DC Comic's Top 10 British Superheroes
Updated: Apr 29
As we did it with Marvel. Its only fair we do the exact same with DC and take a look at their pantheon of British Superheroes. To clarify, we are only taking into account the comics source material. So we can't count British actors playing non-British DC heroes or characters who have their nationality changed to British in live action. Also we are only including Heros so villain characters are most likely to be excluded but anti-heroes or neutral character will be included as DC does not have the beest track record with British character when compared to Marvel..... as you'll see below.
Born in Liverpool, John Constantine did not have the best start in life. His mother and twin brother died during his birth and his abusive father blamed him. Leading to an antagonistic upbringing. He and his older sister did live in Northhampton briefly with their aunt and uncle. But returned to Liverpool after their alcoholic father returned from prison. John discovered he was descended from Homo Magi people known as the Laughing Magicians and he began to study magic and occultism. It is through this lifestyle he met and briefly met and dated Zatanna (either in London for the original story or New York in the New 52). John Constantine is likely the best known DC superhero from the UK due to his portrayal by Welsh actor Matt Ryan in CWverse Constantine and later Legends of Tomorrow. He is also noted to be one of the first LGBT leads for the CWverse as he is portrayed as Bisexual and has a habit of being a heavy chain smoker and drinker fitting considering is tragic upbringing. Matt Ryan's performance definitely wins him some fans though his attempts at a Scouser (Liverpool) accent is fairly all over the place but justified when you consider that John lived in Liverpool, Northampton then London.
Whilst he started off as an antihero and then later antagonist to Superman in the comics. Manchester Black is arguably one of the DCs more memorable characters and yet very little is known about him. For what is known is that he is likely from Manchester, England (so a northern lad), he possess psychic abilities (telekinesis and telepathy) his choice of purple hair is another British Punk stereotype, his parents were physically abusive and Black even claimed to have distant African and Korean heritage to justify making offensive comments about Africans and Koreans. Whilst its likely he was lying. He was portrayed as British Nigerian by David Ajala in Supergirl (with an inconsistent accent switching between MLE and Manc). This version of Manchester or "Ches", does not possess superpowers and has a huge hatred for "Racists" mostly those who discriminate aliens living on earth. This is due to his girlfriend in this continuity being an Alien. This is probably one of the more interesting re-imaginations of Manchester Black. Though he is a far more humourous and entertaining character in some of DC animated films where he is voiced by English actor Robin Atkins Downes with a generic Northern accent and infamously tells Superman that "he's an inconceivable Wanker". He also rudely reminds his teammates that IT"S CALLED FOOTBALL NOT SOCCER. Like a true British man.
So there was a time in DC comics where Batman was popping up allover the world. Well in actuality there was vigilante's some inspired by Batman to protect their respective cities and countries. One of these we talked about in a previous blog, this was Bilal Assellah aka NIghtrunner the French Algerian batman of Paris. Well, apparently the UK's version of the Dark Knight was Shining Knight. As in he was literal Knight in shining armour. Part of the Batman of all Nations group (yes this is a thing in the comics), he has his own robin.... well Squire his son Cyril Sheldrake who later became the new Knight after Percival was murdered by archenemy Spring Heeled Jack. His gadgets include a high tech motor bike made from a space ship and designed with a horse motif that can also track chemicals in the air like a blood hound. He possesses access to mini-spitfire looking drones and his armour has magical properties to it as well, including defense against laser beams, swords and can even become automated if Sheldrake goes unconscious allowing him to continue a fight or escape to save its host.
So much like Zeeshan from Marvel comics. Dinesh Baber is another wasted British Asian character. From what is known about Dinesh is that he was the son of a lorry driver from Manchester. But was abducted by Professor Pyg and Simon Hurt to be brainwashed into thinking he is Damian Wayne but with corrupted memories to make him evil. Under their orders he acts as the sidekick of Deathwing another brainwashed victim of Pyg and essentially an evil rip off of Nightwing. Dinesh, if his memory is to be believed, is even more tragic. He had no connection to crime, nothing that should have put him in harm’s way, yet he found himself in the hands of a madman. That’s not to say one character’s fate is any more or less tragic than the other’s; rather, it just goes to show how despicable and vile a character Pyg is. Dinesh does regain him memories and try to assist Nightwing and Damian to defeat Pyg and free Deathwing. Unfortunately Deathwing does not retain his origianal memories and tricks Dinesh to kill him. Judging by Dinesh's name and the fact he impersonates Damian (who is half Arabic), it is likely he is of British Asian descent (South Asian or West Asian). Baber is an Iranian name meaning advisor or simple heart, whilst his first name Dinesh is a Hindu Sanskrit name meaning Lord of the Day, suggesting Dinesh is of British Indian and Iranian origin, it is also similar to the Iranian name Danish meaning Knowledge, Science or Wisdom and a common first name for Muslims of Iranian, Afghan, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin. It is mentioned he has an older Brother named Tariq but nothing else is known though what would be sad if Deathwing was actually his brother Tariq brainwashed by Pyg. Because it would mean Tariq essentially murders his own little brother and is too far gone to even know or feel anything for it. If the New 52 DC reintroduces Deathwing and "Robin" it would be nice to see Dinesh survive and take the moniker "Hell-Sparrow" that Damian Wayne suggests instead of copying the robin name.
So this one is another villain turned antihero. Well... this one is due to sometimes being a friend or an enemy to the Hawks. James was born in the 19th century and abandoned by his father leaving James and his mother to suffer in poverty. TO overcome this James became a highway man or thief to afford a better life. He eventually migrated to America where he encountered Nighthawk and Cinnamon (reincarnations of Khufu and Chay-Ara). After a misunderstanding Nighthawk murders James and due to this he somehow becomes a vengeful spirit but the catch is.... he needs his murderer to suffer and die to enter the after life. But Nighthawk and Cinnamon always reincarnate leaving James stuck as a ghost. Unable to enter the afterlife. In the New 52, he instead cursed by a witch with immortality and his signature powers but forced to live a criminal.
Etrigan and Jason Blood in some ways kind of have a Johnny Blaze/Zarathos kind of relationship. Etrigan is a demon son of Belial and was merged bonded to Jason Blood by Merlin the Magician to force Etrigan to share his secrets. (kinda extreme but ok then). Jason on the other hand was one of King Arthur's lesser known knights so view his condition with Etrigan a curse. Etrigan provides Jason with the ability transform into him having power over hell fire and bitter ice cold, along with superhuman everything, magic, a healing factor and Etrigan's apparent enjoyment of pain and ferociousness. Unlike most ghostriders, Jason without his Etrigan form is still an adept knight with swordsman and martial arts talent and magical skills too.
Richard Swift a gentleman thief who can manipulate shadows and dark energies. He was a common enemy of the flash but then was retconned to being a British gentleman in the 1800s who gains powers after defending himself from the Ludlow family. He was also friend of Charles Dickens and apparently took the alias Shade from his friends stories. During the 21st century he was usually an on and off ally or enemy to Starman and Flash. In fact he was portrayed as an american metahuman in the CW the Flash TV show. Whilst in the comics the Shade did intend to settle down, he had a bounty on his head with Deathstroke being one of the main hunters. This lead to the Shade visiting a relative in Australia, then an old friend La Sangre the vampire in Barcelona alongside her ally the Spanish Bangladeshi superhero Montpellier (might remember him from a previous article) before returning to London to stop a pair of Egyptian deities from attacking the city.
Cased off Nimue aka the Lady of the Lake from the King Arthur legends. She is another one of DC British characters associated with magic and immortality and also the past since DC really does not know how to create a modern British character these day apparently. For most of her history she tangles with Merlin the magician who is kinda a self prick in the DC comics but also meets several historical figures such as Kublai Khan at Xanadu (where she gets her namesake) and Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution. She is also a rare example of a Blind superhero but has repeatedly lost her eyesight despite being able to use spells to heal her blindness. Many of her magical power range from Levitation/telekinesis, teleportation, magical senses, precognition through her tarot cards and immortality.
So after Percival Sheldrake was killed by Spring Heeled Jack. His son Cyril Sheldrake to the mantle but required a new Squire. This is where Beryl Hutchinson comes in. Born in the UK to a poor single mother, Beryl was known for her bookworm tendencies, spending much her time eating in knowledge from the library. One day she and her mother came across a depressed drug addicted Cyril who has lost hope after the loss of his father. Beryl had taken him in to rehabilitate the fallen Squire. Successfully Cyril became Knight under her positive influence and Beryl became the new squire. In the new 52 timeline, Cyril has already passed away with Beryl becoming the new Knight. Hopefully we can see more of her in future.
Part of the UN sponsored team Justice League international. We meet Blonde British bombshell Dora Leigh aka Godiva. Whilst her power of Prehensile hair may not seem too interesting, especially after Inhumans' Medusa and X-men Dark Phoenix's Ariki made prehensile hair seem.... well an underwhelming and boring power. She may come across as more the love interest as most of her personality boils down to flirting with fellow teammate Booster Gold. But being on of DC's few modern British superheroes with no ties to magic or the pre-1900s era. She could be re-written as a legitimately well thought out British superhero and pave the way for DC to create a viably unique British team to rival the likes of Marvel's British Superheroes.