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Smallville: Shadows

Smallville: Shadows

Writer: Diana G. Gallagher
Cover Design: Don Puckey
Book Design: L&G McRee

Published by: Aspect and Warner Books (September 2003)

Reviewed by: Aaron Thall

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Smallville was once home to a Minuteman installation, a government run underground missile silo designed to launch a nuclear payload in the event of a nuclear war. But in the aftermath of the meteor disaster, the silo was decommissioned, and the property sold to the Luthors. Years later, Lex leases the property to a geneticist, unaware of the scientist's goals.

Three months later, Clark stumbles upon a mysterious death in that very field, a death apparently linked to Kryptonite dust. As the death raises Chloe's suspicions, a new student named Sharon takes an unusual interest in both the Torch and Clark. However, it quickly becomes apparent that Sharon is hiding something, as nothing about her adds up.

Meanwhile, Jonothan, spurred on by the mysterious death, decides to sue Lex for the environmental damage his plants have supposedly caused. Clark, realizing his father is making a mistake, scrambles to find evidence to stop his father from costing them their home.

Soon enough, things get worse, as more strange deaths begin to pile up, Sharon's secret comes to light, and Lana is kidnapped. It all leads to a dramatic confrontation deep underground against a new breed of Kryptonite mutant, and the sociopathic scientist that created them. But surrounded by Kryptonite, Clark is nearly helpless. Can he overcome impossible odds, even with the help of his friends?

5Story - 5: Yeah. The rating surprised me, too. After the disappointing end to "Whodunnit", an otherwise exquisite novel, I'd given up hope of a perfect Smallville novel, but Diana pulled it off. And thank goodness. The plot itself is brilliant. The characters act with actual intelligence, be they regulars or guests. Clark in particular acts more like the hero he will become than he actually has on the show, using his wits when his powers fail. He shows the investigative abilities he will one day utilize at the Daily Planet, and the compassion to mourn even an enemy's untimely death.

Every plot point works as well. It's obvious that Diana was really TRYING to do justice to the Superman mythos while staying true to the show. The ending is a tad abrupt, but that is simply because every plot has been resolved, leaving utterly no need for an epilogue. It's the rarest of beasts. An absolutely perfect novel.

Really, the only oddity is the title, because the titular shadow in the novel isn't even the main threat. There are many words which would have been better, such as betrayal, or underground. Ah well.

5Cover Art - 5: They're still trying. Guess I lost the "Whodunnit" cover bet I made. Clark's underground, fighting a krypto mutant. Like he does in the story. He's even covered with dust and dirt, like in the novel. Amazing. They've gotten two right in a row.


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