by Starsky Hutch 76
“Have you noticed any weird occurrences?” the first alien member of the Superman Revenge Squad asked the second.
“How do you mean?” the second one asked.
“Anything out of the ordinary?” the first one continued. “Anything… bizarre?”
“No, everything is running perfectly. In fact, better than ever before. I’d say everything is perfect.”
“That’s what I mean,” the first alien said. “Usually, we allow for at least a margin of error on behalf of the workers, or at least some sort of freakish occurence. That sort of thing that is unavoidable in day-to-day operations. But nothing of the sort has happened. Even when an accident has happened, it has inadvertently righted itself, and things continued uninterrupted. That in itself is… bizarre.”
“If that is bizarre,” the second alien said, “then I wish things would be bizarre more often.”
“Perhaps I am worrying for nothing, but I find it troubling nonetheless.”
Floating nearby, invisible and undetected, Bizarro-Kltpzyxm laughed mischievously.
Kltpzyxm floated near Bizarro-Junior No. 1, watching him as he slept. It had been another fun day of playing with the child. He used his powers in various ways to entertain him. He enjoyed how confounded the aliens were when new toys appeared in the child’s room, and no one knew how they’d gotten there.
When the child would tire himself out and fall asleep was when he’d roam the ship invisibly to find other ways to entertain himself. He decided to find the two aliens and see how they were reacting to the latest inexplicable occurrences he was responsible for.
He found the two of them walking down a narrow corridor away from the shuttlecraft area.
“Those repairs that were supposed to be completed by the end of the week?” the first alien queried.
“Yes?” the second alien said.
“They are already completed — far ahead of schedule. And no one has stepped forward to claim credit for their performance.”
“Unusual,” the second alien said. “It is not uncommon for one to fear reprimand for taking credit for someone else’s work.”
“But why would none of them seek reward? One of them must be responsible!” the first alien exclaimed. Kltpzyxm held his hand over his mouth to stifle his laughter.
“It’s just one of the many puzzling things that have happened of late,” the second alien sighed. “Do you think the Bizarro child could somehow be related? They began shortly after he came to us.”
“I doubt it. There is nothing in any previous account with Bizarros to make us believe they can cause such things to happen,” the first alien replied.
“Or so current data leads us to believe. Of course, we will soon know far more about them than we ever did before,” the second alien said.
“True. True,” the first alien said. “The laboratory is preparing for invasive procedures even as we speak.”
“It will be most enlightening,” the second alien said. “Much data will be gathered from the dissection. It will prove far more valuable as a weapon against the Man of Steel than the child itself ever would have.”
Bizarro-Kltpzyxm felt a chill run up his spine. These two were not the amusing, if somewhat stiff, fellows he had thought they were.
His mind raced. He couldn’t let harm come to his little friend. He disappeared from the corridor where the two aliens continued to talk about their plans for the young Bizarro. Plans such as constructing an army of Bizarros to conquer Earth once they had figured out how to create more and age them to adulthood.
Reappearing in the room of Bizarro-Junior No. 1, he racked his imperfect brain for some way to thwart their plans. It suddenly came to him. If it was a Bizarro they wanted, then he had to make the child not a Bizarro. For once, his making the imperfect perfect would come to good use.
There were two strange things about Bizarro children. First, shortly after being born, Bizarros rapidly aged to about five or six and remained at that age indefinitely, allowing most to survive the initial rearing process. This meant that, within the span of a few months of the first generation of Bizarro children born on the Bizarro World, they were already enrolled in school, appearing to be of school age despite being only a few months old. Had all the Bizarros survived a few more years, the Bizarro children — the oldest of whom were ten years old — likely would have undergone another metamorphosis to adolescence and then finally to adulthood. But since there were no more Bizarros to test this theory, this was pure speculation on anyone’s part.
Second, all Bizarro children were born perfect as part of a pupal stage, much like a butterfly began life as a caterpillar. It was simplicity itself to reverse that process. Only this time, it would be perfect. In an instant, instead of a child of a Bizarro-Superman and a Bizarro-Lois Lane, he was a normal Kryptonian/human hybrid.
“Now him not imperfect Bizarro like them want. Him am perfect,” he said with satisfaction. “Him am perfect… uh-oh.”
It dawned on him that a perfect specimen of Kryptonian biology might be even more valuable to the aliens. It was a rare moment of clarity for a Bizarro.
If leaving the rocket-ship in space put the boy in danger, then he needed to go back. In an instant, the rocket was transported back into space. He floated by it, sadly peering into the window at his now-perfect friend.
But where to send it? Where would he be safe from these enemies of Superman who wanted to harm him?
If these enemies of Superman were enemies of the boy, then Superman must be his friend. He focused his powers on giving the rocket the course of Superman’s home, and then the son of Bizarro No. 1 flew toward Earth in perfect form just as he had so many years ago.
Coincidentally, years ago when he was the first child born on the Bizarro World, he had made the same trip by the accidental actions of his father. Bizarro No. 1 had hidden him away in a satellite to protect him from mobs of Bizarros who hated the perfect freak. Instead, a collision with space debris had sent it on a course to earth. After a series of mishaps, he had been returned to his parents by Superman and Supergirl once his Bizarro nature was revealed. (*) This time, it would be a one-way trip.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Son of Bizarro,” Superman #140 (October, 1960).]
John and Mary Shakespeare had eyes only for each other despite the beauty of their mountain surroundings. But even with the serene setting and their attempts at levity, there was an underlying sadness.
“I’ve been thinking,” John said. “I want us to try again.”
“John,” Mary said, turning her head so she didn’t have to look into his eyes. “I don’t know if I can take another disappointment. Every time I think there’s some hope, it’s taken away from us. I don’t think I can handle that again.”
“I’m not ready to give up,” he said. “I see all these other people with kids and think, ‘Why can’t that be us?‘ We’d be good parents. I know it. We’re good people, Mary. I know we’d be good parents.”
“I think so, too,” she said, looking as if she were ready to cry, “but it just doesn’t seem to be happening for us. And every time we try, something goes wrong. I don’t know if I can handle it again, John. You don’t know how hard it is on me.”
“I’m sorry,” he said, taking her hand. “I know it’s got to be even harder on you. It’s just that this was always a dream we shared, and I’m having a hard time letting go of it.” He looked up and said in exasperation, “I just wish there was some sort of sign whether or not it was meant to be!”
At that moment, the rocket ship carrying the former Bizarro child crash-landed in the nearby field, startling them both. “What in the hell?!” John exclaimed.
The two of them ran to where the ship had crashed. “There’s a child inside!” John yelled as he saw the boy, who appeared to be no more than five or six years old. “What kind of a sicko would send a kid up in a rocket-ship?”
“We’ve got to get him out!” Mary said. “It’s liable to blow up!”
John ran over, pulled the small boy out of the rocket, and ran to where Mary stood. “I don’t believe it,” he said. “The poor kid has on one of those Superman playsuits. That explains a lot. Some nut with a Superman fixation shot him into space!”
“We should call the police,” Mary said. “Whoever did this needs to be reported!”
At that moment, the rocket-ship exploded, completely vaporizing it. “There goes the evidence,” John said. “Reporting this might not be the best idea. Any guy that can afford to build his own rocket-ship has to be pretty powerful. We might be putting the little guy in danger.”
“Then what do we do?” Mary said. A smile came across John’s face. “You mean… keep him?”
“I’m a syndicated cartoonist. I work from home. Plus, we live so far out. We don’t have to see anyone if we don’t want to. Which we practically never do, living out here. We can pass him off as ours. He’s young enough that we can say he was born at home during the last few years. What’s your name, son?”
“I — I don’t know,” the child said, his memory having been lost due to the spell that changed him from Bizarro to perfect.
“Poor little guy’s in shock,” John said sympathetically.
“He has to have a name,” Mary said. “What should we call him? I know… a combination of your name and mine. My maiden name and our last name.”
“Sounds like a plan!” John said enthusiastically. “Welcome to the family, Kent Shakespeare,” he said, mussing the young boy’s hair, which brought a grin to his face. John Shakespeare lifted the boy up and placed him on his shoulders to carry him back to the cabin and to a new life.
Bizarro-Kltpzyxm felt sad and alone as he sat amidst the floating rocks that once were the Bizarro World, known to its citizens as Htrae. The only friend he had was now perfect and probably didn’t even remember him. He was now the last Bizarro — and an imperfectly imperfect one by their standards. The boy had been the last true Bizarro, and he was a Bizarro no more.
He felt a monument to the Bizarro race was in order, but what kind? As he stared at the rocks, it suddenly came to him. He waved his hands, flexed his enchanted muscles, and it came to be.
He could think of no more fitting tribute to the lost Bizarro race. He loved it for what he saw as beautiful for its perfection and symmetry, ninety-degree angles from whichever way you looked at it — a perfect cube. The Bizarros had seen it as perfectly imperfect, because it was the exact opposite of every other planet out there with their ugly perfect roundness. Htrae, the square Bizarro planet, lived again, even if it was absent of the wonderful madcap race that once dwelled upon it, at least for now. A tear rolled down Kltpzyxm’s angular face, and then he disappeared.