Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Review: Smallville Continuity #3

We are closing in on the end of the print run of Smallville:Continuity and as we near the finish line I feel more and more depressed. This is such a good comic ... such a good 'universe'. It will be missed.

Smallville Continuity #3 came out last week, the second to last issue of the arc and book. And as usual, it has big moments with a very classic Superman defying the odds and snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Spectacular.

But as this is a swan song for the entire continuity, writer Bryan Q. Miller does his best to let us have moments with the characters who really define this book - Clark, Lois, Ollie, Chloe, Tess, and Lex. Yes there are super-heroes in abundance. But those characters were the backbone of the book.

The art for the issue is split between Ig Guera and Marcelo Di Chiara. Both do a great job of giving us the big action sequences and the smaller character moments, bringing a lot of energy to the wrap up of the book. And Cat Staggs gives us a great team action shot for the cover.

Last issue had our heroes battling with the Monitors to a standstill. The Monitors decide to bring in their ultimate weapon, the Omega Monitor, to head to the planet and bring about the end of days.

This Monitor flies to Earth in a massive ship, planning to simply ram it into Metropolis to add to the collateral damage. It is up to the strongest heroes to try to stop this thing.

This is a big challenge as the ship is huge and moving fast. It is scary enough to make Supergirl feel a little queasy.

I'll miss this Kara.

Turns out that even Superman, Supergirl, and the Martian Manhunter aren't strong enough to stop this thing. It careens through the city, demolishing the Watchtower. For a second I worried that Chloe (who was in the tower) might have died in the crash. After all, we began this whole series with the death of another universe's Chloe.

In a nice turn, Miller has Tess create a robotic body and become this universe's Red Tornado. And with her new powers, Tess is able to whisk Chloe away.

This could be the only incarnation of Red Tornado that I might actually like! And she'll be gone next issue! But it makes sense, from the red hair to the T on the costume (for Tess and Tornado) to the character progression of Tess deciding to risk harm to herself again by becoming solid.

I'll miss Tess.

And then we get a dramatic team shot as this group of heroes come together to try to take out the Omega Monitor.

It could be chill worthy to hear this Trinity lead the group.
"We stand together."
"We fight as one."
"Now and forever."

Meanwhile, Chloe and Lois, the two 'normal' people left on the planet, need to be protected.

I thought this was a fabulous little piece of characterization, almost lost amid the battle. Ollie asks Batman to protect Chloe and Lois ... because Batman is better than him and they have a better chance at survival.

It shows just how much Ollie loves Chloe. It shows his self-awareness. And his humility.

My favorite arc in this title was Olympus as I love Miller's Wonder Woman. (In fact, why isn't Miller writing Wonder Woman??)

I had to spotlight her attacking the Monitor just so I could say this.

I'll miss this Diana.

As always, it comes down to Superman. A version of him has led similar battles on other Earths. He is the leader. His death will demoralize the others. And so the Monitor orders all the orbiting deconstructing satellites to aim at Clark.

I like the idea of Superman always being Superman, always leading the last battle, on countless Earths.

Let's not forget that Lex has been a big part of this book. He has always veered to villainy. But he has seemed a reluctant villain. There has been a sense of fatalism with him, as if he feels his destiny is to be the bad guy.

Otis, who has been both a lackey and a friend, dies protecting Lex. And Otis says what we all have been thinking. This Lex doesn't need to be a villain. He can decide to be something else.

That last panel is perfect. Lex is small, in shadows, kneeling over Otis, and wondering how Otis can know that if Lex doesn't know it himself.

This Lex has been complicated and devious. And conflicted. I have found him fascinating.

I will miss lots of characters who have starred in this book. But people who have read my reviews know who I will miss the most.

Steph Brown. Babs Gordon Nightwing.

In a perfect turn of events, she inherits Saint Walker's Blue Lantern ring and becomes a beacon of Hope in this universe.

Just fantastic, right down to the blue-energy bats tearing apart the Manhunter drones.

It also opens the door for the unseen 'gymnast' to become Nightwing.


And then, the climax.

The Monitor deconstructing ships are all aimed at Superman. He feels himself being unmade. He sees his memories flashing before his eyes.

And then, in defiance, and inexplicably, he is able to turn the tables. He refuses to be unmade and turns the beams back onto the satellites.

He's Superman. He'll always win the never-ending battle.

But for me ... most importantly ... he says he's Clark Kent and he won't let his reality wiped away. He didn't say 'I'm Kal-El'. He didn't say 'I'm Superman.'

He said 'I'm Clark Kent'. For me, Superman is Clark Kent first. So that tiny little line made my day.

I'll miss this Superman.

And just like that ... it's over. The Monitors have never had anyone actually reverse things on them. They have never had anyone make them blink. And so, they will let this world live.

All that's left is the wrap-up next issue. I suppose the world will need to be rebuilt. I hope we'll see Chloe deliver. And I hope we get a drippy, sugary, sappy ending. This world deserves it.

Overall grade: A

1 comment:

LJ-90 said...

I knew you would enjoy this issue! It has a lot of special moments that I'll remember for a long time, and I really wish Miller someday revisits this universe, because he really shines in this.
Otis' death really got to me, specially Lex's answer, he doesn't seem to want to be a bad guy at all.
Anywa, almost a perfect issue, loved the Barbara reveal, loved everything about it, there's not much I can add.
Only one issue left!