Superman #43 – Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Writers; Patrick Gleason, Penciller; Joe Prado, Inker; Stephen Downer, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: Depends On Your Bizarro Tolerance..
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: As the final arc of Tomasi and Gleason’s Superman ramps up, Superman #43 rebounds a bit from the iffy, Bizarro-speak heavy first issue. That’s because Tomasi and Gleason have been writing DC books for years now, and they have a lot of characters to draw on. From the opening page of the issue, I was excited to see not just Kathy but teen assassin Maya Ducard make their returns. I was worried that Maya would be forgotten after Gleason’s Damian series wrapped, but it seems Superman’s had her keep tabs on Hamilton, Kansas since they left, and her team-up with Kathy is a lot of fun. These are two characters I’d love to see stick around the DCU. I can’t say I feel the same about Boyzarro yet, but I like that this issue treats him not as a monster but as a confused, runaway kid that Superman is interested in helping.
Bizarro’s a character that can work either really well or really badly. My favorite version with always be Heath Corson’s oddball take where he went on a road trip around the country with Jimmy Olsen. Boyzarro is maybe a little more in that vein, with most of the damage he causes being the result of confusion and fear more than any malice. But the same can’t be said for Bizarro himself, who Boyzarro ran away from. When Superman leads a mission back to Bizarro World to confront his twisted doppelganger, things deteriorate quickly and Bizarro is quick to react with violence. The biggest problem here is, Bizarro World isn’t fun. It doesn’t come off as a wacky, surreal place, but as a dour and grey place where people yell in reverse a lot. Bizarro Damian and his green giant bat were kind of fun, but a whole world of Bizarro-speaking hero and villains? Too much time on Bizarros, not enough on the strong supporting cast.
Corrina: Once again, I wonder if DC creators are reading my review, especially when I rant about Lois’s portrayal in these comics. Lois’s comments about different types of mothers, if not directed at my frustration with how she’s written, seems designed to address a general frustration with how she’s depicted.
In which case, if any creator is listening, I have a suggestion. You know how you write Superman as a person who is also a father and nail his essential character of being a well-raised kid from Kansas? Just do that with Lois, remembering her curiosity and her endless search for knowledge is what drives her, and that she’s also a military brat used to challenging authority and moving around, and apply that knowledge to how she behaves as a parent and a spouse.
In other words, treat her as much of a person as Clark, not “Clark’s wife” or “the wife fixing things at home” or “Jon’s mother,” and that will be much better.
So, on this issue, it reminds me of 1970s stories of Bizarro World and that’s fine. I’m beyond happy to see Maya again and it made me smile to see the Bizarro Damian is polite, the exact opposite of the one on our Earth. I’m baffled about this arc, in general, being the creative team’s last one on the issue, as it feels more like an arc to fill in time before the big revamp, but it has its charms.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.