Martha Kent is predominantly known as the wife of farmer Jonathan Kent and the foster mother of Clark Kent. Born Martha Clark, she grew up in the city of Metropolis, Kansas. Her father William Clark, was a successful lawyer and always dreamed of Martha living a life better than what nearby Smallville had to offer. As it turned out however, Martha met and fell in love with a Smallville farmer named Jonathan Kent. The two were married much to the chagrin of William Clark. William's disapproval of the marriage created an enmity between Jonathan and he that lasted for many years. Martha moved in with Jonathan and lived with him on the Kent family farm. The two were very much in love and tried to start a family of their own, but their dreams were shattered when they discovered that they could not conceive children together.
In October of 1989, Martha and Jonathan had driven into town on the day of Smallville High School's Homecoming football game. They were present when the first meteor shower struck the town causing massive upheaval. While trying to drive back home, their truck was overturned and they discovered a young child wandering in a scorched field nearby. Martha immediately bonded with the toddler and wanted to adopt him. Jonathan was reluctant, citing that she cannot simply take in any child that she happens to find in a field. Martha retorted with, "We didn't find him. He found us". That day they also discovered the alien space craft that brought the child to Earth and knew that he was not of this world. The Kents did indeed adopt the child and they named him Clark after Martha's family name. They kept the nature of his alien heritage a secret from everybody including Clark. It wasn't until 2001 that Clark learned the truth about his origins.
Like Jonathan, Martha raised Clark with strong moral values. Her optimism helped Clark through many difficult periods, particularly when he began developing superhuman abilities unlike anyone on the planet Earth. Life in Smallville cultivated many strange events, and even stranger people who began to develop powers, many of whom used these abilities for selfish purposes. Martha and Jonathan always warned Clark about mis-using his gifts. One such super-powered individual was murderer Harry Volk. Exposure to green meteor rock regressed him in age from that of an elderly man to that of a healthy teenager. He still harbored his old grudges however and attempted to seek revenge against those who imprisoned him, namely the Kent family. Though Jonathan Kent was his true target, Martha became a potential victim and the two fought with one another in the grain silo on the Kent farm. Martha survived the attack and Volk was buried alive beneath a ton of grain.
Martha and Jonathan knew that should Clark's powers ever become public knowledge, there would be those would seek to take advantage of him. One of these individuals was billionaire tycoon Lionel Luthor. Though Jonathan harbored a strong bias against the Luthor family, Martha was more willing to tolerate their presence in Smallville. For a time, she even began working for Lionel Luthor as an administrative assistant. Lionel hired Martha not because of her clerical expertise, but because he had recently been blinded in an accident and required assistance. He also secretly longed for Martha, but knew that she would never betray her loyalty to Jonathan. While working for Lionel in Metropolis, Martha discovered that Lionel was coming closer and closer to learning Clark's secret. She learned that Lionel had been stockpiling green meteor rock, but was completely unaware of Lionel's association with the Veritas group and their goal to seek out and protect an alien "traveler".
Shortly after a tornado struck the town of Smallville in 2002, Martha discovered that she was pregnant with child. This was the miracle baby that Jonathan and she longed for, for so many years. Tragically however, Martha suffered a miscarriage when the Kents vehicle overturned following an explosion caused by the alien vessel that brought Clark to Earth. Blaming himself for his mother's miscarriage, Clark left town.
In 2005, an artificial intelligence from Krypton known as the BrainInteractive Construct took the human form of Milton Fine and attempted to recreate Krypton on Earth. He infected Martha with a disease that was slowly killing her. By this time, Clark had since returned to Smallville and discovered that truth about Fine's Kryptonian origins. The two fought with one another at Clark's Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic and Clark defeated the Construct. With the seeming destruction of this "Brainiac", Martha recovered from the disease.
That same year, Jonathan Kent was chosen to run for the Kansas State Senate. His opponent in the race was Lex Luthor. Kent won the votes, but on the night of the election suffered a fatal heart attack following an argument with Lionel Luthor. Lionel kept his involvement with Jonathan's death a secret from Martha, but encouraged her to follow in her late husband's footsteps. Kansas law allowed for the spouse to assume the responsibilities of the elected official should he or she pass away. After significant prodding by Lionel Luthor, Martha accepted the responsibility and became a state senator. She hired Lois Lane as a her campaign manager. As time passed, Lionel Luthor became more and more involved in Martha's life. His devotion to her became apparent to everyone around him, but he was still a long way from earning the trust of not only Martha's family, but his own. With Lionel's help. Martha later ran for and won an election for the U.S. Senate. She relocated from Smallville and took up permanent residence in Washington, D.C.
- This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the television series Smallville and its tie-in and comic book series, Smallville and Smallville Season 11. It is an adaptation of Mary Kent. The original character was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and first appeared in Action Comics #1.
- The role of Martha Kent was portrayed by Annette O'Toole. Smallville executive producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar cast Annette O'Toole in contrast to the traditional vision of the character. Historically, "Ma Kent" is usually portrayed as an elderly woman with a white beehive hairdo wearing an apron. Gough and Millar wanted the Kents to be younger so that they could more readily relate to the perils of raising a teenage boy.
- 157 Appearances of Martha Kent (Smallville)
- 7 Images featuring Martha Kent (Smallville)
- 2 Quotations by or about Martha Kent (Smallville)
- Character Gallery: Martha Kent (Smallville)
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