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October 22, 2014

Review: 'Smallville' - 'Absolute Justice'

by Brad Trechak, posted Feb 6th 2010 1:55AM
Smallville(S09E11) Technically this episode is a combination of episodes 11 and 12 from the season (originally titled 'Society' and 'Legends' respectively). Also, this is a first for the series, as the episode title actually has two words and not just one, although likely that will change back in syndication.

Tonight's story was chock-full-o-comic-book-references. From the very beginning with the appearance of Radu's to the end mention of the Suicide Squad. It was enough to make any loyal fanboy's brain explode.

Admittedly, the episode was kind of light on story and ended up having major plot-holes, the least of which being how exactly Hawkman's helmet stayed on. The beginning of the episode was extremely reminiscent of the 'Watchmen' movie, particularly with the newsreel-style clips of the Justice Society. If you imagine a parallel 'Watchmen' universe in which Rorschach was actually correct with his "mask killer" theory, then you have tonight's 'Smallville' episode.

And now the nerdy bits, in bullet points:
  • Radu's - a coffee shop that frequently appeared in the Green Lantern comics in the 90's.
  • Sylvester Pemberton a.k.a. The Star Spangled Kid. Honorable mention to Stripesy. Did anybody else notice that Courtney was wearing stripes? The Cosmic Rod (unnamed in the episode, probably because of the phallic sound of that title) was patterned on the one used by Jack "Starman" Knight's.
  • "This is a job for Clark Kent."
  • "Where are the other Super Friends?" Honorable mention of the word "Trouble Alert."
  • Courtney attended Blue Valley High School, which was also attended by Wally "The Flash" West.
  • Even Ma Hunkel made an appearance! Holy crap! The original Red Tornado.
  • The Star Rocket Racer.
  • Mentions of Shiera Hall and Inza Kent.
  • Was the Justice Society painting on the wall done by Alex Ross? It looked like one of his.
  • The mention of Michael Holt, who became the new Mr. Terrific.
  • John is wearing a green shirt with red cross-suspenders.
  • Checkmate! Suicide Squad! Amanda Waller (a.k.a. Pam Grier trying to look fatter than she is)!
  • Hawkman talking like Batman.
  • Microsoft Windows! (Okay, maybe not that nerdy, but it's blatant product placement.)
  • "Clark and Lois." "Lois and Clark."
  • The red cape! Finally, the red cape!
Other thoughts, also in bullet points:
  • Why was the whole Justice Society scared of the Icicle? It's the Icicle! He's at best second rate and shouldn't last 20 seconds with Hawkman, much less Doctor Fate. They should have used Vandal Savage or another villain with more menace. The Icicle represents one of the previously mentioned plot holes.
  • There are at least four items in those cabinets at JSA headquarters that will hopefully be released as collector's items soon. Bring me the helmet of Fate.
  • The fight in the beginning that killed the Star Spangled Kid was a great way to save on the special effects budget. We saw it all from the trash bin perspective with Chloe.
  • What did Fate mean when he said to Chloe "you walk the same path I do"? He died, so does that mean Chloe will suffer an early death?
  • It's tough to keep the Watchtower a secret when there's a big frickin' hole in the window. Couldn't they have at least put plastic or something over it?
The episode didn't quite live up to the hype, but it was close enough. After all that foreshadowing, this series better end with Clark putting on the costume; otherwise, there may be nerd riots at The CW. Feel free to mention in the comments if I missed anything of note in this episode, as it was a lot to take in.

(Check out free episodes of 'Smallville' at Slashcontrol)

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Rob Spahr

Nobody commented on J'onn J'onzz developing a fondness for those certain cookies (Oreos). Good stuff.

February 17 2010 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
john

Ive watched this episode a few times, granted i think its a lil early for the appearance of darksied, but agree Ironside should play the role he has the voice for it. I would of been better if the final battle scene was a bit more, also i was hoping to see the lantern and the flash. hope to see them in future shows he could teach impulse a thing or 2. All in all its time to move the story along and put zod in the zone where he belongs, and get clarks power of flight. He has been grounded far to long.

February 12 2010 at 1:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

While I did enjoy this episode there were problems with it. I agree,Icicle was far from a formidable enough a foe for the JSA here,they required someone more powerful. Also,the whole concept that Chloe,Clark,Ollie,& Lois were unfamiliar at all with the JSA was absolutely unbelievable! Even if the JSA did operate 20 or more years earlier there certainly would have been intense scrutiny by the media on costumed superheroes then.Why did Doctor Fate wait until he was attacked by Icicle to restore Jonn's powers? Terrible security at such an important place as the Watchtower when Hawkman can hurl Green Arrow through a window. The power rod prop was poorly done,looked like something from Toys 'R Us.

February 08 2010 at 5:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
KStoker

Overly cheesy and fully of capes and tights! I loved it!

I agree big on Shank's phoning it in performance, I've seen (and expected) much better from him. I loved the near constant DCU references (especially MM's green/red outfit) but was REALLY dissapointed to not see Kid Flash/Impulse, Cyborg & Aquaman. They talked about them several times from Chloe's "I called in the rest, but haven't heard back from them" and "we need a way to get in touch with everyone" lines... What kind of heroes ditch a call for help from Watchtower?!!

February 08 2010 at 9:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chris

I loved this episode. I've watched this series from day one and find this one to be one of my favorites.

February 07 2010 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chris's comment
Greg

As a massive DC nerd, Geoff Johns fan, Hawkman, Stargirl, JSA, Superman, and Green Arrow/Black Canary fan I have to say...WOW

So many references. One that hasnt yet been mentioned I dont think or maybe needs to be said again, the reference to Ollie and Dinah cybersexing! Seriously there was such awesomeness put into this episode it is amazing. The red cape for christ's sake! and Checkmate, the Wall, seriously, smallville is almost able to replace Justice League Unlimited. Now get me Vigilante, Shining Knight, Diana and either Kyle or Hal and I'll really be happy....kinda wish Mia had joined with the "super friends" for this one.

References to Terry Sloan, at least a picture of Charles McNider, Al Pratt, Ted WILDCAT Grant!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Also they flat out mentioned

February 07 2010 at 8:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dr. OTR

I think the criticism that Icicle is too lame to be a credible villain is misplaced. This isn't the Golden Age Icicle; it's his son, Cameron. If you've read JSA in the past decade you'll know that Cameron is an absolute psycho and a really dangerous, murderous villain. He certainly is capable of killing much of the JLA (at least in one-on-one combat). I did think the fight at the end was a bit counter-climatic, though.

February 06 2010 at 6:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zach

Very disappointed Smallville's other hero's weren't included. That one ep from some years ago that featured all of them taking down Lex was awesome. Even though this was a pretty good movie, it would have been great to have them included as well. I thought the excuse Chloe gave on why they weren't around was good enough, but does anyone know the real reason they weren't in the movie?

February 06 2010 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Zach's comment
Edward

couldn't get them signed on? schedule conflicts?

February 06 2010 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Edward

2.8 million viewers and this was the largest audience all season?!

any other network, this would be canned...

February 06 2010 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Edward's comment
RevJonathan

The CW is only half a network though.

February 06 2010 at 4:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dean

A great episode for DC fans. Lots of references to the DC universe as mentioned before. This was sort of a Crisis story that DC used for JSA/JLA crossover events. The Icicle was one of the original villians from the first Crisis story. Would have preferred a more powerful villian but maybe they're saving that for the Apokolips story. Maybe they'll bring together the JSA, JLA, Checkmate, and the Suicide Squad. Do I hear spinoffs?

February 06 2010 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Edward

so what happened to Zod? granted I haven't tuned in to watch Smallville since episode 2, I though Callum Blue would be a menace here

February 06 2010 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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