BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@ The Comic Blog
Peacemaker’s first run is in the books, but what’s next? As we look ahead to the second season, let’s speculate on the next wave of Charlton characters that could appear in the show.
When James Gunn originally announced that he would be helming The Suicide Squad after he was fired (and subsequently rehired) by Disney, most of the comic world had high hopes. On the heels of his success with obscure characters in Guardians of the Galaxy, Suicide Squad seemed like a perfect fit.
As The Suicide Squad arrived in theaters and streaming, Gunn announced that John Cena would star in a Peacemaker series on HBO Max. Up to this point, mainstream (and many comic readers, including myself) knew next to nothing about Peacemaker. That left us with a blank slate as to our expectations for the show and his key issues. Little did we know it would be the best superhero comedy in the past year.
In the collecting world, there is a massive discrepancy between MCU and DCEU key issues. While most collectors and investors watched for those Suicide Squad keys to inflate, no one expected them to reach Marvel levels, and that is why some of the Peacemaker keys took buyers by surprise.
Not only did Peacemaker’s key issues get a price surge, but the other comic alum that made up the quirky supporting cast felt the heat as well. Now that we know Peacemaker is officially getting a second season, buyers are looking for the next breakout oddball. Here are three possibilities.
FIRST APPEARANCE: SPACE ADVENTURES #33
One way or another, I firmly believe we will see Captain Atom in the DCEU. With Peacemaker featuring Charlton characters, it stands to reason that he would be added to the HBO Max streaming series. The CGI and special effects for Peacemaker were solid, so bringing Captain Atom to life should work. Even if it doesn’t, it might actually make it a funnier visual, which works for a satire.
Next to Blue Beetle, Captain Atom is the most famous superpowered hero from Charlton Comics. During the Silver Age, he was a centerpiece for the company’s “Action Heroes” line of comics, and those are the characters who made the transition to the DC Universe. He’s also one of the most powerful characters in the DCU with the ability to absorb and channel energy.
Over the decades, Captain Atom has had varying origin stories. Initially, his tale was similar to the Fantastic Four’s. Allen Adam was launched into space, where he was atomized and gained his superpowers.
The better version - and the one that would translate well on the screen - changed his alter ego to Nathaniel Adam. As the story goes, Adam was in the United States Air Force in 1968, where he was convicted of a crime and sentenced to death. Since he was slated to be killed anyway, he was given the option to participate in an experiment involving the wreckage from an alien ship. Adam wasn’t expected to survive the ordeal, but instead of death, he bonded with the alien metal and was given powers that propelled him to 1986. While he can absorb energy, too much will actually push him forward in time again, and that is interesting.
The thing about Captain Atom is that he could feasibly carry his own live-action franchise. With the expanding and mature DCEU, his story would make for a riveting series on HBO Max if not a feature film. That should make his early appearances worth your time to research.
FIRST APPEARANCE: BLUE BEETLE #1 (1967)
Let the Batman jokes begin.
There’s an old anecdote that Alan Moore originally planned to use the Charlton Comics characters for Watchmen. When DC nixed the idea, he created his own versions of those Silver Age faces, and the legend was born. One of the most famous of Moore’s Watchmen is Rorshach. A clear take on Batman’s style of detective work and blunt force trauma, Rorshach was based on a Charlton original, the Question.
Here’s the real question: who is the Question? The first incarnation was Vic Sage, a journalist in Hub City, a crime-ridden metropolitan area from the same vein as Gotham City. Instead of a cape and cowl, Vic wore a skin-like mask to conceal his identity while he solved crimes and beat criminals senseless.
There have been other iterations of the character, and a likely choice for the DCEU is the reimagined Vic Sage from the New 52. Instead of a journalist, he is a government bureaucrat so manipulative that he puts Amanda Waller to shame. In fact, the two co-managed the Suicide Squad during DC’s infamous relaunch. During that same run, Batman supporting character Renee Montoya sported the pseudoderm mask to become the second Question.
With Peacemaker’s squad returning for a second season, Vic could be the next government agent charged with keeping tabs on Chris Smith and the 11th Street Kids.
In recent years, the Question has made a comeback of sorts with DC’s Black Label. He has starred in his own limited series, The Question: the Many Deaths of Vic Sage.
FIRST APPEARANCE: CAPTAIN ATOM #82
Another character to make the jump from Charlton to DC was Nightshade. Originally Captain Atom’s sidekick and lover, she came into her own during the ‘80s when she was added to Task Force X. It’s that Suicide Squad connection that could make her a prime candidate for Peacemaker.
For the most part, Nightshade is like the DC version of Black Widow but with superpowers. Eve Eden can manipulate darkness itself, going so far as to bring shadows to life. She also has the ability to teleport using those shadows. It’s no wonder that DC’s creative team added her to the Suicide Squad.
Taking things a step further, she has a connection to Judomaster, one of the breakout supporting stars of Peacemaker. Nightshade was trained by his sidekick, Tiger, and that makes both of them possible choices to appear alongside Judomaster in the upcoming season.
TASK FORCE X
In the Peacemaker finale, Leota Adebayo outs the Suicide Squad and reveals the inner workings of the shadowy Task Force X in a press conference. Chances are the new season of Peacemaker will delve deeper into the covert team’s past, which will pave the way for several new faces. That should open the door for any of the Charlton characters, particularly Captain Atom, the Question, and Nightshade.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.