Quick Rating: Good
Title: Chronicle & Parenthood
Chloe Sullivan gets a visitor that dredges up a case from the past.
Writer: Clint Carpenter
Pencils: Tom Derenick & Tom Grummett
Inks: Adam DeKraker & Kevin Conrad
Colors: Guy Major & Trish Mulvihill
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Tom Palmer Jr.
Cover Art: John Van Fleet
Publisher: DC Comics
DC comics and the WB network begin a multimedia assault with a story that picks up a thread from a season one episode of Smallville, continues on the show’s website and will wrap up two months from now in the next issue of the comic book. If you’re going to do a story like that, this is the way to do it – “Chronicle” is a story that has a fairly satisfying ending to it, even if you don’t decide to log on to the website and check out how it continues, but the option to keep reading is there if you want it.
A man arrives on Chloe’s doorstep with new information about the mysterious “Level Three” that Luthorcorp moved out of Smallville under mysterious circumstances. Chloe and Clark go out to investigate. In a back-up story, Jonathan and Martha Kent get stranded on the side of the road due to a series of Clark-related mishaps. The backup is a quick funny story with a predictably sappy ending, but in the context of the television show it works fairly well.
It’s always a challenge, when adapting a TV show or movie, to draw characters that resemble the real actors without completely surrendering the storytelling needs of a comic book. Tom Derenick does a great job with this – his characters look enough like Allison Mack and Tom Welling to remind us that there is a TV show but he never sacrifices the conventions of comic storytelling. Tom Grummett isn’t quite as successful at this – his faces, especially John Schneider as Jonathan Kent, tend to be a bit over-detailed, but overall, the story looks all right.
This issue also includes a few text pieces – an article about visual effects on the program, the beginning of the season two episode guide and a weird “Voices From the Future” report that uses that annoying internet technique of substituting numbers for letters. You’re welcome to try to decipher it if you want – I got frustrated in two sentences.
This is a decent comic book, but I don’t think it gets used to its fullest potential. I’ve never seen an issue outside of comic book stores. This should be out there on magazine racks where kids and teenagers who watch the TV show can find it, read it and hopefully make the transition to other comic books. It’s time DC learned how better to market the best tool for grabbing new readers they currently have.