DC’s shared animated film universe ended with Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, which means DC is searching for new and exciting stories for adaptation. Luckily DC has a nearly untouched corner of their vault to pull from, their Elseworlds publications. To date, they have only adapted Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018) and Superman: Red Son (2020), which both performed well. Here is a list of 10 Elseworlds stories that deserve adaptation.
Batman: The Doom that Came to Gotham
This Lovecraftian-inspired Dark Knight story takes place in the 1920s and features our hero battling against the forces of evil. This three-part comic, by Mike Mignola and Richard Pace, set Batman against mystical and supernatural villains after he mistakenly awakened an ancient being known as the Lurker on the Threshold.
This is a story that features new and interesting takes on our favorite friends and foes of the bat. While H.P. Lovecraft’s work has been greatly influential to fantasy and science fiction, it has only grown more popular, with a new television series from Jordan Peele, Lovecraft Country set to debut later this month on HBOmax. Now would be an excellent time for DC to join the party with their own Lovecraftian-inspired film.
Son of Superman
This story takes place in an alternate DC future in which the United States government is corrupt and Superman has vanished. One day young Jon Kent discovers the truth about his father as he suddenly inherits his father’s superhero abilities.
With these new found abilities Jon sets out to reclaim the Justice League and overturn the corrupt US government. Batman, Wonder Woman and others who still have hope for a brighter tomorrow aid Jon in his fight. This is a beautiful coming of age story that proves one person can lead a revolution of change.
Elseworld’s Finest: Supergirl and Batgirl
In this reality there is no Batman and Superman. Instead Batgirl protects and controls Gotham City with an iron fist, and prohibits metahumans from operating in her city. This changes when Supergirl arrives in Gotham to help track down Lex Luthor who has been kidnapped by the Joker.
At first Batgirl challenges Supergirl’s presence in her city, but is soon reasoned with and the two become a mighty team to be reckoned with. This film is ripe for adaptation, especially when reviewing DC’s painfully apparent lack of female led films. This story would allow Supergirl and Batgirl to take front stage in their own animated film.
Set in the Old West, this DC tale features Diana Prince as a US Marshall. Diana’s hometown is destroyed by the sadistic Felix Foust and she sets out on a mission of revenge. Consequently, Diana forms a posse composed of other Justice Leaguers.
By the end of her journey her team includes Wally West, the fasted gun in the west; a Cheyenne warrior known as Hawkman; a mercenary known as Booster Gold; Ted Kord an eccentric inventor known as “Beetle”; J’onn Jones; and Guy Gardner, a fierce Pinkerton detective.
Superman: Speeding Bullets
What if Batman had Superman’s powers? That is exactly what “Superman: Speeding Bullets answers. In this Elseworlds one-shot, the Wayne family discovers baby Kal-El and names him Bruce. Unfortunately, Bruce doesn’t discover his extra-worldly powers until it is too late to save his parents from a violent mugging. He is not too late to incinerate the mugger.
Bruce suppresses the memories of his powers until he has grown into an adult and his super-hearing allows him to hear the constant terror of violence in Gotham City. This fun take on the Man of Steel sees him go toe to toe with Lex Luthor in Gotham City. This could be a thrilling animated film showcasing Superman’s journey from violent vigilante to the symbol of hope we know and love today.
JLA: Act of God
This graphic novel saw the whole of the Justice League lose their powers in the blink of an eye. Without their powers, we witness our favorite heroes struggle find their new purpose. With half of the Justice League decommissioned, Batman and other non-powered heroes take up the slack as crime skyrockets.
Eventually, our powerless heroes form the Phoenix Group and train alongside Batman, Green Arrow, and others to become heroes once more. With the right creative team this could be a great animated film to explore our heroes on their journey to remake themselves as they realize it’s not the powers that make them super.
This tragic and exhilarating tale of Superman begins as Superman’s rocket lands in Medieval Europe. Young Kal-El is raised as a blacksmith and Luthor is a hateful and sadistic Baron that rules the land. Kal finds his Lois in this reality, but a jealous Luthor kidnaps and kills her.
Lois’s death enrages Kal and he leads a revolt against Luthor and his army. Luthor’s men are nothing for Kal cuts through Luthor’s men using a powerful sword forged from the wreckage of his crashed ship. In the end, Clark slays Luthor with his dying breath. An epilogue reveals Merlin being shown Clark’s sword encased in steel waiting to be freed by anyone who may be worthy of it.
Green Lantern: Evil’s Might
Set in 1888 New York City, this story spins Kyle Rayner as a golden-age inspired Green Lantern. He battles the historic Boss Tweed, a corrupt businessman and politician. After discovering the Green Lantern Ring, Kyle becomes a hero to the downtrodden immigrant masses in New York City.
He aids them in their fight against corruption and a vicious hoodlum, the reinterpretation of Alan Scott. Also featured in this fun twist on the Green Lantern mythos is a reinvented Carol Ferris, a leader in women’s suffrage, and her husband to be police detective Hal Jordan. DC has already made one Victorian Era animated film so there is no reason not to make another.
Batman: Dark Allegiances
This spin on the caped crusader sends us into the 1930s where Bruce Wayne is revered industrialist, who by night fights corrupt politicians and racist secret societies, taking on such threats as the Ku Klux Klan.
While Bruce works to make Gotham a safer city, the media has spun the legend of Batman into a “Red Threat” plaguing Gotham City. This story is more relevant now than when it was first published in 1996 and would allow DC the opportunity to create a highly topical and hard hitting animated film.
Of all the Elseworlds stories on this list, this is by far the most well known and popular. In 2019 we saw aspects of this universe shown in the CW’s Crisis event. Aspects such as Brandon Routh’s return as Superman and Kevin Conroy’s first live-action portrayal of Bruce Wayne. In this future the heroes we know and love live on the outskirts of society.
In their place, a new generation of amoral and destructive vigilantes run amuck. Unwilling to let their world be destroyed by this new generation of heroes, Wonder Woman and Superman reunite the league. Though Batman still holds a grudge against Superman he leads a team of his own in the fight to reclaim their world from chaos.