Mild Mannered Reviews - Smallville
Smallville #6Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 7, 2004
Cover date: March 2004
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
This comic is segmented, and thusly will be reviewed as such...
Cover Art - 4: This cover has a background, which I'm really fond of in a comic, and it also has a very interesting and compelling idea which is, indeed, covered in the issue. The parallels and differences between the two men made one on the cover, Lex and Clark. That said, the profile is lightly off, and there are words on the cover. But seeing as this is a magazine of a sort, the two combined only lose one point. Though I like the irony of "Only on the WB.", seeing as thanks to a rapport with my international audience, I realize that many people get their Smallville "Only on the PC.". But that's neither here nor there.
Table of Contents:
Photo - 4: It's gritty, and it's cool, but really, it's unrelated to the issue that's about to unveil, so I give it a minus one.
"John Schneider: The Family Man."
Interview: Mike McAvennie
Pictures: Kharen Hill and Timothy White
Interview - 4: This is basically the same self-congratulatory stuff we're used to, but it's got a few nice tidbits, so I gave it the old above average. First, he comments on the often ignored "father as a big child" modus in most American television. I like Homer Simpson as much as the next guy, but he's a buffoon, not a man jockeying for power. In most television, to my mind, you have a father who is an idiot and seeks power he lacks, instead of being portrayed as a strong authority figure, while most women are intelligent, in control, and strong. People say this imitates real life, but really, I don't think so. I think male and female sexes are equally intelligent and powerful in their own right in parenting, and Schneider makes an observation few dare to make for fear of feminist repercussion.
Further, he offers a spoiler, (you've been warned) intimating that the bargain with Jor-El would come back.
And finally, he spotlights Children's Miracle Network, which has apparently raised a lot of money for hungry kids, and you've gotta love that. It beats an expose about how his character might react if the Fruit Loop bird decided to come mess around in Smallville's hood.
Pictures - 3: All three are very stock, and offer nothing really dynamic. I mean, yes, it's John. He's even in costume. All right then.
ID Cover page:
Photo: Michael Courtney
Inset Photos: Jeffrey Thurnher
Page - 3: Okay, the picture is really a great one, but the writing? I mean, why in the world summarize the events leading up to the crash? If you' re dumb enough NOT to know those things, you're not buying the comic in the first place, and if you're reading the comic not knowing the story, that's not our problem, now, is it? If this were in a continuity, meaning, if Smallville stood alone, we might expect summary from characters, but this magazine SUPPLEMENTS the show, so a precursor to reading it is watching the show. I feel gypped out of a page of story for a reasonably good photo.
Writer: Clint Carpenter
Pencils: Tom Derenick
Inks: Adam DeKraker
Lex, in the ocean after his plane crashes, searches for Helen, knowing she left the plane before he did. He checks his compass (given to him by Jonathan), grabs a broken wing, and moves for dry land.
Once on the island (which looks remarkably like the one in the movie Castaway), he struggles for water, to the point at which he hallucinates his imaginary friend from the premiere, named Louis. Lois helps him find water.
Meanwhile, Clark and Pete talk about telling Lana his secret. Pete encourages Clark to do so, telling him that Lana is pro-meteor freak, and loves him.
They see smoke at a barn as they drive, and Clark uses his X-Ray vision to see a man pointing a gun at another man in the barn.
He's demanding the farmer tell him where the money is. Clark arrives and throws the man a good distance away before rescuing the farmer from the ensuing barn explosion caused by some nearby tanks.
On the island, Lex is taught to find food by Louis, who encourages Lex to believe that everyone stands against him.
Louis proceeds to later destroy a signal fire that Lex has created, sabotaging his work. Lex swings a piece of wood at the man, but as he does so he falls from the cliff the fire was on, barely catching a ledge. Louis helps him up.
The Sheriff, meanwhile, tells Clark to identify the man who caused the fire. He does. He then talks to Chloe about how she would feel about him if he revealed a big secret. She said she would still love him, as he would still love her likewise.
On the island, Lex relives attacking Louis, and the sailor picking him up.
In the shack, Louis shows up again, trying to tell Lex everyone is against him. He follows Lex to the airport, telling him that his father wants him dead. Lex slams him against a wall and tells him to leave, and everyone looks at Lex slamming a bare wall. Louis is gone.
At the end of his therapy session with Claire Foster, she believes he is not telling her something, and he has withheld Louis.
Clark arrives, and they talk about the farmer, and how hiding something (the money the farmer had secreted in the ground) was less valid than letting it out... but then you have to deal with spending the money, the cost, in other words.
Clark goes to tell Lana the secret, but a phone call interrupts them. The gunman from earlier, out on bail, enters the Talon and points a gun at Clark's head while Lana's back is turned. He fired, but the bullet bounces off of Clark and heads for Lana.
Clark screams, throwing the man through the window and melting the bullet before it reaches Lana, just in time, her back still turned.
The police arrives, and Lana asks Clark what he was going to tell her. He tells her that he hopes she meets the right guy for her.
At the mansion, Lex tells Claire about Louis, and as Claire leaves, she calls someone and tells them she's found the chink in Lex's armor they are looking for.
Story - 4: There were odd things about this story, truly.
First, the Clana moment we all hate, but at least it synchronized with the story. Also, Louis helped Lex up (though it seems that he may have helped himself up, given the art. Even more, Clark using his powers in front of other people again (the guy with the gun, the farmer, etx.the bullet, not being found, would also present problems.). And worst of all, Claire Foster.
Claire Foster, we all know, turns out to be a good character. But here, she's depicted as working with someone to find the chink in Lex's armor. What's that? I mean, maybe therapeutically, but she assured Lex what he said was confidential. I don't buy it.
All that said, the plot itself was well crafted and magnificent, showing a duality between the Kent and Luthor character that makes up the best of the Smallville episodes. I am pleased.it was enjoyable, despite flaws, and it tied in well with the show without skipping a beat.
Art - 5: I'm getting to be more of a fan of Derenick by the issue. I just want to know how he might handle regular comic book guys, meaning, the non-human, more exaggerated mediums. Hopefully I'll run across him in one soon.
Sullivan's Travels: Chloe Sullivan
Writing - 1: PLEASE, GOD, MAKE THE ADOLESCENT RAVINGS STOP! PLEASE, NO LONGER EMPHASIZE TO ME WHAT PIDDLING CRUMB MIGHT BE PUBLISHED IN A DC COMIC BOOK, EVEN FOR LO, THE ONE PAGE, THAT I MIGHT NOT BE PUBLISHED. SUCH PRATTLE, I WOULD NOT USETH FOR MY TOILET PAPER!
Et-hem. Excuse that. You don't need a summary for this one. Trust me. The website doesn't have enough bandwidth for the reaming that would follow.
Writer: Clint Carpenter
Clark and Pete talk about how Pete's mom smoothed over Clark's parking tickets, so Clark owes him. Chloe comes in, and asks what.
Pete tells her he's dating two girls at once, and she's repulsed by the idea. She storms out.
Later, Clark helps Pete give his first date, Danielle, a magical date by rushing her by closed cart from the school to a field with a picnic set-up instantly. He snaps his fingers, and a fire starts, Clark's doing, but she doesn't know that. They make out, and Clark later ferries them home.
Later, Pete meets Paige, and she says she likes flowers, Clark makes a bunch immediately appear in Pete's hands using super-speed.
A fire starts at a nearby house (not Clark's fault) and Pete rushes in to save whoever is inside. Inside, Clark hands Pete the puppy dog inside, and Pete rushes out, earning brownie points for saving the puppy.
Pete calls Clark and tells him he doesn't need any more help, she's so enamored, so Clark takes the statue he made using his heat vision from ice back in the fishing cooler.
In the Talon, Pete makes out with Paige, and Danielle dumps water on Pete's head, crashing the party. Chloe arrives and gloats about telling the girls, and Pete tells her that they'll be back.
Story - 2: On a basic level, this plot is clunky, because it relies on Clark using his powers in public in a way people will remember, and it shows Pete doing things he's not known to do (remember, he barely made the football team? He's a nerd, like you and me. Well, maybe not you, but if not you, how did you reach my review, on accident?).
On a critical level (meaning, how it hits the reader) it fails as well, because really, this issue touched on something that's very personal and important to me. Dating philosophy. Sure. Pete's a jerk for dating two girls. But really, there's something unexplored here. Did these girls ever ask Pete if he was exclusive with them? If not, then for me, at least, it's assumed that dating is just that, and exclusivity is another matter. So Chloe interrupting Pete's attempt to find who he wants to be with is offputting, B&%$y, and lacking in that quality they claim to share, friendship.
I tell you, if I were dating two different girls to try and figure out who I wanted to date (as most women do, really, only with guys) and my friend told the other that I was cheating/dating another girl to incense jealousy, I would be angry with that friend.
And I would be angry with a story depicting it, more specifically.
But then, the IDEA itself was novel, so the story's not a total loss. Thus the 2.
Art - 2: What happened to Kano? I mean, this stuff is just strange. It almost looks anime, and it's roughly hewn and out of place for Smallville art. Pete looks, God, and I'm gonna get hate mail for this, but it's the closest thing I could come up with, Pete looks like one of those cheesy, stereotypical and rather racist Sambo depictions you see in history books or in movies like Bamboozled. Sorry, he just does. Look at his smile depiction, particularly after he gets the puppy. I'm not saying this is even intentional (in fact, likely not) but like the story, it just put me off a great deal.
Smallville Episode Guide, Season One, Concluded: Episodes 19-21
Writer: Jami Bernard
Photos: David Gray
Article - 5: Good summaries. They summarize. I like Pete McDermott's myself, more, as I've said every issue so far, but if these things do you well, by all means, read them as well. I just like our guys' better, myself. These are aesthetic, and Pete's are very human, bringing you right along for the ride with the characters.
Photos - 3: Nixon is dynamic, and interesting, but Clark and Chloe is a stock picture.
Overall - 3: Id was a great story, and the Schneider interview was all right, but to counterbalance those, we have the Magic story, which essentially blew, and the fodder filler, like the Chloe news story, the episode guide, and the ID cover page that was unnecessary. Still a fairly decent and long read.
Now if it would just come out monthly instead of bi-monthly. Why bi-monthly?
Other recent reviews:
Mild Mannered Reviews
2004Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.
- Action Comics #809
- Adventures of Superman #622
- Superman #199
- Superman/Batman #4
- Superman: Birthright #5
- Superman: Metropolis #10
- Superman: The Kansas Sighting #1
- JLA #90
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- Superman/Thundercats #1
- Smallville #5
- Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity #3
- JLA/Avengers #3
- JLA-Z #3
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- Superman: Secret Files and Origins 2004
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- Justice League Elite #1
- Identity Crisis #2
- Justice League Adventures #33
- Smallville #9
- Justice League of America: Another Nail #3
- Action Comics #818
- Adventures of Superman #631
- Superman #208
- DC Comics Presents: Superman #1
- Majestic #1
- JLA #103
- JLA #104
- DC Comics Presents: Justice League of America #1
- Justice League Elite #2
- Identity Crisis #3
- Justice League Adventures #34
- Action Comics #819
- Adventures of Superman #632
- Superman #209
- Superman/Batman #12
- Majestic #2
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- Justice League Elite #3
- JLA: Secret Files and Origins 2004
- Identity Crisis #4
- Justice League Unlimited #1
- Smallville #10
- Action Comics #820
- Adventures of Superman #633
- Superman #210
- Superman/Batman #13
- Majestic #3
- JLA #107
- Justice League Elite #4
- Identity Crisis #5
- Justice League Unlimited #2
- Superman: True Brit
Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2004.