Hollow is the eighth story arc of Smallville: Season 11, a comic book series from DC Comics that follows the continuity of the television series. The four-chapter arc features a story independent but chronologically parallel to the story arc in Olympus. The arc focuses on the newly digitized presence of Tess Mercer and her brother Lex Luthor.
From DC Comics: "In the one-shot tale “Hollow,” newly digitized Tess Mercer is faced with the ultimate question: Can she set aside her obsession with getting revenge on her brother, Lex Luthor, to become the hero Metropolis’s protectors know she’s destined to become?"
- Smallville: Season 11 Special #3 (Released on October 30, 2013)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter 54: Hollow, Part 1 (Digital Release July 10, 2013)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter 55: Hollow, Part 2 (Digital Release July 12, 2013)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter 59: Hollow, Part 3 (Digital Release August 9, 2013)
- Smallville: Season 11 - Chapter 63: Hollow, Part 4 (Digital Release September 6, 2013)
Professor Hamilton arrives at Watchtower, where he updates the software and "wakes up" the consciousness of Tess Mercer. He tells her he could make a uniform especially for her so she can put some clothes on her holographic representation. Tess doesn't seem to be interested in that idea because as she says clothes are for people and at the moment she is not an actual person. They also talk about whether she dreams when she is in stand-by, but their conversation is interrupted by an assault at Seattle, involving men with robotic suits. Fortunately Black Canary and Speedy are at the scene and deal with the problem.
Meanwhile, Otis wakes Lex Luthor, who has not come out of his room since his plan to track down Superman failed, and Tess was extracted from his head. Otis brings to him good news that stimulates the curiosity of Lex: a recording of a spacecraft that landed at Smallville months ago.
At LexCorp output, Tess remotely locks the doors preventing Otis to accompany Lex, and outside there are three former employees of LexCorp heading towards Lex. They blame him for allowing one of its patents end up in the hands of Queen Industries. All three are very angry with him, and Lex says they still should thank him because a few years ago he would have had them killed and not just fired. Hearing that the three men begin to beat up Lex, while Tess observes the situation and discards the option of calling 911 to save her brother.
Lex wakes up at the hospital after the beating, and sees that Otis has sent a psychologist to talk with him. Lex recognises that Otis cares for him and says that this is the only reason he hasn't completely fired him. He also admits that he has stopped beating for Lexcorp shares rising. Meanwhile, Tess observes the activities of the network cameras monitoring the hospital, where Lex is, and she is about to change the medication oxycodone, but she fails because she has to answer to an emergency call and so eventually Lex is discharged and leaves.
The emergency call was for a fire in the lower area of Metropolis. A father and daughter are trapped, and firefighters can not come to their rescue. Tess tries to communicate with any member of the team but no one seem to be available at the moment so she decides to take action herself. With her control over all systems, Tess takes command of a helicopter and a crane arm and manages to create a bridge by which the two escape from the flames. People are surprised at what has happened, and attribute it to a kind of an invisible hero.
Later Lex visits a secret lab of LexCorp, called Network, where its scientists report to him the analysis of meteorites they have found along with the ship that Otis informed him about previously. The results are puzzling: the meteorites are somehow from the Earth itself, and seem as if our planet had exploded, which makes everyone confused. In addition, their atomic charges are exactly opposite of what they should be. They also inform him that the ship fell at Smallville, and that is now owned by S.T.A.R. Labs and so Lex says he wants the object, and this is not a request.
At the S.T.A.R. Labs, Tess visits Hank Henshaw to get some advice from him about her obsession for revenge, feeling that he is the only person who can understand her due to his state as a newly artificial intelligence too. He says that he knows how she feels, stating that the anger and the instability he felt when his consciousness was first moved to a cybernetic body were long there before Luthor used him as an experiment. He also tells Tess that the fact that she recognizes that she actually has a problem makes her be ahead of the curve and that he was in a lot more difficult place than her because due to his instability he even fought with Superman, making him tear apart his robotic body. Hank encourages Tess saying that she has a second chance to do right by herself and the people she cares about.
Somewhere else inside the facility, Emil talks with some of his fellow scientists, listening about other projects that the scientists have in mind. One of them also says that they should do a lot more than just help build moonbases. Emil seems to agree in a way but before he can say anything more he is informed that something happened with the sensors outside the facility and that now they are off-line.
Meanwhile Lex, who appears to be responsible for the sensors going off-line, revealing that he is actually attacking S.T.A.R. Labs, is confronted by Otis who wants to be assured that Lex's men won't use any lethal force. Otis tries to convince Lex not to harm anyone saying that even if he didn't know him before he lost his memory he knows he is not that kind of a man anymore. Lex responds by quoting the author Ralph Waldo Emerson saying that “the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be” and then orders his men to begin the attack.
While Emil is being informed about their defenses, which have been breached, Lex's men cut the power off. Emil orders his scientists to quickly encrypt all the files containing information about Superman or the Justice League and then got to the panic rooms. Then Emil, who is left behind, confronts Lex's men by engaging in a fight with them. One of them shoots Emil with his gun leaving Tess, who all that time was watching from a screen, horrified. Tess decides to take action and do whatever she can to save Emil's life. Hank advices her to keep her emotions in check. She then tries to call 911, but she fails because as she is informed local communications are jammed by LexCorp. So she takes the control of a huge robot inside the facility and is heading towards the wounded Emil saying to him to hold on.
Tess, while controlling a huge robot, attacks the soldiers sent by Lex in S.T.A.R. Labs and then breaks into the place, where Lex and Otis are. Lex orders Otis to leave the place. Tess then attacks her brother, and she is about to kill him, and he even tells her to do it, but at the last moment she reconsiders and ends her connection with the robot, sparing the life of her brother.
Later when Emil leaves the hospital, after being shot, he visits Tess, and they talk about what happened earlier. She says she did not kill Lex because she dreams, and if she has dreams, it must means something. Not knowing why, she feels that if she is getting a second chance, she does not want any blood on her hands or darkness in her heart. Tess also tells Emil that she has reconsidered his idea of making a uniform, clothing her holographic design.
At LexCorp, Otis brings breakfast to his boss, and they talk about what happened. Otis says that he erased the security tapes in which he appears asking the robot to end his miserable existence. Lex says that the data of the ship that his team managed to steal from S.T.A.R. Labs seems conclusive that there was a parallel Earth, which was destroyed, and Lex says he'll figure out how to save this one.
- Black Canary
- General Zod (flashback only)
- Martian Manhunter
- Blue Beetle
- Angela Chen
- Hank Henshaw
- Lionel Luthor
- Beautia Sivana
- Jessica Palmer
- Adam Strange
- Will Magnus
- Anthony Ivo
- T.O. Morrow
- Hollow means empty beneath the shell, which could refer to Tess' new life as an AI unit.
- It was confirmed by Bryan Q. Miller that the scientist talking about the Zeta beams with Emil Hamilton was the DC hero, Adam Strange.
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