Despite the DC Universe being filled with literally thousands of heroes, only a select few receive the lion’s share of attention. Juggernauts like Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman may be among the most well-known superhumans, but they’re far from the only ones keeping the DCU safe.
Unfortunately, the spotlight only ever really shines on DC’s heaviest hitters. But in a world filled with metahumans, there are those just as deserving of attention as the Man of Steel. From reformed supervillains to heroes who surpass Batman in intelligence, read on to discover the most underrated heroes in the DC Universe.
The villains who belong to the Flash’s Rogues are generally loyal and comfortable breaking the law. But Harley Rathaway, aka Pied Piper, decided to take a different path. After Crisis on Infinite Earths, the villain reformed his criminal ways and became an ally of the Flash Wally West. Pied Piper is one of the few supervillains that has gone on the up-and-up to become a hero and stay that way. Unfortunately, his former criminal associates are featured far more than he is. But someone who put their criminal life behind to fight against injustice is an excellent idea DC should explore more with a character like Rathaway.
Fans of Deadpool may be surprised to know that DC has its own wacky meta-aware hero with a big mouth. Ambush Bug was created as a joke character to parody the more serious DC stories and heroes. But Bug has joined several genuine superhero teams like the Doom Patrol and the Suicide Squad and, despite his silly nature, manages to fit right in. Everyone loves a character who gently mocks the tropes of the comic book industry, and a self-aware hero like Ambush Bug could provide some much-needed jocularity to the DC Universe.
When it comes to powerhouses in the Justice League, one of the most overlooked is Vixen. With the power of the Tantu Totem, Mari McCabe can summon the power of any animal she desires. Not only can Vixen tap into the abilities of living creatures, but extinct ones as well, meaning nothing is off limits as long as it has a connection to the Earth’s morphogenetic field. Vixen has led the Justice League before, but her time was short. Someone as powerful as McCabe, who can take on a wide range of powers she can, deserves to be featured more frequently.
Metamorpho may have one of the most tragic superhero origin stories, but he’s an inspiration among superheroes. Rex Mason was affected by a meteorite that completely broke down his body and turned him into an immortal shape-shifter. Though he initially wanted nothing more than to die, he pressed on and became one of the most well-known members of the Outsiders, Batman’s black ops superhero team. Mason has a resilient spirit and came back from one of the worst superhero origins imaginable. He’s a great character that DC should be pushing a lot more than it does.
Don’t be fooled by the name. Detective Chimp, aka Bobo, is one of the most observant and keenest detectives in the entire DCU (yes, even rivaling Batman). Bobo isn’t just a brilliant detective, he’s also a cunning strategist that helped the magic-based hero group Shadowpact take on the Spectre. Detective Chimp has also become a crucial member to Justice League Dark. But there’s a lot of room for DC to explore Bobo as a character and really see what drives him as a hero.
DC’s New Age of Heroes introduced a lot of heroes that were essentially pastiches of existing Marvel heroes. While Sideways doesn’t spin webs or stick to walls, he was created to be a Spider-Man-like hero for DC. After falling through a rift to the Dark Multiverse, Derek James gained the ability to form rifts and travel wherever he needed to throughout the universe. Sideways’ main series was just getting started before he really got a chance to find his place in the world. DC should seriously consider giving Derek another chance to show what he can bring to the DCU.
Though often described as the ‘third-smartest man’ on Earth, Mister Terrific may very well be the biggest genius in the DC Universe. Michael Holt is the successor to the Justice Society’s Mister Terrific, but he’s more than made the name his own. Holt is known for his highly-advanced T-Spheres, powerful advanced computers that also double as weapons. Mister Terrific is usually who DC’s heroes turn to when a scientist is needed. Though the DC Universe is known for its many magicians and sorcerers, a greater focus on one of its more scientific-based heroes could be an exciting avenue to explore.
Unfortunately, those born on Apokolips are subject to extreme conditioning of the galactic tyrant Darkseid. But Big Barda exemplifies how good can thrive, even under the most unlikely conditions. Big Barda was raised to be one of Darkseid’s most elite warriors and leader of the Female Furies. But Barda came to her senses and defected from Apokolips. Since leaving Apokolips, she and her husband, Mister Miracle, have fought for good and even become members of the Justice League. Big Barda is a hero whose journey deserves far more attention than she gets.
Plastic Man is a lot of things. A reformed criminal. A loudmouth. And a super-malleable hero that can turn his body into anything he desires. After an accident gave him his unique stretching powers, former hoodlum Eel O’Brien went on the straight-and-narrow, using his newfound powers for good. Plas can literally turn his body into anything he wants, making him an invaluable resource. Plastic Man is only ever used as comic relief, but his power set has serious potential. A new series that shows O’Brien pushing his strengths to the limits could easily put Plastic Man up there with the rest of DC’s A-listers.
Booster Gold never gets the credit he deserves. And for a good reason. Booster is known for playing the fool, with many of his friends and allies seeing him as a fame-chasing glory hound. But that is simply the reputation he needs people to have of him. The truth is, everything about Booster’s image is part of his mission to keep DC’s timeline safe from numerous threats and aberrations. It’s Booster’s duty to ensure the timeline stays intact at all times, and if that means making himself look like an idiot, then he’s willing to do it. If there’s a hero who deserves some love, it’s Booster Gold.
The A-listers are always going to get the most attention. But these ten characters have a lot of potential be some of the biggest heroes in the DC Universe.