Whenever there’s a catastrophic event in the DC Universe, it takes the universe’s mightiest superheroes to bring it down. From Darkseid to the Antimonitor, the Justice League is there to save the day and lock away the bad guys. Their power is unmatched and their spirit is seldom broken. There is nothing that can get in the way of that team- or so it seemed.
In all of their infinite power, the Justice League has but one weakness: magic. Their strongest member, Superman, on top of kryptonite, is weak to magical abilities and can’t fight someone that utilizes them. Another strong member, Martian Manhunter, is weak to fire. All it would take is for a pyromancer to sneeze on him and he’d be down for the count. Even the great Batman, with all of his intelligence and money, cannot fight magic, since it’s not a problem that dollars or fists can fix.
In order to deal with the magical side of villains, there was a new Justice League established: the Justice League Dark. This is a team full of sorcerers and magical beings that fought the battles the normal heroes couldn’t. While the team may not be comprised of morally upstanding individuals, they get the job done nonetheless.
Recently, DC announced that plans were moving forward for a Justice League Dark movie, titled Dark Universe. There are quite a few characters that could make the cut for the film, but here are fifteen of our top picks for the sorcerers that need to be in Dark Universe.
15. Swamp Thing
While it could be argued that Swamp Thing isn’t necessarily a magical character, he deserves to be on this list for two reasons. One: he is one of the most notable members of the Justice League Dark. Two: his powers over plant matter are so ridiculously useful that they might as well be considered magical abilities. Depending on which incarnation of the character you’re familiar with, however, there are more elemental qualities tied to this monster. Some depict him as a purely elemental creature, while others depict him as the result of a swamp science experiment gone wrong. Regardless, there’s no denying Swamp Thing deserves his light on the big screen. His powers over vegetation allow him to grow or resurrect any plant on the globe. He can manipulate plants in any way he chooses and frequently uses that power for combat. His most impressive ability, however, is being able to transport by having his consciousness leave his body and appear in a plant anywhere in the world, so long as he is connected to the earth. He’s the kind of strange monster that a movie like Dark Universe would benefit from.
14. Timothy Hunter
Timothy Hunter is an interesting character who is directly tied to magic in some ways. Because of this, his origin story is very complex and hard to follow. Summed up in an easy-to-comprehend manner- Timothy is a young boy with a huge destiny. From birth, his fate was to use the Books of Magic, but instead of doing so, he gave up his powers to save his father. Then after a strange set of events, he regained his magical abilities once more and resides in an alternate dimension. Throughout his childhood and well into his older years, Timothy was set after by sinister cults and groups to use his exceptional powers for darkness. Due to the temptations and controversy in his mind, Timothy has gone back and forth many times on whether or not he should even allow magic into his life. While years of searching and asking questions have never given him a surefire answer, his abilities are still highly valued and he has used them to help the Justice League Dark a few times. Exploring a little known character like Hunter would lend itself to a film very well (look at Diablo) and could lead to some interesting story opportunities.
13. Doctor Mist
ARGUS will always be a large presence in the DC Universe, and especially in the DCEU due to Amanda Waller and Task Force X. In the comics, even ARGUS had a plan when it came to fighting supernatural entities and threats. They had a specialist who knew just about anything there was to know when it came to magic. This man was known as Doctor Mist, and he was a powerful sorcerer indeed. He has been around for centuries, first appearing as Nommo, the wizard king for an African Empire. Blessed with immortality, he has survived many years and eventually took the name Doctor Mist. No doubt he was a very valued member of the Justice League Dark and has rescued the team from some hairy situations. However, it was eventually revealed that Mist was working as a double operative for a villain and was removed from the team. Feeling guilty over it, he attempted to regain his comrades’ trust by opening a dimensional portal to save Timothy Hunter and the witch Zatanna. As it stands though, Mist is not currently part of the Justice League Dark.
12. Madame Xanadu
One of the more obscure and mysterious characters DC has to offer, Madame Xanadu may be little known but is one of the pivotal members of the Justice League Dark. She is like Amanda Waller for the Justice League Dark, but without all of the evil. Like Doctor Mist, her history goes back many years. Her origin began in the realm of Camelot, where she had a romantic relationship with the magician Merlin. However, after Merlin betrayed her, she became stripped of her magical powers forever. Despite not having magical abilities, she was able to maintain her immortality by beating Death at a card game. On top of that, Xanadu has still served as a wise individual in the realm of magic, but ended up serving as a fortune teller, which is how she earned the name “Madame.” Her various adventures through time caused her to come in contact with characters like Phantom Stranger, but her most notable interaction comes with the magician Zatara. They formed a strong bond, and he wanted to marry her, but she refused. Her foresight depicted that he would end up finding another woman whom he would love more, and they would have a daughter together, who would end up as the witch Zatanna. Small world in the DC Universe.
11. Shade: The Changing Man
Shade is one of those beings that is so magical and powerful that nobody really knows anything about him. Who is he? What is he about? These are all questions that have yet to be fully answered. What we do know is that Shade comes from an alternate dimension known as the Meta-Zone. In that dimension, Shade’s actions led him to have a death sentence on his head for some form of treason. The Metas tried very hard to hunt down and capture Shade, despite his attempts to clear his name, but they could never quite catch him. You see, Shade has the ability to bend and warp reality itself. He was eventually contacted by Madame Xanadu to assist her in bringing the Justice League Dark together, but he didn’t remain there for long. Once he lost an item that would help prove his innocence, he left. Eventually, he was tricked into going to Apokolips with members of the Suicide Squad, where some people would end up being killed. Because of this, Shade was eventually sent back into his own dimension and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
Deadman is exactly what he sounds like: a dead man. His origins began as a young acrobat who would dress in a red outfit and white makeup, taking the name (you guessed it) Deadman. During one of his complicated performances, though, he was slain while in the middle of his trapeze act. Once his lifeless body fell to the floor, he found his consciousness brought back to life by the Hindu god Rama. His appearance would forever be that of the costume he wore when he was slain. Once he got used to his new powers as a ghost, Deadman sought out revenge on the man who took his life. After many years of going around as a ghost he would end up being taken and bound by the Sea King. He would remain there for quite some time, until being found and brought out by John Constantine. This would lead to Deadman having a direct connection to the Justice League Dark and would become one of its strongest members. Fun fact, in the Injustice: Gods Among Us comics, Deadman eventually gave up the mantle to the deceased Nightwing, who got caught on the wrong end of Superman’s Regime.
Telepathy and astral projection are powers that should not be taken lightly, and that is why Jay Young deserves to be in Dark Universe. By astral projection, he is able to project himself anywhere he wishes in a spiritual, albeit terrifying form. He is not a good guy by any means. Mindwarp works for himself and lives every day as if it were his bucket list. Think of him as an anti-hero version of Tony Stark. His powers are so strong that Mindwarp struggles to find meaning in life, which becomes an empty void for him. During one of her fortune telling sessions, Madame Xanadu foresees a horrible tragedy and thus starts to put together the Justice League Dark. Aware of Mindwarp and the amazing powers he possesses, she sends Shade to recruit him for the team. Unfortunately, Mindwarp doesn’t take it very well and fights Shade in a magical battle before finally escaping. Eventually, he does come around and assists the Justice League Dark in averting a crisis caused by Enchantress. Seeing a strong character like Mindwarp in a movie could end up a visual masterpiece, and should at least be considered for Dark Universe.
8. Phantom Stranger
Phantom Stranger is more mysterious than the Joker. Nobody knows who he is or where he came from. All that is known is that he has been a powerful character that has lived throughout the course of history. There are four theories about who he is, though. The first is that he was once an angel of God who sided with neither God or Satan, so was doomed to walk the rest of eternity. Another states that he was one of God’s chosen people who was spared divine wrath; an angel was sent to protect him and after he tried to commit suicide the angel forbade his spirit from leaving the Earth. The third theorizes that he was once a man who had a grudge against Jesus, but ended up being commanded by him to roam the Earth until the end times. Eventually this led to him helping people. The final theory states that Phantom Stranger is a remnant of a previous universe, having a higher intelligence and power than anything we can understand. What is known about him are his powers. Phantom Stranger has just about every magical ability you can think coupled with exceptional hand-to-hand combat skills. It’s not hard to see why he’s a member of the Justice League Dark and would be an optimal choice to put in the film.
7. John Constantine
Having the Justice League Dark without John Constantine would be like having the Avengers without Captain America. Throughout his story and appearances in DC history, the question always asked is, “How far would you go to save yourself?” Constantine is not a hero by any means, nor is he a villain. He works for himself and no one else, despite having been known to do the right thing on occasion. John is very rough around the edges, but he is a man that understands when you’re up against magical demons and spirits, you have to be. A tough childhood forced Constantine to learn to cut his losses, a philosophy that would largely affect his magical practices. He has vowed to bring a stop to any creature that would choose to wield magic for ill purposes, but such a life isn’t without its consequences. Constantine’s controversial lifestyle is necessary for a film about the Justice League Dark, especially considering he is one of its most recognized members. If DC doesn’t put him in, I’m calling shenanigans.
God’s wrath comes in many different forms throughout history. Sometimes it’s fire and brimstone reigning down on a town that continued in wickedness. Other times it is a worldwide flood that only spared the righteous people on earth. In rare cases, it’s a spirit of vengeance that inhabits an unsuspecting man. Before you start wondering which book of the Bible I got that from, I didn’t. God’s wrath in the DC Universe is depicted by the deceased man Jim Corrigan who was taken over by the spirit of vengeance, also known as Spectre. The physical embodiment of God’s wrath, Spectre is one of the most feared characters in the DC Universe. Due to being sent down by God Himself, Spectre’s powers are nearly unlimited as well as magical. It takes a lot to defeat him and anyone who would try is almost foolish. Keep in mind that Spectre has never formally been a member of the Justice League Dark, but that’s not to say that his skillset wouldn’t be valuable for that team. On top of that, there’s almost no limit to what a film could do with a character like that. If done well, Spectre could be the most memorable part of any DC movie for that matter.
*Mild spoilers for Suicide Squad ahead!*
Anyone that has seen Suicide Squad may be shaking their heads at why in the world Enchantress would be on this list. After all she was arguably the worst part of the film. Well, it’s partially because of her inclusion in Suicide Squad that she makes it on this list. You see, the Squad in the comics was better known for doing covert operations overseas instead of fighting some witch in the middle of a crowded U.S. city. Part of what made the film so controversial is that the Squad was fighting a battle that didn’t seem it would be their battle to fight. Now if the Justice League Dark had gone up against Enchantress, that film would have made much more sense in the long run. As a matter of fact, Enchantress has served as an antagonist for the Justice League Dark a time or two. A fight between them would not only be much more believable, but would also make a better movie. Granted perhaps there could be some sort of connection to Enchantress in Dark Universe either way, which I would be just as glad to see.
4. Etrigan the Demon
Change! Change, O’ form of man! Release the might from fleshy mire! Boil the blood inin the heart for fire! Gone! Gone! — the form of man —Rise, the Demon Etrigan!
Etrigan, a prince of Hell, is one of the more unique demons on DC’s roster. During the times of Camelot, Etrigan’s soul was bound to the mortal Jason Blood, and the two have been linked ever since. Despite being a demon, Etrigan is not an evil guy by any means, and is in fact a member of the Justice League of America. He has gone toe to toe with a few of DC’s finest like Batman, and his power is unmatched by any mortal. Etrigan is also an incredibly powerful sorcerer having abilities like teleportation, telekinesis, and geokinesis (he can move rocks). He has not served as a member of the Justice League Dark, but his background and skillset would make him a no brainer choice for Dark Universe. It is currently rumored that he will have a part in the film, and if that’s the case, we may have some things to be excited for.
The tortured yet lovable member of the Justice League and the Teen Titans, Raven is one of the most memorable DC characters you will ever come into contact with. Her backstory and roots run deep. She was born the daughter of the malicious Trigon, an interdimensional demon who desires to control the entire multiverse. As Raven grew up, she discovered that her emotions were directly tied to her magical powers. She had to learn to control her emotions, lest would she destroy the whole world without even trying. Despite her emotional constipation, Raven can feel the emotions of others and even sympathize with them. She has also gone on record forming bonds with many other characters, especially her fellow members of the Teen Titans. Raven is an amazing character, and has been begging to be on the big screen since the Teen Titans cartoon, and I have a feeling that audiences won’t be opposed to that. Better yet, they could set up a larger conflict with Trigon, which would take both the Justice League and the Justice League Dark to handle. That’s a movie I’d like to see, so put Raven in Dark Universe, DC!
Zatanna is probably the first person you think of when you hear the Justice League Dark and know what it is (unless you think of John Constantine of course). The daughter of the magician Zatara, Zatanna took her father’s theatrical disposition and applied it to all of her skills. She became a professional magician, doing many shows to show off her skills in illusion, except for the fact that all of her tricks are real. Her abilities have also led to her being called upon by the Justice League for some of the bigger threats, as she is arguably the strongest magician in the DC Universe. Her spells are quite odd though, as they can only be performed correctly if she recites the words backwards. This kind of speech could serve as some natural comedic relief in Dark Universe, as it’s all but confirmed that this witch will end up appearing in the film. That being said, Zatanna isn’t all fun and games. After losing her father to dark magic, she knows all too well just how dangerous it can be. Because of this, she sought to prevent magic from ever being used to bring harm to others.
1. Doctor Fate
There are many characters in comic books, and I am a firm believer that some characters just don’t get the attention that they should. Doctor Fate is one of those characters for me. It makes almost no sense as to why he wouldn’t get attention. Doctor Fate is probably the most powerful member of the Justice League or the DC Universe for that matter. The mantle of Doctor Fate has been passed down to a few individuals over the years, but the result remains the same. Each Doctor Fate has to wear the iconic helmet, and once they put it on, a host of unlimited powers and magic abilities come to their fingertips. He can travel through dimensions, teleport, fly, all of that good stuff. Like some of the other characters on this list, Doctor Fate has not been a member of the Justice League Dark. Despite this, he would make a pretty darn good addition to the team. I personally don’t have much hope that he’ll appear in Dark Universe or any upcoming DC film for that matter, but if he did, that would be a catalyst for some of the most unique scenes in any comic book movie to date.