Smallville season 11 is happening in comic book form, and here’s a review of everything you need to know about chapter 5 of Guardian! The latest issue brings up a lot for discussion, so this week’s recap will be a little more in depth – consider yourself spoiler warned! The first thing that actually catches your eye here is the coloring. It’s a very clean and vibrant palette, with a heavy emphasis on the effects of lighting. It’s really nice to see so much attention paid to the sun, especially in a comic about Superman, whose powers obviously have a strong solar connection. The setting sun is the backdrop for the majority of the comic, and there’s also more experimentation with the borders, the red being my favorite introduced thus far.
When we begin Lex is standing outside watching his Guardian defense system about to launch into space, and in typical Smallville fashion no matter where he is someone can barge in on him to force a confrontational conversation. His security at least has the chance to protest this time, and once again I’m impressed by how much information Miller can fit into one short piece of dialogue, and without it becoming overload or feeling like an exposition dump. We find out Ollie has been building something on the moon, and are left to wonder if that fits into Lex’s ulterior motives behind his own space endeavors. A good portion of the dialogue centers on Tess too, and I like seeing how her character is still very much a part of Smallville. She was one of my favorite additions to the later years of the series, and I’m glad to see her around in any way. Part two has Clark joining Commander Hank Henshaw for his ritual pre-flight meal. Henshaw is presented as a down to earth character that loves his wife, loves his job as an astronaut, and has a very tactile connection to life. Clark doesn’t have any suited super action in this issue, but I’ve always believed that the best superhero stories are the ones that delve into the philosophy of heroics, and that’s exactly what Clark Kent and Hank Henshaw do during the interview. Henshaw accuses Superman of being only a re-active force (very similar to the way Green Arrow once did to Clark on the show) and embraces the idea of Superman stepping in stopping wars before they happen. Statements like these raise a lot of questions. First of all, it seems like no matter what heroes do, it’s still not enough for some people. A less mature person could break under that kind of stress. Secondly, you have the idea of Superman imposing his will on the world. Does he have the power to turn this planet into a paradise? His intellect and access to alien technology could cure many of the ills of the world, so how does he wrestle with those kinds of responsibilities? He is already intervening in our “fate,” so where and how does he draw that line? I have my own answers to these questions, but they are always interesting to revisit, and sometimes they change.
By the third scene the sunset background has become dotted with a star field. The Chloe/Emil tag team has discovered the lost ship’s crash point, and it’s exactly where you might guess it is! Meanwhile Clark and Lois are covering the shuttle launch, and take some time to discuss the merits of Lex’s mission. Clark wants to acknowledge some sanity in the idea, in a moment where he realizes his own limitations. This also brings up a great debate. Humanity has every right to defend itself, and is often painted as the bad guy when they try to do so in other franchises such as Doctor Who or The Avengers. One of the benefits of super heroes is that they can protect us from these dangers (and the terrible weapons that we build in response) but what do we do when they can’t, and do we know that we can trust them to forever? Lex will of course have an ulterior motive, and probably not a noble one so the point is somewhat moot here, but it still raises entertaining questions. As the final scenes fade completely to night, mega cliffhangers are dropped and excitement for next week begins to build up again! The momentum is really up on this series, and chapter 5 is a can’t miss installment!
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. Also, let’s make sure to give credit where credit is due: