I have to admit, even though I am a huge Superman fan, I never watched even one full episode of Smallville. I heard a great many good things about the show, but a show about Clark Kent set in both Smallville and Metropolis, and starred nearly every supporting Superman Family character, as well as nearly every member of the Justice League, but promised “no tights and no flights” just didn’t seem to be up my alley. I know. I know…I’m some kind of idiot or something. I want my Superman to fly, to wear the costume, to fight worthy enemies, and most of all to resemble, well…Superman. Sadly, the mainstream in continuity Superman really doesn’t resemble the Superman I know anymore, so while I eagerly await the sequel to Superman: Earth One, I decided to pick up Smallville #1 in the hopes that I’d find a Superman that I recognized. To my immediate surprise and joy, I did.
As I stated, I have never seen an episode of the Smallville television show in my life, but that in no way detracted from my experience of Smallville (the comic book) #1. There are a few things that I had to turn to the internet to catch up on, only because I became interested in what was going on in the series that lead up to the events of issue #1, but it was easy enough for me to get the gist of the events and surprises that issue #1 has in store for Smallville (the TV show’s) fans before I turned to the internet for clarification. What struck me so powerfully about Smallville #1 was that it reminded me, and felt much more like, a Superman story that would have appeared before the whole New 52 reboot, which has done wonders for some characters, but totally messed up my favorite one in many ways, if not in every way.
Lois and Clark are together. Lois knows Clark is Superman. They share an apartment. Clark Kent works at the Daily Planet. Superman’s costume, even sans the red trunks everybody now hates, looks more traditional. In fact it resembles the upcoming Man of Steel’s super suit. The presence of Green Arrow (who I hear was a pretty integral character in the TV series) is fighting crime alongside Superman, and his costume looks cool, understated, and realistic. There is a Justice League Watchtower that is literally down to Earth, and best yet, there appears to be a plethora of potential for there to be plenty of Smallville spin off comics. Maybe there’ll be a family of Smallville comics that us suffering Superman fans, who just can’t get reconcile themselves with the sorry state of The New 52’s Superman, to look forward to. Besides being an enjoyable and fun Superman read, Smallville #1 is a book that is packed with overflowing potential. This is a whole new world of for Superman to run around in, yet it feels familiar to long term Superman readers. This is something that many of us desperately need (not to mention that DC Comics’ definitely needs).
Artist Pere Perez and writer Bryan Q. Miller bring this new (to the comic book page) Superman to brilliant and vivid life. Building on events that the show ended upon, and capturing Tom Wellington’s likeness pretty accurately, Smallville definitely won’t disappoint fans of the TV series’ look. Perez (Action Comics Vol. 1, Batgirl) provides readers with sharp, crisp, and realistic images of Superman, The Green Arrow, and the supporting cast, while demonstrating a strong grasp of anatomy and kinetic movement. The panel where Superman darts in front of a launched bazooka rocket in order to save Green Arrow is perfectly drawn. Bryan Q. Miller (Smallville TV series, Batgirl) knows this version of Clark Kent/Superman inside out, and he brings him into the “tights and flights” era of the character very nicely.
Pre-New 52 Superman fans can rejoice. With Smallville, we’re finally getting a character that resembles, and feels almost like, an old friend who’s returned after a long absence. Again, I’ve never watched an episode of Smallville before, but I already love this version of the character more than the one over in Action Comics Vol. 2 and Superman.