Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Artist: Pere Perez
Colourists: Chris Beckett and Randy G. Mayor
Letterer: Comicraft’s Saida Temofonte
After ten seasons, Clark Kent’s adventures in Smallville came to an end once he finally donned the cape and distinctive red underwear of Superman. Defeating Darkseid and the invading minions of Apokolips, it seemed that Smallville’s existence was done and dusted. And then along came DC Comics, and we can now see what happened with our favourite characters once Superman finally took to the sky.
Smallville writer Bryan Q. Miller, as well as his Batgirl collaborator Pere Perez, have teamed up once again to helm this series, which is released in weekly digital installments, and then three chapters are released as a single physical issue. The first four issues were released and now you can collect the entire first arc, titled Guardian. Is this series a worthy successor to the ten season show, or should Smallville have stayed untouched?
This series immediately starts on the right foot by involving Bryan Q. Miller, who is already familiar with these characters, and has proven time and again that he is superb at character work. I always find it difficult to hear distinctive voices for characters when reading comics, but Miller’s dialogue fits every character as if they’ve stepped off the screen, which allows the plot to flow freely without having to build everyone up again.
Speaking of which, the plot isn’t quite as you might expect. With the budget of a TV show no longer a limiting factor, Miller is free to let loose with crazy story ideas, like a crashing spaceship, a battle with the military in downtown Metropolis, and even a ghost popping up to show her face. It’s this freedom that makes the Smallville comic work as well as it does; each issue isn’t bogged down by villains of the week, or the fact that some things are just too complicated to do.
Keeping things consistent, Miller uses the comic to further extend the Smallville mythos, including (but not limited to) interpretations of characters and events that have occurred in Superman comics before. From Hank Henshaw’s eventual terrible transformation into a Cyborg Superman, to hints at Earth 2, an upcoming Crisis, and even some unexpected twists and turns thanks to Lex Luthor’s machinations, this is a fresh look at familiar storylines, and that keeps things interesting as you see how stories you know are reimagined in this new universe.
Given how each chapter of this series is drawn by the same art team (with just one exception in the colouring stakes), there’s a surprising inconsistency in the artwork. Some of the characters seem to change appearance between chapters, and since there are actors and actresses to actually base the art on, this comes as a big surprise. Most of the time this isn’t much of a problem, but it can be a deal breaker in certain part of the story, taking your concentration away from the plot and onto something odd about the art. I do like how Perez has his own twist on the Superman costume, given that it wasn’t seen properly in the series and so he can employ creative license.
So Smallville has made the transition from screen (to computer screen) to print, and I’m hoping that it doesn’t go anywhere soon. Whilst the art is a pain at times, this feels like a worthy continuation to a popular television property, and one of the better “season” comics that I’ve read. It’s familiar, yet different, and keeps readers on their toes by adding in just enough of its own material. Fans of the show will be thrilled to see their favourite characters all appearing in, what feels like, a natural progression of the series, and even those who have never seen an episode will soon be caught up in Clark Kent’s continuing adventures.
I will attempt to review this series in story arcs, rather than individual issues, so expect a review of the second story arc, Detective (featuring Smallville’s interpretation of Batman!), in a few months time.
GO Rating: 3.5/5