Suicide Squad: King Shark Calls Out DC’s Most Problematic Hero Name

Spoilers ahead for Suicide Squad: King Shark #3!

In Suicide Squad: King Shark #3, on sale now at all digital comic outlets, one of DC's most problematic names (and characters) gets called out. B’Wana Beast, a Z-list hero, is slowly losing his mind and holding a tournament of species. At one point he refers to himself as "the White God,” which is a problematic moniker—and he gets taken to task for it.

Superpowers come in all forms in the DC Universe, but B’Wana Beast’s may rank as the most unique. First appearing in 1967’s Showcase #66, and created by Bob Haney and Mike Sekowsky, B’Wana Beast’s primary power is to take two animals and fuse them together into strange hybrids. The character has made sporadic appearances, most notably in Grant Morrison’s legendary Animal Man run. Currently, in Suicide Squad: King Shark, the former hero is showing signs of mental instability, currently running a “species-spanning contest,” to which King Shark has been drafted. B’Wana Beast’s delusions of grandeur lead to one of his problematic nicknames getting deservedly called out. Suicide Squad: King Shark #3 is written by Tim Seeley, with art by Scott Kolins, colors by John Kalisz, and letters by Wes Abbott.

Related: Suicide Squad's King Shark is a Hero in DC's Darkest Timeline

B’Wana Beast is smugly watching his tournament, pleased with the results. He is particularly fascinated by King Shark and his relationship with the human Defacer. He tells her that the cross-species relationship between the two gives him hope that the animals he fused together into chimera do not resent him for what he did to them. He goes on to refer to himself as “the White God.” As Defacer takes her leave of him for the time being, she thinks to herself that he really needs to retire that name.

Defacer is absolutely right. Everything about B’Wana Beast screams colonialism. He is a white man who traveled to Africa and was given superpowers allowing him total control over animals—the “white savior” complex given form. Furthermore, he demonstrates a less than desirable attitude towards animals—seeing them as nothing more than tools to use and fuse together, regardless of their feelings. Finally, his nickname of “White God’ is racist, and embodies all of colonialism’s worst aspects.

DC has seemingly realized all this and is looking to course-correct by not only calling it out in the first place but by showing B’Wana Beast as more of a villain. He mentions to Defacer that he used to feel bad about fusing animals together, but no longer does. He rationalizes it by pointing to King Shark and Defacer’s relationship, but did he ever truly care in the first place? B’Wana Beast is the living, breathing embodiment of colonialist philosophy, with a highly problematic nickname, and it gets called out in Suicide Squad: King Shark #3.

Next: King Shark Became Even More Vicious After the Suicide Squad



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