Peacemaker Is (Even More) Bonkers In The Comics
HBO Max's Peacemaker shouldn't be. It's weird as hell that a mega-obscure DC Comics character who wears a toilet seat on his head has his own show now, and it's even weirder that the show is good. There's gotta be a law against this somewhere. That said, nothing that you've seen on the show comes close to the insanity of the Peacemaker comics. Not even the intro:
The original Peacemaker series was a pretty standard '60s action comic: he mostly just goes around punching commies and blowing stuff up because, as his tagline says, he "loves peace so much that he's willing to fight for it!" There's no tragic backstory or anything -- he's just horny for peace. That's as complex as superhero backstories needed to be in the '60s.
In issue 5, they replaced Peacemaker's toilet helmet with a metal mohawk. Big mistake; the comic was immediately canceled. Peacemaker was pretty much forgotten until the '80s when Alan Moore admittedly used him as the basis for the Comedian from Watchmen (no helmet this time, but Moore made up for it by having Rorschach put another character's head in a toilet). Thanks to all the hoopla around Watchmen, DC revived Peacemaker, and that's where things went off the rails.
Throughout his new series, Peacemaker keeps talking to an associate with a German accent who pushes him to be even more violent -- but then it turns out only he can see his "associate" because it's a ghost. More specifically, the ghost of his father, a Nazi death camp commandant who killed himself in front of little Peacemaker on his fifth birthday.
We also find out that Nazi Ghost Dad's constant taunting once led Peacemaker to "inadvertently massacre a village full of innocent people" while serving in 'Nam. You know how it is: you're parents are nagging you about leaving the milk outside the fridge, and next thing you know, you're committing war crimes. Anyway, the U.S. government decided this guy would be the perfect candidate for a super-soldier program, naturally, so they sprung him out of jail only two years into his life sentence to train him in a secret base. The most realistic part of this whole story is that the government program sorta fizzled out, and they just let this dangerous psycho walk out of the base one day and become a superhero.
At one point, Peacemaker gets in the habit of having conversations with his helmet, which he calls "Helm." But no, he doesn't really think it's alive: he simply thinks it's full of the souls of everyone who has died near him. It ... gets pretty crowded in there.
While the end of his series made it look like Peacemaker might have kicked the ghost-talking habit, his dad continued pestering him and bossing him around for years ... until Peacemaker finally stood up to him by disobeying his direct orders during a mission. Unfortunately, those orders were "do not crash our helicopter into those tanks."
And that's how Peacemaker died (for a while, anyway, because comics). Again: we still can't believe that, out of the thousands of DC characters out there, this one has his own show now. We can see why they put him on the Suicide Squad, though.
Top image: Warner Bros.