One of the things I enjoyed the most about the DCYou (R.I.P) was the amount of six issue miniseries we got. I've covered a couple, mainly All Star Section Eight and Harley/Power Girl, but there were plenty more. They were a place to experiment and have a bit of fun with quirky scripts and non traditional artwork, but without the pressure of an on-going series placed upon them. I really hope this trend of minseries survive the DC Rebirth, and by that I mean things conceived of as miniseries not an ongoing cancelled after six issues. The poster child for the philosophy behind the most of the minis can be found here in Bizarro. A very silly story yoked to some utterly fantastic artwork making for a nice self contained read. The story tells the tale of Jimmy Olsen, Superman's pal and red headed photographer for The Daily Planet, teaming up with Bizarro for a wacky road trip to Canada. Bizarro is a Silver Age creation, a "backwards" Superman who means the opposite when he speaks. Jimmy Olsen has decided to accompany him both to get him out of Metropolis where he is causing chaos, and also in the hope he can get a best selling book out of the experience, but of course nothing is that simple as they bump into various opponents and have some wacky adventures along the way. Bizarro should be the sort of twee concept that I, as a frowny faced Brit whose comicbook year zero is 1986, should be genetically pre-programmed to hate. So why do I think this is one of the best comics I have read in a long time (and I read a lot of good comics, no slights meant there)? Read on, and be illuminated.
We begin with Bizzaro and Jimmy's road trip underway as Bizarro fiddles with the radio, plays eye spy and makes a mess eating is burger, Jimmy remembers how he got into this mess. Clark Kent told him a road trip to Canada would make a great coffee table book mainly as a way to get Bizarro out of Metropolis. Back in the present, two mysterious government figures follow them saying Bizzaro is an "Omega" level being that needs to be watched.
|Bizzaro, Colin and Jimmy.|
They are pointed in the direction of "King Tut's Slight Used Car Oasis" to sort their travel problems out. King Tut has an Ancient Egyptian theme to his used car emporium although his daughter Regina refuses to put the Queen Tut costume on and play along. Bizarro, Jimmy and Colin arrive with the wrecked car.
Immediately King Tut almost talks Jimmy into purchasing a second hand sports car. But Bizarro puts a stop to him "ensorcelling" Jimmy. "If worstest friend Jimmy says unfix this car, you unfix this car" he says. Jimmy, Bizarro and Colin leave the car with them. Jimmy takes some photos of Bizarro who asks Jimmy if he is his "worstest friend?" When Jimmy asks him to repeat the question he goes off in a sulk. But Jimmy says he's never been on a road trip with Superman so he must be Bizarro's friend, much to Bizarro's delight.
|Jimmy being tactless.|
King Tut uses the staff to make Regina wear the Queen Tut costume. Jimmy and Bizarro are having to share a bed in the motel and King Tut starts summoning the entire town to come and buy cars from him. Bizarro isn't affected but Jimmy is. Bizarro wakes up wondering where Jimmy went and goes looking for him.
He finds him along with the rest of the town at King Tut's Slightly Used Car Oasis in a hypnotic trance about to buy an expensive car.
Bizarro: "You am not let my people go, Tut".
They start battling with Tut using the staff to throw cars at Bizarro which don't damage him, Bizarro retaliates with his laser eyes setting the cars on fire, much to Tut's distress.
|Bizarro to the rescue!|
While Bizarro smashes up cars and the shady government official comment off-panel about the possibilty of taking Bizarro down one day, Jimmy has Colin bite Regina's head and brings her back to normal as well, "aw no. I'm in the costume" she groans.
Inspired by a comment from Jimmy, Bizarro uses his super-hypnosis on King Tut and makes him believe he is a chicken. Jimmy then takes the magic staff and snaps it in half. Everyone gathered at the car lot come back o their senses somewhat confused as to why they are there in their pajamas.
Later that day Regina awards medals to Bizarro and Jimmy made them medals saying they are "No.1". Jimmy is embarrassed, but more pleased when Regina awards them the red convertible as thanks for saving the town. But after they leave, Regina declares to her clucking father, "goodbye Regina Tuttle, hello Queen Tut. And for you I will destroy Bizarro". And she joins the magic staff back together.
|A stopoff in Gotham City.|
The next city they stop off in is Central City, home of The Flash. They are looking for The Flash museum and get into an argument over directions. Bizarro stretches out his arm to point and hits The Flash in the head. "Did Superman just punch me?" says a dazed Flash as Jimmy, Bizarro and Colin sidle off whistling innocently.
As they drive to their next destination, the shadowy pursuers get clearance to engage Bizarro. Jimmy points out to Bizarro they've been followed for miles, so Bizarro blows flame breath at their car and brings them to a halt. Jimmy, Bizarro and Colin then drive on and stop off in "Ol' Gold Gulch".
It's a real live Wild Western ghost town and after dressing for the part, they meet "Chastity Hex" who is looking for a criminal called "Jeremiah Blackhearse." It also turns out this place is a literal ghost town as night falls and all the ghosts come out to play.
Several ghosts on horseback arrive, the leader is "El Papagayo" and it is him the rest of the town are afeart of. As the ghosts start robbing the townsfolk, Bizarro says he's going to "un-stop" them. He fires his lazer eyes at him but the go straight through, El Papagayo retaliates with his guns but ghost bullets go right through Bizarro.
El Papagayo realises they are evenly matched and so him and his parrot ghost possess Bizarro and Colin. We get a good look at Bizarro's insides. His mind is a maze, his heart is enormous and his brains are in his fists. Jimmy tries to snap Bizarro out his trance then he comes too, but he's being controlled by El Papagayo now.
|Bizarro gets possessed.|
He then starts clumsily flying round lasering things. Jimmy goes for his signal watch that summons Superman. But it's gone. He realises the Riddler took it in Gotham City, and we get a couple of panels of the RIddler activating the watch and suddenly finding Superman behind him.
Jimmy has an idea, and goes to the saloon where there is a bugle, some ghosts advise him to blow it and he does. It summons Jonah Hex and friend's ghosts.
Jimmy: "I figure ghosts beat ghosts".
And Jonah Hex and his hawk fly inside Bizarro and forces El Papagayo and his parrot out of Bizarro and Colin. He ties them to his horse and then Jeremiah Blackheart runs up possessed by one of El Papagayo's gang.
|Jonah Hex sorts the baddie ghosts out.|
Ready to leave, Bizarro is hungry and Chasity wants a lift. If they get her to Branson she'll split the fuel costs and she dumps Jeremiah in the boot of their car. They head off for Branson and Bizarro says, "what could go right?" And they pass a big sign advertising Zatanna's show there.
They reach Branson and Chastity drops off Jeremiah at the Bail Bonds Office then splits. Bizarro wants to go see Zatanna's magic show and Jimmy reluctantly agrees even though he hates magic himself.
They attend the show and for one trick Zatanna requests a volunteer and Bizarro goes up on stage to be part of the trick. She magics a portal and he disappears through it. He pops out inside the Rock of Eternity, the wizard Shazam sends him on his way and he pops out in Gemworld where Amthyst is battling an enemy, then he's off into The House of Mystery which pushes him through the portal and he finds himself in hell where Etrigan is enjoying breakfast. Next he arrives at the Parliament of Trees agruing about some bureaucratic stuff. He winds up in a place called Skartaris with a Tyrannosaurus Rex behind him.
|I love this page so bloody much.|
He does his spells backwards like Zatanna, and when she tries to remove his powers, he takes hers away instead. Jimmy demands Bizarro give Zatanna her magic back:
Bizarro: "I will. Me hate magic. Why you always construe me?"
Jimmy: "That's not a word!"
Bizarro: "Em Eurtsnoc".
And this turns Jimmy into "Jimzarro" and makes Bizarro a normal person. Jizarro decides he's going to rearrange the town to make for better photgraphs for his book. As he flies off, Bizarro says to Colin "I don't talk like that do I?"
|Oops, Jimzarro is created.|
As Jimzarro causes havoc, Bizarro bumps into a young woman and they flirt with each other. Bizarro pretends not to know who Jimzarro is as he does so. Then Jimzarro is bought down to earth, he is being possessed by Deadman, another of DC's magic characters. Jizarro looks sad that no one understands him, is this what it's like for Bizarro all the time? Bizarro says he pretended not to know him "just to fit in". Is this how Jimmy feels?
They share a silent moment then Zatanna, her powers returned, puts them back in the correct bodies. Zatanna also magically undid all the damage Jimzarro caused. Zatanna takes her leave but says Bizarro isn't a bad sorceror she'd be happy to take him on as an apprentice. After she leaves the two shadowy figures confront Bizarro, Jimmy and Colin. They are agents of ARGUS, and they have a job for them. They want the three of them to break into Area 51.
|Ah the USA and it's competing shadowy interests.|
We then flashback to the two Argus agents - Meadows and Stuart - telling them that the army has been illegially holding captured aliens and their tech since the 1950's.
Jimmy: "I thought ARGUS was already a shadowy government agency. Why don't you tell the other shadow government agency to back off?"
Meadow says it's more complicated than that. Jimmy says they want them to make a mess so ARGUS can come in and clean it up and get ahold of the weaponry in the process. Stuart says they'll get "Vegas, all expenses paid and fifty K for you and your team". So Jimmy agrees.
They check into a luxury hotel in Las Vegas, Jimmy has invited Chastity to come along as well. Jimmy gives Bizarro a hundred bucks to go gamble with and is astonished when Bizarro wins big at blackjack. For this they get upgraded to the penthouse suite. We next see all four of them in natty suits, which Bizarro spent all his winnings buying.
|Colin is the prison king.|
Jimmy: "Colin is the scariest thing in the universe?"
Colin shrugs and grins. Flashback to vegas. Jimmy leaves Bizarro and Colin at the bar. He left his phone and it rings. Bizarro answers it doing an impersonation of Jimmy. The voice asks "Jimmy" if the "Bizarro moron is there" and that he should hurry up so they can get the book published and "you can stop pretending to like the chalky Frankentein and come home." Bizarro crushes the phone.
In the prison, Bizarro is acting cold towards Jimmy and says he will handle things. The Big Munk comes out and Bizarro insults it. It jumps and holds onto his collar and scratches away at him. The three aliens who gave the magic staff are there too and it turns out Colin is the missing Ch'ck.
The wardens declare a lockdown, but Big Munks scratching at Bizarro's collar has broken it and now he has his powers back. He gets blasted into the room holding the captured alien tech, and Jimmy gets the Thanagar Hawkman wings and club while Chastity wears a jetpack and holds dual laser pistols.
|Time for a prison break.|
She says if he doesn't free all the aliens she'll run a story about about it, "how many "L's" in "Unlawful detainment"?" she says to him. He reluctantly agrees and sets the aliens free. Jimmy makes sure they all get to take their alien tech with them as well, the ARGUS agents seem pretty relaxed about their failure.
Chastity leaves with the pink alien, off to bounty hunt in the galaxy. Colin aka Ch'ck also takes his leave and both Bizarro and Jimmy hug him. Now Jimmy and Bizarro are alone, Bizarro agrily accuses him of only wanting to hang out with him for a book and that he doesn't even "dislike" him:
Bizarro: "You no call Bizarro ding-dong and dum-dum. You mock me for trying to do the wrong thing. You even no want to leave him in Canada!"
Jimmy says Bizarro isn't easy to be around. Bizarro smashes the car and flies off leaving Jimmy stranded in the middle of the boiling hot desert.
Bizarro is back in Metropolis but he is sad. Superman comes and finds him and they sit and talk as after flying together proves somewhat destructive. Bizarro tells Superman about his fight with Jimmy, and Superman calls Jimmy an "idiot". Jimmy the Idiot meanwhile has been tied up at the top of the Seattle Space Needle. To tempt Bizarro more, Queen Tut uses the staff to hypnotise all of Seattle.
Back with Superman and Bizarro, Bizarro admits he misses Jimmy. Superman tells him "friendships aren't about destinations, they're about journeys". He says Bizarro should find Jimmy and apologise like a real friend would. Bizarro hugs Superman then says how will he find Jimmy. Just then all the TV screens come on an Queent Tut issues her challenge to Bizarro who comments this is most "un-convenient".
Bizarro goes flying off. We then cut to Colin on his ship who also sees the broadcast. He tells his fellow aliens to turn around and head back for earth. They agree because "it is technically our fault." Bizarro arrives at the top of the Space Needle and turns King Tut back to normal.
That's not good enough for Queen Tut and she blasts Bizarro with the alien staff. She keeps up an energy blast and Bizarro tries pushing it back. Then suddenly Chastity and the pink alien appear, and Zatanna rises up through the ground and Deadman pops up, Meadow and Stuart drop down from a chopper and Meadow unties Jimmy and then Colin and Big Munk arrive too.
|Bizarro League to Jimmy's rescue!|
Jimmy hands the alien staff over to Stuart and Meadow. He says there is no power left in it but their bosses won't know that. Everyone bids Bizarro and Jimmy farewell, Zatanna takes King Tut and Regina back to Smallville. One person hasn't gone though, Colin has decided to stay with Bizarro, "boo-ray!"
Bizarro shows Jimmy a new car he bought, when Jimmy asks how, he chews a lump of coal into a diamond. Jimmy looks like he's about to yell at him for not doing that before, but they both laugh their heads off instead and set course for Canada.
|No Canda for U!|
What a joyously fun little miniseries this was. I was wondering how Bizarro might work as a main character but the big lug comes over so lovable in the writing and artwork that he's a lot of fun to read about. The story is peppered with some wonderful cameos and in-jokes and amazingly the story hangs together very well based as it is on several disparate incidents. It's lovely seeing everyone come to the rescue at the end. Bizarro inspires loyalty and affection it seems and it was great seeing him interact with Superman and take advice from him. Compared to the gloomy, angst ridden Bizarro of the New 52 this is night and day in comparison. Heath Corson's script is smart and funny and really nails Bizarro's odd speech mannerism, but it's the art I love most of all. I think if you've read enough of my blog you'll know I have a preference for exaggerated, "cartoony" art like the stuff here by the talented Gustave Duarte. I realise of course that style isn't appropriate for every type of story of course, but here where the story is completely goofy and funny it works gloriously. Just looking at the pictures makes me smile, and it is very much indicative of how the DCYou was all about taking risks with the look and feel of their various series and miniseries. Ah the DCYou, how we miss you. Well in the grand scheme of things this miniseries will probably be retconned and removed from DC continuity, but in my own version of the DCU it stands proud. A very enjoyable read all round.