Chapter 6 of Guardian is up, with the next print copies of Smallville on the way! In the meantime please enjoy my review of the latest installment. I’m not going to spoil every detail, but I have at least a vague description of the major events included in the recap. Once again though, I just can’t say enough good about the artwork in this book. It’s tight and detailed enough to keep it looking mature, but with enough space so that none of the colors lose their luster. There are some really unique coloring blends too, as well as effective uses of darkness. It’s getting harder and harder every week to pick a favorite image, and honestly this time I don’t know if I can. There’s a lot of Superman action in this issue, which gave us more chances to see how they render the suit. There are some deeper shades of blue this time around, and less emphasis on the side patches. This could be due to a choice in lighting effects and shading, but I really liked it. It’s a perfect mix of the new DC mandate and some of the more traditional looks, so perfect in fact that I don’t even miss the red trunks.
The official description for the story reads as:
The shuttle piloted by Hank Henshaw explodes in mid-air just after take-off. Superman comes to the rescue, but even he can’t save everyone. This might be one of the toughest decisions either Hank or Superman has ever had to make.
This actually does sum it up pretty nicely, but there are three points I’m going to go into a little greater detail on. First of all, Clark’s super save was not a solo effort, and was very much a Team-Superman venture. It all goes down in the usual Smallville fashion we are accustomed to. Chloe and the gang are there for information or helping to solve the mystery, and then Clark saves the day in the way that only he with his powers can. In the past I’ve heard complaints that this makes Superman look weak, but I’ve always felt the opposite. Trusting others and working together can be virtues and strengths, and seeing Superman embrace them also adds a bit of realism. Look at his secret identity for example. Part of how that works is because we accept it for the sake of the story, but you can also think of it as a massive conspiracy that would take a whole team to keep going. Doing it this way is also more fun. I enjoy having more characters around, and giving Superman someone to talk to is a much better way to relay information to the audience than just having an internal monologue being written across the page. I also have to bring up Hank Henshaw. His story is such a tragic one, and this comic is absolutely capturing that. Tragedy is what’s really at the heart of that character, and it’s all playing out in an original way that respects the essentials. This brings us to Lex, who has obviously done something terrible and dastardly. The chilling last scene is one of those great examples of how an intense story and strong art can compliment each other to create panels that leave lasting impressions.
As always don’t forget that you can talk Smallville with my crew and I live on Sunday nights, and please buy Smallville, don’t pirate this book. Remember, we vote with our purchasing power, and it only costs 99 cents to flex your consumer muscle on this one. Another print collection will be available on June 6, so if digital isn’t your thing DC has you covered! Also, let’s make sure to give credit where credit is due: