“No flights, no tights”? No more. Smallville Season 11 changes all of that.
While their are no new Smallville episodes airing on the CW, the characters live on. Smallville Season 11 Volume 1: Guardian picks up 6 months after the final episode of the show.
Clark Kent is now full-on Superman to the world, still working with Lois Lane at the Daily Planet. Oliver and Chloe have yet to make it to their new home in Star City and are still fighting crime in Metropolis. And Lex Luthor is back, being as manipulative as he ever has been.
The writer is Bryan Q. Miller, who started working on the Smallville TV series in season 5 and has also done other comic work. That makes this feel exactly like a Smallville comic should. The continuity is on point and Miller nails the characterizations of the main cast members.
The exciting news for fans is that this is no longer limited by the logistical issues of a TV episode. It’s not limited by special effects budgets or the schedules of actors. That makes Superman catching a spaceship and cameos from major characters possible in every issue.
Comic Books Collected: Smallville: Season 11 Issues #1-4 (same as Digital chapters #1-12)
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Artist: Pere Perez
Oliver Queen/Green Arrow
The official synopsis, from DC Comics:
A New York Times Bestseller!
When we left Clark Kent at the end of Smallville Season 10, he had finally donned the iconic Superman suit and set out to defend Earth from Apokolips. Picking up six months later, Smallville Season 11 explores Clark’s understanding of the true power of his Superman identity, its effect on those close to him and its ability to inspire the people of Earth.
Smallville Season 11 features Clark as well as fan-favorite characters including Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, Chloe Sullivan-Queen, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and General Lane.
The story is everything you would come to expect from an episode of Smallville after Clark finally becomes Superman. This volume absolutely feels like it could have been adapted as the 1st episode of a Season 11. There is a bit of a “freak of the week”, but it is one that DC Comics fans will be very familiar with. There is also setup for a bigger story, which feels like it could be a season-long arc.
Clark is moving closer to comic book Superman, although he appears to still be getting comfortable with life in the spotlight. It is great to see Tom Welling’s Clark embrace the Superman role. Fans of the show waited 10 years to see him rise to the occasion and he finally has.
The story feels like a one-off villain setup, but it is done much bigger than the show could ever afford on it’s budget. Superman is flying all over rescuing people and we get to see action that just wasn’t possible on the show. The story isn’t overly complex, but it does have a good balance of drama, action, and comedy throughout.
Miller does a good job of balancing this story with setup for future arcs. It’s clear that he is building towards a bigger story, but he doesn’t neglect the characters in this arc. I’m intrigued to see where he will take these characters from here and what new characters we could see introduced.
Miller obviously knows these characters inside and out as he worked on the final 6 seasons of the show. As a Smallville fan, these characters feel like they are exactly where they should be 6 months after Superman revealed himself to the world. Miller is clearly comfortable writing the main cast. Clark, Lois, Chloe, and Oliver feel just like their live-action form.
One benefit of the comic book format is that Lex Luthor is back in a full-time role. Other DC Comics characters were able to shine after Lex left after Season 7, but it did always feel like we were waiting for an inevitable return. Lex is back and, with his memory wiped after the finale, takes on a new assistant. Classic Superman fans will be excited to see his assistant. Lex is in full evil businessman mode, which is exactly what you would hope to see.
Adapting artwork from a live-action TV show into a comic book can be tricky. Pere Perez does an excellent job of balancing the look of the actors and creating a comic book form. It is very easy to decipher who each character is in their first panel, and there is never any confusion about which character is which.
Some panels look almost identical to the actors who played their character. Their are a couple shots of Superman that look exactly like Tom Welling in comic book form. Some of the characters do look less like their TV counterparts. Lois, in particular, never looks quite like Erica Durance. It’s always obvious that it is Lois, but I would have liked to have seen better accuracy in a few spots.
TV series continuity
With Miller taking the reins of the series, continuity with the TV series is no problem. As a Smallville fan, I am glad someone from the show is in charge of the comic. This helps with characterizations being on point, as well as continuity. The story logically continues 6 months after the TV finale.
Any story point that would seemingly conflict with the show is addressed. Why are Chloe and Oliver still in Metropolis? It’s brought up. What exactly does General Sam Lane know about the Blur? We find out.
One cool thing about the continuity is that we get glimpses back to the TV show, in flashback format. We also get to see some obscure characters that I didn’t think we would be seeing again. There is a newspaper salesman in particular that I was surprised to see. Those little nods will make fans of the show giddy without distracting from the story for new readers.
Season 11 of Smallville continues on. Now that the new status quo for all the characters is set, it looks like we can see some new characters brought into the fold. The coolest thing about this comic is seeing things that weren’t possible while the show was airing. One of those things is Batman. It looks like we will finally get to see Bruce Wayne interacting with Smallville‘s Clark Kent for the first time.
Fans have been clamoring to see Batman basically since the show started, so this will be a welcome sight. I’m interested to see if this will be a classic Batman or if there will be a unique Smallville spin on the character. It also brings up the possibility of seeing other forbidden characters like Wonder Woman and Green Lantern in this universe.
Besides the comic book, could Smallville live on in another format. How great would it be to see an animated film or series set in this continuity with the original cast returning to voice the characters. The show wouldn’t have to worry about special effects and Michael Rosenbaum could return to the role of Lex Luthor without having to shave his head every day.
Smallville Season 11 Volume 1: Guardian isn’t a perfect comic book, but it is a very good Superman story. It also essential reading for any hardcore fans of the show who need to get their Smallville fix. Seeing Clark and the other characters start to fulfill their destiny, even in comic book form, will be very rewarding to fans of the series.