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  1. #1
    Extraordinary Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Default Smallville Season 11 Readthrough and Discussion

    Only ever read this sporadically but I figured that since we’re in a bit of a lull period, now was the time to read the whole thing start to finish:



    Just finished the first trade and so far: It’s as good as I remember. It’s been a long time since I watched Smallville so some references escape me, but overall it’s very easy to read even for someone not familiar with the show (although you’d need to do some background reading on characters like Tess and Chole). We pick up six months after where the series finale ended, and Clark is settling into his role as Superman. He and Lois are together (although their marriage keeps getting put off until later), he’s at the Planet, his actions saving Earth from Apokolips have helped establish him as a worldwide hero, even though there are holdouts like Lex and the US government who don’t entirely trust him. Others like Lexcorp’s new space shuttle pilot Hank Henshaw want him to do more. The first volume is a good build up with Lex scoring his first big win over Superman (that also showcases what a selfish Dick he is beneath all the grandstanding), hinting at the Crisis to come, and establishing Hank Henshaw as this version of Cyborg Superman. There’s good integration of Smallville continuity like Dr. Hamilton and Dr. Swan. Miller is clearly trying to walk a balancing act between the Smallville iterations of the characters, and the more mainline versions and I think overall he does a great job. Pity we never got him on the mainline books. Looking forward to the next volume.

  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member TheCape's Avatar
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    I have been tempted to read this series because of the creative team, but i really care very little about Smallville (didn't watch much beyond the first season), so i am torn.
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCape View Post
    I have been tempted to read this series because of the creative team, but i really care very little about Smallville (didn't watch much beyond the first season), so i am torn.
    If you didn't like Smallville then the series isn't for you. It's basically an extended epilogue of sorts to the TV show and reads like strong fan fic.

    Also, Chloe Sullivan plays a major role in the series and it's somewhat difficult now given what we know the actress who played her did.

  4. #4
    Extraordinary Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCape View Post
    I have been tempted to read this series because of the creative team, but i really care very little about Smallville (didn't watch much beyond the first season), so i am torn.
    If you don’t know the basics of what happened at the end of the Series you’ll probably be a little puzzled, but so far it hasn’t detracted from my enjoyment. You’ll wanna skim the finale off Wikipedia if you can, and look up who Tess is and what happened with Lex. Otherwise this is a pretty straightforward “Year 2” kind of Superman where he knows his origin and has his relationship with Lex established, but isn’t at his peak yet. I quite like it so far, Miller has a great handle on Superman and Lex.
    9EBA3678-0860-4F41-B7E8-EBF42C6B3E65.jpg
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    His Superman still has that classic Clark temper that sometimes bites him in the ass to go with the kindness, faith in others, and hope.

  5. #5
    Extraordinary Member Vordan's Avatar
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    C’mon we all knew the comic was going to bring in Bats at some point, especially since the TV show never could. Miller is pretty evenhanded in how he treats the two, Bruce gets in some good hits with his red sunlight suit and Clark gets to dish out some of his own damage as well. Clark even gets to use his brain to discover Batman’s identity. We also get to see this universe’s version of the Prankster, and I kinda dig him? He’s no Busiek Prankster but I love his trick weapons, and I think his costume is neat. This volume manages to have a “Martha” moment between Clark and Bruce about their parents that’s actually touching despite how the entire concept has been memeified by BvS. Lex has realized that Tess being in his head means he could potentially have access to all of her memories including Clark’s secret identity, and that’s the cliffhanger the book ends on. Good stuff all around. Really odd having Barbara as Nightwing in this universe though, wonder why that was? Just because Miller spent so much time in the Batgirl side of Gotham?

  6. #6
    Extraordinary Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Volume 3 wraps up the plot thread about Clark being unable to go hole, as well as Tess piggybacking around in Lex’s head. It’s also the return of the Smallville Bart Allan and the introduction of Jay Garrick. Overall this volume focused more on Bart’s struggles with the Black Flash than on Clark’s stuff, but I still really enjoyed it. Clark tapping into the Speed Force was pretty cool and I liked his Kid Flash inspired Supersuit, I thought it looked cool. The part where Clark talks with Jay about how everything ends felt very Hickman-ish to me, Miller retains a good handle on Supes voice.

    There’s also the Chole subplot of her Earth 2 doppelgänger. She learns Earth 2, home of Clark Luthor aka Ultraman has been destroyed by the Monitors. Clark finally learns Chole is pregnant and Ollie & Chole plan on departing Metropolis to raise their kid. Tess is extracted form Lex and put in a robot body like Henshaw was. Really looking forward to what comes next!

  7. #7
    Extraordinary Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Volume 4 was a pretty great Legion story. Clark and Booster Gold get dragged to the future to prevent war breaking out between Earth and New Krypton. This feels very much like an alternate universe take on Johns Superman & The Legion of Superheroes arc. Kara comes back and the events that took place with Zod and Zod’s clone (lmao remember those CW contrivances?) are folded pretty well into the story without disrupting the flow. The ending has one of my favorite Legion moments where they form a human chain to prevent Clark from falling into the sun after he’s taken Doomsday there in an attempt to destroy them both. That’s peak Legion **** right there.

    There’s also a Lois & Lana story which is pretty meh to be honest, the art is really rough. It does end up resolving Lana’s condition of never being able to touch Clark thanks to Metallo absorbing her nanites.

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    Extraordinary Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Just like Bats we all knew they were going to introduce Wonder Woman at some point, and like the rest of the DCU Miller plays around with this incarnation of Diana. This version met Steve Trevor as a kid who survived an airplane crash that killed his parents as well as everyone else, leaving Trevor to wash ashore on Themyscaria. Diana hides him for a time until they’re discovered, and in a touching twist, Hippolyta takes Trevor back to Man’s World and actually raises him there for a time since his parents are dead. Eventually she disappears, captured by the DEO unbeknownst to Trevor who ends up working for the DEO. There’s some stuff with Faust summoning Hades as Diana travels to Man’s World to track down her mother and Steve, culminating in her reuniting with both and taking on the mantle of WW. Clark plays a secondary role here same as the Vol. 3 Flash arc but he still gets some good moments of character development.

    One of the crazy things about Smallville I had forgotten was Martha becoming a senator (which is also the most agency any version of Martha has ever had). So Clark and his Senator mother reunite in Washington and there’s a lot of good mother-son bonding moments that we never have really gotten in the mainline books. My favorite moment comes towards the end:
    2C4732BC-7FCD-4258-92D9-8723908D0E93.jpg

    Clark talks about how it’s not enough for him to inspire “hope” anymore, now he wants to inspire “change”, which is honestly a great way of reframing Superman’s role. This volume ends with a wave of anti-alien sentiment flaring up in America, as Clark chooses to go to the President and tell him and the world that Superman himself is an alien. Very curious to see what happens next.

  9. #9
    Extraordinary Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Right so after the previous volume kinda put the Crisis to the side, now that main plotline comes back and is central to the entire volume. A Monitor crashes and is captured in Russia so Lex & Clark make their way there. Turns out the Monitors are dicks who are planning on purging the “vermin” infecting the Bleed. This whole volume was crazy, felt very reminiscent of Hickman’s Avengers epic mixed with Morrison’s Final Crisis. It’s primarily about getting all the pieces into place with doppelgängers from parallel Earths showing up (like a t-shirt and jeans Superman and, unbelievably, a freaking Batman Who Laughs that managed to precede CBR Forums favorite characters to hate). The ending with Lex using a communication device taken from the Monitor to send a message to all parallel Lexes everywhere was a fantastic cliffhanger.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post


    C’mon we all knew the comic was going to bring in Bats at some point, especially since the TV show never could. Miller is pretty evenhanded in how he treats the two, Bruce gets in some good hits with his red sunlight suit and Clark gets to dish out some of his own damage as well. Clark even gets to use his brain to discover Batman’s identity. We also get to see this universe’s version of the Prankster, and I kinda dig him? He’s no Busiek Prankster but I love his trick weapons, and I think his costume is neat. This volume manages to have a “Martha” moment between Clark and Bruce about their parents that’s actually touching despite how the entire concept has been memeified by BvS. Lex has realized that Tess being in his head means he could potentially have access to all of her memories including Clark’s secret identity, and that’s the cliffhanger the book ends on. Good stuff all around. Really odd having Barbara as Nightwing in this universe though, wonder why that was? Just because Miller spent so much time in the Batgirl side of Gotham?
    Nightwing was originally going to be Stephanie Brown in Smallville season 11. This will likely be a reference to the last issue of Batgirl Stephanie (where she appears in a Nightwing-like suit in a dream).

    It seems Didio opposed to this. So, Bryan Q Miller should change the name and hair color of the character (not the personality).

  11. #11
    Extraordinary Member Vordan's Avatar
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    This was another detour away from the Crisis, with Clark playing a secondary role. It played out as kind of a merger of Emerald Twilight and Sinestro Corps War. Years ago the Guardians created the Manhunters which went nuts as they are want to do, and so they created the Green Lantern Corps as a replacement law enforcement agency and a “Yellow Lantern” strike force to deal with the Manhunters. It ended with Hal Jordan falling to Parallux and killing Guy and Kyle with John Stewart the only remaining Green Lantern. When Clark freed Argo however, the Space Sector 2813 sensed the return and attempted to recruit one of them, but because they were artificial it didn’t work. So instead it sought out the last “natural” resident of 2813: Kal-El. It’s a fun story of Kal dealing with the ring and what being a “soldier” means, even if I’d argue the main character is John Stewart. The book ends with John and Clark defeating Parallux and Lex deciding that he needs to build a team of his own.

  12. #12
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    Right so it starts off with a Zatanna/Constantine team up that manages to be about as good as you can get with a non-Vertigo/current Hellblazer Constantine. The Church of Blood is searching for Zatarra’s “Books of Magic” so they can summon Trigon, causing Zatanna and the Church to clash. Zatanna runs into Constantine who wants the book for his own purposes. The duo track the Church to Stonehenge where Brother Blood kills himself to summon the Seven Sins who attempt to drag a young girl back to Trigon with them. Constantine nabs the book and almost abandons Zatanna and Rachel to the Sins, but the ghosts of all the people he’s killed guilt him into helping them at the last minute. Rachel joins the Titans and takes the name “Raven”, Zatanna joins the DEO, and Constantine turns two DEO agents who show up at his house into frogs, dumps them into the backyard and leaves their badges in the trash with a couple dozen other badges, showing that the DEO has been bothering him for a while. Like I said it’s a pretty fun story, about as good of a “Heckblazer” story as we can get.

    We’re back to focusing on the Crisis and Lex is as big a dick as ever. His previous attempt to talk to other Lexes in the Multiverse didn’t work, but Otis gave him the idea to try charging the device. So Lex joins on with Holt and Kord to play the device in their new Supercollider. That causes a hole in the Bleed to occur which sucks in Clark and Lois and dumps them on a parallel Earth. Lex keeps being a dick and uses his “Lex Corps” Lanterns to seize the collider from Holt and Kord.

    Clark and Lois move from parallel Earth to parallel Earth until they’re eventually captured by the Monitors again. There things go from bad to worse once Lex uses the charged communicator to contact the Monitors. He makes the offer that if they don’t like the way life has developed, instead of destroying it, why not reboot it? (When you remember that Grant Morrison intended the Monitors of Final Crisis to be stand ins for DC Editors, the whole conversation is very amusing).

    The Monitors decide to discuss Lex’s proposal, and also decide to sentence Lois and Clark to death via Bleed. The two manage to escape but not before Clark gets massively ****** up via direct exposure to the Bleed. The volume ends with the Monitors finally arriving over the Smallville Earth.

  13. #13
    Mighty Member Gaius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post


    Just like Bats we all knew they were going to introduce Wonder Woman at some point, and like the rest of the DCU Miller plays around with this incarnation of Diana. This version met Steve Trevor as a kid who survived an airplane crash that killed his parents as well as everyone else, leaving Trevor to wash ashore on Themyscaria. Diana hides him for a time until they’re discovered, and in a touching twist, Hippolyta takes Trevor back to Man’s World and actually raises him there for a time since his parents are dead. Eventually she disappears, captured by the DEO unbeknownst to Trevor who ends up working for the DEO. There’s some stuff with Faust summoning Hades as Diana travels to Man’s World to track down her mother and Steve, culminating in her reuniting with both and taking on the mantle of WW. Clark plays a secondary role here same as the Vol. 3 Flash arc but he still gets some good moments of character development.

    One of the crazy things about Smallville I had forgotten was Martha becoming a senator (which is also the most agency any version of Martha has ever had). So Clark and his Senator mother reunite in Washington and there’s a lot of good mother-son bonding moments that we never have really gotten in the mainline books. My favorite moment comes towards the end:
    2C4732BC-7FCD-4258-92D9-8723908D0E93.jpg

    Clark talks about how it’s not enough for him to inspire “hope” anymore, now he wants to inspire “change”, which is honestly a great way of reframing Superman’s role. This volume ends with a wave of anti-alien sentiment flaring up in America, as Clark chooses to go to the President and tell him and the world that Superman himself is an alien. Very curious to see what happens next.
    I remember seeing this at B&N in their comic/manga section and my thought breezing throughout that Diana's costumes definitely looked the kind of thing I'd expect she'd have worn if she ever showed in Smallville or the current CW shows.

  14. #14
    Extraordinary Member Vordan's Avatar
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    The big finale. The Monitors have been rebooting cities across the globe while Clark heals from his injuries. All of the heroes so far are summoned where Clark gives a speech that feels like Miller taking shots at DC’s constant reboots. Clark says they’ve got a history and a future and they won’t let either be taken away. The heroes plan to distract the Monitors and their Manhunter armies while Lois (who isn’t designated as a threat or a person of any import and is thus invisible) and Lex (who is the same backstabber as always and created a skeleton key to the Monitors ship) infiltrate the armada and disable it.

    The plan works and Lois & Lex get onboard. Lex of course then reveals he’s a WILD CARD ******* and Lois is left to curse his sudden but inevitable betrayal as Lex plans on dictating the reboot himself. Good thing everyone saw that coming so Lois uploaded a virus to Lex’s war suit as well, putting Tess in control and ejecting Lex. The Monitors get fed up and send the Omega Monitor to obliterate Metropolis. Tess prints herself a 3-D body and becomes the new Red Tornado, saving Chole in the process.

    Clark gets caught in the reboot blast as he fights the Omega Monitor, but he “holds on to Smallville” (fans of the TV show will love that moment) and pushes back against the reboot beam, sending the beam back at the Monitors which ends up defeating them. The Monitors are imprisoned in crystals until they can be rehabilitated. Otis dies saving Lex from a Manhunter, which sadly does not do anything to change Lex at all. Lex sets his sights on the White House, aiming to be President. The Moon Watchtower is built, the Justice League fully formed. Chole and Oliver’s baby is born, with Lois & Clark as godparents, and named “Jonathan”. The series ends with Clark signing off with “this looks like a job for Superman”.

    Overall it was a very fun and enjoyable read, one of the best “runs” Superman has had. The Smallville TV series was mostly Pre-Crisis insanity merged with Post Crisis storytelling characterization and techniques. This series leans way more into Post Crisis, in many ways it continues that feel of the Pre-Flashpoint Universe. It avoids the mopping and edge of that incarnation however, but still maintains a sense of stakes. The whole series makes me wish that we had gotten Miller on one of the main books during the New 52, I think he would’ve done a great job.

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