Comic book fans have recently been spoiled for choice when it comes to Superhero shows, with a broad range of entertainment providers producing their own shows. Netflix has taken on Marvel’s Defenders and done a phenomenal job, producing four high-budget shows that are (in most cases) worthy of the superheroes they depict.
Popular DC shows like “Arrow,” “Flash,” “Supergirl” and “Legends of Tomorrow” have brought much needed attention to the DC Universe, but it’s fair to say that their teen-friendly approach just doesn’t do it for hardcore fans. Netflix has really captured the violent, sensual, fantastical and often downright disturbing atmosphere of modern comics and DC has a ton of interesting superheroes who would fit right in. CBR offers up a prayer to the gods of Netflix, counting down 15 DC superheroes who really need their own show.
Ruthless reporter by day and violent vigilante by night, Vic Sage, aka The Question, is pure Netflix gold! Born Charles Victor Szasz (no relation to the serial killer Victor Zsasz), he was raised in an orphanage and abused by Catholic nuns who frequently beat him for his defiant nature. On top of that, the other children frequently victimized him, making him the kind of fractured hero Netflix could capitalize on. After leaving the orphanage, Vic found work as a reporter, but still felt like something was missing in his life and had trouble controlling his violent tendencies. Cue important mentor figure!
Aristotle Rodor, Vic’s former professor helped him channel his rage into a superhero identity, The Question, and equipped him with a face concealing mask made of Pseudoderm. Although often perceived as a crackpot and paranoiac, he is a superb detective who is able to reveal conspiracies where other heroes can’t see them. He also has no super powers or abilities but is an excellent fighter, having trained under Richard Dragon. Unlike other superheroes who frequently evade death, Sage succumbs to cancer in “52” #48, passing on his superhero identity to Renee Montoya. Can anyone say multiple seasons?
A gay Jewish female superhero with a military dad who supports her war on crime? What are you waiting for Netflix? Batwoman is one of the most diverse superheroes in the DC universe and she definitely needs her own show! She’s also dated Renee Montoya in the past, which could lead to some great crossover moments with other parts of the Gotham / DC universe. There’s a lot of great comic book material that would lend itself to a Netflix TV show very well, including the fact that she has an evil twin who’s part of a cult that tries to sacrifice her (“52” #48) and has a pyromaniac cousin who’s also her sidekick.
When not fighting crime, Kate Kane is a wealthy socialite with a history of heavy boozing and late night clubbing. She’s super smart and can go toe-to-toe with Batman himself when it comes to stealth and unarmed combat. Her mother was killed when she was younger and her dad soon remarried a wealthy weapons industry heiress — sounds like a great conspiracy to explore on-screen to us!
An uncompromising hero with the ability to see aliens in disguise, Cole Cash shoots first and asks questions later. He also has a fascinating past as a former soldier who went A.W.O.L and then became a con artist. He got his just desserts when he was captured by the Daemonites, body-snatching aliens who attempted to possess his body, but it didn’t go well for them when instead, he ended up receiving telekinetic and psychic powers, alongside the ability to see through their human disguises.
As Grifter, he wages a personal war on the Daemonites while simultaneously trying to avoid the government (for his perceived terrorist crimes) and Cadmus agents like King Faraday. During the events of “The New 52: Future’s End” (written by Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens and Jeff Lemire), he’s going about his business killing Daemonites left, right and center when Faraday breaks his back and demands that he work for Cadmus. While there, he ends ups getting intimate with Earth 2’s Lana Lang and becoming a surrogate father to Fifty Sue, a psychotic and genetically engineered godlike being who is also a tantrum-throwing little girl. Who wouldn’t want to watch that?
12. JONAH HEX
A magic-filled Wild Wild West with a grizzled anti-hero who’s anything but Hollywood handsome, Jonah Hex would certainly make for marathon watching! First appearing in “All-Star Western” #10, and created by Michael Fleisher and Tony DeZuniga, Jonah was sold to an Apache tribe by his dad when he was 13 (more flashback goodness) and it was there that he learned survival and fighting skills, eventually being accepted by the tribe after saving the chief from a puma.
Hex is exiled after killing his adopted brother Noh-Tante and his face is disfigured by the tribe as a punishment, as they gave him a nasty brand they call the “Mark of the Demon.” Jonah is also a civil war veteran (Confederates) and a bounty hunter, protecting the innocent and dealing out his own lethal form of justice. Hex’s adventures take him all around the American Frontier, including a trip to the Gotham of 1880, where he runs afoul of the Court Of Owls, Vandal Savage, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
Terrorist, freedom-fighter, scholar and anarchist, V has long been regarded as an absolute badass and is totally worthy of his own Netflix series. He’s a complicated character, who loves language, the arts and best of all, an unhealthy dose of violence; although it’s mostly justified. If you’ve read the Vertigo comics or seen the movie, you’ll know that Alan Moore created a dystopian and post-apocalyptic version of the United Kingdom in the 1990s, one which had become a police state ruled by a single fascist party.
The dark power came to power in the wake of a nuclear war that devastated the rest of the world in the 1980s. Previously published material and a feature film have given us a good taste of this world and the antics of the morally ambiguous V, but we need more! A Netflix show would be the perfect way to explore the disturbing world of V and to expand upon the events of the comic; plus, we really need to know more about V’s mysterious origins. Is s/he a hero or just insane? We need a Netflix show to help us find out!
You’ve probably guessed by now that Batman won’t be featured in any live-action shows in the near future. That’s why Midnighter needs his own Netflix show. You see, Midnighter is a lot like Batman but without the moral restraint. He also happens to have superhuman strength, enhanced healing and, thanks to the “fight computer” in his brain that allows him to read offensive maneuvers before his opponents make them, is said to be the greatest tactician in all of history. Basically he’s DC’s equivalent to a super soldier, only better. Midnighter first appeared in “Stormwatch” #4 (written by Warren Ellis and artist Bryan Hitch) where he’s given his powers by crazy scientist and former Weatherman, Henry Bendix.
He was originally supposed to be Batman from the Wildstorm universe, but after the events of “Flashpoint,” his universe joined the DC universe and he became part of the regular DC continuity. Good thing he did, too. Otherwise, he couldn’t be on this list! Some of his career highlights include travelling back in time to kill Hitler, aiding Stormwatch and partnering up with Nightwing. It’s important to mention that he’s also gay, married to superhero Apollo (originally a Superman pastiche), and together (before the New 52 reboot) they have a very powerful adopted daughter, meta-human Jenny Quantum, who probably deserves her own show too!
He may be a hideous undead monster but Frankenstein deserves his 15 minutes of superhero TV show fame, especially since he’s transcended the limits of Mary Shelley’s novel and is now a comic book do-gooder in his own right. After surviving the 19th century, he made it to America and that’s where his adventures really took off, fighting all manner of supernatural foes and eventually being recruited by a very shady organization (pun intended) to defend the universe against extraterrestrial threats.
Perhaps the most beloved version of DC’s Frankenstein is in Grant Morrison’s “Seven Soldiers” and in his own ongoing series, “Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.” It’s not hard to see why he’s so popular; Frankenstein is just good fun. He’s a sword wielding knight, a hero of the light, a lover of poetry and a core member of Justice League Dark. Did we mention that he’s also immortal and can replace any of his body parts at will? Seeing that on Netflix would be both disgusting and extremely entertaining.
Anybody up for a “Seven Soldiers” crossover series? Yup, Frankenstein could definitely team up with this powerful sorceress for a Netflix show that could rival “The Defenders” in terms of prestige. The daughter of two powerful magicians, John Zatarra and Sindella, both of whom belonged to the mystical Homo Magi race, Zatanna lost both of her parents to mystical events that required them to sacrifice themselves to save her.
Zatanna has been cited by Green Arrow as the most powerful member of the Justice League, she’s able to cast incredible spells and the JLA always turn to her first when they need magical assistance. But during her own miniseries in “Seven Soldiers,” she lost her confidence after accidentally incinerating her expedition party — not the best start to an adventure — and stopped using her powers. This would make excellent material for a Netflix show covering her journey of self-discovery and redemption, and it could include cameos from other “Seven Soldiers” team members including Klarion, Bulleteer and Mr. Miracle.
A half human/half demon uber-emo superhero with severe daddy issues, Raven is a really messed up character, which makes her great for Netflix. Raised in an alternate dimension called Azarath, she was taught to control her emotions by the goddess Azar, unaware of her true lineage or of her father’s plans to conquer Earth through her. She grew up never knowing either parent, until one day she came face to face with Trigon, an inter-dimensional demon who is the closest thing DC has to the Devil. After discovering his plans for her, she fled Azarath and sought to join the Justice League.
Unfortunately, she was rejected, on the advice of Zatanna, who sensed her demonic patronage. In desperation, she reformed the Teen Titans, who became her family and helped her seal Trigon into an inter-dimensional prison. Raven is a powerful empath, able to sense and manipulate the emotions of others, but she herself lives under constant pressure to keep her own emotions in check. If she loses control, Trigon will possess her soul, which has happened a few times. She first appeared in “DC Comics Presents” #26 and was created by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez.
6. BIG BARDA
In order to qualify for their own Netflix show, it seems, a superhero must have a tortured past. However, in Big Barda’s case, she was the one who did most of the torturing. Bred for battle on the hellish world of Apokolips, Big Barda became one of her world’s greatest warriors and served as the leader of Darkseid’s personal guard, the Female Furies. As with all of Apokolips elite soldiers, she was raised in Granny Goodness’ orphanage. Granny was so impressed with her battle prowess that she selected her to lead, meaning she was one of the toughest meanest warriors on Apokolips!
But as things go, Barda found love and fled Apokolips with her future husband, Mr. Miracle. Sure, we could have put him on this list instead of Barda, but the world needs more female superheroes in the limelight! She’s also a great representation of a strong woman, being taller, more powerful and more imposing than her husband. She also often acts as his protector. Her first appearance is in “Mister Miracle” #4 (Jack Kirby), and is one of the most powerful and feared New Gods.
Often sidelined as the wife of Aquaman, who himself also won’t be in any TV shows for a while, Mera actually had a significant crime-fighting career before becoming the Queen of Atlantis, which could be a good idea for her origin story in her own Netflix show. With strength and powers that rival the strongest members of the Justice League, and her husband, she’s also a great symbol of femininity and girl power in general.
Mera is not only an Atlantean but also a Xebelian, a group of banished Atlanteans who have dwelt in a watery dimension known as Xebel for centuries. Originally sent to Earth to kill Aquaman in “Aquaman” #11, the two fell in love and she abandoned her people to reside in Atlantis with Aquaman. Their relationship has been turbulent, with the loss of one of their sons, causing Mera to become more independent (excellent TV drama material!). It would also be really cool to have a superhero show primarily based in an underwater location, and Netflix certainly has the means to make that happen!
Although “Supergirl” has given us a TV Superman, we need someone a little grittier for a Netflix show. In that regard, John Henry Irons — aka, Steel — is just the hero we need; and it’s not just because we need more African-American superheroes on TV! A former weapons engineer for the ruthless AmerTek Company, Irons longed to atone for the deaths his designs had caused, and for that purpose he built a suit of exoskeleton armor that would enable him to mimic Superman’s powers and fight crime.
He first appears in “The Death of Superman” story line (written by an amazing team of DC writers and artists) and over the years he’s partnered with Superman on several notable occasions. His niece Natasha later donned the mantle of Steel after John was injured in a battle with the Aegis of Entropy, which could take his potential show in an interesting direction. We also need a Steel Netflix show to wash away all memory of the awful “Steel” movie starring Shaq, 20 years on. That pain still remains.
Rising to mainstream popularity after stealing the show in the “Watchmen” movie, Rorschach is a violent anti-hero and detective who investigates the murder of the Comedian in “Watchmen” #1 by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Based on the DC characters The Question and Mr A, Rorschach is another character who channels all of his inner rage into his work and unlike most of the other superheroes on this list, he is quite willing to kill criminals and does so in creative ways. We get a glimpse of his tragic childhood in “Watchmen,” where he’s born to an abusive prostitute mother and an unknown father, but we don’t get to see much of his career prior to the Comedian’s death.
A Netflix show could really expand on his past, particularly his solo and occasional work with Nite Owl. Rorschach would also be a fascinating character to build a show around because he has no civilian identity, having abandoned his original name (Walter Kovacs) after discovering the bones of murdered children during a case. He’s also completely unstable, possessing psychotic tendencies. And yet, he’s 100% devoted to doing what he believes is right, even at great cost to himself.
As a mostly silent and mysterious character in last year’s “Suicide Squad,” Katana didn’t quite receive the attention she deserved. However, given her lengthy backstory, only a Netflix show could really do her character justice. Originally born Tatsu Yamashiro in Japan, she grew up as an orphan (the most important prerequisite for becoming a superhero), and we read her tragic tale of loss in Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo’s “Batman and the Outsiders” #11-12 and “Katana” #7.
As a young woman, Tatsu dedicates herself to the study of martial arts and the Samurai lifestyle. During her training, she grows fond of two brothers, Takeo and Maseo, eventually marrying the latter. Takeo, however, doesn’t take it well, joining the Yakuza in response and later returning with a mystical blade to exact revenge on his brother and kill his young family (by accident). Tatsu inherits the blade for herself and becomes Katana. With that, an Asian superhero legend was born. Imagine the possibilities of a show following the lives of both superheroes and samurai!
1. DAMIAN WAYNE
Although he acts like a spoiled brat, Damian Wayne has great potential to be a long-lasting superhero, given his lineage. Exploring a boy who lives in both Batman and Ra’s al Ghul’s shadow would also make for fascinating TV. Created by Grant Morrison, Andy Kubert and Mike W. Barr, Damian was trained by the League of Assassins and planned from birth to be a superior Batman (“Batman: Son of the Demon”), Damian has frequently clashed with his father over his non-killing rule and often violated it, having decapitated The Spook and killed Nobody in a particularly violent way (“Batman and Robin” #7).
He also took pleasure in avenging Jason Todd’s death by beating the Joker with a crowbar (which Joker also enjoyed). Damian eventually reforms his ways and as a juvenile it would be super fun for a Netflix show to explore his journey into manhood. “Gotham” is doing some interesting things with Bruce Wayne’s childhood and there’s certainly room for another adolescent member of the Wayne family on the air, especially one as troubled as Damian!
Know another DC hero who needs his or her own Netflix show? Let us know in the comments!