It am easy to understand none of the dialogue in this issue, Faithless Spoilerisms. Me am not certain of it… Your Major Spoilers review of Superman #44 awaits!
Writer: Patrick Gleason & Peter J. Tomasi
Penciler: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Jaime Mendoza & Doug Mahnke
Colorist: Wil Quintana
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Paul Kaminski
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 4, 2018
Previously in Superman: “Gathered together from the cosmic recesses of the universe are the most powerful forces of bad ever assembled! Now the Super Foes face the Legion of Fun – and the only heroes who dare to stand against this intergalactic threat of the Bizarroverse are Superman and son!”
A HARD LESSON FOR THE BACKWARDS MAN
We open on Htrae, the Bizarro World, where Bizarro has found that having a wife, a son and a planetful of other Bizarros is not as wonderful as he thought is was, and the B-Man has found the world to feel hollow. As he and Superman battle it out on The Noom (oy), Superboy discovers that the planet is destabilizing because of its connection to Bizarro and his continuing spiral. The Legion of Fun (based on the cartoon Legion of Doom, y’see) attacks, and Superboy, Boyzarro and the Superfoes because…
…ow. My brain.
Aaaanyway, Superman convinces Bizarro to return to Htrae, only to have his teammates reject him again, leading to Bizarro deciding to give up. That’s when Loiz attacks him, terrifying Boyzarro and leading to a heartbreaking scene…
SERIOUS ABUSE OF BIZARRO-SPEAK
Okay, first of all, I have to get this off my chest: I hate the use of Bizarro-speech in this issue. Gleason and Tomasi make much hay of the Kents having to figure out how to communicate with Bizarro and his people, but rather than use the “opposite of what is literal” meaning that we’ve seen for the past fifty-odd years, we get a really annoying “stuff a not in the middle of every sentence” trick that is just aggravating. Add to that the story’s through-line that Bizarro never knew his dad and is worried (sorry “not worried”) about being a good parent to Boyzarro, leading him to abandon the child on an exploding Htrae at the end of the story. (This, by the way, comes after he beats the bajeezus out of his spouse in front of their kid.) Mahnke’s art is detailed and gruesome, emphasizing every line, blemish and misshapen nose of the Bizarros, which deepens the sense of despair in these pages. Even the fact that Superman and Superboy arrive to save Boyzarro doesn’t offset the existential horror of seeing him nearly die and watching his planet explode as Dad coasts away safely in a rocket…
BOTTOM LINE: KIND OF DARK
I have no problem with a dark story or adult themes, but this one feels really off-key for me, taking one of the goofiest of goofy Silver Age concepts and infusing it with death, self-doubt and a shot of filicide to make things just that much more doomy. Superman #44 works hard to create pathos out of Bizarro and succeeds in making the ridiculous would-be Superman into a terrifying figure who commits genocide and is willing to kill his own son for dramatic purposes, but the mismatch of character to tone is hard to reconcile, earning 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. Whether or not Boyzarro sticks around may change how this one looks in retrospect, but right now it just feels incredibly dark and dreary…
At Major Spoilers, we strive to create original content that you find interesting and entertaining. If you would like to support our efforts, please become a patron today.