Our Squad: The DC Supervillain Fantasy Draft, Part One
The Suicide Squad movie has brought some of DC's weirdest villains to the big screen even before some of the publisher's major heroes could make their debut, and judging by the movie's huge opening weekend, audiences are only too happy to meet the bad guys.
Of course, there are enough great DC supervillains to fill Belle Reve Prison several times over; many more than we might ever meet at the movie theatre. So for ComicsAlliance's third fantasy superteam draft, following on from our fantasy X-Men teams and our fantasy LGBTQ teams, we've asked our contributors to fight it out to put together the best DC supervillain teams, drawing only from the main line DC comics continuities.
Starting today, and across the rest of the week, each player will take turns picking members for their own seven member villain team. Each team must include a mastermind, a heavy, a monster, and an assassin --- plus there's a villainous wildcard element that we'll introduce halfway through the draft.
Our picking panel are Benito Cereno, Elle Collins, Chris Haley, Emma Lawson, Kieran Shiach, and Tom Speelman, and after a random spin of the monstrous War Wheel, Chris gets first pick.
Chris: My first pick has got to be Lex Luthor. Trying to make the most of a supervillain team requires a leader that’s both smart enough to outwit the good guys and clever/devious enough to manipulate your fellow ne’er-do-wells into working towards the best interest of the group’s goals and not just their own self-interests. Or, you know, towards whatever evil goal you’ve decided the group’s objective should be. Even in a world with evil space overlords like Darkseid, Lex Luthor has proven capable of outsmarting just about everyone. Also, this is like a pseudo-Superman pick, which pleases me.
Emma: Okay, if Chris is going with a pseudo-Superman pick, I’m going to go with the guy who killed Superman. My first pick is Doomsday, the ultimate killing machine. He’s essentially unkillable himself, the result of Kryptonian genetic engineering to make someone invincible to death. I don’t usually like villains who just want to destroy all life, but I can understand it with Doomsday; if that’s how I came to exist, I’d be mad too.
Chris: I both despise and respect this pick. Really trying to get into this villain mindset here.
Tom: Sticking with Superman villains, my first has to be the Collector of Worlds himself, Brainiac! Not only does he have his own robot army at his command, but he can adapt to any form of technology that suits his needs.
Although he’s usually the most dangerous on his home ship, he's a pretty formidable foe out in the open too. Heck, in the last few years, he's been revealed to be the Internet itself in the New 52, turned Superman into Doomsday, and brought back the Multiverse itself. I'd be a henchman to a guy with that kind of power. Wouldn't you?
Elle: Wow, the first three picks were Superman villains. I doubt anybody saw that coming. I’m going to break with that trend, though. My first pick is Catwoman.
I know she’s often regarded as an anti-hero or even a hero these days, but she started as a villain, she stayed a villain for decades, and she’s one of the best. Certainly the best of the villains who are primarily thieves. She’s better at stealing than anyone, whether she’s doing it to better her situation, or just for the thrill. Does she have feelings for Batman, or is she just manipulating him into not handing her over to the cops? Couldn’t it be both? I think it’s probably both.
Benito: I will also avoid the Superman trend for now; my Superman foe will pop up later. For my first round pick, I have to select my major player before someone else claims him (looking at you, Kieran): Gorilla Grodd.
While on someone else’s list, he might be listed as a mastermind or even a heavy, for my purposes, he’s going to be my outcast monster, as his lust for conquest, his dangerous mental powers, and his penchant for anthropophagy make him a pariah among the sentient and otherwise peaceful apes of Gorilla City. Although he was originally a Flash villain, his lethal combination of brains, brawn, ruthlessness, and psionic ability has shown he has what it takes to be a major villain on a Justice League scale.
Emma: Aw, nuts. I wanted Gorilla Grodd too.
Benito: See, I knew I was wise to make him my round one pick.
Kieran: I was worried Benito would pick my first round choice, but thankfully he didn’t. The argument could be made that he fits into several categories as he is a mastermind, a heavy, and kind of a monster, but I’m picking Darkseid for my #1 villain.
I genuinely don’t believe there’s a better villain in all of fiction than Jack Kirby’s Darkseid. In recent years he has been pretty much nothing but a brute, which is a shame, because that was never the intention. He’s a schemer and a planner, and he’ll ruin your entire life from the sidelines before you ever knew it was happening. He’s the God of Evil in a wholly unique way, and there’s no greater threat to all of life than Darkseid.
Chris: For my second pick and my monster, I’m picking The Shaggy Man. Specifically the General Eiling version, since that version has all of the upside of a body that’s nearly indestructible, has super strength, limitless regeneration, can survive in space, doesn’t need air, food, or sleep, plus that version has the addition of a brain that has combat experience, strategic thinking skills, and is into taking down superheroes.
Tom: All I can say is if I had the codename The Shaggy Man, I'm pretty sure I'd be lighting up the underground garage rock scene instead of supervillainy, but to each his own.
Emma: I’m choosing Talia al Ghul as my team leader and mastermind. I want a leader the other supervillains will respect (even if they do so grudgingly). Talia took over her father’s global criminal empire; you can’t do that without some serious intellectual chops. She’s got multiple advanced degrees including an MBA, and she can hold her own in a fight. That’s not something not every criminal mastermind can do. I also wanted a woman leading my team, but I thought Amanda Waller would be a little too on the nose.
Tom: For my monster, I'm going with the man born on a Monday himself, Solomon Grundy. He's a well-rounded foe for pretty much any hero you'd come across while pulling a heist. He's got the strength to toe up against Superman, he can --- if you're going with an intelligent version like I am --- match wits with folks like Green Arrow or Batman, and he's intimidating enough to unnerve younger crime fighters like Jaime Reyes.
With intense strength and an ugly look to match, he's a tragic, monstrous figure. In fact, now that I think about it, he's kinda the inverse of Swamp Thing, isn't he?
Chris: I knew someone was going to snap him up early.
Emma: Now I have the Crash Test Dummies stuck in my head. Thanks, Tom.
Tom: I do what I can, Emma.
Elle: Some great villains are getting snatched up all across the board. With that in mind, I’m going to go ahead and pick my monster: Bizarro. He’s got all the powers of Superman, but every thought he has is wrong, and that makes him extraordinarily dangerous. He’s basically the Boris Karloff version of Frankenstein’s Monster as Superman, which is probably a big part of why I’ve always loved him.
He’s not really evil, and left to his own devices he’s mostly just an agent of chaos, but when he falls under the sway of more intelligent villains, he can be a real bad dude.
Benito: My second pick I’ve been sweating, worried that Elle would snatch him from my grasp, but it looks like I get to be the snatcher! For round two, I’m going to claim my heavy: Monsieur Mallah! A Francophone, gay, light and heavy arms expert who wears a beret and bandoliers, who is also a “master” of disguise. When you absolutely, positively have to kill every superhero in the room, accept no substitutes. Although he typically needs the Brain to dictate his actions, I feel like my choice for mastermind (soon to come!) will be able to properly direct his simian rage.
Elle: I came very close to picking Mallah as my monster, Benito. But ultimately I let my love of Frankensteins win out over my love of gay European primates. So your luck was good today.
Benito: Believe me, if anyone can understand a love of Frankensteins, it's me.
Kieran: For my second pick, I’m picking a villain that has only been in a handful of stories but always makes a huge impact when he appears. I’m picking the master assassin, Prometheus. His first appearance is one of my favorite debuts of a supervillain ever, and his reveal recently --- in a book I won’t spoil because you might read it someday and not know it’s coming --- was one of my favorite comic moments of last year.
TEAM ROSTERS: DAY ONE
Chris: Lex Luthor, Shaggy Man
Emma: Doomsday, Talia al Ghul
Tom: Brainiac, Solomon Grundy
Elle: Catwoman, Bizarro
Benito: Gorilla Grodd, Monsieur Mallah
Kieran: Darkseid, Prometheus
Come back for more in part two, as the players swoop up their favorite assassins...
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