As superheroes continue to defeat the forces of evil – and their competition at the box office – more and more DC and Marvel comics characters are getting their chance to shine on the big screen. The Justice League and Avengers take care of the most world famous heroes, but what about the characters who are just as powerful, popular or important – but nowhere near as well known? Some of the best comic stories are yet to be told, assuming the studios know where to look.
A superpowered alien marooned on Earth is a story comic fans have heard dozens of times. But when Superman refers to Martian Manhunter as “the most powerful being on the face of the Earth,” he is clearly deserving of more than a supporting role. The story of how J’onn J’onzz, the last surviving Green Martian came to Earth has changed over the years, but the important points remain the same: J’onn lost his wife and family, wound up on Earth, and decided to help those who couldn’t help themselves. Also, he’s one of the most powerful heroes in the DC Universe, able to fly, read minds, phase through objects, become invisible, change his shape and density, and even regrow himself from a single hand. Manhunter obviously became a staple of the animated Justice League, but if you ask us, Bruce Wayne admitting J’onn is basically a combination of Batman and Superman means leaving him out of DC’s movie universe would be a colossal mistake.
￼In the modern age of unmanned aircraft and military drones, the superhero Darkhawk may not be as groundbreaking as he used to be. Even so, the story of a teenager who finds a mysterious amulet that allows him to pilot an extra-dimensional android is a big screen hit just waiting to be made. The teenager Chris Powell may lack the name recognition of Tony Stark, but his suit of armor is even more powerful, even if he's not actually wearing it into battle. If Marvel plans to keep pushing their technology, alien scheming, and cosmic plot lines - while bringing in younger fans with Spider-Man - then a Darkhawk appearance in the MCU would be an unexpected, but potentially brilliant twist.
The Cosmic side of the DC Universe may be dominated by Darkseid and the Green Lantern Corps, but the supporting cast in the colourful corners of space are just as important - and few are as interesting as Captain Comet. Created between the Gold and Silver Ages of comic books, Adam Blake was one of the first mutant heroes, introduced over a decade before Marvel's X-Men. Blessed with superhuman strength, psychic and telekinetic powers, Blake took up the 'Comet' name to fight crime, before exploring the galaxy. Comet returned to the DC spotlight in the 2006 series "Mystery in Space," which saw the hero uncovering the mystery of his own resurrection on Hardcore Station, an intergalactic hive of criminals and drifters. If DC wants to match Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy or the return of Star Wars, this is one space based hero that could do the job - without dealing with the universe's biggest cosmic villains.
Beta Ray Bill
The Avengers can throw some mean punches, but only one of them wields the power of a god. So when Thor first came across an alien spaceship headed for Earth, he was more than surprised to find a being on board that could match him blow for blow. The alien was none other than Beta Ray Bill, one of the last survivors of the Korbinite race placed into a body resembling a horse-like animal from his homeworld. After claiming Thor's hammer for himself, the pair would grow to respect eachother as noble warriors, with Odin giving Bill a hammer of his very own (forged in the same dying star as Mjolnir). The horse-faced warrior went on to become a fan-favorite and a serious weapon in Marvel's cosmic wars, even starting a romance with Lady Sif. If Chris Hemsworth wants to hang up his cape any time soon - or starts crossing paths with Marvel's alien races - handing the spotlight to Beta Ray Bill would be a dream come true for comic fans.
Some may write him off as a rip-off of Batman, but Marvel's supernatural Moon Knight is anything but. When former US Marine and professional boxer Marc Spector found himself working as a mercenary in the sands of Egypt, a run-in with valuable artifacts (and fellow hired guns) leaves him lifeless in front of a statue of Khonshu, the Egyptian Moon God. Offering to return Marc to life if he acts as his living Avatar, the Moon god blesses him with superhuman strength tied to the phases of the moon. It isn't all just hunting criminals, though, since the gift splits Marc's personality into pieces, making him even more of a wild card in Iron Man and Captain America's Civil War standoff. The bottom line is that even Taskmaster, the deadly copycat of Marvel's universe, refuses to mimic the Moon Knight’s fighting style. Why? Because he'd rather take a punch than block it, with each hit seen as penance for the pain he caused in his former life.