Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quick Review: Smallville Season Eleven #1-2

Smallville Season Eleven #1-2 by Bryan Q. Miller and Pere Pérez
Smallville Season Eleven is a welcome addition to the 'season-style' books out there. Fans of the cult show had to wait for 10 years for 'Smallville' to become Superman and only got a tiny taste of how great that could be.

I started watching Smallville from the first episode but somewhere in the third season I lost all interest. It was back in the days when each episode ended with Clark and Lana in the barn talking about how they can't be together because he has secrets. I came back occasionally when there was a guest star hero like Aquaman or Cyborg. I came back for 'Absolute Justice' which featured the Justice Society and stayed with the series until the end.

The show wasn't always great - there was a lot of angsty stuff and that last minute "I can't marry you" stuff with Lois at the end. But it gave us a lot of other superheroes, a super-powered Lana, and the return of Superman's ultimate nemesis, Lex Luthor without any memory of who Clark really is. Smallville Season Eleven is an opportunity to do all the stuff no one could afford to do on the TV show (like make Blue Beetle not look like a robot) and introduce ANYONE in the DC Universe. It makes complete sense that a comic book company with a successful television show would want to continue it as a comic book. I hope this becomes the new normal (except for The Walking Dead - that comic book is already being recreated on the television screen and is mostly faithful to the original material).

As I recall, one of the reasons you couldn't have Batman show up in Smallville was because it would undermine the films. That roadblock is removed in a medium overflowing with Batman titles. Actually, according to the previews, I think we'll be meeting the Smallville version of Bruce Wayne pretty soon.

Now that that is out of the way, how was the books themselves? Bryan Q. Miller, one of the series writers, knows these characters histories and how they relate to one another and how they speak. The dialogue feels authentic and the first two issues spend time showing Superman saving people and spend some time reacquainting Clark and Lex as the latter confesses that he's not sure why they'd even have been friends when they were younger.

There's great contentious stuff with Lex and Oliver. Of course the stuff between Clark and Lana and Oliver and Chloe is terrific and reminds us of how happy they all were together. It's great to see life continuing instead of starting the series with the characters unhappy. It's also great they didn't do a 'five years later' sort of thing where the characters are in different places and the question is, 'how did they get this way?'

The few times we get to see Superman in these issues, he's everything we attribute to the original Superman: honest, friendly, helpful, and genuinely cares about the people he helps. Tom Welling always brought that to life so well in the series that I can hear his voice in the dialogue makes me feel like the show really is back and that they kept all of the actors.

I'm not sure who the alien is who lands in #2 and you can see in some kind of uniform at the end of the book is, but I can't wait to find out. The first two issues are a good, solid start to Season Eleven and a great way to break readers in and remind them of the status quo. Now it's time to put those characters through their paces. I'm not sure who the alien is who lands in #2 and you can see in some kind of uniform at the end of the book is, but I can't wait to find out. Oh - and since this is the first time our heroes are meeting him/her, expect a fight.

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