Cheetah: Who is The Huntress of Heroes

Cheetah Is On The Prowl

Wonder Woman:What do you want, Cheetah?
Cheetah:To hurt you, Diana, what else?” – Justice League: Doom

Justice League: Doom

A trio of hunters hike through a forest. Several people have gone missing and only their partially devoured remains were found. No one knows what has been killing people, but it needs to be stopped. A pair of golden, slitted eyes watch them from the brush.

The ground gives way as the lead hunter takes a step. He falls into a pit and is impaled by the sharpened sticks at the bottom. Claws tear into a second hunter and drag him out of sight. The final hunter fires his gun, but can’t tell if he hit anything. He fumbles for an emergency radio, but stops when something wet falls on his head. His last sight is the bloodstained claws of The Cheetah.

The Cheetah is one of the DC Universe’s deadliest villains. She has battled the Justice League, joined the Legion of Doom, and routinely fights the demigod Wonder Woman to a standstill. So who is she? How did she get her powers? Why are there two Cheetahs running around? Let’s find out.

Priscilla Rich: Felonious Feline

Priscilla: [looking into a mirror] “Horrors! That’s not me… or is it?”
Priscilla’s reflection:Don’t you know me? I’m the real you, The Cheetah, a treacherous, relentless huntress!”

Wonder Woman #6

There have been four Cheetahs, but we’ll stick with the original and the most famous bearers of the name.

Cheetah debuted in Wonder Woman #6 in 1943. She was created by William Moultoun Marston and H.G. Peter.

Priscilla Rich was a vain actress and socialite who suffered from an inferiority complex. While performing in a charity fundraiser, her act was upstaged by Wonder Woman. Priscilla grew to hate her and as a result developed a split personality. This new personality was The Cheetah and compelled Priscilla to become a supervillain.

The Cheetah’s crime spree ranged from robbing banks and trying to kill Wonder Woman to selling military secrets to the Axis. Wonder Woman would invariably defeat her and help Priscilla regain control until the next relapse. 

Priscilla eventually banished The Cheetah and retired from supervillainy. She lived for several decades until she learned that there was a new Cheetah. Priscilla publicly criticized her unauthorized successor, who then murdered her.

Barbara Minerva: Cursed Champion

Cheetah:Not paying attention, Marshal Shaw? Barbara Minerva is dead. There is only the Cheetah.”

Wonder Woman #23.1

The second Cheetah debuted in Wonder Woman #7 in 1987. She was created by Len Wain and George Perez.

Barbara Minerva was an archaeologist who discovered a lost African tribe. The tribe worshiped a plant god called Urzkartaga, who could bestow superhuman abilities on his followers. The tribe was being slaughtered by a band of criminals. Minerva offered to become the tribe’s guardian and participated in a ritual that transformed her. Part woman, part cat, she was now The Cheetah.

Cheetah killed the criminals, but soon discovered she had bigger problems. The ritual was only supposed to be used on a virgin, which Minerva was not. Urzkartaga cursed her with an insatiable hunger for human flesh. Despite being cursed by her patron, Cheetah remained a faithful devotee who sacrificed her victims in his honor.

Cheetah encountered Wonder Woman when she tried to steal the Lasso of Truth. She was defeated by Wonder Woman and swore revenge. Despite wanting to kill Wonder Woman, Cheetah has also helped her on occasion and sometimes considered Wondy a rival, perhaps even a friend. 

Cheetah recently took center stage in Wonder Woman’s story by declaring war on the Greek pantheon. She assassinated the love goddess Aphrodite with a sword called the Godkiller, weakening Wonder Woman. She is now hunting the rest of the gods.

Urban Jungle: Cheetah’s Powers and Personality

Cheetah:The Man of Steel? Ha! Steel or flesh, no man can resist the claws of this cat!” –

Batman the Brave and the Bold “Triumvirate of Terror” (Season 3, Episode 8)

Priscilla Rich had no superpowers, but was a skilled gymnast, dancer, and escapologist. These abilities were enough to let her keep up with Wonder Woman. She also used different weapons, including bladed gauntlets called Cat Claws.

Barbara Minerva has superhuman strength, durability, and senses. Her claws and teeth are razor sharp. Cheetah’s greatest power is her speed. In the lead-up to the event Flash War, DC ranked the top 10 speedsters in their universe. Cheetah ranked #6 overall and is the fastest woman.

Envy is the name of the game Cheetah plays. Wonder Woman stealing her spotlight drove Priscilla Rich mad because she was accustomed to being the center of attention. Barbara Minerva is jealous of Wonder Woman’s beauty and WW’s powers that didn’t come with any side effects.

The Actors Who Play Cheetah

Marlene Aragon – Challenge of the Super Friends
Sheryl Lee Ralph – Justice League
Morena Baccarin – Batman: the Brave and the Bold
Ashley Eckstein and Tara Strong – DC Superhero Girls
Claudia Black – Justice League: Doom
Kristen Wiig – Wonder Woman 1984

Didya Get All That?

One big, ticked off cat

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