The Justice League is coming back to live-action. Only it’s not the JLA most fans are familiar with. DC Comics’ Justice League Dark is officially in development from producer J.J. Abrams for HBO Max, bringing many of DC’s supernatural and horror-based heroes together for the first time in live-action. Ever since the first Justice League Dark comic hit back in 2011, many of DC’s magically powered heroes have been a part of the team.
But who will be in the line-up when the show finally drops? We have some ideas on who should make the cut for the TV version of the JLD.
Although she’s been a member of the main Justice League of America since the ’70s, the backwards-speaking magician was always overshadowed by her iconic compatriots like Superman and Wonder Woman. But in a JLD show, she’d really have a chance to take center stage. She’s only ever had one live-action incarnation before, as a recurring character on Smallville. But it’s been a decade since then, and the world is ready for a more adult take on the character. With Constantine probably being off-limits due to his role on Legends of Tomorrow, we think Zatanna Zatara should take the lead of this version of the League.
Although he’s been a Batman antagonist for decades, the Man-Bat has never been in any live-action version of Batman. In the comics and in Batman: The Animated Series, Dr. Kirk Langstrom’s radical experiments result in his becoming a hybrid human/bat creature. Because he is such an effects-heavy and fantastical creation, the Batman films have always steered clear of him. But his inclusion in a Justice League Dark series might be the perfect way to introduce this character into live-action. And he might find that he has a lot in common with our next candidate…
The Demon Etrigan
Jack Kirby might be more famous for his Marvel Comics work, but in the early ’70s he created a lot of amazing characters for DC. Among them was The Demon. Officially known as Etrigan, this rhyming demon was bonded with a human host named Jason Blood in the days of Camelot, and has been roaming the Earth seeking penance for past misdeeds ever since. Much like Man-Bat, he’s a human being who carries a beast inside of him that can be unleashed for good. And also like Man-Bat, he would require extensive make-up and effects to be brought to life. Too costly for regular TV perhaps, but perfect for an HBO Max series.
This hero has had a long standing association with the JLD in the comics, so it makes sense she’d make the transition to the live-action version. For years Black Orchid was portrayed as a “mistress of disguise” type of heroine, but the Sandman duo of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean revealed her to be plant/human hybrid with more mystical origins. Originally appearing in the late ’60s, there have been several women who wore the mantle. But the Black Orchid most commonly associated with the JLD is Alba Garcis, an agent of A.R.G.U.S. with ties to the elemental forces of nature. This is definitely the version the live-action series should use.
Another powerful sorcerer type that goes back to the Golden Age of comics, Doctor Fate is essentially DC’s version of Doctor Strange. Only he came first, and his look is arguably way cooler. There have been many version of Fate, starting with Kent Nelson in the ’40s. He was the son of an archaeologist who discovered the temple of the ancient Wizard Nabu in Egypt. When his father died, Nelson was trained by Nabu to to become his successor, and was gifted with his mystical helmet and weapons by the ancient wizard. Others have taken on the helmet of Fate since, including several women. Whoever the JLD producers choose to wear the helmet, here’s hoping Doctor Fate is serving up some wicked spells on this show.
Created for Grant Morrison’s epic JLA run in the ’90s, Zauriel was guardian angel in the Eagle Host of Heaven. Yeah, like that Heaven. He fell in love with the human he was guarding, and became a mortal being on Earth to be closer to her. But he got to keep his cool wings and flaming sword. He joined the JLA, and eventually became a member of the Justice League Dark years later. He’s never been presented in live-action before, and we think a superhero who is an actual angel as a lead character on a show would be cool as hell. Or is that cool as Heaven?
Originally introduced as a sort of gypsy fortune teller cliche of a character, Madame Xanadu has evolved into one of the more powerful beings in the DC Universe. She was eventually revealed to be with Nimue, the sorceress from Arthurian mythology, and therefore hundreds of years old. Her magic is more vague than the likes of Zatanna and Fate, but her immortal nature—and ties to the realm of Atlantis—makes her a potentially fascinating character to have as a regular on this show.
Featured Image: DC Comics