Smallville Season 11 #18 Review OR All Hell Breaks Loose, Literally


Well, that escalated quickly.  What started out as a few easily stopped shenanigans from Felix Faust has turned into the hordes of Hades invading Washington, DC.  Oh, and zombies.  There are zombies in there too.  Things are pretty bonkers, so let’s discuss after the usual warning:


If you haven’t read this comic, don’t read any further!

And if you aren’t reading this comic, go check it out!

It’s really quite good.  I think you’ll like it.

So Faust has successfully released Hades, who is none too impressed with the progresses of humanity since he was last free and immediately sets about tearing it all down.  Faust accomplished what Bones was loathe to do, a failure that resulted in his bizarre skeletal state.  While Bones is hardly the good guy here, at least he’s not as evil as Faust, who quite literally made a deal with the devil in return for long life.  Hades is unleashed, his zombie army is roaming Washington, DC, the Washington monument is crumbling, and a giant monster is bursting out of the ground at the National Mall.  It’s a bad scene.

Luckily for the world, someone else has been unleashed as well.  It turns out Hippolyta wasn’t captured by Faust, as I thought when I read the last issue, but rather was held by Bones and the DEO in their secret base.  Clark Kent infiltrated the base, scanning it with his X-ray vision while pretending to take notes for a Daily Planet story, and found Hippolyta hidden in the Black Room in some sort of suspended animation.  Once freed, she wanted to go home with Diana, but Diana chose to stay and fight alongside her new friends, donning her mother’s armor to take on Hades:


This book is just so bonkers.  In between all of that overarching plot, Faust broke into DEO headquarters with a giant sea monster, Superman saved Lois and Steve from some zombies, and a new, Asian Cameron Chase showed up.  They really do pack a lot of stuff into these digital first books.

The Superman stuff was fine, and I liked Clark infiltrating the DEO base in plain sight, but Bryan Q. Miller and Jorge Jimenez’s take on Diana is what I love most about this book.  After she surrendered to Bones last issue, he had her placed in some sort of torture apparatus meant to electrocute her so he could test her powers.  The machine barely tickled Diana, who chatted amiably with Bones and found out the full story of what was going on with Faust and his connection to Hades.  When Diana hears that her mother has been found and that Faust is attacking the base, she busts out of the apparatus with ease and rushes to help.  Then, with Hades rampaging through Washington, she armors up to go fight him.

This Diana is tough and determined, ferocious but clear-headed, and smart to boot.  When her mother just wants to return home, Diana sees that Hades won’t stop with Washington and that Paradise Island would soon be a target.  She decides to deal with him now, and help millions of innocents in the process, rather than just waiting for the inevitable attack at home.

Her New 52 counterpart is presumably much older and more experienced, but it’s this Smallville Wonder Woman who comes off as the more mature and together hero.  The New 52 Wonder Woman is all over the place, making poor decisions and getting duped at nearly every turn, while the Smallville Wonder Woman is perpetually in control.  Even things that seem like a setback, like Bones taking her into custody in the previous issue, are well-managed and ultimately beneficial.  The torture has no effect, she learns what she needs to know from Bones, breaks free when she wants to, and gets her mother back.  This Wonder Woman knows what she’s doing.

Smallville Season 11 continues to impress me on every level.  Bryan Q. Miller’s writing is sharp and the story is entertaining and moves along quickly.  Jorge Jimenez’s art is fantastic, and he seems more interested in having his own take on the characters than rigidly adhering to resembling the actors from the show.  Carrie Strachan’s colouring and Saida Temofonte’s lettering are solid, and work in the best way possible: You don’t notice them.  It’s an odd compliment, but the best colouring and lettering is seamless, showcasing and elevating the art and moving the story along with ease so that each page flows and works like it should.  Poor colouring and lettering is jarring, sticking out like a sore thumb and disrupting the reading experience while in a well put together book, like this one, everything works together beautifully.

I’m excited to see how the story concludes next month, but I’m also very sad that it’s going to be over.  I really enjoy this Wonder Woman, and it’s one of my favourite versions of the character I’ve ever seen.  I’d love to read a book about her every month, and it’s a bummer that the most we’ll get is sporadic guest appearances in future Smallville issues.  It’s a Superman series, but Wonder Woman absolutely steals the book, which is a refreshing change of pace from the New 52 where Wonder Woman is often overshadowed by her enjoyably colourful supporting cast.  If someone has the power to give Bryan Q. Miller a regular Wonder Woman series, please do so.


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One Response to “Smallville Season 11 #18 Review OR All Hell Breaks Loose, Literally”

  1. Mary Says:

    I love and cherish this book so month. Smallville was not a perfect show by a long shot and there were bad seasons. But one of the things it did very right was often do “right” by the iconic women in the narrative. Smallville’s version of Lois Lane (and their eventual handling of the Lois/Clark love story) is one of the best adaptations that exists. So I wasn’t “shocked” to see Bryan Q. Miller make serious effort to get Wonder Woman this right….but it still came as a jolt just how seriously great is in this book.

    This is how I envision Superman and Wonder Woman to be. Not this forced, awkward romance that seems to drain the “super” and “wonder” from both of them and leave them both so…ordinary. Here they are two people who you KNOW will grow to respect each other deeply as we move forward and you can envision them having a life long friendship/family relationship.

    This is only a 25 year old Superman and yet here he’s more mature, more put together, more emotionally invested and more “human” than anything we’ve seen in the new 52. Granted, it was a 10 year journey to get here. But we’re here now. The journey is complete and he’s recognizable as Superman at 25 years old. Imagine what kind of Superman he’ll be at age 30 or 35….Wow.

    I am thrilled to death that this book took the time to touch on Steve Trevor and Diana. THANK GOD. It’s a crime that writers seemingly refuse to give Steve Trevor any development because there is this extremely troublesome notion that a human male is somehow not ‘good” enough or “strong” for her or something. It’s such a load of insulting, gendered BS. I love that Steve gets to be a heroic, yet flawed figure here. A real person. A boy that Diana “saved” when she was a child. That’s beautiful. One of the biggest mistakes, imo, of the new 52 is that Geoff Johns finally started to pay attention to Steve Trevor again only to basically shove him to the side so Diana could cry to Superman. No. That’s just…wrong. It’s just so wrong.

    Finally, I love that this is a book in which it’s more than clear that Wonder Woman and Lois Lane—DC’s most famous (and often most poorly treated) women are two women who will go on to respect each other and share a friendship. That’s the way it should ALWAYS be. They don’t always have to love each other but it’s crazy and insulting that DC Comics attempts to constantly pit them against each other and encourage these terrible fan wars. We have so few feminist icons that we can trace back 75 years. How freaking terrible is it that the current comics mindset operates from the assumption that women literally have to “choose” between them? Bc that’s essentially what DC has done in the new 52. They’ve shoved Lois to the side completely–robbed her of her iconic place in the Superman narrative—shoved Wonder Woman in Lois’s place. They’ve taken two women who mean a lot to little girls and women everywhere and said, “Sorry! You can’t have them both. You have to choose sides!” I reject this approach to both characters and I so welcome a different approach here.

    I love this book . I just don’t have enough good words about this book.

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