Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Smallville: Justice

The Justice League begins as industrial saboteurs. Impulse, Green Arrow, Superman (not code-named yet), Aquaman and Cyborg are walking away from a burning Luthorcorp facility. Chloe assists and is code-named "Watchtower." Lex aims to raise a super-powered army to fight these "terrorists." Lionel covers for Clark with Lex.

GA will lead the team against Lex in Corto Maltese while Clark continues to hunt Zoners. Ollie and Lois are finished. We knew that that had to happen. We did not expect the JLA to start before CK had donned the costume but this is a different version of the story.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Smallville: Hydro

Linda Lake learns of Clark's extraterrestriality, then dies. I am sure we have had her before. She is another LL. The meteor powers get weirder.

Clark and Ollie play a classic trick to convince Lois that Ollie is not Green Arrow. Jimmy thought he had photographed GA uncovering his face but Clark moved too fast to stay in the shot. We see that Clark enjoys performing in a costumed identity.

Now Lana knows that Chloe is protecting a secret for Clark. Clark thinks that Lana's pregnancy by Lex makes it too late for him to tell her but he has always been too late. Lana accepts Lex's proposal. She thinks that there is trust between her and Lex.

One story that made no sense was "Reckoning." Clark told Lana but Lana died and a Kryptonian crystal rewound time for a day. I said before that Jor-El acted like a god but even gods can't do that. It says in Poul Anderson's Time Patrol that, against time, even the gods are powerless.

31/3/15: Linda Lake's initials and her in your face muck-raking role generate the impression that she is a survivor from an earlier continuity. However, she was created for Smallville.

Clark wants Chloe to keep his secret but is annoyed that she did not tell him of Lana's pregnancy. However, he recognizes the injustice of this when Chloe points it out.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Smallville: Subterranean

Lex does not commit murder yet but does detain and experiment on meteor freaks in cahoots with Lionel.

How can Chloe go for Jimmy?

One sentence makes this episode: Clark Kent says, "I am an illegal immigrant." Here the future Superman is in conflict with the law.

No Lionel, Lois or Oliver in this episode. Ollie has quickly become a regular character. Chloe commutes from Smallville to College and part time job in Metropolis. We are not seeing anything of Clark's time at College in Kansas.

Addendum: My first sight of the phrase "The Illegal Immigrant" was as the title of a Marvelman story in the 1950's when I had to ask someone what it meant. Imagine Superman applying the term to himself sixty years later!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Emergent JLA

I have watched Smallville as far as Season Six, Episode Eight. Of the original Justice League of America membership, four have so far appeared:

the Martian Manhunter.

That leaves:

Wonder Woman;
Green Lantern.

These three have all been dramatized but not in this continuity yet. They are also major figures. However, it seems that Green Arrow and Cyborg, who have also been introduced, will be charter JLA members in this continuity. Looking ahead, GA, Aquaman, Cyborg and Impulse will ask Clark to help them against Luthor in Episode Eleven called "Justice."

Friday, 27 March 2015

Smallville: Static

A fourth escaped Zoner is tackled by Clark but killed by another super-powered being leaving a trail of Oreos - the Martian Manhunter.

Jimmy proves to be good with something, radio frequencies. Now we know how he is going to make that signal watch. It also means that he is able to rescue Lex and Lana although Lex had previously written him off.

Lex and Lana are closer and he proposes to her although he is still lying to her. Lionel has covered for Lex in his absence and now wants a piece of the meteor freak experiments.

More parts of the Superman myth fall into place but the distrust that will doom several relationships continues to grow.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Smallville: Rage

How do DC characters celebrate Thanksgiving? We know of three households:

Jimmy Olsen is with his mother but texts Chloe Sullivan that he misses her;

Lex Luthor and Lana Lang are at the Luthor Mansion with domestic servants in attendance and Lana very quiet, not yet having told Lex that she is pregnant;

at the the Kent farm are

Lionel Luthor
Oliver Queen
Lois Lane.

What a combo.

There is a Green Arrow series within the Smallville TV series so it does not matter that the Arrow TV series is a different continuity. Ollie, wanting to be an indestructible champion of justice like Clark, makes excessive use of a fast-healing drug but learns better so that costumed crime-fighting continues undisturbed. GA not only steals from the rich but also stops muggings.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Smallville: Fallout

The acronym BRAINIAC is used for the first time. Kryptonians used English?

In the Silver Age, The Fortress of Solitude was a hideout built by Superman but it became a Kryptonian construct in a Christopher Reeve film and in John Byrne continuity. In Smallville, that construct is Jor-El's repository of all knowledge.

Kal-El's destiny is not to catch bank robbers or to promote Truth, Justice and the American Way but to prevent civilization from being destroyed on Earth as it was on Krypton. To do this, he must accept some training laid down by Jor-El but must first capture several Phantom Zone escapees. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor sees himself as protecting Earth from alien threats...

This one episode makes the entire Superman series seem like a single story.

Addendum, 26 Mar:

Jimmy Olsen interviews Lex Luthor.
Clark has now fought three super-powered Zoners, only one of them Kryptonian.
The Kryptonian, Raya (a potential Supergirl?), escapes from the Zone but dies.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Smallville: Reunion

Excelsior College! Warrior Angel! Back to Oliver Queen outside his GA role!

An unpleasant story of immature conflicts and long delayed revenge. Why do we have to be immature before we can be mature? Young Lex was prepared to settle for pretended friendships.

Oliver Queen has matured enough to do good in the world, to apologize to Lex and to accept that 
his apology is not well received. Queen is making his own sub-series within the Smallville series.

Chloe coins the term "Zoners." I do not know whether this nomenclature has been used in other continuities? Zoners are loose on Earth but I prefer stories about Lana, Lex, Oliver, Lionel, Martha, Chloe, Jimmy, Clark and Lois. And did I mention Chloe, Lionel and Oliver?

Unlike Lex, I would never revisit my secondary school. He tells Lana that he attends reunions to make business contacts. I realized afterwards that that was supposed to be one of the uses of the school where I was indoctrinated and alienated.

Green Arrow In Smallville

This is the sequence of events:

in Season One, Episode One, the headline of a Daily Planet read by Lionel Luthor proclaims that the Queen Industries CEO is missing, believed drowned;

in Season Six, Lionel meets an "Ollie," who, we learn, is Oliver Queen, CEO;

at the end of that episode, Queen shoots green arrows accurately from a longbow and turns out to have been responsible for the abduction of Lex, but this was because he was researching super powers - and he had ordered the kidnappers not to use violence;

in the following episode, he attends a costume party in what we recognize as a Green Arrow costume complete with mask and is introduced as Oliver Queen;

we see that he can use the bow but maybe needs to improve his accuracy;

in the next episode, a green hooded archer wearing dark glasses raids a party and steals jewellery from Martha Kent (so will this be a villainous opposite number of GA?);

Lois Lane tries to stop the thief whom she later headlines as the "Green Arrow Bandit;"

Chloe says, "Drop the 'Bandit'";

it turns out that this guy steals goods bought on the black market and donates to charities;

Clark learns that the thief is Oliver Queen who in turn learns of Clark's powers;

Clark and Ollie keep each others' secrets;

Ollie suggests that Clark should be more pro-active with his powers.

Thus, we get a new GA intermediate between hero and villain.


I post about a TV series based on comic books because I am not currently reading any comics interesting enough to post about. That should change when Marvel Comics starts publishing new Miracleman material by Neil Gaiman.

In Smallville Season Six:

Chloe Sullivan is with Jimmy Olsen;
Lana Lang is with Lex Luthor;
Lana previously dated Clark;
Lex was married but the marriage was annulled;
Lois Lane is with Oliver Queen;
Lois has also dated Arthur Curry;
the widow Martha Kent is getting closer to the widower Lionel Luthor;

Chloe and Lionel were specially created for this continuity:

Lex had a father before but not this one;
Lois may have had cousins before but not this one.

Way to go (whatever that means).

Friday, 20 March 2015

Smallville: Arrow

I see why someone thought that the Arrow TV series had spun off from the Smallville TV series. Smallville Season Six introduces Oliver Queen over two episodes, then introduces him as the Green Arrow in an episode called "Arrow." He disguises his face not with a mask but with dark glasses that do the job properly. He has credible trick arrows and an arrow-line that resembles the bat-line. His equipment is made of an untraceable alloy. Such questions were never asked in the original comics.

His line between right and wrong is drawn in a different place from either Clark's or Wayne's - although we have not met the Gotham City vigilante yet. The Luthors are still playing devious games and Lex is still not trusting Lionel. Lex thinks that Lionel is fooling the Kents, which cannot be true.

I first encountered Green Arrow in a comic book in the period 1956-1960 when I was at boarding school in Scotland. That story was set in a jungle so, generalizing from a single instance, I thought that the jungle was GA's habitual environment. Then I learned that he had an urban environment where he really was "just Batman with arrows" as Roy Thomas had Robin say to Speedy at an All-Star Squadron meeting.

The Smallville Green Arrow does not catch bank robbers - or hospitalize them, like Frank Miller's Batman - but steals expensive jewellery that had been bought on the black market. Thus, he makes his own moral judgments about breaking the law - and is in fact a thief. Like Kent and Wayne in Miller's Dark Knight, Clark and Ollie disagree but keep each others' secrets. The spirit of Watchmen still haunts superheroes.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Smallville: Wither

I did not really get the plant femalien theme of this episode. For me, the high point of the episode was the social event with so many DC characters casually meeting and interacting:

Oliver Queen;
Lois Lane;
Lex Luthor;
Lana Lang;
Martha Kent.

I was told incorrectly that the Arrow TV series spun off from Smallville. However, googling reveals that these two series are different continuities. We can dig it either way as long as the continuity question is clear. The continuities are differentiated by Star City and Starling City and by different actors for Ollie.

The Ollie of this episode of Smallville still needs to perfect his archery. So far, Lex is making more sense as a straightforward guy, and good for Lana, than Clark.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Smallville: Sneeze

Even Clark can work so hard that he becomes tired and ill. Right. We need more of this, e.g., logical deductions about his limits.

Oliver Queen! And not behaving as we expect! Lionel comments on Oliver's bad acting when told that Lex has been abducted. Lex and Oliver were at boarding school together. This makes Ollie older than Clark, which fits with the comics. Ollie comes from old money. Smallville began with Lionel reading a Daily Planet headlining the disappearance of the Queen Industries CEO. We know that Ollie learned his archery during that disappearance and we see that he has perfected it by now. He is tracking down super powered beings. Lex, no longer possessed by Zod, does not fit the bill but someone else who was in that warehouse does. Ollie will be able to fund the JLA.

Clark's dishonesty with Lana continues to absurd levels. He will not tell her how he knew in advance that Lex would be possessed. She suspects rightly that Clark now has ulterior motives for trying to help Lex. She is also learning that security measures are necessary when living with (the American equivalent of) royalty.

Clark learns how to use super-breath! The Zod Squad used super-breath against Metropolitans in Superman II. In Alan Moore's Marvelman, Liz Moran read comic books so that she could research Mike's powers and he looked bewildered when she asked if he had super-breath!

(We had to show Ollie but I wanted Chloe as well - and I suppose Clark deserves an appearance.)

Addendum: How could I forget Lois begins her reporting career her even if only in the Inquisitor? It would be possible to make a very long list of elements of the Superman mythos as they are introduced in Smallville.

Worlds And Words

I copied this post from Poul Anderson Appreciation because it mentions Miracleman and Smallville:

SM Stirling, "Shikari in Galveston" IN Worlds That Weren't (New York, 2003), pp. 63-148.

Science fiction writers show words changing their meanings in the future. In Poul Anderson's There Will Be Time, Jack Havig, time traveling to his future, meets a young woman who, when asked what she does with her time, replies that she jokes a lot. An amateur comedienne? However, when she and he share a picnic with no one else present, she announces that she had figured they could joke after eating but why not before and after?

(15 Mar: Also relevant is Anderson's "A Tragedy of Errors.")

In Neil Gaiman's sequel to Alan Moore's Miracleman, "London" means an event as "Hiroshima" does to us and "Kidding" has become a swear word because of what the Kid did in London. (Alan Moore had asked, "What would someone with Superman's strength and speed but not his scruples do?" He then answered this question with extremely detailed instructions to a comic strip artist.)

In SM Stirling's "Shikari in Galveston," a Bengali trader surprises us by telling Eric King that the local savages "'...are a clean people...'" (p. 80) Clean? King has just complained of sweat, squalor, smoke, sewage and stink. However, the trader's use of the word "clean" does not refer to hygiene. He spells it out:

"'From the time of the Fall.'" (ibid.)

King understands:

"King nodded...that was one of the fundamental distinctions in the modern world, between those whose ancestors had eaten men in the terrible years after the hammer from the skies struck, and those who hadn't. The only more fundamental one was between those who still did, and the rest of humanity." (ibid.)

And I am certain that the use of the word "clean" would be extended in precisely this way in those circumstances.

Tomorrow there will be a family outing for Mothers' Day (we have two mothers in the household) so maybe not much time for posting. Before turning in this evening, I have had to stop reading Stieg Larsson in order to post and must now stop posting in order to watch Smallville. Retirement, as expected, is an endless choice between enjoyable activities.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Smallville: Zod

Season Six begins so the world is in a chaos that is inherited from the climax of Season Five but will be resolved by the end of Episode One.

Chloe Sullivan makes history by introducing Clark Kent to James Olsen. Thus, Clark meets Jimmy long before starting to work at the Planet. But it was always turning out in the comics that characters had had contact before we thought they had.

This version of the Phantom Zone has a physical area. The fortress is dead but Jor-El, or some other Kryptonian presence, is still affecting Lionel, Lex has acquired some Kryptonian tech and a phantom, probably Zod, has been released on Earth. It used to be that a physical body became a phantom on entering the Zone and reverted to physicality on leaving it. Also, a phantom was like a "ghost," an insubstantial, transparent version of the body, whereas these phantoms resemble winged demons.

Lex has no memory of possession by Zod, thus no knowledge that Clark is Kal-El. It still makes no sense that possession of Lex's body by Zod's phantom gave Lex's body Kryptonian powers. Lana now knows of Krypton but has no reason to connect it with Clark. Complicated. Unnecessarily so.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Smallville: Oracle And Vessel

The Oracle is Lionel and the Vessel is Lex. The Fifth Season ends. Why does each Season have to end with a cliff hanger, especially when it is not clear what is going down? Zod has possessed Lex? it looks more as if Lex has acquired Kryptonian powers. And how could that happen?

Jor-El calls Fine the Brain Inter-Active Construct. I think this is the first time that the name "Brainiac" has appeared? And is this the second version in which Brainiac is a Kryptonian artifact? Clark is finally working with Lionel against Lex.

Since Jonathan Kent died, he has reappeared three times:

in a video;
in Clark's Near Death Experience;
as imitated by the metamorph, Brainiac.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Smallville: Fade

I thought that Graham's meteor power was teleportation, then that it was teleportation plus invisibility but it was just invisibility. Another guy who learns Clark's secret and dies. As in HG Wells' The Invisible Man, when the other characters know that an invisible opponent is present, then they know where to aim their blows or bullets.

How does an invisible man see? If light goes through him, then it is not reflected on his retina. Scenes from Graham's pov inform us that he sees in black and white - so the issue of his sight is partially addressed.

Clark knows about Lex and Lana. Lex tells Lana that he is trying to find Fine but he is secretly communicating with him.

Chloe gets her first front page story on the Planet. Will she still be working there when Clark and Lois are? Lois wonders about meeting her equivalent of Jonathan Kent. Lionel starts a return flight from Singapore when Graham nearly kills Lex but remains off-stage. We don't know why he grabbed his head and wrote something at the end of the previous episode.

Metropolis has become a familiar setting.