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Comic Book / Cheetah

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Barbara Ann Minerva as the Cheetah as seen on the cover of Wonder Woman (vol. 3) #28. Art by Aaron Lopresti

Cheetah is a Legacy Character from DC Comics, and is Wonder Woman's Arch-Enemynote  in the Wonder Woman comics. There have been four people who have taken up the mantle of Cheetah, and the first version, Priscilla Rich, a wealthy but troubled socialite with a Split Personality who donned a cheetah costume and fought the Golden Age Wonder Woman (who was Hippolyta in some continuities), was created by Wonder Woman's creator William Moulton Marston, and first appeared in Wonder Woman #6 (Volume 1) in 1943.

Since then, Cheetah, in all her various identities, has been a long time nemesis for Wonder Woman, with the Barbara Ann Minerva version of the character being the most well known to the mainstream, and has appeared across various media relating to Wonder Woman, including the DC Animated Universe and the direct to DVD original movies Wonder Woman (2009) (where she has a brief cameo at the end), and Justice League: Doom (2012), where the Barbara Ann Minerva incarnation has a major role.


She is also a playable character in the third LEGO Batman game and the fighting games Justice League Task Force and Injustice 2

Due to the fact that Cheetah is a Legacy Character, and there have been at least four versions of the character, each version will have their tropes in a separate folder.

The Barbara Minerva version of the character made her film debut in 2020's Wonder Woman 1984 where she's played by Kristen Wiig.

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    Cheetah I 
Cheetah I
AKA: Priscilla Rich

“Out of my way, Amazon! Or Cheetah will send you back where you came from — in a box of Crackerjacks!”

A wealthy, but troubled socialite with a Split Personality, Priscilla Rich donned a form fitting Cheetah costume to become a frequent foe of the Golden Age Wonder Woman. She eventually retired from supervillainy, and let go of her grudge against Wonder Woman. She was killed by Barbara Minerva in her old age, as the latter sought to make herself the only Cheetah.

For tropes relating to the version of Priscilla in The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016) see the associated character page. For tropes relating specifically to her Golden Age iteration see the Wonder Woman Earth-Two character page.

Notable Appearances
Comic Books

Web Animation

Western Animation

  • Badass Normal: Managed to take on the Golden Age Wonder Woman with only her gymnastics skills.
  • Dance Battler: Priscilla was a skilled dancer, and this translated into remarkable agility in combat.
  • Dark Action Girl: As Cheetah, she become a strong warrior huntress.
  • Driven by Envy: Her entire grudge against Wonder Woman goes back to the superheroine upstaging her at a party. This blow to her ego proved too much for the jealous Priscilla and her dark persona began to show through.
  • Femme Fatalons: Sometimes pictured with these (as in the page image), sometimes not.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Needed to feel superior to everyone else, because deep down she hated herself. Wonder Woman upstaging her at a party was what prompted her to develop her alternate personality and become a supervillain.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Earth-1 Priscilla turned her life around and wanted to make sure her niece didn't follow in her footsteps. Post-Crisis Priscilla did the same, and also emerged from retirement to condemn the actions of Barbara Ann Minerva's Cheetah. Averted by Earth-2 Priscilla Pre-Crisis, who remained an active and unrepentant supervillain.
  • It's All About Me: When you become a major supervillain because another woman got more attention than you did at a party, you are definitely a little on the self-centered side.
  • Killed Off for Real: Post-Crisis Priscilla was murdered in her old age by Barbara Minerva.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: In addition to being a pretty obvious narcissist, Priscilla suffered from dissociative episodes, psychotic breakdowns, and a split personality. Not a mentally well woman.
  • Narcissist: A fairly obvious one at that. Priscilla's need to dominate the room would brook no rivals, which is why Hippolyta's being the centre of attention was enough to trigger the psychotic break that transformed her into the Cheetah.
  • Retgone: Tricky example. Pre-Crisis there were two versions of Priscilla—one, the active villain on Earth-2 who remained a foe of that world's Wonder Woman, and two, the retired villainess on Earth-1, whose niece became a foe of the Bronze Age Wonder Woman. The Crisis combined these two versions of Priscilla into a single retired supervillainess and former foe of the Golden Age Wonder Woman, who was killed by Barbara Minerva. Post-Infinite Crisis, she may have clashed with the modern Wonder Woman during her early years as well. Then Flashpoint erased her completely, reducing her to nothing more than an alias of Barbara's.
  • Retired Outlaw: Comes off like this in her old age. She doesn't necessarily have any regrets, but she's not putting on the costume again either.
  • Rich Bitch: Definitely. She was so used to being the centre of attention because of her wealth, that being upstaged drove her over the edge.
  • Split Personality: At some point, Priscilla suffered a psychotic break, and a dual personality developed. Unlike her more reserved self, this second personality was strong and violent. It poisoned Priscilla's mind, eventually turning her into a twisted, malevolent being.
  • Villain Team-Up: Was a member of the original Villainy Incorporated, both Pre-and-Post-Crisis.

    Cheetah II (Pre-Crisis) 
Cheetah II (Pre-Crisis)
AKA: Deborah "Debbie" Domaine

“Now that you’ve invaded the territory of the Cheetah… you won’t be permitted to leave alive!”

The niece of Priscilla Rich, the Golden Age Cheetah, Deborah Domaine was kidnapped by the supervillain Kobra, and brainwashed into becoming the second Cheetah. Driven insane, and equipped with a more lethal version of her aunt's costume, Deborah proved to be a formidable foe of the Silver Age and Bronze Age Wonder Woman, Diana Prince. She was retconned out of existence following the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

  • Absolute Cleavage: Deborah's costume leaves little to the imagination.
  • Alliterative Name: Deborah "Debbie" Domaine.
  • Anti-Villain: Debbie had no desire to be evil, but was forced into against her will, and later driven mad.
  • Badass Normal: Like her aunt, Deborah had no superpowers, beyond her athletic ability and her rampant insanity.
  • The Berserker: Could descend into an almost mindless rage, during which her strength would increase to near superhuman levels, making her one of the rare female berserkers.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Courtesy of Kobra that decided to craft his personal Cheetah. He placed Debbi inside of a monitor station, suspended from the ceiling by electric cables. Using a brainwashing technique involving holographic projections, Kobra exposed her to a barrage of violent images of ecological disasters. With every flickering image she was forced to witness, an electric charge was sent coursing through her body. Within a short period of time, the process drove Debbi Domaine irrevocably insane.
  • Femme Fatalons: Her costume came equipped with chrome talons that could rend through steel.
  • Legacy Character: Forced into taking up her aunt's identity as the Cheetah.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Deborah was declared unfit to stand trial, and remanded to Arkham Asylum upon her defeat. Given her fragile mental state, emotional instability, and bouts of berserk rage, this is not surprising.
  • Ret-Gone: She still existed Post-Crisis/Pre-Flashpoint, but as far as continuity is concerned she was never the Cheetah.
  • Tragic Villain: Debbie should never have been a supervillain in the first place, and wouldn't have been if it weren't for Kobra's meddling in her life. The entire affair is just sad.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Deborah berserks, few can stand in her way.

    Cheetah II (Post Crisis) 
The Cheetah II (Post-Crisis)
AKA: Barbara Minerva

"This sort of thing doesn't happen to Barbara Minerva. I don't let it."

Barbara Minerva was an archeologist who ran across an ancient ritual that gave her power, speed and immortality as the Cheetah, an avatar of Urtzkartaga's will. This had a price—because she was not a virgin as the god Urtzkartaga required, her body was frail and painful when not in Cheetah form. Her interest in rare artifacts caused her to clash with Diana when she tried to steal the magic lasso... the rest is history.

Notable Appearances
Comic Books

Video Games

Web Animation

Western Animation

  • Adaptational Badass: This version is powered-up from a Badass Normal in a cheetah costume to a were-cheetah who can go toe-to-toe with a superheroine who can match Superman in a fight.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Only an evil one.
  • Archenemy: Competes with Ares and Circe for this title, having been one of Diana's most persistent foes since her introduction.
  • Attempted Rape: When she teamed up with Zoom to defeat Flash and Wonder Woman, Cheetah tried to rape Flash. Luckily she failed.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: When she goes unclothed.
  • Beastess: Normally something of a Cute Monster Girl, the Cheetah can easily become this at her most bestial.
  • Blood Magic: Her transformation is fueled by drinking blood.
  • Cat Girl: When in cheetah form.
  • Cult: Heavily associated with cult activity.
    • Post-Crisis, she stumbled across the Cult of Urtzkartaga
    • In the New-52, she was raised by a cult that worships the goddess Artemis.
  • Dark Action Girl: Cheetah is very adept at hand to hand combat obviously able to go one on one with Wonder Woman repeatedly.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the Adventure Archaeologist. Instead of being portrayed as a heroic adventurer, Barbara is a manipulative, greedy, murderous thief. She cares for no one but herself and has no respect for foreign cultures, being only interested in plundering their treasures for her own collection. It is these flaws that result in her being cursed. Notably, Diana is from a foreign, mythical nation and would normally be a villain to a heroic archaeologist character.
  • Depending on the Writer: How evil she is, how animalistic she is, her exact power set, if she wears clothes, whether or not she's a Friendly Enemy, and whether she's The Vamp.
  • Driven by Envy: Like her predecessors, her hatred of Wonder Woman is born out of envy, specifically because she is a dark mirror of what Diana is. Whereas Diana was a beautiful lauded figure granted powers by the gods which acted as gifts to her already present grace, Barbara's gifts from her god put her in excruciating pain and suffering. She sees Wonder Woman as a flawless figure whose popularity and monumental support from friends and gods alike is an insult to Barbara's constant suffering and misery, hence her hatred.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She absolutely despises rapists. Doctor Light found this out the hard way.
  • Evil Brit: Barbara Minerva is one, although she only speaks with a British accent a few times such as her portrayal in Justice League: Doom where she was voiced by Claudia Black.
  • Evil Redhead: Another one. Diana's rogues gallery contains a lot of these.
  • Femme Fatalons: Her nails become more claw like as Cheetah and they are her go to weapons.
  • Fighting a Shadow: She is the avatar of the plant god Urtzkartaga.
  • Friendly Enemy: With Wonder Woman, Depending on the Writer.
  • Hypocrite: As stated above she hates Doctor Light for being a rapist but she herself attempted it on Flash when she teamed up with Zoom to defeat Wonder Woman and Flash. She stabbed Flash in the spine and tried to mount him while he laid on his back in pain.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: At her very, very worst.
  • It Must Be Mine!: A great deal of the friction and fighting between her and Wonder Woman is caused by Barbara's insistence on trying to steal Diana's lasso for her collection of mystical and occult artifacts.
  • Legacy Character: Was the second person to bear the title of Cheetah in Post-Crisis continuity, and the third character to use the identity overall. Post-Flashpoint she is the only villain to have ever been called Cheetah.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Cheetah's speed is much greater than that of the animal she's named after, and the source of her power also gives her Super Strength and toughness.
  • One-Man Army: If her duking it out with the Justice League is anything to go by.
  • Power at a Price: Suffers severe pain when in human form. Later she had to feast on fresh blood to maintain her immortal powers and stave off the agonies of being in human form and stay alive.
  • Religion of Evil: She and Chuma are the last worshipers of Urtzkartaga, though Barbara herself is only in it for the power being the god's avatar provides.
    • In the New-52, she was raised in an evil cult.
  • Retcon: As of the New 52, Barbara has become the only person to ever bear the title of Cheetah, with Priscilla Rich, Deborah Domaine, and "Sabrina" (rather than Sebastian) Ballesteros all being aliases she has employed.
  • Ritual Magic: Barbara must undergo a dark ritual involving human sacrifice to become the Cheetah. The ritual was no longer necessary after Circe made the transformation permanent.
  • The Rival: Has crossed paths (no pun intended) with Catwoman enough times to be this.
  • Super Speed: She's called The Cheetah after all. She got even faster after Flash adversary Hunter Zolomon/Zoom taught her how to siphon off the power of the Speed Force.
  • Super Strength: The fact that she can even injure Wonder Woman is proof of this.
  • The Sociopath: Written this way by some authors who entirely forget her redeeming features.
  • The Vamp: Under some writers, who have her come onto every male character she encounters, even getting into relationships with fellow villains and heroes out of lustful impulse (i.e. Rip Hunter, Hunter Zolomon, and even Snapper Carr). She has mentioned that before getting her powers, her lovers were legion.
  • Virgin Power: The avatar of Urtzkartaga is supposed to be a virgin, but she isn't; as a result, it became Power at a Price.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Claims to have eaten them in fact.

    Cheetah III 
The Cheetah III
AKA: Sebastian Ballesteros

Sebastian Ballesteros was a corporate raider who learned early on that true power inevitably trumps riches. Making a deal with Urtzkartaga, he had the powers of the Cheetah transferred from Barbara Minerva to himself. He later cut a deal with Circe, and had one of Diana's closest friends transformed into the third Silver Swan. Easily overpowering Minerva when she tried to regain the Cheetah powers from him, he was eventually killed by her while in human form.

  • Beast Man: Consistently became a hideous mix of human and animal.
  • The Brute: An absolutely brutal fighter, he faced down the likes of Wonder Woman and a Fury-empowered Barbara Minerva with relative ease.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Head of the Ballesteros Corporation, and a true robber baron in the 1800s mold.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Killed off-panel by Minerva, while in human form. After having had a run as a pretty intimidating villain, this feels rather anticlimactic.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: He faked this in order to win over Urtzkartaga.
  • Legacy Character: The second Cheetah to be powered by Urtzkartaga, the third to bear the name Post-Crisis, and the fourth overall, Ballesteros arrived to the party very late indeed.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Six and a half feet tall, super fast, and very, very strong. He's been able to catch Superman by surprise and hit him with enough force that his strength has been compared to Wonder Woman's and Captain Marvel's by the Man of Steel himself.
  • The One Guy: The only male Cheetah (and one of the few male villains in Wonder Woman's Rogues Gallery period).
  • Prehensile Tail: Oddly enough, yes. He frequently used it in combat to try and strangle his enemies.
  • Rags to Riches: Grew up in poverty at the mercy of dictators and the son of labor union workers, but worked his way up through business acumen and making deals with the dictators who oppressed those like his family because he despised the lower classes and desired to separate themselves from them. He kept this contempt for the poor long after he became rich.
  • Retgone: As of Flashpoint "Sabrina Ballesteros" is just another one of Barbara's aliases.

    The Cheetah (Rebirth)
AKA: Barbara-Ann Minerva (Née Cavendish)

"Stupid, stupid... when I killed Aphrodite, I didn't just kill a goddess... I killed the power you didn't even know you had."

Barbara Minerva was an archaeologist from Britain, determined to prove the Amazons did exist (and show up her sexist colleagues while she was at it). It was her expertise with languages that got her called up to help Etta Candy and Steve Trevor communicate with Diana on her first arrival to Man's World. The two quickly began a friendship, after getting over the language barrier. Sadly, this didn't last, and somewhere along the way Barbara became consumed by jealousy of Diana's powers, and sought out a god of her own to worship. This saw her cursed into become the Cheetah, stricken with a hunger for human flesh and unable to turn back to who she was...

Notable Appearances
Comic Books
  • Wonder Woman Vol. 5 (2016 - present)
  • Justice League Vol. 4 (2018 - present) intermitent appearances
  • DC's Year of the Villain Special (2019)

  • Adaptational Sexuality: As noted above, her previous incarnation would come on to every male character she met. The Rebirth version has shown no attraction to men, but did flirt with Etta Candy prior to being cursed.
  • Adventure Archaeologist: A heroic one, at least initially. Barbara was very persistent in her efforts to find out about the Amazons. Not even being crippled slowed her down that much.
  • Body Horror: Her appearance as the Cheetah is a lot more like an actual humanoid cheetah, with less human features than prior versions.
  • Brought Down to Normal: With Urtzkartaga destroyed, his curse is removed and Barbara goes back to being a normal human. She's not sorry to see the powers go. Then defied as later on she was convinced to become Cheetah again by Veronica Cale without using the curse.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: He scolded Barbara for taking an interest in Greek mythology, believing it wasn't suitable for life in the real world, even burning her toy sword and shield just to be sure. Years later, Etta Candy bluntly told Barbara the man was an ass.
  • Hero Killer: Kills Aphrodite with the God Killer sword given by Lex Luthor during the Year of the Villain.
  • Horror Hunger: Urtzkartaga intended for her to be his bride, but when he found out she wasn't a virgin, cursed her with an insatiable hunger.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Barbara-Ann went and became the Cheetah because she wanted to be like Diana. It didn't go at all how she wanted.
  • Lightning Bruiser: As the Cheetah, she's strong enough and fast enough to beat up Diana (though Diana wasn't fighting back at the time).
  • Missed Him by That Much: She actually came within a hair's breath of Themyscira, setting foot on the island itself. The only reason she didn't go further was because of the gods' protection over it preventing her from seeing it.
  • Nom de Mom: Minerva was her mother's name, her father was Lord Cavendish. It's not spelled out directly, but the fact he was an utter ass is likely the reason Barbara dumped his name.
  • Parental Neglect: Her father was barely present in her childhood, leaving Barbara's education to private tutors. Not that he was any better when he was physically present.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Her motivation, once freed from Urtzkartaga's curse, is to kill all the gods, because she believes they're all as bad as he is.
  • Retcon: In Forever Evil her backstory is that she grew up in an orphanage in Idaho. This has been disregarded in favour of a background closer to the pre-Flashpoint version.
  • Super Speed: One of the powers that came with becoming the Cheetah is speed much greater than that of the big cat she's named for. In 2018 she was ranked officially as the 6th fastest individual in the current DCU, and the fastest woman.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Compared to her prior versions, and her immediately preceding New 52 version, she's much more heroic.
  • Tragic Villain: Her origin story turns out to have been masterminded by Diana's enemies, who not only arrange for her transformation but ensure she thinks Diana abandoned her. In reality, they rendered the communicator Diana gave her useless.
  • We Used to Be Friends: With Diana, before she became Cheetah.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Wants to kill the gods to free humans from their whims, and in particular thinks that killing the Greek pantheon will free Diana of her obligation to capricious monsters. Diana notes that she's not exactly wrong.


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