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The Untold Truth Of DC's White Dragon

In James Gunn's new HBO Max series "Peacemaker," there is a character from DC Comics lore whose evilness and unabashedly racist ways make him one of the most talked about things on the show, and it's none other than Peacemaker's very own father, Auggie Smith, aka the White Dragon. 

First appearing in the 1987 issue "Suicide Squad #4," the White Dragon character has been one of DC's malevolent mainstays over the years — serving as a white supremacist terrorist who poses as a vigilante. Originally known as William Hell, the infamous super-villain took on Amanda Waller's team of misfits on numerous occasions before eventually saddling up with them. He later set his sights on DC's Hawkman, who managed to defeat and capture the Neo-Nazi. Another version of him, portrayed by Daniel Ducannon of New Earth, also existed in the early 1990s and 2000s serving under the Fourth Reich from the "Justice Society of America" comics. Gunn's iteration is played by actor Robert Patrick and appears to have been sidelined after spending much of his life under the White Dragon alias. It isn't until his relationship with John Cena's Peacemaker, aka Christopher Smith, comes crashing down that DC's comic-accurate version rears his wicked head. Let's take a look at the untold truth of the White Dragon.

William Heller aka William Hell: The first White Dragon

When William Heller first made his DC debut in the "Suicide Squad" comic books, it was a far cry from the hulking, armored brute that readers would later see him become in future issues. As pointed out by the DC Database, the character's background sees him raised in a world of racism and hate — with his grandfather serving as a World War II Nazi supporter and his main guardian. Once he's older, Heller changes his name to William Hell and begins purposely targeting minorities as a masked vigilante. Anyone who is white that commits a crime is let go. 

Amanda Waller, leader of the Suicide Squad, uses the deadly group to try and stop Heller. But instead of killing him, they choose to let the man live, thus prompting him to become the armored White Dragon that we eventually see in "Peacemaker" and future comics.  It's this original version of Heller as the Dragon that appears to be Gunn's biggest inspiration for Robert Patrick and Auggie Smith's story. For one thing, both characters are ultimately powerless and instead have advanced abilities in marksmanship and hand-to-hand combat. It's only when they put on their technologically advanced suits that the men are most formidable.

The armored Dragon reveals himself

After being outed as the masked vigilante William Hell, the William Heller character goes on to become the big bad armored goon that is slated to appear in "Peacemaker." The character dons a sinister mask and colors to resemble a Klu Klux Klan grand wizard. He later joins the Fourth Reich from the "Justice Society of America" comic series and attempts to decimate the descendants of the original Justice Society (via DC Database). But Hawkman is able to stop him. 

While imprisoned, Amanda Waller recruits Heller to join her Suicide Squad — and he agrees, at first. But things eventually sour between the Dragon and his new boss, which eventually leads to a betrayal of the Suicide Squad and Heller's ultimate demise. 

In "Peacemaker," James Gunn's iteration of the character appears to be a skilled inventor and suit-maker, much like the comic book version of him. At one point during the series, we see Auggie Smith giving John Cena's titular antihero a bunch of different helmets that he designed for him, each with unique and advanced abilities like X-Ray vision. When viewers finally get their first glance at Auggie's armor, it's almost identical to what comics fans see on the page. But what many people might not know is that William Heller wasn't the only White Dragon who got to wear it. 

Daniel Ducannon: The other White Dragon

That's right, folks — the DC universe apparently was just too big for one bloodthirsty bigot. So the writers had to go and create Daniel Ducannon, a white supremacist from New Earth, who initially posed as a superhero in Chicago before eventually having his hate-fueled ways revealed by Hawkwoman in the "Hawkworld" series (via DC Database). 

Unlike William Heller, Ducannon was actually gifted special powers as a result of the Meta-Bomb Event that went down during DC's massive 1989 "Invasion!" crossover. He later got funding and resources from the MetaTech Corporation to help create his version of the armored White Dragon persona, which isn't much different than Heller's, other than the fact he can control fire through pyrokinesis and has the ability to fly. Also, Ducannon never joined the Suicide Squad. But he did have a stint in the Fourth Reich, only this time he was actually riding a white dragon.

While Ducannon has been defeated several times and imprisoned at Belle Reve, he has never actually been killed in the comics. Heller, on the other hand, suffered a pretty gnarly demise.

The death of the White Dragon

Remember that ultimate demise we were talking about earlier for William Heller? Well, this is it. The issue was "Suicide Squad" (Volume 3) #8, and Heller's betrayal of Amanda Waller was in full swing. After teaming up with General Eiling and the Thinker, Heller's White Dragon attempts to go on the lam with help from Suicide Squad target Haake-Bruton, a Dubai-based global conglomerate that's making viral weapons. According to DC Database, this led to a civil war between Squad members and the death of the character Twister at the hands of Heller. As a result, the Canadian terrorist known as Plastique launches an attack on the White Dragon and creates a hole in his mask to ignite an explosion, killing him. 

When viewers finally get to see John Cena's Peacemaker take on Robert Patrick's version of the white supremacist vigilante, it's a battle that shakes the entire "Peacemaker" series to its core. And judging from the character's aforementioned history, it likely won't be the last we hear of the Dragon alias.