Smallville Season 11 #17 is out, and it’s time to get back into the Smallville universe! Changes abound! Just when I felt like the book had settled in the hits kept on coming, which I suppose is what a good comic does! New editors and visual artists joined the team, the Bat-embargo has been lifted, and even my reviews have gone through some tweaks. Material from chapter 15 made it into our astronomically popular Bullet Reviews column, which will absolutely help Smallville get more exposure. Don’t worry I didn’t forget about chapter 16, but instead of cosplaying like a writer that makes every deadline I’ll just work some thoughts on that into this review, and we’ll get back to current events! With all that said now, let’s dive into some relatively spoiler light review! If I haven’t said it yet, kudos on bringing Toyman into this, even if just a mention. He showed up often in writer Bryan Q. Miller’s episodes, and provided Superman a logical reason to be in the prison and confronting Batman. Green Arrow and Nightwing had a nice chemistry in their fight, and visually it was a treat I didn’t expect. Batman and Superman gave us an obligatory superhero meetup rumble, and one-upped each other in clever ways without either bearing the brunt of humility. The genesis of Batman’s red sunlight weapon is the real highlight here. It’s a perfect example of taking something essential like Batman’s detective skills, and putting them to work in the world of Smallville. The image of Batman surveying the remains of Checkmate wreckage is one of my favorites from the series so far.
Issue number seventeen of Smallville Season Eleven offers a lot to like too. Bruce’s Batplane makes for a cozy environment in which he can take off his cowl and give us a closer look at how his suit is made up, and all the high tech telemetry furthers the detail and thought put into it. Batman gloats a bit about how well the confrontation went for him, but throughout the book Clark’s responses prove this isn’t his first rodeo. The Clois time is less physically intimate than in their Fortress rendezvous but I think fans will appreciate it. Back to the Bat-side of things, Nightwing is at her most likable here. Both artistically, and with her teasing dig at a certain aspect of Batman’s disguise! We also get another specific reason as to why she was brought in as Nightwing, and not in her typical Batgirl guise. In this interpretation she rejects the Batgirl title in favor of something that makes her stand apart more on her own. I won’t put words in anyone’s mouth as to why, but if it goes along with what I’m thinking then it’s something I definitely applaud. Gender swapped analogues of popular characters might have been “cute” back in the sixties or thereabouts, but they don’t have any place in any serious comics in this day and age.
As always, please buy Smallville, don’t pirate this book (or any book). Remember, we vote with our purchasing power, and it only costs 99 cents a digital chapter to flex your consumer muscle on this one. Another print collection will be available soon, so if digital isn’t your thing DC has you covered! Also, let’s make sure to give credit where credit is due: