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‘Smallville’ – Warrior

Zatanna returns and Warrior Angel finally makes his ‘Smallville’ debut

This review may contain spoilers.

Welcome to Met-Con; the best comic book convention in the whole of Metropolis.

There is something odd about a comic book series that features a comic book convention, especially considering “Smallville” went to such lengths in its early years to avoid the comic book mythology.

But look how far the series has come; Clark is now a reporter for The Daily Planet, meteor freaks are just a distant memory, and we’ve already been introduced to Green Arrow, Impulse, Black Canary, Cyborg, Zatanna, Maxima of Almerac, The Wonder Twins, Metallo, Zatanna and a whole host of Kandorians. The series now teems with traces of the big DC universe.

And, even with such well-established characters, seeing “Warrior Angel” come to life is a tremendous joy for long-time fans of the series. In the early years, Lex Luthor’s favorite childhood comic book was a fantastic parallel to the journey Clark would go through with his future nemesis. And now he’s finally real.

What makes the Warrior Angel character to fun to watch is Carlo Marks – he is perfect for the role of Stephen Swift. Through the finely crafted script he brings a level of innocent wonder to the role that makes it every bit conceivable that he is in actual fact a pre-adolescent who has been thrust into adulthood. He marvels in the mundane and there are numerous adult situations he finds himself in but unable to escape the inner-child; gulping down a coffee, going back to Chloe’s place to play the Xbox and phrases like, “You’re welcome citizen,” are but a few of the gems in this fun little romp.

The scene in which he defends an innocent child from being bullied is wonderful and comes with such a childhood innocence … fending off bullies is something any young, idealistic comic book fan would do if given all the powers of their heroes. Plus, his flight with Chloe (Allison Mack) is but another nod to the future of the Man-of-Steel.

Directing the encounter is “Smallville” actress Allison Mack herself, who does a commendable job, particularly in all of the convention sequences in which she captures a lot of the fun and fantastic elements of events such as Met-con. One scene in particular features a close up on a familiar looking red jacket strolling through the crowd which turns out to be someone other than the Man-of-Steel.

She also managed to create a substantial intimate feel throughout the whole encounter, particularly wherever Zatanna is concerned. In most cases, intimate scenes are created through close-up shots, but not here. As Zatanna hops on top of the Last Son of Krypton for some fantasy fun Mack makes use of some wide shots revealing not only their candle-lit surroundings, but more of the illustrious Zatanna herself.

And, speaking of the magic-toting heroine, Serinda Swann, is every bit a delight as she was during her last spell-spree in Metropolis.

What Worked

The special effects sequence as the comic book comes to life does have a magical touch to it and the entire scene brings back nostalgic feelings from “The Never Ending Story.”

Sights of characters from the Star Wars franchise were a little odd (although not completely unexpected from an event such as Met-con), but then you remember that “The Clone Wars” comes with the Warner Brothers fanfare and not Fox’s. Even the music carried notes of John Williams’ legendary score.

Plus, for fans of the larger DC-universe, Chloe’s text message to Green Arrow is a nice little hint to the villain Capt. Boomerang (even if he will never appear on the screen) and Lois makes a very convincing Wonder Woman.

Best of all, we finally got to see Clark rip open his shirt to reveal the Superman shield and the origins of the Superman suit are revealed.

What Didn’t Work

Although integral to the story, you can’t help but feel a deep pang of regret for Chloe who has gone through a bit of a lonely spell since the death of Jimmy Olsen. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget that her entire life was destroyed by Doomsday at the end of last season (and swiftly retconned, much to the chagrin of fans). So it comes as a pleasant change of pace to see the character happy for a change

The biggest disappointment of all was the length of time devoted to discussing the Lois and Clark relationship at the end of the episode instead of on the reunion of Alec and his role model. But, at least the teases of the newly developing Oliver/Chloe coupling offered a fresh relationship.

And, the Devillicus design was ludicrous and had more in common with a scene from a bad 80’s music video than it did with comic book villains.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

“Smallville” stars Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Allison Mack, Justin Hartley, Cassidy Freeman and Callum Blue. “Warrior” was written by Geoff Jones and was directed by Allison Mack.

“Smallville” airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

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