The 1990’s were a great time for animated television. “Batman: The Animated Series” was one of the best shows on TV, but it would also become one of the most influential. The DC Animated Universe expanded to include “Superman: The Animated Series, “Batman Beyond,” “Justice League,” and “Justice League Unlimited,” along with many other ventures. It represented the very best in animated television, with an award-winning team at the helm that revamped many characters and created many more.
A few of the characters created for these shows soon found their way into mainstream comics. Harley Quinn has had great success in her own comic book, and she made her film debut in “Suicide Squad.” Terry McGinnis has starred in many “Batman Beyond” comics. Livewire has appeared on the “Supergirl” television show. Renee Montoya has been a staple in Batman comics for years. Here are the 15 DCAU original characters who still need to make their debut into mainstream comics.
Infiltration Unit Zeta is a humanoid robot designed to carry out covert assassinations. After overriding his programming and deserting the government in the “Batman Beyond” animated series, he went on the run in the spinoff series “The Zeta Project.” He has the ability to camouflage himself in plain sight as anyone he wants. Zeta’s series went on for two seasons before cancellation; however, he hasn’t been seen since, outside of another appearance on “Batman Beyond,” as well as a tie-in comic from 2001.
While Zeta has mostly existed independently from the DC Universe, he would be a great supporting character to introduce into the current “Batman Beyond” series. Now that Terry McGinnis has returned from the dead, embracing characters from the television show is an excellent way to bring the concept back to basics. In recent issues of the comic, the team of Dan Jurgens and Bernard Chang have reintroduced the villainous Terminal. Why not Zeta and his friend Rosalie Rowan?
14 ENOCH BROWN
Farmer Brown only appeared in one episode of “The New Batman Adventures” called “Critters,” but he would still fit incredibly well into Batman’s collection of themed villains. He is a microbiologist who attempted to alter the natural size of crops and livestock to help solve world hunger. Things didn’t go so well for him, and he was branded a criminal. He soon unleashed oversized creatures on Gotham City to get revenge on those who ruined his career.
Brown never displayed the instability that typical Batman villains display, that actually might be a nice change of pace. He started out trying to make the world better, but now he uses his abilities as a scientist to create a new villainous career as the Farmer. He augmented his own daughter, Emmylou, with increased strength, so there’s no telling what he could do to other criminals looking to “grow” in the criminal world.
Edward Lytener was an engineer working for Lexcorp who came to Lois Lane as a whistleblower against the company. He debuts in the “Superman: The Animated Series” episode “Target,” where it is revealed he carries an obsessive hatred for Lois following her leap to prominence after her story ran. Lytener uses a superpowered harness he created to become an enemy of Superman and later the Justice League.
As Luminus, he has the ability to harness the power of light to gain invisibility, illusion casting and other energy-based abilities. What makes him a worthy opponent of Superman is his ability to harness red sun radiation, which can weaken the Man of Steel. If DC were to introduce Luminus into the DC Universe, he would be an enemy of Lois Lane more than Superman. Because of his obsession with her, it would make for a rather personal conflict between the three characters.
12 CALENDAR GIRL
Though a relatively obscure character from “The New Batman Adventures,” Page Monroe makes a memorable impression in the episode “Mean Seasons” as the villain Calendar Girl. Monroe was a young actress and model who faded into obscurity after she got older. There were even rumors of a botched plastic surgery that ruined her face. Years later, she reappeared as Calendar Girl to gain revenge on the companies that abandoned her when her popularity fizzled.
In the end of the episode, it was revealed that her face was still as beautiful as ever, but she could only see the flaws. Monroe was a unique case in the show because her character dealt with the very real issue of body dysmorphic disorder. If DC were to bring her into mainstream comics, an updated origin that puts her in Gotham City’s circle of socialites could make her an adversary of both Batman and Bruce Wayne. What’s more is that she could be a character that we actually see Arkham Asylum try to help, rather than simply imprison away.
11 RED CLAW
The international terrorist known as Red Claw was never given a true backstory or much motivation for doing what she does, but she is still a formidable opponent for both Batman and Catwoman. Debuting in the “Batman: The Animated Series” two-part episode “The Cat and the Claw,” Red Claw goes directly up against both characters during her attempt to blackmail the government into paying her money in order for her not to unleash a deadly virus.
She controls Multigon International, which serves as a front for her organization. If she were to be introduced into the comics, a more robust story behind her might help Red Claw become the formidable villain she was always meant to be. Her fighting skills and mysterious past could even give her a connection to the League of Assassins. Red Claw’s attitude toward wildlife would also put her into direct opposition with Catwoman, and maybe even Poison Ivy.
Introduced in “Superman: The Animated Series,” Volcana is seen more as a victim of poor circumstances than as a straightforward villain. Shown to have pyrokinetic abilities at a young age, Claire Selton was taken away from her family to become a possession of the United States government. When she finally escaped, she knew no other way to survive on her own than to commit crimes. This, of course, put her in the path of Superman during the episode “Where There’s Smoke.”
She later appeared in “Justice League” and “Justice League Unlimited” as a more traditional villain; however, she still possesses the ability to do the right thing when needed. She made a brief cameo in “Superman 80-Page Giant” from 2010, but has yet to be properly introduced into the DCU. Her potential as something of a conflicted villain would make for a nice addition to Superman’s rogues gallery, in comparison to the more villainous cosmic beings he goes up against.
For someone billed as The Last Son of Krypton, Superman has run into a fair share of survivors from his home planet. The Phantom Zone criminals have plagued him for years, but DC Comics has yet to reintroduce many of the former inmates during their Rebirth initiative. Zod has been seen in “Suicide Squad” recently, and Non, Ursa, Faora and Jax-Ur could all have a place in the DC Universe. Why not add one more name to the gang by introducing Mala from “Superman: The Animated Series” to the comics?
When she was introduced in the two-part episode “Blasts From the Past,” Mala was freed from the Phantom Zone before her intentions of conquering Earth were known. She is a devoted follower of Jax-Ur, who in the comics is often depicted as the first criminal to ever be placed inside the Phantom Zone. Alter Mala’s origin a bit to have them both come from ancient Kryptonian times, and this duo would stand out well in contrast to Zod and the more traditional inmates.
8 THE ULTIMEN
The concept of the Ultimen was developed to reintroduce the original characters that were created for the old Super Friends cartoon with less offensive interpretations. Each member of the team corresponds to one of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Wind Dragon serves as an analogue to Samurai, Juice to Black Vulcan, Long Shadow to Apache Chief, and Shifter and Downpour to the Wonder Twins. The “Young Justice” cartoon did something similar with the original characters as well.
The Ultimen were a superhero team engineered to publicly rival the Justice League and even take them down, if necessary. They debuted in the “Justice League Unlimited” episode “Ultimatum” under the watch of Maxwell Lord, but it was later discovered that they were grown in a lab by Project Cadmus. The team’s inclusion in the DCU would be an interesting way to introduce a younger team of heroes with ties to the past. They clearly mean well, but the government has messed with them far too much.
DC Comics has built up an impressive roster of mercenaries over the years, so why can’t they introduce one more? Tsukuri is a katana-wielding sword for hire from the “Justice League” two-part episode “The Fury.” She was enlisted to help Aresia and Star Sapphire kill off the world’s population of men; however, she abandons the plan when the Justice League shows up and puts a stop to it. After all, it’s only about the money. Tsukuri also shows up as a member of Gorilla Grodd’s Legion of Doom.
She was shown to be less villainous and is instead only interested in the contract she takes on. Her fighting form would make her an interesting opponent of Katana, who is currently seen in “Suicide Squad.” Seeing the two of the fight it out, sword to sword, would be a real treat for any fan of the television show. Give her a powerful weapon similar to Katana’s Soultaker to add something interesting to her arsenal.
6 ROLAND DAGGETT
One of the more prominent villains in “Batman: The Animated Series” was Roland Daggett. He was depicted as the CEO of his pharmaceutical company Daggett Industries. Underneath a credible public visage was a corrupt businessman looking to profit off the misery of others. Through his scheming, he was responsible for turning Matt Hagen into Clayface, and he later came into conflict with Catwoman. He also nearly leveled Crime Alley in an attempt at a real estate takeover.
While he has yet to enter mainstream comics, the Daggett name has appeared in film and television. In “The Dark Knight Rises,” John Daggett is a corrupt rival of Bruce Wayne who initially hires Bane and Catwoman to attack Wayne Enterprises. Daggett Pharmaceuticals is also the manufacturer of the drug Vertigo in the CW “Arrow” television show. Roland Daggett might not have the personality quirks of Batman’s many villains, but he would make for an interesting analogue as Gotham City’s Lex Luthor.
5 HRO TALAK
Yes, Hro Talak was more or less a stand-in for Hawkman in the “Justice League” cartoon, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be his own man. Talak entered the picture when it was revealed that Hawkgirl had infiltrated the Justice League in order to set the stage for a Thanagarian invasion. As the general of his planet’s military, his goal is to protect his people and win the war they face. However, his heartless view toward the people of Earth cast him as a villain.
Introducing Talak into the comics would give DC the chance to add another character into the Hawkman mythos. He would also be another space-based character available in case the publisher wants to do something more with that genre outside of Green Lantern. Talak would obviously no longer be the fiancé of Shayera Hol, but adding a strong leader to Thanagar would really help any future Hawkman series.
There have been so many versions of the Royal Flush Gang in recent years that it has actually become somewhat of an in-universe joke at times. The basic concept is simple but the actual characters and how they look seems to change with every new appearance. A great way to stabilize the concept would be to introduce Ace from the “Justice League” cartoon. She is another child taken in by the government in order to use her abilities for their own ends. Ace possesses incredibly powerful reality altering, telepathic abilities that make her a danger to everyone around her.
She is more troubled than truly evil, but a fleshed out background — a name wouldn’t hurt — and a newly established Royal Flush Gang would help her stand out as the powerhouse she can be. It might even make sense to introduce her as an enemy of the Teen Titans or Batgirl, where her young age would fit more appropriately. Like Black Alice, Ace is a morally ambiguous character who is far too powerful to be left on her own.
As a clone of Supergirl, Galatea would be a great adversary for Kara Zor-El in her current series. Introduced in the “Justice League Unlimited” episode “Fearful Symmetry,” Galatea bears a similar origin to the Conner Kent Superboy as a clone created by Project Cadmus. While Superboy went off to do many good deeds, Galatea possessed no moral center and was trained to do the bidding of the government.
The clone actually looks an awful lot like Supergirl’s Earth-2 doppelganger Power Girl; however, a slight redesign can fix all that. Power Girl actually met a very similar adversary in the clone Divine a few years back in her solo series. A similar enemy for Supergirl would make Galatea a higher functioning version of a Bizarro clone, who would be capable of sticking around for far longer. Whatever her motivations are, it would be clear that she’s not a character to take lightly.
In the two-part “Justice League” episode “The Fury,” we are introduced to a rogue Amazon warrior known as Aresia. She came to Paradise Island as a child, saved by a man from drowning. She is then taken in by the Amazons, but a hatred of men leads her to abandon her people in order to enact a plan to kill all the men in the world. Her plan nearly succeeds and she becomes one of the more memorable villains from the entire series.
Aresia’s all-consuming hatred would represent a very interesting opposite to Wonder Woman’s compassion. Though the status of Themyscira is currently up in the air in Greg Rucka’s run on “Wonder Woman,” there’s reason to believe Aresia would fit right into current continuity. Her status as the first Amazon to leave Paradise Island would put her out in the world where she can face Wonder Woman head-on. A threat to man’s world that comes from Themyscira would be a cool dynamic to set up in the book.
Aside from Harley Quinn, Andrea Beaumont might be the most memorable original character from the DC Animated Universe. As Bruce Wayne’s ex-fiancé, the two have a deep bond that has yet to be explored in mainstream comics. She debuted in “Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm” and her story continued in some of the comic book tie-ins. In the season 2 finale of “Justice League Unlimited” called “Epilogue,” it is shown that Andrea worked for Amanda Waller in the future and was hired to assassinate Terry McGinnis’ parents to help create a new Batman.
She has been featured in several issues of the “Batman Beyond 2.0” digital comic set in the future. However, what about introducing her into the modern day? Batman Beyond has recently been seen to be the future of the DC Universe, so if that’s in-continuity, Andrea Beaumont — or some altered version of her — can still fit in as well. Much in the same way that Batman and Catwoman share a complicated relationship, Andrea falling into a life of crime as the Phantasm would make things even harder for him.
Which DCAU character do you think should get some love in the comics? Let us know in the comments!