Fire & Ice: Welcome To Smallville #2 sees Bea and Tora’s time in Smallville as less of an adventure and more of a slice-of-life soul search. They’re each up to something in this issue without much collaboration. This almost allows the issue to have an A plot and a B plot feel much like an episode of a sit-com. Compared to other DC Books, you won’t find this anywhere else.
Personally, I recently learned that Dodsons’ covers are highly sought after by some fans and it’s not hard to see why. The background of Smallville continues to be used and Terry and Rachel give us the only instance of Fire and Ice using their powers together in the book. Here, it looks like Ice and L-Ron are trying to keep Fire lowkey, but she is anything but.
Greg Smallwood’s variant is stylish in every sense of the word. Fire and Ice’s outfits that they would absolutely wear while not superheroing compliments everything about them – colors, personality, and subtle hints at what they are looking for in Smallville. Ice is there to enjoy the ride and Fire is looking for the start of her hero’s journey. The textures and linework look like paint brushstrokes.
More fashion is abound in Joshua Swaby’s variant cover. Fire and Ice mesh their super suits with civilian clothing which isn’t too far off from what Fire actually does. The hooded jacket is a nice touch for Ice that honestly should be included in her regular look. The faces almost seem like Swaby was using actual model references with how beautifully handled they are.
Fire hired Ambush Bug as a punching bag for what could’ve been a viral video to get her back on the radar as a superhero. However, as Tamarind notices, it doesn’t take off. In fact, more people are familiar with Fire due to her fight with Guy Gardner. Meanwhile, Ice has a day out with a friend who lives in Smallville, Rocky. She takes her to the Smallville hospital and shows her that powers aren’t needed to help people, which is a route that Tora is considering for her life.
That continues to be the opposite case for Bea as she begins to feel out on her own and hits up a local bar. She has a nice conversation with the bartender and owner Charlie (also Rocky’s brother) who gives her some pointers on how he profits off online videos as a sort of handicap influencer. This gives Bea an idea, and it involves several D-list villains, the salon, and some cameras.
In contrast to all the other Dawn of DC titles with the Superman shield on the cover, this series may be the most unique in terms of tone, writing, and characters. In fact, it almost feels like a slightly more serious episode from the Harley Quinn show. Joanne Starer’s strength isn’t the typical comic book action but a slice-of-life situational comedy with superpowers only being a theme in the background. L-Ron, Tamarind, and now Ambush Bug continue to keep the comic relief coming while Bea is a witty spitfire (pun intended) and Tora is just plain adorable. Letters are done by Ariana Maher.
Artist Natacha Bustos and colorist Tamra Bonvillain do a lot in this issue with some great one-page spreads with several characters. The second act feels hilariously claustrophobic with that many people under one roof. How often is it when situational comedy works in comics like it would in a TV show? The D-list villains, some of which are callbacks to the original JLI series also get some jokes in. The vibrant and simple colors and linework couldn’t fit the story and characters more.
Fire and Ice: Welcome to Smallville #2 keeps the giggles coming but also shows more of a divide between the two heroines like in the first issue. Unfortunately for Ice, it feels like Fire’s story and she’s just living in it.