- May 2, 2021
DC vs Marvel NetherRealm Game?
Okay, I’m not gonna lie, being completely honest here… I only got the idea for this article after watching Bilbzy’s video for a DC vs Marvel roster would be. Check out the video version of my article here. He said what changes we would make and who we would switch out, and it gave me this idea. I think his video was really well done, but as a huge comic nerd I would make a different list. You should totally check out his video and breakdown on who should be on the game’s initial roster… assuming a DC vs Marvel NetherRealm game would ever exist.
Before I start I would make the same stipulations as his video did. Because of all the rumors about NetherRealm studios, the developers behind Mortal Kombat and Injustice, making a new game, we’re assuming they’re making this game. I doubt Capcom would never get the license for Marvel again after MvC: Infinite. It makes sense that with how Marvel is licensing out their IP. This allows for NetherRealm to make this already highly unlikely game. Plus, somehow, WB already publishes the LEGO Marvel Games.
What would a DC vs Marvel NetherRealm game would look like?
With NetherRealm in mind, I imagine the launch roster for a DC vs Marvel game would have 40 characters, 20 for DC and Marvel each. I’ll add some characters as premier skins, just like what NetherRealm did in Injustice 2.
With that said, I’d liked to preface my list with two points I think Bilbzy really didn’t take. For Marvel and DC both, there should be 14 heroes and 6 villains each. Anti-heroes will take slots in one or the other depending on which side they lean more towards more often. This list is supposed to be balanced to what would work best to reach the maximum appeal, and the most balanced roster. At the same time, I want to remain somewhat realistic.
This could be its own game or Injustice 3. Either way this game shouldn’t be a direct sequel to the Injustice-verse where Superman is bad. It should and probably would take place using the normal DC universe that Injustice Batman calls for help. Use this universe against a relatively normalized Marvel universe.
I do believe they should both lean far more towards the comics, not the movies. The story and rosters suffer when they are based on the movies, I.E. Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it will happen.
DC’s Heroic Main Stays
The first five for DC are Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern. There’s no way there’s a DC fighting game and these five aren’t in it. They are, without question, the five biggest heroes in DC. Their only competition being sidekicks or alternate versions of these five characters. No one should be surprised that theses characters are here, that would be ridiculous.
The more interesting thing would be which characters would be their premier skins. Premier skins don’t change any move sets, but change the actual character, voice actor, and intro dialogue. While the characters may have different personalities, they have the same fighting styles.
For Batman, it could really be Batman Beyond and Batwoman. Batman Beyond has been a skin in the first Injustice game. This would just be adding dialogue and doing a bit more to the visuals. Batwoman may be a bit harder because she is physically different, but she fights the same so it would be the most in-depth makeover. I would suggest Moon Knight, but since I’m not totally familiar with the character, I’m not making a hard suggestion.
For Superman, its already pretty interesting because he has the first skin that would be Marvel over DC (excluding Moon Knight). Sentry is one of many Marvel copycats for Superman. He’s an intriguing character in how he has a split personality and suffers from mental illness. This could add some more character-driven conflict to story, or at least in entrances. Since he’s not as popular or well-known outside of comics, it would also introduce him to more audiences. Hyperion would be a good one too, but he’s so bland and unlikeable, which is something Sentry has over him. To me, Hyperion would be a pointless premier skin.
For Wonder Woman it would really only be Donna Troy and Wonder Girl who are worth mentioning. For Donna Troy, you might not even have to change voice actors, just some of the dialogue. Could add Power Princess, but I don’t care for her for the same reason I don’t care about Hyperion. I honestly don’t care for any of the Squadron Supreme characters.
Flash can have his Reverse-Flash and Jay Garrick skins, which means the DC side doesn’t need a Flash villain. Maybe they add a Wally West one too. The most important premier skin would have to be Quicksilver. He truly is a popular enough character that people know him would use him. At the same time, he’s not important enough to need his own slot. While Flash is faster, in this game it wouldn’t matter.
Green Lantern, of course, would have other Green Lantern skins. I would hope they make John Stewart the lead lantern this time. I’ve always found him to be the best lantern, but if they make him the premier skin again that would be fine. This time though, they should really more skins. Jessica Cruz is a good one as she’s gained more notoriety and appeal, and would make some really good intro dialogue. They could also add Sinestro, he really shouldn’t have been his own character in the first Injustice. That said his dialogue and place in the story would add another needed villain. Maybe even add more Earth lanterns later on.
Marvel’s Heroic Mainstays
The first five for Marvel are as obvious as the ones for DC. Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk.
You have Marvel’s most popular hero in Spider-Man. He’s arguably the only superhero with the popularity and success to rival Batman. For premier skins, obviously Miles Morales. There isn’t a lot of diversity in the base characters, and with Into the Spider-verse, he hasn’t been more popular. Making a Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider, Spiderman Noir, and/or Spiderman 2099 would be incredibly awesome too.
Iron Man is the premier character of the MCU, there isn’t much to say about him. I can’t really think of any premier skins outside of War Machine and Rescue. Everything else would just be color changes or alternate Iron Man suits.
Captain America is another given for obvious reasons. They could have a skin for Bucky as Cap, along with a Sam skin, only this version just can’t fly.
Thor rounds out Marvel’s answer to DC’s trinity. The only premier skins I can think of would Beta Ray Bill and Jane Foster. They would be welcome skins I would love to have.
The Green Goliath though, not only makes for one of the rosters largest characters, as an obvious tank and grappler, but he’s the first character with an obvious premier skin where DC is put over a Marvel character. The different color Hulks, particularly Red Hulk would be good premier skins, but Solomon Grundy would too. Yes, he was playable before, but he was axed from Injustice with the sequel. A way to bring him back as another villain for the story would be as a premier skin for the Hulk.
Likely DC Heroes
Now this next batch of five for DC are characters are easy guesses and good choices. I say ‘likely,’ because there is a small chance that they won’t make it, but it would be a surprise. These five are Aquaman, Cyborg, Green Arrow, Shazam, Supergirl, and Catwoman.
Aquaman is the only character with a DCEU movie that’s made a billion dollars, with a sequel on the way. It’s weird to say, but he’s bankable and incredibly popular right now. Not to mention he doesn’t fight like any other characters in DC. It’s strange, because most of the main Justice Leaguers have sidekicks who all fight like them, but not Aquaman.
Aquaman’s sidekicks and side characters fight like Mera, so he’s a versatile fighting game character. The only premier skin that would be worthwhile for him is Namor, who actually predates Aquaman. He fights similarly enough that it wouldn’t be worth a new character. Plus, Namor is far less popular so he has to be a premier skin if anything.
Cyborg may not be getting his own movie, but he’s been a mainstay for the Justice League for a while. Plus, he doubles as a representative for the Teen Titans. Not to mention DC has essentially made him the token black guy of the Justice League. I hate to say it, but its true.
It helps that Cyborg’s fighting style is unique enough, and he has that popularity from Teen Titans. He’s gonna hang around because of how essential he is mechanically rather than narratively or from popularity.
Green Arrow is, like Aquaman. He’s coming off a generally well-received and popular adaption in the show Arrow. While the show has recently ended, the shows on CW are still called the Arrowverse. That just gives him a cache other heroes don’t have. Not to forget that he plays a key role in the Injustice universe as a everyman side character.
More than that, I really feel like NetherRealm just likes him enough that Hawkeye would be his premier skin and not the other way around. We don’t need two archers, and while Hawkeye has been in movies, he’s been short staffed in most of them. Hell, he’s best remembered for being short staffed. Green Arrow, on the other hand, is remembered for a show that’s been on for nearly a decade.
Shazam is one I’m less confident in. He has the cache of being the first Captain Marvel and having that rivalry with Marvel’s own Captain Marvel. He has a sequel to his own movie over the horizon, but his movie didn’t smash at the box office. I can’t exactly say his popularity is soaring, more like it’s maintaining. Shazam is both carried and weighed down by his adaptions in a way other heroes aren’t. That said, he’s got more name recognition than a lot of other characters who can take his place. Plus, it would be a great story moment for any Marvel hero to fight him and realize they’re fighting a child. That would work for both comedic effect, and dramatic effect if they beat him.
Of this tier, Supergirl was the hardest one to put on this list. She held such importance in Injustice 2’s story that it feels like NetherRealm, DC, or WB wants her everywhere. There’s her show and a part in the Flash movie, but then again Supergirl is the female version of Superman. She plays differently from him in Injustice 2, she was one of my early mains, but she could be a premier skin. What really helps her place is how high she in the meta across many tier lists. Like Black Adam, she may no longer be important to the story, but she’s fun to play as.
Catwoman on the other hand is arguably likely enough to be in a higher tier. She’s been in both Injustice games, and she’s been adapted to nearly every incarnation of Batman on the big screen. How could NetherRealm leave her out? Most importantly, is her place in the meta than anything. She’s constantly ranked high in skill on tier lists in the community, for both Injustice 1 & 2. She’s one of those characters who ubiquitous in a special way.
It also helps that she could also have a premier skin for Black Cat, a popular Spiderman character. A copycat admittedly, who I also like better. But still, Catwoman is just a mainstay in DC. She’s pushed everywhere, and unlike Harley Quinn, nobody ever complains about her overstaying her welcome.
Likely Marvel Heroes
I have five in this tier for Marvel. They’re characters who just missed Easy Confirmation for one of a few reasons. Those five are Wolverine, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Deadpool, and Doctor Strange.
Wolverine should be an Easy Confirmation. He should have been on the cover of Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. Wolverine is one of the best Marvel characters for a video game, let alone a fighting game. That said, with the way Marvel treats the X-Men and video games… I’m not sure. They’re finally starting to treat them better in the comics, but I’ll always have that fear. Wolverine is a no-brainer for a DC vs Marvel game, and a Laura premier skin is a no brainer, preferably her own Wolverine Suit.
And Black Panther is not hard to see at all. I’m honestly 100% sure we see Black Panther in any Marvel fighting game. He’s Marvel’s premier Black character. He’s also the first Marvel character to make a billion dollars with their solo-origin movie, and he has a unique fighting style made for video games. He should have been Marvel vs Capcom sooner, one of the few things Infinite did right. I just don’t see him in the announcement trailer before Marvel’s first five.
I would describe Captain Marvel much the same way as Black Panther. Despite how long Black Widow has been in the public eye, Captain Marvel is her company’s premier female character. She’s one of the strongest, she’s visually and mechanically versatile, she’s popular, and she makes bank. She’s gonna be it, but probably not among the first revealed characters like she was with Marvel vs Capcom Infinite.
Deadpool, like Wolverine, is a question of how Marvel wants to treat the X-Men. Honestly, Deadpool’s as popular as anyone I’ve picked before him, if not more so. It’s just how Marvel treats X-Men. With Deadpool, what gives him a leg up even above Wolverine are the premier skins he has.
Unlike Namor to Aquaman or Quicksilver to Flash, Deadpool is far more popular than his DC counterpart. Deathstroke may have been in the first one, but his mechanics could use a redesign. As long as Deadpool’s fighting style isn’t as wacky as his conversations, it should be great matchup. Honestly, if NetherRealm remembers that Red Hood has magical swords he can summon, he can be a premier skin for Deadpool too. Premier skins might make Deadpool a top priority above others on his level.
Doctor Strange is the only Marvel character in this tier that I struggled to place. He has a pretty consistent place in the Marvel universe, but his popularity is nothing special. This is best shown by how long it took for his movie to get a sequel announced. The thing Doctor Strange has going for him is the renewed interest after Avengers: Endgame. Most importantly, there are the easy premier skins in the Scarlet Witch, a Marvel character who could arguably have his spot, and DC premier skin in Doctor Fate.
DC’s Less Likely Heroes
For DC, there are only two characters who have a good chance, but could easily be left out of the game. Black Canary, and Nightwing/Robin.
She has appeared everywhere being adapted so many times to film and television, but never as the main star. Even in the comics, her solo adventures never last so long. At the same time, she’s always considered a key and respected member of every team she’s on. She also serves as one of the few mid-size reversal/grapplers on roster. This gives her a good place in the game mechanically. Her place in DC is just not cemented enough that another character couldn’t come take her place.
Now, Robin is arguably as popular as any character in Easy Confirmed. It’s the fact that he’s a sidekick, and derivative sidekick that hurts his chances in my eyes. Whether it’s Nightwing over Robin, or the two combined, there’s no gameplay or story reason to warrant him. I could be wrong that the popularly and ubiquity of Robin doesn’t confirm his spot on the team. At what point does Robin become a premier skin for Batman in a game where every slot counts?
Marvel’s Less Likely Heroes
These are characters that help to add some representation for under presented teams, and gameplay diversity. Storm, Rocket Raccoon (possibly a co-character with Groot), and Black Widow. They each serve to work mechanically different from other characters. They represent another group, but also have characters who can serve their purpose equally.
With Storm being the choice over Jean Grey and Cyclops to represent the X-Men, is her history in fighting games. She’s a classic character to put on your Marvel vs Capcom team. Her powers lend themselves creatively to video games, not to mention that she’s one of the most recognizable X-Men. She has the respect and trust in-universe of many Marvel characters, and is a clear paragon in the world. As popular as she is though, she’s not incredibly exciting, and again, she’s an X-Men. They don’t have a good track record right now.
The same can be said for Rocket Raccoon (partnered with Groot). Together as one fighting game character, they serve as the sole representative for the Guardians of the Galaxy. There are surprisingly few gun-users on this list, and Rocket is the only one who only uses guns. Having Groot work with him only makes this two-in-one character that much more mechanically special. He can fill the purpose Swamp Thing had in Injustice 2. But as popular as the Guardians are in movies, Rocket and Groot are the two who transcend. They make for a fun and easier choice over Star-Lord and Gamora. They would would be far more generic characters to play as.
Black Widow would serve as the antithesis to Black Canary. She is the only regular sized, grappler from Marvel, and she was the first female superhero in the MCU. She fights differently from other melee and grapplers, with brand recognition few other superheroes have in Marvel or DC. But she’s not even Marvel’s premier female character, and she’s not different enough that there aren’t many other female characters who could make for a far more interesting character. Still better than Hawkeye, who should be nothing more than a premier skin.
The Weird Picks for a DC vs Marvel Game
I only have one weird pick for DC and Marvel both. They add some mechanic diversity among the fighters, and they haven’t been in a fighting game before. John Constantine, who was rumored to almost be in Injustice 2, to represent magic in DC, and Mr. Fantastic, to represent the Fantastic Four, Marvel’s first family.
John Constantine, as I said, was rumored to be in Injustice 2. He’s the only magic user as popular as Zatanna or Dr. Fate. Ever since he spun out of Swamp Thing’s comic, Constantine has had this slow crawl towards the top of DC. He’s incredibly close to becoming top of the B-List characters, with a chance of becoming an A-lister. DC proves that they agree with how they push him into their recent animated efforts. Plus, NetherRealm could make him into a some kind of magical brawler to fit his scrappy style. He’s a fan favorite whose getting more popular the longer it takes for this metaphorical fighting game to happen.
Mr. Fantastic on the other hand is in the opposite corner. He’s apart of Marvel’s first family, the head of the family even. Everyone knows the Fantastic Four, maybe not each of its four members but they’ll always have a place in comics. While I do personally like them the Invisible Woman and Human Torch better as characters, Mr. Fantastic powers make him one of the most unique fighters on the team. Not to forget that as one of the prevailing minds of Marvel, Mr. Fantastic has story relevance that other members of the Fantastic Four don’t have.
DC’s Villainous Mainstays
Now onto the villains. I gave both DC and Marvel six slots. The popularity of some characters and their copycats did affect who I think would be guarantees on this metaphorical roster. This has only left three DC villains as easy guess, and those three are Joker, Harley Quinn and Darkseid.
I can honestly explain Joker and Harley Quinn in the same breath. These two characters are so absurdly bankable it’s unbelievable. Joker’s own solo movie made a billion dollars and got an Oscar. He’s even gone on to guest star in Mortal Kombat 11 and get shoehorned into Injustice 2 despite being dead. He’s just a character whose too popular and too synonymous with villainy to be left out. Not to mention the narrative possibilities of him meeting Marvel’s heroes and villains.
Much of the same can be said for Harley Quinn. Where Joker made his money in movies, Harley Quinn destroys in the merchandising market, rivaling Batman and Spiderman. She’s always hit home with women, even those who don’t like superheroes. She’s been defined for having experiences people can relate to, and honestly, having a really good character design. She’s an A-Lister, it’s just debatable whether she’s an A-List anti-hero or A-List villain. Based on her placement here, you can see where she falls with me. There isn’t going to be a DC fighting game she isn’t in for a long time.
With Darkseid, half of his placement here on this list is because Thanos would definitely going to be in it. They’re not gonna have Marvel’s biggest bad and not have DC’s. He’d probably get put into the story so he can fight Marvel heroes in place of Thanos or so he can fight Thanos. Maybe they’d even combine because that’s something video games would do. Darkseid is just too perfect for story and synergy reasons not appear. He wouldn’t a premier skin though, because he does not fight like Thanos. Thanos isn’t a god, he uses a tool.
Apocalypse would also be a terrific premier skin to bring in more X-Men villains. Those of you wondering how Apocalypse could use Darkseid’s powers, I ask you this, what are Apocalypse’s powers even? They change every time he appears and he has new ones all the time. It’s not a big deal to give him flight and eye lasers. He’s probably had them both at some point before if he doesn’t have them as powers now.
Marvel’s Villainous Mainstays
There are more Marvel Villains that I can say are guaranteed than DC. This is mainly because DC has a higher quantity of quality villains than Marvel. Marvel usually and consistently focuses on the same core villains in adaptations and in comics themselves. Luckily, more so than the heroes, the villains make for far more diverse play styles. These four are Loki, Thanos, Dr. Doom, and Venom.
Loki will always have the honor of bringing the Avengers together, not only in film, but in comic books. While he suffered overexposure in the past decade, with the comics making him more like his film counterpart, Loki, for better or for worse has a guaranteed place in this game. It helps that his illusion based techniques would make for a pretty rad character to play as.
And Thanos has always been Marvel’s answer to Darkseid. He’s literally based off of him, serving as a villain for the Marvel Universe to go up against for their summer events. Not to forget, we just spent ten years watching movies build up to him. He’s an icon among villains now, and he’s probably going to be in every Marvel fighting game from now on.
While he has had a bad string of movie appearances, Dr. Doom is undeniably Marvel’s best villain, and he has been for years. He has this integral place in Marvel to rival Thanos. He’s ground level enough that he’s perfect for regular story arcs. At the same time, he’s big enough to serve as the villain for events. He’s one of the few characters along with Spiderman who Marvel does not hamstring despite not having hid movie rights. There’s a reason for that, and it’s because he’s the pinnacle of villainy at Marvel.
Dr. Doom been the catalyst some of Marvel’s best stories and characters. It would be shocking for him to not be in this game. I almost knocked him down a tier because he wasn’t in Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite, but I feel as if his exclusion in that game is the one mistake Marvel wouldn’t carry over should a DC vs Marvel game ever exist.
Venom is the most popular and well known arch-nemesis of Spiderman, Marvel’s biggest hero. Like Batman’s massive popularity fuels Joker’s and Harley Quinn’s, Spiderman’s does Venom. Venom, like Joker, also has his own massively successful movie, and like Harley Quinn, he kills it in merchandise. People know who he is, with his iconic design. He has an even better chance of being put in a DC vs Marvel game than Dr. Doom.
Hell, Sony made a movie about him outside of the MCU, and they still added Venom to Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite. At worst, Venom is the first DLC character they announce with how popular and important he is. If the wanted to, they could add a fat Carnage premier skin. Though I see Carnage being saved for DLC if he would ever get added.
Likely DC Villains
There are two DC villains whose chances of getting into the game are higher than not. These two are Lex Luthor and Black Adam.
Lex Luthor shouldn’t be a surprise, he is literally the longest-running supervillain to the original longest-running superhero. The reason he’s not a guarantee is because of how he would play. NetherRealm put him in Injustice 1, but he wasn’t a big part of the story. Not to mention he died, so he couldn’t even continue in the story.
The big threat to Lex Luthor being his own character is Iron Man. Lex Luthor could so very easily be a premier skin for Iron Man, and be a perfect combatant for it. There is a decent size chance that NetherRealm does that instead of trying to make their old character model work. That, and Lex Luthor has been banking on being Superman’s arch-nemesis and old adaptations for years. It has been a while since he has been relevant outside of the comics compared to other DC Villains.
Now Black Adam may seem strange, but hear me out. While Black Adam could be a Shazam premier skin, Black Adam made it into Injustice 2 over Shazam. Don’t say Shazam was dead for this one, because Joker was too and they brought him back. The fact that Shazam was dead and not brought back makes it seem like Black Adam would get the spot over Lex Luthor. Let’s not forget that Black Adam is getting a movie starring the Rock. This character has also for decades been on the rise in DC comics. He’s been climbing the ladder to B-Lister, with sights on being an A-List villain.
But more than that, the biggest reason Black Adam is in a DC vs Marvel fighting game made by NetherRealm, is how Black Adam is a tournament regular. Professionals use him a lot. I honestly believe that’s what guaranteed his spot in Injustice 2. Tournaments and eSports are really important for a fighting game. When Black Adam is as popular in them as he is, he has to be considered for it. Essentially, he’s likely for the same reason I think Catwoman is likely, he’s just too good.
Likely Marvel Villains
There is honestly only one villain from Marvel that’s not a given. I originally had him in my top tier, but after greater thought I had to change it.
It’s sad to say, and I don’t want to repeat myself about Marvel’s treatment of the X-Men again. He’s probably Marvel’s best villain, second only to Dr. Doom with the stories he serves as the catalyst for. Then there are his powers over magnetism that make him a great addition to the roster. Magneto has been an A-List Marvel villain for years, with a claim of superiority over many of DC’s villains. It’s him being an X-Men character that has me second guessing a spot for him on this roster.
A DC vs Marvel Game needs Boss Villains
The last two characters on the roster are the boss villains. They’re the catalyst for the story and two worlds colliding. They’re honestly the ones who would likely even fuse to serve as the final boss of the story. They could also serve double duty as the hard arcade boss for both DC and Marvel.
I almost thought to consider Darkseid and Thanos as the boss villains, but with how they are joining the average lexicon, they would be too obvious. Also, I don’t think NetherRealm wants to repeat things so closely to the failed Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe game. Darkseid was already a Boss villain in that, so I imagine they’ll want to do something different.
The boss characters need to be similar. They don’t even need to be that popular, they just need to fit a physical mold in the story and gameplay more than anything. That’s how we see Galactus and Death as the final bosses in Marvel vs Capcom, only certain characters fit this mold.
So for a DC vs Marvel fighting game, I truly think the boss villains would be the Anti-Monitor and Galactus. The Anti-Monitor was the main villain for the CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. He pretty much started comic book events as we know it. Galactus is the most popular Marvel villain who can stand up to him. I would be shocked if the boss villains were different.
More than that, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were just skins for one character, considering how similar their movesets would be. They may not even be playable, and they don’t have to be. This would bring the playable character roster to 38, but that wouldn’t be shocking for a fighting game.
These are two characters who are cataclysmic threats worthy of bringing DC and Marvel together. If it were anyone else, I would feel a bit jipped, I don’t think it can be anyone else.
Closing Thoughts on a DC vs Marvel NetherRealm Game
Overall, this feels like a balanced list of Heroes and Villains. There are characters on here who I still struggle over. Ones who I may be completely wrong about should this game every truly exist. I’m being realistic more than anything. The only thing I was too optimistic about was the premier skins. I seriously doubt they would have as many as I suggested, especially not at launch. A specific few like Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Deathstroke, and Namor are just too obvious to not be the first ones on Netherrealm’s mind should they make this game.
Honestly, though, where I’m wrong or right, wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a DC vs Marvel game? How excited would you be for a DC vs Marvel NetherRealm game?