Sunday, 10 July 2011
The Big League part 9
Yes, we have covered every member of the Justice League of America, and their chances of appearing in an upcoming Justice League film over the previous eight posts. There hasn't even been a film announced yet, just rumour and hearsay, but I wanted to do it. So, with that in mind, what next? Well, anyone who read my similar series of blogs on the Avengers film (or my most recent League post) will know that here and now, we're looking at possible candidates for a villain of the piece. Let's start with the first villain the League ever fought in the comics.
Starro the Conqueror
There have been a number of different versions of Starro in the comics, but there are a few characteristics they all share. A giant, starfish type creature from the depths of space, Starro uses mind control to try and bring worlds under his dominion. He was the first villain to ever appear in a League comic, in their first appearance in The Brave and the Bold #28, though he wasn't the first villain the team faced (the team had already come together prior to their first appearance in the comics). Starro would be a great fit for a dark, horror take on a superhero film. In recent years, Starro's method of mind control has been to unleash legions of smaller Starro creatures on the Earth, which, when they attach to a persons face, bring them under the Conqueror's control. When the someone getting facehugged has the power of Superman (or Thor, as happened in JLA / Avengers), then yeah, that's a problem. The grotesque imagery of the smaller Starro's attacking people has the potential to be disturbing. Take some cues from Grant Morrison's Return of the Conquerors from JLA #22 and #23, and there you have it. Probably wouldn't work for a first JLA film, but it would make for a heck of a sequel.
Basically? He's a space pirate! I'm sold. More likely to appear as a henchman of some kind, but make it happen! Space pirate! With bug eyes!
The Shaggy Man / The General
An artificially created life form, the Shaggy Man is indestructible and super strong. Able to survive unprotected in space, the League was never able to really conclusively defeat the Shaggy Man head on. Thankfully, the Shaggy Man was mostly a mindless brute, so the League could at least outwit him. Or at least, he was for a while. However, when military general Wade Eiling was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, he had his mind transferred into the body of the Shaggy Man. Eiling shaved the Shaggy Man's body, and targeted the League, who were unable to defeat him even with the help of the Ultramarine Corps. It was only when Batman tricked the General onto a teleportation platform and zapped him onto a tiny asteroid in outer space that the General was defeated, though naturally, he would return to plague the League. While the Shaggy Man isn't a great fit for a movie villain, the General is. Have it dealt with in a similar fashion to how it was in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon, in which Eiling was injected with a serum which granted him the body and powers of the Shaggy Man / The General. Seeing him in a massive smackdown with Superman would be all kinds of fun.
A man with no real supowerpowers, Prometheus nearly took down the entire Justice League single handed on his first appearance. He reprogrammed Steel's armour, shot both Flash and Green Lantern, and beat up Batman by downloading the skills of ten of the world's best martial artists into his head, one of whom was the Dark Knight himself. Of course, Prometheus does have plenty of technological aid. He can insert discs into his helmet which grant him knowledge (like the aforementioned martial arts skills), he has an energy powered night stick, and a Ghost Key, which can teleport people to a Phantom Zone. If it weren't for the intervention of Catwoman and Oracle, neither of whom Prometheus had planned for, he would have succeeded in destroying the League. In his second encounter with them, he again fought Batman, gaining the upper hand once more, until Batman replaced the disc in Prometheus's helmet with one which granted him the physical skills of only one man: Professor Stephen Hawking. It's a wonderful moment, and works perfectly within the context of Grant Morrison's run on the comic. So it's a shame that, once Morrison left the title, DC kinda ruined Prometheus, and haven't been able to bring the character back to his former glories, despite several attempts. Okay, so I enjoyed his appearance in JLA/Avengers where Captain America gives him a severe beat down, but that's it. If you want a menacing villain for a JLA film though, then go back to Grant Morrison's original stories featuring the character, and use them for your inspiration.
The Injustice Gang / Injustice League
When a group of superheroes band together to protect the world, it's only a matter of time before their greatest enemies get the same idea. Such it was with the Injustice Gang. There have been many different incarnations of the Gang over the decades, though more often than not in recent years, it's been put together by one Lex Luthor, and has featured such dangerous villains as Prometheus, the General and the Joker. If you've already introduced the Injustice Gang characters in the League's solo movies, then bringing them together in a JLA film would be a wonderful culmination of this. Besides, Luthor and Joker always make for a wonderful combination when they team up.
A talking gorilla! With telepathic powers! Yes please. Sure, he's more a Flash villain, but he's fought the League enough times to warrant a place on this list. Let's have it!
Yep, the monster who killed Superman in hand to hand combat. While not really known as a League villain, he has fought them a few times, notably during his first rampage across America, which resulted in the death of Superman, he fought an incarnation which included Captain Atom and Guy Gardner (at the time wielding the yellow power ring), and then again defeated them when their membership included Wonder Woman, the Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and the Flash, during the Superman: The Doomsday Wars mini series. Doomsday is a real threat, and to see the League getting trashed by him would make for some really fun action sequences.
An android built by Professor Ivo with the combined powers of the League, there have been several incarnations of Amazo, each showing the powers of different versions of the League. Of course, if you're going to have an Amazo in a JLA film, you want him working for Professor Ivo, and you'll want the one who can adapt to whichever League he's fighting, and develop more and more powers depending on who's currently present. Then again, that model was defeated when Superman, the League's chairperson at the time, announced that the League was officially disbanded. With no League to mimic, Amazo just shut down. But, ya know, get rid of that weakness, and you have a great bad guy!
The Crime Syndicate
An alternate version of the Justice League from Earth-2 or Earth-3 (depending on where you are in continuity), the Crime Syndicate are a group of tyrants who rule over their version of Earth. Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Power Ring and Johnny Quick have fought the League a few times, forcing the League to team up with the Earth-2/3 versions of both Lex Luthor and the Joker, who are, of course, good guys in their reality. Done a few films in, and taking Grant Morrison's graphic novel, Earth 2 as a starting point, this could make for a belter of a JLA film.
Mageddon has only appeared in one storyline in the JLA comics, World War III, which was the culmination of writer Grant Morrison's time on the title, though it had been hinted at since way back at the beginning of Morrison's run. Mageddon was an armageddon engine, which destroyed the Old Gods and their world, before being imprisoned at the edge of universe. Breaking free, Mageddon headed towards Earth. It incited riots and hatred among the Earth's populace, and imprisoned Superman deep within itself. The League was only able to defeat Mageddon by temporarily empowering every single person on Earth and launching an assault on the engine. This distraction allowed Aztek to gain entry and sacrifice his own life to free Superman. Superman then absorbed the energy at the heart of Mageddon, causing it to shut down. Maggedon was portrayed as a massive orb within a squid-like construct, and was shown to be at least semi sentient. It's attack coincided with an attack by the Injustice Gang, who were being subtly influenced by Mageddon. Basically, if they do this as a film, and they should as it's one of the all time great League stories, a straight adaptation will do the trick. It would be epic in every sense of the word.
The big bad of the DCU, it's a no brainer to have Darkseid fight the League at some point on a cinema screen. Introduce him first in a New Gods film, but then have him cross over. It has to happen.
That's it for now. Next time, supporting characters.
To be continued...