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Welcome, Bizarros, to Maid of Steel! We are a podcast dedicated to the television series Supergirl. This week, I (Miss Ice) was unable to participate in the episode discussion due to a business trip and so the Scarlet Cougar recruited her trusted Gotham Undercover co-host X-Force 11 (Geoff) to join in the fun! They are discussing Season 1 Episode 12 “Bizarro” which originally aired on February 1, 2016.
Anyone who missed the homework assignment last week, I want to give this one another shout-out because I genuinely loved it. Granted, as of writing this blog post I’ve only made it halfway through—I intend to read the rest on the plane tomorrow, if the snow ever lets up—but what I have read is not just relevant to this episode, but very enlightening to a character aspect that I don’t think I would have really understood otherwise. Thus far, the series has set Kara/Supergirl up as a different sort of hero. Vulnerable, compassionate, kind, and naive (in the way that you want your daughter to grow up). But the comic illuminated this character aspect through the lens of a version of Supergirl who was wanting to give up the mantle of her birthright because of a series of events leading up to the start of the comic. So go read it now! Remember, it’s Supergirl Vol 9: Bizarrogirl!.
I first studied Charles Dodgson (a.k.a. Lewis Carroll) and The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland when I was doing a literature segment for Golden Spiral Media’s LOST Podcast. My discoveries were fascinating; aspects to Dodgson’s life I’d never known or considered, and the degree to which his profession played a role in his imaginative storytelling. Alice also first introduced me to the concept of chirality, which has effectively changed my life forever. For the better, of course.
Chirality is a property of asymmetry used in various disciplines. Our hands and feet are chiral compositions of each other. Mirror images. Caraway seeds and mint have a molecular chirality. And, as it seems, Bizarrogirl is, indeed, the molecular opposite of Supergirl.
At least, that is what Maxwell Lord is aiming for.
Due to Max’s bizarro perception of reality, he sees it in his best interest to take the molecular composition of something inherently good (Supergirl) and corrupt it, attempt to control it, so as to have a man-made creation of a property that used to be totally alien. By re-animating the bodies of brain dead women, infusing them with concentrated doses of Supergirl’s DNA, he’s found a way to bring the dead to life. Or at least a facsimile of life. He is Dr. Frakenstein. Then, using rudimentary and cliched brainwashing techniques, he hopes to taint the perceptions and memories transferred into his creation in order to purport his claim on a super heroine.
Max’s increasing boldness worries me. As I usually leave the history of comic book characters up to my lovely co-host, I can only speculate that Maxwell Lord’s desire for autonomy from superheroes, his lust for power and frustration at being bested by aliens, all contribute to this increasing boldness. An eccentricism fueled by a frenzy toward some arbitrary finish line. He thinks he’s too smart to be untouchable, and slowly he becomes more unhinged. It’s only in retrospect that I can truly appreciate the evolution of his character in this way, but it has also made him the perfect overarching villain for Supergirl. He slowly gains a footing until the Good Guys realize just how far he has his hands dug into the pie.
Now Max is in a big glass box, which I also can’t help but worry is where he expected to end up (or, even worse yet, wants to be). But I’ll be honest, I expected Hank/J’onn to transform into Max and assume the responsibilities of National City’s most eligible philanderer. I mean, philanthropist. After Hank went on about Max not long in being missed, and then Alex’s insistence that she’s willing to cross that line for the people she loves, I really expected the closing scene to be Hank, disguised as Max, making a public statement about “taking a step out of the lime light”, or something ridiculous.
The closing scene we got was so much better, though! I’m looking forward to a true freak-of-the-week episode, and the return of Aunty Astra!
Honey, If You Love Me…
In spite of Melissa (Kara) and Blake (Adam) possessing palpable on-screen chemistry, which is no doubt a result of many days (and nights) of practice, there was just too much baggage. And not from the kid who gets to call Ally Cat “Mommy”. Unfortunately, Adam was a very one-dimensional character with no real promise of an established arc, so I felt like his time with us would be short (albeit with room for him to return here and there). But for the time being, he was a sweet guy who made Kara feel special, and maybe even gave her hope for the future!
My only complaint with the whole treatment of this relationship was the rather…anticlimactic way Kara and Adam reconnected after each badly ended dated. The first, when she skipped out with the grandmother-in-the-hospital excuse, was followed up the next morning by, “Oh… I totally forgot to call you back.” And the second, when she was literally abducted by Bizarro in the midst of a liplock, was followed up by her waltzing into Cat’s office claiming dumb luck, only to, moments later, break up with Adam.
What actually helps me accept these follow-ups as plausible is Cat’s speech to Kara when Kara wants to explain why she broke things off with Adam. I can’t help but get the distinct impression by Cat’s behavior in this episode that she thought, perhaps, that by being nice to Kara and encouraging the relationship, Adam would find an excuse to be around on a more permanent basis. The effect of this desire is a natural tendency to care about someone a little more, namely her son, and an awareness of underdeveloped life skills, namely Kara.
She’ll pretend like she doesn’t care, for now, but Cat won’t be able to help but criticize Kara in episodes to come that will only stretch and grow Kara for the better.
Season 1 Episode 13: “For The Girl Who Has Everything” – a parasite called The Black Mercy has Supergirl trapped in her perfect fantasy. Dun dun duuunnnn!
Cougar’s Comic Corner
This week the Scarlet Cougar ORDERS you to read “Superman Annual” #11 by Alan Moore (Author), & Dave Gibbons (Illustrator)
From Karen: Next week’s episode, “For The Girl Who Has Everything”, is loosely based on this issue of Superman, so it goes without saying that that’s why I picked this issue for this week’s Corner. However, there are SOO many other reasons to read this book. It’s written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. The team famous for “Watchmen” and their groundbreaking run on “Swamp Thing”.
Moore changed the comic industry forever in the 1980s by making it more accessible for adults, and is cited by people like Neil Gaiman and Frank Miller for being an inspiration. He’s also responsible for creating the character John Constantine in the pages of “Swamp Thing” (he moved on to his own comic: “Hellblazer”), and such famous works as “Batman: The Killing Joke”, The Eisner Award Winning “From Hell”, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, and “V for Vendetta”
Dave Gibbons drew for Doctor Who Weekly/Monthly, and contributed to both “Who’s Who in the DC Universe” and “The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe” in the mid-80s before pairing up with Moore for “Watchmen”. He has since worked with Frank Miller, Mark Waid, Stan Lee, and Geoff Johns.
Since this story is a one-shot, I don’t really want to give away much by writing up a description, I’ll just offer the pedigree as a testament to how awesome this book is. Read it, and be ready for next week’s “Supergirl”!
Superman Annual #11 at Amazon for Kindle and ComiXology
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