Smallville: Chaos #1 (Comics Review)

As a fan, a huge fan actually, of CW’s Smallville, I was pretty excited when I saw that DC had started a digital series for Season 11 of the show. Smallville is the first show that I started watching right from the first episode as a kid, staying up late in those early days since the syndication in the UAE was around 9 or 10pm at night. Sure, the first season was a bit rough, but the later seasons, once I restarted on the show in college and started watching the full thing, things got infinitely better. And it ended Season 10 (TEN SEASONS!!) on a really good note.

Writer Bryan Q. Miller is tasked with shelpherding this digital series, and he seems to have done a great job, given the dozens of comics he’s put out in the years since the reboot of the DC universe with the New 52. The series has a completely different timeline and is dependent on the show of course, but that hasn’t stopped the popularity and every week or two Miller seems to be putting out something new. I’ve only read a few random issues, but they’ve all impressed me and Chaos #1 is right at the top. The art is not to my tastes as much however, but is still good as well.

Smallville - Chaos 001

One of the best things about this issue is that it has both Ted Kord and Michael Holt in it, i.e., Blue Beetle and Mr. Terrific. And Lex Luthor. And Lois Lane. And Clark Kent himself of course. Creme de la creme as they say. The idea is that Kord and Holt have joined together on a Supercollider project in the Antarctic and since they needed some cash flow, they approached Luthor, who graciously agreed. And now, things are about to go sideways as they turn on the Supercollider for the first time, for Luthor is the villain and nothing he does comes without a price or some kind of a shadowy deal.

Reading through this comic, I really did feel like I was missing out on some things because obviously this series has been going on for about three years now (almost!) and a lot has happened in the mean-time. But that largely relates to Luthor’s portrayal here and if I’m honest, it didn’t really factor all that much into my enjoyment of the story here. I was reading the previous arc, but stopped somewhere around Lantern #4, so I guess I need to get back on that to see what all has gone down.

In effect, Miller’s portrayal of all the characters feels pretty damn spot on, and I loved that since I’m such a huge fan of the show and while things are obviously different since this is the far-end of the 11th season, but the consistency seems to be there. Whether dialogue or anything else, this definitely feels like a Smallville story and has all those hallmarks that I remember from my months watching the show in its entirety in college.

What I can say, after my brief reading of the Titan and Lantern arcs is that Miller seems to have a good handle on things in all their myriad forms, and that Chaos #1 is a pretty damn good story in itself. Miller plays to the strengths of his characters and he lets the story do the legwork rather than dragging the reader down with narration. In fact, there is no narration in this issue, just dialogue and whatever else is on the page courtesy of the artists. Given the cliffhanger ending, I am certainly most intrigued since it is the kind of cliffhanger that all great Smallville stories are made of, so this is no exception.

Agustin Padilla is the artist here with José Avilés as the inker, Carrie Strachan as the colourist, Saida Temafonte as the letterer and Cat Staggs as the cover artis. Taken on its own, the art is pretty damn good, especially the characterwork. But you start looking at the fact that is is also supposed to be using the actors from the show as source, and it doens’t match up, not one bit, as far as I’m concerned. Still, I won’t complain because the overall artwork was great. Holt and Kord and Luthor in one place and they are all friends (of convenience and economics).

Bryan Q. Miller has started off with this new arc on quite a high and I can’t wait to see what’s due next week.

Rating: 8.5/10

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