Secret Six, Shadowpact courtesy of DC Comics; Runaways courtesy of Marvel Comics
This is the golden age of comic book adaptations. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is running on all cylinders at the moment with no signs of slowing down. DC Comics made a massive splash in live-action TV with series like "Arrow" and "The Flash" -- not to mention the success of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. Even Valiant Comics is stepping into the mix with a deal to bring their characters to the silver screen. Marvel and DC have both shown a willingness to adapt characters and teams from the across the spectrum, moving well beyond the big-name heroes. Marvel saw huge success with "Guardians of the Galaxy" and there's a lot of buzz around DC's "Suicide Squad." So what about other obscure superhero teams? Here are a few we think deserve their time in the cinematic sunshine.
Created in 2005 by writer Bill Willingham (Fable), Shadowpact centers on a ragtag group of DC's supernatural and magic-based heroes. Featuring a cast of eclectic and oddball characters like Detective Chimp, Ragman, and the Blue Devil, Shadpowpact is an off-beat ensemble with a base of operations in a mystical bar. DC Comics has yet to really deal with the deep magical history of many of its comics, and Shadowpact would be a great place to start.
The New Warriors have long been a second- or third-tier superhero team -- one that Marvel never seemed to know how to handle. The New Warriors featured a collection of younger superheroes; some would eventually graduate to the Avengers while some others disappeared into heroic obscurity. One iteration, however, is tailor made for either film or TV. In the mid-2000s, Marvel re-imagined the team as a group of outcast heroes in a reality TV show about being superheroes (think Jersey Shore with super powers and less spray tanning).
Originally created in the 1960's as covert ops strike team, writer Gail Simone reimagined the team in the mid-2000's as a villains turned mercenaries who will do basically anything if the price is right. The team consisted of lesser known villians like Catman, bizarre reimaginings of characters like Ragdoll, and upper echelon villains like Bane and Deadshot. Thanks to Gail Simone's raunchy, intelligent and irreverent sense of humor, Secret Six became one of the most critically acclaimed titles of the decade and was unlike anything else DC Comics was publishing at the time.
Now this is an interesting premise: Imagine a team of supervillains who create superheroic alter egos to gain public trust, undermine the Avengers, and eventually dominate the world. That's the general gist of the Thunderbolts. As a tale of villains struggling with their better nature, The Thunderbolts inverted the usual paradigm and delved into themes of heroism and redemption from the opposite end of the hero spectrum. There's a great TV series lurking somewhere in here.
Originally brought together by Batman, the Outsiders consisted of lesser-known and under-the-radar superheroes who dealt with threats the Justice League either couldn't or wouldn't touch. The iteration of the team that we're talking about here was created in 2003 and led by Batman protégé (and original Robin) Nightwing. This team took a proactive approach to super-heroics and considered themselves hunters and sought to track down the world's most dangerous villains rather than reactively waiting for a villain to strike. The solid action, occasionally grim tone, and interpersonal conflicts make The Outsiders a perfect fit for DC's growing TV universe.
Runaways garnered a fervent cult following during its publication with Marvel Comics, but never really garnered the mainstream attention it deserved. That wasn't for want of an intriguing premise. Runaways centers on a group of super-powered youths who run away from their homes after discovering their parents make up an underground supervillain cabal. It's an intelligently written adventure with just the right amount of understandable teenage angst. Rumors of a feature film adaptation have been making the rounds for a few years now. Maybe a Netflix series is in the cards? We can hope.