Hype continues to increase for fans of the DC TV multiverse (commonly called the Arrowverse). Earlier today, the CW revealed that the Dominators (collectively, the Dominion) will serve as the villains in the massive four-show crossover.
This crossover consists of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl, and will air in December. Exec producer Marc Guggenheim released the following statement:
“This year, for our mega ‘Arrowverse’ crossover, we’re taking inspiration from a DC crossover from the late 1980s known as ‘Invasion!,’ which featured an alien race called the Dominators, who’d previously vexed the Legion of Super-Heroes. We’re using cutting-edge prosthetics and computer effects to achieve a feature film-quality look which is faithful to Invasion! artist Todd McFarlane’s interpretation of the characters.”
The Dominion first debuted in a 1967 issue of Adventure Comics, indeed in conflict with the 30th century Legion of Super-Heroes. Characterized by 1940s-era Yellow Peril tropes, the Dominion regularly attempt to subjugate and experiment on metahumans.
Making this race of supervillains palatable for a modern audience presents an important challenge for the DC TV universe. Especially so, given Guggenheim’s comment about remaining visually faithful to the Todd MacFarlane artwork, shown above.
Specifically, I don’t know how they can depict this comics-accurately and not look racist. Bald heads, slanted, narrow eyes, long, claw-like fingernails, and dressed in robes: an alien caricature of Asian caricature villains.
Considering a general lack of Asian representation in live action DC properties at this time, I worry about this. Otherwise, DC has tried to outdo competitors in the diversity arena; this should not be where it falls grossly short. Asian groups rarely see decent representation in superhero properties in general, but this could be worse than anything we’ve seen so far.
We’ll see come December. But in the meantime, we must wonder: what are the folks over at the CW thinking, going for this?