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Batman v Superman characters who mean more than you realized

Senator Barrows

There are precious few issues in the history of comic books that are as iconic as Action Comics #1, which—as any comic geek worth their salt can tell you without a moment's hesitation—introduced the world to Superman. Decidedly less well-known is the plot of that first story, but rather than garishly-costumed super-villains, Superman is battling against the crooked wheeling and dealing being done in Washington by a slick lobbyist named Alex Greer. Here's where it gets interesting: one of the politicians that Greer strikes a deal with is named—wait for it—Senator Barrows. Given the seminal nature of the issue in question and the fact that the Senator Barrows in Batman v Superman (played by Dennis North) is working hand in hand with Lex Luthor, there's no doubt in our mind that these two shifty senators are intended to be one and the same.

Mercy Graves

It's extremely rare for a DC Comics character to make their debut in an animated series and then make the transition into comic books, but such is the case with Mercedes "Mercy" Graves, who made her initial appearance in Superman: The Animated Series in 1996. Three years later, she found her way into the DC Universe proper, and when she did, it was—oddly enough—not in one of the Superman titles but in Detective Comics #735, in the midst of an ongoing Batman storyline called "No Man's Land." In the comics, Mercy is generally found wearing a chauffeur's uniform, and she's isn't so much a secretary as a bodyguard, so here's hoping that Tao Okamoto, who plays Mercy in Batman v Superman, gets to kick things up a few notches the next time we see her on the big screen.

Anatoli Knyazev

Emmet Vale

When director Zack Snyder first started into discussions about the villain for Batman v Superman, the early favorite was Metallo, a character generally referenced in comic-related conversations with his subtitle intact: "The Man with the Kryptonite Heart." In the end, Snyder went a different direction, but he nonetheless managed to get a character into the film whose history makes it seem likely that Metallo may yet appear. In the comics, Professor Emmet Vale was the man who found a critically-injured criminal named John Corben and saved his life by transplanting Corben's brain into a robotic body, one which was powered by—you guessed it—a kryptonite heart. Given that Metallo has been a Superman villain since his debut in Action Comics #252, which hit newsstands in 1959, it's about time he got the big-screen treatment.

Father Leone

This is definitely a blink-and-you'll-miss-him character in Batman v Superman—he's the priest who performs the funeral service for Clark Kent in the closing minutes of the film—but Father Leone is a key figure in the acclaimed story arc "For Tomorrow," which unfolded over the course of issues #204-215 of Superman during 2004 and 2005.

Silas Stone

You'll most likely be seeing more of this gentleman when the first Justice League film hits theaters next year, but even just the glimpse you get of him in Batman v Superman—where he's played by Joe Morton—is enough to establish him as having a connection to the new-to-the-big-screen character known as Cyborg. In fact, Silas Stone is the father of Victor Stone, also known as Cyborg, who first entered the DC Universe in 1980 as a member of the New Teen Titans. Although the character of Cyborg has gone through a number of changes over the decades, one constant in his secret origin is that his father has been witness to his transformation into part man and part machine, something that Zack Snyder clearly decided to maintain for his take on Cyborg's creation.

Officers Rucka and Mazzucchelli

In this instance, the characters in question—a pair of police officers who pop up for the briefest of moments before disappearing to never be seen again—don't have a history in DC Comics, except they do. If that sounds confusing (and we know it does), what we mean is that Officers Rucka and , Mason Heidger and Kiff VandenHeuvel, aren't DC Comics characters. Their names, however, should have considerable familiarity with anyone who pays attention to the creative teams of a certain caped crusader: they're a way of paying tribute to longtime Batman writer Greg Rucka and Batman: Year One illustrator David Mazzucchelli.

James Harmon - Museum Director

For this one, we're going with the theory that when it comes to comic book movies and their character names, there are no coincidences, only Easter eggs. In World's Finest #33, released in 1948, the story "The 5 Jewels of Doom!" finds Batman and Robin investigating a series of murders which turn out to have been committed by a disgraced museum curator named—James Harmon. It's hard to say that the character is a pivotal one in the DC Universe—68-year-old spoiler alert: he dies at the end of the story—but in addition to the likelihood that Batman v Superman's James Harmon is an intentional homage, there's another interesting tidbit: he's played by Graham Beal, longtime director of the Detroit Institute of Arts.