Mild Mannered Reviews - Smallville
Smallville #7Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 17, 2004
Cover date: May 2004
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
This comic is segmented, and thusly will be reviewed as such...
Cover Art - 3: There's something strange about the way that a comic book demographic keeps getting a teeny bopper's kind of cover.
INSIDE: TOM SHIRTLESS!
EXPOSE: WILL LIONEL EVER "GET IT ON" WITH CHLOE?
And the like. Of course, I am sarcastic. It's hyping the Chloe Chronicles, it's also indicating the Behind the Scenes feature, but it's also very much like the magazines 13 year-olds read in stylistic approach. And I guess there's a reason for that, considering how many teens really watch Smallville. But comics are MY HOUSE, baby, and you wanna step into that house, you gotta be prepared. A TV ad on my covers won't wash.
Table of Contents:
Photo: Jeffrey Thurnher
Photo - 3: It's a really good picture. The picture's a 5. But assuming we need a table of contents to figure out the titles that are already written on each of the stories, and that a 48 page comic is serialized enough that we need a directory, that's just insane. The picture would have been nice elsewhere, but again, this just panders to that annoying magazine format I mentioned. If it's gonna be a Smallville magazine, make it one. If it's gonna be a comic, make it a comic. I'd like a Smallville magazine. I guess the point is that it's kind of both, but instead of a typical adult oriented, it's more kid-geared. I guess there's something to be said for that.
But I'm an adult. A childish one, but an adult nonetheless.
Photos: Entry FX
Writer: Edward Gross
This is an article on what it takes to make certain effects, and how the FX folk accomplished certain effects, including the bullet from old McNulty (the candy bar (sorry, couldn't resist (old joke))), the shield effect on Clark's chest in Exile, and the bullets from the same episode.
Also covered are the pan from the premiere with the dragon heading down onto Lex on the island.
Story - 3: It was interesting, but also hindered by the graphics. I mean, the minute they mention what scene they mean any fan will either know it or not know it, so what they do is show pictures of that scene instead of the technicals of putting it together, which makes the article's words a little awkward. Blame the pictures, blame the writer, it still made me wander a bit while reading. Still, it was interesting, and not oriented around a self-congratulatory interview with one of the actors, which is an improvement. So keep going in this direction, just... don't do it with awkward graphic representation.
Pictures - 1: While they are COOL scenes mentioned, and these pics do illustrate said cool scenes, they do not illustrate the article at hand, for the reasons I mentioned above. Where's the rotoscoping? The cool blow ups of the process? Do they think we're too dumb to enjoy that? And there's a lot of white space that could have been more dynamically fixed with a little bit of graphic design. I think this kind of killed the article for me.
Writer: Clint Carpenter
Penciller: Tom Derenick
Inker: Adam DeKraker
Cover Page - 1: Again, another wasted and patronizing page. Not only do we have a table of contents, but now a page to remind us of the things we already know if we're anywhere remotely near reading a Smallville comic book. It completely defeats the point of a multi-media experience, because here you have summarized for you the Chloe Chronicles (which were odd and a bit melodramatic) so that you don't have to go and see them. Also, the graphics are small with a lot of empty space on the page, and one rather flushed picture of Allison Mack with weird hair. Well, whatever.
Chloe hits the alarm on her brand new VW and gets in, talking to her dad about dinner. Inside, a man with a knife sticks the knife to her throat and tells her to pull over. She slams the brakes and sends the man into the front of the car. Chloe runs.
The man catches her, trips her, and puts her arm behind her back, starting at the fact that she's just a kid. Chloe, seeing a bullet wound, punches him in it. He passes out, calling to her about Dr. Walsh. Chloe stops over his downed form.
At Clark's Fortress, Clark arrives to find Chloe with the now identified Carter Bickson, AKA "Bix".
Bix explains that he worked for the "Deletion Force", a government agency for freelancers that did jobs, sight unseen, all over the place. At one point, they hit the school and burned the Torch (Now we know who did that, anyway... Reviewer).
Another time, they helped bring Teng into the U.S. In Grandville, Bix left the team when he found cloned children. He knew his days were numbered, henceforth.
Working at Level Three, he would inject Dr. Walsh with an antidote for a poison that required a daily injection, and watch him work. Bix, figuring he's about to be deleted himself, slips Walsh a picture of his family and Walsh gives him Chloe's name and Bix leaves, taking out guards.
Bix tells them of how the Deletion Force tailed him and shot him, and gives Chloe a riddle from Walsh:
"More answers are close to home where height creates the pressure that sustains life."
This so that Chloe didn't have to find anything if she wasn't ready.
Chloe later tells Clark that she's gotten Bix onto a truck across the border to Mexico using a Daily Planet connection, because he's kind of cute.
In the morning, Pete comes over and knocks. Seeing a strange person in Clark's loft, he calls the police. The Deletion Force responds just a little too late.
Chloe, Clark and Bix reach the solution to the riddle, a water tower. Inside the lower control room, they find leftovers of the original Smallville Level Three. The Deletion Force arrives, and they bolt for Chloe's car.
The Deletion Force pulls weapons, but Clark melts them, causing the bullets to go off in their casings. Clark runs away at super speed, piercing their tires with his hand.
Later, Bix enters a truck bound for Mexico. He kisses Chloe on the head and thanks her.
Later still, Chloe resurrects the Chloe Chronicles, opening a Walsh Video and closing the first chapter of the story.
Story - 3: Well, I went to the Smallville website, and there was a bunch of articles about a Higginson guy, but not too much about the story at hand.
This story is interesting. It's marred by the same, "Gee whiz, why would anyone do or think THAT?" kind of stuff. For instance,
When a guy pulls a knife on me, I don't just hang out with him, and if I want to kiss him, I think I have some psychological issues.
And following a riddle to a water tower? Why make a riddle for Chloe? She may not figure it out, number one, and number two, she would either go or not go with the information anyway, so to assume that making the information a step harder to achieve means anything is crazy.
I'm also annoyed that we continually see Chloe in a nice new car, another pet peeve with Smallville for me. Kids who have cars like that are not as down to Earth as Chloe.
Anyway, the story itself. We learn about Level Three still existing, and the Deletion Force, which is interesting, and we see a fairly cool Clark making bullets pop scene. But then we realize that Chloe and Bix would have seen the Deletion Force just fall apart, and they wouldn't wonder why?
I also wonder why Lionel would go through such elaborate measures, killing, mobile labs, etcetera, for something that he could just hide with the public in another country. That's what most really rich guys who want to do experiments without the FDA do now.
As an idea, it was interesting. As a comic, it's a bit slow.
Why was Pete around in the middle of the night?
But then, it wasn't horrible. It flowed. It was about average.
Art - 5: Can't go wrong with Derenick. I've liked his work from the start of the series, and this is no exception. Near photo realism, and a hard scene to crack, the bullet casings, going off without a "Huh?" I like it.
"Voices From the Future"
Writer: Christopher James Beppo
Feature - 2: This brings the Ezra Small prophecy to the comic, along with a graphic of the man and a lengthy prediction. I didn't translate it, because alas, I don't have the time, necessarily, but I've read these predictions before, and they're a mishmash of a lot of hints about the future of the series, if you're into that kind of thing. Of the ones I have read, I've always given it a cursory glance but not spent too much time on it. It's probably better online, because then you can find the translation fairly easy. I think it's largely a device to get us on the websites, like the last story tried. Problem is, I'm already there, and Ezra isn't the reason, it's the cool articles.
Writer: Clint Carpenter
Penciller: Tom Grummett
Inker: Kevin Conrad
Ma Kent comes out of the Smallville Savings and Loan while Jonathan listens to John Schneider on the radio. When she enters the car, she tells Pa that they can make half payments this month because of the car accident. Jonathan laments Clark's fault in the matter.
Pete and Clark, meanwhile, play basketball. Pete trash talks and Clark takes the basketball at super speed.
He jumps over Pete and slams the basketball, telling Pete if he stops trash talking, he might let him win sometimes. Pete says that if he did that, he'd miss the show.
The basketball falls from near orbit, smashing Pete's truck. Pete gapes, but Clark smooths the dents with his hands.
On the road, the Kents have a flat. Pa Kent tells Ma they have no umbrella because Clark ruined it running to get the phone from Lana while guarding himself from rain. And they lack a spare, because while burning some brush with heat vision, Clark turned towards the car and burned out the spare.
Ma Kent asks him if he's regretting. Pa Kent recalls Clark sharpening his family knife for him with his fingers, and replies that he would never.
Pete and Clark, driving by, see Ma and Pa Kent getting mushy, and drive on. Pete says that for once, he's glad he can't see through walls.
Story - 5: A cool little story. I mean, it's not one that we haven't seen before, to be sure, but it's got a lot of original takes and ideas, it's creative, and it has a few things you wouldn't normally think about, like that Clark can sharpen a knife with his fingers, and that he can fix his own vehicles. I'll have to remember that as an excuse when writing my regular Smallville reviews, because it's totally true.
Also, the John Schneider joke is priceless. I was waiting for some joke about his singing at some point, and this was a cool reference. Also, seeing Ma and Pa Kent in a character capacity, along with PETE? Well, that's just about all we could want right about now.
I note now that Lana is NOWHERE in this issue.
Praise be, that's worth a five right there.
WHOA! I just noticed something. When he fixes the truck, it's leaking oil rather badly. It's almost hidden though... a nice touch. Which leads me to the TG man...
Art - 5: Tom Grummett. Tom Grummett.
Need I say more?
The Superboy man delivers. And we break from the usual photorealism without failure. Very cool.
I've always been an unabashed Grummett fan. I take the fifth, plead bias, and step back. But still, there's no better artist for Superboy. I've been waiting to see him in this comic for a while, and I'm glad he delivered, or the editors, or whoever took the idea to fruition.
Smallville Episode Guide, Season Two: Episodes 1-2
Writer: Jami Bernard
Photos: David Gray
Article - 3: Per usual, average, and I prefer ours. ;)
Photo No. 1 - 3: Average production still... though it does involve Lana near death.
Photo No. 2 - 5: Krista Allen. REEEEEEEEOWR!
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
- Justice League Adventures #25
- Superman/Batman: Generations III #11
- Superman/Thundercats #1
- Smallville #5
- Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity #3
- JLA/Avengers #3
- JLA-Z #3
- Action Comics #810
- Adventures of Superman #623
- Superman #200
- Superman/Batman #5
- Superman: Metropolis #11
- Superman: The Kansas Sighting #2
- JLA #91
- Justice League Adventures #26
- Superman/Batman: Generations III #12
- Action Comics #811
- Adventures of Superman #624
- Superman #201
- Superman/Batman #6
- Superman: Birthright #6
- Superman: Metropolis #12
- JLA #92
- Justice League Adventures #27
- Smallville #6
- Superman: Secret Identity #1
- Action Comics #812
- Adventures of Superman #625
- Superman #202
- Superman/Batman #7
- Superman: Birthright #7
- JLA #93
- Justice League Adventures #28
- Superman: Secret Identity #2
- Action Comics #813
- Adventures of Superman #626
- Superman #203
- Superman/Batman #8
- Superman: Birthright #8
- JLA #94
- JLA #95
- Justice League Adventures #29
- Smallville #7
- Superman: Secret Identity #3
- JLA/Avengers #4
- Action Comics #814
- Adventures of Superman #627
- Superman #204
- Superman/Batman #9
- Superman: Birthright #9
- JLA #96
- JLA #97
- Justice League Adventures #30
- Superman: Secret Identity #4
- It’s a Bird [Vertigo] (Hardcover)
- Action Comics #815
- Adventures of Superman #628
- Superman #205
- Superman/Batman #10
- Superman: Birthright #10
- JLA #98
- JLA #99
- Justice League Adventures #31
- Smallville #8
- Justice League of America: Another Nail #1
- Action Comics #816
- Adventures of Superman #629
- Superman #206
- Superman: Secret Files and Origins 2004
- Superman: Birthright #11
- JLA #100
- Identity Crisis #1
- Justice League Adventures #32
- Justice League of America: Another Nail #2
- Action Comics #817
- Adventures of Superman #630
- Superman #207
- Superman/Batman #11
- Superman: Birthright #12
- JLA #101
- JLA #102
- 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
- JLA #105
- JLA #106
- 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.