In about an hour, Supergirl will premiere on the CW, presumably cementing Kara &co. to the Arrowverse proper. This gives Fetchland — or at least one opinionated comics fan — the opportunity to do a Top 8 list 😉
This Top 8 list is limited to their collective heroism, villainy, strategy, tactics, and fistfights in the extended Arrowverse — Arrow, Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and now Supergirl — only… Not four-color floppies, David Goyer movies, or, say, Injustice: Gods Among Us. So yes, Killer Frost has an unblockable Special 2 and — ahem — killer Passive, but when Barry and Cisco visited Earth Two, she was clearly no match for Zoom… Caitlin just doesn’t make our Top 8.
Honorable Mention: Superman
While a clear contender for the #1 spot, Kal-El (for whom I named my only son) has appeared in the Arrowverse only by text message so far. Sorry farm boy.
Dishonorable Mention: Firestorm
Another clear contender for #1 on pure power level alone (he can diffuse nukes with a wave of his hand or imagine us all into a room full of kryptonite), Firestorm in the Arrowverse kind of has never done anything worth making the elimination rounds. As a result BDM snarkily said “I’d sooner vote White Canary.”
Without Further Ado…
While long on power level, Kara stumbles a lot for someone with superhuman reflexes and presumably processing speed. During their crossover last season, Kara and Barry were presented essentially as peers; but Barry unquestionably has the edge in experience and confidence, and probably ceiling.
Hype aside, Kara is getting knocked out of the sky by a woman who is defeated thirty seconds later by a garden hose (?!?)
If she’s having problems with Live Wire or Silver Banshee, imagine Kara against Captain Cold or Deathstorm.
Per the above, Flash and Supergirl were presented at similar levels in their one meeting; part of our relatively low rating for Kara is her (somewhat) lack of resilience given our assumptions on the Kryptonian physique. If we define heroes by their opposition, Kara and Barry are on similar ground with respective monsters of the week, but Barry also being tasked with, you know, Zoom.
VI. Ra’s al Ghul
Ra’s has seemingly everything for a top rating: unquestionable fighting skills (circa one hand to hand fighter better than him on the planet); limitless resources; a fanatically loyal, impeccably trained, army… Even a secret, unassailable fortress (oh, and immortality). Ra’s could squash most governments — forget about individual heroes — like bugs. Why “only” six?
Everyone else on the list is just that good, too (or even better).
V. Slade Wilson
Slade v. Ra’s is a tough hair to split. If you want to go all the way to comics universe, Slade is “the bad guy Batman” (circa #1 himself, and capable of beating an entire Justice League squad alone)… Even in Arrowverse, Slade also has circa only one fighter ahead of him on the planet, also massive resources… and at his height, even the wealth of the Queen family!
Slade, like Ra’s, has a Sardaukar-like army at his command — deadly fanatics — too. The two main edges I’d give Slade over Ra’s are 1) Mirakuru versus not-Mirakuru, and 2) while the al Ghul army has swords and knives, Wilson’s has… um… Mirakuru. Edge to the supermen.
Here’s the thing about passionate, talented, individuals. You have to take the bad with the good. If a Golden State fan doesn’t like Draymond Green’s kicking opponents in the groin costing them their All-Star Forward for a game… Maybe blunting that passion would also neuter Green’s will to go after every loose ball and defensive play; maybe GSW wouldn’t be there to begin with. I don’t know if you can have the creative genius of Don Draper without the troubled spirit and drunken infidelity that formed him and give him all those million dollar ideas; maybe, but there is no evidence to the case.
The same problem is what keeps Zoom stuck in fourth place. Here is a guy who basically rules Earth Two; he’s in a position that no Earth One villain has ever attained (badass on a planetary scale)… But he has a fatal flaw… A kryptonite for asshole speedsters as it were.
Zoom has to play with his food.
Are you a world-conquering — worlds-conquering, even — Big Bad, or a pussy cat? Get your head in the game, Zoom! You gotta vibrate right through the opponent’s heart instead of vibrating him into a jail cell, or he is just going to travel back in time and punch you in the embryo. Or something.
III. Amanda Waller
Vast intelligence network. Unlimited resources. Secret prison on an uncharted island exclusively for Arrow’s vanquished playmates.
Complete lack of conscience.
Thank God she is on our side. Err… was.
II. Vandal Savage
In the comics, Vandal Savage is generally a threat on the order of Ra’s al Ghul, but comes off a little lower on account of being a brutish caveman. Both are immortals with long views of success. They have similar, Darwinian, agendas. Savage is typically more — ahem — savage (being a caveman in the comics), while Ra’s is the elegant swordsman. They are, as we said, very comparable and complimentary to each other. In Young Justice, Ra’s and Savage are close allies in the Light, with caveman Savage even entrusted as Earth’s envoy to Darkseid and Apokalips, a match for Flash-level speed due to countless years of disciplined martial mastery.
In the Arrowverse though, Savage borrows from the Hawk mythology — a mix of magic and Nth Metal — instead of being a cosmic caveman. Vandal is still quite old (if thousands of years younger than his comic self), and has been training in fighting arts almost continuously since the dominance of the Nile.
Distinguishing Savage from other players on this list is just how long and how influential he is shown to be. Savage’s bronze fist extends from ancient Egypt to the far future (with dominion over the Time Masters); in the present, then-Ra’s al Ghul Malcolm Merlyn served as his vassal, helping to resurrect a vanquished Savage from incineration (it is unclear if Ra’s proper would have acted the same way if he still held the title, but we’d guess yes).
It took the combined might of all the Legends of Tomorrow — and the sacrifice of more than one — over hundreds of years of conflict and detective work to take down Savage; though, granted, not one of those heroes made our Top 8 list. We’d guess it would only take over of…
I. Oliver Queen
This is what #1 brings to the table:
- Limitless wealth – Even after Ollie lost the the Queen billions to Slade Wilson, he ultimately retained access to his old wealth through his CEO girlfriend. He has at its heart the superpower of a-list icons Stark and Wayne.
- Super tactics – For want of a better term, Ollie is the Arrowverse’s Batman. He has a Robin, cool gadgets, a company, a hidden cave or three… And even an Oracle. Like Batman, Oliver is a master of thinking about a fight before the fight happens. Given planning, Ollie can overcome any superpower in combat between brain and bow; this is proven when he shoots the lightning fast Barry, twice… even after warning him he would. It’s not just that he’s that good (though he is): Oliver’s super tactics are what makes him capable of defeating so many more powerful opponents.
- Mary Sue – If you asked what Arrow’s key ability is, the simple answer would be “archery”. But that’s not the extent of it. He’s a super polymath. Oliver can manifest ANY skill, seemingly on demand. Need a super spy? He’s not just a trained Russian mobster, he has all the right contacts. Need to beat the world’s greatest hand-to-hand killer in a fencing contest? Call Oliver! How about a rogue sorcerer? Turns out Oliver’s many tattoos are mystically functional (didn’t I mention that?), he can harness the power of belief to negate another’s magic, and even John Constantine — a character famous for swindling demons and devils — is the one who owes Ollie a few favors. There seems to be no scenario where Ollie lacks the upper hand: it will just be revealed that he has the exact ability necessary to win the day, from linguistics to riflery, politics to carpentry.
Then there are Oliver’s physical gifts: Beat Deathstroke — including with Mirakuru — more than once. Killed an immortal Ra’s al Ghul (after first being killed by him… magical plant resurrection being yet another arrow in Ollie’s quiver). Punched master assassin Damian Darkh to death. Incinerated Vandal Savage (with magic, of course).
Three of those are contenders for #2 meelee combatant on Planet Arrowverse.
Unfortunately for them, there can be only one #1.
The Martian Manhunter has a different vote. We consider him biased: