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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Smallville: Season 11 #18 - "Detective"


ROLL CALL:

SUPERMAN! THE BATMAN! LEX LUTHOR! THE GREEN ARROW! TESS MERCER! OTIS! JOE CHILL! THE PRANKSTER! MR. FREEZE!

What's better than Superman and Batman beating the bejeezus out of each other? Superman and Batman teaming up. Buddy buddy. Real friendly-like. This week we really get the World's Finest team. It's like all the old covers from the 1940s without Superman and Batman riding bombs, plugging war bonds, and all the blatantly racist overtones. Therefore, it's so much better.

With the Batsignal high over the skies of Metropolis, the Batman arrives on the rooftop source of the signal to find Superman waiting for him. Superman knows enough about the Batman that this is the specific way to call a meeting with him. Superman also knows Batman and Nightwing located Joe Chill's safehouse in Suicide Slum.


You know what's great about this? In recent times, the traditional way to depict Batman and Superman seems to be that Batman's the brains and Superman's the flying muscle. But this is Smallville. This is Superman's show and Batman's the guest star. So we get to see that Batman is good, yes. Batman's great even. But he's not better than Superman. Superman's also smart and he's in charge here. Metropolis is Superman's town and this is Superman's show. Batman reluctantly accepts his role here. It's awesome.


Superman doesn't want this, frankly, crazy vigilante tearing through Suicide Slum hell bent on revenge for Joe Chill killing his mommy and daddy. He's got a point. Batman's not just a guy in a bat costume; he's got an arsenal of military style vehicles and weaponry. Batman can and will blow stuff up if he feels like it. Superman proposes "a joint investigation mutually beneficial to both of us." They make sure Joe Chill is safe from Intergang and then find out who's manufacturing the weapons he's peddling. Batman agrees and we get This Moment. If this were old school WWF, we'd call this the Megapower Handshake.


Meanwhile, at Lexcorp, Lex Luthor is enjoying video of the WrestleMania showdown between Superman and Batman. If Lex had a Batman T-shirt, he'd be wearing it right now. Lex keeps pausing and rewinding Batman, powered by red sun energy, laying the smackdown on Superman's candy ass. Lex also thinks he has one of those Blade Runner televisions that allow you enhance and move around corners inside the frame. He's bummed when Otis reminds him his TV can't do that. Maybe Lex should invent one? Otis liked the other match better, the one between Nightwing and Green Arrow, probably because he enjoys women's wrestling. Sort of like how saying "Beetlejuice" three times conjures up Beetlejuice, cuing up a Green Arrow fight on television makes the real Green Arrow appear. Oliver Queen bursts into Lex's office to accuse Lex of harassing him with those coded emails. When Oliver leaves, and he really just came to yell at Lex and skedaddle (billionaires have such time on their hands, you know, not running their companies), Lex notices the time stamps are all from the dead of night. Looks like Otis isn't getting any sleep tonight either.

At the charmingly named Suicide Slum, Superman and Batman are on a stakeout. Batman is irritated by Superman's penchant for conversation but Superman seems to really be enjoying having a partner in crime. Er, fighting. Superman's also a nice guy who's very considerate; even though he knew Batman was based in the Leviathan freighter, he didn't want to draw attention to it and compromise Batman's security because he knows Lex Luthor is watching all his movements. (You know, if anyone can figure out how to get this radiation off of Superman...) Superman and Batman then decide to play whose X-ray Vision is better and Batman wins - his night vision goggles spot some extra snipers Superman missed when he bathed the building with X-rays. Batman then plays the old "disappear while the other guy is talking" trick he plays on Jim Gordon every night. Superman should have said, "So that's what that feels like." Batman easily and stealthily penetrates the safehouse and finds Joe Chill's room, though technically Superman beats him there with Superspeed. I don't know what Batman or anyone else was expecting when we all got to meet Joe Chill, but it wasn't an old man in a wheelchair and respirator. He's like Hyman Roth from Godfather II.

Back at Lexcorp, Otis is on the case of Mr. Luthor and the Mysterious Emails. But come on, we knew what was going on before we saw it happen, didn't we? Lex rises from his peaceful slumber and sleepwalks to his office, speaking gibberish and caressing Otis' face. Then she starts sending out the emails. That's right, she, because when Lex is asleep, it's Tess Mercer in charge.

At the safehouse, Chill, a life long criminal, isn't exactly repentant about killing Batman's parents, whoever they were. Batman can't be specific and Chill has killed a lot of people for lots of reasons. This isn't good enough for Batman, who loses it, until Superman literally slaps him down. These grim avengers of the night and their unresolved childhood traumas, honestly! Superman, the good cop here, calmly explains to Joe Chill that they're really here to find out where they can find a man named Loomis, who they believe is manufacturing the weapons Chill fenced for Intergang. But hey, they don't have to look very far because Loomis is already there! Batman and Superman spring into action with Heat Vision and Batarangs, but a burst of cold takes out both. Loomis isn't alone. He has help from Batman's arch nemesis, the cool, cruel Mr. Freeze! I hope Bryan Q. Miller brushed up on his cold puns. We'll see when Smallville returns after their regularly-scheduled break.

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