Project: Changeling is a bizarre failed clone of Superman.
Some ten years prior to the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, billionaire industrialist Lex Luthor encountered an individual who would ultimately become his lifelong nemesis—Superman. Initially, Luthor offered him a position on his payroll, but Superman proved to be completely incorruptible and uncompromising in his principles—a quality that Luthor despised. As he could not convince the Man of Steel to work exclusively for him, he decided to create his own Superman.
For two years, Luthor scoured the globe seeking out the world's top scientists to work on a secret Lexcorp program known as Project: Changeling. He found a reputed biologist named Doctor Teng and smuggled him out of mainland China, putting him to work on Project: Changeling at the Hong Kong offices of Lexcorp.
Doctor Teng used various devices to remotely scan Superman's DNA, collecting as much data as he could possibly amass. One of the samples he procured came from the legendary swamp monster Solomon Grundy. Luthor had Grundy brought to Metropolis in the hopes that he might possibly kill Superman, but failing that, he still managed to cultivate some skin samples from the undead creature. Uploading this data into a bio-matrix chamber, he sought to physically recreate Superman. Unlike the true Man of Steel though, this was to be a Superman completely subservient to Lex Luthor.
Doctor Teng made one critical flaw in his work however; he based all of his computations on the assumption that Superman was a mutated human being, as the world had yet to discover that he was in fact, the last surviving son of an alien world known as Krypton. The miscalculation proved detrimental to Teng's project, and due to the resulting X-factor of the alien DNA, the creature that emerged from the bio-matrix chamber was a shambling, mockery of the true Superman. Luthor, disgusted by Teng's failure, ordered the creature destroyed, but this Bizarro soon broke free of the Lexcorp building and escaped.
Over several days, Bizarro began to slowly adopt Superman's memories. His undeveloped brain could not process the information properly, but he attempted to pantomime Superman's behavior and personality. He flew directly to the American city of Metropolis and engaged in various feats of daring-do not unlike the heroic actions of the true Superman. He air-lifted a disabled ambulance to the hospital and prevented a blind girl named Lucy Lane from taking her own life. As Bizarro flew off, Lucy mistakenly believed that it had been Superman who had saved her life.
Soon after, Bizarro broke into a mens' clothing store on Bleeker Street, where he stole a cheap one-hundred dollar business suit. He then acquired a pair of sunglasses and poked the lenses out of them. Placing the suit and glasses overtop of his tattered Superman costume, Bizarro resembled a strange amalgamation of both Superman and Clark Kent. He proceeded to lumber down to the Daily Planet as if he were arriving to work like a normal person.
Clark Kent spied Bizarro with his x-ray vision and immediately changed into Superman. He flew down to the front lobby, and was astonished to see such a grotesque mockery of himself. Bizarro reacted violently towards encountering the true Man of Steel and punched him clear across the street. Reporter Lois Lane arrived upon the scene, and Superman quickly burned away Bizarro's "Clark" suit with his heat vision, fearing that Lois might make the unlikely connection between Clark Kent and Superman.
Not only did Bizarro possess a portion of Superman's memories, but he also shared an aspect of his personality as well, including Superman's affection towards Lois. Bizarro scooped Lois up in his arms and flew off. He took her back to her apartment where he encountered Lois' little sister, Lucy for a second time. Lucy's presence succeeded in briefly calming the monster down, but tempers flared as Superman arrived to fight him once again.
During the struggle, Superman began to notice a chalky residue flaking off of Bizarro's hide. Analyzing the residue with his microscopic vision, he concluded that Bizarro was actually a sophisticated android and not a true living being. The two combatants took to the sky and bore down upon one another at breathtaking speed. As they collided, Bizarro's body exploded into a mist of white dust. The creature's tormented existence finally came to an end.
Bizarro left one inexplicable and enduring legacy however. Lucy Lane had been attacked in a terrorist hijacking the previous year—an attack that rendered her permanently blind. The dust from Bizarro's remains settled on Lucy, miraculously restoring her sight. Superman posited that Bizarro may have deliberately allowed himself to be destroyed knowing that his demise would help Lucy.
- Bizarro Physiology: Bizarro possessed powers similar to that of Superman. Inclusive to his power set were:
Although he shared many of the same powers as Superman, Bizarro did not possess Superman's invulnerability. Bizarro's skin coating was extremely dense, but he was not nearly as indestructible as the Man of Steel.
- This is the first of three Post-Crisis versions of the Bizarro character. This incarnation is different from his Pre-Crisis counterpart on several levels. Whereas the original Bizarro had a penchant for speaking backwards, this Bizarro did not speak at all. The original wore a Superman costume with a backwards "S" emblem on his chest, but the revised Bizarro wore a standard Superman costume, albeit one of a more tattered and darker hue due to Superman burning off its attempted Clark Kent disguise with his heat vision. The original also wore a medal on a chain that read, "Bizarro No. 1", whereas the current Bizarro's costume bore no such decoration. The Silver Age Bizarro lived on a Bizarro world known as Htrae (Earth spelled backwards) with his family. The modern Bizarro remained on Earth and did not belong to an extended Bizarro-Family.
- Although the "Project: Changeling" creation is commonly referred to as Bizarro, no one in the DC Universe ever applied that name to him. However, he was referred to as "bizarre". Also, under his biography entry in Who's Who: Update '87 #1, he is credited as Bizarro.
- All of the covers for the Man of Steel limited series spotlighted a feature character walking towards the reader's point of view. The cover to issue #5 however, illustrated Bizarro walking away from the reader. This gimmick is keeping in line with the Pre-Crisis stereotype of Bizarro as a mixed-up, backwards creature.
- The origin of the Post-Crisis Bizarro is loosely based on Pre-Crisis Bizarro Superboy as first published in Superboy #68. In the original story, the object of Bizarro's affections was a woman named Melissa, not Lucy Lane.
- 3 Appearances of Bizarro I (New Earth)
- 6 Images featuring Bizarro I (New Earth)
- Quotations by or about Bizarro I (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Bizarro I (New Earth)
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