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Mild Mannered Reviews - Smallville Comics

Smallville: Season 11 #32

Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter #32

Released Digitally: February 1, 2013

"Effigy" - Part 2

Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Penciller: Axel Gimenez
Inker: Diana Egea

Reviewed by: Michael J. Petty

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Our story picks up where "Effigy - Chapter 1" left off, with Bruce Wayne and Detective John Jones in the middle of a stand-off. Bruce attacks Jones by throwing razor-sharp batarangs which pass right through the phased Martian Manhunter. Jones taps into Bruce's mind to get him to help complete his mission. This doesn't work as Bruce tells Alfred to initiate "Protocol Babel - Five," which consists of Alfred taking a flamethrower to Jones, who in-turn releases his grip on Bruce's mind. Jones then extends a friendly hand to Bruce who gets up and tells Jones that there's a crime-scene he must see.

Below Gotham in the sewers, Bruce, now as Batman, takes Jones to meet Commissioner Jim Gordon and to see where his fight with the White Martian took place earlier that night. Batman reveals that this specific glyph that appeared during the fight has shown up throughout the country dozens of times in the last 18 months. Jones reveals that the symbol is a representation of his true name, J'onn J'onzz.

As Gordon gives Batman and Jones the scene, John asks Batman why he hasn't told Gordon that his daughter (Barbara) is secretly Nightwing and that Gordon deserves to know that his daughter was attacked by a White Martian. Batman tells him that it's simply not his place. Changing the subject, Batman states that it is good that Jones lives alone; otherwise the White Martian may come to attack those he cares about. Realizing that he's not the only one who lives in his apartment building in Metropolis, he quickly flies back to check on his friends.

Batman, caught off guard by Jones's sudden leave, calls Chloe at the Watchtower and asks for Superman to help with the situation. Unfortunately, Clark is currently in Utah, so Alfred sends the Bat-Jet in to take Bruce to Metropolis.

In Metropolis, John's neighbor Billy hears a noise in Jones's apartment and goes to check on him, only to be attacked by the White Martian. John arrives just in time to save Billy as Batman, who has also arrived, rushes everyone out of the building. John beats on the Martian until it pins him, calling Jones a "murderer". Batman throws a grenade at the creature, which blasts it outside. After helping Jones up, Bruce asks why the alien called him a "murderer", to which John replies, "Because I am".

4Story - 4: Hey everyone, and welcome to Superman Homepage's "Mild-Mannered Review" on Smallville: Season 11 - Issue 32 - "Effigy - Chapter 2". Now, I'm sure some of you are wondering, "Where's Marc? Doesn't he normally do the Smallville reviews?" And you would be right to wonder that. Here's the deal, Marc does a review on Smallville every week. He needs a break, especially since he now does the reviews for Injustice: Gods Among Us, which is a great book by the way! Marc asked me if I wanted to take over reviewing the parallel stories (or as I call them, "Expanded Universe" stories) once a month for him so he could take a week off, and I graciously accepted (thanks again Marc and Steve for this amazing opportunity, I hope I don't let you down). For those of you who don't know me, my name is Michael J. Petty. I am an administrator for the website/podcast "Across the Airwaves" and I host/co-host on Longbow Hunters: The Arrow Podcast & the DC Nation Podcast (where, along with Green Lantern & Young Justice, I cover every Smallville chapter with my good friend Dan Schmidt). On this site, you know me as MIKE-EL. So, now that I've talked about myself enough and told you all that you need to know, let me get into my review.

First off, there's something you should know about me. I am a HUGE Superman fan (hence, why I'm a part of this site, read comics, and love Smallville so much). However, I love Batman just as much, if not more. That being said, ever since "Detective" I have always been impressed with how Bryan Q. Miller incorporated Batman into the Smallville Universe. Giving Batman "war-paint," armor, and updating his arsenal was a smart move. It's exactly what a "real-world" Batman combined with a "Silver Age" Batman would do. So, when I saw Batman attack Martian Manhunter right off the bat (no pun intended) I couldn't help but smile. Because outside of Alfred, or anyone he hand-picks, Bruce Wayne doesn't trust anybody. That's why I was very hesitant on why Bruce trusted John after Alfred used the flamethrower on him. It's not in Bruce's character to trust him so flippantly after he (Jones) was just inside of his (Bruce's) mind. On that note, I thought it was really cool that Bruce called the flamethrower "Protocol Babel - Five". For those of you who don't understand, it is a reference to a story-arc from the 1990s entitled "JLA: Tower of Babel" in which Batman's enemy Ra's al Ghul uses Batman's own security measures against the Justice League. The DC Universe Animated Original Movie (say that three times fast) "Justice League: Doom" is loosely based off of the "Tower of Babel" story.

Anyway, back to my point, I don't think it's in Batman's character to trust someone like that so fast in a normal situation. Now, on the other hand, it could be explained that the reason he did trust him is because (like he says) he studied the files Checkmate had on the not-so-Justice League, which would include John Jones aka the Martian Manhunter. That means, if he's on the same team as Clark, and Bruce now trusts Clark, then he can also trust John. It's a bit of a stretch, but hey, I'll allow it. Either way, I really enjoyed the Batcave scene because it really reminded me of when I was younger and I watched "The Batman" on Kid's WB. The Season 4 finale "The Joining, Parts 1 & 2" was a Batman & Martian Manhunter team-up where they fought off the aliens that destroyed Mars and kept them from destroying Gotham. This part of the chapter reminded me a lot of that, and for that I thank you Mr. Miller.

Something that I was wondering about during the scene where John, Bruce, and Gordon are in the sewers was "where did the glyphs come from?" Now, in the first part of "Effigy," Alfred mentions that the White Martian left behind after attacking Barbara, but I wish they would have put more emphasis on it. I didn't feel its presence enough and when Bruce brings it up in the sewers, it seemed very forced. But it makes for some good revelations that the symbol is John's real name: "J'onn J'onnz," which by the way is spelled wrong in this chapter. The correct spelling is "J'onn J'onzz", but hey, nobody's perfect.

I also enjoyed the dialogue between Bruce and John regarding Barbara and her father not knowing of her injuries and that she's Nightwing. Again, reminding me of my childhood watching The Batman, but also reminding me of Batman: The Animated Series, especially in the episode "Old Wounds" where Dick Grayson (Robin) flips at Bruce for not telling him that Barbara Gordon and Batgirl was the same person. I did like though that Bruce said that it wasn't his place, implying that it's Barbara's choice to tell him or not. That's something that Batman generally doesn't give his protégé's because he wants to protect his secret.

Another thing I liked about this chapter was when Bruce called Chloe. I liked it because it reminded us that Bruce and Chloe have met before (as mentioned in Season 10's "Fortune"). We can only assume that Batman got brought into the League shortly after "Detective," because before Bruce and Clark never met & Bruce had no access to Watchtower. Now, he has both those things, so it all fits together. What doesn't fit together is why Clark is in Utah! We saw at the beginning of "Effigy" that Clark had to go take care of Psimon and save Lex (as seen in the beginning of "Haunted"). But what doesn't add up is that Clark is in Utah at the time of Chapter 2! I re-read Chapters 1-6 of "Haunted" just to be sure, and at no time throughout that story are Clark or Bart ever in Utah. The thing is, is that "Haunted, Chapters 1-6" happen at a faster pace because of all the time that goes by from Chapter 1 to Chapter 6. It's about a whole day or two. "Effigy, Chapters 1 & 2" take place in the span of about a day. So, it just doesn't add up. It could be that why he's there will be revealed in later chapters of "Haunted" (starting up again next week), but then the timeline is still a bit off. Maybe I'm letting it bother me too much, maybe not, but it's there and it irritates me. But hey, it doesn't stop me from enjoying the over-all story.

Now if I were this kid, I would probably have done the same thing. The difference is, the moment I realized it's not Detective Jones; I would have run and screamed bloody murder. I can't handle horror movies (which I know aren't real), so there's no chance I could handle it in real life. There's something about it and I'm not sure what, but whenever I see a little boy or girl in trouble and then see a superhero save them, I always smile :) You should have seen me during "Detective" where Superman saves that Billy kid. Ha! Billy, the kid. Get it? It's funny... Okay, bad pun. But seriously, I get very excited to see heroes save kids, it just gives me hope for, I don't know, the future. Maybe that's why I like Superman so much? Maybe that's why I like superheroes in general so much? Either way, it was great to see John save the boy.

However, I was wondering in my head, "Why didn't he change to his Martian Manhunter form?" We saw him on the moon in his martian form, so why not when he's playing hero? With super-powers I might add!! Either way, seeing John beat up that White Martian was very cool. My only regret is not seeing it on my television screen. But my worry comes when I hear John admit that he is a "murderer". Could it be that he blames himself for the death of his Green Martian race? Could it be that he's responsible for their deaths? Could it be that he killed the White Martians in vengeance? I'm not sure. We've never seen John kill anyone on Smallville except when protecting Clark (back in Season 6's "Static").

Over-all, I was satisfied with this chapter. It brought the story forward; it gave us more insight and left us thinking. Which are things that all good stories, especially good comic books, should all do. That being said, it wasn't without its flaws, including why Clark was in Utah, why J'onn didn't change into his Martian form, and the fact that the glyphs just appeared, but none of these things stopped me from enjoying the story, which was good, but not over-spectacular.

5Art - 5: I really enjoyed the art in this chapter. I like Axel Gimenez, he is excellent at detail. There's a panel at the beginning where we get a close-up of Alfred, and the detail on his face in incredible. I also really liked how, at the crime scene, Batman was drawn while in the shadows. He looks very spooky and very Dark Knight-ish. Like I said above, I really enjoyed the fight between J'onn and the White Martian, and the art on that was great. It really got me excited about the fight. There's one panel where Chloe is drawn with no sleeves and then in the very next panel her shirt has sleeves, but that's only someone paying a lot of attention would see and wasn't enough to take a point away from Axel's art. Over-all, great art, I really enjoyed looking at the issue just as much as reading it (as it should be with a comic book).

Cover Art - N/A:

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