'Smallville: Absolute Justice' Review

SmallvilleEpisode Title: "Absolute Justice"

Written By: Geoff Johns

Story: Clark Kent (Tom Welling) and his allies investigate a series of murders after a former superhero (Sylvester Pemberton, a.k.a. the Star Spangled Kid) is killed while approaching Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack). They soon discover that Pemberton was fully aware of Clark and the nascent Justice League led by Green Arrow (Justin Hartley). They also learn that Pemberton was a member of the Justice Society of America — a superhero team previously unknown to them — whose members have been targeted by a second generation villain named Icicle and a mysterious organization known as Checkmate.

After a tumultuous first meeting, the heroes of two generations must unite to defeat a common enemy that could destroy them all.

Watchtower Report: Easily the most anticipated episode of "Smallville's" ninth season, "Absolute Justice" sees the return of comic book scribe Geoff Johns to the series after his well-received "Legion" episode last year. For longtime comic fans, catching all of the comic references was part of the fun, including Radu's Cafe from "Green Lantern," the "Trouble Alert" from the classic "Superfriends" animated series, and Pemberton's "Star-Rocket Racer," which also served as the home for the fallen hero. Additionally, the episode depicted almost all of the Justice Society members in flashback, including Ted Grant (Wildcat), Jay Garrick (the Flash) and Alan Scott (Green Lantern).

In terms of scope, "Absolute Justice" approached an epic scale not seen in the series for a long time. Which isn't to say that there weren't some problems with the episode. Britt Irvin is not at all convincing as Star Girl and she stood out as the weakest actress on the show. "Stargate" alum Michael Shanks was excellent as a downtrodden Carter Hall, but his Hawkman suffered from a little too much Christian Bale. What's with the raspy voice for the gritty heroes?

However, Brent Stait's Doctor Fate was a highlight of the episode, especially once he was in costume. Fate's glimpse of Clark's future as Superman (which we've seen before all the way back in season 3) is a nice nod to the comics. Fate's role in this episode may prove pivotal to the series down the line as he seems to confirm that Lex Luthor is alive and that Clark will lead the next generation of heroes in a "Silver Age." He also restores the Martian Manhunter's powers, giving us a look at his green-skinned Martian appearance for the first time.

The first hour of the episode moves a little slowly as the players are introduced. The initial conflict between Green Arrow and Hawkman was particularly entertaining, although their interactions in the second half were a little bit too subdued by comparison. And at times it seemed as if the episode was being needlessly padded out. The story probably could have been told in a single episode.

That said, the episode was extremely entertaining and sets up the rest of the season well. Pam Grier makes her first appearance on the series as Amanda Waller, the power behind Checkmate. In a double twist, "Smallville" adversary Tess Mercer is revealed to be an agent of Checkmate and Waller's ultimate goal is shown to be her desire to get the JSA back into action to help avert a coming apocalypse.

The question for comic fans is this: did Waller mean "Apocalypse" or "Apokolips"?

Next Encounter: Zatanna returns when a comic book fan somehow becomes Warrior Angel and vies for the attentions of Chloe.

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