I've always felt that television is often a better medium for telling stories based on characters that come from a long history and/or background. Comic book adaptations are no different. CW's Arrow is a phenomenal show when it's firing on all cylinders. Despite my disliking Smallville, it worked for 10 seasons, and Walking Dead (even with its misfires) works extremely well. With DC Comics' age old rival Marvel signing a major deal with Netflix it's no wonder DC has been gearing up to make Arrow their launch pad for the entire DC Universe on the small screen. With The Flash having already appeared on the show, I feel it would be awesome if DC took advantage of this opportunity.
That being said, I'm going to run down six (yes, six!) characters DC should consider bringing to CW's Arrow, using them to bridge the gap to some of there more popular characters, and/or introduce more unlikely character choices to an audience that may be wholly unfamiliar with them.
Who is he?: Before Victor Stone became Cyborg he was the test subject of his scientist parents at S.T.A.R. Labs. They used all sorts of experimental tech on him, and treated him more like a guinea pig than a son. One day a monstrous creature is unleashed within the lab that viciously mutilates Victor and kills his mother. His father saved him using experimental prosthetics of his own design to replace his son’s limbs and organs, essentially turning him into his namesake – Cyborg.
What can he do?: Cyborg has a wide array of abilities. Thanks to his cybernetic prosthetics he possesses superhuman strength, speed, agility, endurance, and stamina. He has weapons integrated into his cybernetic body that he can summon at will, as well as, jet boosters for flight. As of The New 52 he can also teleport. He can interface with ANY computer and has multiple tools at his disposal for nearly any scenario involving computer tech. If that weren’t enough he has a genius level intellect with an IQ of 170.
Why him?: It’s elementary, my dear Watson! Cyborg is a superhero on par with characters like Batman, and is sort of the unsung Tony Stark/Iron Man of the DCU. He’s a card carrying full fledged member of Justice League, a former Teen Titan, and despite being more special effects heavy, he’d fit right into Arrow’s universe with little need to tweak the formula. S.T.A.R. Labs has already been mentioned several times over the course of the second season (an obvious allusion to The Flash) which is where Cyborg comes into being. He’s complex and has depth to his character, and is overall a likable and charming character.
Who is she?: Zatanna is the daughter of Giovanni Zatara and Sindella, and is considered ones of the Homo Magi, people who are capable of great and terrible magics. She is a stage illusionist by day (like Chris Angel only legit), and by night is fights crime and tackles all things mystical using her supernatural powers.
What can she do?: Simply put, Zatanna is one of the most powerful sorceresses in the DC universe. As a tribute to her father and as a focal point, she usually casts spells by speaking verbal commands backwards. She has also proven capable on many occasions of casting spells by speaking normally, and, in rarer occasions, the ability to use magic for simple tasks without speaking. Zatanna tends to rely on her voice to weave her magic too much, which her enemies exploit by having her bound an gagged and/or having her throat/larynx damaged, so it can sometimes be a weakness for her.
Why her?: This is one of two tough sells on this list. She is a character enveloped in the magical/supernatural aspects of the DCU. She shouldn’t even be on the same show as Green Arrow, but to introduce the Arrow universe to the world of magic, there is no better choice than DC’s analogue to Marvel’s Dr. Strange.
Green Lantern (John Stewart)
Who is he?: John Stewart is an architect and veteran U.S. Marine from Detroit, Michigan, who was selected by the Guardians as Hal Jordan’s backup after Guy Gardner was seriously injured after getting hit by a car, trying to save a civilian. Hal Jordan, the leading Green Lantern on Earth, wasn’t in favor of Stewart’s selection due to Stewart’s belligerent attitude and his anger issues, but Stewart has proven to be one of the most powerful Lanterns in existence, as well as, one of the most powerful people in the DCU.
What can he do?: Whatever a Green Lantern can! No seriously, he has the same power ring as Green Lantern Hal Jordan. The only limits are that of his imagination, concentration, and will – which he has in spades. He’s created everything from sniper rifles and whole armies to grandiose buildings and protective barriers. Oh, and he can also fly, is nigh invulnerable, and can breathe in space.
Why him?: Considering how big a box office bomb the 2011 Green Lantern film was, I’m surprised DC didn’t just say screw it and make a series on television instead. That movie felt like a TV pilot, and despite my love of Hal Jordan, John Stewart is the more interesting character. He’s conflicted. He’s angry. He has great power and responsibility, but he also has a chip on his shoulder. Flash will introduce the Arrow audience to legit super powered heroes. John Stewart could introduce them to legit cosmic powered heroes. You could even introduce him to the show in the same way Green Arrow himself was, by telling his current story, but use flashbacks to his earlier years as a more inexperienced and angry Lantern to show what he’s lost and gained over the years to become a more powerful and less angry hero, but still cold. The question you should ask yourself is “Why not?”
Who is she?: Power Girl is the Earth-Two counterpart of Supergirl and the first cousin of Kal-L, Superman of the pre-Crisis Earth-Two. The infant Power Girl’s parents enabled her to escape the destruction of Krypton. Although she left the planet at the same time that Superman did, her ship took much longer to reach Earth-Two.
What can she do?: Power Girl exhibits all of the classic Kryptonian powers of Superman – super strength; flight; super speed; invulnerability; x-ray, telescopic, microscopic and heat vision; freeze breath; and super-hearing. She;s literally biological cousin of Superman. Since she’s from an alternate universe she doesn’t have that pesky little weakness to Kryptonite, however, she does have a severe vulnerability to magic. Her powers have been modified from time to time by different writers, but we’re just going to stick with the meat and potatoes.
Why her?: The only valid argument against Power Girl is that she’s an alternate universe version of Supergirl. So why not use Supergirl? Easy. Power Girl is easily the MOST cosplayed character in the history of geekdom. Don’t believe me? Google image search Power Girl… I’ll wait… Oh, and make sure safe search is on… Lots of Power Girl porn out there… See?!? Tons of pictures of women cosplaying as this one character. I saw more pictures of cosplayers than actual art of Power Girl. Other than her obvious popularity, the only other reason I could site is that she is an easy gap bridger to the world of Superman. You wouldn’t even have to try.
Who is he?: The Spectre is the embodied Avenging Wrath of the Murdered Dead, who judges those who’ve killed and punishing them as he sees fit. He’s also a 1930′s policeman when he’s not laying down the “law”.
What can he do?: The Spectre has all the abilities a god would have including, but not limited to, manipulation of time and space, control over all matter, invulnerability, and limitless strength. If he wants to trap you in a “Sharknado”, he can do it. He has no discernible weakness other than needing a human host to be able to judge his targets fairly. The Spectre is immune to most things, but shares Superman’s weakness to powerful magic. He is considered to be the most powerful superhero in terms of sheer raw ability. If left unchecked he could easily undo the universe.
Why him?: This is one of the other hard sells. He’s a spectral entity capable of supernatural and cosmic power, who follows a code not unlike Oliver Queen’s, but he’s a character much less grounded in reality. If they go the route of the DC Showcase animated short film starring The Spectre, that wouldn’t be a bad way to go. Arrow can afford a “pulp” episode now and then. Make it gritty. Make it grind house. Don’t take it too terribly serious. Every now and then an unlikely team up makes for some of the most memorable crossovers.
Who is he?: The man known as Batwing is a trained police officer based in Africa, and was hand picked by Batman to join his then newly formed Batman Incorporated. As Batman’s international strong arm, he is tasked with keeping the peace and dispensing justice, not only in Africa, but in all other parts of the world. Despite this, he has been primarily focused in Africa, but recent events have seen the character of Batwing shift identities, and not much info has been revealed about the “new” Batwing.
What can he do?: He’s an accomplished martial artist, and possesses an arsenal of weapons/gadgets supplied to him by Batman himself. The suit he wears is armored, as well as, outfitted with wings and flight capability. Depending on which Batwing we’re talking about (Zavimbe), he also has the standard police training. Otherwise, he’s honestly an extension of Batman. If Batman can do it, there is a good chance he can, too.
Why him?: Outside of the overly obvious Batman connection, I’d say this would e an awesome way to give us The Bat without giving us “The Bat”. The bigger question is “which” version of the character should be used? David Zavimbe is the original Batwing, personally selected by Batman to be his eyes, ears, and fists overseas. Sadly he was relegated strictly to his home field of Africa, but in recent issues the mantle of Batwing has passed to Luke Fox, the son of Batman confidant Lucius Fox. This would be an even better choice, if for no other reason than the closer connection to the Caped Crusader. I’d love to see Batwing hot on the heels of The League of Assassins, tailing them to Starling City and needing Green Arrow’s assistance (or vice versa).
So, did I leave off a DC superhero you feel is worthy of screen time? Or do you think I added someone you disagree with? Let me know what you think!