Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #4
LOBO COMES TO TOWN! Ice’s worst fears about Fire’s antics are confirmed when a horrifying revelation comes to light, and whatever trust they’d tentatively rebuilt crumbles to dust. And despite Martha Kent’s best attempts to mediate over Smallville’s finest drag brunch, there might be no coming back for what was once the Justice League’s most dynamic duo. (Booster and Beetle who?) Oh, and Lobo shows up hot and bothered to throw down in Fire’s defunct fight club. What could possibly go wrong?
Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #4 picks up with the rift between Fire and Ice growing further and further as they both have very different ways of finding their footing in Smallville. Capturing the multifaceted relationship between these two longtime friends, Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #4 continues pushing the border of what kinds of storytelling can be told within the ever sprawling DC universe. Along the way, the issue also introduces Lobo to the mix as things start to spice up for all of the characters.
Since the first issue, writer Joanne Starer has shown a very high level of knowledge regarding the inner workings of the DC universe, especially when it comes to the Justice League International books. Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #4 continues that trend as Starer dissects the relationship of the often woefully underused Fire and Ice. Whereas the first few issues showed Fire acting irresponsibly and Ice reacting poorly, Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #4 flips the script and reignites the reason why this duo has stayed together for so long. This issue is a fantastic introspection into the thought processes of these characters, similar to what Tom King and Greg Smallwood had done previously with The Human Target. The main difference here is the focus on friendship, the bonds that make it work, and the struggles that stay persistent. All of this comes together wonderfully in a title that expertly balances its superhero characters with the slice-of-life drama that keeps readers coming back every month.
Natacha Bustos has done a great job of animating these characters, giving them life and nuance even in the smallest senses. In this issue, the art takes another turn as it starts to capture the drama in a more complex way. This mix of action, drama, comedy, and Bustos’s unique style really give this book a feel that makes it unlike anything else coming out right now. Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville may not be the biggest book in the overall canon of the Dawn of DC, but the detailed and nuanced art from Bustos, in combination with Starer’s writing, is bound to make this series memorable for years to come.
While Bustos’s pencils help signify the dramatic shifts of the narrative, it is also important to pay attention to the colors from Tamra Bonvillain. The colors here maintain this book profoundly within its medium, giving it a sense of vibrancy that makes it hard to imagine this story in any other medium. These characters are so flashy and unique that this story just wouldn’t feel the same without the colors as striking as they are.
Rounding out the creative team is the always fantastic Ariana Maher on letters. This book deals with a lot of sexual subject matter, both nuanced and outright. Maher does a great job in placing these specific dialogue bubbles in areas that help capture the tone and nuance of what the characters are saying. Because of this, the tension and teasing between Lobo and Fire feels dramatically different than the more nuanced relationship Ice is starting. It almost feels like Maher worked side by side with Starer and Bustos while the story was being plotted, in order to make sure these pages read exactly as intended.
Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #4 is a great example of how to mix melodrama with superheroics, while also telling a more mature story.
Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #4: It’s Time to Light Some Candles and Dim the Lights
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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