5. The Metal Men
The Metal Men is one of those Silver Age, wacky-ass concepts that make me wish that DC was owned by Disney and not Warner Brothers, as the Metal Men would make for a great Pixar animated film. The original 1962 concept of the Metal Men was that genius scientist Dr. Will Magnus, a pipe-smoking, non-super-powered version of Marvel's Reed Richards, who creates a group of "living" robots based on different metals. The six robots were field leader Gold, strong guy Iron, the dumb but courageous Lead, the quick tempered Mercury, the shy Tin, and Platinum, who was in love with her creator Dr. Magnus.
Each of the group's characteristics was cutely just like their namesake metals, and each member of the team possessed abilities that cleverly echoed the traits of said metals: Gold could stretch his form almost infinitely, Iron was super strong, Lead could block radiation by morphing into thick shields, Mercury could melt and pass through small spaces before reforming and Platinum could stretch,etc.
It was a cute idea, but by the nineties, it all got retconned into something creepier. In the Metal Men's revised origin story,an accident in the lab transferred the consciousness of everyone that was there at the time - Magnus' girlfriend, two other scientists, the janitor and even a pizza delivery boy - into the bodies of these robots, now known as the Metal Men. Here comes the effed up part; Dr.Magnus then erases their memories so they don't remember their previous human lives - although he says he is working on a way to restore them to human form, he never does.This attempt to "darken up" a fun goofy concept is probably what a live-action version would be like, and I'm not sure the world needs a gritty and dark take on the Metal Men.
A few years back, a live-action Metal Men was actually announced, to be directed by Men In Black director Barry Sonnenfeld, but nothing ever came of it, and maybe Warner Brothers wisely decided that some things are better suited for animation than live-action. Recently a Metal Men animated short was made for Cartoon Network's DC Nation, and animation would seem to be the best fit for the Metal Men's sensibilities. Someone needs to go make that happen.
4.The Legion of Super-Heroes
First off, before anyone in the comments section points this out, yes I am aware that three members of the Legion, namely Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy, have appeared in live-action before, on Smallville. But they never used their superhero names, and never appeared in costume nor were seen fighting crime in their own 31st-century time frame. So I'm just not gonna count it.
In the comics, the Legion has been published since 1958, with the current comic book series' finale issue this year marking the end of fifty-five years of continuous publication. The premise of the Legion is this: a very large group of teenage heroes from various worlds gathers together as one massive team, inspired by their historical idol Superman. The Legion pre-dates the Justice League and all the Marvel teams, and for many years were among DC's highest selling comics. In fact, many things that Stan Lee and Marvel get credit for creating in comics was done by the Legion first, like relationship drama between the various heroes; and many of the super powers first attributed to the X-Men and Fantastic Four were actually displayed by Legionnaires first.
There was an Invisible Kid before there was an Invisible Woman, Saturn Girl was a powerful female telepath before Jean Grey, Phantom Girl was phasing through walls decades before Kitty Pryde, and Timber Wolf was in many ways the first Wolverine. Marvel took a lot of these concepts to the next level for sure, but the Legion did it first. Nevertheless, by the early '90s, the utopian future of the Legion had become passé, and the book was relegated to cult status, selling only to aging fans and becoming increasingly irrelevant to younger audiences, till DC finally pulled the plug this year.
It is because of this that the Legion will almost certainly never get the proper treatment, either on television or in movies. But there are other reasons. First off, with the notable exception of Star Trek, bright and shiny optimistic futures for humanity are seen as things of the past. No one believes that will happen anymore, sadly. A future like that would almost be impossible to render for a television series, and even a movie version would still break the bank. Secondly, there are something like twenty-five members at any given time. Chopping it down to a manageable number would make it less a "Legion" and more of social club, defeating the purpose of even calling them by their name.
There is one place where the Legion concept could, in fact, flourish, and gain a whole new generation of fans: in animation. In fact, for two years a Legion of Super-Heroes animated series ran on Kid's WB network, and probably would have continued if the network hadn't closed down. Everything about the Legion is both animation friendly and kid friendly, even the goofy names like Cosmic Boy and Matter-Eater Lad, and hopefully Cartoon Network revives the concept at some point.
3. The Doom Patrol
Debuting in 1963, this group of freaks, feared and shunned by society, are gathered together by their wheelchair-bound genius leader, to protect a world that fears and hates them. Sounds familiar, right? Well, I'm not talking about the X-Men, although everything above applies to them too. I'm talking about the Doom Patrol, the "most bizarre heroes of all!" who debuted a full three months before the X-Men did. Now, for years Stan Lee has claimed that this was all just a big coincidence, great minds think alike and so on. Neither comic series set the world on fire during the sixties to be honest, and the Doom Patrol was probably the lesser loved of the two even back then, getting canceled a full two years before the X-Men did.
Of course, when the X-Men went on to great fame with their 1975 revival series, DC followed suit with a Doom Patrol revival in the same vein...but it didn't work. They kept trying, but by this time, X-Men was a name brand, and the poor Doom Patrol just seemed like a shameless rip-off to those not in the know, despite the fact they actually came first. The only Doom Patrol revival that ever really had success was writer Grant Morrison's four-year run on the book in the early nineties, which was a complete deviation from the standard superhero fare at the time and truly bizarre. Morrison realized that if Doom Patrol was to survive as a concept, it would have to be far removed from any similarities to the X-Men franchise. Unfortunately, not long after Morrison left, DC kept reviving the Doom Patrol as a more standard superhero title, and it kept failing because of it. If people want to read X-Men, they'll just buy X-Men.
On the surface, there is nothing about the Doom Patrol that wouldn't work as a live-action film. In fact, the concept would make for a pretty great movie or television series. However, because of the stark similarities to the X-Men, it is highly unlikely that the Doom Patrol will ever see the live-action light of day, despite occasional reports that a live-action version is happening or a script is being written. To the general audience, it will seem like a rip-off of X-Men, much like how John Carter seemed like a rip of of Star Wars despite being one of the many things that influenced Star Wars in the first place. With all the DC properties that Warner Brothers owns that aren't similar to Marvel ones, why would they take a chance on something so similar to one of Marvel's signature properties? It doesn't make much financial sense, so Warners will probably leave this one on the back-burner indefinitely.
2. Zauriel (and Asmodel)
One of the cooler contributions to Grant Morrison's seminal run on Justice League during the late nineties was the addition of new member Zauriel, a Guardian Angel who gave up his role as guardian for falling in love with woman he was assigned by God to be watching over. Eventually joining the Justice League, he was essentially the new "winged guy" during a time when Hawkman was considered "toxic" due to his frazzled continuity.
The addition of Zauriel, who was loosely based on the Biblical ideas of Heaven having four "Hosts" of Angels (in the comics, it was the Eagle, Bull, Lion and Human Hosts, and Zauriel was of the Eagle Host) was a genius move on Morrison's part. Both DC and Marvel have used Greek, Roman and Norse mythology to excellent effect in their superhero titles over the years, and Grant Morrison just took the next logical step and used ancient Judeo-Christian mythology as his source material. One of the coolest moments was when Zauriel's nemesis, the rogue angel Asmodel of the Bull Host, fights Superman with all his Heavenly might...and Superman wins. It's a badass moment that exemplifies why Morrison's run on JLA was so great. And it's a moment that we will almost certainly never see recreated in live-action.
Unfortunately, the fact that these stories used aspects of Judeo-Christian mythology as just that, mythology, is what will keep these characters from ever making an appearance on the big or small screen, or probably any medium outside of comics, ever. Warner Brothers would be terrified of the potential mass protests and boycotts that millions of Americans would do over the idea of Superman fighting an angel, or even the suggestion that one of God's angels would go bad (despite the fact that millions of Christians believe in Satan, a fallen angel, but that's neither here nor there). It just wouldn't be worth the huge financial risk to them. So for now, if you wanna see Superman fight an angel, I highly suggest picking up a trade paperback of Grant Morrison's JLA, because odds are that's the only place you'll ever be able to see it.
1. B'wana Beast
There is a really good chance that you have never heard of B'wana Beast. Most people haven't. There's a reason for that. Created by Teen Titans and Doom Patrol creator Bob Haney and Justice League of America artist Mike Sekowsky in 1967, B'wana Beast was really Mike Maxwell, a big game hunter in Africa, who possessed a helmet and elixir which granted him his powers (the word "B'wana" is a Swahili word meaning "Boss", and was often used in old Tarzan movies, incorrectly, to denote white men. Something I'm pretty sure DC's target pre-teen audience was very unaware of). One of his powers was that he could mentally control the African wildlife to do his bidding. Okay, that's like an Earthbound Aquaman; that's not so bad. But his other power is just...creepy. He can take two separate animals, like say, a gorilla and a giraffe, and fuse them into a weird hybrid animal to do his bidding. Like I said...pretty dang creepy.
Everything about B'wana Beast was lame, from his stupid helmet, to his powers, to the fact that DC created a hero set in Africa who was American and white. Even by 1967, this had to have raised some eyebrows over how politically incorrect that was, even if politically incorrect wasn't even a word yet. B'wana Beast made only three appearances in Showcase Comics, a kind of "try-out" book that DC used in the Silver Age to test reader interest in new characters (both the Barry Allen Flash and the Hal Jordan Green Lantern came from Showcase originally). DC had to have been embarrassed by ol' B'wana Beast, as the character all but vanished after his initial three appearances, and didn't appear again until the mid eighties, where he was a background character in various DC mini-series like Crisis on Infinite Earths. In the late eighties, Mike Maxwell ceded his powers and name to an actual African character, who renamed himself "Freedom Beast." Mike Maxwell was killed off not too long afterwards.
Between the lame powers, stupid helmet, and racist nature of the character, I'd say B'wana Beast has the least chance of any DC hero, past or present, of making it to live-action glory. Funnily enough, over the past decade, the character has made an appearance in three different cartoons - Justice League Unlimited, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and most recently, Teen Titans Go. Each of these shows pretty much played up how lame he was as a character, but he's now made more appearances in cartoons than he ever did in his original sixties comic book run.
Honorable Mention: Krypto the Superdog
Yeah, if you think that Henry Cavill is gonna be flying along with a white parson russell terrier with a little cape attached to his collar anytime soon, then I really don't know what to tell you. It ain't happenin'.
Previously by Eric Diaz: