This season, as Metropolis' watchtower tolls our hero's darkest hour, we find Clark Kent finally making his first attempts to embrace his calling as a superhero.
After the events of last season, Clark takes on the mantle of protector of Metropolis, trading in his familiar red-and-blue for black-and-grey, sticking to the city's shadows and rooftops to become a solitary sentry simply known as "the Blur".
While Clark wrestles with his identity, feeling forced to choose between his Kryptonian heritage and human upbringing, he'll encounter even more powerful enemies and allies from across the DC Universe.
This season will feature new and past nemeses, including Metallo, the man with the kryptonite heart; Roulette, a sexy mastermind; the return of Toyman; and the always-treacherous Zod as a young Major and leader of an invading alien army, who befriends fellow Kryptonian Clark just as his venomous side is beginning to emerge.
This season will also feature an appearance by DC Comics' first all-star team of superheroes, the Justice Society of America, in an episode penned by renowned comic book writer Geoff Johns, who returns to the show after writing last season's fan favourite episode, Legion.
After a year of protecting Metropolis as the "Red-Blue Blur", Clark Kent finished season eight with the weight and fate of the world on his shoulders, facing down Doomsday.
Clark emerged victorious, but his decision to ignore the Justice League's warnings and save the human side of medic Davis Bloome from the monster Doomsday came with a tragic cost – Davis turned out to be just as evil as the beast he'd been bonded to, and murdered Jimmy Olsen in front of Chloe, the woman they both loved.
In the wake of Jimmy's death, Chloe retreated into her Watchtower, the Justice League disbanded, and Oliver Queen went into a downward spiral, retiring his Green Arrow persona.
And Clark turned his back on his own humanity, leaving behind life as "Clark Kent" to exist solely as "the Blur".
Meanwhile, Tess Mercer's obsession with Clark's Kryptonian origins came to a head when she confronted intrepid reporter Lois Lane about a mysterious alien orb that Tess thought Lois had stolen from her, resulting in the two women battling it out in the Daily Planet.
During the fight, Lois touched Clark's time-traveling Legion ring and vanished in a flash of light, lost somewhere in time.
Tess returned home to discover the orb had released a young version of the villainous Kryptonian, Zod, as well as his fighting platoon from the lost alien city of Kandor.
But Clark finished the season unaware of this new threat. Instead, he remains haunted by Lois' sudden disappearance, fearing the woman he cares about most could have been killed during his fight with Doomsday.
The season nine premiere takes place three weeks after Clark and Doomsday's epic battle.
Obsessed with becoming the hero the world needs, Clark is now literally leaving his mark on Metropolis - having fully embraced his Kryptonian side in order to finish training with his father Jor-El, Clark has started wearing the iconic "S"-shield on his chest, and spreads the symbol around the city in an effort to give its people hope.
Whereas Clark is working alone, Chloe feels driven to reunite the disbanded Justice League. Her biggest challenge is Oliver Queen, who'd rather lose himself in underground fight clubs and drunken one-night stands.
Oliver's friends will hatch a plan to bring him back from the edge. Reconnecting with the hero inside of him, Oliver will return with a renewed purpose, even searching out an apprentice in Mia Dearden, DC comics' teenaged sidekick "Speedy".
Clark and Oliver will find themselves caught up in a love triangle with Lois, as both men's passions begin to burn brightly for her.
Returning from her trip through time, Lois starts experiencing nightmarish visions of the future. Could they come true? If so, one not-so-troubling image is playing itself over and over in her head – Lois and Clark locked in a romantic, erotic embrace.
Meanwhile, Clark continues to be conflicted over his own feelings for Lois. As the sparks fly, Lois and Clark's relationship will deepen, leading to their first true kiss, and possibly something more.
Meanwhile, Clark and Chloe's relationship is starting to become strained. No longer content just being Clark's sidekick, Chloe uses Watchtower's powerful computers to spin her own web of influence and intrigue, manipulating people like chess pieces in the name of the greater good.
But when Chloe begins to believe the ends justify the means, it sends her on a collision course with her friend and ally Clark.
When it comes to master manipulators, Tess Mercer has emerged as the rightful heir to Lex Luthor's legacy. Always inscrutable, Tess has her hands full this season with an army of Kryptonians, newly arrived from the lost city of Kandor and led by the infamous Zod.
However, this incarnation of Zod is younger than the one we remember – he has yet to grow into the power-mad psychopathic dictator, General Zod.
Season nine's Zod may only be a Major, but he's already a cunning strategist and charismatic leader who knows how to inspire his troops. But behind his magnetism and those piercing eyes, Zod is still very dangerous.
When Zod and Clark eventually meet, Clark recognizes that if he can befriend his fellow Kryptonian, he might be able to influence Zod away from becoming an evil, twisted tyrant.
While it's true this Major Zod has certain vulnerabilities, it may only take a handful of betrayals to turn him into Clark's deadly arch-nemesis.
Smallville was developed for television by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar, based on the DC Comics characters. Kelly Souders & Brian Peterson serve as executive producers, along with James Marshall, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola.
The series is produced by Tollin/Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television. Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster.