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DC Multiverse
by yo go re

It's been a long time since the last Mattel DC Walgreens exclusive, but they've managed to sneak another one in just before losing the license.

A superhero in his own mind, even the opposite-speaking Bizarro must protect his secret identity.

Through whatever inexplicable bond they shared, Bizarro retained vague memories of his life as Superman, including a dim recollection of being Clark Kent. Superman was always a little freaked out by this - what if Bizarro playing at being a civilian accidentally tipped people off to his secret identity? But honestly, he shouldn't have to worry a bit: Bizarro, after all, is the imperfect clone of Superman, the one who does everything backwards and wrong; Superman has heat vision and super-breath, while Bizarro has freeze vision and flame breath; so if he's wandering around town telling everybody he's Clark Kent, wouldn't that make everyone assume there's no way the same thing could be true for the real Superman?

Bizarro doesn't use the same body as any of the existing Superman figures - like a guilty man repenting on his deathbed, Mattel has finally tried to get good now that the end is in sight. They've developed a new "plain" body style, and Bizarro uses it. It's not as big and distended like the DCSH version, making this more of a Silver Age Bizarro than a modern one. The legs are long and thin, and the edges of the boots are just painted on. He's got the classic Superman belt, and his sleeves hang over his hands slightly. Oh, wait, I was wrong! This is an existing sculpt: there was a "Rebirth" Superman in thet Clayface series stores didn't care enough to carry, and this is just that. With a new belt.

And a new head, of course. This isn't just a case of painting the existing Superman head gray and chalky, like the hands (both fist and flying style): it's a new sculpt with those angular features and messy, unkempt hair. Again, this is a very classic face, from back when Bizarro was just "Superman, but angular" and not "Superman, but malformed."

In the battle between a blue costume and a purple costume, I will forever be #TeamPurpleBizarro - (even a world class dumb-dumb like Rob Gronkowski is smart enough to wear different colors from the opposing team) - though reading Alex Ross's Justice did make a good case for blue, so I'm not as disappointed in this toy's colors as I once would have been. The blue is quite pale, and the red has enough yellow in it that it starts to lean toward orange. The backwards Ƨ-shield on his chest is crisp and clear, but feels small - again, these are all features of the Silver Age Bizarro, because they were all features of the Silver Age Superman. Gotta match what you're trying to match, right?

Bizarro moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. It's ridiculous to think Mattel has had the DC license since 2003, and it took them until 2018 to get anywhere close to modern standards. FIFTEEN BLOODY YEARS of low-ball mediocrity! (And yes, he can still barely look up or down at all.) His cape doesn't get in the way of the articulation at all, because it's softgoods, held on by a "Kenner Super Powers"-style C-clamp that fits onto the neck. But there's a smart reason for that.

As mentioned above, Bizarro maintains a secret identity as Clark Kent - or at least, his idea of one. He doesn't carefully conceal his super-suit, he just haphazardly throws a jacket and tie on over it. This figure has a softgoods cape so that the PVC jacket can fit over it! It's grey with black buttons, and the sleeves have been torn off. He also comes with a pair of glasses, and completes the look with a purple necktie to replace his "Bizarro #1" placard (in the old stories, Bizzaro World, aka "HTЯAƎ" was populated only Bizarros and Lois Lanes, so he took to wearing a sign to differentiate himself from the rest of them).

This exclusive was revealed at the beginning of the year, with the statement that it would be available the third week of February. Yeah, well, that didn't happen. I've been scouring all my local Walgreens looking for it ever since, and thought perhaps it had been cancelled until Rustin found his. I asked him to keep an eye out for another for me, and it still took him until earlier this month to snag one! This scarcity is a real shame, because even with a standard body and a blue costume, this is a lot better than any other Bizarro action figures. Heck, better than a lot of Kal-Els, too. There's a certain poetic irony in the fact that Mattel, the company that never met an idea it couldn't do wrong, created their best Superman when they attempted to make the one who's broken and imperfect.

-- 10/30/19

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