Lots of people are talking about sharks this week, which got us thinking about King Shark. After all, the big guy’s walked away with every trailer we’ve seen from James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and that’s to say nothing about his scene-stealing role in HBO Max’s Harley Quinn.
Now, we’re hardly marine biologists here at DCComics.com, but it’s been well-documented by the brightest scholars and taxonomists of the DC Universe that King Shark is, unsurprisingly, a shark. But is he…the only shark in the DCU? Not by a fathom. Here are seven sharks you may find in your favorite DC comics who are not King Shark. In fact, it is possible that they’re not even sharks at all...
If you’ve read Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s Suicide Squad (and you really should, since it’s one of the best Squad books we’ve read), you know it includes a humanoid shark. And while King Shark has been a member of the Suicide Squad in the past and will be again in the very near future, the shark running with the team in the Taylor/Redondo book is NOT King Shark. He’s just “Shark.” (“Karshon” to his friends.)
But Is He a Shark?: Perhaps even more so than King Shark. While King Shark is the son of a human woman and a shark god, Karshon is a regular old shark who generated humanoid limbs and intelligence after being exposed to radiation. Then he fought Green Lantern for a while. It was the Silver Age, dude. This kinda stuff happened all the time.
Shark (Terrible Trio)
This Shark is a member of the Terrible Trio, a group of thrill-seeking criminals who fashion themselves after predators of land, sea and air. They’re pretty D-list as far as recurring Batman villains go, but they gave Batgirl some trouble recently.
Lone Shark/Black Shark
This extraordinarily seedy looking deep sea plunderer was the arch-enemy of Red Torpedo, an ancillary member of Uncle Sam’s Freedom Fighters who dropped this skeevy dude like a sack of hammers once America got involved in World War II and he had more important things to deal with. Even worse, the guy was notably indecisive about his evil code name.
But Is He a Shark?: Dude can’t even make up his mind on what kind of shark he wants to be. No, he’s not a shark.
Like Lone/Black Shark, Killer Shark was primarily the enemy of a wartime hero—in his case, the high flying squadron of Blackhawks. But he showed up after the war was already won, leaving the Blackhawks without a whole lot to do except fight super-villains. Still, Killer Shark was probably most notable for brainwashing Lady Blackhawk to become Queen Killer Shark. In fact, later on in the modern age, his grandson did the exact same thing, to the exact same Lady Blackhawk. Get a new routine, Killer Shark! (And maybe try OKCupid, Lady Blackhawk?)
But Is He a Shark?: Not in the literal sense, but when it comes to dating, the guy’s pretty much the definition of one.
Great White Shark
Warren White is the worst person you’ll ever meet. An embezzling white-collar criminal, Warren got transferred to Arkham on a technicality and then cornered the underworld through pretty boring, but extremely insidious financial acumen. Why does he look like that? He got mauled by Killer Croc and then got frostbite when he was locked in Mister Freeze’s cell during a riot. But hey, you gotta look like a monster to make it anywhere in Gotham’s underworld.
But Is He a Shark?: I mean, metaphorically speaking. Like, the way Wall Street is run by sharks. And he has the teeth. I say we count it.
Tiger Shark just rules. Tiger-striped wetsuit, check. Big ol’ blocky diving helmet, check. Water skis, check. Ready to fight Batman on the open sea, check and mate. Tiger Shark was eventually reinvented in Scott Snyder’s Batman as a modern-day pirate and smuggler operating in international waters. Then he became a casino magnate in Blüdhaven, where he actually fostered genetically mutated tiger/shark hybrids.
But Is He a Shark?: Not in the least, but he’s rad as hell.
Kind of a sad-sack Blüdhaven small timer and son of the old-school super-villain King Sturgeon, who was “mutated by an aquatic amulet, or something dumb like that.” It’s real hard out there to find a legit line of work when you look like a human/shark hybrid, but Nightwing does his best to help Guppy turn his life around.
But Is He a Shark?: He is and I’m sure those teeth aren’t for show. But you still sort of want to give him a hug.
So, there you have it. Seven “sharks,” but only three are actually…well, sharks. (And that’s being pretty generous in the case of Warren White.) Still, shark or not, most of these guys are pretty dangerous and we recommend keeping your distance. Cable TV and Steven Spielberg may have you convinced that you’re never going in the water again, but as you can see, there are just as many maneaters swimming beneath the surface of the DCU.
Alex Jaffe is the author of our monthly "Ask the Question" column and writes about TV, movies, comics and superhero history for DCComics.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexJaffe and find him in the DC Community as HubCItyQuestion.