Comic Book

DC Comics reviews 9/5/23 – Batman #137, Birds of Prey #1, Shazam #3

Fire and Ice: Welcome to Smallville #1

Fire & Ice are one of DC’s best duos. They play off each other nicely and help balance the other out. Of the various questionable aspects of The Human Target, writer Tom King at least got that aspect of the Justice League International teammates right.

With Welcome to Smallville, writer Joanne Starer opts for a different take on the two BFFs. One that might work for unestablished heroes in search of a fresh start as opposed to two veteran heroes who deserve better than being treated like slapstick losers.

Starer’s dialogue reads like too many contemporary writers that pepper the dialogue with meme-speak that doesn’t actually sound like real people would utter. Martha Kent says she was looking forward to having some “feminine energy” around the house despite living with the absolute least toxic dude in the DCU in Jonathan Kent, who helped raise the second least toxic DCU character in Superman.

Starer introduces Tamarind, a supporting character full of quirks who raps Eminem lyrics without knowing who Eminem is and calls Fire and Ice a bunch of Karens. These exchanges read weirdly as Tamarind wanted to work in Fire and Ice’s hair salon after the previous owner died and the heroes bought the lease.

The duo has a brief encounter with King Shark while Fire is targeting potential arch-enemies like Gorilla Grodd’s previously never before been revealed sister and Lot’s Wife, a woman who can turn any object into salt since salt melts ice and puts out fire. Yikes.

Natcha Bustos’ art skews more cartoonish than realistic. It fits the goofy tone of the story although it sounds silly hearing Fire remind everyone she’s a model based on her appearance here. Tamra Bonvillain’s color work gives the book a bright, lively sheen that matches the take nothing serious approach of Welcome to Smallville.

The series is clearly not intended to be approached through a serious lens, but Harley Quinn has the market cornered on goofball antics. Fire and Ice could be treated like top of the B+ level heroes if given a chance. This won’t be the title that changes anyone’s opinion.

Rating: 6 out of 10