Peacemaker: Who's That Goofy Vigilante in James Gunn's HBO Max Series?

The trailer for Peacemaker, James Gunn's TV series spinoff from The Suicide Squad was finally unveiled at DC Fandome this weekend, and Vigilante is in the cast. Set after the movie, Peacemaker survived getting shot in the neck by Bloodshot (Idris Elba, who is not in the TV show) and gets tasked with a new mission with the members of Amanda Waller's crew who stopped her from killing the Squad when they went off-book to save the world from Starro. John Cena returns as the tragically dorky but deadly Peacemaker with Steve Agee, Danielle Brooks, Robert Patrick, Jennifer Holland, Freddie Stroma, and Chukwudi Iwuji also starring. So who is this Vigilante, reconfigured into another costumed goofball in director and showrunner Gunn's coterie of costumed goofballs?

Peacemaker: Who is that Goofy Vigilante in the HBO Max Series?
Vigilante in "Peacemaker" still courtesy of HBO Max

British actor Stroma plays Adrian Chase aka The Vigilante, a new character originally created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in the New Teen Titans comic series in the 1980s. The original Vigilante was a masked cowboy from the 1940s comics who started out on horseback, then graduated to riding a motorcycle. Wolfman and Perez's version of the character started out as a district attorney ally of the Titans before the mob murdered his family and he became the Vigilante to kill bad guys. This sounds awfully similar to The Punisher, doesn't it? That probably wasn't an accident. He actually had his own spinoff comic series and Alan Moore even wrote a 2-part story for it back when he was starting out his stint at DC and before Watchmen came along. That version of the Vigilante ended his career by blowing his own brains out in despair. He has never been brought back in the comics even after countless multiverse reboots.

Peacemaker: Who is that Goofy Vigilante in the HBO Max Series?
The original comics version of Vigilante, now in Peacemaker", cover courtesy of DC Comics

A version of Adrian Chase actually showed up in Season 5 of The CW Arrowverse show Arrow, played by Josh Segarra. That Chase turned out to be the season's Big Bad, a humorless maniac out for revenge against Oliver Queen for killing his father years before. He didn't suit up in the black Vigilante costume but instead as a version of Prometheus, who was introduced by Grant Morrison in his Justice League run in the 1990s, but here as another dark reflection of the hero, a trope The CW shows pulled out, again and again, both on Arrow and The Flash.

Gunn is the first film and TV creator to actually bring back Adrian Chase with a comics-accurate costume. This TV version is a younger, goofier, and funnier version though- if no less homicidal. He certainly doesn't act like a district attorney, so he's probably just a nerd who likes to shoot bad guys. Based on the trailer, this Vigilante appears to form a bro-style friendship with Peacemaker as they bond shooting guns and killing baddies together. Yeah, that'll probably work out well. Maybe this will set off a run on the Vigilante comics on eBay? Peacemaker is set to premiere on HBO Max on January 13, 2022.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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