DC Comics’ Influential Latinx Heroes
With the announcement that Jaime Reyes will eventually have his own solo film, DC is expanding its big screen Latinx representation. The Blue Beetle film, to be directed by Angel Manuel Soto and written by Gareth Dunnett-Alcocer, is currently in development and will star Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes. Sasha Calle is also set to be Supergirl in the upcoming The Flash movie, the first time Supergirl will be portrayed as Latina.
In television, Jaime Reyes is already a featured hero on Young Justice (with season 4 premiering October 21). Wildcat has established herself as a member of the new Justice Society of America in Stargirl and Renee Montoya, who appeared in Gotham, has made the crossover to Batwoman, which premiered this week with season 3.
Back on the pages, however, there have been plenty of Latinx characters who are influential — either as heroes, villains, or something in between. Here are some of the Latinx figures in DC Comics that have left a big impact.
While her first interaction with The Flash was less than friendly, Alexa Antigone, AKA Fuerza, would become an important ally to Barry Allen. As a wielder of the Speed Force, Barry makes it his mission to understand the Seven Forces of the Universe, which leads him to Corto Maltese. Here, Alexa is a conduit of the Strength Force, a cosmic energy that is tied to gravity and motion.
With the Strength Force, Alexa fights against her country’s corrupt government. As Fuerza she is capable of channeling her strength to whichever part of her body needs it, in addition to gravity manipulation. However, Fuerza mainly uses her power for superhuman strength and invulnerability. Her connection to Barry is an important one as she is also tied to Anti-Crisis Energy, a key concept in maintaining the Multiverse’s order.
Often the bravery of super heroes is taken for granted. They are driven by an almost unbelievable sense of courage that is admirable, of course, but also rare. That’s why a hero like Jessica Cruz is so important. She must overcome PTSD and anxiety on her journey as a member of the Lantern Corps, and it is certainly not a smooth path. Because of that, readers can relate to her struggle; her powers don’t come easy and for that reason, we see ourselves in a hero like her.
As the witness to a horrific mob crime, Jessica has extreme PTSD and she hides from the rest of the world. Nonetheless, when Harold Jordan, the evil Earth-3 version of the Green Lantern, is killed and the Ring of Volthoom must choose a new bearer, Jessica is appointed to be the Power Ring. Overcome by the influence of the Crime Syndicate relic, she is stopped by the Justice League and trained to become a Green Lantern. It is not an easy task for her to master her powers but with time she does, thanks to kind advice from Batman and a tenuous partnership with Simon Baz. Eventually, she even becomes a Yellow Lantern and utilizes her fear.
Renee Montoya is a woman dedicated to justice, even if that sometimes means operating outside of the law or facing the doubt of her colleagues. She made her first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series, much like Harley Quinn, and has shown herself to be an ally of Batman as well as someone who fights endlessly for those she cares about. Montoya has ascended the ranks of the Gotham Police Department, starting off as an officer then eventually a detective.
In her tenure with Gotham PD, she never backed down from the many formidable villains she faced and she has made it through infamous Gotham City catastrophes, such as No Man’s Land and Final Crisis. At one point, she even developed an uneasy alliance with Two-Face, only to have him out her as a lesbian. Later, Montoya would inherit the persona of the Question from Vic Sage, wearing the Pseudoderm mask and fighting crime as a vigilante. On screen, Montoya fought alongside Harley, the Huntress, and Black Canary in Birds of Prey, and she will be featured in season 3 of Batwoman.
Even the mighty Diana of Themyscira needs a successor, and Yara Flor of the Amazons of the Amazon is more than a worthy choice. Born in Brazil before moving to Idaho, Yara decides to return to her homeland as a teenager, which is when she encounters the Amazonian water goddess, Iara. As her namesake, Iara bestows upon Yara the Golden Boleadoras, an indigenous tool of the region for capturing animals — and a strikingly similar weapon to Diana’s Golden Lasso of Truth. Yara’s various adventures have involved a chaotic (and heart-breaking) trip the Underworld, a tousle with a tyrannical star, and having to tame an unruly winged steed named Jerry.
While she does have a bit of a short temper, and tends to jump into situations before assessing, Yara is loyal to her people and an advocate of justice for all. She also develops a friendship with Jon Kent, the son of Superman and Lois Lane, who, like her, is being set up by the events of Future State to inherit a very important job title. Though she first appears as Wonder Girl, Yara is destined to become Wonder Woman.
Although his live-action portrayals have been woefully whitewashed, Bane is nevertheless Latino. This is apparent not only in the numerous animated versions of the hero but also in his origin story. As revealed in the Knightfall storyline, Bane’s father is Edmund Dorrance, a British mercenary who provided assistance to various rebel forces around the world, including a group in Santa Prisca. On this northeastern Caribbean isle, he impregnated a local rebel and left her for dead, but that child would grow up to the the ruthless super villain known as Bane.
His entire childhood and later formative years are spent in Peña Duro prison, where Bane’s extreme intelligence as well as natural physical gifts were able to flourish. He was later chosen as a test subject for an experimental drug called Venom, and though it nearly killed him, he developed his infamous hyper-muscled form (though he became completely dependent on this drug). Bane then traveled to Gotham City, where he freed all the super-villains from Arkham Asylum in a master plan to mentally and physically debilitate Batman. After months of battles, Bane confronted Batman and snapped the hero’s back across his knees, establishing himself as one of the few villains to truly break Batman.
Some heroes are forged from tragedy. Others are born with extraordinary powers. And some heroes, like Jaime Reyes, have alien technology grafted to their spine. Jaimes Reyes is the third incarnation of the Blue Beetle, but the story of his persona is definitely the one with the longest reach. When the extraterrestrial scarab first fuses with his body, Jaime has little control over all these newfound abilities. In fact, in many stories he seeks a way to remove it. However, over time Jaime has gained a deeper understanding of the scarab and now the two could even be said to share a symbiotic relationship, with the scarab naming itself Khaji Da.
Jaime is from El Paso, Texas, and the scarab is commonly understood to be technology from The Reach, an ancient antagonistic alien race that scours the galaxy for those they can control. The Reach have long been enemies of the Guardians of the Universe. Since Jaime’s scarab is only partially functioning, he is able to have some control over the device, granting him various abilities such as an armored exoskeleton, wings for flight, interdimensional teleportation, as well as manipulation of energy, radiation, and sound.
Yolanda Montez is another hero who has inherited the mantle of someone else, though she has definitely carved a name for herself with claws of her own. She is the goddaughter of the original Wildcat, Ted Grant, and because of terrible experimentation that was done to her pregnant mother, Yolanda possesses many cat-like attributes, such as agility and retractible claws.
As Wildcat, Yolanda eventually joined the Shadow Fighters to take down Eclipso once and for all. This team was specifically formed against the infernal Spirit of Wrath to stop his never-ending vengeance, but each member of the team was brutally murdered by the super-villain. After being resurrected, Yolanda served as an Avatar of the Red, an Elemental with command over the animal forces of the world.
Representation continues to be a vital objective in super hero media, with plenty of already-amazing options available for the screen as well as the potential for new storylines. DC Comics has created an impressive cast of Latinx characters, and we’re excited for what the future holds.
Who are your favorite Latinx DC characters? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!