Corto Maltese (DC Comics)

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Corto Maltese
Type Country
Notable locations South America
First appearance The Dark Knight Returns (February 1986)
Publisher DC Comics

Corto Maltese is a fictional country appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics.

Fictional history[edit]

Corto Maltese is a small island off the coast of South America. It has been referenced in two non-canonical DC sources. Corto Maltese is confirmed to exist in the mainstream DC Universe, where there was a tossed-off reference in a newspaper headline: "More Arms to Corto Maltese"[1] and appeared recently in the Flash comic book.

The Dark Knight Returns[edit]

Corto Maltese appears in Frank Miller's graphic novel Batman: The Dark Knight Returns as an island off the coast of South America. The island is in a state of rebellion, and an armed uprising against the government occurs. The war escalates when the United States supports the government and the Soviet Union supports the rebels. With tension increasing between the United States and the Soviet Union, the U.S. President dispatches Superman to subdue the uprising. The Soviets respond to Superman's presence by launching a nuclear warhead called Coldbringer. Superman diverts the warhead to an uninhabited desert area before it detonates, but damage is done nonetheless: the warhead disrupts all electronics and communications in the Western Hemisphere, causing mass chaos.[2]

In other media[edit]

Map from Arrow episode "The Climb" showing Corto Maltese off southeast coast of South America.


  • Corto Maltese is referenced in the Smallville television show. In the episode "Justice", Green Arrow and the team (Aquaman, Cyborg and Impulse) proposition Clark Kent to come with them to help break up one of Lex Luthor's operations targeting people with superhuman abilities, stating: "Gentlemen, our first target is a large facility on the island of Corto Maltese. You guys know the drill, wheels up in thirty-five minutes".
  • In the TV series Arrow, in the episode "Lone Gunmen", Oliver Queen mentions that the mercenary Deadshot operated in Corto Maltese. Corto Maltese is featured in episodes 2 (briefly) and 3 (prominently) of season 3 as the location where Thea Queen trains with her father, Malcolm Merlyn. The filming location for the overview of Corto Maltese is, however, not in South America, but in Monaco.[3] Episode 3x03 bears the title "Corto Maltese".
  • In the TV series "Supergirl", in the first episode of the second season, Alex Danvers mentions that the "international assassin for hire" John Corben was linked to "genocide in Corto Maltese".


  • Corto Maltese was referenced in the 1989 Batman film. Photojournalist Vicki Vale traveled to Corto Maltese to take photographs of its revolution's aftermath. Her photos were selected for an article in Time magazine. In the movie, Vicki Vale spent time in Corto Maltese, where she shot a series of gruesome photographs during the violent rebel uprising. Upon seeing Vale's pictures on the cover and throughout the magazine showing a desert war zone strewn with dead bodies, the Joker glibly commented, "I don't know if it's art... but I like it!"
  • Corto Maltese appears in the animated adaptation of the comic Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.


  1. ^ Time Masters Vol. 1 #4 (May 1990)
  2. ^ The Dark Knight Returns (February 1986)[citation needed]
  3. ^ "Arrow Sara Trivia." IMDb. Web. 3 Dec. 2016.