By: Adam Basciano
“While Clark and Lois struggle to deal with their new status quo, trouble brews on the streets of a crime-ridden city called Gotham. Enter: the Dark Knight! Episode two begins here! With Metropolis in the grip of a heat wave, Clark must track down and apprehend a teleporting criminal. Meanwhile, are Lex’s memories starting to return? Bruce Wayne visits Metropolis and does lunch with Lex Luthor. But Superman calls Lex away for a more pressing matter: what was a just-arrested criminal doing with LexCorp technology?” (DC Comics)
I’ve been waiting for Bruce Wayne/Batman to appear in the Smallville universe since Season 2. Much like the initial chapters of the first storyline, this is an incredibly slow start to this episode. It is my belief that every time Smallville has introduced another DC hero to their mythos on t.v., that guest hero is written better and more effectively than Clark. This scenario is playing itself out again, at least for me, as I much prefered Batman’s role over these three chapters instead of Clark/ Superman. The inclusion of Joe Chill smuggling high-end weaponry from Metropolis to Gotham on behalf of Intergang was a great way of bringing Batman into Superman’s world. Also, I’m excited at the prospect of seeing Batman hunt down Joe Chill and how that will play itself out. The Superman elements of these chapters gave me a sense of deja vu. Essentially he has a secret date with Lois in the fortress, where the two engage in coitus, as Sheldon Cooper calls it. Superman also saves a school bus load of kids from certain disaster. While the circumstances changed, it felt like Miller got lazy and lifted scenes from “Superman” and “Superman II”
Once you get past the fact that the art is being handled by someone with the same name as a terrible rap duo from the 90’s i.e. Chris Cross, you’ll realize the art emulates the writing. The Batman stuff looks better than the Superman work. Keep in mind I’m not a biased Batman fan. My fandom extends to both equally. I think Chris Cross has a better handle on Batman to be honest. I really like his skyline view of Gotham City. It’s atmospheric and puts you in a Batman mood! We get limited looks at the Dark Knight, but when we do they’re menacing and he has a permanent scowl on his face! The Metropolis side of the ledger looks more cartoonish and awkward. It has a Humberto Ramos quality too it, although not nearly as bad. There’s one image where Superman looks like a blimp im the Thanksgiving parade rather than the hero who actually exists in the world they’ve created.
Past experience with this book suggests improvement as the episode continues, so I’m not concerned. To be fair, years of waiting for this moment to happen probably increased my anticipation to the point where I expected instant satisfaction. Still, looking forward to seeing more of Smallville’s take on the World’s Finest.