'Suicide Squad': Common's set photos spark confusion about who he's playing

Common in 'Suicide Squad' Is Definitely Black, But Black Manta?

Photos of Common on the set of next year's Suicide Squad have leaked online, giving fans their first glimpse of the actor as ...; well, that's a matter of some discussion. Just which DC Entertainment supervillain is he playing, after all?

When Common's appearance in the David Ayer movie was revealed by The Hollywood Reporter in April, it wasn't revealed whom he'd be playing, although rumors quickly centered on Aquaman's arch-enemy (and current member of the comic book Suicide Squad) Black Manta as a potential choice -; but now the set pics have appeared.

Common's on-set appearance really doesn't look like the Black Manta fans are familiar with from his comic book and animated Justice League Unlimited appearances, but it does bring to mind a couple of other DC characters, namely the Tattooed Man and Doctor Mist.

The visual link to the Tattooed Man -; a villain who can bring his tattoos to life, traditionally a Green Lantern villain who has, over the last decade, been more antihero than outright villain in series such has Final Crisis and Titans -; is clear from the obvious tattoos on the actor's head: Who else would have a snake and an eye inked on his noggin? In truth, the character seems the most likely possibility for Common's cinematic secret identity on that basis alone -; and yet, Doctor Mist may be a far more intriguing possibility.

For one thing, Mist is a superhero, not a supervillain, which would give the Squad someone to work against in the movie. Originally created for the comic book spinoff of the Super Friends cartoon in 1978, he is a supernatural character with indistinct magical powers who has most recently appeared as a morally ambiguous figure in Justice League Dark. Although he doesn't have the word "tattooed" in his name, he does have facial ink in his current comic book incarnation, albeit something that appears more tribal than Common's scalp artwork. (It might be another point in Mist's favor that he has appeared since DC's 2011 comic book reboot, unlike the Tattooed Man, who remains in limbo in terms of comic book canon.)

In the interests of full disclosure, it should be noted that there's also a faction of online DC fandom that thinks that Common could actually be playing the Bronze Tiger, a martial arts mercenary and mainstay of the 1980s Suicide Squad comic book. Admittedly, the Bronze Tiger of the comic books doesn't visually resemble Common's on-set look in any way, but then again, the comic book Joker isn't one for tattoos either, and we know what happened to him on his way to the movie.

Suicide Squad is scheduled for release Aug. 5, 2015. Hopefully, Common's super-identity gets revealed before then. If only there was a big Comic-Con happening somewhere in San Diego in the next month or so where that could happen.

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