In our third parallel arc to the main Season 11 one, we have “Hollow” and the newly AI Tess Mercer is the star.
Issue 54 explores Tess’ new life. We see her come online and do her Watchtower duties that involve helping Speedy aka Mia and Black Canary aka Dinah Lance with a situation in Seattle that involves men in super suits. Emil drops by to check on how Tess is adjusting to being an AI and out of Lex’s brain. He wants to ensure that Tess won’t go postal like Hank Henshaw did back in “Guardian”. She assures Emil that she won’t. He offers Tess some “clothes” for her to wear as her current form is without. Tess doesn’t want close considering she isn’t a person. Later on she is talking to Clark, who obviously has returned from the 31st Century, and helping him deal with some sort of problem he is having, which we will see in “Olympus”.
This issue also features Lex, who is restless after is failed attempt to track Superman and Tess being removed from his brain. Otis brings him some information that intrigues Lex: it is the fact that a spaceship arrived during the whole Guarding shuttle disaster. Lex wants to know more and leaves to find out more. But Lex doesn’t get far as he is stopped by a couple of men he fired for allowing Oliver to steal one of his devices (I believe this happened in “Haunted”). The two men start beating him up and Watchtower notifies Tess of this crime in progress and gives her the option to send help or not. She elects not to send any help for Lex.
We see the results of Lex’s beating in issue 55. Lex is in Met Gen looking the worse for wear. One arm is in a cast and the other is in a sling. He has a black eye and a cut on his forehead. A therapist in training, Tammy, is in Lex’s room to help him sort his issues. Otis has hired Tammy out of concern for Lex. We find out that Lex let himself get beat up to help improve his company’s image. As Lex is getting discharged, we see Tess wanting to play around with the dosage of Lex’s prescription or cancelling it all together. But then she notices a terrible fire in downtown Metropolis. She tries to contact Superman to help but he is dealing with a situation in Paris first so is unable to help (we will see this situation in “Olympus”). So it up to Tess to come to the rescue. She takes over a helicopter and pilots it to rescue a father and daughter. This leaves rescuers and the like wondering who is their new hero.
Meanwhile, at Lexcorp R&D, the scientists there inform Lex that the spaceship has bits of the Earth’s core on it as if the Earth exploded and noticed that things were opposite with the ship. Lex demands that they steal the ship from Queen Industries.
Issue 59 sees Tess visit Hank Henshaw at S.T.A.R. Labs who helps her get a handle on being an AI. We then see Lex make plans to break into S.T.A.R. Labs to steal the Earth-2 spaceship. As his little army invade, Emil starts telling the staff to start encrypting everything about Superman and his team. When the army make it in, Emil gets every to leave and he stays behind and stands his ground. Unfortunately, Emil gets stabbed in the gut and is bleed profusely. Tess sees this and tries to get help to Emil but Lex is blocking any communication out. This pisses Tess even further and hell hath no fury as she tries get Emil the help he needs.
In Issue 63, we see a vengeful taking control of a robot to try and kill Lex, who begs the robot to kill his unworthy life but Tess stops herself before she takes it too far. In Watchtower, Emil comes in, arm in sling, and obviously recovered from being shot and talks to Tess about her letting Lex go. She tells the good doctor that because she dreams, it must mean something and that prevented her from killing Lex. She wants to start her new AI life fresh and asks Emil to outfit her digital body with some clothes. Later at LexCorp R&D, Otis informs Lex that they have the specs of the ship and is working on getting 3D model of it. They determine that the ship came from an alternate Earth that has since been destroyed. The episode concludes with Lex vowing to protect Earth-1 from the fate of Earth-2. I think “Hollow” leads to the next Smallville arc “Alien”.