Action Comics #254: "The Battle With Bizarro!"

Action Comics #254
"The Battle With Bizarro!"
July, 1959

Script: Otto Binder
Art: Al Plastino

Is it a bird, a plane, or the Man of Steel? No, it's Bizarro! These are the startled cries which echo throughout Metropolis on this day, as a super-being soars through the air, invulnerable to all harm and using super-powers! Who or what is this bizarre creature of steel, created out of lifeless matter? Even Superman seems powerless to confront his imperfect duplicate in "The Battle With Bizarro!"

At Luther's hideout in Metropolis, the renegade scientist is ready to try out the duplicator ray! When it is trained on any object, the machine can create a molecular duplicate! Lab assistant Vekko compliments his boss on his genius for thinking up such devices! Luthor did not invent it! He visited Smallville, where the Man of Steel lived as Superboy, and found a Smallville News story among some old newspaper files! Luther then secretly stole Professor Dalton's plans to make the duplicator ray again -- the original machine exploded long ago! Luthor places a diamond in front of the lens -- then turns on the duplicator ray, and -- Vekko sees that another diamond has been created! They can do this over and over and become rich! The new diamond melts, like ice! The duplicator ray has failed! Now Luthor makes an imitation of an apple! When the duplicate apple is formed, it is so heavy it cannot be lifted! Luthor declares the machine to be a success! Vekko can't understand how his boss can be glad his ray makes only imperfect duplicates?

Luthor assures his lab assistant that all will be made clear! The duplicator ray shall mean the Man of Steel's downfall! The renegade scientist will don a disguise, then lure Superman into their trap! At the offices of the Daily Planet, Perry White informs Clark Kent about a Professor Clyde, who has asked for the Man of Steel to come to his laboratory at Oak Square! Clyde claims to have perfected a Kryptonite antidote! The mild-mannered reporter promises his editor to send Superman there at once! After a super-swift change, the Man of Steel enters Professor Clyde's laboratory! If Clyde can make him immune to Kryptonite, Superman will forever be in his debt! The professor tells the Man of Steel to stand in front of the ray machine for a demonstration! As the ray bathes him from head to foot, Superman doesn't feel a thing! He only sees a puff of smoke beside him! Professor Dalton's duplicator ray has created an imperfect double of the Man of Steel!

Superman remembers when he first saw his imperfect duplicate as Superboy, and exclaimed that he was "bizarre"! The creature heard him and thought that was his name -- BIZARRO! This is an adult Bizarro, composed of lifeless matter! Just as the other Bizarro opposed the Boy of Steel, this one will oppose Superman! Luthor removes his disguise, then orders Bizarro to fight the Man of Steel! The imperfect double of Superman refuses to do so! Luthor had tought his mind would be an imperfect imitation of the Man of Steel's! Perhaps his memory is so foggy that he doesn't remember having existed as a boy Bizarro! Bizarro gazes into a mirror and sees that his face is the same as before -- ugly -- UGLY! Bizarro smashes the ugly face in the mirror and goes beserk! Luthor and Vekko are seized by Bizarro, who takes them to jail! It looks like Luthor's scheme has backfired on him!

At police headquarters, the police chief is glad to see Luthor has been captured! The officers are startled to see a monster in the Man of Steel's form! Bizarro wants to prove that he is not a monster and that he is like Superman! Seeing a plane falling with his telescopic-vision, Bizarro uses his super-strength to lower them safely to the airport! As Bizarro uses his super-breath to blow out the burning engine, the passengers disembark, and flee at the sight of their savior! As the Man of Steel's imperfect duplicate flees in blind sadness, he knocks over a smoke-stack!

At Metropolis Civil Defense Command, Bizarro's course is being tracked, and the Air Force is prepared to attack him outside of town! The jet planes swarm at the imperfect duplicate, but -- their rockets have no effect! After an atom-bomb fails to destroy him, Bizarro informs them he will do the job for them -- by going and trying to destroy him! Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are following Bizarro in the Flying Newsroom helicopter. The girl reporter will use the instant camera that develops a photo in a minute! As the Man of Steel's imperfect duplicate carries out its bizarre promise... Lois and Jimmy watch as Bizarro flies at super-speed towards a cliff!

While the girl reporter covers her eyes, the cub reporter reminds her that a thing that isn't alive cannot lose its "life"! Bizarro is composed of unliving matter! A super-thunderclap is heard as Bizarro meets the cliff head-on, but then -- he passes through the rock and is not even scratched! As the Flying Newsroom maneuvers for a better action shot, Lois gets her picture, and Bizarro recalls Superman's girlfriend! As she examines the photo, Bizarro overhears hears her comments about how magnificent and wonderful the shot is, and mistakenly believes she is referring to him! As the Flying Newsroom helicopter returns to the Daily Planet, the imperfect duplicate thinks of a present for her! As the Man of Steel returns from a mission, his telescopic-vision fails to locate Bizarro, and he changes back to Clark Kent!

Bizarro is busy building a beautiful palace at a remote, deserted island. Back in Metropolis, Lois sees a familiar flying figure, and agrees to go with him! Realizing it is Bizarro and not wanting to hurt his feelings, she decides to be kind to him -- He is taking the girl reporter to a big surprise on island! What Bizarro considers to be a palace, Lois Lane sees a tumbledown monstrosity, and she conceals her revulsion.

Bizarro loves Lois, then asks when will they get married? When the girl reporter says Superman is the only man she can ever love, the Man of Steel's imperfect duplicate wishes he had a handsome face instead of ugly Bizarro face! He then gets a great idea... Using his super-wits, Bizarro promises Lois to fix things so she will marry the handsome one! Clark Kent is at police headquarters and checking on the duplicator ray machine. Bizarro crashes through a wall and wants the machine! As the police chief orders his men to open fire, he forgets that Bizarro is invulnerable! The bullets will ricochet back at the officers themselves! Clark uses his heat-vision to melt to melt the bullets in mid-air! Luckily, the police use steel-jacketed bullets instead of lead, which is impervious to his x-rays!

As Bizarro soars away with the machine, the mild-mannered reporter makes a swift change, and follows him! Back at the island, Bizarro uses the duplicator ray, out of sight of the girl reporter. He figures if the machine made an imperfect duplicate out of a perfect Superman, then it should also work backwards and create a perfect Superman out of an imperfect Bizarro! An exact double of the Man of Steel appears, but this "imperfect" double of Bizarro still has the thought patterns of Bizarro, not Superman. He is the new Bizarro... handsome! His creator is the old Bizarro... ugly! That is why Bizarro cannot marry Lois Lane, with his ugly face! So his "imperfect" double will take his place! Lois sees "Superman's" arrival and is startled that he wants to marry her at last! Her happiest hour has finally come! Her years of waiting for him are finally over!

The real Man of Steel has arrived to witness this amazing event. As he wonders how Bizarro managed to disguise his face like his own and deceive Lois, he is ready to put a stop to this farce! Bizarro is there to stop Superman from interfering with a Kryptonite meteor found on the island! Its rays will weaken him! Because he is Superman's imperfect duplicate, Bizarro is immune to the Kryptonite radiations! The Kryptonite meteor is too big for the Man of Steel to melt it with his heat-vision -- and he has become too weak to blow it away with his super-breath! Superman is helpless... unable to even move... trapped! Now the romance between the New Bizarro and Lois Lane will go on!

This story was reprinted in 80 Page Giant #6 (January, 1965).

Bizarro Superboy was created by Otto Binder and George Papp and first appeared in Superboy #68 (1958).

An adult version debuted in the Superman daily newspaper comic strip (August 25, 1958 to December 13, 1958). The storyline introduced the strange speech patterns synonymous with the Bizarro character, with all comments meaning the opposite. The newspaper version wore a "B" on his chest, not the "S" emblem.

Writer Alvin Schwartz strove for the mirror image, a figure that carried a shadow. He was inspired by C.G. Jung's archetype of "the shadow" and Bizarro reflected that.

Bizarro appeared as a member of the Legion of Doom in 1978's "Challenge of The Super Friends" and was voiced by William Callaway. This version of Bizarro is a unambiguous villain and wears an inverted "S" emblem on his chest.

Danny Dark, the voice of Superman, voiced a more faithful adaptation of the character in "The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians" as a well-intentioned bumbler.

Bizarro appeared in the syndicated Superboy series and was portrayed by Barry Meyers. Blue Kryptonite does not weaken this version of Bizarro and serves to stabilize his unstable structure.

Bizarro appeared in Superman: The Animated Series, voiced by Tim Daly (who also voiced Superman).

Bizarro appeared in Justice League Unlimited, voiced by George Newbern.

Steve Chung
"The Review With Bizarro!"