A Tribute to the of

As promised, dear readers, this edition of the Silver Age Sage follows up on the cliffhanger from the last installment, when Bizarro Superman had created another duplicate of himself who also had the Bizarro tendencies, but looked like the real Superman and was busily sweeping Lois Lane off her feet.

So, let’s dig into Action Comics #255, with a publication date of August 1959, but an actual, on-sale date of June 30th of that year. The rest of the credits should sound pretty familiar with Otto Binder scripting “The Bride of Bizarro!Curt Swan and Stan Kaye are again our cover artists and my much-missed pal Al Plastino illustrated the interior and of course the notorious Mort Wesinger is our editor.

I need to pause to point out one thing, the artistic efforts of the webmaster, who modified a Superman #202 (01/68) house ad to promote this edition of the Sage (on the index page). It’s a shame that we don’t have credits for the production of these little gems, but you may note that it includes the Bizarro code, first seen in Action Comic #263, April, 1960. “Us do opposite of all earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro world!” It almost reminds me of Asimov’s laws of robotics.

So, on to our story, where the first couple of pages provide a handy recap of what had transpired before. Things pick up with the second Bizarro picking Lois up and saying that, “Us be married right away, Lois! Me fly you to Metropolis!” Before he manages any altitude, however, Lois finally catches on to his Bizarro speech patterns and accuses him of being one of them. The original Bizarro then emerges from his concealment and admits that he created this latest incarnation, but is now sorry that he did. Lois berates the new Bizarro and says she actually prefers the original to him. This newest Bizarro gets a bit cocky, telling Lois she’d be lucky to have him, rather than his ugly predecessor, causing the first Bizarro to knock the second one into next week, or at least off the shore and right into the path of some torpedoes being fired by Naval submarines at a practice range on a derelict vessel.

The two Bizarro’s battle one another with torpedoes and even the ship itself, but of course since they’re both invulnerable to harm, it’s a fruitless effort. Finally, the original Bizarro flies back to the island to find Lois trying in vain to move the Kryptonite boulder away from the real Superman. Bizarro offers to destroy the Kryptonite, but when he kicks it, it smashes into another boulder, creating a Kryptonite dust cloud.

Lois asks why he’s saving Superman and Bizarro says that with the Man of Steel’s help, perhaps they can destroy the other Bizarro. Superman agrees and once his strength has returned, the two blue and red clad figures go in search of the other Bizarro, but Supes is flummoxed as to how he’ll deal with a creature that equals his powers. As it happens, he comes upon the new Bizarro at the same time that the Green K dust cloud does and when he breathes it in, he disintegrates, which solves the problem, but now our hero wonders why it affected him, but not the original Bizarro. A bit later he reasons that because the second Bizarro was a physical duplicate of Superman, he was affected by the Kryptonite. He then flies Lois safely back to Metropolis while planning on how to deal with the old Bizarro.

Speaking of our imperfect duplicate, he has taken Lois’ preference for him over the now defunction second Bizarro as some misguided hope that she actually has feelings for him after all. Just to confirm his theory, the deficient Bizarro Superman finds a florist display sign and plucks the metal petals from it, recounting the old, “She loves me, she loves me not…” schtick and is overjoyed to find that Lois “loves me!” So, time to take his next step, when he flies off to find a special, otherworldly flower to prove his love.

Landing on Pluto, Bizarro discovers a rainbow-colored flower in the icy atmosphere and returns to Lois’ apartment to present it to her. Unfortunately, Earth’s warmer climate causes a large seed pod to fly from the flower and shatter Lois’ glass ware as surely as throwing a rock at it. Lois throws Bizarro out for the damage to her dwelling and the crestfallen creature departs, but the seed pods continue to do their awful damage and Lois cries out for help, alerting Superman to her predicament. After taking care of matters, Superman says he’ll track down Bizarro before he bothers her further, but Lois is confident that her harshly worded dismissal was taken to whatever constitutes a Bizarro heart.

The creature, meanwhile, searches a dim memory bank and comes up with a plan to be close to Lois anyway, by taking on the identity of Clark Kent. Flying to Clark’s apartment, he dons the familiar blue suit and a pair of glasses and declares himself clever with this plan. He is then on his way to the Daily Planet, but is soon spotted by Superman who now has a dilemma on his hands. If the obviously fake Clark Kent enters the building and meets up with anyone the genuine Clark Kent knows, his secret identity will be blown apart.

Sure enough, when meeting up with the security guard, Bizarro Clark begins to explain who he is and Superman comes up with the ploy of doing some “super hand claps” that sound like thunder, drowning out the voice of the imperfect duplicate. Having averted one potential catastrophe, Superman’s next complication is the determined creature’s notion to fly through Lois’ window. Superman quickly uses the heat of his X-ray vision (apparently heat vision hadn’t yet been established) to burn the Clark Kent duds off Bizarro, leaving only his Superman costume.

Lois is not pleased. She tells Bizarro that she loves only the real Superman and reiterates that she never wants to see him again. This ticks off Bizarro, who says that if he cannot marry Lois than neither can Superman and he scoops her up to take her back to the remote island. Superman, observing from nearby, follows his imperfect duplicate.

Back at the island, Bizarro deposits Lois and says he has spotted Superman and will battle him. He instructs Lois that if she changes her mind, to wave the white flag as a signal. Now he is off to challenge the Man of Steel.

Superman, meanwhile, has noted that below him is the Sargosso Reef, a dangerous ocean current that has trapped ships since antiquity. He hopes to find some sort of weaponry among the derelicts to take down Bizarro.

Our hero starts with a deck mounted harpoon gun, with predictable results and Bizarro counters with a huge anchor, also with predictable results. Then it’s a cannon on a Spanish galleon that Superman fires, again ineffectively. Bizarro decides to hide in some cannon on a more modern vessel and burst out to ambush Superman. When he does, he is satisfied to have “smashed him to bits,” but it turns out to merely be a figurehead on a ship that had been christened “The Superman.”

From the island, Lois watches the stalemate and realizes that unless Superman can find some way to defeat Bizarro, she’ll never be rescued and it’s not looking favorable. She then comes up with a plan and employs the duplicator ray that caused all the trouble in the first place. She then waves the white flag and Bizarro rushes back to meet up with his future bride.

Superman is on Bizarro’s heels and is flabbergasted when Lois runs to Bizarro and declares her love. Superman protests, but when “Lois” turns around, he is surprised to see a familiar and imperfect face. The two duplicates fly off to live happily ever after, on some other world and all is right with the world of Superman, at least for now.

So, dear reader, this year actually marks the 60th anniversary of the first appearance of Bizarro Lois Lane, who we would see again, along with other Bizarro mishaps and adventures.

Despite the silliness, I have often enjoyed these Bizarro tales, partly for the comedy relief and partly for the change of pace, not to mention the innovative ways that Superman is forced to deal with a creature that can match his every move and is even immune to Kryptonite. Another feather in the cap of the incredibly imaginative Otto Binder!

I think I’ll give this 2-parter a 6 on the 10-point scale and look forward to exploring more Bizarro stories down the road.

Remember to return the first September for the newest review, readers. As usual, the webmaster and I welcome your feedback, so fire off an e-mail to: professor_the@hotmail.com.

See you next time and…

Long live the Silver Age!

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