Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review: Smallville Lantern #2

Smallville:Lantern #2 came out last week and continued the inspired universe building that has been standing operating procedure for writer Bryan Q. Miller. Yes, we have greater understanding of the Green Lantern Corps and their history in this universe. And yes we have more integration between the Watchtower and the DEO as this world becomes more cohesive. And yes, we have a nice reimagination of Prometheus. And yes, the Crisis is looming larger.

But there is one small detail that Miller included that brought a very big smile to my face. More on that later.

One thing that is particularly impressive for me in this arc is the two concurrent storylines which also cement how vast this comic and its cast has become. With Clark in space ring-slinging, Ollie and the crew are investigating the Prometheus robbery. While Clark is clearly the center of this book at times this feels like a team book. And that is a compliment.

Cat Staggs provides her usual dramatic cover. And the internal art by Marcio Takara is slick. There is a rough quality here with some stylistic license with anatomy that lends itself to nicely to this arc. I think Takara's stuff is great.

Miller starts out the issue reminding us that there is a multiverse out there and a Crisis on the horizon. Despite his 'Calling all Lexes' multiversal beacon call, Lex hasn't gotten a response. Is this because all other universes (and therefore all other Lexes) are dead? Or is it because the Monitor comm-device isn't powered enough to reach out into the other dimensions.

As I said before, Miller is really bulking up the Smallville DCU. So to have Lex name-drop Kord and Holt is a nice touch. And referencing prior storylines adds a nice foundation.

But I can't help but think that the biggest battery of all for this comm-link will be a Green Lantern Battery. Too convenient a guess not to be true.

In the meantime, Clark is cramming with John Stewart on how to use the ring. It is a nice sequence where we see Clark effortlessly create constructs of the Kents and the farm when discussing how good a teacher Stewart is. It reminds Clark of Pa Kent, the ultimate teacher. It also shows just how 'strong' the Smallville Superman is both in body and mind.

But this question is interesting. Why make constructs rather than just blast? There is no answer ... or is there?

Now I have been trying to guess who will die in the upcoming Crisis. I wondered about Kara. Then I wondered about Steph Babs. I even wondered about Jay Garrick. "It isn't a Crisis unless a Flash dies" so they say. Maybe Jay's death brings back Impulse from the Speed Force.

But more and more I have been getting worried about either Ollie or Chloe. They have been swearing to stay away from adventuring. They want to keep the baby safe. It all sounds like protesting too much. I doubt Miller would kill off a pregnant Chloe. But after delivery?

Anyways, from the beginning I have loved the Tess character in this book. And she continues to please as she chastises the two for not keeping their own promise.

Despite that warning, Ollie decides to join the fray and help track down Prometheus. The DEO has obtained an image of Prometheus robbing their stronghold. And as much as they would like to help out, they have to maintain some distance from the Watchtower ... for everyone's sake.

I love this Special Agent Diana Prince. And as we keep adding to the hero gallery, I just know there is going to be a massive Crisis brawl with all the heroes chipping in.

Last issue ended with Manhunters in space heading to Earth.

In this issue they arrive. And they keep bleating about how two Lanterns together is a violation of a treaty.

Hmmm ....

We learn more later in this issue but I would have been chewing on this a bit if I was reading this week to week digitally. Interesting.

Rather than have the Manhunters rip through Earth, Stewart and Clark take the fight to the moon. Hmmm ... heroes not fighting in a major Metropolis, bringing down the city around them?? If only our movie heroes knew this.

But the Manhunters are powered by Yellow energy. In this world, that panics John.

Luckily, Clark has other powers at his beck and call.

I love that lower panel. Great stuff.

With the Manhunter invasion squelched, John calls out to other Lanterns for more information.

Kilowog, Saalak, and Soranik Natu. Great stuff ... universe building.

But Aya from the Green Lantern Animated Show!!!! Now that is brilliant! Thank you Bryan Q. Miller for bringing her back! Too bad we will never see the end of her story on the show. This is that small moment that made me grin like a goof.

Turns out that the yellow rings were created by the Guardians as an advance strike force, shock troopers powered by fear.

Now that is crazy! And fantastic. A nice new wrinkle to make this Green Lantern Corps a uniquely Smallville version.

And I love how exasperated Clark is to be dragged into this whole mess.

Remember when I talked about having those bad feeling about Ollie and Chloe?

Maybe it isn't in the Crisis that we see tragedy. This Prometheus is one scary villain, much more akin to the early version. And after some flash grenades and sonic attacks, he carves up Ollie.


And a fitting scary rogue for the other heroes to fight.

Unfortunately Clark isn't around to chip in.

With more information passed on, he and John go out into space to confront the Parallax fear demon, the power source of the yellow energy.

Now this GLC is really topsy-turvy in Smallville. The Guardians gave themselves to Parallax and are cocooned in its yellow energy. They did make a treaty with Parallax. He will be left alone, not hunted. No Lanterns will gather to fight him. And he will lay low in return. But 2 Lanterns awoke Parallax' own fear. And now that he is awake he wants more.

He scatters newly minted Yellow rings to create his own corps.

But the Guardians giving up? Having Oa levelled? That seems just weird. Hopefully we hear more of this backstory as the arc continues.

And more exasperated Clark is great.

So once again, Smallville remains a fantastic book. I love the dual storylines here. I love the expanding DCU here.

But Aya! That's just the cherry on the top.

Overall grade: A


LJ-90 said...

Really loving the Lantern episode, and it just keeps getting better each week!
I don't want the crisis to come soon, BQM said that the crisis will be the "season finale" so, if we have the crisis episode it means the comic's over and I don't want that.
Anyway, I don't think Chloe will die, she was still alive in the show finale's flashforward, and that was set in 2018, so she's safe...can't say the same for Oliver though.
Nice review Anj!

Anj said...

Good observation on Chloe. I have to say I don't recall too many details of the Smallville show, so I appreciate these tips!