The moment in Smallville history that I’ve waited eleven years to see has finally arrived. So the question is, was it worth it? Here is a breakdown and review of issues #5-8 of the Smallville Season 11 comic, that make up episode 2. This review will be FILLED WITH SPOILERS. Here we go.
The episode begins with Lois and Clark in a playful bedroom setting in the Fortress of Solitude. As I mentioned in the previous review, I love how they captured Lois’ personality, and Clark’s slightly more serious side. He is so focused on his work as Superman, that he sometimes doesn’t realize how vacant toward their relationship he can sometimes be.
Meanwhile in Gotham city, a group of thugs is in negotiations with Intergang. While waiting for their meeting, they get their asses handed to them by Nightwing. The hero takes down the whole high tech weapon armed group single handedly, but as one man flees, he is stopped by The Batman himself, and Bats wants answers. Here is what I think. Gotham city is drawn the way it should be. It’s rainy and dark, and looks like scumbags would be running the streets. When Batman speaks, I can hear Christian Bale’s barking voice. The way the artists made the word bubbles show that he is growling in his darker tone. It works very well for this comic too. The action and way that Batman and Nightwing take down the group feels just like Batman. Here are the differences… Batman and Nightwing are wearing slightly different attire than what we are used to seeing, but it is close enough to the source material to still be true and exciting. At first I had an issue with Nightwing not being Dick Grayson or Robin not being Batman’s sidekick, but I actually don’t mind it now. Barbara Gordon is the one behind the Nightwing mask. I like this for the mere fact that it gives Batman a counterpart, and adds to the variety of interactions he has to deal with.
After a brief showing of Lex and Otis speaking at Luthorcorp, and Lois at the Daily Planet, Superman discovers that a thug’s laser weaponry was manufactured by Luthorcorp. The writers brought back Detective Dan Turpin for a few frames, and then we are brought to a lunch meeting between Lex and Bruce Wayne. The wealthy business men are discussing Waynetech’s building of a Supercollider in Antarctica, which he is looking for partners. When Lex declines, they are both relieved. Barbara and Otis sit at an adjacent table eavesdropping on the conversation. I love the business meeting, as it was necessary to explain why Bats would be in Metropolis, even though he was there to track intergang’s weapons to the same source Superman found. What I don’t know about is how they portray Barbara here. We know Otis is a loof, but they almost have Barbara as a little quirky and goofy. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it just seemed off in this setting. Not to mention, they don’t explain who she is to Mr. Wayne. Is she just another woman he is using as arm candy? We don’t get to find out because Superman interrupts the lunch to discuss his findings with Luthor.
A small cameo by another Smallville/DC character in his jail cell is shown, and then Batman is interrogating Bruno Manheim in a different jail altogether. Superman appears to show his distaste for Batman’s methods, but Batman is prepared with a defense. Yes, his chest emblem is harnessing red sun energy. The Dark Knight won’t have interference, and cracks the Man of Steel in his jaw, sending him sprawling on the floor. —-end part 1
Begin part 2—–The cover for this comic is definiely world’s finest at its best, but what is inside is better. Chloe and Oliver briefly discuss the Earth 2 issue, and are still trying to figure out what is coming. I have to say, this is killing me. They are talking about this Crisis, and I know I will have to wait for months to find out the answer. As long as they keep teasing it little by little, I’m fine, but I really wish they would just publish the whole episode in 1 large part instead of 4 that lasts for months.
Batman and Superman are still duking it out, but it seems to be more of a test on both their parts as they don’t really try to hurt each other. Batman uses kryptonite centered batarangs and his red sun effect to even the odds. As the battle escalates to the rooftop, Superman discovers what the fight really is about. Batman uses it as a distraction. He wanted Manheim to escape, so that Nightwing could pursue. A quick reference to Checkmate in a few frames, and the Batwing overhead get the fanboy in me going, but even better than the World’s finest duel is when Oliver shows up to take on Nightwing. I won’t spoil how that battle goes, but it is worth seeing.
When Superman successfully interrogates Manheim, where Batman could not, the Bat is impressed. He is shown here in the batwing with nightwing, and apparently when he has his mask off, Batman paints the lower half of his face with black makeup in this version. It makes his cowl appear all the darker. I’m not sure how I feel about this either. I get it, but what if Wayne had to show up really quick after a battle. Does Batman really have time to put on makeup and take it off during transitions? I doubt it.
We get a few pages of non costumed interaction, which fills in the minor plotlines nicely. This is probably one of the best parts of this issue as far as story goes. Okay, well that is until Superman and Batman meet again on a rooftop (I won’t spoil how Bats knows to meet there). When the two agree that their methods are different, but they will work together, an epic handshake seals the deal.
Oliver further investigates Lex for some harassing emails that he is getting from him. Little does he know that Tess is still in Lex’s subconscious attempting these methods of communications.
As Joe Chill, who is old, in a wheelchair and needs an oxygen tank, is confronted by Batman, the Dark Knight keeps his temper in check. After all, this is the man who killed his parents. I love the flashback frame here. They made the young Joe Chill really look like Jack Nicholson in the frame where he aims at Mr. and Mrs. Wayne. I don’t know if this is coincidence, but it is really interesting to think of an easter egg like that. As the heroes discuss happenings with Joe Chill, a pair of villains shows up. It was the perfect way to end an issue, but killed me to wait another month. —-end of issue #2
Beginning of part 3—— Lois Lane, drawn in the sexiest way with Erica Durance’s likeness confronts the Toyman, Winslow Schott, in his jail cell. She believes he is behind some of the criminal activity, but he points her in a new direction. The man he accuses is Oswald Loomis, who goes by the name Prankster. So, Smallville changed his costume, but this is one of the cases where I think it works for the better.
As Prankster and Mr. Freeze (who looks awesome) attack Batman and Superman, their partenering appears to be too much. Chill is taken out, Batman is frozen solid, and Superman is shot with kryptonite bullets. Oliver and Nightwing help the two to get away from the authorities, but now the police believe that Batman is the one who killed Superman. I just need to say, that I missed what the Batmobile is supposed to be. While I enjoyed Nolan’s version, the badass car is always my preference. This entire issue is dedicated to showing how Batman is able to get away from the authorities in order to save Superman’s life. It is action packed, and in my opinion is the best of the four parts. The final frame reveal is Loomis and Victor Fries in a sub zero room, where the Prankster informs Mr. Freeze that his kryptonite bullets have tracking devices in them. Sure, Bats and Supes may have escaped, while hanging onto life’s thread, but with the villains knowing their location, we are left to wonder how they could possibly succeed. —–end part 3
Begin part 4—– Lex and his subconscious conversation with Tess is entertaining, but I wonder how long they can keep this up. It seems like it is going in circles a bit. The only real progress we’ve made at this point is that Lex tells Tess that since she is in HIS mind, he plans to find a way to access her memories, and anything he used to know before losing his own. This would mean that he’d know EVERYTHING about Superman and his past with Clark, Oliver and everyone else. Bad News, but good for the suspense.
Superman has had successful recovery thanks to Batman, and when he awakens, he is approached by Barbara and Lois. Oh, and by the way, I forgot to mention in the previous part. Superman did figure out who Batman is just by hearing his voice. He distinguished the vibrations of his vocals and remembered hearing Bruce Wayne’s vocals in their brief meeting during the billionaire lunch. This was a unique way to do it, and yet careless in a way on Clark’s end. Why? Well Lois is there, because Clark just flat out told Batman and Nightwing who he was and who Lois was. Its good on the trust factor, but a little risky in my opinion.
During Clark’s recovery, Batman was hard at work. He built 2 suits of armor, and tracked the villains to their hideout. How much time has passed here? It doesn’t say, and I wonder how he could possibly do something in so little amount of time. I’d only assume that weeks have gone by. Superman’s new suit is a golden colored lead suit with his “S” on the front. This is to protect him from Kryptonite, while Batman’s new armor will shield and keep him warm from frigid temperatures. Neither suit has a cape either. I do enjoy the designs and variety too.
Green Arrow is questioned by police in the meantime, and Prankster betrays Mr. Freeze. Now, Freeze is being controlled by Loomis, and is literally a walking nuclear freeze bomb that will detonate and kill everyone within a mile radius. There is also a very creative and cool “toy” here that is a Captain Carrot action figure. Another geek out moment on my end.
Now for the final showdown. Superman takes on Prankster in a giant robot that sort of resembles an oversized Megaman likeness. I’m not for the look, but the battle is pretty cool. Of course, Supes’ new suit is destroyed, but he bests the Prankster. In the meantime, Batman works to save Mr. Freeze’s life and those lives of the people in the city. We get to see a real quick use of Green Arrow’s Boxing glove arrow. It had been mentioned earlier in the series as a joke, but has since come to fruition. Batman of course makes fun of Arrow’s new toy, but it was effective.
And what about Nightwing and Lois? Well, they team up to kick some armed bad guy butt, and boy do they hold their own. Well, that is until there is an explosion, that literally rocks the boat. Superman lifting the whole yacht out of the water was nice because we got to see Batman’s reaction to such an amazing sight.
At the end, Bruce is shown in Crime Alley. Superman finds him, and there is a brief mention of Alfred. They basically thank each other here and Bruce offers his assistance whenever Superman might need him. Clark says he’d offer the same, but knows Batman would never ask. They shake one final time and part ways.
Oliver thinks about training Mia Dearden to be his full time sidekick, Speedy, but as he talks about this with Chloe it begins to snow. This is all courtesy of Mr. Freeze’s gun which Clark is flying high over the city. It is implied that this happens around Christmas time (and perfect because it was released in December). As the perfect final Christmas gift, Chloe announces to Oliver that she is pregnant.
All in all, it was what I would expect from Smallville. They created their own versions and story based on what we all know and love. There were some down moments, but for the most part, it was everything I wanted it to be. I’m not sure if they modeled Bruce Wayne and Barbara Gordon after any specific actors, but they fit right in with the CW “pretty person” syndrome, if you know what I mean. I recommend picking up these issues, but do it as all 4 parts. You will want to read straight through instead of waiting for the next issue.
Episode # 3 review of “Haunted” will come in 4 months.