A long standing tradition on the CBGXtra website, when the forums are actually up and running, has been reviewing various superhero related media.

One of the programs under this practice has been The WB's/The CW's version of Smallville.

Thankfully the show went on winter hiatus before the forums were closed for hacking prevention/maintenance/updating.

With Mr. Silver Age's kind indulgence and urging, I am resuming reviews of Smallville here, starting with the first new episode of 2011 below.

All opinions are my own. Yours may vary and are quite welcome in this space.

Now then...

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Booster Gold debuts on the scene, determined to take Clark Kent's place in history and make a name for himself in our time. Meanwhile a young Jamie Reyes needs all the help he can get after encountering an alien scarab.

 

On one hand, this was definitely one of the better episodes of the season, let alone the overall series; but then again, what would you expect from a Geoff Johns script.

Lois trying to teach Clark how to be mild mannered while instructing Jamie how to be more outgoing was quite interesting. Having Skeets be a headset instead of a floating security droid (something that, in hindsight, the show's budget probably couldn't afford anyway) was a nice touch.

Ted Kord still alive and referencing Dan Garrett (the first Blue Beetle) were definite shout outs to the comic book fans in the audience. Booster (aptly played by Eric Martsolf) was at the very beginning of his initial career: a major glory hound only thinking of the fame and fortune being a superhero would allegedly bring, especially at Clark's expense by usurping his place in history as Superman.

On the other hand: not enough was done (in my humble opinion) to establish Jamie a little more for the non-comic book fans (and yes, there are bound to be some) in the audience and the whole episode seemed more like a potential back door pilot than anything else; which once more raises the question of what superhero/comic book project (if any) will replace Smallville on the CW's schedule this fall.

Either way, the stage is now set for the potential return of the Blue and Gold team, with Booster mentoring Jamie and Skeets mentoring Booster. Whether it will be before or during the series finale or somewhere else remains to be seen.

 

NEXT: "The Phantom Zone shall kneel before me!"

I am disappointed that the WB has opted to go with the embarrassingly clownish, klutzy Christopher Reeve portrayal of Clark Kent rather than the mild-mannered but professional and competent George Reeves version.
Well, how it balances out remains to be seen, but I think the fact that they have been using the Christopher Reeve era music on the show should have been a clue, although every hint of a familiar red and blue costume has been from the Superman Returns movie.
The bad thing about the George Reeves Clark...since he was so simliar to Superman, it really made the Planet staff look stupid that they couldn't figure it out.
That's true about every incarnation of the Daily Planet staff in every medium!

Doc Beechler said:
The bad thing about the George Reeves Clark...since he was so simliar to Superman, it really made the Planet staff look stupid that they couldn't figure it out.
Well...I think Chris Reeve actually did it well.  I think that's why he's the template...you could believe that no one would associate that Clark with Superman.

The entire Blue Beetle storyline was a total homage to the comics with all that backstory. It seemed like a lot to introduce just to blow it off in one episode and give a nod to the comics, so we'll see.

I still have a hard time believing that putting on glasses and walking around stoop-shouldered will mean much to people who have seen Clark for so many years in both his Smallville life and his Metropolis life. I also thought it was truly ironic that it's Lois convincing Clark he's got to do better at hiding his identity.

Chris Reeve convinced me it could be possible, considering how little time Superman actually spends with any one person and how unlikely Clark is in that role. But nobody knew him in any other persona as they do this Clark.

I have to admit, I laughed out loud during Beetle's attack at the dramatic way Clark turned to see that phone booth standing there all lit up. Is there a phone booth like that anywhere any more? Whipping off the glasses and seeing him zip up the S was a cool switch on the usual. Not as good as ripping open the shirt, but not bad. 

I still am not a big fan of Superman wearing a Kryptonian family symbol that happens to resemble an S, but there was no other way to go given how they had to come to it. I liked that exchange: "You need the S to stand for something, something...Super!" "I'll brainstorm some ideas." That wouldn't take much of a brainstorm.

With Booster and Beetle hanging out, Kara around somewhere and Clark Luthor living it up in Washington, there are a lot of potential storylines suddenly popping up. I don't know if it's intentional, as none seem to have been picked up to continue, but they're there if they decide they need something.

The CW doesn't have much money for developing pilots, so they don't have many shows coming on his fall, but there's time to develop it for mid-season or 2012.

-- MSA

Okay. Personal and professional commitments kept me from coming back before now, but stay tuned as I go over the penultimate episodes before the series finale.

 

Dominion finds Clark and Oliver going into the Phantom Zone to (hopefully) close it once and for all, only to find that the clone of Zod (Callum Blue reprising his role as the MAJOR Zod clone) has united with the Phantom of GENERAL Zod and is now in total command of the Zone.

 

In all honesty, if I ever feel compelled to create a top ten list of Smallville episodes, this one will definitely be amongst them!

Oliver goes to the Zone unarmed. The whole scenario of Clark having to fight Ollie was a foregone conclusion, although the format remained to be seen.

Yet ROMAN GLADIATOR STYLE?

I can buy the theory that Jor-El created the Zone so the prisoners could still have some semblance of life in prison, yet where did all the iron come from anyway?

And to suddenly introduce a possible deus ex machina towards the last few minutes in the bow of Orion...

 

At least Lois' reactions rang true to form and the episode did finally resume focusing upon the season long darkness/Darkseid plot line.

 

NEXT: "It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Super...LOIS?"

I thought this was an okay standard episode, but I was kind of hoping the last few would be a bit more iconic. I liked that Clark and Ollie actually had a plan and sold it by stabbing Clark, knowing that if their plan worked, it wouldn't matter, and if it didn't work, well, it wouldn't matter either.

It was a nice touch to give Clark a cape as a gladiator. Otherwise, when combined with the alternative-universe adventure before, it seems like Clark is spending a lot of time off-world doing nonessential things that didn't really advance the Darkseid overarching plot or really move him closer to his ultimate destiny.

Apparently, they felt like tying up some loose threads in these last episodes that I didn't think were all that loose and revisiting past scenes. I guess this one got rid of the Zoners, but I didn't think they were all that dangerous at this point.

There's much more to say about Super-Lois, as the end had some very cool images (and I actually was able to watch it live, so I did, something I've almost never done). But I'll wait until you post your summary to discuss it.

Needless to say, considering all the teasing they've done with the League and now introducing Courtney again, I'm hoping the finale is really satisfying.

-- MSA

While I did not like Dominion, Prophecy was much better, if a bit rushed.

 

As a final preparation for their impending wedding, Clark takes Lois to the Fortress to announce their impending marriage to Jor-El, who promptly takes Clark's powers away and gives them to the bride to be.

Meanwhile, Toyman is behind the scenes of a villainous syndicate that includes the "Dark Archer", Roulette, Black Manta, Metallo, and someone only viewed from behind that looks like Captain Cold; to first secretly buy up Metropolis' water rights (and they don't even bother doing their own dirty work) before taking over the city in hopes of eventually wiping out all the heroes on their way to (presumably) world domination.

And if not isn't enough, Oliver (finally armed, although not dressed as Green Arrow) goes hunting for the Bow of Orion, has a brief team up with Supergirl before she is told by Jor-El to go forge her own destiny "elsewhere".

But as a solo act, although he claims the Bow, Oliver only has it long enough to lose it to Granny Goodness, who quickly makes him her thrall to start looking for GOLD kryptonite!

 

Definitely an action packed episode, if a bit rushed because of everything going on.

Tying in actual astronomy with Greek mythology and Jack Kirby's Fourth World mythos was a nice touch, but it will be interesting to see how it all wraps up in the final two episodes presented back to back next week, especially in light of Lois' realization at the end of the episode.

 

NEXT: The grand finale (cue the John Williams' music)

 

Now, a friendly reminder to all my friends and fans here on Captain Comics website.

Because I will be attending Pulp Ark in Batesville, Arkansas next weekend (my first convention as a professional GUEST and not as a private fan), I will be unable to see the Smallville grand finale first run.

If any of you would like to lend your comments and take over in my stead, feel free.

In all honesty, I'm not sure when or if I will get to see the last two episodes because I don't have a working VCR and am uncertain of any reputable on line site where I can watch it without risking picking up a lot of tracking cookies or other bad web stuff.

In any event, hopefully Clark and company will get the send off they deserve.

In all honesty, if I ever feel compelled to create a top ten list of Smallville episodes, this one will definitely be amongst them!

While I did not like Dominion, Prophecy was much better, if a bit rushed.

Either you changed your mind or mistyped somewhere along the line. I wasn't that impressed by Dominion as an episode so close to having no more to do. My expectations this close to the end were higher. It was okay, there were no major logic lapses or problems, it just was fairly run-of-the-mill for me.

There were some very cool parts to Prophecy, including the Silver Agey Lois-gets-powers theme and the way she discovered she had them. I loved that they went out of their way to show Black Manta and Captain Cold (who I've always considered Flash's arch-foe). And, of course, that shot of the full-on, no-kidding super-suit. It looked pretty good (ie, an emblem with the SA dimensions).

The rest was okay, not great. That water-rights thing did not make sense to me. I don't see how owning those individual businesses allows them to control Metropolis' water supply. Plus, that seemed like a Darkseid plot to mind-control everyone, not a simple blackmail scheme by a bunch of costumed super-villains sitting around a table.

It seemed rushed with a lot going on, but what was the point? All those Indiana Jones traps and Kara and Ollie working together for Granny to destroy the treasure in a couple seconds? That was a waste of time.The notion that Ollie was carrying two mega-bows to shoot arrows which was just what the traps required and that he and Kara could time their speed and aim exactly made it tough to suspend disbelief.

Kara seemed to be an uncomfortable presence. They had her trapped for weeks in a cave, thereby explaining where she's been, and then Jor-El gave her a lot of  mumbo-jumbo about Earth not needing a second super-powerful Kryptoniian to defeat Darkseid. So she went off to the future with the Legion (I guess).

But if Clark doesn't defeat Darkseid in his trial, will there be a future for Kara to be in? There were ways to do that and keep Kara from being a complication, but it just didn't make sense to me. Kara going off to the Legion is a nice idea for getting rid of her (and followed the comic from a few years ago), but the logic wasn't there.

And why did Clark just turn off Jor-El? That seemed pretty harsh just because Clark decided to do it. When has Jor-El allowed him to make any decision on his own? It would have been better if Jor had said, "My work here is done" and shut himself off, or pulled a ruby shoes and said, "You could have stopped listening to me at any time if you thought you were ready."

It didn't occur to me that the bow of Orion belonged to THAT Orion until Kara started her exposition on it. That was kind of cute, but the notion that there was all that buildup for it to be gone that fast seemed strange.

They should have made more out of the fact that Lois made the wrong decision with Toyman, the opposite of what Clark would have done, at least IMO. He wouldn't have given in to the villain, he would have raced back to protect Lois, knowing he could protect her (and if HE didn't have the powers, then SHE would, if you see what I mean, so they could work it out.) I don't see how becoming Toyman's willing slave was really a good choice she thought advisable.

I did like Clark confronting Toyman and double-dog daring him to reveal his identity, knowing he wasn't capable of that and giving him a little smile that said, "I've got you figured you, and that will always defeat you," while acknowledging there will be more clashes once he becomes Superman. That's the kind of confidence Superman has that Clark hasn't shown much.

I still don't see those glasses working, especially since he takes them off every second that he can (maybe Tom Welling doesn't like them), but I guess we're supposed to think that makes all the difference.

I would guess we'll be talking about the finale as soon as it's over (or, in my case, within a few days once I've seen it). I have every reason to expect it will be good, as they seem to know the right buttons to push when its time to push them. I hope we get to see all the heroes coming together, whether that Injustice League plays a role or not.

I would bet that the CW/Smallville site will have the episode available for streaming, as it's done quite a few of them, but I don't know how long that will take. Besides, if you pick up tracking cookies, just run free Ad-Aware software and delete them out. You no doubt pick up tracking codes lots of places.

I hope you get to see it soon! It would not be good to follow it this long and then have no way to see the finale. Heck, Clark has taught us that there's always a way.

-- MSA

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