Monday, October 13, 2014

Review: Smallville Chaos #3

Yes, I know that Smallville Continuity is being release digitally already.

And yes, I learned here that the end of Continuity is the end of this series.  Miller kicked things off talking about the end of Smallville Season 11, the end of which will mark the end of the series. And that stinks because this book has been a revelation and the last bastion for some Lois/Clark, some Superman Family, some classic Superman action.
Old-timers like me rely on print so I am still reading Smallville Chaos. And Smallville Chaos #3 came out last week and continued this whirlwind of an 'episode'. As I said before, the title Chaos is completely appropriate. There are three storylines right now that are roiling in turbulence. Superman and Lois are stuck in alternate universes being destroyed by Monitors and are hoping to get home. Lex has taken over the Holt/Kord particle accelerator with a squad of LexCorps Yellow Lanterns. And Metropolis and the world are in danger of being taken over by Eclipso possession. Pure pandemonium. And, gladly, we see two of those plots weave together in this issue.

I have praised writer Bryan Q. Miller of bringing a DC Universe to this Smallville world. It continues to grow in this issue as we start to see individual creators interacting with each other in an almost familial way. We are heading to a crisis of Continuity and people need to start teaming up.

Still, things seem more tumultuous at the end of this issue than they are at the beginning. Fantastic.

The art of the issue is a mix of Agustin Padilla and Marcelo DiChiara. Padilla has a fine-lined look compared to DiChiara's thicker, rougher feel. But both serve the issue well. DiChiara's look is perfect for a Darkseid-ruined Earth.

The Eclipso 'virus' is sweeping over Metropolis and there is a chance that it might spread beyond. The issue starts with someone on a plane transforming into an Eclipso acolyte. After a melee with a Federal marshal on board, the plane's wing snaps off and it begins to fall to the ground. In some ways, it is a good plane crash, keeping Eclipso stuck in Metropolis for the time being.

In fact, Tess, now running the Watchtower, knows the key to success is to quarantine the city, keeping those possessed inside.

In this time when the Ebola crisis may be reaching the US, this resonated a bit.

So only the heroes within the city limits are allowed to lend a hand, keeping this not under Eclipso's thrall safe. One of the heroes is Superboy.

Another is Supergirl, who pulls off a Routh-ian rescue of the falling jet plane. I wonder if I am imagining the homage or if it was there intentionally.

And so we have the first Supergirl and Superboy meeting.

I have really started to take a liking to this Smallville costume for Kara.

As for Superman, we left him on a world in ruins, being attacked by Monitors, but with a clear Apokoliptian feel. Turns out the look is because Darkseid is actually on Earth.

There is a nice wrinkle about this Darkseid. He states that there is 'one' Darkseid, albeit who exists in all universes. He tried to take over Earth in all universes because Earth is the center of all things. And only in the Smallville universe was Superman successful.

While it appears in ruins, the Monitors are leaving this Earth. And Superman needs to get on their ship to head home.

I forget ... did Superman ever face off against Darkseid like this in the last episode of Smallville? Or was it a more metaphorical battle?

And in Antarctica, Lex is about to fire up the accelerator for his own nefarious reasons. With Kord and Holt held hostage, Luthor bides his time by torturing Booster Gold.

Now, Luthor hasn't always been so overt with his evil nature. He usual has agents do his dirty work, covering his tracks.

This panel did grab me. Since returning, Lex hasn't killed anyone. And Booster isn't important enough to break that run.

But this has to fit the Chekhov gun rule, right? Why announce this here unless Lex is going to kill someone. And my guess is Otis. His only friend. Otis, who clearly is having second thoughts about Lex's plans in this story, has to be the victim.

And won't that make Lex that much more despicable, that he would kill the one person who has stood by him.

Darkseid relents in helping Superman and Lois get on the Monitor ship in exchange for the Jor-El AI from the other universe.

Again, this was another interesting wrinkle on Darkseid. With the Jor-El tech, Darkseid builds a new Fortress and declares it a new genesis. Or is that New Genesis?

Could Miller have redeemed Darkseid??

But if there was one moment that hit me it was this panel.

Tess realizes that the only way to stop the Eclipso plague is to strangle it at the source - Bruce Gordon. And look who is going to look for him! Team Superman. The Superman Family. Whatever you want to call them this is the closest we have seen Supergirl, Superboy, and "Steel" (here Henshaw) actually liking each other and working together.

No 'I'll kill you because you're a clone' angst. No 'Bank robbing dude'. No New 52 awfulness. It is Team Superman!

Team Superman!

There is unfortunately chaos within the chaos.

Lex has asked the Yellow Lanterns to keep the prisoners alive. But these are career criminals. One of them realizes that being a ring-slinger and having a base is too good a brass ring to let go. He gets some allies, slaughters the loyal LexCorps members, and moves to start liquidating the loose ends.

There is no honor among thieves. Although I have to assume Lex has some failsafe built into these rings.

On board the Monitor ship, Superman and Lois see that their Earth is still intact. But before they can head home, a number of super-powered Monitors discover they are on board and attack.

Wait a minute ... why is Vegeta working for the Monitors?

You would think the Dark Prince would rather rule than destroy.

The Monitors encircle Superman.

And then more chaos and an intermingling of plots. Lex fires up the accelerator. And this time he doesn't try to contact other versions of himself. He instead heads up the food chain and asks the Monitors a question. Why destroy when they can recreate?

What the heck is Luthor thinking? I suppose he wouldn't mind a new universe where his faculties are intact and he is ruling.

So another issue of Smallville is in the books and this one is a great middle chapter. The plots all move along nicely. We have some new ripples to contemplate. And we have the return of the Superman family!

Nothing but praise here as the team continues to tighten the noose around this universe with a Crisis around the corner.

Overall grade: A


LJ-90 said...

Maybe Luthor just works for DC Comics? That would be a twist.
I did enjoy the Team Superman beat, it was nice to see Supergirl seeing Conner as family inmediatly instead of being a long journey, shows how close the cousins are that if Clark's okay with it, she's okay with it.
I'm gonna miss this comic so much

Anonymous said...

It sucks that we won't get a season 12. Smallville has been an amazing comic and when the regular Superman comics have sucked, Smallville has been a bright spot.

Team Superman! Yay! I was excited to see Superboy, Supergirl, and Steel/Cyborg working together.

Clark never had a physical battle against Darkseid in Smallville. Darkseid was portrayed as a dark mist like figure. He did possess the evil Lionel from an alternate world but that was as close as he got to having a physical presence. Smallville Darkseid was all about corrupting people and less about out and out invasion with Parademons.

I hope Miller can wrap everything up satisfactorily by the time the season ends. There's a lot up in the air right now.

Lex is convincing the Monitors to reboot the Smallville universe? I find that hilarious since that's basically what purpose the various Crises usually serve.