By: Adam Basciano
“Find out what Lex has in mind for Luthor Corp and Smallville in this next exciting installment!” (DC Comics)
This issue confirms that each installment will make up a portion of one entire episode. With that, I will consider the week in between issue as an extremely long commercial break. On the other side of this week-long pause, we have material that feels much more like a Smallville episode. The focus in this chapter is on the character interactions and relationships, which is something the television show excelled at. The prominent characters featured are Lois/Clark, Lex/General Sam Lane, and Lex/Clark. The interaction between Lois and Clark was pitch perfect. The banter back and forth was vintage Smallville. In that exchange, we also get an explanation for Clark’s costume change, which makes complete sense. Also, through this conversation we learn that the world doesn’t know Superman is an alien, a fact which suits Clark Kent just fine. Good writing can weave significant plot points into seemingly meaningless banter.
The Lex Luthor segments of the issue steal the show in this chapter of the episode. His xenophobia and lust for power became a driving force for him in his final few seasons and the arrival of Superman has only intensified these feelings. So much so, that Lexcorp will be leading the charge of putting weapons in space to combat the potential alien threat. As a result of Lex’s “condition” in the finale, he is aware that he and Clark were friends but retains no memories of the friendship. This allows Lex’s interaction with Clark to be dismissive. He can’t believe that he could have ever been friends with someone like Clark. This reaction definitely speaks to Lex’s superiority complex, but is a refreshing change from the on again/off again friendship that was over-played on the show. I won’t ruin the ending, but I sure as hell wasn’t expecting an appearance from that person from Lex’s past!
The art remains serviceable in this issue. Again, Clark looks a little off, especially in his scenes with Lois. He’s got that high-school hairdo, which he stopped sporting by season 7. Having said that, Pere Perez has a good handle on the “Daily Planet” Clark Kent look. Speaking of Lois, she looked okay but I felt something was missing. This is no fault of the artist, as trying to draw the stunning Erica Durance isn’t easy. Maybe Jim Lee and Alex Ross stand a chance, but that’s about it. Once again Lex looks awesome. Also, the surprise appearance was rendered very closely to their T.V. counterpart. The lack of a new cover image is disappointing. Maybe it will change with each new episode of the season but if it’s meant as the shows title sequence, maybe it wont.
This issue is much improved over its predecessor. We’ve got character moments, hints at where this season may be headed, and a shocking suprise that will leave you asking many questions. All this and we haven’t even made it through a full episode yet!