Saturday, 28 February 2015

Smallville: Mercy

Martha does not ask Clark how he knows that Lionel knows his secret. The answer would have been alarming. Jonathan, who is dead, told him. Martha immediately concludes that Lionel was behind the blackmail that he claimed to have sorted out.

What an episode! Lionel surely proves himself. He is willing to die for Martha and Clark and he keeps Clark's secret from Lex. But surely Lex now has sufficient evidence that Clark has super-speed and super-strength? Clark is far too hostile towards Lionel.

Working at the Planet has made Chloe even more glamorous.

Monday, 23 February 2015


Welcome, whoever is out there! My computer tells me that there have been 57 page views in the first 50 minutes of today, Tuesday 24 Feb '15. Maybe page viewers could comment to tell us who they are?

Thank you for your attention.

Added 26 Feb: We are suddenly up to 275 page views by 17:40 today! Some page viewers are following a link from the Poul Anderson Appreciation blog.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

My Name Is Modesty

An authentic Modesty Blaise film!
An extended retelling of her origin!
With Peter O'Donnell as Creative Consultant!
Incorporating an adaptation of O'Donnell's true story about the original of Modesty!
Alexandra Staden looks like someone I know!
Young Modesty slightly resembles someone else I know!
I can't think of anything else to say but I want to use both of these images!

Later: Modesty uses a modern computer but this is an update that works and fits because the war in the Balkans in the opening sequence is not identified as WWII. The villain comments that there are always wars in the Balkans so Modesty's story becomes timeless and she would certainly have become familiar with computer passwords if she had lived into the appropriate period.

Friday, 20 February 2015


Copied from Poul Anderson Appreciation:

(This is another post that begins somewhere else, then returns to Poul Anderson Appreciation.)

Superman began publication as an adult character in 1938 so his spaceship must have come to Earth about 1918, although no one usually associates him with that period. However, in the Smallville TV series, his spaceship arrived in 1989 so why was it not detected as an incoming missile by US radar defense systems? Because this time the small space capsule arrived in a large Kryptonite meteor shower. Did the ship's drive field carry the meteors through hyperspace?

In Poul Anderson's The Star Fox (London, 1968), the space privateers use "...a giant meteorite or small asteroid..." (p. 148) to conceal the descent of a spaceship onto the surface of the planet New Europe. Because of the speed of descent, air impact would destroy the ship:

"Unless she followed exactly behind the meteorite, using its mass for a bumper and heat shield, its flaming tail for a cloak." (p. 149)

Gunnar Heim must steer the ship through its "...narrow slot of partial vacuum..." (ibid), watching the external incandescence and internal instruments, guided by intuition and an unreeling computation of where he ought to be at each moment. This sounds like other dangerous space passages in Anderson's works:

Dominic Flandry around a pulsar;
Nicholas van Rijn around an extinct supernova;
the Tau Zero ship around a new monobloc.

Before this some of Heim's men made an "...epic..." (p. 148) trip around New Europe's moon but it is not stated exactly why. Did they detach the mass that became the meteorite?

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Smallville: Fragile

Meteor powers include telekinetic glass-shattering and are inheritable but this power appears just in this one episode, I think. Clark tells Maddie that she can trust him - but everyone can't trust Clark. A piece of artwork at the Talon becomes a plot element and Belle Reve is mentioned again.

The main on-going story line is Lex and Lana - and Chloe's misguided interference. She should have either kept out of it or spoken to Lana, not confronted Lex. Why Clark doesn't get together with Chloe is beyond me.

Lois becomes Martha's chief of staff. I still don't get it that Martha can take Jonathan's Senate seat without another election. Lionel is in London so he is not around this time.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Smallville: Void

John Schneider plays Jonathan Kent twice after Jonathan's death, in a home video and in Clark's near death experience. He foretells something of Superman's career whereas Lex's mother tells him that he will murder a lot of people.

Martha is capable of accepting Lionel's friendship and making it clear that their dealings will remain on that level. I think and hope that Lionel is genuine. He says, "Good night, Clark" and has to hold back from saying, "Good night, Kal-El."

Lana must be able to cope with anything after what she has been through - like banging your head on the wall because it is good when you stop.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Smallville: Strange Visitors

Smallville: Strange Visitors by Roger Stern, the first Smallville novel, is set between two episodes of Season One, long before Clark could fly. It does open with him flying to the Moon but that is a dream but he has somehow traveled from his bedroom to the barn in his sleep.

This is a novel based on a TV series based on comic books. Superman began publication in 1938 but the Clark Kent of Smallville came to Earth in 1989. In his Acknowledgments, Stern writes that "...the story of Clark Kent as a young never-ending and forever young. (Not at all surprising, when you stop to consider that he was created by a couple of guys in their teens.)"
-Smallville Omnibus 1 (London, 2006), p. 3.

What they originally created was the adult Clark Kent with a very brief introduction about his childhood. Elements added later were:

the teenage Clark Kent as Superboy in Smallville;
a later version in which Clark grew up in Smallville but without a costumed identity there;
this TV version in which a meteor shower hid Kal-El's ship from radar and meteor radiation bestows powers on Terrestrials.

Thus, the story is "...never-ending and forever young..." because it is continually changed and adapted. It is good that it has continued but it has rarely been done justice as yet.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Smallville: Void (Interrupted)

My dvd is faulty and will have to be replaced so I have not yet seen this episode in full but man this is some pretty weird stuff about using meteor rocks to induce near death experiences and Lana does it to meet her dead parents for comfort and consolation because she has just been ex'ed by Clark, one bad idea leading to another.

What we need is some ordinary stories about:

Martha and Clark running the farm;
Martha as a Senator;
Lionel continuing to prove that he can be a genuine friend to Martha;
Clark at University in Kansas;
Lana and Chloe at University in Metropolis;
Chloe working part time at the Daily Planet;
Maggie Sawyer in the Metropolis Police Department;
Lois working at the Talon cafe in Smallville;
Lex running Luthorcorp;
other future superheroes meanwhile maturing elsewhere is this TV version of the DC Universe.

Is this not more than enough?

Lois, Lana And Chloe

Lois Lane was introduced in Superman.
Lana Lang was introduced in Superboy.
Chloe Sullivan was introduced in Smallville.
All three interact in Smallville.

What new characters will be introduced in future decades?
Can the existing characters, including Kal-El, receive their
definitive treatments in a form that would be more lasting than monthly comic books - a prose novel, a graphic novel or an enduring feature film?

Since, of the characters listed, Chloe alone was created for television, I think that she does receive her definitive treatment on screen as played by Allison Mack.


Smallville: Hypnotic

The way Clark treats Lana is abominable. We know that he has to wind up with Lois eventually but a different kind of relationship with Lana could have been written in the first place.

Two kinds of people learn Clark's secret, those who die and those who will not reveal it. Simone, employed by Lex, finds out but does not tell Lex. Lana is turning to Lex who, however, is becoming more manipulative, e.g., sending Simone to entrap Clark.

The whole series is doom-laden, not like a Superman prequel. The theme song is called "Save Me." Is the message that Clark will overcome his problems or that he would have been better off without his powers?

Monday, 9 February 2015

Smallville: Cyborg

The introduction of another superhero. Yet again, one who knows about Clark's abilities from the outset. By the time Clark becomes a superhero, a lot of his colleagues will already know who he is.

Two surprises:

Lex is backing the bad guy;
Lionel learns Kal-el's secret and will keep it because of his respect for Martha.

It makes sense that a security camera will have recorded Clark rescuing Lana from a fire and that a security guard will try to blackmail Martha with the video. Lionel lies when he tells Martha that he does not know what is in the video but the main point is that he will not tell anyone else.

Surely there should have been another election before Martha took Jonathan's Senate seat?

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Smallville: Tomb

A ghost/horror story - an unpleasant distraction.

In the Superman mythos, a few people know Clark's secret but most people do not know that he has a secret. Smallville introduces an intermediate group: Lex and Lana know that he has a secret but do not know what it is. This means that he has already let them know too much.

The Vengeance vigilante has become another person out there who knows about Clark's powers.

Will Martha take Jonathan's Senate seat? Won't there have to be a new election? So far, Lionel seems to be acting only from friendship.

We do not see Chloe's mother's face so that, if she does recur as a character, she need not be played by the same actress.

Smallville: Vengeance

Vengeance shows Clark how to have a bumbling, bespectacled secret identity at the Daily Planet and a costumed, crime fighting identity as well.

Clark says he heard Jonathan's voice. Later, we hear it but this is because Martha is watching a home video, John Schneider's last performance as Jonathan Kent.

It is more likely that the mugger was lying than that Lionel Luthor ordered him to commit murder. See "Notes,"  here.


Thursday, 5 February 2015

Smallville: Lockdown and Reckoning

Lex has been shot too often recently. That woman sheriff whose name I don't remember has been killed.

Jor-El says, "We are not gods," but sure acts like one, raising the dead, taking another life in return, even turning time back for a day. Impossible, especially that last bit.

Lionel tried to cash in on backing Jonathan. What was the photo that he showed Jonathan? Was Jonathan concealing the fact that his heart was not in good shape?

Turning points:

Jonathan dead;
Clark's relationship with Lana definitely over;
Lex and Lana maybe coming together.

Clark should get together with Chloe.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Smallville: Fanatic

A State Senate seat is a stepping stone: neat alliteration, Lex. That poor actress had to shave her hair off to play the part of a Lex fanatic. Lex's dirt digger, Griff, is found dead in Suicide Slum. Has Lionel committed murder again? What was the photo that he bought from Griff and burned?

The opening scene was, unusually, a preview. That was confusing for a while.

Duplicity was built into the Superman concept from the first comic strip episode where he hid his costume under Clark Kent's suit. In Smallville, the duplicity has become a tragedy of Greek Classical proportions. It is poisoning Clark's relationship with Lana and will be the root cause of the Superman-Luthor conflict.

Clark confides in Chloe about his reticence with Lana. The relationship was good only when he didn't have his powers. Now he is cautious because he doesn't know what he will do. And Lana is still investigating the meteors and reaching conclusions. There is no good reason for Clark not to confide in her just as there was no good reason for Hamlet not to take action against Claudius.

Smallville: Lexmas

I don't like the title. There is corny stuff about Santa Claus. Clark uses superspeed to deliver presents to needy children's Christmas trees for a Daily Planet charity.

An unconventional Near Death Experience shows Lex a possible future which he rejects because love would lead to suffering. Lionel is shown as uncompassionate again but only in that prevented future.

It seems that the only way to run an election campaign is to try to dig up dirt on your opponent but what can Lex find on Jonathan Kent?

Dig Chloe.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Smallville: Solitude

Lois Lane starts to think about working at the Daily Planet.

Fine is revealed to be a Kryptonian AI working for Zod.

Jor-El's absurd threat that the life of someone loved by Clark must be taken in return for Clark's still hangs over the Kents. It is also becoming clearer whose life it will be.

Chloe looks pretty funny surreptitiously tailing Fine.

Lionel continues to be an ok guy, helping, not manipulating.

This version of the Fortress is clearly based on the one in the first Christopher Reeve film.

It is good that the action alternates between Chloe in Metropolis and Clark in Kansas.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Modesty Blaise And Superman

See here.

In A Taste For Death (London, 2014), Willie Garvin, handcuffed to a radiator and forced to hold up a bomb that will detonate as soon as he lowers it, wonders whether he can jerk the bomb from the wire to which it is attached and throw it through the shuttered window before it explodes, then thinks:

"Just as well send for Superman." (p. 99)

Here, Superman is clearly a fictitious character although there is no reference to any particular medium.

Later, when Willie claims to be one of only two men who have had sex hanging upside down from a trapeze, Modesty asks:

"'Who was the other bat-man?'" (p. 206)

Smallville: Exposed And Splinter

Maggie Sawyer! What can I say? Chloe addresses a policewoman as "Detective Sawyer," and later the policewoman introduces herself as "Maggie Sawyer"! Except that apparently she has appeared in Smallville before and I didn't notice!

The conclusions of Professor Fine's lectures are interesting. They are not really academic, more like literary reflections on "human nature," which, of course, Fine can look at from the outside. Lex should have noticed by now that he has lost a security man at the Black Ship. Fine resembles Namor.

Lionel Luthor seems to be still a regular guy, not manipulative like before. It didn't ring true when Clark heard him blackmailing Jonathan and sure enough that was Clark's silver kryptonite induced paranoia. Lionel is now giving Lex insightful advice about how he is and how he appears to other people and is also opposing Lex's political ambitions, apparently for good reasons. Lex Luthor has come a long way since he first appeared as a comic book villain. This is the best version yet.

A lot of the characters cannot trust each other and with good reason. Lana is now concealing from Clark that Lex has shown her the Black Ship.

Go, Chloe!