Kyle went to Smallville High School alongside Lana and Clark Kent. When Lana broke up with Clark she began dating Kyle and the two eventually marrried and had two daughters. When he left school he joined the Smallville Fire Department, eventually rising to fire chief and becoming an member of the city council.
Smallville fell into economic depession as the traditional industries that drove the town disappeared. Kyle held conservative views and resented the loss of Smallville's way of life as people left the town to pursue other opportunities rather than stay and try to improve it. In his experiences as a firefighter he saw the worst effects of the town's decline on it’s citizens on a regular basis and turned to drink to cope. His relationships with his wife and daughters, particularly Sarah, were extremely strained.
Kyle believed that Morgan Edge's plans to reopen the disued Shuster mines in town would be the cure to Smallville's economic woes, and campaigned tirelessly for the city to grant Edge the mining rights. This brought him into conflict with Lois Lane, although the two did develop a grudging mutual respect as they recognised that each wanted what they thought was best for the town.
Edge was granted the mining rights, which Kyle's advocacy was key in securing. Edge chose Lana to head up operations in Smallville, much to the Cushing's surprise. While Kyle was proud of Lana he had expected to be rewarded with a job for his work on Edge's behalf. Edge appointed Lana to run a "leadership training scheme", and heavily implied she should recruit Kyle to the program. As she believed that the program was a cover for something sinister, Lana kept Kyle out of it, telling Kyle that while Edge respected him personally he had no interest in employing him.
Sarah considered auditioning for a musical revue at school but was afraid to do so due to severe stage fright. Kyle helped her select a song and promised to accompany her on his guitar during the audition. However, before the audition he had a chance encounter with Edge's assistant Leslie Larr, who told him Edge was interested in hiring him, contrary to what Lana had told him. Depressed at the seemingly lost opportunity, Kyle got drunk and missed the audition, and Sarah told him to never promise her anything again.
Hoping to improve himself so he would not let his family down again, Kyle approached Edge and asked to be entered into the program. He was exposed to X-Kryptonite to give him Kryptonian powers and made the host of a Kryptonian consciousness. Kyle would remain in control of his body for most of the time until the alien consciousness was "activated" by a high-pitched signal, at which point the Kryptonian would take over while Kyle remained unaware.
Kyle and Lana attended the revue and Sarah's performance partner Jordan Kent did not appear. Kyle accompanied her on his guitar as promised and Sarah was able to successfuly perform on stage. During the next performance by Avery Phan, Edge activated some of his henchmen, including Avery's mother Emily, sending them to attack Lois Lane. Emily abruptly got up and left without a word and Kyle followed her, claiming he would find out where she was going, although in truth he had been activated too.
Under the control of the Kryptonian consciousnesses Kyle, Emily and another man went to the Kent Farm. Emily and the third man attacked the farmhouse directly, but were held off by Lois' father Sam Lane. Lois and her son Jonathan Kent retreated to the barn where Jonathan had stored a cache of anti-Kryptonian weapons stolen from The Stranger. Kyle followed them in, claiming to be there to help and asked Jonathan to give him his gun. When Emily and the other man burst in, Jonathan shot them but Kyle blasted the gun out of his hands with his heat vision and attacked them. Fortunately Superman arrived just in time and punched Kyle out of the barn. He did not follow the attackers and went back to check on Lois and Jon, so Kyle and the others escaped.
Kyle woke up in a field with bruised ribs and no memory of anything that had happened since he had left the school. He went home terrified and told Lana that he had signed up for Edge's program and had no idea what had happened to him that night.
Sarah assumed Kyle was drunk and stormed out when Lana defended him. As Kyle and Lana were talking, Lois came to the house, which activated the Kryptonian consciousness within Kyle. He attacked them but Lois overpowered him with a chunk of Kryptonite. Kyle was held by the Department of Defense and tortured for information with Kryptonite, eventually giving up the location of the transformation chamber.
Jon Kent took Sarah to see Kyle, and the Kryptonian consciousness mocked her, telling her that her father was dead. Using the Eradicator, Superman created a wave that restored all the Subjekts to normal and Kyle reunited with Lana and Sarah.
Kyle felt deep regret for lobbying in Edge’s behalf, and apologised to Lois for how he had treated her. He believed the townspeople would blame him for what happened, which was proven true. Lois interviewed him about what had happened when he was brainwashed, and he told her that he had been able to briefly fight the programming, but he had felt that his family would be better off without him and eventually surrendered to it. Their home was vandalised by angry citizens, but Lana and Sarah both assured him that they would get through the difficult time together, and the family bonded in adversity.
Kyle became disillusioned with Smallville after the town turned on his family so quickly and easily, even suggesting that they move away. Lana wanted to stay but eventually agreed when she realised others involved in inviting Edge to the town planned to place the blame on their family. While Kyle was clearing his things from the fire station a firefighter he had recruited and mentored asked him to stay, but he felt that he could not. Kyle eventually received an offer to replace the fire chief in Bristol County two hours away from Smallville, and with no other choice he and Lana decided to relocate. When they told their daughters Sarah chastised them for giving up on Smallville, and called Kyle a hypocrite for abandoning the town after years of complaining about others doing it, then stormed off.
That night Sarah ran home and told her parents that Jordan had been kidnapped by Morgan Edge and that Sam Lane was injured. They drove back to Sam’s wrecked truck, helped Jon and Sam out of the car and patched up their injuries. They took Jon and Sam back to town and found the townspeople protesting the DoD. Faced with the choice to either leave or stay and help, the Cushings decided to stay. Sam asked them to help convince the people of Smallville to evacuate.
While the Cushings were fleeing the city, energy waves being generated by Edge struck the town. A building was set on fire and Kyle ran in to rescue a woman trapped inside, winning back the respect of the town. Kyle was offered his job back and the family remained in Smallville.
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- 14 Appearances of Kyle Cushing (Arrowverse)
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