Reign of the Supermen #473: Post-Smallville Superman

Source: Smallville Season 11 (2012-)
Type: Non-canon
Guys, I've never watched Smallville. Maybe one episode of the first season. Probably not the whole thing. And that's why I wasn't reading Smallville Season 11, the digital comic that continues the long-running TV series. Then I noticed Bryan Q. Miller was writing it, and I so liked his Batgirl book that I vowed I would eventually read it and Smallville background be damned. Now here we are, the week of Superman's 75th Anniversary, and I want to do something special for Reign. Looks like the stars are aligning. This is, after all, a currently-published Superman book, and one I'm coming very fresh to.

The task I have decided to undertake is to read as much of Smallville Season 11 as possible before my eyes give out and live-post my reactions right here on the SBG. So if you're an early bird, check back again during the next few hours. I'll be adding to the post. 43 issues to date? Oh boy...

#1... I'm catching up with this version of reality fast here... There's a JLA Watchtower in the middle of Metropolis, Green Arrow and his... wife? Not-Black-Canary live there. Lois and Clark are together (this is already a better version of the DCU). Otis works for Luthor. OTIS!!! And... what is that, the Nexus?
Right off the bat, while I was worried that Clark would play second fiddle to the load of characters introduced on the show (Ollie appearing before he does and so on), it all ended on Superman saving some cosmonauts and in general being an inspiration. I've missed this take on the character!

#2... Pushing planets? Apokolips invasion? Did that all happen in Season 10 or off-stage during the "summer"? And I see Lex has lost his memory so he doesn't remember Clark (because he knew who Superman was?). It makes the TV series sound in turn like an epic comic book and like a melodramatic soap opera.

#3... According to Lois, when will she and Clark finally get married?
 #4... Hahaha, texting buckle. Oh God, Hank Henshaw... FOREBODING!

#5... I've got to say, Bryan Miller's dialog is full of little gems, moments of humor and inspiration... I really, really like his stuff.

#6-7... The writing's very good, the art is pretty good, but the lettering is full of errors. Let's do something about that, eh, Saida Temofonte? Also, I hope Clark doesn't hear about Mrs. Henshaw's dissatisfaction with his job performance and go walk across America to find himself.

#8... Thought it was about time to post a cool moment:
 Done. Ooh, and is Henshaw going to possess a Superman robot in the making?

#9... Romance isn't dead, until you start talking babies with Oliver Queen.

#10-11... A little superhero fighting to clear the palate, because it can't all be rescues (no matter what Superman Returns tried to tell us). Wait... the show had an Earth-2?

#12... Lex is one manipulative, clever bastard. And that's how it should be. Love his layered plans.

#13... There's a great bit with Lois trying to drag Clark back to bed, but he's completely immovable. And then a stupendously badass female Nightwing shows up!

#14... May I suggest not swearing in front of kids?
Holding them hostage inside a bus held up in the air by a crane that's strapped to a bomb is also out of the question.

#15... Geez, Terrible Turpin as a hot blond dude? Smells like TV casting. Where's the Kirby look-alike I so dearly loved in the comics and cartoons? That cool Nightwing is Barbara Gordon, so that's even cooler. (I bet I'm being a complete noob here and this is all from the TV series.)

#16... And now, Babs-Nightwing messing with Green Arrow.
Hahaha. Why is it that I like DC's alt-universes so much better than their mainstream continuity? Superman Family Adventures. Ame-Comi Girls. This. All more exciting reboots/takes on the material.

#17-18... Who's following the clues right to Joe Chill? Why, the World's Finest, that's who!
The expressions on their faces say it all.

#19... Bryan Q. Miller: Making the Prankster a potable threat. Incredible.

#20-21... Well that was an exciting chase! Ollie and Lois on motorbikes racing against the Batmobile while Superman lays dying in the passenger seat from kryptonite bullet wounds. The in-continuity books could learn a trick or two from Miller.

#22... In the interests of showing every possible permutation of Superman (that's what Reign is all about, really), here's his anti-kryptonite armor:
They ARE very valuable... to the Prankster. He steals a page from the Toy-Man and has the little guys act as hacking transmitters to take over an airport control tower! Also featuring a boxing glove arrow AND Lois kicking ass. Yeah, baby, yeah.

#24... The change in artists gives Bruce Wayne an odd make-over, but otherwise, this breather epilogue/prologue issue is loaded with good stuff. Superman visits Crime Alley, Green Arrow gets surprising news, the heat wave comes to an end, and Lex makes a promise/threat that launches the next arc.

#25-27... "Haunted" has Lex try to peer into his dead sister's mind (she's been subletting his brain since the start of the series) to find what he's forgotten, and Impulse is being haunted too by some kind of Dark Flash thing. But it gets brilliant when Monsieur Mallah and the Brain show up with an army of monkey art thieves!
That's MY kind of comics. And looks like the two of them are still lovers. Morrison's Doom Patrol really did change everything.

#28... J'Onn J'Onzz with Oreos. Booster Gold merchandise. The Dark Knight Returns' Mutants. White Martians. "Stately Wayne Manor". This interlude is a love letter to DC's past.

#29-31... Of course, it's easier to create a coherent superhero universe when it's all limited to a single title and writer, but I like how Superman's interactions with other heroes is part of this story. It feels like they're part of the supporting cast, with lives connected to that of the Man of Steel's, and not guest-stars. Speaking of guest-stars, JSA on the horizon! And finally we're seeing movement on the whole Crisis subplot.

#32... I love the Batman/Martian Manhunter interludes! Here's one reason why:
FROGZILLA!!! (And it really is the best Martian Manhunter stuff I've read in a LONG while.)

#33... Oh, I see! Earth-2 is Morrison's, not Julius Schwartz's! The evil Clark was in the show, right? I seem to remember seeing pictures.
Another "haunt" in Haunted is Chloe implanting herself with Chloe-2's memories to find out as much as she can about the coming Crisis. Giving three engaging plots the same theme, how clever you are, Mr. Miller.

#34-35... Another new action figure look for Superman, Bryan Miller's riff on the Electric Superman, an energy-collecting suit modified to absorb the evil Speed Force haunting Bart Allen.
#36-37... The interlude concludes in most unusual fashion. Batman and J'Onn J'Onzz, two of DC's best detectives, make a great pairing, but further adventures will have to wait because J'Onn is... otherwise engaged. (Cough.)

#38-39... Shocker!

#40... I really love Miller's epilogues (or let's call them post-fight climaxes). Moments of humanity and humor. I mean, how satisfying is the scene of Clark Kent coming home? Or the fate they've planned for Lex?

#41... Hey Lois fans! She's the star in a four-parter called Valkyrie that's going to be alternating with the main storyline. That's right. What the New52 refuses to do, Smallville Season 11 will render up for your pleasure. It's just cruel that I have to wait for part 2.

#42-43... Holy crap! Miller's Booster Gold is HILARIOUS!
And then he turns it into a Legion story? Yes, please! Plus: Lois & Clark shower scene!

So I'm all caught up, and I plainly love this series. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me it's not going away anytime soon. Like to make room for some kind of Man of Steel-continuity comic. We're already losing Superman Family Adventures this month, and we need and deserve a Superman book that's fun, romantic and inspirational. This is the only one we'll have left.


Zundian said...

Green Arrow's wife is Chloe, the Lois stand-in (and cousin) from the first 5 or so seasons of the show, no bat characters ever showed up, the Apokolips invasion was the series finale. Clark pushed the planet away and THEN put on the costume for the very last shot of the final episode.

Season 10 seems like the only worthwhile season of the show as they knew they were going off-air so they could get as geeky as the wanted (Booster Gold! Earth 2! The Legion! The Monitors!)

Reading this liveblog has made me want to pick up Season 11. Seems like a quality series.

Siskoid said...

Thanks for the insights into Smallvillia. And yes, I heartily recommend it, especially for readers who liked Superman/Lois before the New52.

Anonymous said...

Not only is Chloe Sullivan-Queen Green Arrow's wife and cousin of Lois, she's been: Clark's long-time BFF, confidant, and ally since SV first aired; the only character other than Clark to make it all ten years on the show and into the comic; team member of the Justice League as Watchtower (an Oracle type role for SV); butted heads with all of the Luthors, even helped Lex get his dad, Lionel, into jail; former reporter for the Daily Planet; etc.

Toby'c said...

I'd recommend checking out Smallville from the start, since it does have probably my favourite Lois (albeit not until season 4) and maybe my second favourite Lex (after Clancy Brown). And while I haven't actually finished it yet (still early in season 9), I'd argue its shown some improvement with every season, despite some recurring problems.

American Hawkman said...

Chloe also stole the Suicide Squad from Waller at one point.

Siskoid said...

My main impediment for watching the series at this point is its length, and prohibitive total cost. If it had gone 5-7 seasons, it would be a no-brainer, but at 10, it becomes an almost overwhelming investment for me.

mkhall said...

Damn you, damn you for making me want to read this series! I can't afford 43 issues of anything right now.

Siskoid said...

At 99 cents an issue, it's not as bad as it could be. I've been hoarding for a while waiting for this moment, so it wasn't all in one go.

Siskoid said...

Oh and what you can also do is start off with this particular storyline, like from #41. Good jumping on point.

Bill D. said...

Never watched much Smallville (I need more Superman in my Superman), so I avoided this despite Miller's involvement, but now you have me curious to check this out.

I wouldn't have thought it, but a lot of these digital-first titles are a lot better than the main line they keep trying to push as their "real" focus.

AlisaLea said...

Welcome to the Smallville universe. BTW, wanted to let you know that the G2 Factor ladies mentioned your article on their podcast (4/21/13). That's what brought me hear. Smallville Season 11 is just awesome. Only Smallville Season 9 makes me squeal as much. G2 Factor can be found at . Thanks for your great review. BQM is one of the best writers in the DC universe.

AlisaLea said...

Ugggh. I meant 'here' not 'hear'. Sorry.


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