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Friday, August 17, 2012

Smallville: Season 11 #13 - "Detective"


The first episode of season 11, "Guardian", concluded with issues #10-12, which I did not review. Blame summer. Blame laziness. Blame me. Here's what happened: Lex Luthor really did a number on Superman. His entire 'blowing up the Guardian space platform and Hank Henshaw along with it' scheme was all a diabolical ruse to infect Superman with a radioactive isotope. Now, Luthor can track Superman where ever he flies to, leaving Superman in a lurch - he can't go to work at the Daily Planet as Clark Kent and he can't go home to Lois or his secret identity is blown. He has to be Superman 24/7. (Luckily, the Planet was good enough to grant Clark Kent a hasty leave of absence from mild-mannered reporting.) Meanwhile, Hank Henshaw's mind was placed in a STAR Labs robot body and he understandably didn't appreciate it. Henshaw went haywire and tried to kill Lex, but Superman arrived and saved the day. So in a way, Henshaw became a 'cyborg Superman', only without the Superman part. Double meanwhile, in the cornfields of Smallville, Green Arrow and his wife Chloe Sullivan discovered that the alien space craft they were tracking isn't from outer space, but from a parallel Earth! Earth-2! The Master Chief-looking lady was not Lana Lang, as I suspected, but was in fact the dying Chloe Sullivan of Earth-2! And she died with a warning: Earth-2 has been destroyed and our Earth, which we arrogantly refer to as Earth-1, could be next! Because, and Chloe-2 used this word specifically, there was a Crisis! Oh geez. (Where's Pariah? Never mind...)

And now, the second episode of Smallville: Season 11 - "Detective"...

ROLL CALL (the shortest and World's Finest Roll Call yet):


According to a very naked Lois Lane, weeks have passed since Lex Luthor made Superman radioactive but thanks to some Super trickery involving a Queen Industries satellite momentarily blocking the Lexcorp satellite, Superman was able to whisk Lois to his ice crystal love shack in the North Pole, the Fortress of Solitude, where he himself got very naked. After amore, Clark sets about using the Fortress' technology to find a way to get the radioactivity off of him. (Why doesn't he just take a bath in the sun until it's all gone? Probably because he doesn't know he can do that. Which I assume he can.) In between Clark's exposition, Lois gets jokes in about the big comic booky fake science words he uses and it's Smallville-style charming:

Love the shout outs to the scene in Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut when Marlon Brando's floating head saw Lois in her Superman shirt and gave her the evil eye, and the use of the "knowledge of the known galaxies". That should be 28 known galaxies. Clark actually says he's trying to be more "proactive" (yay!) and trying to solve this problem by himself as opposed to relying on Dr. Emil Hamilton at STAR Labs, who's busy investigating that whole crashed space ship Earth-2 Crisis business. Lois tries to drag Clark back to his silver crystal sexy bed, but can't budge him. "When did you get so heavy?" she asks. Clark: "It's the same way I fly. Emil thinks I have some kind of variable density control --" Wow! A pseudo-scientific explanation for Superman's flight! Eat it, Stan Lee*! Anyway, let's leave Lois and Clark to their sexy super sex and not bother them anymore. We have bigger fish to fry in a town called...

Gotham. Ah, Gotham City. Always brings a smile to my face. In a shadowy back alley of Gotham, a criminal exchange takes place: thugs from Intergang have a special delivery for thugs in Gotham: weapons. Futuristic looking rifles of some sort. Intergang has been delivering such weapons to other towns and now Gotham's criminals have some of their own. "Finally, we can get some decent crime done around here," they say. "The Batman won't stand a chance!" Ha! Ha ha! Well, probably not, if he gets shot with one of those. I'm assuming. But who says that's gonna happen?

As if on cue, a laughing young daredevil spooks the criminals from the shadows, bragging that the Batman has "a helicopter and a tank." And from the shadows, she strikes! Nightwing! It's a she! Acrobatically pummeling the thugs with punches and kicks, Nightwing sure does like to talk a lot. She almost pays for it with her life when she narrowly avoids getting fried by one of those Intergang laser rifles, but she uses her electric-tipped Escrima stick to cause the rifle to explode. One of the thugs says, "Feets, don't fails me now!" (not really) and high tails it in the van. Nightwing gets on the Batradio - "This is Nightwing. We've got a runner!" - which makes me wonder to whose benefit she identified herself as 'Nightwing' for? I mean, who else is on that direct channel to the Batman besides Nightwing? It's like she was aware there was an audience reading who needed a formal introduction.

Nonetheless, the mysterious dread Batman is on the runaway van, sending some sort of exploding energy Batarang in its way to crash it into a wall. The thug this time really says "Feets, don't fails me now!" (no, he still doesn't) and high tails it on foot through an alley, but he's done for, man. There's a big black scalloped shadow coming his way from above, and man, is he pissed. Because he's always pissed. At criminals. Because he hates them. So much. The funniest bit in the issue is the thug gulping "Somebody save >hurk<!" as the Batman hangs him from a crane ten stories up. Just to be petty, Nightwing crunches his sunglasses beneath her boot and then puts them on him when she gets to the roof.

The Batman is a tough boss, ordering his partner to "stop showboating and do the job", and calling her on the carpet for not getting the thugs rounded up before the cops arrived. We also see The Batman in full view this time and his Batsuit is... interesting. Samurai-inspired, as if this Batman took one of the suits from Michael Keaton's armory that dazzled Alexander Knox in Tim Burton's first Batman and stuck pointy bat ears on it.

Turning his attention to the hanging thug, whose name is Saul, the Batman conducts his patented "scare the shit out of the criminal" interrogation by threatening to kill him (he won't because he doesn't do that, but no need to let Saul in on this fact) unless he talks: "WHERE'S THE DETONATOR?!?" Oh sorry, that's what he wanted to know from Bane. The Batman wants to know who the Intergang contact is who brought these evil guns into his city. And then the Batman hears the name that sends a... chill... up his spine. See what I did there?

Traumatic Flashbacks!

Huh. His sidekick Nightwing doesn't know the story of the man who murdered Bruce Wayne's parents. I presume this Batman is Bruce Wayne. I mean, that hasn't been spelled out in Smallville yet. (He could be Robin John Blake? Nah.) Nor do we yet officially in the context of the episode know the secret identity of Nightwing at this moment. But we have plenty of time to have these questions answered because the Batman isn't going anywhere. By that I mean, he and Nightwing are going somewhere:

C'mon, like we're not coming back next week for the first-ever meeting of Smallville's Superman and Batman...

*Recently at Comic Con, Stan Lee complained about how Superman can fly with no visible means of propulsion. Hence, eat it, Stan.