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Mild Mannered Reviews - Smallville

Smallville #1

Smallville #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 19, 2003

Cover date: May 2003

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

4Cover Art - 4: Well done and interesting, relevant, and fair. It gives the accurate impression that this is almost a comic-magazine, and the people on the front do interact. I would submit that the format is more based on aesthetic than interest, and in that it is merely average, but at least it isn't deceptive. My big complaint is that all of the people on the cover look amazingly pasty and angry. We know Lex is a pasty, bitter man, but Clark and Lana are supposed to be hotties...right? At least the words aren't cheesy and make relevant sense, and in that, this is above average. I think the logo could be more prominent, but generally, this is a cool, satisfying cover aesthetically.

Part One: Tom Welling, Rising Star

Interviewer/writer: Rob Allstetter
Photos: Timothy White

This is basically an interview of Tom Welling with interesting factoids about the show mixed in. Some important facts are that Welling had a minor role on Judging Amy and enjoys meeting fans of the show. He also takes the job seriously, and is somewhat like Clark Kent in real life.

1Article - 1: These interviews, unless they offer me something that I don't already know, are rather boring. If you don't know anything about the show, you're probably going to get something new here, but you're also probably not reading this. If you know anything, this is old hat, and thus redundant. Either way, it's far too positive and self-affirming to be affecting in the writing sense. I recommend they put things like this in a magazine, not a comic book. Add into this the fact that it took four pages of a forty-eight page special, and now I'm fuming...

4Photos - 4: Hot hot hot, that Tom Welling is HOT! No, I'm just kidding. Let me just say he's photogenic, the photos are well laid out, well taken, and make sense, given the subject. I can wish the subject were somewhere else, but I can't complain about these photos. I imagine the ladies, those who like laddies, anyway, shan't be complaining either.

Part Two: "Paterfamilias"

Writer: Mark Verheiden and Cliff Carpenter
Pencils: Kilian Plunkett
Inks: Mark Morales

October, 1989.

A young boy named Kenny is hunting in the woods with his father. They find a good watering hole and decide to split up to watch for deer. Kenny points out the importance of camouflage to his father, putting a stick in his hat. As soon as they are in place, deer stampede, and to Kenny's horror, a meteor lands on his father.

The present.

Jonathan leads Clark and Pete to a deserted stream full of more fish than they can imagine. They thank him, and he heads back to the truck.

Seemingly from nowhere, Pa Kent is hit with a piece of tree and knocked out.

At the campsite, Pete goads Clark into testing his abilities. After all, this is where Pa took Clark the summer before he started Kindergarten to learn to control his abilities, right?

Clark starts a fire.

Clark throws a stone into the air, and after a minute, it lands in the stream, throwing up a great gout of water.

Clark takes a tree and pole vaults, but gets stuck in the air and falls down. In the rubble, he gives Pete a thumbs up. Pete sees him buried, and tells him last one back to camp has to make dinner. Clark is already there.

Pete rides Clark through the woods. They notice that Pa's truck is driving by, but Pa should have been gone hours ago.

In an underground cave, Jonathan awakens with bums that have been in this cage he's in for nine months. There are dead people. A voice introduces itself as Kenny, telling Jonathan that he's a good dad, and that his father, Kenny's, is gone.

Kenny asks Jonathan to be his new father. Jonathan figures out who Kenny is, and what happened. He starts trying to tell Kenny to take him to the cabin his father built, in the woods, when Clark and Pete arrive. Kenny sneaks out and attacks.

Clark catches him and throws him high into the air.

Back at the cell, Clark breaks the lock with his hand. The bums stare in awe. One says, "They raise 'em strong on the farm..."

At the truck, they hop in and speed off. Kenny is underneath the grill, invisible.

At home, Lex tells the Kents he has a security team on the way. They haven' t found Kenny, however.

Lana meets with Clark at the Talon. Meanwhile, Jonathan goes to the feed store, only to be met by Kenny, telling Jonathan to come with him or have Martha be hurt.

Lana is having coffee with Clark talking about family ties when she notices that the Kent truck is going by outside. Lana says, "Isn't that your.ride?" But Clark's already gone.

He sees Kenny pointing a shotgun at Jonathan, and leaps onto the truck. Inside, Kenny hits the accelerator. Clark flies off into a kitchy souvenir shop sign, which explodes.

Clark walks out of the fire, and a man is waiting there with a phone. Clark asks if he can use it.

He calls Chloe, who has information on Kenny. She points out the cabin Jonathan talked about with Kenny. Clark takes off.

At the bridge leading to the property, Clark and Jonathan tell Kenny that Clark would feel as distraught as he did if they took Jonathan away. The bridge breaks, and Clark runs down, leaps up, and catches the two of them, telling Kenny it will be all right.

At home, Lex assures the Kents that Kenny will receive the best care possible. He calls the asylum to make sure that the cameras are in place.

1Story - 1: This story had a lot of the things that make the show very good, but it did it in all the wrong ways. References to all of the characters and how they relate to family, shots of everyone involved with a way that they logically needed to be in the story, but what it lacked was something very important, something I hold even higher than great characterization: A plausible and probable plot.

Lots of things that plague the series at times were pleasant here.

Bad physics: Clark leaps UP to slow the fall of two people coming DOWN from a great height, and no one is hurt.

A meteor hits a point in the ground near a young boy and, logically speaking, he is neither obliterated nor injured, just turned into an invisible naked man who nobody sees for fourteen years. Suuuuuuuuuuuure. And he can operate a gun and hunt, but he can't make a shelter beyond a cave?

I guess if you buy into that, even, you have to wonder how he can construct a cage.

Clark and his powers: Clark acts completely irresponsible about something he's paranoid about...being discovered. He runs at full super-speed down a city street. He crushes a lock in front of homeless people. He flies into a souvenir shop and explodes. He shows a villain that he has powers. He runs at super-speed from a table where Lana is watching him full on.

Those were the worst. But add in the fact that the villain is cheesy, based in an exploited insecurity that one gets over with time, maybe even five years, and it's just not plausible or probable. Hey, it's tv, you say. Hey, it's just a comic book. But I've seen better done, and I expect more. Especially from Smallville.

And why the heck would a souvenir stand EXPLODE, anyway?

5Art - 5: The art was actually just as I'd expect it. I want this series to maintain a more real feel rather than a comic feel while maintaining the comic aspect of things, and they've found a really good artist to convey this. All of the angles were very camera-esque rather than comic-esque, and it shows right through. Well done.

Part Three: Lights, Camera...ACTION!

Interviewer/writer: Rob Allstetter
Photos: Alan Markfield

1Article - 1: This is another one of the interviews/self-congratulatory articles aforementioned that would alienate the knowledgeable and help the unknowledgeable, who probably aren't reading anyway. Add in that half of it is lauding JTT, a personal demon that I fear and have nightmares about returning with a guest shot regularly, and you have something that just bored and angered me.

2Photos - 2: The mise-en-scene is just fine, but they use JTT to promote an article which is half about the acting and the world of the set. Clark and Pete should have been more prominent. So technically, the pictures are great, but they weren't entirely relevant. And there was JTT! (stops personal stabbing motion at screen).

Part Four: Smallville Episode Guide, Continued.

Writer: Jami Bernard
Photos: Brian Cyr, Shane Harvey, David Gray

This is basically continuing the episode guide from the Smallville Special, a while back. It chronicles episodes 2, 3, 4 and 5 from season one. It gives air dates, facts, and a synopsis.

5Article - 5: I concede that these are fine and well put together plot synopsis pieces of Smallville season one.


I have to say I prefer (SHAMELESS PROMOTION AHEAD) the SUPERMAN HOMEPAGE's plot synopsis pieces of Smallville, Season One, or say, the REVIEWS of said episodes, which this guide sorely lacked.

Still, I have to say, these are well done, accurate, and neat. I look forward to seeing them all in sequence.

5Photos - 5: Relevant, from the episodes, and well taken. Obviously professional. Nice.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2003

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