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Posted by: Keith Chow on May 6, 2011 at 2:27 pm

After ten years, tonight’s episode “Prophecy” is the last one until next week’s two-hour finale (which I’ll be [West Coast] live-blogging, by the way.) And if last week’s preview is any indication, the show is looking to head into its finale with a bang. Yes, it looks like in addition to Toyman and Granny Goodness (as seen in the teaser), we’ll get our first look at Smallville‘s take on the freakin’ Legion of Doom! In the photo to the left, which is a screengrab from the trailer, you can clearly make out Solomon Grundy(!), Black Manta (!!), Captain Cold (!!!) and previous Smallville villains Roulette, Metallo and Dark Archer (the show’s Merlyn analog) apparently on Skype with Toyman.

So after seeing the L.O.D., I was inspired to look back at the Superman villains who have appeared on the show. While the movie franchise has only battled Lex and Zod multiple times, over the last decade, Clark has encountered pretty much everybody in Superman’s rogues gallery, including such iconic Supes villains as Bizarro, Doomsday and Darkseid. And he ain’t even Superman yet.

Of all the villains who’ve been portrayed on the show, however, two stand out as the best* and worst. We’ll start with the bad news first.

*I’m forgoing covering Lex since you could check out here and here for my take on Lex Luthor’s most villainous moments.

The Worst:
Mxyzptlk

We’ll start our rundown with Superman’s silliest nemesis, Mr. Mxyzptlk. As we go down the list of Superman villains, Mxyzptlk is by far the wildest divergence from his comic book counterpart. Whereas the comic version is tricksy imp from the Fifth Dimension, Smallville‘s version, as seen in the fourth season episode “Jinx,” is a hunky foreign exchange student, played by Trent Ford, who has mind control powers that can only be stopped by a swarm of locusts. Yes, really. After he’s defeated, Lex Luthor recruits him to join his mysterious Level 33.1 (a precursor to the Legion oF Doom, perhaps?) Clearly, Mxyzptlk existed during the era of the show when the creators felt less beholden to established comic book lore.

The Best:
Brainiac

In the fifth season, we were introduced to the show’s first recurring Superman villain not named Luthor. Brainiac’s first appearance on the show was actually in the fourth season finale “Commencement” as the “Black Ship” that crashes during the second meteor shower, though James Marsters officially debuted (in his Milton Fine persona) in the fifth season opener “Arrival.” As the main threat throughout season five, Brainiac would torment Clark off and on for the next three seasons until he was finally dealt with by Clark and the Legion of Super-Heroes in the eighth season “Legion” episode. Unlike his comic counterpart, Smallville‘s Brainiac is an artificial intelligence being created by Jor-El and later corrupted by Zod so he also has all of the Kryptonian powers under a yellow sun. In fact, in the SV-verse, BrainIAC is an acronym for the “Brain InterActive Construct.” Marsters would resurface again in the final season, but this time as the good guy version, Brainiac Five.

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Keith is the Editor-at-Large of the groundbreaking graphic novel anthology SECRET IDENTITIES and Outreach Director for SIUniverse Media. Visit the official Secret Identities blog to keep up with Keith and the rest of the SI team
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Waiting For Superman: Going Rogues