Tonight's episode of Supergirl saw her square off against her mirror image -- and a reflection of one of Superman's longest-running foes -- Bizarro.
What else was there tonight that might have made comic book fans sit up and go, "Hey?"
Well, we spotted a few things.
So...what did we see? What did we miss? Read on, and comment below.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
"She's alive" or "It's alive" is one of the first things Max Lord says upon restoring consciousness to his Jane Doe.
Of course, there is a definite Frankenstein element to Bizarro, both here and in the comics. The character is often portrayed as more simple than evil, and ultimately fairly sympathetic.prevnext
...But Max apparently can't stick to just one literary metaphor.
In Prometheus Unbound, the Shelley novel from which he quotes to Bizarro and names the laboratories where he created her in the first place, Max finds his inspiration for trying to supplant Supergirl with one he can control.
In that novel, the title character defies the gods and gives fire to humanity, for which he is subjected to eternal punishment and suffering at the hands of Zeus.
So...yeah. Not unlike his jail time at the end of the episode, maybe?prevnext
...Also, yes. Prometheus is the name of a similarly-self-important villain created for Grant Morrison's run on Justice League.
I don't actually think Supergirl was intentionally referencing that character, but since he is a fairly well-known DC villain, it's worth mentioning. Otherwise, our readers will mention it in the comments and on Twitter.
It's definitely worth mentioning, though, that like Red Tornado or this version of Bizarro, Prometheus was made formidable in part by giving him a way to mimic the combat style of his opponent.prevnext
THE TRAM CAR
Saving a tram car is one of those things that superheroes just seem to...do.
Since their stories are usually set in big cities, mass transit is a fairly frequent target of the bad guys, and something that the heroes are called on to rescue. For many fans, the most memorable tram car rescue is probably in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man series...although for me, it was Kingdom Come.
There, amid a battle over whose heroic values would win the day, Superman had to rescue a tram car that was put at risk by other self-styled heroes squabbling over turf.prevnext
Okay, so we alluded to this.
That said, who or what, exactly, is Bizarro?
Let's start at the beginning.
Bizarro debuted in 1958's Superboy #68, a Frankenstein's monster pastiche with all of Superboy's powers created by accident when a scientist was demonstrating a "duplicating ray." In the Silver Age, the creation of the first bizarros took place on Krypton; it was creating a mindless army of imperfect clones of himself that landed General Zod in the Phantom Zone.
On Earth, Bizarro is a flawed imitation of Superboy, with chalky white skin and childlike, erratic behavior. At the end of his first story, Bizarro died; while technically Superboy brought the instrument of Bizarro's destruction to the battlefield, the creature actually willingly sacrificed himself, the ashes of his body restoring sight to a blind girl Bizarro had briefly befriended in Smallville.
The character proved popular enough to bring back, and for most of the Silver and Bronze Ages, Bizarro was created by Lex Luthor. Turning on Lex, Bizarro helped Superman arrest the villain but later used the duplicating ray to create an entire world for himself, full of bizarro duplicates of Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and more. The "Bizarro World" version of the character was the longest-lasting and best-known until he was wiped out of existence and removed from the history books by the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Superman reboot.
In The Man of Steel, John Byrne introduced a new version of Bizarro created by Luthor for the first time. In the post-Crisis continuity, Superman never had powers as a boy, so the '50s origin couldn't have happened. Lex created Bizarro not with a duplication ray, but as an imperfect clone of the Man of Steel. There, it was Lucy Lane who was blind, and whose eyesight was restored when Bizarro was destroyed. Variations on this Bizarro would appear twice more: In 1994's "Bizarro's World" storyline, during which Luthor once again created a Bizarro in order to research potential cures for a plague affecting Metropolis's clones; and again in Superman Forever, when Luthor's ex-wife used his files to create a Bizarro. In both cases, the creatures would be destroyed or otherwise die during the stories that introduced them.
Another Bizarro would later be created not by science but by the nigh-magical powers of Mr. Mxyzptlk, a fifth-dimensional imp, while they (the powers, that is) were being controlled by The Joker. This one would survive for a while, taking part in Infinite Crisis and Blackest Night, among other big stories. That version of the character would have the ability to create new Bizarros, leading to a new Bizarro World.
Then came the post-Flashpoint reboot. The current Bizarro was again a failed clone of Superman, this time using DNA from Superman and a human. Ironically, that's how the post-Crisis Superboy was successfully genetically-engineered. That version of Bizarro has incendiary breath and cryonic vision (rather than Superman's freeze-breath and heat vision), and feeds of Kryptonite, but is injured by solar radiation. That character is currently dead in the comics, having died in Forever Evil, but he'll be back soonish, as Lex is attempting to clone him again -- and this time wants to purposely recreate Bizarro, not clone Superman.
Along the way, we did get a Bizarrogirl, who appeared in the Sterling Gates/Jamal Igle Supergirl series that seems to be the TV show's North Star.prevnext
Those bullets they used to shoot Bizarro out of the sky, and later the light they kept her under? Blue.
So...what's blue Kryptonite?
On Smallville, it stripped Clark of his powers.
On Super Friends, it reversed the rapid-aging effects of red Kryptonite on Superman.
In Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths comics, Blue K was created when Superman used a Bizarro Duplicator Ray on a piece of Green Kryptonite. In that version, it affected only Bizarros and was harmless to humans and Kryptonians.
In the Post-Crisis, Blue Kryptonite is opposite to the more common green variety--it will make Kryptonian-based Bizarros highly intelligent. Following the events of Infinite Crisis, Blue Kryptonite appears to have reverted back to simply hurting Bizarro like Green K does Superman.
In the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths animated movie, Blue Kryptonite affected Ultraman, an evil variant of Superman, in the same way Green K affected Superman.prevnext
This isn't the first time Midvale has been brought up; it was, in fact, mentioned last week I believe, and I missed it entirely.
That said, it's a suburb of Metropolis where Superman brought the pre-Crisis Supergirl to an orphanage. in the TV series, of course, Superman is a bit more responsible than that and finds suitable foster parents for her.
Also, in this panel, we see that the "Guardian angel" thing I've often attributed to Peter David's 1990s run on Supergirl actually started a little earlier...!prevnext
Opal City, the home to Starman, The Enlongated Man and other DC heroes, has been referenced a few times on Arrow and The Flash, but never seen.
So, too, their heroes, although Enlongated Man got a name-drop on a list of dead characters on The Flash, at least two of whom turned out to to be alive later and have super-powers.
Wonder if Adam Foster has bumped into any of those guys lately?prevnext
TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY
Max's reference to "Truth, justice and the American way" is obviously a riff on one of Superman's most well-known catchphrases...
...as demonstrated above by veteran Superman artist Jerry Ordway on the cover to Superman #53.
Ordway, of course, drew the Man of Steel Prequel comic starring Kara Zor-El.prevnext
Just a tease at the end, but we got to see the Black Mercy -- the flower that attaches itself to Superman in the classic Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons story "For the Man Who Has Everything."0comments
In that story, Mongul -- a despot from space -- tricks Superman into opening a canister with a Black Mercy in it on his birthday. The "gift" renders him unconscious and gives him his heart's desire: a Krypton that never exploded and a happy family life at home.
Two guesses what next week's episode is about...!prev