Long live, Smallville: Season 11! Issue #53 came out today. It is the ninth and FINAL chapter in the Argo saga.
What did I think of it?
Well... I dug it. Really, I did. Big fuckin surprise right? But yeah, it was a damn decent conclusion to the storyline. Where do I start?
First of all I made a bigass mistake and read it on it's own. Sure I've been following it every week and I know what happened last time but...
Reading this issue cold fucks up the momentum of the story. It starts fast. Abruptly. Booster Gold on a stolen freighter teams up with the Legion and Earthgov to save the survivors of Metropolis.
Now I will say that Booster's big moment where the Legion have to admit their respect for him is a tad underwhelming. The best the Legion give him is "Maybe there's hope for him yet." which is less than he deserves. He's doing everything he can powers or not to save the innocent people from the aftermath of the bombing while the Legion is just sitting around with their thumbs up their butt. At no point is Booster's heroism made as big as it really is.
It's a bit of an emotional anticlimax and the story never gives him more than that. Disappointing but...
The emotional CLIMAX and it is a true climax is Kara and the Legion risking their life to avert Superman's sacrifice. It really does show how very much Clark means to his buddies in the Legion that they would risk it all to preserve not only Superman's place in history but their friend Clark Kent.
On Superman himself... the artwork of Superman fighting Doomsday as they twirl helplessly towards the sun is rather striking. On the emotional spectrum Clark telling Saturn Girl to give Lois his love is powerful stuff. I love the closeup of Saturn Girl's face as it crumbles, a lone tear running down her cheek. If I didn't know that this was a continuing series I probably would have cried.
The sun sequence really does show the great advantage of a superhero working in a team and the chant of "Long live the Legion!" really ended it all on a great, great high.
Besides the aforementioned Booster anticlimax there is another aspect to the climax that nags at me. For the whole of "Argo" we're seeing New Krypton and Earth at each other's throats. By the end however both sides suddenly give up the hostilities and all's well that ends well. I do realize the implication is that after the Doomsday attack on New Krypton and the gravity bombing of Metropolis both sides are sickened by the destruction and willing to put aside their differences and leave each other alone but...
It felt kinda pat. Like Miller was running out of room to tie everything up and that's how it read. It's kinda unsatisfying. In the end New Krypton is still not a part of the United Planets and Earth is still full of xenophobes. Maybe we're supposed to see that as challenge that the Legion will have to deal with on their own but it's pretty damn disappointing that we don't get much more on it than we did.
My favorite part of the story-which DID evoke a tear-is a cameo by a prepubescent almost-speedster named Bartholomew Allen. He and Superman run
into each other.
When Bart's identity is revealed to Superman well...
He and I had the same reaction.
At least my suspicion that this Bart-as was true of the original-originate in the future was confirmed. I can't wait to see how this pays off later on in the season.
What's left to say about this issue?
Well there is a nice little moment between cousins where Clark invites her back to the 21st Century for Chloe's baby shower. I hope she doesn't go. I'm sure that's when the Crisis is sure to hit and the last thing I want to see happen is Clark burying Kara in this reality. Better she stay in the future with her people and the Legion.
All in all Argo was a damn fine story arc but due to it's slip ups in the end run I can't say it was exceptional. I think Detective and Haunted were stronger. I will say that it did have the best cliffhanger of the series even though it was resolved-in classic Smallville fashion-weakly.
I look forward to the Wonder Woman arc with bated anticipation and can't wait to see how Bryan Q will bring her into the Smallville U. If his Diana is even half as good as his Batman then we're in for something special!
I can't wait!