Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Fire & Ice: Welcome To Smallville #2 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: October 3, 2023

Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #2 sends Rocky to give Tora a walking tour of Smallville while Bea hatches a wacky plan to get more social media attention. Wait, wasn't that the same plot as issue #1?
Is Fire & Ice: Welcome To Smallville #2 Good?

Yes, Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #2 is effectively the same story as issue #1. Tora and Bea bicker, Tora muses over the peace of a quiet life, Bea hatches a hair-brained scheme to bring villains to Smallville to curry fame and attention, and Bea and Tora wind up fighting again. The semantics are different, but the engine under the hood is the same.

When last we left Bea and Tora, Bea sent out a public challenge to any and all villains to face her on the mean streets of Smallville(?). Superman intervened to save lives and property, but the boneheaded move widened the rift between Tora and Bea.

Now, Bea invents a boneheaded scheme to invite villains to Smallville to be part of a reality show dressed up as a rehabilitation program... without telling Tora. Chaos ensues.

Intermixed with the repetitive plot is sexual innuendo, weird anti-white and anti-male jokes, a brief (not brief enough) Ambush Bug appearance, and generally abrasive personalities, particularly from Bea.

You get the impression Joanne Starer tried to push the envelope on the personalities and the humor, but succeeded in making a comic that's wholly off-putting.

What's great about Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #2? It's nice to get to know the ins and outs of Smallville as a novelty piece. The shops, the hospital, the bars, and the people are often referenced as just the collective "Smallville," but it's nice to see the town take on more personality.

What's not so great about Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #2? Starer's plot is essentially a redux of issue #1, which is a cheap no-no. The humor and character work are terrible. Bea's plan doesn't make any sense, which makes her more unlikable/unrelatable. And the arc is starting to feel directionless. If Starer's was given the direction to create a goofy sitcom, the structure sort of makes sense, but a sitcom format doesn't make sense for a limited-run mini-series.

How's the art? Bustos's style is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. If you like it, you like it. If you don't, you don't. Bustos has a very clear cartoonish, comic strip style, which some readers may find suits the vibe of the script.

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

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Bits and Pieces:

Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #2 takes the juvenile situations from issue #1 and repeats them with more ferocity. Bea is turning into a raging sociopath, the duo's time in Smallville seems pointless because they clearly need adult supervision, and Starer injects a few offensive jokes to put the icing on the cake.

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