Bizarro is Superman… only a little more bizarre

Here’s the one about how I prefer my Bizarro, I guess.

The thing I feel about Bizarro is that he is doing the opposite thing on purpose. It’s a choice. I don’t like it when Bizarro is some cosmically-opposite version of Superman, I prefer the term they originally used, Bizarro is an “imperfect duplicate” of Superman. He’s not “Reverse Superman” or “Mirror Superman” or something like that. He’s “Bizarro Superman”.

I’ll accept the weird power inversions, I guess. I don’t require them, but if people want him to have flame breath and cold vision or whatever, sure, that’s cute. But saying that, personality-wise, Bizarro is just backwards version of the protagonist doesn’t do it for me. It’s much more compelling to me if Bizarro came into being, wired differently (“imperfectly” by someone’s standards) than his clone-brother. He tries to get by in the world, but he just can’t get it right. Things don’t make as much sense to him as they seem to to everyone else. He would be like his more popular sibling, but it doesn’t come natural to him. And people just don’t accept him in that role. He gets frustrated, he acts out. And THEN he decides if he can’t be like Superman, he’s going to be as unlike Superman as possible.

It’s a tragedy, his rejection of Superman. It’s a shame, it’s a shonda, but it’s a choice. This gives Bizarro both more agency and more poignancy, I think. It also gives him room to think about how he wants to be Superman’s opposite, and change his mind about things. All in all, I just think it makes him more interesting.

And, for the record, I don’t think of Bizarro as a “villain”. He’s a supporting cast member whose circumstances cause him to sometimes fight Superman. Bizarro is like Superman’s younger brother who is kind of a mess. That’s what I want from him.

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