The Justice League Villain James Gunn Needs To Bring To The DCU

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated


James Gunn has proven with Guardians of the Galaxy that he can take C-list characters and turn them into pop culture fixtures. Now, as the new head of the DC Universe, Gunn has a chance to redeem lower-tier DC heroes and villains. That’s why we suggest the villainous anti-Batman, Prometheus, as one of the first villains that would make a great addition to the next slate of DC movies.

The Comic History Of Prometheus

Prometheus, the version created by Grant Morrison that debuted in 1998’s Prometheus: New Year’s Evil and not the Blue Beetle/Teen Titans 80s DC villain, is a mirror image of Batman. The child of criminals gunned down by the police, Prometheus grew up swearing vengeance on the forces of law and order. Again, like Bruce Wayne, he went on a sojourn around the world acquiring skills, eventually meeting mystic monks in Shambala who worshipped the concept of evil.

It gets stranger as Prometheus discovers the alien origins of the sect, murders their leader, and gains access to a part of Limbo dubbed the Ghost Zone via a cosmic key. Using the Ghost Zone as his headquarters, Prometheus prepares for an assault against the Justice League, defeating the core team of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), and Martian Manhunter.

It’s the backup B-team that he didn’t plan for, including Plastic Man, Steel, and shockingly, Catwoman, that foils his scheme.

Even though he failed, Prometheus made a huge impact as a new DC Villain in the ’90s, and all he needed was the one JLA story arc. A “dark Batman” with incredible planning skills and a supercomputer helmet that allowed him to download any skill he needed is a cool concept for a character.

But soon, Prometheus fell from the hottest new thing all the way down to being a lackey for Lex Luthor.

Years after his initial appearance, Prometheus was one of the many DC villains that joined Lex Luthor’s Injustice Gang, but he was significantly less dangerous this time. Instead of taking down the Justice League, Prometheus is turned into a joke by Batman, with the caped Crusader downloading the physical skills of Stephen Hawking into the villain’s helmet. It was so embarrassing and so out of character that DC would then retcon this appearance and bring back the truly dangerous Prometheus.

Justice League: Cry For Justice is a brutal limited series that explains the original Prometheus had his brain damaged by Martian Manhunter, and once he was killed, the DC villain’s full capabilities were finally restored.

The Injustice Gang member was exposed as his protege, letting the real deal brutally maim Roy Harper, Green Arrow’s former sidekick, before stranding various hero’s home cities along the timeline. After taking apart the Teen Titans and the Justice League, Prometheus is murdered by Green Arrow, but that’s not the end.

The Live-Action History Of Prometheus

Fittingly, given who killed him, Prometheus would make the jump to live-action as the main villain in Arrow Season 5 (played by Josh Segarra and voiced by Star Trek’s Michael Dorn). This time, it was the serial killer alter-ego of Adrian Chase, Star City’s former district attorney and friend of Oliver Queen.

Similar to the comic origin, Chase’s father was the corrupt CEO Justin Claybourne, leading to him being murdered by The Hood. Chase swore revenge, figured out Oliver’s secret identity, and sought training from the League of Assassins.

Since Arrow was essentially a Batman series, the changes made to make Prometheus a reflection of Oliver Queen worked perfectly and helped make Season 5 one of the best of the show. Some fans would argue it was the last good season before everything went downhill. It proved Prometheus was a fantastic DC villain and that he could translate well to live-action, even if it did away with everything related to Limbo.

James Gunn And Prometheus

James Gunn has proven he can take bizarre villains, including Ego the Living Planet and the High Evolutionary, and make them work in a way that resonates with a mainstream audience.

The Synderverse films suffered from a lack of great DC villains, with Steppenwolf and Ares not exactly standing out as major threats, so Gunn has his work cut out for him. Prometheus, the super helmet-wearing villain with a secret headquarters in Limbo, is the exact type of overlooked character who can become a massive threat in a major movie.

The Arrowverse version was amazing, but not the DC mastermind villain that beat the Justice League. With the ability to work against any hero, even Superman, Prometheus can be slotted into any part of the DCU with ease. After all, we’ve seen Zod, The Joker, and even Parallax before, let’s take a chance and throw an overlooked villain up on the big screen.