"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
Smallville‘s finale Friday night may be the end of Clark Kent’s story, but the series has introduced enough other DC Comics heroes throughout its 10-year run that it could spin out all manner of shows to keep the universe alive. Here are five that we’d actually watch.
John Jones: Manhunter
Of all of the show’s Justice League, it’s John Jones that we would pick for spinoff-star potential (sorry, Green Arrow). Everyone loves a good “stranger in a strange land” set-up, especially if it allows for any number of “Is this what it means … to be human?” moments, and the idea of updating the classic comic high concept of the character’s secret identity being a policeman for today’s police procedural age is almost irresistible. CSI: Superpowers, anyone? Maybe we should start picking out which classic rock song would make the best theme music already.
Zatanna’s Smallville appearances have been more of the “mischievous magician” mold than supernatural superheroine, and let’s face it — that could carry a show by itself. Sure, you’d need a little bit more of a hook, so bring in a little of Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers miniseries for the character and give her a failed love life gone so wrong that it could threaten existence itself, and then let the character loose on television in a comedy-drama that offers a new take on the “magic as metaphor” idea that Buffy made work for so long.
The Blue and The Gold
After Season 10’s “Booster” so clearly set up the time-traveling-failed-athlete-turned-superhero as mentor for newly empowered Jaime Reyes, we doubt that we’re the only people who suspected that the entire episode was constructed as a backdoor pilot for a ready-made spinoff. After all, the “mentor who finds redemption through learning to put others’ needs before his own” character arc for Booster is already there (as is, for that matter, the “Oh no, Jaime, your alien parasite is actually killing you” cliffhanger for the end of the first season). Question is, would audiences really want to root for the jerk to become a hero, or just stay the much-more-entertaining jerk?
Geoff Johns’ “Absolute Justice” two-parter in Season 9 introduced all manner of classic heroes to the Smallville world … and then proceeded to do absolutely nothing with them (well, apart from a Hawkman guest shot this year). If someone is looking for a solid, straight-ahead superhero team to bring to mainstream audiences ahead of Marvel’s Avengers movie, this one is waiting to be discovered. As long as they work out a way to make Hawkman look a little less ridiculous in full costume, that is …
Okay, admittedly, a full-scale Legion of Super-Heroes series would be way too costly to produce on a weekly basis — or, alternatively, it would be ridiculous to try and do cheaply – if only for the 31st-century setting alone, never mind all the superpowers on display. So why not take the idea of the Legion Lost comic from the early 2000s, and play with it? Instead of a team of 31st-century super-teens lost in space, make them lost in time, and trapped in the 21st century. That way, you lower the scale, but up the purpose of the show. The hook becomes whether they can find their way back to their own time before they change history to the extent that their home doesn’t exist any more. Oh, and they also fight crime and save the world occasionally, too.
Would you watch any of these shows? Are there other characters we’ve overlooked? Let us know in the comments … and, DC Entertainment? You can thank us later.