Saturday, September 2, 2023

Fire & Ice: Welcome To Smallville #1 Review



Written by: Joanne Starer
Art by: Natacha Bustos
Colors by: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters by: Ariana Maher
Cover art by: Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: September 5, 2023

Fire & Ice: Welcome To Smallville #1 finds Bea and Tora in Smallville for a change of scenery and perspective (read: probation) after Fire endangered civilians with a fight against Guy Gardner.

Is Fire & Ice: Welcome To Smallville #1 Good?

 I don't know what I expected from Fire & Ice: Welcome To Smallville #1. The elemental duo hasn't been seen in quite some time, so maybe we'd get to see them on a fun adventure or deal with a threat only they can handle since the Justice League disbanded (for now). This comic is neither of those things, but it's odd and probably not at all what you'd expect.

Joanne Starer's script centers on Fire & Ice arriving in Smallville through Superman's firm suggestion to get a little perspective after an incident between Fire and Guy Gardner that put civilians in danger. The fight and what caused it are never given any detail or an editor's note to explain which issues to look up for reference, but you get the distinct impression Fire was at fault.

Also, this issue references main continuity events (e.g., disbanded JL), so this isn't an Elseworld story.

Instead of taking up the offer to stay at the Kent Farm, Bea, Tora, and their robotic butler L-Ron rent out a foreclosed Beauty Salon called The Tease. Tora leans into the chance for a change of pace, but Bea desperately wants to prove herself, sending out an Internet announcement for villains to come to her for a fight. Mayhem ensues.

Whether or not you'll be on board with this comic boils down to three factors - The character work, the tone, and the art.

First, the character work. If you were expecting a traditional take on Fire & Ice, forget it. Starer writes the elemental duo like a pair of immature Junior High girls. Bea is the unreasonable hothead who thumbs her nose at the slightest suggestion of authority, creating a mess because she doesn't consider the actions of her consequences. Tora is the reasonable best friend who keeps getting caught up in Bea's messes. The heart of this issue is the friendship between Bea and Tora, but Bea, in particular, is uncharacteristically immature.

Next, the tone. When Bea publishes a video on the Internet inviting villains to fight her in Smallville, the comic quickly devolves into a YA story. King Shark answers the challenge by appearing out of nowhere for a fight while making teeth jokes, L-Ron incessantly offers everyone pie, and when Superman swoops in to save the day, Bea throws a Junior High-level tantrum. The tone is non-serious and not mature.

Finally, the art. Natacha Bustos's style matches the non-serious, immature nature of the script. This comic reads like a YA story, and Bustos's art looks like something you'd see in a YA story. Character outlines are thick, faces are soft and lacking in detail, and the overall look has a distinctly cartoonish vibe. For example, Bustos is miles away from anything you'd see in a Batman comic, but the style matches the script.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces: 

Fire & Ice: Welcome To Smallville #1 looks, reads, and feels like a YA story. That's not inherently wrong, but this story takes place in current continuity, and Fire & Ice are written as immature Junior High students instead of the seasoned heroes they're supposed to be. That doesn't make it bad, just very odd.


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