If it seems like there have been a lot of projects announced lately that dip into the mystical side of the DC Universe, there’s a reason: JJ Abrams was hired by WB last year to develop movies and shows based on the “Justice League Dark” super-team. He was also hired to make a movie about a Black Superman, but that’s a news item for another time.
Point is, some really great characters are now in a perilous position, their chances at mainstream fame in the hands of a guy who has a reputation for botching it up. They’re doing something with Constantine, and we can be assured Matt Ryan won’t be getting a phone call because that would make too much sense. A vague undefined project with Zatanna was announced a few months ago, and I expressed my grievances and worries here. They came true: it’s a movie, and its script writer spoke a lot of words about making it really “dark.” ZATANNA IS NOT DARK! SHE! IS! NOT! DARK! THIS MOVIE IS GOING TO SUCK!
A third project has been announced, a TV show that focuses on Madame Xanadu. Who’s that, you might ask? She was introduced in 1978 as the hostess of a DC horror anthology comic but grew into her own character from there. Xanadu started out as your garden-variety stock “fortune teller” character, but as comics tend to do, her origin, story and powers grew bigger and more complex until she was established as literally Nimue, the character of Arthurian legend, with immortality and the abilities to do all sorts of neat stuff (but she can still tell your fortune with cards too).
To read up on Madame Xanadu we recommend the Vertigo series by Matt Wagner that was first published in 2008. That series was good enough to win some awards and it has some of the best covers I’ve ever seen on any comic (just look at these gorgeous things, there’s not a lemon among ’em).
Read it, and then weep, for the Abrams product is bound to be inferior. The one-hour TV series (reported to be called “Madame X”) is now in development for HBO Max.