April 30, 2017

Character Spotlight: Cheetah

Cheetah’s are born hunters. It makes sense to mimic them when deciding to go after the most dangerous prey, the Amazonian, Wonder Woman. Several have gone by the name Cheetah, all have been enemies to Diana Prince. How does one start dressing like a cheetah or even, stranger, becoming a humanoid cheetah? Let’s find out!

Priscilla Rich

Debutante Priscilla Rich had two personalities, her own and that of Cheetah. Cheetah was obsessed with Wonder Woman and defeating her from the moment she met her. Donning a leopard skin suit, Priscilla would dedicate her life to fight with Wonder Woman and outsmart her. She’d plan out traps to get her to die or frame her for crimes.

Possessing no powers of her own, she’d often attempt to steal Amazonian artifacts to gain access to powers. One such artifact was the golden girdle of Hippolyta, the mother of Wonder Woman. She’d hold Hippolyta hostage, gain control of the girdle and rule Themyscira for a brief time until Wonder Woman could defeat her. Eventually, age would defeat Priscilla, she’d retire and gain control of her split personality. Her niece would be forced to follow in her footsteps and she’d condemn the third to take her name. Sadly, age wasn’t what took her life, it wold be the third Cheetah to end her life.

Deborah Domaine

Feeling guilty of her wealthy upbringing, Deborah “Debbie” Domaine would dedicate her life to helping the world, even befriending Wonder Woman for assistance. Sadly, being the niece of the former Cheetah meant certain people had interest in getting in contact with her. Finding Priscilla to be too old, Debbie is taken instead by the villainous organization, Kobra.

Enduring brainwashing techniques and torture, Debbie has herself rewritten as Cheetah. Kobra use her to become a new villain to threaten not just Wonder Woman but the entire Justice League. Her time as Cheetah is undone when the Crisis of Infinite Earths resets things, she is left to live a happier left unaffected by Cheetah.

Barbara Minerva

Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva was a wealthy archeologist known for doing whatever it takes to get artifacts. While on a dangerous expedition she’d end up with one other survivor to find a priest of Urzkartaga to grant Barbara powers. Barbara sacrifices her fellow survivor so she may become the Cheetah, a humanoid cheetah when the moon is full. However, the traditional way to do this ritual requires the recipient be a virgin, Barbara ends up in a weakened state when she is not transformed.

Using her powers, she realizes that the Amazonian have not only many artifacts, but ones thst could help mitigate her human form. She uses whatever means she can and often threatens if not outright kills to get Wonder Woman to yield. The two would fight for years with Barbara’s desire to steal Amazonian artifacts overshadowed by her desire to beat Wonder Woman.

Her quest for more power would put her at odds with her own power source and she’d lose it for a brief time to the fourth Cheetah. When she’d gain it back she’d even find an ally in Circe, another Wonder Woman villain, granting her full access to her Cheetah form at all times while being able to look human or like Cheetah.

In the New 52, Barbara Minerva is raised in a community called Amazonia that trained her to be a master hunter and an unrepentant killer. She’d find an artifact called the God-Killer Knife and use it to grant herself the power to turn into the Cheetah. She’d be a deadly foe for Wonder Woman for many years.

Rebirth brings Barbara Minerva back to archeology but this time growing up with an obsession of proving that Amazons are real by finding physical evidence. Years after Wonder Woman has proven the existence of the Amazons for her, she finds the Cult of Urzkartaga and become the Cheetah. Once again becoming a great enemy to Wonder Woman.

Sebastion Ballestros

Sent by Circe, Sebastion Ballestros seeks favor with Urzkartaga, to become the only male Cheetah. Knowing that the god was displeased with Barbara Minerva, he was able to talk his way into gaining the power of Cheetah. This wouldn’t last long as Barbara would kill him to regain her god’s favor.

There you have it! Cheetah has long been a part of Wonder Woman’s history. She hasn’t appeared in much outside of cartoons when it comes to Wonder Woman’s own foray into live-action but she still is often there in animation. Will we ever see her grace the big screen? Time will tell! See you next time!

Suggested Reading
Wonder Woman #6
Wonder Woman #274
Wonder Woman Vol. 2, #7
Wonder Woman Vol. 2, #170

Dr. Bustos



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