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Mild Mannered Reviews - Smallville

Smallville #9

Smallville #9

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 21, 2004

Cover date: September 2004

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

This comic is segmented, and thusly will be reviewed as such...

3Cover Art - 3: I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little tired of picking up a Smallville and seeing two or three of the stars just looking at me, even if the colors are usually very dynamically placed and the cover is relative to the issue at hand.

It's like, what do you guys want! I already told you, I don't HAVE a dollar, and there's no work for you here!

And hey, there's the added detriment that though this issue is not about Lana (Oh, but isn't EVERYTHING!?), she's still got front and center on the cover with the low-cut shirt. Not that I'm against low-cut shirts, but jiminies, this issue is about the failure of communication between Clark and Lex, not Lana looking like a dime-store, purple clad, uh, hussie! Ah, she's pretty hot, who am I kidding? But she's not the focus of this issue!

And words...oooh, words on the cover just make me shudder.

As does the WB logo.

Table of Contents:

Photo: Jeffrey Thurnher

1Page - 1: Why do we need a table of contents for a comic book that's 44 pages long? Do you see this even for 64 page Elseworlds books? No. Because it's not necessary. I mean, it'd be different if the comics and each respective section didn't give credit to the artists, and there had to be a place to do so, but is this the case? No. Wasted page count: 1. The Ents are gonna come for your @$$, DC! Do not kill trees with wanton disregard! Hrmm hrmmm.

5Photo - 5: But if you've gotta waste a page on it, why not have Clark in a pretty cool pose? He's like, "Drink Milk. Or I'll fry your head off!" Nice.

"Michael Rosenbaum: Dark and Getting Darker"

Article: Leo Osmond, with

Photos: Jeffrey Thurnher (first two) and David Gray (second two)

This is basically a half exploration of Michael Rosenbaum, and half an interview with him about projects he'll be in.

3Article - 3: Average. I mean, anyone with the internet and an interest in "Smallville" will already know what's coming up for Rosenbaum, and hey, they already DID This interview! In Smallville #3! ANOTHER interview?

5Photos - 5: Fantastic shots of Lex...stock shots, yeah, but cool shots nonetheless. Trading card worthy.

The third photo also gets a 5 rating, not for being extraordinarily good, but for being extraordinarily funny. It's probably just me, but I live in a kind of a rough, poor neighborhood, so seeing a bald guy smiling and holding a gun gangsta style just makes me want to start captioning, and I enjoy it.

"What chu say bout my mamma? No. Wait. She's dead."

"This is Lexcorp turf! Represent!"

"You best not be messin' with my MONEY!"

"I say rolled up sleeves are in style! You got a problem with that?"

"I don't care if Wagner IS pronounced Vogner, I TOLD you not to correct me in front of the stockholders!"

"I'm grinning because-a I know something you don't." "What's that?" "I am not left handed!"

"Yeah, I've had one or two brandy glasses today. So you caught me at a bad time!"

Or my favorite: "You know what we share in common about the number 44, Otis-er, Dad? It's my gun caliber and your IQ!"

So a picture says a thousand words, they say, but this one just made me say 113, and I'm laughing, and maybe you are,so that's worth a five.

The last photo isn't as good as the others. An average Lionel/Lex shot. A bit dynamic, but still, it doesn't leap out at you. And Lex looks mad at me. That scares me.

"Secrets/Lies" Title Page

Graphic: Uncredited
Words: Uncredited

1Title Page - 1: Good googly moogly! Not only do we have a table of contents, we also have a title page for two of the stories within! What a WASTE of paper. What's that I hear in the distance? The Ents have begun mobilizing! Beware, oh WB-amon, ye evil hybrid of Sauroman and the WB! I guess that makes the execs Wormtail...sigh.

And above and beyond that, it's got a summary of something anyone into Smallville enough to read the comic will already have in their heads. I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, saying that.

3Graphic - 3: Average, and a little odd. Though the negative image thing is creative, it's still just at its heart an unnecessary page, so I have trouble digging it.

Reviewer's note: I'm going to review the next two as one, because they are elements of the same'll see. They're integral to one another, at any rate, and rating one alone would be unfair.


Writer: Clint Carpenter
Pencils: Tom Derenick
Inks: Adam DeKraker

Clark stops by Lex's mansion and asks to get into the Talon to give Lana a surprise. Lex agrees, giving Clark the keys. Clark thanks him.

At the Talon, Clark finds goons inside, messing with things. He chases them outside. One swings at his box of roses he was preparing for Lana, and Clark throws him a ways.

The other goons shoot at him. He takes the pipe that he was almost hit with and swings it into the bullets, sending them back at his assailants.

They run, firing back. Clark uses his heat vision to melt a fire escape ladder's guard. The ladder smacks the assailants.

The police arrive, with Lana. Clark tells her what he was doing, and she tells him not to say goodbye yet, there's still another week.

Clark picks up a lone rose from the ground, the rose we see in the finale.

Lex arrives and asks Clark about missing bullets and the melted fire escape. Clark says he doesn't know. They agree to try and figure it out together.


Writer: Clint Carpenter
Pencils: Jim Fern
Inks: Lary Strucker

Lex examines the totaled car from the premiere in his Clark Kent room. He's told that Clark has arrived to see him.

Lex meets him in the scene from "Secrets", asking for the Talon keys and getting them, only this time, Lex is typing to an FBI agent and hiding it from Clark about tapping his father.

Lex picks up Lana to take her to the Talon for a formality inspection before signing over the papers.

Lex encourages her to go to Paris, saying she's destined for great things, and Smallville's too small for her.

They almost hit the goons Clark fought in the previous story, just as Clark is finishing his fight with them.

Inside the Talon, Lex calls the FBI Agent and tells him to stay away from his friends, including the Talon, showing that the goons were FBI planting surveillance gear.

Lionel arrives, and tells Lex after the FBI goon leaves that the listening devices were from his men, to get at Clark, which he encourages Lex to join him in, citing the strangeness of Clark's fight with the goons without dying.

Enter the scene with Clark and the evidence again, and the same commitment from both to the truth.

4Story - 4: This is an interesting and sophisticated take on a story you don't often find in a comic book. I have to admit, I was impressed.

There are the typical failings of a Smallville story.

First, Lana is over-fetishized. She's made out by Lex (who is a better judge of character than that) to be too big for Smallville, and that the future has great things for her. And what, in her character, on the TV and in the comics, leads to this conclusion, other than the fact that she's pretty? Well, nothing. Great lesson. Girls, if you're a dumb idiot in most situations but you look good, there are big things in store for you, but if you're studious and not cover-girl like Chloe (not saying she's not hot, mind you), your big things will not even be mentioned. Heh. I said big things. But that's not what I meant. You know that, don't you?

Also, I'm sick of Clark flaunting his powers in front of people. Baseballing bullets back at people? Isn't that, I don't know, dangerous? And don't they now know his secret? Great!

At least Lex notices it, and comes closer to the secret, but criminies, what about those GOONS now? Why wouldn't they tell Lionel that Clark can stop bullets?

And my final complaint... why, if Lex just gave Clark the keys to the Talon for a surprise, would he take Lana in the middle of the night to inspect the Talon. Okay, so maybe it was pre-arranged. Why didn't he let Clark know. And if it wasn't, what's the point of screwing up Clark's surprise? I think it was just an accident. Had to bring Lana into the story, after all, because Lord knows even when she's not needed, we need the pretty face. What did she add to this scene, I ask, other than making Clark feel awkward as ever? Lex could have done that well enough.

Ah, the power of hoo hahs.

Go abject objectification!

Still, a novel concept, interestingly executed, and cool despite the flaws. Good writing. I'm impressed.

5Art for "Secrets" - 5: Spot on and photo-realistic, conveying the action very well. Typical good work that this comic usually has. It continues to impress.

5Art for "Lies" - 5: So seamlessly similar to the last story that despite another artist, the continuity was upheld rather well. They are similar, but both are talented. Good work all around.

A Guide to the Smallville Novels

Writer: Edward Gross
Pictures: Uncredited

5Summaries - 5: I panned the writing on the little excerpt that they put in a while back, but that be darned, I always wanted to know what the novels were about, and considered reading and reviewing them anyway (if I ever find the time).

These summaries are not particularly in-depth, but they do offer a commentary from the author, which I prefer... I mean, a brief summary of a young adult novel will tell you most of what you need to know if you've read a bunch of them, like I have, or even written one, and the author's thought process is something that interests me more. And there's even the promise of more next issue, so hey, I can't complain. I'm a continuity complete freak, and this is a gap in my continuity banks Gross just filled.

3Pictures - 3: Pretty much stock graphics that were interesting the first time we saw them, but now we've seen them a number of times, so they're not too original. Save that last one...that's new, and pretty idealistic. I like it.

Smallville Episode Guide, Season Two: Episodes 5-8

Writer: Jami Bernard
Photos: David Gray and Duane Gregory

3Article - 3: Average, the same as they've been before. As ever, I must plug Pete's here at the site first, but these summaries do the job, they're complete, and to be honest, I've referenced them along with Pete's, and that says something. We're to the middle of the second season... I'm wondering what will happen when they run out of episodes or catch up, but then, hey, it beats Ezra Small or Chloe articles. Thank goodness those got axed (or at least didn't make this issue).

4Photos - 4: Average shots from the show at hand, nothing crazy.

Folks, bear with me for this one. Some of you will get it and die laughing, the rest of you need some more culture! Anyway, here goes:

Re: The third photo... Good god! Talk about photo humor today! I just had what is tantamount to an acid flashback for a guy who has never done drugs seeing this picture. Any of you all go see the Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight showings? I did, quite a bit as a strapping young lad. Anyway, point being, I knew all of the alternate stuff and shout-outs by heart, and this one reminds me of the part when Riff-Raff jumps in in his hip new suit after "Wild and Untamed Thing" and shouts in song at Frank-N-Furter. Why? The pointing. Riff-Raff steps out and has perhaps the best pointing moment in all of cinema, and one of the alternate lyrics is "smell my finger", which is what it looks like Pa's trying to get Luthor to do.

I even thought insta-parody lyrics:

Lionel Luthor, it's all over!

Your murders were a failure!

Your actions too extreeeeeeeeeeeeme!

I'm your rival's father

You'll soon be a prisoner!

I return to cleaning cow crap

Get out of my barn pleeeeeeeeeeease!

No kidding. Try singing it. It works.

Lord help me, I now feel like the geek to end all geeks. I need aversion therapy.

The last photo is a simple stock photo, just average. Sorry, I think that previous photo pooped me out!

4Overall - 4: A couple of really good laughs, an interesting story, eh, what do you want for four bucks? These issues are getting better, for sure.

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January 2004

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