V. knows way more about Smallville than I do, but I was a fan of this show in its early days. Though poor Tom Welling has yet to don a cape, there have been some notable, full-costume appearances by major DC players. But since it’s a TV show and not a big-screen blockbuster, Smallville has never had the budget to provide truly splendid superhero costumes. The best ones look like top-notch cosplay getups. Others, like the recent Blue Beetle reveal, are a bit sad:

Blue Beetle: Really? As a reader pointed out on our Facebook page, it looks like a Power Rangers getup. Upon closer inspection, it resembles a Happy Meal action figure. From 1996. Grade: D

Green Arrow: This one’s pretty good and captures GA’s general Robin Hood vibe, with a 21st Century edge. Green Arrow’s costume isn’t fancy, and the nice guns count as an accessory. Grade: B+

Hawkman: In Smallville‘s defense, Hawkman’s comics costume is glorious and therefore very hard to pull off without CGI and big bucks. Again, if I saw this at Dragon*Con, I’d be kinda impressed. However, I saw a Hawkgirl at D*C whose wings were bigger, more feathery, and far more striking than this. The helmet looks like it was decorated with gold spray paint, and overall, it’s a letdown. Grade: C-

Booster Gold: Not awful. Booster isn’t the most serious character in the DCU, but he looks like he’s ready to handle some business in this instance. Snazzy shades, and props for the oh-so-accurate product placement patches. Very NASCAR. Grade: B

Wonder Woman: Even though this is Lois Lane in Diana’s costume, I dig it. In fact,  like it so much that I wish David E. Kelley & Co. had gone this route for the TV show. It’s got some warrior flourishes, and it appears classic and youthful. Points off for the cheap-o tiara and star deficit, though. Grade: A-

Zatanna: Fishnets, check. Tuxedo getup, check. Hot boots, check. Matrix-y trench coat, check. This is a fairly simple look, but it’s effective and awfully stylish: Grade: A

Black Canary: I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. Dinah looks like a cross between in Val Kilmer in Top Gun and a mannequin at Wilsons Leather. The costume screams “cheap,” and the Ziggy Stardust raccoon mask isn’t helping matters. Grade: D-

Stargirl: The mask is effed up, and the costume is only slightly above Halloween quality. I think had those shorts in fourth grade. Anyway, Stargirl is such an underexposed character that I’m happy to see her at all. By the way, that staff looks like a solar light fixture that was ripped out of someone’s front yard. Grade: C

Aquaman: I really, really got a kick out of this. I’m a tad biased because orange and green are my alma mater’s colors, but Aquaman’s costume looks functional for a guy who spends most of his time in the water, and it’s sleek and modern. Groovy footwear, too! With apologies to my Aquaman-loving friends, “cool” is not a word I often associate with King Arthur, so this is well played.  Grade: A+

Clark Ken/Superman: I realize that he has yet to officially become the Man of Steel on Smallville, but at this point, Clark ought to have more than jeans, a blue T-shirt, and a red jacket from Costco. Can’t a Kryptonian get some love on his own show?! Even Welling’s well-documented beauty can’t redeem this. Grade: F

19 thoughts on “Sartorial Smallville: A Critique

  1. I find I’m pretty much in agreement with your reviews. It’s sad to see costumes on a show and think “I’ve done better things than THAT” to yourself. Even if they don’t have a huge budget, some of those look like cheap halloween costumes!


  2. I stopped watching this show when Clark graduated from High school for I really enjoyed those episodes, it was like Degrassi High with burgeoning powers, but I really lost interest especially when they showed Clark and Lois meeting before the Daily Planet.
    Some of the costumes are interesting but I have to say fie as Lois dressed as Wonder Woman because Lois is no Diana. AT ALL or EVAH!


  3. They did have one improvement, in Icarus they CGI’d Hawkman’s wings. Even Mike Shanks admitted the wings killed him because the puppet wings threw him off balance something fierce. The masque still stank though. They coulda done much better. But they did kinda fix the wings majorly in Icarus.


  4. I pretty much agree with you on everything E., except I liked Stargirl!!! Aquaman rocks but boy ,does Black Canary suck!! They couldn’t have done worse on that one if they tried??? E,. you should review all the JSA, some of them were really good!


  5. I disagree in many points.
    Although Blue Beetle is quite low-budget,is also pretty similar to the one from comics.I just don’t understand why they didn´t make appear Ted Kord instead of Jaime Reyes,because he is Booter pal and his uniform is much more easy to do.Maybe they wanted to use the suit they made for Blue Beetle pilot? 6
    I never liked Green Arrow uniform,is the typical example of “how to do a super-hero costume when you don’t want to do a super-hero costume”. 5
    With Hawkman ,I would say something similar to BB:is similar to comics,but low-budget. 7
    Booster Gold´s costume is horrible:it seems an astronaut suit from a 60’s Sci-Fi movie. 3
    Lois´s Wonder Woman is acceptable,above all considering it was more a joke than any other thing. 6
    Totally agree with Zatanna.As sexy as in comics.And Serinda is gorgeous!(Although maybe they make her up too much,her face is absolutly white,it seems wax).9
    With Canary ,I must say,one more time,that is like it appeared in Birds of Prey first issues.But it’s true that the racoon mask is absolutly horrible.7
    Stargirl´s costume is the proof that some costumes just works on comics,not on screen.Do someone imagine how would it be a Wolverine movie with his yellow costume? 5
    Totally disagree with Aquaman’s suit.In comics,he doesn’t look great,but in Smallville he looks lie a surfer. 2
    And,finally,Clark.I never understood why he ALWAYS wore Superman colors,without wearing any super-hero suit,while all the other characters (at least heroes) wore some kind of costume.Is just so stupid as the fact that he is the only kriptonian that doesn’t fly. 1


  6. I like the smallville story and all the creative license the writers have taken except one…Superboy and Supergirl and the Justice League cannot even slow down Darkseid with out the Forever People and New Gods, because Darkseid destroys reality.


  7. Tried as I might, I simply could not get into Smallville. They spend half the show angst-ing their feeling about the bomb that threatens to blow the town. Then Clark zips in, zips out with the bomb and it blows up in the field, and they spend the other half of the show angst-ing about their feeling about how the bomb nearly blew up the town.

    Of course you can’t argue with success I suppose. How many seasons did it run for? So they must have done something right. And it may have been intentional. I have read that from the get-go the show was to be written to appeal to a more female audience, and from the fan numbers, it looks like they succeeded. And that I do applaud, a greater diversity is not only needed for the genera in particular, but is sorely lacking in media programming in general. Even if it means it leaves me behind.

    But Smallville has come to epitomize the “spandex-free” superhero genera. Kind of like No Ordinary Family (which I do like.) does. But it’s one thing to come up with your own characters that are allergic to Spandex. But Superman with a spandex aversion? Come on.


    1. I’ve been in and out of it over the years, and I’m always surprised that it’s still on. The fact that Clark has yet to become Superman is kinda ridiculous at this point.


      1. it’s not really that ridiculous, that’s like saying “well, Bruce Wayne just left his parents funeral so he should be batman pretty soon, right?”

        clark needed that time to grow into the hero we know he is.


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