Meeting Boyzarro In Superman #42

by James Ferguson

After seeing a tease on Patrick Gleason’s Twitter months ago, I have been looking forward to Superman #42 as it is the introduction of Boyzarro, the Bizarro version of Superboy. If Jon has a home life straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, what is Boyzarro’s world like? Jon gets a glimpse of this world (dubbed “Htrae”…get it?) while visiting his friend Kathy back in Hamilton. That moment seems to be enough to connect the two and lead to an inevitable fight.

Much of Superman #42 is spent in the Bizarro world. As much as I love the character and now his extended family, I have a hard time reading his double speak. He really means the opposite of everything he says, so you have to take some extra time to really understand what’s going on. It’s fine here and there, but as the majority of the issue, it can get a little grating.
Despite this, it’s interesting to see how Bizarro has developed. He’s not a total opposite of Superman. There are still some similarities. For example, they’re both from farms, although Bizarro raises giant worms instead of cattle. There’s a shot where he looks at his son and gives him a thumbs up and a smile. This is met with a thumbs down and a frown. I don’t know which is accurate.

One great touch throughout Superman #42 is the mismatched sound effects. While in the Bizarro realm, cats say “woof” and dogs say “meow.” You might punch someone and hear “Boing” or “Tickle” instead of a hard “Thwack.” Even the sounds are backwards here!
Boyzarro looks like a Frankenstein version of Superboy. His hair hangs greasily in front of his face, like a goth teenager. He’s almost undead in nature, like he might try to eat human flesh at a moment’s notice. This is such a contrast (obviously) to Jon, who is full of life and energy.

What writers Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi do exceedingly well is explore the family dynamic between Clark, Lois, and Jon. Even the quiet moments at home with these three are so much fun to read. It could have been cheesy, boy scout humor. Instead, it feels natural, wholesome, and warm. This is a near perfect family dynamic and you get to be a fly on the wall for dinner. There is so much love in this house. It’s so welcome. Scenes like these are why I’m so upset that Gleason and Tomasi will be ending their run on Superman soon.

Superman #42 is largely setup for a showdown of epic proportions between the Superman and Bizarro families. It is an absolute blast to read and a testament to what Gleason and Tomasi have been able to do with these characters since Rebirth began. I’m super excited to see what happens next.
Superman #42 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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