Top 10: Heroes We Want in Arrow/Flash by Jerry Whitworth
As the DC Television Universe expands with the upcoming The Flash, fans have started speculating about a possible Justice League of America for Arrow and its new sister series. Arrow has thus far introduced Green Arrow, Huntress, Black Canary, and Roy Harper (who will transition into Arsenal in the upcoming season) and is set to introduce the Atom, Katana, Wildcat, and Manhunter. Of course, Barry Allen would emerge in Starling City last season and will go on to become the Flash as he will later be joined by Firestorm and a not-so-villainous Plastique (perhaps with shades of the Flash character Peek-A-Boo or the Human Bomb). A Justice League film franchise is currently in the works with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice set to include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Cyborg, so it’s unlikely those characters would be available to the TV version especially following the announcement the film and TV universes will be kept separate. Further, as Constantine will be on a separate network and a Justice League Dark film is being planned, magic heroes are likely unavailable (if not, Jason Blood/Etrigan the Demon would have made this list). Previously, we posted about a possible Outsiders expansion with Katana, Black Lightning, Question, and Creeper so those incredible characters will be kept out of the running to keep from being redundant (otherwise, the latter three would occupy three spots). With that, lets take a look who we want to see come to the DC Television Universe.
Adventurer Rex Mason was a soldier-for-hire working for businessman Simon Stagg whose life was forever changed on an expedition into Egypt. Seeking the Orb of Ra for his employer, Mason would be attacked by Java, Stagg’s neanderthal bodyguard who was Mason’s rival for the hand of Sapphire, Stagg’s daughter. Left unconscious with the Orb, Mason was bathed in its radiation and was transformed into the monstrous Element Man, Metamorpho. With his nigh-invulnerable hide and ability to shapeshift and turn into any element, Mason became a bitter enemy of Stagg who ordered his attack by his bodyguard (Stagg having objected to Mason’s advances on his daughter). Stagg is saved however by using the Orb of Ra which can keep Metamorpho at bay as Sapphire convinces Mason to use his powers for good until a cure could be found for his condition. Eventually, Metamorpho would be offered membership into the Justice League of America but turned it down as he viewed himself as just some freak (though, Mason would later reconsider and join Justice League Europe).
9. PLASTIC MAN
Eel O’Brian was a career criminal orphaned at age ten and had to learn to live off the streets. Growing up to make a living as a safecracker, O’Brian would be shot and doused in chemicals one night while on a job at a factory. Abandoned by his crew, O’Brian ended up passed out at the foot of a mountain and awoke in a monastery with his wound attended to by its monks. Protected from the authorities by the order who felt there was great good in O’Brian, the crook reformed discovering he developed new wondrous elastic powers. Adopting the colors used by the monks for an elastic costume, O’Brian became the hero Plastic Man who used his criminal identity to gather intelligence and his heroic persona to smash evil wherever he found it. Virtually immortal, he fought crime for decades and would eventually find his way into the Justice League of America.
One of the most beloved duos in comic book history, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold both joined the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Justice League and became best friends who tended to get into their fair share of trouble together (generally from one of Booster’s schemes). Booster Gold came from the future where he was disgraced professional football quarterback Michael Jon Carter who found work as a night watchman at the Metropolis Space Museum. Therein he concocted a scheme to steal devices from the Legion of Super-Heroes displays and travel back in time to use them to become a superhero that he would market into a lucrative corporation (sponsorship, merchandise, etc). In the 20th Century, Carter becomes the hero Booster Gold and saved the POTUS’ life and joined the Justice League. While his plan to amass his fortune was working, it would eventually fall through and despite losing that wealth, he began to change after working alongside real heroes, saving people from terrible calamities, and the sacrifice of his sister who followed him becoming the heroine Goldstar only to die in battle. Elements of Booster could be aligned with Green Arrow character Champion (as Arrow‘s versions of Black Canary and Brother Blood seemingly borrowed elements of Onyx and Steelclaw, respectively).
As for Blue Beetle, the name is in fact a legacy. Dan Garrett was an archeologist who discovered a mystical scarab that upon exclaiming “Kaji Dha!” transformed into the Blue Beetle wielding super strength, flight, and the power to project electricity. Ted Kord was a student of Garrett as the pair uncovered Kord’s uncle Jarvis was constructing an army of androids to take over the Earth. Garrett would transform into the Blue Beetle and combat the threat. Falling in battle, the scarab was passed to Ted but he couldn’t get it to bestow its power on him. Instead, Kord took the name Blue Beetle and made himself into a hero by studying martial arts and science and building a corporation that could secretly manufacture his tools. Kord would eventually join the Justice League where he befriended Booster. Years later, Kord would uncover a clandestine plot against Earth’s heroes and died trying to stop it. The scarab ended up in the hands of a young man named Jaime Reyes which fused to his body and turned him into the living weapon Blue Beetle. It was revealed the scarab was in fact an alien device that was suppose to enslave a resident of the world and use them to conquer their planet for the villainous Reach. However, this scarab was manipulated with magic in ancient times which damaged its programming. Reyes became the latest Blue Beetle and used his power to protect Earth and combat the Reach.
Mari Jiwe lived a tragic life in a small village in the M’Changa province of Zambesi, Africa which saw both of her parents murdered. When she was older, Jiwe moved to America where she became a famous model named Mari McCabe and amassed a small fortune. During one trip back to Africa, she came across the Tantu totem. Legend told of a warrior in ancient times named Tantu who made a pact with the deity Anansi the Spider to empower a totem with the abilities of all animals becoming Africa’s first superhero. This totem was passed down through Tantu’s family where his kin could use its great gifts. Jiwe’s father possessed the totem but was murdered by his half-brother who wanted its power for himself. Jiwe stole the totem from her uncle and used it to become the heroine Vixen. When the Justice League of America was reorganized for only full-time members, Vixen decided to apply and was accepted despite largely being a rookie on the hero scene. This incarnation of the League would likely be the most tragic as several of its members died, Vixen one of those to survive to its disbandment.
Thanagarian peacekeeper Katar Hol and his partner and wife Shayera Thal were elite Wingmen (Hawk-Police) on their homeworld who were tasked with capturing the shapeshifting criminal Byth who had escaped to the planet Earth. Therein, following the apprehension of Byth, the pair decided to remain on Earth and observe its police procedure practices (as crime was a relatively new phenomenon to Thanagar). On Earth, Hol and his wife took the names Carter and Shiera Hall in civilian guise and Hawkman and Hawkgirl as superheroes, respectively. As the Justice League of America was taking on new members like Green Arrow and the Atom, Hawkman would follow suit leading to a lifelong friendship between Hol and the Atom. Conversely, Hawkman and Green Arrow became bitter allies as Hol’s Thanagarian conservative values ground against Arrow’s liberal views. Seemingly whenever the pair were in shouting distance of each other and there wasn’t a mutual foe to battle, they would pick up their heated debates over which viewpoint was correct.
Little is known about the past of Grace Choi save that she is half Amazonian (of the Middle Eastern Bana-Mighdall tribe) with an eastern Asian heritage. As a child, she was sold into slavery as an underage prostitute whose metagene activated upon puberty making her tall with super-strength, durability, and regeneration which she used to escape her bondage. At some point later, she met and befriended Roy Harper where they became lovers with no strings attached. When Harper was forming a new version of the Outsiders team, he recruited Grace who was working as a bouncer at a metahuman nightclub at the time. Largely, Grace acted as the muscle for the group carrying on an open relationship with Harper for a while before entering into an exclusive relationship with teammate Thunder (Black Lightning’s daughter). Through several incarnations of the Outsiders, Grace would remain a frequent member.
Michael Holt was seemingly a man who had everything. Naturally brilliant and a born athlete, Holt possesses fourteen PhDs, is a self-made multimillionaire, and won an Olympic gold medal in the Decathlon. However, he would lose his wife and unborn child in a car accident which pushed him to the brink of suicide. The timely intervention of the Spectre not only convinced Holt to continue on living, but to take up the mantle of retired superhero Mister Terrific. Mastering six different martial arts and developing an array of tools like the T-Mask which makes him invisible to all electronic surveillance and T-Spheres which are essentially free floating utility belts Holt can use to fly, Mr. Terrific would join and later lead the Justice Society of America. Identified as the third smartest man on Earth, Mr. Terrific’s role in the Society has been compared to Batman’s role in the League.
When Green Lantern Abin Sur died on Earth, his ring sought another worthy to inherit its power and responsibility. Hal Jordan would be selected but in time it was revealed others on the planet met its criteria but were simply further away. One such man was John Stewart. A veteran U.S. Marine and architect in Detroit, Stewart would be chosen as a back-up Green Lantern to Earth when Jordan’s responsibilities took him away from his sector (a previous back-up in Guy Gardner was injured and needed to recover). When Jordan was unavailable, Stewart took up the ring for him including his place in the Justice League of America. At one point, Jordan retired from the Corps leading to Stewart replacing him full time where he would train with his future wife Katma Tui of Korugar (rogue Green Lantern Sinestro’s homeworld). Tui would later be murdered by Star Sapphire Carol Ferris. A popular fan theory is that Arrow character John Diggle could at some point become John Stewart. In the comics, Green Arrow and Hal Jordan would become best friends while Arrow and Diggle are best friends on Arrow.
A founding member of the Justice League of America, Martian Manhunter would largely be a stand-in for Superman in the group’s earliest incarnations as the Manhunter generally has all of Superman’s powers plus several more (telepathy, telekinesis, invisibility, intangibility, etc). Transported from his homeworld of Mars in an experiment by Dr. Erdel, J’onn J’onzz was stranded on Earth until his people could perfect travel between worlds. In the interim, J’onzz decided to work as police detective John Jones combating organized crime until Martians, supervillains, and monsters began arriving in his adopted home of Middleton, Colorado. Becoming the Manhunter from Mars, or Martian Manhunter for short, J’onzz battled these new threats and, as stated, helped found the League. Comments made by Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice writer David Goyer suggest a distaste for the character which could mean his exclusion in the film franchise which would likely leave him available for the TV universe. As such following the logic of this Top 10 list, stand-ins for Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman could be viable with Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow/Mr. Terrific, and Grace, respectively. Along with the Flash, Black Canary, Atom, Firestorm, and others like John Stewart and Hawkman, the TV universe would have quite the makings of a Justice League.