Welcome to Bizarro World where everything is a demented opposite of the DC Universe. You already know Bizarro and his son, Boyzarro. Have you met Jo-Cryer, Robzarro, and Aquazarro? All of them and so much more are fighting it out and Superman, his son, and a few others are in the middle. To make matters worse, the world itself is starting to fall apart, so not only do our heroes have to survive this battle, but they also have to make it off the planet before its untimely demise.
Things escalate quickly in Superman #44. Where the previous issue had the Man of Steel giving Bizarro a few parenting tips with his fists, this one is all out war. The battle between these two continues and intensifies until Superman reasons with his doppelganger. While this is happening out on the moon…err…noom, Clark leaves Jon in charge. The boy takes to leadership well, showing shades of what a future Justice League may be dealing with.
The Bizarros are the opposite of our heroes in more ways than one. It’s not just that the S emblem is backwards. Every fiber of their being is different. Where Clark is full of hope and life, Bizarro is a cold, dead husk with emotionless eyes. There are several scenes where they’re fighting and they’re so close together that it appears there’s a mirror on the page. Artist Doug Mahnke and colorist Wil Quintana did a great job here, and it only gets better with the rest of the issue.
Any fan will have a lot of fun picking through all the characters on display here and understanding their opposites. My personal favorite is the overweight Flashzarro with a necklace of donuts and pastries. This is the slowest man alive. There are more characters than there is space in the comic so unfortunately, only some of them get some time to shine. Those that do deliver some great puns and fun gags.
The panel layout for this huge battle between good and evil on Bizarro World is varied and interesting. It’s like the page itself is suffering from exposure to this planet. There are some sequences where there are just so many panels on a single page, each showing a different aspect of the fight. It’s pretty impressive.
One of my favorite bits about this arc have been the sound effects. Even they’re flipped.. Boyzarro shoots out fire breath as a large “FREEZE” whirls by him. Bizarro punches Superman with all his might and a big “KA-TOUCH” rings out. This attention to detail does not go unnoticed and really adds to the story.
The big standout to Superman #44 is towards the end as the planet is crumbling. Bizarro and his son have a shared moment that will break your heart. It shows just how far apart this character is from Superman. This scene is almost unthinkable after seeing the relationship between Clark and Jon over the course of this series. To see it play out is like a punch to the gut. Fortunately, there’s a happy ending that is sure to lead to some cool stories in the coming years.
Superman #44 is a non-stop thrill ride through Bizarro World packed with gags and heart. Writers Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi have absolutely killed it on this book. It has become a quintessential comic for the Man of Steel.