In the opening issue of Smallville season 11’s “Haunted” we are inside the memories of Tess Mercer but inside the mind of Lex Luthor. Lex is using an experiment from Summerholt that was used back in season 7’s Fracture where Clark went into the mind of Lex. We get the same corridors that we saw in this episode as Tess and Young Tess try to escape Lex from finding out Superman’s identity.
From this we see bits of season 10’s Shield, season 8’s Odyssey when Clark rescued Tess from the bus crash, season 1’s Pilot when Lex hit Clark with his car, season 4’s Hidden with Clark jumping to get the nuclear missile and season 4’s Commencement when Clark rescued that boy from a meteor.
But Lex is prematurely taken from Tess’ memories because Superman is in the middle of a super fight in Metropolis with Psimon who was a victim of Lex’s Project Ares.
During this fight, Superman accidentally knocks down a wall of Jeff the Intern and Bert the crime scene photographer’s apartment (who knew that they were roommates?). Jeff gushes about Lois’ latest article on Superman and both wonder where Clark is and wishes that Clark was more like Superman.
At one point when Lex arrives to the scene of the crime, Superman whisks Lex away to Mexico to have a little chat.
Issue 25 ends with the appearance of Bart Allan aka Impulse who sports a new suit and the artist didn’t really draw him to look like Kyle Gallner but a thinner Bobby Hill from King of the Hill!
With Issue 26, Lois Lane interviews Lex on Psimon’s attack and blames Lexcorp/LuthorCorp for him. She references stuff that happens in season 6’s Nemesis and Prototype and mentions that she knew one of the people that he experimented on (Wes Keenan). Lex says that he can’t be blamed to what he has done prior to his memory loss but is trying to fix things. He later finds out that Project Ares destroyed Reeves Dam as what happened in season 6’s finale Phantom.
As the interview winds down, a note is slipped to Lois that says “Help” she is confused and so am I at this point.
Meanwhile, Superman and Bart/Impulse catch-up and decide once and for all who is faster. Bart runs while Clark flies around the world and after the race is over are sitting in a park bench somewhere in the world eating lunch. Clark tells Bart what Lex did as the reason why he can’t go home without exposing his life with Lois. Bart says that Lex is a jerk for what he did.
Clark does share that the sun is chipping away at the radiation half-life and when Bart suggests that he just fly into the sun to get rid of all of it, Clark said that Emil doesn’t recommend that as he might turn into raw energy, which happened to Superman in All-Star Superman.
Clark and Bart have a heart-to-heart where Bart calls Clark is first real friend and Clark thanks Bart for being the first non-meteored person with powers that he met that helped feel not so alone. And we get a shout out to season 4’s Run (Bart’s introductory episode) in Issue 26.
Watchtower/Chloe interrupts their conversation because there is a situation in Paris that involves art thieves and since Superman and Impulse are the closest until they get a European Watchtower agent to help out. I do wonder if this future agent could possibly be super Lana considering her fondness of Paris and the fact that she has that power suit that it could be the time to re-introduce her in a later issue/arc.
Another thing that I want to know is when did Chloe become Watchtower again? I thought she didn’t want to be that Ghost in the Machine but wanted to go back to reporting and did so by getting a job at the Star City Gazette.
Issue 27 is pretty much a filler issue. Lex visits Psimon in jail and tells him that he wishes he could remember what he did to him in the past but he wants to use Psimon’s power (now somewhat under control with a helmet) to help Lex retrieve his memories.
Meanwhile in Paris outside of the Louvre are a bunch of talking apes who are the art thieves that Chloe mentioned in issue 26. These apes want to sell the art work to set up their own nation. Even these apes are silly in Smallville standards and borderline ridiculous with the Brain and the main ape apparently in love but I’ve read that these characters actually are in the DC universe. But Bart and Clark fight them off but Bart if almost distracted by a voice calling out to him.
Issue 28 is a break from Haunted and is the first part of Effigy and features, I have to say when drawn, a very ripped John/J’onn Jones/Jonzz. We open up five minutes before the start of Haunted. Clark and John are on the Moon overseeing Oliver’s construction of a new Watchtower (could this possibly be a way to help mask Clark’s radiation signature? We will find out). After introducing John to Double-Stuffed Oreos, Clark is called away to deal with Dr. Psimon and John heads back to Metropolis. After helping his neighbour bring in her groceries (she and her son were the ones saved by Superman by Dr. Psimon’s attack), John enters his apartment and looks at a picture of his wife and daughter when all of sudden he gets flooded with memoris of Mars’ destruction and reverts to his Martian form.
This issue also sees the return of Batma and Nightwing who fight a group call Mutants and a white looking alien that injures Nightwing and while he is in some kind of chamber reminiscent of Luke in Empire Strikes Back, Batman is trying to figure out the strange writing left behind. John comes in and informs Batman that it is Martian.
Issue 29 continues Haunted and we get so many Smallville TV episode references that my head is spinning. The main episode referenced in this issue is season 6’s “Justice”
One of those references is Lois investigating why Lex is having a clean-up crew at the Ridge Facility. She goes in a radiation suit and starts interviewing people. We see the crew collect green meteor rock and the workers wonder if they will grow tails. They talk at how exposure to green meteor rock has made people go crazy and references, not by name, Greg Arkin from season 1’s “Metamorphosis” and Sasha Woodman from season 1’s “Drone.”
Some kind of electrical storm/radiation leak happens as the workers fall into a sink hole and as Lois goes to help, she notices that one of the men have rapidly aged.
But Issue 29 opens up at Watchtower with Chloe taking target practice with one of Oliver’s bows and arrows and is reminiscent when Oliver first taught Chloe how to shoot a bow and arrow in season 9’s “Warrior.” She claims she is doing this because of the little archer in her. Meanwhile Oliver is sketching out his version of Batwing that was see in Detective and complaining to Chloe how he is the one researching about her pregnancy. Oliver wonders when Chloe will tell Lois and Clark about her pregnancy but Chloe said that now isn’t a good time to tell them and they start to discuss Earth-2 Chloe’s death and the upcoming Crisis.
Then we have Clark carrying Bart while they are flying westward and Bart tells Clark all about the black spirit that haunts him while he super speeds. Bart believes he first saw him when Lex trapped him and made him run around in season 6’s “Justice.” Clark promises Bart that he will help this being from haunting him.
One thing I liked about this issue was the Lois and Jeff Hage banter. Before investigating the Ridge Facility, Lois sees from her caller ID that the Daily Planet is calling and answers hoping that it is her fiance that is calling but in fact it is Jeff who answers that if he would be Lois’ fiance if he were that lucky. Lois pretty much cuts him down and Jeff tells Lois that Dr. Psimon wants to see her at Strykers and she puts that on her to do list and ask where Jeff is at with the mysterious “Help” Post It that Lex handed to her in Issue 25.
Issue 30 sees Lex talking to Tess in his mind and telling her that his team has found the part of the brain that houses Tess’ consciousness and will undergo an operation that will damage it unless she tells him her secrets (such as Superman’s identity) or he will brain dead along with her. Lex then awakens from his brain machine to deal with things happening when awake.
Lex goes to talk to Otis and questions what happened at the Ridge Facility and asks if the press knows what is happening while a janitor is in the room and listens in. As they leave, the baseball-capped janitor grabs some security cards from Otis. It doesn’t take too long to figure out that this mysterious LexCorp employee is the one and only Lois Lane.
While Lois is snooping around LexCorp on Level 3, Chloe gives her cousin a call that Lois’ answers just before she enters a room that is booby trapped. Lois’ thanks Chloe for stopping her while Chloe asks her if she is stealing Lex’s brain machine and reminds Lois that is was the machine that Clark used to help find her and Kara in season 7’s Fracture.
But Lois said that she is not but is at LexCorp to find some dirt on him so that she and Clark can be together again. She tearfully confesses to Chloe how much she misses Clark and if she doesn’t find something to bust Lex, she will scream.
Meanwhile at S.T.A.R. Labs where Emil has assembled a team of researchers (one of them includes a busty blonde named Sivana -a DC Comic villain) to figure out what is haunting Bart. And I have to really commend Jorge Jimenez here on his artwork on Emil. He really captures Alessandro Juliani’s (Emil’s portrayer on the TV show) look here that it is uncanny.
As Superman and Bart are hooked up to machine’s and on a souped up treadmills, the mysterious spectre appears and Clark vows to find out who and what is haunting Bart.
Issue 31 has got to be my favourite of “Haunted.” We finally get Lois and Clark having a clandestine
rendezvous on the roof of the Daily Planet. Lois talks about her past rendezvous with Clark when he was the Blur and wearing his black trench coat that was prominent in season 9. They also discuss their forced separation by Lex and how both wish for the return of Clark Kent. Lois points out that Clark no longer has any sick or vacation days and it is becoming harder for her to explain his absence from the editor Franklin Stern.
Lois then brings up the issue that Clark is having with Bart in terms of helping what is haunting him as he enter speed force. Lois believes that this ties into what happened at Ridge Facility. Back in issue 29, there was some sort of electric storm that super sped one of the workers into a fall, which then aged him to death.
Lois has figured out that this has happened at least three times before and all in locations that Bart has recently visited. Lois suggests that in order to help Bart that Clark should perhaps consult another fastest man. And just as it seemed like they were going to kiss (see the panel to the left) Jeff the Intern interrupts their moment. I have to saw that Lois in profile looks remarkably like Erica Durance.
Clark/Superman quickly whooshes off. Jeff asks Lois’ whether she was having a take out supper with Superman (as he thought he saw him before he flew off) but Lois doesn’t answer and asks what Jeff wants. Jeff, thanks to Bert his roommate from the police force, managed to get a hand writing match for the “Help” note that Lois got back in issue 26. It is revealed that the handwriting matches one “Tess Mercer” and again kudos to Jorge Jimenez who has managed to capture Cassidy Freeman perfectly. When Lois finds out this piece of info, she simply says “son of a bitch.”
While their clandestine rendezvous may not have included sexy times like it did back in issue 13 of “Detective” it was none the less romantic and was a nice way to tie Lois into the main arc of “Haunted.”
Meanwhile, back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Oliver and Emil are discussing linking the minds of Chloe and her Earth-2 counterpart using the Project Intercept device that Oliver stole from Lex in the previous issue, whose body they managed to preserve thanks to technology from Victor Fries. Oliver is concerned that the process might harm Chloe and the baby but Emil assures Oliver that everyone will be okay. Chloe assures Oliver that she can handle this procedure since she has already been able to handle being possessed as a witch, which happened in season 4’s “Spell” and taken over by Brainiac in season 7’s “Arctic”
Elsewhere, Clark has taken Lois’ advice and has brought Bart to the Justice Society of America’s brownstone and gained entry from Mrs. Hunkle. She was last seen in a film reel that Clark and Chloe discovered back in season 9’s “Absolute Justice.” Clark wants to show Bart the painting of Jay Garrick that was part of an overall portrait of the JSA that was seen in “Absolute Justice.” He points out to Bart that they need to find him as he may be key to helping Bart.
Issue 31 ends with Chloe seeing into the memories of Earth-2 Chloe. She sees her encountering Earth-2 Lois in a Metropolis that is crumbling and yells at Earth-2 Chloe to get to her ship. When Chloe sees Earth-2 Lois getting vaporized, Chloe wakes up yelling NOOOOO!
We take a break from “Haunted” in Issue 32 to get a continuation of “Effigy.” We pretty much open up where we left off from Issue 28. Batman and John Jones are having a “discussion” of the white martian that involved John reading Batman’s mind but thanks to Alfred intervention of a flame thrower, John’s mind reading ends. It seems that Batman learned about John’s weakness. They finally have an honest discussion of what has happened and that the white martian has apparently been leaving glyph’s around America. John tells Batman that the glyph is actually John’s real name. It seems that this white martian is after John.
Batman then takes John to the scene where the white martian attacked the homeless people and Nightwing/Barbara Gordon. At the crime scene is Commissioner Gordon (who is drawn sort of like Gary Oldman from the Batman movies). Anyways, as they are leaving the crime scene, John asks does Commissioner Gordon know his daughter is Batman’s sidekick. He replies no but thinks that Barbara works at WayneTech.
Batman and John soon realize that the White Martian is going to go after John in Metropolis and John quickly flies back as he realizes that the people will be in danger.
As John flies away, Batman calls Chloe at Watchtower for some help but Chloe has her hands full as we see on the monitors in Watchtower, Lois roaming the halls of LexCorp in her janitor disguise. We see that this portion of “Effigy” takes place during issue 30 of “Haunted.” Chloe hangs up on Batman. Alfred has sent Batman his jet and soon Batman is on his way to help John.
Back at John’s apartment, his neighbour, the young boy seen in issue 27 of “Haunted” and issue 28 of “Effigy” hears a noise at John’s apartment and goes to investigate despite his mother telling him not to. Instead of finding John, the young boy sees the White Martian and before he can harm the boy or his mother, John intervenes as well as Batman. Before he escapes, the White Martian tells John that he is a murderer. John confirms to Batman that the White Martian is right.
We return to “Haunted” in issue 33 and it starts off as we see the Speed Force Demon take more victims such as a young boy in Mumbai and a cop in Paris, France. Two areas that Bart coincidentally has recently been.
Watchtower comprised of Oliver and Chloe inform Clark of the latest casualties while Clark and Bart are seen in what looks like a desert and come across a cabin. They come upon an older gentleman and they tell him they are looking for a Jay Garrick. The gentleman tells them that he is Jay Garrick and he comes out with a shirt that has the classic Flash symbol on it.
There are mentions of all the identities that Bart stole in season 5’s “Run” that includes Garrick’s. Superman also mentions how Carter Hall, before he died wanted to reunite the JSA with the JLA and now they need Garrick’s help in figuring out what is haunting Bart. Garrick mentions a guy called Cross who can help them out while Bart asks them if he knows anything on the Black Racer. Garrick mentions how when the JSA were rounded up by the Feds, as seen in season 9’s Absolute Justice, they broke Garrick’s leg and he chose not to fix it. Bart deduces that it is because he has seen the Black Racer haunt him so Garrick used his leg injury to stop running.
Meanwhile, Chloe is still struggling over having the memories of Earth-2 Chloe and Earth-1 Chloe collapses and we are taken to a memory of Earth-2 Chloe that takes place 6 years ago that shows Clark Luthor using his heat vision to kill all meteor freaks that includes Greg Arkin. Just as Clark Luthor is about to approach a hidden Earth-2 Chloe, he staggers away because of the kryptonite that she holds.
The issue ends with Garrick telling Bart the only way to stop the Black Racer is to stop from running, which Bart said that won’t happen. Garrick then informs Bart that he will have to die.
Issue 34 opens up with Lex finding out that Oliver has stolen his brain/mind machine and paid off the employees guarding it off to up and quit LexCorp. Lex is understandably pissed while Ghost Tess taunts her brother. Later Lex fires Otis and demands that people find his machine.
Meanwhile on Earth-2 we now see two years ago, which would mean two years prior to the season 10 Luthor/Kent. We see Earth-2 Oliver and Chloe in Watchtower with Oliver knowing that he has to put a lot of farmers in Smallville out on the street to mine green kryptonite to kill Ultraman/Clark Luthor. Oliver is practicing shooting a bow and arrow while Chloe gives him advice on how to do it better, which is the role reversal from season 9’s Warrior. They talk about Earth-2 Lois and Oliver mentions to Chloe that he is going to propose to Lois to which Chloe laughs. It seems that Oliver and Chloe are having an affair.
One of the things that really bothers me about this is that season 10’s Luthor made it seem like Earth-2 Oliver is completely in love with Earth-2 Lois and even asks her why did she choose him. That episode made it look like this Lois is settling for Earth-2 Oliver because Clark Kent isn’t around.
And I said this way back in my re-review of season 10 in that I truly believe that Clark and Lois of any universe was meant to be and that was why I was extremely disappointed that in Earth-2 Clark is involved with Earth-2 Tess. So what really got by craw was that this issue makes it like Chloe and Oliver were meant to be no matter the universe. That to me is first misstep that Bryan Q. Miller has done in an overall action-packed story arc.
Back on Earth-1, Chloe tells Oliver this and he asks if him cheating on Lois with Chloe is supposed to be romantic considering how they are together in their world. Chloe then gets an alert how a speed storm is on its way to Las Vegas
We then are back to Superman and Bart seeing Jay Garrick and Superman wondering what else can be done so Bart wouldn’t have to die. While they are having their conversation the Speed Demon is calling out to Bart. It is explained that this Speed Demon feeds off these super fast runners and is after Bart but in the meanwhile is looking for another speedster and that is the reason why normal humans having been dying because they can’t cope with the speed.
Chloe then calls Superman to inform him of the Speed Storm descending in Vegas and patches in Emil who informs Superman of a plan that would allow him to harness enough energy so he can run as fast as Bart to catch the Speed Demon before he can call anymore. This plan involves a brand spanking new suit. This issue ends with Superman in Las Vegas.
I am disappointed how two issues in a row has no Lois.
But Lois returns in issue 35. She is a some bar in Metropolis that seems to be big fans of her fiance i.e. Superman. Lois is there to talk to Otis and ask him what he knows about why Lex wanted Dr. Psimon to rummage around in his mind and even mentions Tess name. This causes Otis to clam up. So Lois leaves and gives Barbara Gordon a call. It looks like Barbara has recovered from her attack from the white Martian (as seen in “Effigy”) and is quite quippy with Lois on the phone. Anyways, Lois convinces Barbara to come to Metropolis and question Otis to see what he knows because Lois knows that he has a thing for Barbara.
Meanwhile, Clark in his new super suit that absorbs speed, is saving people from the Speed Demon in Las Vegas and when Clark finally gains enough speed to get its attention, they have a showdown.
Back at Jay Garrick’s, Bart is antsy and doesn’t want to see people fight his battles and despite Garrick’s best efforts to stop Bart, he goes off to help Clark.
Issue 36 is the penultimate issue of “Effigy” and it basically sees Barbara/Nightwing recovered from her White Martian attack (with a funny nod to Lost) and John Jones details the Green Martians’ history with their white counterparts to Batman. Jones also tells Batman after he lost his family, Jor-el gave his life purpose again by acting as a police officer for the galaxy and eventually watching over Clark as he grew but when Clark no longer needed him, he decided to dedicate his life to protecting Earth. While at Watchtower, both Batman and John discover that the White Martian’s first victim was located at Checkmate’s now destroyed headquarters and the go there to investigate and discover the first victim left a video. While they are watching it, the White Martian comes in to confront the new dynamic duo.
“Effigy” concludes in issue 37 where we learn more about the white Martian and its first victim that really wasn’t a victim after all. This man found the white Martian in a space ship that crashed to Earth like Clark did. This white Martian took on the identity of the man’s young daughter that one presumes that recently passed away. It was the arrival of John Jones on Earth that triggered the white Martian’s innate instinct to find and battle the green Martian as revenge to what they did to her people. We find out that this white Martian goes by the name of Megan Morse and soon both come to an understanding and forgive each other. John takes Megan back to Metropolis where we find out that Superman had repaired the damage done by the white Martian attack. John take Megan under his wing to mentor her.
Earth-2 features prominently in issue 38 as the opening few panels serve as a prequel to the season 10 “Kent” episode. We see how Oliver met his demise and how everyone in Metropolis walks around with kryptonite on them. It seems that Oliver has called a press conference, with Lois by her side, to announce to the world that Clark Luthor is Ultraman and that the green meteor rock is his weakness and how Queen Industries will supply every citizen with some. The press conference is a trap to lure Clark Luthor out in the open so that Chloe, with a sniper rifle in hand, will shot Clark Luthor. Luthor does show up and roughly grabs Oliver. Oliver orders Chloe to shoot but Luthor knows that Chloe won’t as long as there was a possibility that Lois could end up being in the cross fire. Luthor then promptly snaps Oliver’s next. This shocks Earth-1 Chloe back to the present but she doesn’t want to discuss what she saw to Earth-1 Oliver. Instead, Chloe concentrates on helping Superman and Bart with their problem.
We see that Bart is running all over the world gathering speed while Superman and the Speed Demon duke it out in Las Vegas. Bart arrives with all this accumulated speed ready to take on the Speed Demon.
Issue 39 sees Bart confront the Speed Demon. In order to fully take him on however, he needs Superman’s speed and he grabs all the speed that was in the containment suit. Bart then speeds off for the final battle. But Clark can’t let Bart face this creature alone and with memories of the first time they met (season 5’s “Run”) coursing through his mind, Superman arrives in time to see them clash. We get a big explosion and a big crater but no Bart.
Meanwhile, Chloe is having another memory of her Earth-2 counterpart and this time it is just two months earlier when Earth-2 Chloe has arrived on Earth-1 to warn about the coming crisis. Earth-2 Chloe is being taunted by some unknown creature about how he has destroyed Earth-2 and it was foolish and futile for Earth-2 Chloe to travel to Earth-1 and warn others to prevent its destruction. He does something to Earth-2 Chloe and these words appear in one panel: BRACACK.
Earth-1 Chloe wakes up in the arms of Oliver while Superman informs them that Impulse is gone as Watchtower’s monitors show that Impulse is offline. Chloe wonders with everything going how are they going to be handle that and a baby too.
Meanwhile at the JSA Brownstone, Superman honours his fallen comrade by placing Bart’s hoodie into a display case when Garrick comes in offering his condolenses. Garrick said that the Speed Demon should have been stopped a long time ago but Superman stops him and said even if Garrick stopped it, it didn’t necessarily mean it would have been over. Superman tells Garrick that people should never stop running as long as they aren’t running away from things but towards something. Emil interrupts to inform Superman that the Speed Force that Bart exposed Clark to helped rid him of Lex’s tracking radiation.
This I am happy with as Lois and Clark apart has been torture these past several issues.
And Issue 40 opens with Superman and Lois having a conversation about how to honor Bart and his sacrifice, which involves Superman building a statue. The conversation turns to what Lois has found out about Lex, but they are interrupted by a knock on their apartment door. She opens it to reveal Clark Kent who says “Honey…I’m home.” They jump into each other’s arms in a passionate embrace.
Clark tells her that Bart’s speed helped rid him of Lex’s, Lois thanks Bart for what he has done to help them. But before they can truly celebrate their reunion, Lois tells Clark to Superman up again as they go and confront Lex.
At LexCorp, Superman confronts Lex, who now realizes that he is unable to track Superman no longer. Both Superman, Lois and Green Arrow want something from Lex and that someone is Tess. They somehow retrieve Tess and back at Watchtower, Emil someone renders a hologram of Tess that contains her consciousness that was haunting Lex.
Meanwhile, Clark and Chloe have a conversation of what Earth-2 Chloe showed her and the upcoming “crisis” and what it means. She tells Clark about the Monitor that ended Earth-2. Anyways, Chloe tells Clark that with the baby coming, she and Oliver need to go away to keep the baby safe. When Clark hears that Chloe is expecting, he takes her up into the sky and they have a heartfelt goodbye while Oliver and Lois, on the ground at Watchtower’s balcony, discuss how the baby is very lucky to have an uncle that can fly.
So ends story arc three of Smallville season 11. I am so glad that Lois and Clark are finally reunited, although they really were never apart but now can actually be physically seen together.
Next week starts the side arc called “Valkyrie” and will feature Lois in an adventure with Lana Lang. I am hoping that this arc will give us fans some closure over Clana so we can be assured, finally, that Clark is with Lois because he actually loves her and not because he can’t be with Lana.