That got us to thinking: how would Marvel's Cinematic Universe compare to DC's TV universe?
Obviously, there are stand-alone projects like DC's movies, which don't tie to the TV shows and which don't feature nearly as many characters at this point as Marvel's shared universe does (we count 6 superheroes, plus the Suicide Squad who might or might not count, in the movies so far, but that's it). There's also Gotham, which features a ton of characters, but few real heroes...and anyway, it takes place in its own little universe, at least until they decide to connect it to the Tim Burton movies or something.
Still, that leaves four interconnected TV shows, the output of which is often the best DC's live-action offerings have for the audience. It's a little universe of its own and, like Marvel's movies, has been running for long enough that there's a lot of familiar faces, a lot of backstory, and frankly just a whole lot of heroes.
In crafting this list, we tried to stick with the same basic guidelines that Reddit user Potrap used for the Marvel list:
"I used the rough definition of superhero as a character who has a technological enhancement or inherent ability giving them superhuman combat skills, or advanced fight training giving them equivalent combat skills (super), and behaves in a way most recognize as good or against evil and usually in line with the protagonists' goals (hero). For example, Steve Rogers has inherent superhuman abilities but Natasha Romanoff has trained for so long she can take on many of the same enemies; Sharon Carter has the hand-to-hand skills to take on Bucky whereas Everett Ross does not; and Bobbi and May have successfully fought Kree and Inhumans while Hunter has only defeated human mooks."
We also added the caveat that if you're a masked vigilante crimefighter, we weren't going to quibble about qualifications. Mr. Terrific is kind of clueless, but he's out there doing his thing and he's obviously a superhero. We also did include Artemis from Arrow, who turned to the dark side, becuase she was actually working with Team Arrow for a while before being turned by Prometheus...but we didn't count Vigilante, who is a hero in the comics but who hasn't done anything to indicate his goals align with Team Arrow's since he appeared, and who has been seen on camera trying to kill Team Arrow as much or more than he's been after bad guys.
- The Flash (The Flash)
- Vibe The Flash
- Green Arrow (Arrow)
- Felicity Smoak(Arrow)
- Black Canary(Arrow)
- The Atom (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- White Canary (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Firestorm (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Heat Wave (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Captain Cold (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Rip Hunter (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Hawkman (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Hawkgirl (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Supergirl (Supergirl)
- Martian Manhunter (Supergirl)
- Kid Flash (The Flash)
- Jesse Quick (The Flash)
- Killer Frost (The Flash)
- Jay Garrick (The Flash)
- John Diggle/Spartan (Arrow)
- Lyla Michaels (Arrow)
- Guardian/James Olsen (Supergirl)
- Arsenal (Arrow)
- Nyssa Raatko (Arrow)
- John Constantine (Arrow)
- Vixen (Arrow)
- Mr. Terrific (Arrow)
- Wild Dog (Arrow)
- Ragman (Arrow)
- Human Target (Arrow)
- Connor Hawke (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Jonah Hex (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Citizen Steel (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Stargirl (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Obsidian (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Vixen II (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Commander Steel (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Dr. Mid-Nite (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Hourman (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
- Superman (Supergirl)
- Mon-El (Supergirl)
- Miss Martian (Supergirl)
- Katana (Arrow)
- Amanda Waller (Arrow)
That's a few (five) more characters than appeared in Marvel this year, with a bunch fewer sources to draw from, given Marvel's long history. Of course, it also counts some characters who are dead (Waller), unlikely to return (Katana), or from alternate time periods (Jonah Hex, Connor Hawke).
There are likely some folks who would dispute Felicity Smoak's inclusion while leaving off other "team members" like Winn Schott or H.R. Wells on the grounds that they don't have powers. The reasoning there is simple: Felicity has proven herself in the field numerous times, not only for her hacking skills, but for her ability to at least hold her own in a fight and keep enemies occupied until Oliver and the others arrive.
Another arguably interesting element here is the idea of legacy. We have sidekicks, second versions, and the like represented here for Green Arrow, Vixen, The Flash, and Commander Steel. That, of course, has historically been a big part of DC's identity and something that Marvel rarely embraces in exactly the same way.
Did we miss anybody? We kind of feel like we didn't, but...well, anything is possible.
NEXT: The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow Crossover Trailer / First Look At The Dominators / Invasion! Crossover Promo Photos / Potential The Flash Spoiler Spotted On Set / Will Joe West Die During The Invasion! Crossover?
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT; The Flash on Tuesdays at the same time; Arrowon Wednesdays and DC's Legends of Tomorrow on Thursdays. All four series air on The CW. Many of these characters can be seen in the "Invasion!" crossover, which will air on back-to-back nights in re-runs beginning January 9.