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Review

Smallville season 11

Smallville Season 11 digital cover by Cat Staggs
Smallville Season 11 digital cover #1 by Cat Staggs (DC Comics)

DC has announced a new digital-first comic that picks up six months after Smallville leaves off. The series will be illustrated by Pere Perez (interiors), colored by Chris Beckett, and written by Brian Q. Miller, who the news release identifies as a former Smallville “series scribe”.

I looked Miller up on IMDb, since I didn’t recognize his name. It turns out he wrote nine episodes between October 2008 and the end of the series, and in the last season he was the executive story editor.

Sean and I only recently watched Smallville season ten. When it aired, we kept missing episodes, so we waited until it was on Blu-Ray to catch up. This took a long time; the Blu-Rays didn’t come out until late November, and then I decided to wrap them as a Christmas present when they arrived, so we actually didn’t see how things ended until after the new year.

The pacing felt very uneven. There were several very interesting themes raised right before the series ended, then never properly dealt with. Maybe those themes will come out in the comic series? One example is how Lois starts wondering what happened with Lana, and discovers that Lana made one hell of a sacrifice, and then…nothing. No closure. You could argue that Clark and Lois’ relationship should have nothing to do with Lana, and I’d agree, but I’ve also always felt that having Clark and Lana be star-crossed lovers, rather than having their relationship fundamentally not work, was a mistake. It mars Clark and Lois with the whisper of what could have been. If you step back and don’t think of Clark and Lois as having a “destiny”, and you evaluate purely based on the story you were given in the show, then it really seems like Clark and Lana have a larger destiny than Clark and Lois do.

Really, I never liked the “destiny” idea anyway. I always thought Clark and Lois were about flouting destiny and fate. I mean, Superman is not human. His “destiny” is not to have a human love; it is to be a solitary savior. What I wanted to see from Smallville was not a shoehorning in of Lois into a “destiny” that only exists because the audience knows the original story, but a conscious choice on the part of two individuals to throw caution to the wind and accept that they love each other, despite all the reasons they shouldn’t be together. Two people who realize all the good they can do together. Two people who intelligently assess the situation and transform an oppressive fate into hope. I would have liked to have seen this happen between Clark and Lois because Lois is too bullheaded and passionate to accept that fate can’t be changed, and her optimism would drive Clark to do greater things. And this would have shown that she was superior to Lana as his love interest, because Lana could only see herself as a burden to Clark, not as his inspiration.

I felt like this sort of thing could have happened in the show, but didn’t, and it was pretty disappointing that a starker contrast wasn’t drawn between Lois and Lana. In truth, it sometimes wasn’t clear why Clark loved Lois at all. (Because he was supposed to?)

But I digress.

While I wasn’t extremely impressed with how Smallville ended, Miller did write some cute stand-alone episodes, like Committed, Hex, Echo, and Warrior. (Bulletproof was also good, but a little too on the nose.) I do see from DC’s website that he’s a comics writer, and apparently his Batgirl is pretty popular. I’m liking the examples I’m seeing, at any rate. What concerns me is Miller’s ability to craft a compelling overarching story; I don’t really get that from his stint on Smallville. But maybe he’ll be more comfortable writing Smallville in his native medium. And Pere Perez, who works with Miller on Batgirl, puts out some fun and cute art, which for me is important.

So I think the new Smallville Season 11 comic series will be worth checking out, at least. Maybe it’ll deal with some of the TV series’ problems. We can always hope!