Smallville: 'Absolute Justice' Review & Discussion

After months of anticipation, the two-hour Smallville television event that everyone has been waiting for is now upon us as Hawkman, Star Girl and Dr. Fate teams up with Clark Kent, Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter to track down a killer before it’s too late.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock that has no internet or television, you've  heard something about the Smallville television event “Absolute Justice” in which The Star-Spangled Kid/Skyman, Sylvester Pemberton, seeks out of the help of Chloe and her band of superheroes, all while Lois Lane is dealing with the evil Amanda Waller and the secret government agency, Checkmate. The episode is written by DC Comics (and fan-beloved) writer, Geoff Johns.

No wonder this is a two-hour event - there’s no way you could squeeze this many DC references into a single 60-min episode. Even I had to dust off my DC Comics Encyclopedia to make sure that I wasn’t missing anything.

Still, I had to at least miss a couple of fanboy references and I’m sure that the readers will make sure to tell me in the comments, there’s no doubt that for a fan of Smallville or comic books in general, "Absolute Justice" is a must-see event.


While “Absolute Justice” started in the typical Smallville fashion, it quickly became apparent that in terms of storytelling that this episode would easily become one of the best, if not the best, episode of Smallville in its nine years of being on the air.

It was a wonderful to see that guest characters could be on Smallville with a backstory that’s more than the normal “guess who just happened to come to Metropolis.” In the months leading up to this television event I was worried that maybe the costumes wouldn’t work or that the story would be bland. Luckily, the manner in which the Justice Society and its Golden Age DC characters were handled exceeded above and beyond all of my previous expectations.

There were so many names being dropped and characters being referenced that I challenge anyone to watch this without hyper-focusing on every name being mentioned wondering if you happened to miss someone. (Was that supposed to be Thomas Jagger impersonating Clark Kent to drop off the Checkmate package to Lois Lane?)

Who would have thought that as the episode concluded that I would be happy with watching a Justice Society television show each week? One more thing that pleasantly surprised me was only wonderful Dr. Fate was. Some characters don’t make the transfer from print to television that well, but like Green Arrow, Dr. Fate easily stole the show.

Still, the episode was not without its faults. When the Lois Lane/Checkmate storyline kicked in it completely took me out of the story and made me wonder if the writers had originally written this plot in or if someone thought it would be great idea to crowbar in some foreshadowing to the ninth season finale.

Continuing with the Checkmate conundrum was the “big bad” of this episode. Icicle wouldn’t exactly have been my first choice as antagonist, especially when they decided to cast such a poor actor to portray the son of Dr. Joar Mahkent. His mannerisms were extremely odd and for the most part, the only way I could justify him making it this far with his “revenge” plot was because that’s what the writers decided. It certainly wouldn’t be because he has a formidable foe.

Final Thoughts

Overall, “Absolute Justice” was a wonderful glimpse back at the Golden Age of DC comics with more than enough nods to keep comic book fans busy searching through their mental Rolodex of superheroes while maintaining a wonderful storyline that could easily be enjoyed by those that aren’t so comic-literate.


Before everyone starts yelling at me, I know that I passed over some things. Yes, it was great to see Martian Manhunter get his powers back and I have to admit that I got goose bumps when we saw glimpse at the fate of Clark Kent.

But, were you as happy with “Absolute Justice” as I was? Do you agree with me about Icicle and Checkmate?

Did you catch all the superhero nods and references?

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