From the moment the first episode of Arrow premiered on The CW in 2012, fans became obsessed with the universe. In the season two episode “The Scientist”, Barry Allen came to Starling City, immediately captured the audience’s (and Felicity’s) interest and the Arrowverse was officially born when the following episode ended with him being struck by the particle accelerator. The Flash had a tone completely unique to its story, but still featured familiar elements. A characteristic that has carried over into all the other shows. Since then the franchise was grown to include Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, plus the animated series Vixen, Freedom Fighters: The Ray and Constantine: City of Demons.
The characters on the shows are all the best of friends and often rely on each other for assistance in their individual fights. The highly anticipated annual crossover offers fans a chance to see all their favorite heroes work together. However, there are rare occasions when they fight amongst themselves to see who is really the best. Oliver and Barry have had a few friendly face-offs over the years. Much to Oliver’s chagrin, Barry has won them all. To save everyone from any future conflicts, we’ve ranked the top 25 heroes of the Arrowverse.
25. LAUREL LANCE/BLACK CANARY
When it was announced that The CW would be doing a series based on the Green Arrow, fans wondered if the TV Laurel Lance would become not only his true love, but also the Black Canary. While Laurel was Oliver’s ex-girlfriend, she showed no signs of having a sonic scream or fighting abilities. Her character actually went through quite a long and prolonged battle to be the hero fans recognized from the comics.
Once she fully became the Black Canary, Laurel joined Team Arrow and was fighting crime alongside the rest of the vigilantes.
She never developed superpowers, but she had an advanced tech that enhanced her own scream. Laurel’s lack of formal fight training meant that she was always at a disadvantage compared to her colleagues. Though her commitment never wavered, her skills were never quite at the same level of everyone else.
24. RONNIE RAYMOND AND MARTIN STEIN/FIRESTORM
The original version of Firestorm featured Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein. Everyone had presumed Ronnie died in the particle accelerator explosion, but he had really merged with Stein to become Firestorm. Together Ronnie and Stein learned how to control their powers and helped Barry as another Central City superhero. He even teamed up with Barry and Oliver to take down Reverse-Flash.
They had an old married couple relationship that helped them understand each other in a different way from Jax and Stein. Though they were very powerful, sadly, they weren’t together long enough to discover all that Firestorm was capable of. As of right now, Ronnie is thought to be dead, but since nobody was ever recovered, comic book rules say he’s not actually dead. There’s every possibility that we will absolutely see Ronnie again.
23. THEA QUEEN/SPEEDY
When we first met Oliver’s little sister Thea, she was a spoiled rich girl using substances to deal with the loss of her father and brother. However, Oliver’s return, meeting Roy and surviving the earthquake helped her mature. Once she found out Malcolm Merlyn was her real father and left town with him, she finally had to learn how to live on her own and take care of herself.
Malcolm trained her to become a League of Assassins style fighter for his own purposes, but once she saw through his ulterior motives, she decided to use her newfound skills for good. She’s an expert fighter and archer, though not as good as Oliver, but her small size and daredevil spirit added a new element to the team. She left vigilante life behind for a while, but recently picked her bow back up to help Nyssa destroy the remaining Lazarus pits.
22. NATE HEYWOOD/STEEL
Season two brought some changes including a new tone and cast members to Legends of Tomorrow. The show became decidedly more comedic and added Nick Zano as historian Nate Heywood. To save his life, Ray injected him with a metahuman serum that gave him the power to make his body completely steel. As the team’s historian Nate is able to pinpoint important anachronisms they must fix.
He knows all the details that mean the difference between success and failure.
As Steel he is extremely strong, having been able to stop a train and catch Supergirl from a fall to Earth. Perhaps it’s for budgetary reasons, but we don’t really see Steel very often, so it seems that his knowledge as Nate is actually more important to the team than his abilities as Steel.
21. MICK RORY/ HEAT WAVE
Mick isn’t really what you would call a hero. Since he started as a villain this makes perfect sense. He and Captain Cold joined the Legends so they could find a way to steal across time. After one too many screw ups, he was kicked off the Waverider, but later turned into the Time Masters bounty hunter Kronos. He did eventually rejoin the team, but the death of his lifelong partner rocked him and led to some bad decisions.
Lately he has found a balance of being friends with everyone, fixing time, but still occasionally getting into trouble. His fighting skills and propensity for setting things on fire make up for what he may lack in smarts. He’s discovered his own way of being a hero, that would only work amongst the Legends.
20. ROY HARPER/ARSENAL
Roy Harper was introduced as a thief from the wrong side of Starling City. He developed a fascination with the Hood when he saved his life. He became Oliver’s eyes and ears around town, giving him intel when needed. Unfortunately, being infected with Mirakuru changed him and he began training with Oliver to work through his aggression.
As Arsenal, he got a cool suit and was a full-fledged hero in Star City.
Unlike the others, he was still excited to fight the bad guys, which made him a breath of fresh air to the team. It’s also always fun when Roy would come up with an obscure fact to remind everyone he was smarter than they thought he was. With Colton Haynes returning as a series regular, it will be fun to see Oliver have a supportive partner again.
19. WINN SCHOTT
Kara’s best friend Winn Schott is a genius. He is the brains behind every cool piece of technology the DEO uses. He also comes up with all the crazy plans they use to fight aliens and villainous metahumans. Winn doesn’t have powers or special training, but his IQ makes him one of the most important members of the team. He even out thought Brainiac to save the day.
Not having powers doesn’t keep him from being heroic. Winn is the kind of guy who will still run into a burning building to save someone even though he knows he’s not Superman. Knowing that his father is the evil Toyman has made him even more committed to being a good person. In the next crossover, we need to see a moment where he and Cisco are trying to figure out who’s smarter.
18. ALEX DANVERS
Supergirl’s sister Alex is not only a brilliant scientist, but also a highly trained fighter and weapons expert. Most hero teams have two different people who occupy these roles, but Alex does it all.
She’s the pragmatic member of the DEO, who knows that hard choices have to be made to save the world.
Recently, Alex admitted to herself and her family that she was gay, making her character even more impactful. Alex has lived her life in Kara’s shadow, and while there have been occasional fights, she hasn’t let it make her resent her sister. They can often be seen fighting the bad guys side by side. She is just as strong as many others on this list, she just doesn’t wear a cool costume.
17. WALLY WEST/KID FLASH
In the second season of The Flash, Joe’s ex-wife comes back and reveals that Joe has a son he never knew he had. Though the road is bumpy, he eventually bonds with Joe, Iris and Barry. After “Flashpoint” he finally gains the superpowers he so desperately wants and becomes the speedster Kid Flash.
Wally helps Flash keep Central City safe, even taking over full time when Barry is trapped in the Speed Force. Wally never quite developed all the abilities that Barry has. Whether that was due to Barry’s experience or because Wally isn’t as strong as Barry, remains to be seen. However, living in Barry’s shadow meant he could never really find his path with Team Flash. He has since moved on to the Waverider, joining the Legends. As the new kid, he’s forced to prove himself again, but on his own he’s found a new strength.
16. JOE WEST
Traditionally comic book heroes have dead parents. It’s one of the hallmarks of the genre. Barry Allen is no different, except after his mother’s murder and his father’s incarceration he was adopted by Joe West. Sorry This is Us fans, there is not a more supportive, loving dad on TV than Joe. No matter what gets thrown at him by his kids, he’s always ready with a wise pep talk or kick in the pants. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s an experienced cop with the CCPD.
As more heroes joined Team Flash, Joe’s parental reach expanded.
He’s now a father figure for Caitlin and Cisco, as well as a better example for Harry. Joe is also the audience’s fun human entry into this crazy scientific world. There’s no question that the STAR Labs crew wouldn’t be nearly as successful without Joe’s steady hands guiding them.
15. JOHN CONSTANTINE
In the Arrowverse, we’ve spent six seasons getting comfortable with vigilantes, metahumans and enhanced animals. Now, with the official entrance of John Constantine to the universe, we’re headed into the world of magic and demons. He’s a master of the occult who specializes in hunting demons and using magic.
Constantine isn’t a great fighter or genius scientist, so he doesn’t fit the expectations of what a hero is. He is the type who will do whatever it takes to save innocent lives, a firm requirement of all the heroes in the Arrowverse. However, we’ve recently discovered that being a traditional hero isn’t always the best way to save the day. Every team needs someone who offers a different perspective to the conversation. Constantine is set to be a regular part of Legends of Tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to working with a team.
14. AMAYA JIWE/VIXEN
We originally met Vixen as Mari McCabe, a new hero learning the ropes from Oliver and Barry in modern day Detroit. In season two of Legends of Tomorrow we met Mari’s grandmother Amaya working with the Justice Society in the 40s. She also used the spirit totem, but was much more proficient with it, having been trained for the duty since birth.
Her totem allows her to embody the spirit of any animal she needs for the task at hand.
She is also an extremely skilled fighter and is usually the calming voice of reason on the ship. A sorely needed quality on a team full of strong and varying personalities. No doubt, this will be missed on the Waverider, as she has returned to Zambesi to lead her people.
13. CAITLIN SNOW/KILLER FROST
As the resident doctor of Team Flash, Caitlin Snow is a brilliant biochemist and physician, who may be one of the leading experts on metahuman physiology. Her discoveries have helped Barry defeat countless rogues. When she found out she had an Earth-2 doppelganger named Killer Frost, it rattled her, but since she had no powers she thought she was safe.
Unfortunately, Barry changed all that with “Flashpoint” and she developed Killer Frost abilities as a result. She uses her powers to freeze things, shoot ice blasts and daggers, as well as creating an ice flow she can fly on. It was a rough road to balance both personalities, but lately they’ve found a way to coexist. With Caitlin’s brains and Killer Frost’s imagination we haven’t really seen everything she’s capable of.
12. RAY PALMER/THE ATOM
In the continuing debate on who the smartest person in the Arrowverse is, Ray Palmer must be somewhere near the top of the list. He started working on the ATOM suit when all he had was a design and a workable idea for a power source. With Felicity’s help he finally found a way to make it work. With some training from Oliver, he became a better, more strategic fighter.
However, his time on the Waverider has really helped him evolve into a more mature hero.
Working alongside Martin broadened his scientific knowledge, Mick made him more accepting, Nate became the best friend he never had and Sara has helped him as a leader. The Ray we know now is miles away from the Ray we met in season three of Arrow.
11. FELICITY SMOAK
Without a doubt, Felicity is the MVP of Team Arrow. Whenever the team comes up against a code they can’t crack or an opponent whose plan they can’t figure out, it’s always Felicity to the rescue. Oliver was getting by with some remedial computer skills, but it became very clear that he would need someone with a lot more experience. Cut to him bringing a laptop full of bullet holes to Queen Consolidated’s IT girl.
Since she has been working with Oliver, Felicity has stopped missiles, defused countless bombs, defeated doppelganger Nazis, traveled through time and outsmarted evil government agents and even stood up to Ra’s al Ghul. She’s the one person Oliver can always count on and there would be no Green Arrow without her.
10. LEONARD SNART/CAPTAIN COLD
As The Flash’s most consistent foe, Leonard Snart made several trips to Central City stealing whatever struck his fancy. After figuring out Barry’s identity, the two came to a tenuous peace. Though he enjoyed being a criminal, Snart also seemed to know deep down that he was better than his less ethical peers.
Like all heroes, he had severe parental issues and seemed to be searching for a place to fit in.
Joining the Legends on the Waverider gave him a chance to see how things worked on the other side and he reluctantly liked being a hero. His brilliant planning and fearless nature made him a perfect choice for the motley crew. He bonded with them so much that he sacrificed himself to save the team, so they could finish the mission and defeat Vandal Savage. The final act of a true hero.
9. CISCO RAMON/VIBE
Cisco Ramon is the glue of the Arrowverse. He designs suits and equipment for everyone on Earth-1 and created the device that Kara uses to travel over from her Earth. We really need to see him take a visit to Supergirl, work with Winn and meet Superman. Without his brain Team Flash would never be able to defeat any rogues. It’s almost always his tech or idea that leads to victory.
He became an even more important piece of the puzzle when he developed his Vibe powers. He can locate people, see what they’re seeing, even sometimes seeing into the past or future. He also creates breaches in pockets of time, meaning he and others can jump to other spots in space, including other Earths. His brain coupled with his abilities are among the most powerful and vital in the entire universe.
8. MARTIN STEIN AND JEFFERSON “JAX” JACKSON/FIRESTORM
When Ronnie died, Martin needed to find another Firestorm partner; enter Jax. A high school football player injured by the particle accelerator, he had no interest in being half of a superhero team. Though, when push came to shove, he stepped up to the plate and beat the bad guy. Jax and Martin had a father/son relationship that made their bond stronger than the one he had with Ronnie.
A stronger bond meant that Firestorm could develop abilities that they previously hadn’t been able to achieve.
They often communicated across great distances and eventually were able to change the matter of objects. For example, turning a giant bomb into water. Unfortunately, Martin was killed by Nazis from Earth-X. Jax left the Legends to find his own path without his partner, but something tells us it’s not the last time we see Firestorm. After all, Ronnie’s body was never found.
7. J’ONN J’ONZZ/MARTIAN MANHUNTER
J’onn J’onzz has long been considered one of the strongest members of the Justice League. His telepathic powers allow him to read minds, implant suggestions and shape shift into someone else’s form. On Supergirl, we first got to know him as Hank Henshaw, the leader of the DEO. Really, he was a Martian refugee who promised Alex and Kara’s father that he would look after his daughters.
As Hank, J’onn was forced to hide his powers, but now that he is able to use them openly he has become even stronger, even taking on his familiar Martian Manhunter guise. We’ve seen him fight various threats alongside Supergirl and Superman, but it’s his experience at the DEO that gives his powers their real strength. He’s not perfect, as he is still tortured by his trauma on Mars and has a weakness for protecting the Danvers sisters, who he loves like daughters.
6. CLARK KENT/SUPERMAN
It’s no secret that Superman is usually the strongest superhero in any universe. However, as a supporting character in Supergirl’s world, he’s been proven to be not as strong as Kara. We’ve only had a few chances to get to know Kara’s cousin Clark, but so far he lines up with previous Superman origins. He’s a mild mannered reporter at the Daily Planet, who is in love with Lois Lane and spends his spare time saving the world.
As the last children of Krypton, he and Kara are more like brother and sister than cousins.
As she embarks on her new dual life, he has offered her advice and assistance when needed. Their most important moment came when he was mind controlled into fighting her and she beat him while he was fighting at full strength. So, it’s been established in the Arrowverse that Supergirl is stronger than Superman.
5. JOHN DIGGLE/SPARTAN
From the moment we met Oliver’s new bodyguard John Diggle, we knew there was more to him than meets the eye. He instantly knew Oliver wasn’t telling the full truth about his time on the island and never fully bought into the party boy facade. Once he committed to Oliver’s cause, he was all in, using his military training to add depth to Oliver’s plan as the Hood. John’s more structured fight and weapons training added a new element to everything.
As the team has progressed, he has become its leader at times, making better choices than Oliver. Though Diggle’s experience and patience offer a different perspective that Oliver too often overlooks, he never loses respect for his best friend’s skills. Their recent falling out has done nothing to diminish his heroic tendencies. If anything, John will return to Team Arrow better than he was before.
4. BARRY ALLEN/THE FLASH
When Barry first decided to become a hero, he wasn’t sure if he had what it took to be like Oliver. Then Oliver told him he wouldn’t be like him, he’d be better. Barry has a more optimistic outlook on the world than Oliver. He sees that not everyone is either good or bad. That’s what sets him apart from the Green Arrow.
Once he learned how to use and control his powers he became a hero Central City could count on.
Over the years, his many losses have hardened him, but his friends and family have helped him stay the same positive hero he’s always been. If there’s one thing holding him back, it’s his inability to learn from his mistakes. He continually changes the timeline, while also revealing his secret to way too many people, which inevitably puts them in danger.
3. OLIVER QUEEN/GREEN ARROW
Arrow’s first episode is one of the best in the entire Arrowverse. It not only perfectly introduces us to Oliver Queen, it sets the stage for a universe we needed to see more of. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot of detail about Oliver’s journey to becoming the hero he is now. Though everyone in Star City calls him and his friends vigilantes, we know the truth about who they really are.
Obviously we all know about his fighting ability and ridiculous archery skills, but it’s his complete willingness to give his life over to helping others that makes him such a great hero. It’s this quality that inspired others to follow in his footsteps. He set the blueprint for everyone else to become the heroes they wanted to be. Barry, Sara, Roy and Thea were all directly inspired by his leadership. Without Oliver there is no Arrowverse.
2. SARA LANCE/WHITE CANARY
No character in the Arrowverse has had a more interesting arc than Sara Lance. She went from cheating sister to assassin to hero to time ship captain. When we first met Sara, she was just the sister Oliver cheated on Laurel with. She died in the first episode. When she came back she was a League of Assassin trained vigilante known as the Canary. Through her work with Team Arrow, she evolved into who she wanted to be, a strong, self-reliant woman.
As you’d expect, coming back from the dead changed her and she joined the Legends to find herself once again. On the Waverider we’ve gotten to watch her come to terms with her murderous past and grow into an exceptional leader who’s not afraid to take risks. Learning to live with her mistakes has made her a stronger hero than anyone could’ve have ever expected.
1. KARA DANVERS/SUPERGIRL
In any superhero story the most important factor is making the secret identity just as interesting as the hero. The reason Supergirl has been able to capture everyone’s attention the way it has is because Kara is just as central to the show as Supergirl. Kara is the one who has to deal with being an orphaned alien. She’s the one who has to figure out how to fit in with the humans.
Supergirl gets all the praise from saving the world, while Kara is basically invisible.
However, it’s Melissa Benoist’s ability to make Kara’s humanity the most important part of Supergirl’s decision making that keeps her grounded and accessible. Yes, she’s the strongest and most powerful, but she also has real problems like loneliness. It’s the balance of her humanity that makes her compelling.
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