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Mild Mannered Reviews - Smallville Comics

Smallville: Alien - Chapter #5

Smallville: Alien - Chapter #5

Released Digitally: December 20, 2013

"Alien" - Part 5

Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Penciller: Edgar Salazar
Inker: DYM and Rob Lean

Reviewed by: Matt Schorr

Click to enlarge

Lex Luthor meets with the Russian prime minister to discuss turning over the Monitor that fell from the sky. After a drink or two (and a reference to one of Smallville's all-time worst episodes), they get down to business and meet with the visitor from a parallel universe.

Meanwhile, Clark meets with Alexi of the Rocket Red Brigade, who, it turns out, was aboard the shuttle Clark/Superman rescued in one of the first issues of Smallville Season 11. Alexi says he, like so many, was inspired by Superman to do good and joined the Brigade to protect his country from outside threats. All the while, Clark uses his X-ray vision to check in on the room where the prime minister is holding the Monitor.

The Monitor tells Lex his name is Ray-Lan. Not wanting to be sidetracked by the amazing fact an apparent alien who landed in Russia speaks English, Lex gets straight to business learning just what this visitor is. Ray-Lan tells Lex he has come to deliver the world's "reckoning," and he can give him all of his lost memories back.

Outside, Clark and Alexi prepare to part ways, when an alarm sounds. An energy blast explodes through a wall and hits a Rocket Red Brigade member. The Monitor has escaped his bonds.

4Story - 4: I said the last issue could've been called "DETOUR AHEAD." You could call this one "BACK TO OUR REGULAR PROGRAM."

Herein lies the problem with this series' short, weekly format. It's difficult to squeeze in all the story you need. Last week, we left behind everything to do with what's happening here and checked in on Batman in Gotham City. Now, we're back with Clark, and there's no reference at all to what happened in Gotham. It's jarring and feels disjointed.

So why am I still giving this issue a 4?

Simple. I enjoyed it.

Lex is playing a high stakes political game with the Russian prime minister. The country has put a lot at stake letting him be the first outsider to confront the Monitor, and I have little doubt that Russia's well being is at the bottom of Lex's list of priorities. He's playing them, and they know it. And he knows they know it.

And, it seems, the Monitor knows it. So he disrupts the game by offering Lex something unexpected and supremely valuable to him: his memories.

This is the real meat of the story. Clark's ongoing chat with Alexi is little more than a handful of light moments to break up the tension of Lex's standoff. Once again, Lex is driving the Smallville story.

If the next issue heads back to Gotham, that's fine. I'm interested in seeing more from that side of the story, too. I just wish we had a smoother transition between the two plots.

4Art - 4: There's little to say about Salazar's art that I haven't said already. It's dynamic and effective. The conversation between Lex and the Monitor is a bit more traditionally laid out than Lex's conversation with Clark a few issues back; however, this conversation carries a bit more weight on its own, and Salazar probably felt a standard layout was all it needed.

I'm a fan of extreme close-ups during tense conversations, but I won't hold that against them here.

Cover Art - N/A:

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