LOS ANGELES—It's a comic-book summit of sorts on Thursday, Jan. 18, when The CW's "Smallville" airs "Justice," written and directed by former "Buffy" and "Angel" scribe Steven DeKnight.
In it, tycoon Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley), who moonlights as the crime-fighting Green Arrow -- complete with sleeveless green-leather hoodie and tight leather pants -- pits himself against Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) and his evil Project 33.1.
To do this, Queen calls on fellow superheroes (and former "Smallville" guest stars) Victor Stone (Lee Thompson Young), aka Cyborg, and Arthur "AC" Curry (Alan Ritchson), aka Aquaman. Their first task -- with the help of pre-Superman Clark Kent (Tom Welling) -- is to save super-fast Bart Allan (Kyle Gallner), aka (thanks to restrictions from DC Comics) Impulse, from Luthor's clutches.
The producers' edict on "Smallville" has always been "no flights, no tights," so costume-free farmboy Clark is still rocking the plaid and primary colors. This rule, though, doesn't apply to his super-cohorts.
"I guess 'Smallville' is more real [than most comic-book tales]," Hartley, who also played Aquaman in the pilot that The CW ulimately passed on last year, says. "But at the same time, I think it's only that way because they don't do the costumes and the capes, the flying and the superhero stuff. They just do the preceding events.
"So when they had us on, we're actually doing the stuff. We're in the costumes. When you're wearing what we wear, you have to commit to it. Otherwise you look like a standup comedian who doesn't like his jokes very much."
Cyborg gets to have a silver vest, and, as Thompson points out, "I got lucky, because my pants are pants. They're not tights or leather chaps."
"Unlike my pants," Ritchson says. "I wear a onesie Speedo. It's the biggest Speedo ever."
At one point, Daily Planet reporter and Clark Kent confidante Chloe (Allison Mack) refers to Queen's "green leather fetish."
"I'll take that," Ritchson says, "over a Speedo and a dance belt. There are three or four guys on the planet who could pull that off."
Asked if the "onesie Speedo" proved a hindrance to his performance, Ritchson says, "It's not hard to keep it together, because my thoughts are not really on what I'm wearing, but it's hard not to get distracted by what you're wearing."
"It helps me get into character a little bit," Hartley says of his costume. "I don't feel goofy, because I've got these guys."
Of course, there's one member of the team not on hand for the interview to defend his outfit.
"We didn't feel as goofy as Kyle," Ritchson says. "His costume sucked. We were taking promo shots. I go in and do my thing, and we're sitting around looking at shots. Kyle had been in there getting his shots in his costume, and he's all cool. Then here's my picture in a Speedo, then there's Kyle in a red sweatshirt."
"Kyle looked really cool," Hartley says, "but his costume didn't."
"It looked like his mom made it," Thompson says.
"She had some cotton fabric and a Magic Marker and put it together," says Ritchson.
Asked if this episode could be a backdoor pilot for a "Justice League" series, Hartley says, "I don't think so."
"It would probably be one of the funnest shows to work on," Ritchson says.
"He got yelled at a couple of times," says Hartley.
"For delaying the process because I was having so much fun," Ritchson says.
"We had a blast," says Hartley. "Fun stuff."