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Book Reviews - "Smallville" Young Adults Series

Smallville: Speed

Smallville: Speed

Writer: Cherie Bennett and Jeff Gottesfeld

Published by: Little, Brown, and Company (April 2003)

Reviewed by: Aaron Thall

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NOTE: This episode takes place just before or during Smallville Season 2 episode "Heat".

Lex Luthor has arranged for Smallville to host a multicultural festival, but almost immediately, it becomes apparent that someone doesn't buy into racial equality. Posters are burned right under Clark's nose. An African family's home is vandalized within the five minutes they're not inside. A semi is sent hurtling toward's a Chinese girl's home.

As Clark and Chloe try to figure out who is committing these horrible crimes, and how, Clark also discovers that racism may have struck Smallville once before, in the wake of Pearl Harbor.

Now, as Clark tries to lift the veil on twin mysteries of hate, one thing is clear... There's a racist sociopath running loose, and he can move as fast as Clark can...

5Story - 5: Of all the Superman novels I've read, this may well be the first one that actually FELT important. Of all the evils plaguing mankind, few are as pervasive and undying as bigotry. Borne of hatred and ignorance, it knows no bounds or limitations. It's an easy thing to judge someone solely by their appearance.

This is something that Clark must learn as the novel progresses. Just because someone looks like trouble, doesn't mean they are. That he falls into this trap of nature speaks volumes about how realistically his journey to Superman is treated in this novel.

Also poigniant is the revelation of why precicely Lex Luthor is not a racist, and wholly against bigotry. It's a compelling moment in the novel, and by itself could have made a great story.

The chapters devoted to the culprit's personal journal add a sickening sense of how absolutely off his nut he is. He hates Clark for being friends with Lana and Pete, and rails about how they're not real Americans.

A welcome piece of realism was that not everything is wrapped up neatly. When all is said and done, Smallville has a black eye on its sterling reputation, and no answers as to whom was responsible.

The final confrontation was a fascinsating one, as both Clark and the villain fight at super speed, watching a world frozen around them.

Teaching Clark Kent about the dangers of prejudice. A welcome addition to the Smallville novel series, and a story no true Superman fan should be without.

1Cover Art - 1: And then there's the cover, which is just the normal promo shots, and thus pointless. Clark moving at superspeed would have been nice, but NOOOOOO... THAT would make sense. Can't have THAT, right?

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