Originally published at InfiniteComix.com
In the months leading up to Convergence, something was stirring in the air of DC’s titles. Something familiar, but distant: fun. Following the events of Flashpoint back in 2011, much has been made about the “grimdark” nature of DC’s titles. Though there were the books that merrily bucked the trend (e.g. The Flash, Demon Knights), a serious tone largely dominated the publisher’s landscape. But with the recent success of titles such as Gotham Academy, Batgirl, and Action Comics, the DCU has become more fun for readers to visit. Now that the door has been unlocked, the creative team of Heath Corson and Gustavo Duarte kick it wide open (or perhaps slam it shut?) with Bizarro #1.
If you’re a continuity stickler, this book is not going to be for you. For starters, this is not the Bizarro readers saw in the pages of last year’s Forever Evil. It resembles the character seen in the fantastic Action Comics #40, but it’s not quite. What readers do get is a madcap adventure with Jimmy Olsen, Bizarro, and Bizarro’s pet chupacabra named Colin take a road trip to “Bizarro America” (Canada) because Superman doesn’t want the titular character ruining his public image. What ensures is absolutely ridiculous, charming, and fun.
Corson and Duarte find the perfect balance between madcap lunacy and compelling mystery that will appeal to a wide range of readers. Bizarro has frequently been a difficult character to write, with the backwards dialogue handcuffing countless writers. Rather than trying to have an entire issue dedicated to “Bizarro-speak,” Corson instead makes Jimmy Olsen the focal point of the story. He is the one that the readers are meant to identify with, while Bizarro plays the role of trouble-making sidekick. It’s a simple decision that pays of in a big way.
Duarte’s art is a fantastic match for the tone of this book. He brings an exaggerated, cartoonish style to the book which is wildly distant from the “house style” that dominated a large chunk of DC’s titles over the past couple of years. The book uses his style to evoke a mostly playful mood, but he takes things in a surprisingly different direction to portray a “good” dream for Bizarro.
Bizarro #1 is a fantastic start to this six-issue miniseries. The core of the issue – the writing and art – provides a strong hook for many readers. But the creators also include a lot of little details, such as titling this issue “Chapter 6”, that give the book plenty of replay value. This is an issue not to be missed.