Superman #42 – Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Writers; Patrick Gleason, Artist; Alejandro Sanchez, Colorist
Ray – 5/10
Corrina: How Much Do You LIke Bizarro?
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Co-writer Patrick Gleason steps on art for this final arc of Superman before Bendis takes over, and while the art on Superman #42 is strong, I can’t say the same for the writing on this Bizarro-centric issue. Picking up on Bizarro as a strange parallel to Superman’s life, the issue gives him a family of his own, to disturbing and confusing effect. The first thing you need to know is that more than half this issue is written in Bizarro-speak. This may be fine when Bizarro is saying things like “Me Very Happy, Superman! Me not punch you!”, it’s less coherent when whole conversations and detailed narration are involved. Bizarro’s family is some sort of strange, redneck pastiche of Superman’s, complete with a nagging wife, an angry son, and an ugly bald cat that gets ice-breathed by Jonzarro at one point. It’s a surreal, hard-to-read segment that is ultimately not enjoyable to read at all.
More entertaining is Jon’s reunion with Kathy, as the two best friends travel through space to find Bizarro World and…basically stand around and poke Jonzarro briefly. However, Jon and Kathy’s friendship was one of the best parts of the first year of this title, and it’s good to see her again, even if it mainly makes me wish she was a regular part of the series again. However, when Jon gets home, the title feels off again. Lois’ interaction with Jon feels off, with her getting over-the-top angry over him forgetting to take out the garbage. The Superman family dynamic is great when written right, but that’s not the case here, although Superman and Lois teaming up to quiz Jon about his “date” and lightly embarrass him was fun. By the end of the issue, Jon is trying to fall asleep when Jonzarro breaks into his bedroom and attacks. I’m not a fan of Bizarros as a rule, but this issue feels frustrating even by their usual standards. Not the note I would have chosen for the team to go out on.
Corrina: I did not expect an excursion to a 1970s-style Bizarro World for the end of this arc. And, indeed, it takes patience with Bizarro-speak to get through the first half of this issue, as everything is either backward or negative, and the art conveys a story where unpleasant things happen. The charm of old-school Bizarro World was not that it was backward but that it was cheerfully off-kilter. This Bizarro World is a bleak place, however.
I liked seeing Kathy again and Jon and Kathy’s scenes have a nice vibe that would be good for younger readers except that the rest of the issue probably wouldn’t be fun for young readers, so I can’t recommend it on that account. (And, yes, Lois is once again relegated to nagging mom but and so it goes….:sigh:)
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.