Smallville: The Best DCU Guest Stars

It’s Smallville Week here at iFanboy! We are celebrating the end of one of the most important comic book-inspired shows in the history of television by counting down some of our favorite aspects of Smallville. So check back every day for a new list! And then come back on Friday night to join us in a special live chat during the east coast airing of the two hour series finale!


5. Zatanna



I’ll be honest, this might have just been an excuse to look up pictures of Serinda Swan. I have not decided yet. But besides the… obvious reasons why it might be exciting to see Zatanna brought to life, she gets on the list for bringing a much needed chaotic magic element to Clark’s world, which is always fun. Zatanna’s growth from novice magician to full-fledged member of the Justice League has been a fun background story (in that it literally happens in the background). This portrayal of Zatanna was a fairly faithful page-to-screen translation, including the most accurate costume of all the members of the League. Shocking, I know.

4. The Legion of Super-Heroes



The Legion of Super-Heroes are kind of so ridiculous and convoluted that they are even a hard sell with most comic book fans. And yet, Smallville (courtesy of writer Geoff Johns) made it work. Rokk, Emra, and Garth (Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad, respectively, although not called as such in the episode) arrive from the 31st Century to save Clark from The Persuader and bring with them all the goofy fun of such Silver Age staples.

3. Hawkman



I give the producers a lot of credit for bringing in Hawkman. On the one hand, he looked kind of ridiculous on screen in his helmet and with those wings. On the other hand, he wielded a badass mace. So why was Hawkman one of the best of the DC Universe guest stars? All the credit in the world goes to actor Michael Shanks who not only made Carter Hall, the heart of the Justice Society of America, tough but also vulnerable. And slyly funny, too. When Hawkman and Green Arrow butted heads and bickered, in the classic Justice League of America style, it was endlessly entertaining. Every time Hawkman showed up in an episode my interest level in the show always increased.

2. J’onn J’onzz, The Martian Manhunter


One of my favorite characters in all of comics was one of the most frequent guest stars on Smallville and featured one of the best big screen interpretations by actor Phil Morris (yes, that Phil Morris). Metropolis Police Detective John Jones acted as a sage adviser for, and sometimes last minute rescuer of, Clark Kent after the burgeoning hero moved to the big city. While Morris’ J’onn J’onzz was usually paternal you never forgot how formidable a Martian cop could be. Plus he pulled off a purple jacket, green shirt, and red backwards double gun shoulder holster. That’s a fashion power not to be underestimated.

1. Perry White



Perfect. Absolutely perfect casting. Actor Michael McKean (and real life husband of Martha Kent actress Annette O’Toole) was a revelation as crusty, jaded, down and out reporter Perry White. When he first arrived in Smallville, the once great newsman, who had his career laid low by Lionel Luther, was on the hunt for an alien story that would have exposed Clark Kent. By the end of the episode, Clark had not only preserved his secret but set Perry back on the path to journalism greatness and the eventual Editor-in-Chief’s chair at The Daily Planet. McKean captured White’s emotional arc wonderfully and his redemption at the end felt truly earned. The only downside? The fact that such a high profile actor was cast as Perry meant that he could never take his rightful place on the show as Clark and Lois’ boss.
Previous Lists:

Smallville: The Best Episodes
Smallville: The Best Characters



  1. That Perry White episode is probably my all time favorite episode of Smallville. It was just pitch perfect. I saw Spinal Tap unplugged two years ago in Houston and McKean talked how much guest starring he does on shows and he mentioned that Smallville had the best food of any show he’s done and the best scenery too. Not sure if he was talking about the geography or Allison Mack.

  2. @roi, maybe he meant his wife.

    And I think the Perry Episode was the first real epsiode that Smallville started bringing in those other DCU guest stars. (someone correct me if I’m wrong, it’s been awahile) Glad it’s number #1.

    I’d put Aquaman in my top 5 and remove zatanna, because i didn’t see her epsiode and i have a soft spot for Arthur.

  3. As an Aquaman fan, I know I should be mentioning him. As a Legion fan, I agree that was a fun episode. Yet I still love Zatanna. Go figure!

    Smallville has been a lot of fun over the years. Here’s hoping the finale is as big as it gets!

  4. @WeaklyRoll  I would have thought the same thing but she was at the show too on stage with him and he said it in a hushed tone as if it were a private joke betweent he two of them about something else. it was a strange delivery.

  5. Pretty much right on the money.  I was not impressed (other than visually) with Serinda Swan in the first episode she appeared in, but she was pretty good in the second one.  I’m still a bit torn on whether or not Zatanna should be built like a Maxim cover girl or not, but it’s out of my hands.

    Michael Shanks was awesome in this role mainly because of what he brought to the character sans wings and helmet.  The bickering between GA and him was pitch perfect.

    Phil Morris is a great actor and more than just Jackie Chiles.  I pointed out who he was to my wife and she couldn’t believe it.

  6. I’m a Legion fan so I really enjoyed that episode.  I thought they were very well done.

  7. I loved how they did Martian Manhunter. Badass. But no Green Arrow love?

  8. @warmachine15  As the title of the article suggests, this list serves to highlight those who only appeared as guest starts.

  9. @conor But he technically was a guest star originally, wasn’t he? For awhile, he showed up as much as J’onn did…whatever season it was. Six, I think.

  10. @warmachine15  Yes, but then he became a series regular which removed him from eligibility from this list.

  11. Love that you put Hawkman in this short list!  I’m a huge Michael Shanks fan, and I thought he did an incredible job.

  12. Great list!  I’m gonna switch it up a little..

    I love all of them, but I think my list is based off how much I enjoyed the episodes they appeared in but also how much I wish they had been in more! 

    5. Booster Gold – I hesitated to put in such a new guest star, but since I’m basing this on wishing we’d seen more of these characters, he definitely qualifies.  It would have been cool to see him pop in from time to time with Skeets.  We got to see Booster Begins so to speak, but it would be nice to see how he develops after meeting and learning from Clark.

    4. Dinah Lance, Black Canary – I’m sticking her here because as much as I’ve enjoyed the Ollie and Chloe relationship, I had hoped that once they introduced her that she would be on more often as a counter to Ollie and that we’d see their relationship develop.  Perhaps in spinoff Green Arrow show on an alternate Earth.

    3. J’onn Jonnz, Martian Manhunter –  Mainly because he was a constant the last few years guiding Clark on his journey, but he’s been absent for all of season 10 sadly. I liked his backstory with Jor-El.

    2.  Zatanna – She was only in 2 episodes, but mentioned in several others.  Conor also pointed out the accuracy of the suit, which doesn’t hurt.  I loved her scenes with Clark and Ollie and wish that she would have at least been in “Fortune” this year.

    1.  Perry White – Obviously Perry White would have been nice to have around more frequently the last couple seasons at the Daily Planet with Lois & Clark.  I always hoped he would’ve become a series regular but alas it wasn’t meant to be.

  13. I’m really enjoying the Smallville love leading up to the finale this week. Great list of guest stars. I’ve been pondering this today and I don’t think I can come up with any other choices than those here. Michael Shanks actually made me like Hawkman, and as Conor said in the article, the bickering between him and Green Arrow was such a pleasure to watch. The only other name I’d throw in is Booster Gold, but then this would be a ‘Top 6’ list which makes no sense, and I’m not sure he even qualifies since he’s only been in one recent episode. I suppose my point is I’m a sucker for all things Booster. 

  14. Flash snubbed…excuse me @conner, Impulse snubbed. Haha. Nice list. Can’t really argue with it…especially the Phil Morris selection.

  15. J’onn J’onnz wins hands down for me.

  16. It’s a low key one but anybody remember when Morgan Edge showed up, played by Rutger Hauer? That was awesome.  They even had that moment when Clark smashes Edge’s car right in front of Lex and Lex is all “I KNEW IT!!!” That was some exciting Smallville right there.