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Mild Mannered Reviews - Smallville Comics

Smallville: Season 11 #9

Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #9

Released Digitally: June 22, 2012

"Guardian" - Chapter 9

Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Penciller: Pere Perez
Inker: Pere Perez

Reviewed by: Marc Pritchard

Click to enlarge

Superman kisses Lois Lane amidst the moonlit clouds. Oliver and Chloe are packing heat but seem to have become the Smallville cornfield's newest prey. Lex Tesses, therefore he is. Otis is an idiot. Hank Henshaw has become one very angry robot.

4Story - 4: Here we have an example of an all-too-common Smallville episode wherein resolution or simply development of the stuff we're really interested in (e.g. Hank, the identity of the pilot of the spaceship) is drawn out with long distractions of dramatic minutiae for the mains - Clark (not Superman, note, thanks to those blasted name labels that continue to fail to be useful in any way) and Lois reading one another's minds, as it were, up in the sky; Oliver (not Green Arrow, note) and Chloe bantering superficially in the cornfields, anything but genuinely "romantic"; Lex and Tess, who is now somehow capable of physical manifestation in addition to not being just a figment of Lex's altered imagination, how "interesting."

(Personally, I lost interest in the Tess thread as soon as it was revealed that her actual consciousness was preserved inside Lex as a result of administering the memory toxin.)

We've seen these kinds of scenes so many times over the years of the show, they just no longer hold attention. Though introduced rather dramatically with a full body panel, we've now been tracking down this mystery pilot for several issues and all we get this week is a behind-the-back glimpse of a figure who may or may not be said pilot. And something tells me next issue won't include the continuation of this scene at all.

I'm starting to lose interest in this thread now, too.

I mean, this weekly-short format fully allows for relatively brief updates in any particular issue on any particular one of multiple threads. A scene belonging to a longer arc here and there would work fine, but multiple panels of one kind of scene (e.g. the simpering shipper stuff, i.e. Chloe and Oliver in the cornfield) and only a panel or so of another kind (e.g. the mystery pilot) overwhelms in all the wrong ways. No surprise that I'm getting tired of it.

All that said, though, the concluding scene revealing Robot Hank (or whatever... not Cyborg Hank, though, note, unless they've preserved some of Hank's organic tissue, which seems doubtful) was strong, especially in normal view - in Guided View, the final two panels of Emil reaching for his signal watch somewhat reduces the energy of the Robot Hank reveal.

Not too much, but enough that I feel justified playing the anticlimax card.

I'm confused, meanwhile, about who the unnamed and faceless guy that escorts Mrs. Henshaw into the lab and tells Emil he'd have to wait was as he's not shown again despite the fact that Emil is later back in the lab. Was he just some literally unnamed and faceless Luthor goon? Maybe, but his treatment of Emil suggests a higher-than-faceless-goon level of authority that I took as another layer of mystery setting up the introduction of a new character of some significance. But I probably just have unrealistic expectations.

Final note: More inconsistency with the name labels when one is used for the first time in a first person perspective for Hank. Seriously now, can anyone defend these things? Anyone feel they are helping orient you in the story? I just find them irritating for giving me information I always already have.

This issue is a slip from last week, though more on the energy level than on the execution. Not altogether bad, but not terribly gripping, either. Overall impression: Nappy time.

4Art - 4: Same as usual: nothing especially over-the-top-awesome but nothing downright bad, either. High point probably the initial first-person scene for Hank, with the wavy auras and all that.

Cover Art - N/A:

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

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