By: Adam Basciano
“While Superman investigates what caused the solar flares, Lex is trying to figure out why he’s seeing his sister Tess everywhere. But neither of these things is going stop Lex’s announcement of the launch of a dangerous mission to orbit with former astronaut Hank Henshaw at the wheel. On launch day, tension is running high. Lex is confident things will go as planned, but when the shuttle explodes in midair, only one person can save the day. 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.” (DC Comics)
It’s been a while since I reviewed the third issue of this series. That’s because I’ve decided to review this book in three issue blocks. This comic is an incredibly fast read, so doing reviews in this way works better for me. Issues four through six key in on Lex Luthor, his mindset after going all “Sixth Sense” on us, and his nefarious plans. He plans to launch his “Guardian Defense Platform” into orbit. All this is an effort to protect humanity from future alien threats. Of course, we all know that’s double speak for taking down Superman. To take the platform into orbit Lex has hired Hank Henshaw as his pilot. Despite the fact that he works for Lex, the writer does a wonderful job of asserting Henshaw as a decent and honorable guy. This will make his inevitable fall from grace that much more impactful.
Clark Kent and Lois Lane did quite a bit of reporting in these issues. That was one of my favourite aspects of these three books. I find it is neglected far too often in the Superman comics. In fact, the last time their reporting was handled correctly was in the t.v. series “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.” Lex Luthor as the villain can be over-played at times, but he’s at his best when the heroes know he’s committed a crime but don’t have enough proof to do anything about it. That’s expertly explored in issue 5, during the confrontation between Lex and Oliver. Other things worth mentioning; the connection between S.T.A.R. Labs and Dr. Swann was a nice nod to Christopher Reeve’s time on the show. Also, Bryan Q. Miller has finally given a purpose to Superman’s belt. All I’ll say is move over Apple, Blackberry, and Android!
The art was great in these three issues. The placement of the flashback scenes from the series and the colour tones used, really added more weight and importance to the scenes they were used in. My favourite page from all three issues is Superman flying upwards to save the distressed shuttle, while a massive fire trail behind him. Also we have a new cover featuring the bald s.o.b. we all love to hate. Much like the first cover, it is a true to life depiction of Michael Rosenbaum who played Lex Luthor.
This series is much more satisfying when read in bunches. The one constant for me with Smallville Season 11, is that every issue seems to be better than the last. That’s incredibly rare with ongoing comic books. I’d go so far to say that Smallville Season 11 is the best ongoing Superman related comic book next to Action Comics.