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Spotlight On Cheetah: Just Exactly Who Is Barbara Minerva and How Strong Is She?

After being introduced to the Cheetah in last month's JUSTICE LEAGUE #13 we take a closer look at the character and question what her appearance in the series really means.

In last month's issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE we saw the return of one of Wonder Woman's most formidable opponents to comics; Cheetah. In the issue, Cheetah fought against both Wonder Woman and Superman, and even managed to cause The Man of Steel to draw some blood -- not an easy task and not one that should be taken lightly. Reading the last issue and getting a peek at issue #14 which is set to hit comic shops tomorrow, we got to thinking; who is the Cheetah now compared to pre-New 52? How strong is she really? And will she be a formidable opponent not only to Diana, but to the Justice League as a whole?

There have been five different versions of Cheetah over the years, but we will specifically be focusing on the Barbara Minerva version of Cheetah that was first introduced in the second volume of Wonder Woman #7 in 1987. Initially, she was seen as an opportunistic lover of ancient artifacts with a crazy obsession -- not only was she obsessed with Diana's "golden girdle of Gaea" (lasso of truth) and wanted to steal it for herself, but she was also a bloodthirsty killer. In issue #9 of the series readers witness Barbara Minerva's character engage in a ritual that would turn her into the Cheetah; something she would have to do every full moon in order to maintain her strength. But how did it all begin for Minerva? What led her to become the Cheetah? Was it her own choice?

== TEASER ==

Cheetah's story as Minerva pre-New 52 started when she was in Africa as part of an archeological dig in search of the Urzkartaga Temple. Minerva eventually finds the temple and when she does, learns of the bond between the plant God and the Cheetah. It is then that she binds herself to the plant God and embraces the form of the Cheetah, a ritual that would lead her to become a flesh-eating, blood thirsty killer and one of the strongest of Wonder Woman's adversaries.

Aside from the fact that the current version of the character and the pre-52 version of the character both look like a cross between a cat and a woman, these two versions of this character actually have several things in common. First off, they are both pretty crazy and don't like humanity very much. This is evident in the dialogue between Minerva and Diana when they fight in the very first pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE #13. Both characters seem to draw their power from some sort of magic. However, this is where their identities begin to get really different. While pre- New 52 Barbara Minerva chose to become the Cheetah, it doesn't seem like this current incarnation of the character did. According to a panel in JUSTICE LEAGUE #13, Barbara Minerva had been working for the military categorizing ancient artifacts when she cut herself on a "ritual dagger." Based on the conversation in this panel, it sounds as if Minerva became the Cheetah not by choice, but by accident. Not only that, but the ritual dagger that gave her her powers is not of African origin, but a lost tribe in the Amazon. According to the issue, Minerva is currently "possessed by the Goddess of the bloodthirsty Cheetah."

As of right now, we don't have a whole heck of a lot of information about the character, but we do know a couple of things. According to the previous issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE and the preview to tomorrow's JUSTICE LEAGUE #14, Minerva is extremely powerful. In the recent preview the Justice League engage in a discussion following a fight between Superman, Wonder Woman and Cheetah. During the fight, Cheetah manages to bite Superman and literally break his skin, drawing blood and readers see the Man of Steel shapeshift into a Cheetah, himself. He also starts to go bezerker crazy -- lashing out at Wonder Woman and his teammates. Now, drawing Superman's blood isn't something that should be taken lightly and it's a great example of both the Cheetah's strength as well as Superman's weakness. One of the issues that has not yet really been addressed is whether or not Superman's weakness is still magic like it had been before the new 52. Given that the dagger that turns Minerva into Cheetah seems a little, well, magical; we would venture to say that that's something that might be staying the same. Not only that, but this sort of makes Minerva as powerful as Superman, doesn't it? It also makes her a serious opponent for both the League as well as Wonder Woman.

It will definitely be interesting to see just how powerful this character is and whether JUSTICE LEAGUE writer Geoff Johns plans to make her an opponent for all members of the League and not just Wonder Woman. Additionally, how the heck is Superman going to find a cure for his Cheetah-face? What do you think of the changes made to the character? How do you feel about the fact that Cheetah was literally able to tear into the Man of Steel and draw blood? Are you planning on picking up JUSTICE LEAGUE #14 tomorrow?

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Posted by mettlekm

why is tigra fighting superman?

Posted by Danial79

I thought Cheetah was a really cool villain for the book. When it comes to the Justice League, you need a villain that's a threat to each character, and the way Cheetah was written in here made her seem like she was. I'd only ever seen her in Justice League: Doom before this, so didn't know much about her, but look forward to seeing more.

Posted by MysteryMan38

Good stuff bringing in Wonder Woman's most notable foe. Even better, the Man of Steel isn't a match for her. Who gets to feel the bite of the Cheetah next? I can't wait!

Posted by SmashBrawler

Meh, I've yet to see if New 52 Cheetah really is "one of the greatest threats to the DC Universe".

Posted by Press Oblivion

Interesting article. I've never really felt that Cheetah was a that big of a deal until now.

Posted by Z3RO180

dame i need to wait till 8PM tomorrow in order to get this from the DC app

Posted by Yung ANcient One
Why isn't every story like  Superman & Flash show up  *super speed*  Dilemma has ended  (+)
Posted by No_Name_

@SmashBrawler said:

Meh, I've yet to see if New 52 Cheetah really is "one of the greatest threats to the DC Universe".

She cut Superman.

Posted by SmashBrawler

@Babs said:

@SmashBrawler said:

Meh, I've yet to see if New 52 Cheetah really is "one of the greatest threats to the DC Universe".

She cut Superman.

There's more powerful people out there. Plus, she took them by surprise, and the team just lost a member. However, I said "I've yet to see" so hopefully issue 14 will convince me of Cheetah's new deadliness (and personally I'd like to see that, WW needs more recognizable villains).

Edited by Danial79

@Yung ANcient One said:

Why isn't every story like Superman & Flash show up *super speed* Dilemma has ended (+)

Because that would make for terrible storytelling :P

... though you're absolutely right. With super speed, there is little they couldn't stop.

Posted by BlackArmor

"Cheetah fought against both Wonder Woman and Superman, and even managed to cause The Man of Steel to draw some blood"

I'm guessing that she was able to break his skin due to being magic. Not to take anything away from her strength which does seem pretty impressive but if she is magic she wouldn't even need super strength to draw blood

Posted by trinity_stormbreaker

I remember a story from the old '90s JLA series where the Justice League fought a person called the Queen of Fables. It was made pretty clear throughout the entire story arc that this woman was specifically a Wonder Woman villain (even appeared in Gail Simone's Wonder Woman run in 2008), yet managed to be an incredible threat for the entire team. With that as one of my all time favourite JLA story arcs, I don't see why a New 52 version of the Cheetah couldn't be a threat for the entire team, especially with the assumption that Superman is still vulnerable to magic.

Posted by StMichalofWilson

Why is Cheetara fighting Superman?

Posted by colonyofcells

I prefer the Cheetah to be a were creature and the daughter of a cat god. The current magic bite of the Cheetah seems too werewolf to me altho it can be used to build a werecheetah army.

Posted by Fuchsia_Nightingale

Very well done spotlight <3

Posted by pspin

This version of Cheetah is really great and finally a good villain for Wonder Woman. The combination of strength, speed and magic makes her a very good enemy, I hope she stays this way.

Posted by Video_Martian

Dammit, now I'm interested in Justice League... :/

Posted by Roxasnelson14

i really like what they do with Cheetah in New52 so far

Posted by colonyofcells

The new 52 cheetah still looks like a nude Tigra.

Posted by TimeLordScience

I knew this would be your article Sara (:

Posted by dadarkknight36310

Off topic here is a drawing I did of new 52 Wonder Woman and Power Girl

http://mikelynn.deviantart.com/art/Armed-and-Ready-338062383?q=gallery%3Amikelynn&qo=0

http://mikelynn.deviantart.com/art/Earth-2-Power-Girl-337254792?q=gallery%3Amikelynn&qo=2

Posted by Reignmaker

@Danial79 said:

@Yung ANcient One said:

Why isn't every story like Superman & Flash show up *super speed* Dilemma has ended (+)

Because that would make for terrible storytelling :P

... though you're absolutely right. With super speed, there is little they couldn't stop.

I thought it was really weak how Barry allowed himself to get taken out in the last issue. It was like Cheetah was faster or something. Weaksauce.

Posted by GunGunW

She's magic, that's not surprise she hurt him, but that cover looks incredibly stupid honestly, I'm actually upset by this.

Posted by MizariSeth

Why this book turns very good in just one issue? Come on DC! You are hurting my wallet!!

Posted by evilvegeta74

Cheetah taking down Supes, biting him, c'mon, I'm not buying that. So if she was in marvel comicsand bit, lets say Thor or the Hulk, nah , I'm not even gonna go there. Dc could have came up with something better, and believable.

Posted by Pokeysteve

It's too bad they didn't put her in Wonder Woman's solo series. It would make it actually interesting. It's like 14 issues in and she still hasn't really done anything. Her 1st appearance in Justice League was awesome. Get on that DC.

Posted by Mr_Athrilla

Man imagine if Cheetah managed to turn Cyborg?

Posted by I_Stay_Puft

I always thought Cheetah was part of the Thundercats, weird.

Posted by colonyofcells

If cyborg gets bitten by Cheetah, Cyborg might become Panthro.

Posted by Crimsonbeak

I am just annoyed that the Cheetah was created by a dagger from the Amazon when there are no Cheetah's anywhere near South America.

Posted by secondfallen616

Superman could be killed pretty easily if he's That vulnerable to magic, guess i forgot that part.......pfft!

When i see Cheetah i think of Tigra, they're the same, just admit it. She's a good Wonder Woman villian but just doesn't feel like a fit for battling an entire team, even if she CAN turn Supes into a were-kitty, i don't agree with her taking The Flash out so quick. Cheetah was badass in the Final Crisis mini-Villians United, that was my favorite portrayal of her, but she couldn't move close to the speed of light, not that i remember anyways.

As always, another awesome article (i like the letter "A" hehe) Ms. Babs.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

This pretty much confirms, at least in my mind, that the New 52 Man of Steel is vulnerable to magic just as his pre-Flashpoint counterpart. I like how Minerva accidentally became Cheetah here, but I'm not sure I like the idea of the dagger being Amazonian rather than African. I mean, that essentially means her powers in some way derive from Themiscyra and makes them not so unique. I don't know, maybe I'm just nitpicking. I'm still excited for the issue and look forward to getting it.

Posted by gokuwarrior

@secondfallen616: pre 52 wonder woman had god like speed,and cheetah was faster than her,pre 52 cheetah was fast enough to give flash a good fight,it's possible that she is still fast enough to fight flash,or maybe she is even faster than before,we have to wait and see,cheetah is supposed to be a powerhouse but many times writers didn't write her properly,so it's good to see her doing important things again.

Posted by The_MVPs

@I_Stay_Puft said:

I always thought Cheetah was part of the Thundercats, weird.

lol Cheetah = DC, Cheetara = Thundercats

Moderator
Posted by Outside_85

While it is nice that Johns tries to boost Cheetah, it is annoying that he hasn't given her even a halfway decent motivation for what she is doing save for: "I hate everything." Which is about as deep as Doomsdays motivation.

And its not helped by the botched attempt at an origins (decide if it's Africa or South America for starters) and that little thing about what is a jungle cat and what isn't (hint: cheetahs aren't built for jungles).

Posted by gokuwarrior

@RedheadedAtrocitus: maybe it's good for cheetah to have an amazonian origin,she is supossed to be a powerhouse,but some writers didn't write her properly in the past,this can be a chance to show more powers from her

,not only a high level of super speed,they need to show her super strength and durability more often,because she really needs a high level of strength and durability if she can go toe to toe with characters like superman and wonder woman,but some writers didn't understand that in the past,so now it's new chance for cheetah to shine and get the spotlight as a the powerhouse that she has to be.

Posted by arcano_19

@Danial79: well cheeta is as fast as flash u know for the cheeta is the fastest mamal

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

@gokuwarrior: Sure and I can understand that. Long as there is some consistency now in her character unlike the past, then I'll be open to these changes.

Posted by Yung ANcient One
@Reignmaker & @Danial79  All I'm saying is Super Speed is lame especially when it is light speed. Like you said bad story telling. (+)
Posted by Necrotic_Lycanthrope

@mettlekm:

I was thinking the exact same thing.

I honestly think Cheetah should have stayed the way she looked in Justice. That was a boss outfit (plus made of real Cheetah skin, straight from the animal if I remember.)

Posted by Miss_Garrick

This comic looks really neat.

Posted by cloudzackvincent

@RedheadedAtrocitus: @gokuwarrior: i think her origin is not Amazonian as in Wonder Woman Amazonian. Steve Trevor specifically says "one day Diana came into possession of a ritual dagger from a lost tribe in the Amazon."

it implies "a lost tribe from Amazon" and since the Amazons' homeland is called Themyscira i think he meant a lost tribe from the Amazon rainforest.

Posted by FoxxFireArt

@Babs said:

@SmashBrawler said:

Meh, I've yet to see if New 52 Cheetah really is "one of the greatest threats to the DC Universe".

She cut Superman.

That's pretty darn threatening. Also that she appears to be the cat equivalent of a werewolf. "Werecheetah"?

I'm sort of missing the connection of a 'plant' god turning anyone into a carnivorous animal.

" Not only that, but the ritual dagger that gave her her powers is not of African origin, but a lost tribe in the Amazon. "

Am I the only one who noticed the incredible factual error with this? If this is an ancient artifact from the South American Amazon, why is she a Cheetah? Those are only indigenous to Africa. She's turned into a creature that can't even be found on that continent.

Posted by gokuwarrior

@RedheadedAtrocitus: well all characters had inconsistencies in the past when it comes to feats,i hope now writers avoid inconsistencies,because that's annoying.

Posted by theTimeStreamer

cheetah is so lame. she was only created to sell ww books. she should be a threat to the whole league. and the cutting superman thing.... its magic!!!

Posted by gokuwarrior

@Yung ANcient One: super speed isn't lame,it's ok,but writers need to come up with a good story so the fight won't end in one page,when some characters can speedblitz,then writers need to put them against other characters that can keep up with super speed,the teams have characters with different powers,not everyone can do the same things,and because of that,writers sometimes are lazy,instead of making fights between characters with the same capabilities,they mix everything,allowing chactaers to do things that normally can't do,or other characters unable to do things that normally they can do,and that's how the inconsistent feats start to appear,for example,it's really stupid to give super speed to some characters,but then don't let them use it is in many fights because they are fighting someone that can't keep up with attacks at super speed,that's the only thing that is real lame,give a characxter super speed,but take it away in some fights to make the fight fair for the other character in the fight,there is nothing wrong with super speed if they just make balanced battles,make characters fight other characters thast are in the same level,avoiding the stupid plots,avoiding inconsistencies.

Posted by Eyz

I always saw Cheetah has a pretty worthy and dangerous foe of Wonder Woman. Like Supes' Lex or Bats' Joker(or Ra's?).

Posted by Lvenger

Johns boosted Cheetah way too much. It's absurb she can take Flash, a guy with femto second reaction time in the New 52. And Superman should be faster than her as well. Major PIS. So glad issue 14 will be the last Justice League comic I read. For a while anyway.

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Edited by kapitein_zeppos

1) Cheetah as a tragic victim rather than an outright villain = neat

2) Cheetah, an African animal atavism caused by a South American artefact = I would let is slide if that came from a 1961 silver age story, these days it just makes you a retard unless you have a REALLY good explanation. Otherwise it's an African item that makes you into Cheetah or you get a new character called Jaguar. Everything else is just stupidity, apologies and laziness.

3) Wasn't turning others into animals a Crice trick ?

I'm all for Cheetah being a first rate ass-kicker, your main enemy is Wonder Woman that means you should be able to at least be able to play coup with the big-league heroes.

But I'm not really getting the vibe of this Cheetah, sounds like she was thrown in almost as a corporate decision and she has weird abilities that don't seem to match the character setup, it would be like the Joker being able to magically transform people into clowns or Superman poop rainbow-coloured unicorns because he's an alien.

I'll admit it's early days and there may be method to the madness, I always hope there is, throwing random crap into a comic book might sell a few issues, writing a good solid book usually sells more.

Posted by Rick475069

WTF?

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