It’s Shark Week, DC fans! This yearly celebration of everyone’s favorite undersea predator has us thinking about King Shark…which is hardly surprising. After all, he’s the DC shark everyone knows, and it’s easy to see why. The big guy walked away with James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and the Harley Quinn animated series, to say nothing about the dozens of comics he’s sunk his teeth into. (I mean that figuratively rather than literally—with King Shark, it’s hard to tell sometimes.)
Now, we’re hardly marine biologists here at DC.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. And in the spirit of Shark Week and how it’s designed to be educational, we thought we’d give it a DC spin and teach you something about the sharks you may find swimming in cities like Gotham and Metropolis. Here are seven other sharks you might come across in your favorite DC comics who are not King Shark. In fact, it is possible that they’re not even sharks at all...
1) Shark (Karshon)
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 I’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 likely be again in the 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 kind of stuff happened all the time.
2) 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 not too long ago.
3) 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.
4) Killer Shark
Like Black Shark (or is it Lone Shark? Make up your mind, dude!), 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.
5) 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 some 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.
6) Tiger Shark
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 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.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Alex Jaffe and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros., nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.