Before The CW had the Arrowverse and the DC Universe had its slate of shows, Smallville was truly the DC TV show that allowed for the shows we have today to exist. Throughout its ten-year run, fans got to follow the story of Clark Kent (Tom Welling) discovering his destiny before suiting up as DC Comics’ most iconic hero, Superman. In its many seasons, we got to meet several DC Comics heroes and villains that joined Clark’s story as either allies or opponents. From iconic Justice League members to famous Superman foes, there were a lot of characters that joined this version of the DC Universe.
Several of those characters have even appeared throughout the Arrowverse shows with different actors playing them. Smallville’s influence on opening the gateways for more DC TV shows to follow the Superman prequel has gotten so big over the years that Welling and his Lois Lane, Erica Durance, are officially taking part of The CW’s massive Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover this year. It’s time to look at the show’s best heroes that came to life from page to screen. These are the ten best heroes on Smallville to be adapted from the DC mythology.
10 Booster Gold
One of the final heroes to make his appearance on the series was Michael Jon Carter a.k.a. Booster Gold (Eric Martsolf.) Despite only appearing once during the eighteenth episode of the final season, Martsolf’s portrayal of Booster was like seeing the character jump right out of the comic book pages. He had that perfect cocky attitude that you either love or hate about Booster while also having a bit of a heroic heart hiding underneath all of his gold. The costume was also one of the better ones to come out of Smallville as they did a solid adaptation of it.
Before he was Hank Hall a.k.a. Hawk on Titans, Alan Ritchson was better known to DC fans as Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman in Smallville. Ritchson made his debut in the season five episode “Aqua” where Clark gets to meet one of his future teammates. Although things do get off to a rocky wet start at first between the two heroes.
Arthur would later appear in a handful of guest spots in various seasons, the biggest one being in “Justice” from season six as well as his final appearance in the season ten episode “Patriot.” That final episode is where he goes more from his bro-y attitude to being more mature and serious as he faced his destiny.
Smallville got to have a lot of fun when Geoff Johns introduced the Justice Society of America in the ninth season. As Clark and his friends were just beginning to explore the idea of a super-team, the JSA enters their lives, having been a heroic team in the past that is now being forced out of the shadows. One of those characters was Carter Hall a.k.a. Hawkman (Michael Shanks) who was a perfect character to come in Clark’s life at that point. From the ambitious work that went into bringing his costume to life to the execution of his character in his few appearances on the show, Hawkman was someone you wanted more of. Whether it was him guiding Clark or butting heads with Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley), he was phenomenal in every way.
The Clark Kent drama had a fair share of magic-based characters, including the iconic DC heroine Zatanna (Serinda Swan.) While she only appeared twice in the series, Zatanna was one of more fun DC heroes to come into the show and not really related to anything mission wise.
Swan brought the character to life with grace as this was the heroine’s live-action debut. Zatanna does, however, get more things to do in the Smallville Season 11 comic that is worth checking out.
6 Black Canary
Before the many Black Canaries that we have seen in the Arrowverse, Alaina Huffman portrayed the iconic heroine in fishnets. Her debut in the season seven episode “Siren” puts the character in a more villainous path at first. But it doesn’t take long before she becomes part of the team as she appears a few more times in the show’s last three years. Any time she would show up, you fell more in love with her. While not directly referenced, the show even hints at the larger Black Canary legacy with her mom Dinah Drake having been the first Black Canary during her JSA days.
While The Flash has Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale), and Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp), they’re still missing one more iconic speedster: Bart Allen. In Smallville, Kyle Gallner played the young speeding hero who made his debut in the fourth season. When we first meet him, Bart was a bit of a troublemaker before meeting Clark who got him on a better path.
It wouldn’t be until “Justice” when the two heroes reunited as they became part of Oliver’s league. Gallner’s performance as Bart made you want the character to be there more often. From his wisecracking to his heroic performance, Bart will always be remembered as one of the best heroes to show up on the show.
Before Melissa Benoist suited up as the Girl of Steel, Laura Vandervoort was the latest actress to portray Kara Zor-El in live-action. In the seventh season, Kara enters Clark’s life as our Boy Scout didn’t really have anyone from his family around at that point. Despite her arc in season seven being a bit of a mixed bag, her guest appearances in season eight and ten do progress the character further towards her destiny as Supergirl. Vandervoort was a perfect fit for this version of Kara who allowed Clark to have some biological family in his life.
3 Martian Manhunter
Phil Morris, being the big comic book fan that he is, was the perfect actor to bring Martian Manhunter to life on Smallville. From his debut in season six and forward, this version of the hero is portrayed as an old buddy of Jor-El as he becomes a mentor of sorts to Clark. Anytime John (J’onn J’onzz) would show up, you wanted him to stick around for as long as possible.
2 Green Arrow
While Arrow’s Stephen Amell may hold the title as having played the part the longest, Justin Hartley is still the man who got to bring the Emerald Archer to life for the first time in live-action. What started as a guest recurring gig in season six became a larger part for the actor as he became a main cast member from season eight to season ten. Oliver was the perfect partner for Clark for many reasons. While their team-ups always rocked, it was intriguing to see Oliver challenge Clark to push himself as a hero. Just like Clark, Oliver had to go through his own trials and challenges as he evolved as a hero. By the end of the series, we had gotten the perfect partnership between the Man of Tomorrow and the Emerald Archer.
Despite the many wonderful heroes we’ve seen on the show, the number one spot is obviously going to Clark Kent himself. For ten years, we got the perfect origin story of how Clark explored his abilities, his Kryptonian heritage and ultimately his destiny as Earth’s greatest hero. To see Welling grow as an actor while Clark grew as a character was one of the biggest joys with watching the show. Despite not having the suit or being able to fly at that point, Clark was still seen as Superman regardless. With or without a suit, Clark proved himself to live up to the name of Superman by the end of the series. Of course, we did see him suit up and finally fly which is when he officially became the hero he was meant to be. But in more ways than one, Clark had already proved himself worthy as Superman hence why Welling’s version is considered as one of the best portrayals of the legend to this day.