While John Cena’s Peacemaker is a fully fleshed-out character, the same can’t be said for the comics’ version who’s far less consistent.
While Warner Bros. has managed to create a cohesive and dynamic peacemaker for the DCEU, the same can’t be said for the original DC Comics version of the antihero. Played by John Cena, the Chris Smith seen in James Gunn’s Suicide Squad and spin-off peacemaker series has a far stronger characterization than what’s seen on the page. If readers were to seek out current comics featuring Peacemaker, they’d find three very different versions of Chris Smith due to DC Comics’ inconsistency.
Created in 1966 by Charlton Comics, Peacemaker and more characters were acquired by DC Comics in the late ’80s which lead to Chris Smith entering the DC Universe, seeking peace no matter what violent or lethal means were needed to achieve it. However, Peacemaker has always been a lower-tier, bottom-of-the-barrel character who hadn’t received much of a spotlight before 2021 and his DCEU debut. It’s actually this lack of popularity that likely made him the ideal choice for James Gunn’s iteration of The Suicide Squad, joining similar characters such as Javelin, Blackguard, Bloodsport, Polka Dot Man, and more. Now, Peacemaker has become a household name thanks to his on-screen depictions of him, though DC Comics has been struggling to follow suit in the comics.
DC Comics essentially has three different depictions of Chris Smith who are all meant to be the same antihero. In the current run of DC’s suicide squad, Smith is the team leader with strong principles who isn’t afraid to push back against Director Amanda Waller. He also knows exactly what he wants with a clear vision for the peace he’s looking to secure for the world. He’s effectively the “douchey captain america” (a description often used by Cena), thoroughly ingrained in the capes and mask community. In contrast, Peacemaker: Disturbing the Peace sees Smith as a brutal killing machine, a sociopath whose motivations and agenda are secret and cutthroat. He’s also much more isolated from the superheroes of the DC Universe. Furthermore, Strange Love Adventures featured Peacemaker at his goofiest, where he gives a Valentine’s Day card to his pet eagle Eagly.
Essentially, all of these different depictions of Peacemaker are attempts by DC Comics to cash in on the DCEU’s success. While that’s to be expected and isn’t inherently bad, there’s a clear lack of consistency. Each version of Smith seen in the comics is merely a singular aspect of what makes Cena’s Peacemaker so good and entertaining. As such, DC Comics needs to take all three versions of Chris Smith and put them together to create an adequate emulation of the DCEU version.
As it stands, readers can pick up a comic starring Peacemaker and the version they see could be thousands different than the one they saw last month. This is because the current characterization of Chris Smith is essentially fragmented. If DC Comics truly wants to have a peacemaker who can match the success of the version seen on screen, they need to start by giving him a cohesive and consistent identity going forward.
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