Smallville Season 11 #2 came out last week and continued to be an interesting read. I had plenty of problems with Smallville the show. But my biggest problem with that show was the hemming and hawing Clark did before finally becoming Superman. Now that that problem is behind us, and Clark is actually acting like Superman should (at least so far), things are much better.
A lot of that praise needs to be heaped on the shoulders of writer Bryan Q. Miller who has grabbed some of the more interesting remnants of the show and continued to pull them forward into this book. It might limit the audience for the book as it might be hard for non-show fans to grasp what the heck is happening in some places. With some recaps behind us last issue, we can move forward not only on the plots that were initiated last month but also new ones here.
And Pere Perez continues to being a smooth line to the book making it a slick read.
I talked about Miller keeping some of the more interesting parts of the show moving forward here. The best example of that in this book is the character of Tess. Despite being killed by Lex in the show's finale, she is here ... either as ghost or (more likely) a hallucination in Lex's mind.
Lex has more than enough reason to be a bit off kilter. He is a flawed clone. He is a sort of blank slate, having been robbed of his memories by a nerve gas Tess exposed him too. And a side effect of that gas has been to 'speed up' parts of his brain as seen on PET scan. With all that behind him, a hallucination is not too hard of a stretch.
The 'amnesia' was a simple of somewhat cliched way of explaining how Lex can't see that Superman and Clark are one and the same.
Meanwhile, we get an inside peek in STAR Labs and the work that Professor Hamilton is doing and the wishes of Dr. Swan.
I show this panel for one reason. I am sure this isn't the last time we will see these Hazardous Environment Drones. There is the old saying in theater "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there."
I don't think we will see this rampaging in the second act. But I expect to see them running amok at some point ... as you will see.
As for Lex, his paranoia about alien invasions has taken form in LexCorp's latest project. He will launch Guardian Defense Platforms into space, weapons looking outwards to protect the Earth from incoming threats.
Of course, nothing Luthor can be so magnanimous. And guns pointed one way can be turned around. Weapons pointing down towards Earth under Luthor's control? Chilling.
The pilot of the Lex-shuttle is Commander Hank Henshaw.
Now a lot of my thoughts about this spring from the fact that in the comics Henshaw becomes the Cyborg Superman. So bear with me.
First off, sure Luthor wants to project Henshaw as a great American hero. But this struck true. Henshaw isn't inherently evil. In fact he is a courageous guy.
Here Clark interviews Henshaw and he talks like a 'regular guy' and humble. He seems very likeable.
But all this talk about the senses of taste and sensation and how important it is to Henshaw ... why is it there? Well, when he becomes the Cyborg Superman, when he forms a body for himself out of machinery, he probably will be able to see and hear. But taste? And touch? Those are probably going to be denied him.
This is Miller planting the seeds of why Henshaw is going to become warped and inevitably the villain of the piece.
But for now he remains a hero, even when the rocket booster firing the shuttle explodes threatening the ship and crew.
As for the ship that slipped through a wormhole last episode, it crash lands (where else) in Smallville. And the female pilot knows that an explosion like that (seen nicely in the reflection of her helmet) is a job for Superman.
Could this be Supergirl? Returned from the future? I hope so.
But my guess? It's Chloe from an alternate future come back to warn Clark about something.
In the mean time, Henshaw really is a hero.
He continues to fly the shuttle, endangering his own life, asking Superman to save his crew first.
Again, Miller does a good job here showing how Henshaw is a good guy. This will make his slow descent into villainy that much more interesting to watch.
Luckily Henshaw is able to keep the ship together in time for Superman to save the crew. He also tells Superman that the shuttle disaster was no accident. Unluckily, Henshaw gets doused with radiation.
We know where this is going. Henshaw's body will die but he will be able to inhabit machinery. Chances of him possessing and attacking the the Hazard drones above? 100%.
And, it is implied that Lex sabotaged his own tech. What is that all about?
Overall, there is enough good stuff here to keep me happy. Henshaw as reluctant and eventual villain. Lots of powerful tech showcased, basically showing us Henshaws future arsenal. Lex plagued by paranoia and hallucinations. Tess sticking around. Clark as Superman. And a potential Kara sighting. It's all good.
I do worry that Green Arrow might be a bigger presence in this title that I would like. But that is a quibble. So far so good here.