Cleopatra is an historical figure and thus her origin in comics is generally the same as her origin as displayed in history with generally a few minor changes.
The story of Cleopatra is famous throughout the world as she was a woman standing against the Roman Empire. As such as a character she has taken on a sort of cult status within comics. Although some of those comics address her simply as a historical figure in biographical style comics, she has also met various others throughout the publication of comics including the likes of time traveling heroes such as Rip Hunter. She is also a frequent character in Asterix and Obelix.
Common among the representations of her as a powerful female is that of her great beauty. However, this is a case of historical revisionism as contemporary accounts never revealed her to be particularly attractive. There have as of yet been no examples of a bust of her which have been identified conclusively to compare her beauty against and thus the only representations are more basic representations. Despite this her representation in popular culture lean towards a much sexier image with excessive makeup, elaborate hair and mini skirts in her regular ensemble.
Major Story Arcs
Not surprisingly when a biographical story of hers is told it is generally told fairly accurately in relation to her actual history. Cleopatra in the real world was ruler of Egypt, and also the last Pharaoh. She aligned herself first with Julius Caesar, she also bore him a son. When Caesar was assassinated, she sided with Mark Antony. She committed suicide by asp bite on 12 August 30 BC, when Octavian defeated her and Antony in battle of Actium.
In Rip Hunter ... Time Master she was a recurring character. Initially Rip helped her to return to the throne of Egypt and to meet Julius Caesar. She was later grateful for this help and appeared on other occasions to help him.
In the Top Cow universe Cleopatra killed herself when Octavian wanted to imprison her, but she also knew that she would arise again. Several thousand years later Cleopatra is known as Klara Peterson, but now she needs other people skin to look human. She gets them from volunteers, who are happy to die, that she might live. She helps Shan Beaumont to accept her destiny of becoming god protector. Cleopatra is also the one who invokes the words for Shan to cross over to land of the dead to meet Osiris. Shan gives Cleopatra the amulet of Isis, so that she can seek peace at last. She is also listed as a past Witchblade wielder.
The character is also a fairly often recurring one in the Asterix and Obelix comics, as their adventures are set somewhat at the same time as her actual rule (though there are some anachronisms in both cases.) She is generally shown to be friendly to the two Gaulic heroes as they are opposed to the Romans as was she generally.
An overly sexual version of the character is included on a cover of Grimm Fairy Tales. Her depiction here is somewhat ironic as the series has a habit of displaying characters from legend, and although she is a historical character, her legendary and likely not accurate depiction is represented.
Powers and Abilities
Staying true to the character's historical background, she is rarely treated as anything other than a regular human. As mentioned above she was likely not in actuality very attractive though in popular culture she is represented this way. The interpretations of her leadership style also vary between being vain and self serving to dedicated the people of her country. Evidently not very immune to snake poison.
In 1963 Elizabeth Taylor starred in Cleopatra. Although it had a high budget and only received mixed reviews from critics it was famous due to the scandal it caused over the affair of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. This is referenced numerous times in the Bluewater Productions Elizabeth Taylor Tribute.
In line with her appearances in the Asterix and Obelix comics she is featured in the movie Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra. She is played by Monica Bellucci.