Turn off the Lights

Spotlight: Smallville Season 11

Week after week the Comic section of this site reviews a wide variety of comics, but we just can’t get to all of them. It would be quite the challenge to do so. So it is for that very reason that I would like to take the time out to talk in depth about a comic that hasn’t been reviewed around these parts – shine the spotlight on a book that deserves it. Now this will be more of an overview than a regular review, but hopefully it will serve the same function it getting people interested in the title. So, what comic could I possibly be talking about for this feature? It’s a comic that has been somewhat of a surprise hit amongst fans and non-fans of its source alike.

The title I am talking about is Smallville Season 11.

Now, Smallville is notoriously a hot topic amongst the DC Comics fandom, especially amongst the Superman fan base. It has been infamous for its large, and mostly deserves, “hatedom”. While the show had the interesting premise of showing the early years of Clark Kent, with a mainly Richard Donner bent, it soon earned the ire of comics fans for its weird plots, ridiculous character arcs, and downright confusing introduction of notable villains and characters. The less said about the show’s treatment of Lana Lang the better.

Even though the detractors, a group in which I am a member, do admit that the show had its moments and a handful of good episodes, and so earned whatever fans it had, there was still so much about the show that drew glares – and not simply from a Superman fan’s perspective, the whole of the fourth season was a plethora of cheesy writing and acting. We were not saddened when the show finally concluded its ten-year run, but instead were a bit concerned when a follow up digital comic was announced.

I happy to admit that the comic not only exceeded expectations, but also perhaps even destroyed the concept of having expectations itself. In few words, the digital comic is everything the show should been during the later seasons when we had to endure the embarrassing reign of “The Blur”. The comic been able to keep what gave the show what little charm it had while bringing in what makes a Superman comic great – the characterization and the cast (something that was faltering in the series).

We had finally seen this version of Clark Kent mature and become Superman during the course of the show, and the digital comic goes out of its way to prove that he has truly done so. For a time that is to endure the lesser aspects of “The New 52” Smallville has surprisingly become the beacon for old-school Superman – the Boy Scout who tries his best. It’s as though those that are turned off by the reboot can seek refuge here for at least a modicum of comfort. This is most likely due to having veteran writer Bryan Q. Miller (Batgirl) on board as someone who already has a grasp on how these characters should feel and is more suited to writing them in this medium.

As mentioned before one of the main problems some viewers had with the series was the overall weirdness with integrated some of the more important aspects of Superman into the show – Doomsday & Jimmy Olsen to name two of the most infamous. That problem is as good and gone with the digital comic. Over the last couple of months, and what amounts to two story-arcs, the comic has been able to not only introduce notable characters but also has been able to put its own refreshing twist without bringing the character down. The first arc even introduces Hank Henshaw, otherwise known as the Cyborg Superman, and it does so in a way that I am doubtful the show ever could have achieved. The next does the same for Batman and it able to get some classic “World’s Finest” moments into there.

Speaking of characters the comic has introduced a couple to its cast there is one that is probably one of the better surprises the comic has in store – the introduction of Otis, Lex Luthor’s bumbling assistant from the movies. The scenes between him and Lex are worth the dollar that the digital issue costs alone. Otis is perfectly set against the tone and it really gives it a comical feel, so that those jumping on now have a better grasp at things by at least latching onto Otis and his antics with Lex. A great nod to the Donner movies and a character that is already cultivating quite the fandom.

Smallville Season 11 has improved on many of the sore-spots that many had with the actual television show. Not to mention the uplift on the seasonal plot arc side. With a seasoned, pun unintended, writer at the helm a very exciting plot arc has begun to form behind the scenes of the usual story arcs. One that is sure to set a “crisis” of near "infinite" intensity ablaze (hint, hint). With a steadier hand at the wheel and without the limitations that live-action television imposes the season is headed for fair sailing. At one dollar an issue one can go out right now and pick up the latest two story arcs for the price of a 6-issue trade, which is a steal. Even if you didn't like the show this series is on its way to becoming one of the better Superman books on the market right now and worth at least a glance.


Meet the Author

Follow Us