I am beyond stoked about news of the bosses behind the CW Network’s Arrowverse revealing yet another surprise for the Crisis on Infinite Earth’s five episode event. As I look up to the sky…
It’s bird….it’s a plane…it’s Tom Welling, reprising his iconic role as Clark Kent/Superman from the CW’s Smallville TV series.
Tom Welling’s portrayal of Clark Kent is one of my favorite incarnations of the Man of Steel and it made me watch Smallville almost religiously when I was a teenager. As you, constant reader, must know, I am a huge mark for Superman.
Smallville debuted on 2001 and it was a story about a young Clark Kent trying to make sense of his who he is and the man he will grow up to be. The thing I enjoyed about the show was that Welling had showed a more vulnerable and human side to the future Man of Steel. Under the guidance of Martha and Jonathan Kent, Clark had to face what every teenager faced (puberty, high school crushes, drama, etc) while discovering his Kryptonian heritage and developing his abilities. In addition, it took awhile for Clark to learn how to fly due to him being afraid of heights.
In addition to being brave, selfless, and loyal to his parents and friends, Clark was also mild-mannered. I mean, how can he be Clark Kent and not be mild-mannered?
There are several scenes where Clark is a complete goof ball when many women show interest in him while he is oblivious as to what is going on much to the humor of the audience or whoever Clark was with.
Another cool thing about Tom Welling’s portrayal of Clark was that some people saw this it as an analogue to Jesus Christ. One scene showed Clark falling from a building after a brutal fight with General Zod. While falling, Clark had his arms stretched out which made him look as if he was being crucified. There was an episode where Clark discovered that his blood could possible cure a disease.
Like any Superman story, Smallville had an ensemble of supporting characters including: Ma and Pa Kent, played by Annette O’toole and John Schneider; Pete Ross, played by Sam Jones III; Lana Lang, played by Kristin Kruek; Chloe Sullivan, played by Allison Mack (currently awaiting a trial which will be another story for another time); Jimmy Olsen, played by Aaron Ashmore; and Lois Lane, played by Erica Durance. We also eventually meet other charaters like Kara Zor El, played by Laura Vandervoort; Dr. Emil Hamilton, played by Alessandro Juliani; Tess Mercer, played by Cassidy Freeman; and Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, played by Justin Hartley.
Smallville also had an ensemble of villains that were original. Several notable villains were: Bugboy was a reclusive and creepy teenager who spied on Lana Lang; Desiree Atkins, a attractive and ravishing looking biology teacher that caused Clark’s sexual urges to intensify and his heat vision to manifest; and Curtis Knox, played by Dean Cain (Who portrayed Superman in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman), who was immortal and exchanged blows with Clark. Later on, we meet other villains like Davis Bloome, played by Sam Witer, who eventually becomes Doomsday.
A unique take on this show that I was a fan of was Clark’s friendship with his future nemesis Lex Luthor, played by Michael Rosenbaum (who also voiced the Flash on the animated Justice League). Their friendship began when Lex accidentally hit Clark with a car and they both fell over a bridge and into a river bank. Clark ended up rescuing Luthor and the took had become good friends. The two were like brothers and often helped each other much to the ire of Jonathan Kent who despised the Luthors. Clark and Lex’s destined and inevitable rivalry was foreshadowed several times. Notable prophecies were made by an elderly woman who could see into the future and several Native American paintings that were emblazoned on the walls of the caves in the outskirts of Smallville.
Eventually, the animosity between the two intensified when the former a love triangle due to their shared love for Lana Lang. And it was further established when Lex’s once ruthless father Lionel Luthor, played by John Glover, found enlightenment, after being used as a vessel for Jor-El, and began bonding with Clark. Luthor was presumed dead for two seasons but not before finding out that Clark Kent was Kal-El. He returned in the final episode of Season 10, being put back together by various cloned body parts by the Earth-2 counterpart of Lionel Luthor.
The last meeting between Clark and Lex took place in a broken Luthor Mansion. At this point, the Earth was experiencing an apocalypse unleashed by Darkseid and the meeting between the former friends showed that their rivalry had come full circle. Clark was shocked that Lex was alive while Lex criticized Clark for not using his powers to their fullest potential. Lex commented that Clark being his enemy was what made him and that they would be great men.
“I will be there to stop you,” Clark promised Lex.
Another thing that was intriguing about Smallville was that it made me question the idea of our destiny. The question that popped into my head was: do we have a destiny or are we allowed to create our own destiny? Clark had made me ask that question whenever he struggled to come to grips with his heritage and his role on Earth. His adopted parents often assured him that he could create his own destiny while Jor El, the entity in the Fortress of Solitude, seemed more rigid or strict.
The show took place in Superman’s hometown of Smallville, Kansas. The town is a rural town that embodies Middle America and has an All-American vibe (though it was filmed in Vancover, Canada). We are also introduced to several notable places including: The Kent Farm, Smallville High School, the Kawache Caves (which lead to the Fortress of Solitude in the Antarctic), the Talon (a coffeeshop operated by Lana), and the Luthor Mansion. As the series progressed and Clark matured, we begin to see more of Metropolis and the iconic Daily Planet. We also see the Ace of Clubs and (the already mentioned) Fortress of Solitude.
Smallville holds a special place in my heart. It is not only a Superman story. It is a story about a young man with special abilities who wanted to live a normal and simple life. But even when that was not possible, that young man took it upon himself to become a hero because his adopted parents instilled values of Truth, Justice, and the American Way. But I think that the young man who would become the Man of Tomorrow did achieve much more than what he dreamed. He made some friends who were understanding and loving toward him, he became admired by the many he saved, and he fell in love with a beautiful and intrepid firebrand journalist name Lois Lane.
And the story wouldn’t end with Season 10. The Smallville saga continued in the form of a comic book which was titled: Smallville: Season 11. The comic introduced us to that universe’s version of Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince, Barbara Gordon, Jay Garrick, John Stewart, and many other familiar characters.
This show and Tom Welling really made Clark Kent more human and relatable to viewers and myself.
As I write this, I am beginning to realize that this show has been telling me to accept and love myself for who I am. It realize that it has been telling me to accept my Aspergers Syndrome and to not push it away. Or perhaps, it was Clark Kent who was telling me to accept that part of myself. After all, ever since I was six years old, I had always wanted to be Superman.
I want to thank Tom Welling and the people behind Smallville for playing a role in my childhood. I also want to thank Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel for creating an awesome superhero who not only teaches us to fight for Truth, Justice, and the American way but to also love and accept ourselves and others. That is what makes Smallville an awesome Superman story.