In a recent interview, director Guillermo Del Toro revealed that development on “Dark Universe,” a film focusing on DC’s supernatural characters, is now underway. Del Toro named some of the heroes — if they can be called that — of the proposed film, including John Constantine, Deadman, The Spectre, Swamp Thing, Etrigan The Demon, and Zatanna. But with such offbeat protagonists, it begs the question: what of the villains?
This week in Hollywood Justice, we’re going to run down a list of five villains who pose a threat that extends beyond the world of traditional superheroics, and into the supernatural.
A foe of the Teen Titans, the extra-dimensional demon known as Trigon is also of the father of one of their members, the mysterious Raven. The threat posed by Trigon led to the formation of the modern incarnation of the team, when Raven sought their help in thwarting his plans to conquer Earth. Though their efforts were successful, Trigon ultimately returned and took control of his daughter, who was rescued only through the combined efforts of her teammates, and the inhabitants of her home dimension of Azarath. Trigon remains a potent threat in the rebooted DC Universe, now haunting another supernatural DC hero, the Phantom Stranger.
Villains are often said to have made a deal with the devil, but in the case of 1995’s “Underworld Unleashed” storyline, it was literally true. Neron, the ruler of Hell, approached a who’s who of evil in the DC Universe, and offered to fulfill their greatest desires, in exchange for their souls. Some gained enhanced powers, others had their health restored, and the Joker got a box of Cuban cigars, proving that it’s all about knowing your customer. Neron’s scheme to spread his dominion to Earth ultimately failed, but anyone who can pull off that many negotiations with some of the nastiest characters in existence is a force to be reckoned with.
A sorcerer with a mad-on for heroes in multiple centuries, Mordru had proved a menace both for the Justice Society of America, and the Legion of Superheroes. Although the character has changed a lot over the years, in his initial conception he was from an entire planet of sorcerers, and rose to conquer both his planet and his entire sector of the galaxy by mastering the mystic arts. When he sets his sights on Earth, he runs into opposition from the Legion of Superheroes, but his power is such that they can only hope to contain him, and dread his next escape from imprisonment. His mystical powers also enable him to travel through time, and he has used that ability to continually plague many of our era’s heroes, most frequently the JSA.
The evil counterpart of DC’s Captain Marvel, both draw their power from the wizard Shazam, who initially chose Black Adam as his champion in the days of Ancient Egypt, before realizing his mistake to his everlasting regret. Billy Batson proved to be a more worthy champion, but Black Adam has never accepted retirement gracefully, and has returned again and again, using the enormous power he was granted to impose his tyrannical philosophy on the world, only to be opposed by Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family, as well as the heroes of the Justice Society of America.
An entity of the purest evil that possesses often unsuspecting victims, Eclipso was once the incarnation of God’s wrath, before being replaced by The Spectre. The entity was bound within a black diamond as punishment for his unchecked rampages, but when the diamond was discovered in the modern day by explorer Bruce Gordon, Eclipso was able to possess Gordon, and drive him to evil ends, initially only taking control during an eclipse. Over time, Eclipso’s power increased however, and he has since had a number of other hosts, most notably the Atom’s estranged wife, Jean Loring, who was particularly vulnerable after her mental breakdown which led to the murder of Sue Dibny, wife of the Elongated Man. Upon taking control, Eclipso used her to drive The Spectre into a destructive frenzy which sparked a magical war in the lead-up to 2006’s “Infinite Crisis”. That’s in keeping with Eclipso’s typical modus operandi, to find the weak and manipulate them to horrific ends, which is what makes him one of the DC Universe’s prime supernatural threats.
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