Buy NowDownload

Mild Mannered Reviews - Smallville Comics

Smallville: Season 11 #12

Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #12

Released Digitally: July 27, 2012

"Guardian" - Chapter 12

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

Reviewed by: Marc Pritchard

Click to enlarge

Turns out the whole thing about Lex's Guardian Platforms and Hank Henshaw and the exploding shuttle was to expose Superman to radiation so that Lex could then track him, in the process frustrating Clark's and Lois's lives and love and cohabitation. Chloe-2 dies (they don't ask questions at the Smallville Medical Center), but the message is given.

The Crisis® is coming.

3Story - 3: It's funny, but for as much as I have given Smallville a hard time, they have done pretty well by Lex, as far as I'm concerned. That continues here with the reveal of the big plan, which I did not expect, even though in hindsight you sorta have to think that somebody probably did (expect the radiation tag, I mean), since this is pretty much exactly how Clark and Lana were finally forced irrevocably apart back in Season 8.

I see now why they needed another seven years.

Just like we were told in the aftermath of no suit on Tom Welling, this is not a story about Superman. But nor is it really about Clark Kent. It's a story about Clark Kent and Superman stories, specifically the part about him being an alien from another planet. And that's fine - most of the great stories are about one central thing: The Odyssey about a man who just wants to get back home, Don Quixote about another man who refuses to just grow old and die.

For instance.

In those terms, Smallville is about a man who wants to live a simple life.

In all cases, the world intervenes: Odysseus is waylaid by many perils, Don Quixote is really just senile Alonso Quixano, Clark Kent is an alien from another planet with super(/meta-)human abilities that are bound to get in the way of a simple life if people know about them (because, e.g., he will become a target or, worse, they will).

No simplicity in that.

Numerous Superman stories have focused on the alienation angle, and all of them are indebted to it. It's core to the myth.

At this point, so is the notion of "Crisis" in the wider DC Universe, introduced as very much an overt meta-textual effort to streamline decades of discontinuous continuity. In all cases, the Crises have served to deliver significant change to the Universe, often including the seeming deaths of major characters (e.g., Supergirl and Barry Allen [Flash] in the first Crisis, Bruce Wayne in Final Crisis).

Smallville is now set to explore this territory very deliberately, so deliberately that I am compelled to reiterate my central complaint about the entire series.

Smallville is a story not about Superman but about Superman stories. And the way you know that about "Guardian" is that it is not content to set up the "Crisis" with Chloe-2's "The other Earth is gone"; it has to spell it out and actually say "Crisis," a kind of bet on the strength of the source material to draw us along rather than trying to tell a strong story here and now. What is resorting to the "Crisis" thing at the end, after all, but an effort to make sure we know more or less where this is going? It's anti-climactic. The doubt would have been better.

Otherwise, we are essentially repeating ourselves and Lex didn't even have to get his memories back.

Over and over they've done this kind of thing - Mxyzptlk, Jimmy Olsen, Doomsday ("I don't know how I survived!?"), the suit. Setting up an expectation and then going a totally different way.

It's an absolute shame.

I'll be spending the next little while trying to decide whether I can get over it, because it doesn't seem like they have.

Other than that, getting at least temporarily over this very important hang-up, this issue does evoke the show in a way that the book has not always done, in particular with closer attention to actor likenesses in the art (see below) and with (at least for me) seeming to better carry the actors' voices in the dialogue. That much, at least, was good.

5Art - 5: Seems they went for likenesses here more consistently than in previous issues. That's interesting. Otherwise, definitely maintains the max-grade I bumped it up to last week. Special mention: panel near the end showing Superman hovering above the planet.

Cover Art - N/A:

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2012

February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2012.