SUPERMAN #42 takes one, giant radical turn from the narrative of its predecessor! It serves as the first entry in an arc that centralizes on the life of Bizarro himself. As a result of the nature of this plotline, one could certainly see the potential of this arc. This introductory issue introduces us to Bizarro’s home life.

It’s filled with family and, perhaps unsurprisingly, plenty of questions. The main one is though, did writers Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi succeed in formulating such a unique yet challenging story? Well, find out, right here!

superman #42
SUPERMAN #42 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Lost In Translation

So SUPERMAN #42 begins with some serious introspection from Bizarro. It appears as though he’s enduring some sort of existential crisis. Bizarro’s uncertain how he should define himself since he perceives his role in the universe to be vastly different from that of Superman.

The issue with this sequence though is that the Bizarro speech is difficult to follow. Sure, the context of his monologue is familiar since it’s an adaptation of Superman’s own from the first issue. However, it’s an adaptation that’s ultimately still hard to interpret.

This aspect, unfortunately, continues as we explore a day in the life of Bizarro’s wife and son. As a result, it is hard to get a picture of who these characters are and how exactly their actions are progressing the story.

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However, the juxtaposition Gleason and Tomasi portray between Bizarro and Superman’s respective families in an interesting one. With this, however, the content of SUPERMAN #42 falls short. Sure, this is an introductory issue that’s setting up the necessary pieces for the plot. Nonetheless, a solid foundation hasn’t necessarily been established in regard to this specific story arc.

So hopefully upcoming issues will flesh out the pieces SUPERMAN #42 left undeveloped. Additionally, I hope that the Bizarro speech will eventually be simpler to understand for the sake of the characterization.

superman #42
SUPERMAN #42 page 5 & 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues Of SUPERMAN #42

The strongest aspect of SUPERMAN #42 is by far its artwork. My personal favorite sequence lies in the issue’s opening pages. I love the way Gleason and colorist Alejandro Sanchez implement a dark tone in the initial panels. They showcase Bizarro’s internal conflict and overall struggles in establishing his identity.

Interestingly, this tone radically changes in the rest of the issue. Said change does make sense in regard to the content of SUPERMAN #42. However, I would have liked to see the continuation of the darker tone. So, hopefully, there will be more of that in upcoming issues.

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In regard to the sequences of art after the tonal change, I found them to be a bit chaotic. There are some inconsistencies in the imagery that complicate the illustrations further. Overall though, I enjoy Sanchez’ coloring in the lighter parts of the work. He implements a well-balanced palette that fits the state of the narrative and brings more cohesion to the issue.

What Lies Beyond

SUPERMAN #42 is abundant with potential. I love the idea of Bizarro raising a family that parallels Superman’s own. With this, I enjoyed the presentation of Bizarro experiencing an existential crisis. Yet, said moment of crisis was simply a snapshot of what could have been more substantial. As mentioned earlier, a large part of the issue’s misstep in characterization lies in the Bizarro speech. It’s hard to follow, even for someone who has read the issue over plenty of times.

So, there’s certainly plenty of time for this story to improve. The foundation has been laid, and there’s a story to be told. Hopefully, upcoming issues within this arc will dig deeper into the life of Bizarro and the life of his family members. In order for this arc to live up to the potential it’s demonstrated, readers need more substance in regard to the narrative and primary characters. Will readers get that though? Well, we’ll just have to wait and find out.

SUPERMAN #42 by Patrick Gleason, Peter J. Tomasi, & Alejandro Sanchez
SUPERMAN #42 is a unique and strange tale. However, despite its potential to be an intriguing journey, it fails to establish engaging characters.
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Strange And Unusual
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