of Doom when they get back together. In two other episodes, Bizarro is a lone villain.

Bizarro appears in the The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians episode "The Bizarro Super Powers Team" voiced by Danny Dark. This version is a more faithful adaptation from the comics as a well meaning bumbler.

Bizarro appears in the Superboy series, played by Barry Meyers, and is the traditional version of the character, complete with angular white features.

A clone of Superman analogous to Bizarro appears in the Lois & Clark episode "Vatman" played by Dean Cain. Created by Lex Luthor for the purpose of replacing Superman, the clone does not have Bizarro's distinctive appearance and is visually indistinguishable from Superman as well as possessing all the usual powers and weaknesses of Superman. Although he does not speak backwards, he does appear childlike and slightly simple-minded, and Lois refers to him at one point as seeming "bizarre".

Bizarro later appears in Superman: The Animated Series, voiced by Tim Daly (who also voiced Superman). Unlike other versions, his S-shield is not reversed. His origin is the same as the Post-Crisis Bizarro from the comics, and his appearance, along with the typical traits, also bears resemblance to Frankenstein's monster. Homage is paid to his angular featured design in the first few seconds of his arrival. He is kindhearted and childlike, and although he has trouble distinguishing good, evil or harm, he wishes to protect innocents in the same way as Superman.

Bizarro appears in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Ultimatum" voiced by George Newbern (who also voiced Superman). He is attracted to Giganta and fights Wonder Woman for her when they try to break Gorilla Grodd from prison. Later on, Bizarro starts to both speak and comprehend things backwards, a nod to the comic version. In later episodes, Bizarro appears as a member of Gorilla Grodd's Legion of Doom. Noticeably, Bizarro is seen sporting a scar across his forehead indicating Bizarro's mind was altered so that he did anything Luthor commanded as in backwards logic.

A villain nicknamed Bizarro appears in Smallville, played by Tom Welling and introduced in the Season 6 finale, "Phantom". This version differs significantly from other renditions of the character and is presented as the result of a Kryptonian experiment (similar to Davis Bloome/Doomsday) who - upon being deemed unfit for society - was turned into a wraith and imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, remaining there until Clark accidentally released him. In his subsequent search for a Kryptonian - from whom he could siphon a portion of DNA and create a host body for himself - he took possession of several unwilling human hosts, all of whom each died within 24 hours from the time of possession. Once Bizarro finds Clark and successfully clones his body, it is revealed that his strengths and weaknesses are the opposite of Clark's, drawing power from kryptonite but being weakened by sunlight, which turns Bizarro's skin into a jagged stone-like substance. Bizarro eventually attempts to replace Clark - who was imprisoned in the Fortress of Solitude at the time - and live his life, even falling in love with Lana himself, but his plans are thwarted when the Martian Manhunter traps him on Mars. He returns some time later in the episode "Gemini", and continues to carry on his prior plans without arousing suspicion from Clark's friends. Clark returns in the episode "Persona" - having been released to deal with his duplicate - and finds that the phantom's true weakness is Blue Kryptonite; continuing Bizarro's inverted ability to process external energy, while blue kryptonite strips Clark of his superhuman strength upon contact, contact with it elevates Bizarro's powers to such an extreme degree that he explodes, compared to the results of attempting to power a lightbulb with a nuclear reactor. In the final confrontation, Lana managed to lower Bizarro's guard long enough to place the Blue Kryptonite in his hands, resulting in Bizarro being imbued with so much power that his body self-destructed.