Smallville Season 11 Vol. 1, The Guardian, Review

With Man Of Steel on the horizon, the Smallville TV series may be long gone, but it's certainly not forgotten! The first volume of Smallville Season 11 picks up right where the show left off, and introduces new characters from Superman lore!

Smallville, the show about the World’s Greatest Superhero from his teenage years through adulthood, spanned an impressive ten years and over 200 episodes. It ended where it needed to, with Clark Kent donning the red and blue suit to do battle against Darkseid. By the end of the tenth season of Smallville, we found certain elements coming into place that had plagued hard-core Superman fans for years. Like, how does the world not know Clark will be Superman? Hence he began wearing glasses and started his bumbling reporter routine before making his presence known to the world. Another major problem was Lex Luthor’s apparent demise in season eight. Die-hard Superman fans knew better, since Lex certainly couldn’t be permanently out of the picture, and he resurfaced in the series finale, only to have his memory wiped to prevent him knowing too much.The television series may be finished, but the story continues in comic book form. Smallville Season Eleven Volume One: Guardian is now available, and collects the first twelve chapters of the ongoing series. Published by DC comics and written by Bryan Q. Miller (who was a staff writer on the Smallville TV series from season eight onward, and went on to write the Batgirl comics starring Stephanie Brown in the titular role. Artwork was done by Pere Perez (illustrator for many titles, from Army of Darkness to Batgirl) with some fabulous cover art by Cat Staggs.The story picks up soon after the events of the series finale. Clark is now Superman, and his first major save is a Russian Space Platform that has suddenly started to depressurize. Meanwhile we have the happy home life of Clark and Lois in their new apartment. Oliver is still running around doing his hero thing as the Green Arrow, though he’s still recognized by the populace as Oliver Queen. There’s a funny moment when he confronts eleven bad guys and pretends to be offended that they’re glad Superman didn’t show up. There’s some great humorous elements to this volume that speaks a lot for the writer. Bryan Q. Miller, having written for Smallville before, could get inside the characters’ heads. He put in those fun little elements like Lois’s caller ID showing Tony’s Pizza when she calls Superman.Troubles in space bookend this adventure. In the middle, we have Chloe realizing something fell to Earth when the Space Platform had its trouble. Occasionally we get a look at Lex’s life post memory- wiping neuro-toxin. Now he’s being haunted by the ghost of Tess Mercer, the woman who sacrificed her life to make him forget Clark’s secret.Then there’s a space shuttle launch that goes awry. Superman saves the day, but the pilot, Commander Henshaw, is the last to be saved. Henshaw, grievously injured by oxygen deprivation and a radiation leak, becomes a LexCorp experiment. He’s made into an angry cyborg villain. This is a clear parallel to one of the stories that eventually played a key role in the “Reign of the Supermen” chapter of the Death of Superman epic. But the shuttle disaster did more than turn a good man into a villain, it also tainted Superman with enough radiation that he could be tracked around the world. At the end of the volume, we’re treated to Clark and Lois’s emotional (albeit temporary) goodbye. He won’t be able to go home until this radiation problem is dealt with.The dialogue is probably the best part of this. I could hear the original actors saying many of these lines, especially Lois when she insists that she didn’t break the sink, and that it was Clark’s super-spit that was the culprit. There’s a good deal of this cute back and forth between Clark and Lois. My other favorite Lois line was when she found out about Clark’s radiation problem, she insists he go see Dr. Hamilton by saying, “We should at least get Emil to science you back to normal.”I must say that honestly, I was disappointed by the artwork in this collection. The characters’ faces, although they are meant to look like the actors from the show, just look odd. The perspective seems to be off in these drawings and the eyes and facial expressions are stiff and repetitive. You can especially notice this when characters are shouting and their mouths are left completely agape.The cliffhanger ending of this volume is a multi-parter. We’re left with questions of what is going on with Lex/Tess (is she a ghost, a hallucination, or something else?), an alternate world Chloe informs “our” Chloe and Oliver that Earth-2 is gone, and Clark is unable to return home to Lois because of the radiation from the shuttle explosion.There’s plenty to look forward to in the next volume, “Detective”, which will be available on August 20, 2013. I’m really excited for this one, because Batman is on the cover. Batman could never have been in the Smallville TV series, but now fangirls and boys alike get the opportunity to see Smallville’s Clark interact with the Dark Knight! Let’s just hope the artwork has improved. Story: 8/10Art: 5/10Overall: 7/10
Smallville Season 11 Vol. 1: The GuardianWritten by: Bryan Q. MillerArt by: Pere PerezCover by: Cat StaggsLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. And Google+, if that’s your thing!