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The Best DC Comics Heroes

These are the best heroes in the DC Universe.

DC comics heroes
Photos via DC Comics/ Remix via Apeksha Bagchi

The DC Universe boasts some of the most popular characters and heroes of any popular media in the world, but with over 10,000 characters in the mix, who are the best among them? Here’s our list of the top characters in DC’s expansive catalog.


Image via Adult Swim

It doesn’t get more iconic than Superman! DC’s flagship hero debuted in 1938, and has remained the hero of all heroes ever since.

The Last Son of Krypton — born as Kal-El — was raised on Earth as Clark Kent, and boasts arguably the greatest powerset out of all DC heroes. Thanks to his alien DNA and how it reacts to Earth’s yellow sun, he’s equipped with super strength, speed, endurance, and many other spectacular abilities. He’s faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than — you know the rest.

Superman’s legendary weakness is green kryptonite, the glowing material, and fragments from his homeworld. Magical attacks also have a way of bypassing his incredible endurance.

While the Man of Steel primarily operates in the city of Metropolis, he has battled all manner of villains, from evil scientists (Lex Luthor) to galactic tyrants (Darkseid). Superman is the embodiment of truth and justice, and propelled the modern-day idea of a superhero to the forefront of mainstream pop culture.


Batman standing on rooftop
Image via Warner Bros. Animation

Prowling the streets and rooftops of Gotham, Batman is not only DC’s most popular character but also one of the most beloved heroes worldwide. Everyone loves the Caped Crusader. It’s hard to beat a good Dark Knight story. 

The tale of a young Bruce Wayne witnessing the murder of his parents is one of today’s most well-known modern fables. The illustrious billionaire, marked by trauma, uses his vast wealth and resources to become a symbol and hero against Gotham’s criminal underbelly.

Batman may not have superpowers, but he sure as heck doesn’t need them. With unbelievable intelligence, a sharp mind for strategy, an expert in martial arts — all martial arts — and let’s not forget that handy utility belt, and enough PTSD to fuel nightly rampages across Gotham, the Dark Knight is the total package when it comes to giving criminals nightmares.

Wonder Woman

wonder woman justice league
Image via Warner Bros.

Wonder Woman is one of Earth’s most powerful protectors. With her superhuman strength, durability, unbreakable determination and willpower, and always wielding her legendary Lasso of Truth, the Amazonian demi-goddess must always be mentioned when discussing DC’s greatest heroes.

Debuting in 1941 and having a background rooted in Greek mythology, Wonder Woman remains one of DC’s most iconic and compelling characters. Whether she’s fighting evil and injustice alone or alongside her Justice League comrades, Wonder Woman continuously stands out as as one of the greatest and most stalwart defenders of everything good.

Green Lantern

Image via DC Comics

Green Lantern is a name several characters in the DC Universe have taken on, with the first being Alan Scott in All-American Comics #16 in 1940. Originally wielding a magical ring crafted from a magical lamp, the Green Lantern alias was later reimagined as a member of the Green Lantern Corps, a kind of cosmic police force.

The Green Lantern’s powerful rings allow them to manifest almost any object they can imagine into reality and control it using their mind. Besides Alan Scott, other characters who have taken turns as The Green Lantern include Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and Jessica Cruz.


Grant Gustin the Flash
Image via CW

Flash is the alter ego of at least four different characters throughout DC Universe history. True to the name, Flash can run faster than the speed of sound using the power of the “speed force.” The speed force is so powerful that it allows Flash to literally run through time.

Jay Garrick was the original Flash and debuted in Flash Comics #1 in 1940, but Barry Allen, Barry’s nephew Wally West, and Barry’s grandson Bart Allen have all stepped into the role at different points. Flash has worked both as a member of the Justice League and Teen Titans, and even competed in several races against Superman.


Aquaman in combat
Image via Warner Bros.

Aquaman first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in 1941 and is another founding member of the Justice League. The character is massively popular and remains one of the world’s most recognized superheroes to this day.

Aquaman’s true name is Arthur Curry and he is the half-human, half-Atlantean king of Atlantis. He is capable of communicating telepathically with sea life as well as breathing underwater, and he wields a three-pronged trident against his foes.


Shazam comic cover
Image via DC Comics/YouTube Screengrab

Billy Batson is a young homeless boy who can transform into an adult superhero by speaking the word “Shazam.” Shazam can fly and possesses superhuman strength and speed. He first appeared in Whiz Comics #2 in 1940.

Billy gains his abilities from a wizard who tells him he has fought evil for 3000 years using the powers of the gods Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury (SHAZAM), but is now too old to continue. Billy takes on the wizard’s responsibilities and regularly battles with the Monster Society of Evil. Shazam’s original name was Captain Marvel, but DC began to downplay that name in favor of Shazam after a copyright dispute with Marvel over their superhero of the same name.

Martian Manhunter

Martian Manhunter shooting lasers
Image via DC Comics

The Martian Manhunter is an original member of the Justice League. His real name is J’onn J’onzz and he and made his first appearance in Detective Comics #225 in 1955. J’onzz is a humanoid Martian with green skin and has several powers and abilities. He can change shape, turn invisible and speak to other beings telepathically in addition to his super strength and flying capabilities.

J’onzz uses his shapeshifting abilities to disguise himself and better blend in with humans. He often takes on the persona of a detective named John Jones during the course of his adventures and he is among the most powerful members of the Justice League.

Hawk Girl

Hawk Girl in combat
Image via Cartoon Network

Hawk Girl first appeared in Flash Comics #1 in 1940 and she is one of the first female superheroes to appear in DC comics. Many different versions of Hawkgirl have appeared since the heroine’s original debut with characters including Shiera Hall, Shayera Hol, and Kendra Saunders stepping into the role.

Hawk Girl wears armor with a pair of artificial wings that allow her to fly, and uses weapons out of medieval times, like her mace. The character often appears alongside her male counterpart, Hawk Man.

Beast Boy

Beast Boy speaking
Image via Cartoon Network

Garfield Mark Logan is Beast Boy, and he’s capable of shapeshifting into any animal he sees, be it in his everyday life, or in a picture. He first appeared in The Doom Patrol #99 in 1965, and has worked as a member of both the Doom Patrol and the Teen Titans during his superhero career.

Garfield gains his abilities after contracting a rare disease that only the West African Green Monkey is capable of surviving. Garfield’s father attempts an experimental procedure, turning Garfield into a green monkey for 24 hours in a desperate attempt to save his son’s life. While Garfield does indeed survive the virus, his father’s procedure has the unintended consequence of turning him green and bestowing him with his shapeshifting abilities for the rest of his life.


Starfire from DC Comics
Image via DC Comics

Starfire is the alter ego of Princess Koriand’r of the planet Tamaran. SHe first appeared in DC Comics Presents #26 in 1980. Like Kryptonians, Starfire’s people derive their powers from solar energy. Starfire can fly and shoot blasts of ultraviolet energy called star bolts from her hands. She left her homeworld for Earth after a bitter feud with her sister, Blackfire, who attempted to enslave and then kill Starfire.

Upon her arrival on Earth, Starfire meets Dick Grayson’s Robin and joins his team, the Teen Titans, which includes Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Raven. She even blends into human society using the alias Kory Anders to become a professional model when she isn’t thwarting evil with the Titans.

Green Arrow

DC Comics Green Arrow
Image via DC Comics

Similar to Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen is a playboy billionaire who moonlights as a costumed superhero. Queen’s alter ego, Green Arrow, first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in 1941 and uses his incredible skill with a bow and arrow to patrol the streets of Star City and Seattle. In addition to his standard arrows, Green Arrow makes use of an array of specialty arrows like grapple, sticky, and explosive arrows to adapt to a range of situations.

Green Arrow is sometimes associated with left-wing politics, at one point even losing his fortune to become a hero for the poor and working class. He has also fought alongside a number of other popular DC heroes including Black Canary and the Green Lantern as well as other members of The Justice League.

Black Lightning

Black Lightning speaking
Image via Cartoon Network

Black Lightning made his debut in Black Lightning #1 in 1977 and was the first Black American superhero with his own series in the DC Universe. Jefferson Pierce is his real name and he was a top Olympic athlete before moving to Metropolis to be the principal of Garfield High School. He uses an advanced utility belt that gives him electric powers to clean up his neighborhood of Southside or “Suicide Slum” Metropolis.

In later storylines, Pierce either internalizes the powers of his utility belt over time or he is reimagined as being born with the innate power to channel and control electricity with his body. At one point, Black Lightning teams up with the Justice League and is offered a position in the group before turning them down.


Raven powering up
Image via DC

Raven is the Cambion daughter of a human mother and demon father, Trigon, and goes by the name Rachel Roth when she wants to pose as a normal human. She’s a member of the Teen Titans and can sense emotions and control her soul separate from her physical body in addition to being proficient in the ways of magic.

Raven came to the Justice League and asked them to help her defeat her father, Trigon, but they turned her down and she turned to the Teen Titans including Robin, Kid Flash, Beast Boy, Starfire, and Cyborg, eventually becoming a permanent member of the team.


Cyborg flexing
Image via DC Comics

Victor Stone is Cyborg and he is the son of scientists who subject him to experiments to enhance his intelligence as a young boy. He first appeared in DC Comics Presents #26 in 1980. An interdimensional creature that emerges from one of his parents’ experiments kills Victor’s mother and critically injures him while he is visiting one of their labs.

Victor’s father manages to save his son by implanting him with prosthetics all over his body, including the better part of his head. Victor is initially horrified and resentful of his father, but he eventually learns to harness his new body in the fight for justice, joining at different points with the Justice League and the Teen Titans.


Zatanna Zatara from DC Comics
Image via DC Comics

Zatanna Zatara is one of the most famous magic wielders in the DC Universe. Uttering her spells backwards, she is able to employ spectacular powers in the defense of the innocent.

A master spellcaster with impeccable fashion, Zatanna is arguably DC’s most renowned magical hero. Debuting in 1964, Zatanna has served the DC Universe well, bringing a unique take to the brand’s magical genre, while also taking a major role in several important comic storylines and becoming a standout character in several animated productions.

Black Canary

Black Canary in combat
Image via Cartoon Network

The mantle of Black Canary was famously worn first by Dinah Drake in the late ‘40s. However, most fans are probably more aware of her daughter, Dinah Laurel Lance, donning the costume.

When it comes to fighting crime at the street level, few heroes are as popular as Black Canary. In addition to being an expert hand-to-hand combatant, Canary can also destroy an opponent’s ear drums with her powerful supersonic screams.

She has tangled with some of the nastiest heavy-hitters DC Comics has to offer. Whether she’s doing it alone or working with the Birds of Prey, a Black Canary story will always be hard to put down.

Plastic Man

Plastic Man DC
Image via DC Comics

Who’s the funniest and stretchiest character in DC Comics? Who’s everyone’s favorite ex-con? That’s easy: the one and only Plastic Man!

Patrick O’Brian sports an iconic look and costume and really knows how to — don’t hate me for this — stretch his limited powerset to full effect. The world’s goofiest hero can use his abilities to morph his body into some of the most outrageous objects. Turning into a ball to ram into a criminal’s chest is one of the plainer tricks in Plastic Man’s toolbox.

A frequent teammate of some of DC’s more prominent characters, Plastic Man serves as a nice contrast to his more serious and stern allies.

Doctor Fate

DC reminds fans which Doctor came first
Image via Warner Bros.

Before Marvel had Doctor Strange, before the publication even wore that name, the world only knew one mystical doctor: the mysterious and swank-helmet-wearing Doctor Fate!

Fans were introduced to Doctor Fate in 1940, and many characters have since donned the title and magical mantle. However, fans are arguably more aware of Kent Nelson, the first Doctor Fate.

While not always the sanest of heroes, especially due to the character’s affiliation with Nabu and the Lords of Order, Doctor Fate is a colossal force and absolute goliath when it comes to magical ability.


Etrigan wielding sword
Image Warner Home Video

Another magical entry on this list is Etrigan the Demon. Created by comic legend Jack Kirby, Etrigan first debuted in the early ’70s.

Thankfully, despite being a demon, the fire-breathing Etrigan is primarily a force for good. Bonded with the human Jason Blood, fans have seen the character team up with DC’s greatest champions, especially when they are up against mystical threats.


Nightwing DC Comics cover
Image via DC Comics

When you grow up with Batman as an adoptive father, you’re bound to learn a few tricks or two. Dick Grayson may have started out as a boy wonder, but he would cement his status as a standalone champion when he became Nightwing.

Under this mantle, Grayson has been a protector of Gotham and Blüdhaven, continued his heroic work as a Teen Titan, and, of course, partnered up with his former mentor countless times. A master acrobat and martial artist wielding his own set of spectacular gadgets, Nightwing is one of DC’s most popular heroes.

Doctor Manhattan

Doctor Manhattan staring forward
Image via DC Comics

While not one of the DC Universe’s traditional figureheads, Doctor Manhattan is still an iconic presence whether it’s in a comic panel or on the silver screen.

While not one of the DC Universe’s traditional figureheads, Doctor Manhattan is still an iconic presence, whether it’s in a comic panel or on the silver screen.

Born Jonathan Osterman, the scientist-turned-godlike superhero is one of the main characters of Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore’s legendary Watchmen series. With such an amazing character arc in arguably the greatest comic series ever created and an unstoppable power set, it’s nigh impossible not to include Doctor Manhattan in a list dedicated to the greatest DC heroes.

Captain Atom

Image via Cartoon Network

Captain Atom is an energy-manipulating powerhouse. Often portrayed as an American patriot and a strict do-gooder who always does things by the book, he is one of DC’s most stalwart heroes.

While not exactly on the same level as Superman, Captain Atom has proven he can at least contend with the Man of Steel on multiple occasions. A consistent member of the Justice League, Captain Atom can often be seen teaming up with DC’s greatest champions.

Adam Strange

Adam Strange pointing ray gun
Image via Cartoon Network

One of DC’s most storied characters is the space-faring Adam Strange. A regular human explorer who gets sucked into intergalactic adventures and battles, Strange offers comic fans a chance to experience some of DC’s greatest tales through a more grounded lens. How would you react teleported to the planet Rann via a Zeta-Beam and had to team up with an alien princess against various otherworldly threats?

Even if you’re not the most hardcore comic fan, Adam Strange’s adventures should appeal to the sci-fi lover in us all. Having debuted in the late ’50s, his stories can surely offer a little something for every fan.


Stargirl smiling
Image via The CW

Wielding a powerful cosmic staff and wearing a Star-Spangled outfit, Courtney Whitmore serves as one of DC’s most wholesome heroes.

Often seen partnering up with her stepfather, who fights crime in a robotic suit of armor, Whitmore dons the mantle of Stargirl after finding the weapon previously used by the hero Starman.

DC fans have probably witnessed many of Whitmore’s adventures in various animated and live-action productions. Often portrayed as a young heroine, Stargirl has teamed up with countless other heroes her age. Boasting a fun personality and exuberant fighting spirit, Stargirl’s adventures tend to offer fans and readers a lively and heartfelt experience.

Genci Papraniku
About the author

Genci Papraniku

Genci Papraniku is a freelance writer for We Got This Covered. A Spider-Man fanatic and a graduate from the University of Memphis, he loves to write and loves to consume anything related to pop culture. If Genci isn't watching the latest superhero flick, he's probably studying house lineages from "A Song of Ice and Fire."