Smallville Season 11 is coming to and close, but that won't be the end of Clark Kent & Co.'s adventures. Starting this fall the popular digital comic book series based on the long-running TV series will segue into a new format. Rather than continuing under the Season 11 banner — which kicked off last year — the DC Comics franchise will now consist of individual miniseries, each one starting with a new No. 1 issue.
The change won't affect the tone or continuity established in Season 11 by writer Bryan Q. Miller. Instead the format tweak is a bid to "get the casual or first-time reader a little more up to speed in each of those No. 1 issues," says Miller, who wrote for the TV show and is on the writing staff of Syfy's Defiance. "Not that we don't already do that to an extent, but [now] the first 20-30 pages of each arc will be more about setting up the status quo for the miniseries, rather than jumping right into things. It's a way to help welcome more people into the Smallville universe that we've been expanding on since the television series ended."
Following the conclusion of the current Season 11 arc, Olympus (featuring Wonder Woman), the first miniseries, Smallville: Alien, will kick off digitally Nov. 15. (Printed collections of chapters will be available monthly.) The story is set in Russia, where a mysterious "Monitor" falls from the sky. As was revealed earlier in Season 11, the Monitors destroyed "Earth 2," the alternate universe introduced in the TV series (where Clark was raised by the Luthors instead of the Kents and became the evil Ultraman). The Monitors also teased a coming "crisis," a likely nod to DC's landmark 1985-86 miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths. "We know they've destroyed other Earths as well," Miller says. "Alien will give us much more insight into the over-arching threat. ... They are not to be trifled with."
When the news from Russia gets back to Metropolis, "it turns into a race between Superman and Lex Luthor to get to this Monitor first and find what the crisis is," Miller says. The story also introduces the Rocket Red Brigade, a Russian superhero team from DC lore.
Miller will continue to write interlude chapters, titled Smallville Special and released on weeks when the main story is on hiatus. Previous arcs have introduced new faces (Batman) and brought back Smallville mainstays (Lana Lang). The next story, Titans, showcases a group of "gifted" youngsters from the show's mythos, including Conner Kent, the clone made from hybrid DNA of Clark and Lex who was introduced in the TV show's 10th season (and is better known to comic-book fans as Superboy). Also featured are Mia Dearden, aka Speedy, Green Arrow's would-be apprentice (from Season 9); Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle (Season 10); and Zan and Jayna, a.k.a. the Wonder Twins (Season 9). The first chapter of Titans will be released on Oct. 4.
New chapters of Smallville digital comics are available Fridays at readdcentertainment.com and via the DC Comics app, the iBookstore, Nook Store and Kindle Store
Here's an exclusive first look at the cover to Smallville: Alien, by artist Cat Staggs.