Forgotten Justice League Villains Foreshadow Disney Marvel Alliance
When it comes to the idea that imitation is the highest form of flattery, The Extremists might just be DC’s most flattering gesture to Marvel Comics. First appeared in Justice League Europe #15 (by Keith Giffen, Gerard Jones, Bart Sears, Pablo Marcos, and Kevin Dooley), The Extremists are essentially Marvel-style villains played by DC’s creative team. This coat of paint adds much more than a new look and personality, but a whole new team dynamic and much more devious intentions.
When they first aired, The Extremists hit a dead end. By defeating the Assemblers (their version of the Avengers) and successfully destroying the world, they left themselves alone with no one to torture and subjugate. Luckily for them, the Silver Witch (tribute to the Scarlet Witch) waltzes through their clutches, allowing them to steal a spell that can open a portal to other dimensions. What follows is an all-out battle between the Justice League Europe of Earth and the dastardly extremists of the destroyed world of Angor. Yet when it comes to who extremists are copying, there is a lot to explain in terms of who is copying from whom.
First and foremost is Lord Havok, the man covered in head-to-toe armor, who is none other than Doctor Victor Von Doom. While he may not share many properties with the Latvian monarch, mostly lacking his propensity for heroic deeds, Havok seems to carry his immense sense of grandeur, cruelty, and authoritative intellect. On top of all that, Havok is just as durable as Doctor Doom and is often depicted battling Captain Atom, whose strength can match Superman’s. Yet beyond the confines of mortal men like Havok lies a realm of beings like the next team member, who can easily cross dimensions at will.
Next is Dreamslayer, which is meant to emulate Dormammu and pulls a lot of his comic book appearances. Devoid of any discernible features aside from a flowing cape and glowing hot head, Dreamslayer almost never touches the ground and instead floats like the cosmic being he is meant to replicate. Although the comic doesn’t show him using many of the myriad powers that Dormammu is able to wield, Dreamslayer is still able to open portals across dimensions, enter someone’s mind and unleash powerful energy blasts from his palms. Yet, what some members lack in magical powers, they make up for in extra appendages.
Doctor Octopus is in the form of Gorgon, whose head full of wriggling tentacles is reminiscent of the animated robotic arms that Doc Ock wields. Although not all of Dr. Octavius’ mental prowess is shown through Gorgon’s mannerisms, his heavy stature and elegant undertones are still present in character. Robotic tentacles aside, Gorgon’s tentacles enable much more than just a technological marvel. Not only are there an abundance of them, but they’re also described as longer than Otto’s tentacles, meaning Gorgon wins in the length department. Yet this next extremist seems to need neither tentacles nor technology.
With a name like Dr. Diehard, it might be a little hard to suspect his character is from Magneto, but the costume choice would dictate otherwise. While Diehard’s outfit might not be as deadly as Magneto’s, he still wears the same style in dark red spandex with a rounded helmet. In the absence of magnetic manipulation, Dr. Diehard’s control of the ionic poles accelerated Metamorpho’s transformations and even maintained a nuclear payload outside the atmosphere as leverage against Earth’s rulers. Although, devoid of any sort of control over outside forces, this next member brings nothing but his own instincts to the table.
Last on the food chain is Tracer, who shares the wild Sabertooth’s animal nature and physique. It’s pretty obvious that Victor Creed is much more than just a wild animal, but not when compared to the human sleuth that is Tracer. What he lacks compared to the vicious claws of El Tigre, Tracer makes up for with an outrageously lithe physique. He is often seen bouncing and bouncing around life-threatening blows and dangerous situations with little effort, as if his bones were all replaced by rubber and his muscles by springs.
The extremists themselves are all goofy DC iterations of familiar Marvel faces, but they also added a real person they chose to parody. Extremists might be dangerous, but it turns out that, aside from Dreamslayer, they’re just androids created to be theme park attractions. The theme park in question is none other than Wackyworld, home to many attractions crafted by the loving hands of Mitch Wacky, meant to parody Mr. Walter Elias Disney and his beloved Disneyland theme park.
This parody even ties into an old rumor by having Mitch Wacky held in suspended animation within Wackyworld, a homage to Disney’s supposed cryogenic freeze within Disneyland. Mitch Wacky not only comes across as a friendly face, but also helps the heroes in their fight by shutting down all android extremists himself, doing what Justice League of Europe couldn’t, and rendering the extremists powerless.
Extremists may be stranger and more erratic than their original inspirations, but what shouldn’t be overlooked is their potential for evil. They completely destroyed the world of Angor and almost did the same on Earth if Uncle Mitch didn’t come to help, showing that they are more than capable of mass destruction if left to their own devices. . Extremists are exactly as their name suggests, extreme versions of what Marvel villains might be.