“The best for last” has never been more literal than with Fire and Ice: Welcome to Smallville #6, it’s been a long road of hoots and hollers, but now a real big bad is on the loose and the town is in danger. Bea and Tora, along with the colorful cast of characters we’ve become acquainted with in this series must come together to overcome with the power of friendship.
Terry and Rachel Dodson have been superb regular cover artists for this series. Their final issue cover works like a Far Side comic with the title text acting as the caption to the visual. It’s a fun cover because readers of the series will know that Fire and Ice getting along has always been the end goal. It seems it all works out but at the expense of Smallville.
Khary Randolph does another country-roads style variant with Fire and Ice but features one of the series’ characters – Linka, Gorilla Grodd’s sister. And, if Grodd is king of Gorilla City then that makes Linka one of the DC Universe’s newest princesses. Even as a sort of tongue-in-cheek character like some of the others in the series, Linka manages to be the most memorable and also has a bigger role than any of them in this issue. She deserves the spotlight.
Marguerite Sauvage’s variant is stylized not with the illustration, but with the colors. There is also a fashion theme to it, as is common with Fire and Ice books with Bea dressing as the glamorous model she is while Tora goes with a more casual wardrobe. The use of their primary costume colors of blue and green makes for an eyepopping piece where they do all the work.
Smallville has come under attack by an ancient Norwegian entity that Tora’s family has faced in the past – Crave. He’s kind of like the Wendigo from North America in the regard that he gets into groups of people and causes an extreme hunger that causes them to cannibalize each other. Another villain is at large with the mask of Kooey Kooey Kooey that grants the wearer plant-based abilities and mind control.
After the controlled Rocky jumps Bea, Tora, and Tamarind in the streets of Smallville, Marth Kent encounters Crave at the hospital while looking after young patients. With the help of Charlie and Linka, Fire and Ice are able to ward off the plant-based attacks and rendezvous with Martha. Not only do they have to save Smallville, but they have to beat both the mask and Crave while freeing all those they have controlled. Needless to say, it’s almost an issue of Action Comics compared to the rest of the series. At the same time, our characters truly look at their respective relationships and realize that they’re strengths rather than liabilities.
Starer honestly kept us guessing this whole time about what kind of direction the series would take. With guest characters coming in and out and the occasional situational comedy, seeing this as how it would play out really came out of the blue. And, it’s a very welcome surprise and just what the series needed. After listening to these characters during some of their most personal moments in the story, it feels good to finally root for them in a classic good vs. evil battle.
Natacha Bustos’ gives us the most action-packed panels to come out of this series with colors by Tamra Bonvillain. From beginning to end, it’s pandemonium in Smallville and feels like it. But the best action doesn’t go to Fire or Ice, it actually goes to Martha. She truly is Superman’s mother and we get to see her be the hero that inspired and raised ours. Her role was never a guest one, it was a supporting one. Of course, Fire, Ice, and even Linka get to use their powers in some great group panels and pages overall. Bustos’ art seemed cutesy at first, who knew it could pack so many punches?
Whereas Superman represents hope as a superhero, Fire and Ice represent friendship and that is what Fire and Ice: Welcome to Smallville has always been about. This story has had heart, humor, and fun characters. Now, I can confidently say it has action and a great payoff in what is a perfect way to end a limited series.