With their recent announcement that John Constantine would be the latest beneficiary of his own animated series on CW Seed, all eyes once again turned to the television network’s online home as a source of original Arrowverse programming. Following in the footsteps of “Vixen” and the upcoming “Freedom Fighters: The Ray,” “Constantine” will expand the scope of the Arrowverse by chronicling the cynical Brit’s misadventures in its more shadowy supernatural corners.
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An effective proving ground for properties being groomed for a possible jump to live-action appearances, we couldn’t help but wonder who else in the DC Universe deserved their own cartoon. Call them low-hanging fruit or easy pickings if you must, but we believe these 15 heroes could make the leap to animation with little effort. From there, who knows what the future holds?
SPOILER ALERT! Spoilers ahead for numerous stories published by DC Comics.
Hal Jordan’s existence in the Arrowverse has been the source of much hype and speculation even before the first episode of “Arrow” Season Four. In one of the show’s trademark flashbacks, as the camera panned across the Coast City dive bar, where Oliver was meeting Amanda Waller, eagle-eyed viewers caught a brief glimpse of an old school flight jacket belonging to someone named “Jordan.” Meanwhile, "Flash" episodes referenced a Ferris Aircraft pilot going missing (which fans know is part of Jordan's origin story) and "Arrow" recently bringing in Coast City reporter Susan Williams (Jordan's sister-in-law in the comics) only gave more hope that everybody’s favorite space cop was destined to appear in the Arrowverse.
Although producer Wendy Mericle has recently stated Green Lantern “could never” appear in the Arrowverse, thanks to DC’s plans to bring the character into its burgeoning movie universe, there are already properties that exist in both film and TV. A Seed series would allow writers to bring the "Green Lantern" mythology into the Arrowverse without the budgetary constraints and intense spotlight of a live-action production. And with the threat of an alien invasion having only just been narrowly avoided during the CW’s "Invasion" crossover, it’s more important than ever before to have a GL on the galactic beat.
Before you lose your $@!#, hear us out. First things first: we know District Attorney Kate Spencer died in Season Two of “Arrow.” And we’re not suggesting a trip to the ever-handy Lazarus Pit to bring her back to life. In the comics, Kate Spencer was a federal prosecutor who took on the name Manhunter after she grew tired of watching supervillains beat the legal system. Cobbling together her arsenal from a hodgepodge of leftover criminal evidence, she enjoyed an all-too-brief superhero career working with everyone from the Department of Extranormal Operations to the JSA.
The comic series was critically acclaimed for its strong female protagonist, inventive connections to the wider DCU and Kate’s willingness to bend the law to her own ends. This changes nothing, though. In the Arrowverse, Kate Spencer is dead as a doornail. However, what if this was a prequel series to her appearance on "Arrow?" We know several heroes like Wildcat and the JSA have existed in the Arrowverse prior to Ollie, after all. She could also be the Kate Spencer doppelganger of Supergirl's universe, thus maintaining her ties to the D.E.O. They could also do like what they did with Black Canary and have a relative become the Manhunter in order to avenge the original Kate Spencer.
This entry may come out of left field a bit but hear us out. Although he’s already appeared in two episodes of “Legends of Tomorrow,” Jonah Hex has been little more than a plot device – a familiar point of contact in the Old West, rather than a fully realized character fans could rally behind. Created in 1972 by John Albano and Tony DeZuniga, Hex first appeared in “All-Star Western” #10, as a disfigured bounty hunter with a penchant for getting himself into all manners of weird western trouble, including, as luck would have it, time travel. In the wake of DC’s inaugural “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” Hex was shunted to a post-apocalyptic “Mad Max”-style future, where he ran into everyone from Batman to the Legion of Super-Heroes.
A series on Seed could allow writers to expand the Arrowverse’s scope into both the past and the future, exploring Hex’s impact across the fragile timestream. Tapping into DC’s deep catalogue of western characters such as Scalphunter, Cinnamon and El Diablo, the series could provide writers with oodles of potential story arcs exploring Hex’s past, while providing viewers with a glimpse into a potential bleak, violent future, a la “Logan.”
Speaking of time travel, there’s fewer heroes in the DC Universe, who have bounced around the timestream more than Michael Jon Carter, better known to comic book fans as Booster Gold. A popular mainstay along with the Blue Beetle in the ‘90s as members of J.M. Dematteis and Keith Giffen’s classic “Justice League,” Booster was originally a self-interested loser, who stole the technology that gave him is powers and travelled to the 20th century to seek fame and fortune. Although his personality evolved over the years and he truly embraced the responsibility of being a superhero, there’s always been something of a showman about Booster.
Tapping into society’s ongoing obsession with fame and celebrity, Booster’s desire for the wealth and influence positions him as a credible and intriguing foil for the selfless hero of National City, Supergirl. Alternatively, his connections to his comic book son, Rip Hunter, open up intriguing storytelling possibilities spinning out of “Legends of Tomorrow.” However they choose to adapt his character, one thing is certain: Booster’s can-do attitude and multiple ties to the greater DCU warrant further exploration in his own animated Seed series.
Boston Brand, besides having one of the most unique names in comics, is also one of the medium’s strangest superheroes. A circus performer, who was murdered by the League of Assassins, Brand was transformed by Rama Kushna into a ghost with the ability possess the living. Most recently appearing in the gothic romance “Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love,” Brand will also play a key role in the upcoming “Justice League Dark” animated feature, voiced by Nicholas Turturro. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Deadman also boasts several appearances in various popular cartoons including “Justice League Unlimited” and “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.”
Despite this impressive resumé, what makes him a strong candidate for his own CW Seed series is his connection to Nanda Parbat, the base of operations of the Arrowverse’s version of the League of Assassins, the same murderous ninjas who killed him in the comics. Moreover, Deadman enjoys a long, rich comics history, acting as a bridge between traditional mainstream superheroics and the darker, more horrifying corners of the DC Universe, allowing him to cross over with any of the Arrowverse shows with – dare we say it – frightening ease.
Although National City already features a diverse cast of heroes, including Supergirl, Guardian and the Martian Manhunter, there’s always room for another super-powered protector of the innocent. Created by Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove, John Henry Irons first appeared during the now-classic “Death of Superman” storyline, in “Adventures of Superman” #500. His strong ties to the Superman mythos set him up as a prime candidate for his own Seed series set on National City. While we aren’t suggesting the producers of a “Steel” animated series take on the logistical nightmare of adapting “The Death of Superman”, the Man of Steel is no less an inspirational figure in life.
Spurred by Superman’s acts of heroism, Irons could develop his signature suit of armor and sledgehammer to take up the fight of the common man, in much the same way James Olsen created the Guardian identity in Supergirl's second season. Better yet, what if Supergirl inspired Irons’ daughter Natasha to take up the mantle of Steel? This would help differentiate Steel’s origins from the new Guardian’s, while installing another strong female role model in National City.
Let’s face facts, here. The good ol’ U.S. of A can’t be the only place where metahumans exist in the Arrowverse. Enter Niles Caulder’s Doom Patrol, a band of meta-misfits gathered together to explore and protect the burgeoning community of superhuman individuals popping up across the globe. In the comics, the Doom Patrol debuted in 1963’s “My Greatest Adventure” #80, featuring an unlikely team of reluctant heroes recruited by the Chief, Niles Calder, that included Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Girl, Mento and Beast Boy. Their adventures boasted a decidedly weird tone, involving strange villains and bizarre, rubbery plotlines.
True, if the Doom Patrol received their own animated series, the current definition of “metahuman” would need to be expanded to include people who acquired their powers through means other than the particle accelerator accident depicted in “The Flash,” but the upside of this move would provide a near infinite array of potential storylines exploding out of the live-action shows without the budgetary concerns of traditional TV production. Through their explorations of the wider Arrowverse, Caulder’s ragtag squad of oddball heroes could extend the scope of the live-action shows by driving future plotlines rather than simply appearing in them (a la Jonah Hex).
If you blinked, you probably missed it. In Episode 14 of Season Two, attentive “Arrow” fans spotted a movie poster on the side of a Starling City bus advertising the upcoming release of a “Blue Devil” feature film. Although it was likely conceived of as nothing more than a fun nod to the show’s comic book fans, this Easter egg couldn’t help but spark our imaginations. The creation of Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and Paris Cullins, Blue Devil began his career as special effects guru Daniel Cassidy, who became trapped in an advanced stunt suit of his own design during a battle with the demon Nebiros.
The groundwork for Blue Devil’s introduction into the Arrowverse has already been laid by the aforementioned movie poster but that isn’t the sole reason he would be a strong candidate for his own show. In the comics, Cassidy is resurrected as a full demon and his resulting popularity as a hero inspires an increase in the number of people selling their souls to Hell for their own powers. If you ask us, that sounds like the beginnings of a kick-ass plot for an animated series set in a universe only just uncovering its supernatural underpinnings.
In some ways, Cyborg might be our list’s most contentious entry. He’s a former member of the Teen Titans, created by comic book legends Marv Wolfman and George Perez. He’s appeared in several animated features, including the ultra-popular “Teen Titans Go!” and “Young Justice.” He’s been recast as an integral founding member of the New 52 and film incarnations of the Justice League. So really, just how much more love does Vic Stone need? Well, we think he deserves a lot more.
All of the reasons we just mentioned make him a prime candidate for his own CW Seed show. He’s a known quantity with his own ongoing comic book series, with strong ties to S.T.A.R. Labs. His technological know-how is second to none in the DCU – which while it might get under the skin of one Cisco Ramone – also opens the doors to explore our relationship with technology in ways other Arrowverse techies couldn’t fathom. In all of the ways that count, Cyborg is, as DC has maintained for the last several years, a hero for the digital age, who resonates deeply with a younger audience. What better home for him than CW Seed, then?
One of the breakout hits of the past year, “Midnighter and Apollo” by Steve Orlando and Fernando Blanco is proof positive that a socially conscious superhero comic headlined by two gay protagonists can still kick enormous amounts of ass – granted, usually in the most violent and visceral way possible. Originally conceived of by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch as members of the Authority, Midnighter and Apollo are essentially pastiches of DC’s iconic heroes, Batman and Superman. You can well imagine (or remember) the stir they caused, when they kissed for the first time in print and later got married.
Despite a penchant for courting controversy and the Midnighter’s passion for gut-wrenching violence, a Seed show starring the pair isn’t necessarily out of the question. Their connections to Stormwatch and other clandestine elements of the DCU allows for refreshing new creative avenues that far outweigh unwarranted concerns about the cartoon portrayal of LGBT relationships and random disembowelment. Let’s not forget how violent Ollie was in the first season of “Arrow.” And have you seen a DCAU movie recently? The body count from “The Flashpoint Paradox” alone would do Midnighter proud. Or at least make him smile.
They were the first superhero team in comics, setting the stage for all those who came after them, including the All-Winners Squad, the Justice League and even the Avengers. So when the Justice Society of America leapt into action in the opening episodes of the second season of “Legends of Tomorrow,” can you blame us for screaming like a pack of rabid teenaged girls at a Bruno Mars concert? Sharing many similarities with their comic book prototypes, the Arrowverse’s JSA was a top secret metahuman strike force sent behind enemy lines during World War II. Their final mission occurred in 1956, when the whole team aside from Obsidian perished behind the Iron Curtain, in Leipzig, Germany.
In spite of their several appearances in “Legends,” there are still many questions surrounding the JSA. How did Commander Steel, Stargirl, Vixen, Hourman, Obsidian and Dr. Mid-Nite come together? What was their impact on the course of World War II? How did they stay a secret for so long? And what were the circumstances of their mysterious deaths? These are questions begging for answers. What better place than a series of animated shorts on the CW Seed to blow the lid off of this decades-old cover-up?
One of many things that DC Rebirth got right was the resurrection of the second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord. A beloved hero and long-standing member of the Justice League, Kord met an untimely (and some would say controversial) end, at the hands of Maxwell Lord in the pages of “Countdown to Infinite Crisis.” In spite of the emergence of the equally popular Jaime Reyes as a new super-powered Blue Beetle, fans have been clamoring for Kord’s return pretty much ever since Max put a bullet in his noggin. With the advent of Rebirth, DC finally gave fans the best of both worlds, with Kord acting as the experienced gung-ho mentor to Jaime’s reluctant teen hero.
If they were granted their own animated series on CW Seed, both Reyes and Kord would bring a much-needed lighter and comedic tone to the Arrowverse, while exploring the burgeoning world of metahumans from a younger point of view. What’s more, the Blue Beetle is a legacy hero with ties to the Golden Age thanks to the first man to pull on the blue tights, Dan Garrett. Three Beetles for the price of one? Count us in!
A key player in Season Two of “The Flash”, you might wonder why Jesse Quick placed so highly on this list. The thing we love most about Jesse though, has nothing to do with her metahuman abilities. Sure it’s gotta be cool zipping around breaking the sound barrier at a whim but what really fascinates us about Jesse is her personality. She’s young, she’s hip and she’s way smarter than Barry Allen will ever be. It’s this last quality that makes her such an intriguing candidate for her own CW Seed series. Jesse possesses most, if not all, of the same speed as Barry, but also benefits from a genius-level intellect, second only to her old man, Harrison Wells.
But wait, there’s more! Jesse hails from Earth Two, a parallel world ripe for exploration by a feisty, young speedster eager to earn her Mercury wings. Although we’ve seen several heroes and villains from Earth Two and even spent some time there last season, it remains largely undiscovered by fans. What better vehicle to explore a strange-yet-familiar parallel earth than an animated series chronicling the next chapter in Jesse’s young superhero career?
Considering “Arrow’s” monopoly on dark, brooding vigilantes, our penultimate entry would probably work best operating out of the Question’s traditional hometown of Hub City, a place often mentioned but rarely explored in the Arrowverse. Arguably one of the most engaging and misused characters of the last several years, Renee Montoya embodies the very idea of untapped potential. Not only does she have experience as a cop in Gotham City – a hellish beat if there ever was one – but also she served as the pre-New 52 incarnation of the Question after Vic Sage died.
A minority character who was outed as a lesbian during her time on the GCPD, Montoya is about as tough as they come and would make a fine addition to the Arrowverse’s growing pantheon of heroes. A particularly intriguing aspect of Montoya’s backstory is the Crime Bible, a fictional religious text worshipped by numerous villains and cults, some of whom attempted to seduce her into a life of crime. A CW Seed series exploring her history with the evil tome and the setting of Hub City would help expand the Arrowverse in a manageable fashion, while introducing the most dangerous book our heroes have seen this side of Ollie’s "List."
Somehow, in spite of several line-wide reboots, we still think of Dr. Fate, the Spectre or John Constantine whenever we think of magic in the DCU. In a perfect comic book universe, they’d all be second fiddles to Zatanna Zatara. Recently, she can’t even crack the Justice League’s roster on an ongoing basis unless she goes all “dark.” Arguably the most powerful innate magic user in the DC Universe, Zatanna is the daughter of the Golden Age magician Zatara, from whom she learned to manipulate reality merely by saying words backwards. She also happens to be one of the most under-utilized characters in DC’s catalogue.
Much like Vixen’s introduction to the Arrowverse, a CW Seed animated series could position Zatanna as a true force to be reckoned with, finally realizing her potential as one of the most powerful beings in the DCU. With a history that touches upon numerous DC Comics touchstones, the storytelling possibilities would be endless. More than even Constantine (who incidentally lacks her comic book pedigree), Zatanna symbolizes the untapped potential of DC’s supernatural milieu, one aspect of the Arrowverse absolutely begging for further exploration.
Who do you think is ripe for the picking and ready for their own show on CW Seed? Hit us up in the comments!