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Smallville: Strange Visitors

Smallville: Strange Visitors

Writer: Roger Stern
Cover Design: Don Puckey
Book Design: L&G McRee

Published by: Aspect (October 2002)

Reviewed by: Aaron Thall

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A pair of con artists, attracted by Chloe's accounts of Kryptonite Mutation Syndrome, descend upon Smallville with the intent of exploiting the mutagenic properties of the meteors for a quick buck. Chloe, thrown off her game by the immediate acceptance ofa supposedly reputable scientist, rides a wave of joy.

At the same time, a fellow student, Stu Harrison, has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. As he continues to degrade, his father, completely desperate, grabs onto the idea that the con men might be true faith healers.

Lex Luthor takes an interest in these men as well, as their work begins to interfere with Dr. Hamilton's research into the meteors.

Then, on the second night of their seminar, a freak accident with one of their lasers and a meteor rock miraculously cures Stu of his ailment, turning the con into the real deal. And that's not a good thing, because these two men have accidentally, unwittingly crossed Lionel Luthor, and one of these con men has a lot more hidden in his past than being a huckster...

But when everything goes wrong, can Clark prevent this new organization from turning into a massacre?

3Story - 3: The first rule of writing a story is that if the characters complain about the plot, you're in trouble. The characters complain. NOT a good sign.

Once the dust settles on the chaos, the Kents OPENLY admit that it's only a COMPLETELY RANDOM series of events that leads Clark to the rescue in time. What makes it even worse is that, outside of Chloe's hurt feelings, Clark has NO REASON WHATSOEVER to be within thirty miles of this plot. He's, literally, a supporting character in his own book. It's about Chloe, Lex, Lionel. That's it. Take out Clark, and you would roughly have the same story. Actually, it would work better, because the one time his powers are really needed, he can't use them because he's surrounded by meteor rocks.

This novel makes the critical error of trying too hard to be like the show. And fails because it succeeds. It has random moments with Lana, Whitney, the Kents... All of which add absolutely nothing to the book except extra pages. It's a media tie-in novel. You're NOT gonna get to have a say on events on the show. Don't even TRY affecting the plot in a novel. It's NOT GONNA HAPPEN.

The novel does get the formula, though. Clark uses his powers about the general amount as on the show, twice to save lives, once to stop the villain, plus super speed for no real reason except it looks cool and saves time. It even manages to make Whitney halfway likable.

But there's really no explanation for how Stu is healed, not even by meteor standards. As it is, this is a rare case of a meteor freak being unequivicably a good thing. And Stern gets bonus points for not doing the cliche of having Stu mutate and go insane.

As it stands, this would be an average, albeit inconsequential, episode of Smallville if produced. And certainly, not the most interesting of novels. As it is, if it HAD been produced, you'd have everyone demanding to know why they didn't use the rock and laser to save Whitney's dad. And Smallville has enough plotholes as it is, thank you very much.

1Cover Art - 1: It's just a picture of Clark in front of an angel tombstone. BORING, and has next to nothing to do with the story.

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