Officially, Smallville Season 11 has ended, its last digital chapter released last week. But some of us are addicted to print and so have a little more time.
Smallville: Chaos #4 came out last week, the last chapter of this 'episode' and, as usual, it did not disappoint. One of the things that I think is interesting in this particular issue is that Superman doesn't necessarily do too much. This episode seems to belong to the Superman family and Lex. It is apparent from the cover, a great action shot of Supergirl, Superboy, and
We knew from the beginning that this season was ending with a crisis. We finally get there here.
Art is done by Agustin Padilla who bring a sort of angular feel to the proceedings which works. Lots of action here. His Kara looks fierce. I like it.
The book opens with the Super-family dealing with the Eclipso plague in Metropolis.
This is one of those small humorous moments that are common in Smallville. I'll miss these.
A news helicopter is covering the fight and it is implied that the female reporter is told by her boss (who assumes Supergirl is wearing a skirt) to get an upskirt shot of Kara. The reporter says it is idiotic and no one would fly wearing just a skirt. Of course it doesn't make sense to fly in a skirt.
It did remind me of the whole 'bike shorts' debate from years ago.
In the brawl, Hank Henshaw is somehow able to use his technology to mentally link to the Eclipso horde. And we are privy to the history of the black diamond from its discovery to the evil of (I assume) Mayan sacrifices. I do like that we get a little history of this cursed thing.
I don't know how a living computer program can telepathically link with people's brains ... but there you go.
That link does give Henshaw an idea. He can lure all the Eclipso gems out of the innocent citizens by offering it the super-powered bodies of Kara and Conner.
I don't know if I quite understand why it would take the bait. But it does.
I did chuckle at Kara and Con's 'eew' when Eclipso talks about making them into an Adam and Eve first couple ... meaning breeding. Eewww indeed.
Great art here though. Love that second panel, showing the heat of battle.
Meanwhile, in Antarctica, Lex continues to barter with the Monitors. Why destroy when they can simply recreate? And Lex's pitch has the Monitor's intrigued.
While Lois decries Lex for aiding and abetting the enemy, Lex has a much more tempered response. He is the only one who right now might save the world. Again, it shows some of the warped ethics of Lex. He thinks he is the good guy here.
Of course, there is some meta-ideas here, as rebooting universes has been happening in DC for a while now.
Now out in the open, the Eclipso demon's weakness is suddenly evident. Sound waves can shatter it.
Supergirl and Superboy ask 'for whom the bell tolls' and answer Eclipso!
The shock of the attack makes all the tiny shards recede and coalesce back into the true diamond form. Suddenly the epidemic is controlled.
Great Supergirl (and Superboy action here).
Inside the Monitor ship, which is in the Bleed between universes, the Monitors decide to kill their captives. They throw Superman out of the ship where the chaotic environment will kill him.
He is resilient though. He flies to the other side of the ship and breaks back in, albeit significantly injured. Superman knows the Bleed environment will kill the Monitors too. His only hope is to get Lois into an escape pod, disable the ship and head to Earth.
You have to love the Smallville Lois. She won't back down to anyone. When the Monitors acknowledge they underestimated Clark and Lois, Lois says 'you bet your ass you did.'
I will miss this Lois.
Back on Earth though, there Hank Henshaw realizes the only way to protect the Earth from the Eclipso diamond is for him to take it into deep space. He leaves the planet ... thanks to a little boost of Green Lanterns ... taking the gem with him.
Remember, Henshaw went a little nuts earlier in the series. It is great to see him turn it around and become a hero, inspired by Superman. He leaves for space because he knows that is what Superman would do. Nifty!
But Lex has the ultimate defense against his own troops. He also wears a yellow ring, the master ring which controls everyone elses. He has the rings self-destruct (unfortunately his own as well) killing his troops.
There is no honor among thieves.
Superman and Lois are able to escape the Monitor ship and land on an Earth. Clark is badly wounded.
And things don't look like they will be getting any better. The Monitors' ships have arrived on the Smallville Earth. It is the beginning of the Crisis.
We knew that this 'episode' was the set-up for the final Crisis. We finally get to the big event, the one hinted at back in the first issue of this series. As a result, things do need to wrap up a bit quickly. The Eclipso ending, the destruction of the Yellow Rings, Superman and Lois returning to Earth ... they all happened fast and a bit loose in this issue. But that said, there is so much fun, so much character progression, so much depth to the characters here that I am able to roll with it a bit.
(In my head I compare it to Lobdell's Krypton Returns where plots were very loose and things happened fast AND there was bad characterizations and lack of progression. That I could not simply roll with.)
And so I get to cling to Smallville a little longer.
Overall grade: B/B+