Ever since the start, DC Comics has been the home of Gods, with a capital "G." Superman is an unbeatable alien from another planet, sent to Earth to be its greatest hero. Wonder Woman is an Amazonian warrior sent to the world of man to protect the earth. Aquaman is the king of the seas, able to control the aquatic life and protect the world as one of its most powerful heroes.
And then there is Batman. While rightfully compared to Hades, the god of the underworld, Batman is not a God-like his fellow Justice League partners, and he can die. However, he lives as a strong-willed street-level hero protecting Gotham City. From that character type, several DC street-level heroes have risen, all giving hope to their homes. Here is a look at the 10 best street-level heroes in DC Comics, ranked.
10 DAMIAN WAYNE
Batman has done one very thing well, and that is raising children to be competent and legitimate street-level heroes on their own. The most recent Robin is one that is closer to Batman than any other — his son, Damian Wayne.
Damian had an uphill battle to become a hero since his grandfather was the terrorist assassin Ra's al Ghul and Damian once believed he was the heir to that throne. However, he instead chose a different road and became his father's partner, the fourth Robin, and one of the deadliest street-level heroes in Gotham City's history.
9 HARLEY QUINN
Harley Quinn has come a long way. She wasn't even a comic book character when she first appeared. Harley first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series as Joker's sidekick. She was a former doctor at Arkham Asylum that Joker manipulated into a slave of sorts. She was so popular, DC Comics added her to the books.
However, over the years, Harley Quinn moved away from Joker. She became part of the Suicide Squad and eventually became an antihero all on her own. She is a nutjob, for sure, but she is someone who will help people who need it when she isn't out, causing problems for fun.
Katherine Kane is getting very popular thanks to her new show on The CW, but Batwoman in the comics has been respected for a very long time now. Kate was a child when she, her mother, and sister were kidnapped, and she was the only survivor.
After being kicked out of the military for her sexuality and then spending time traveling the world to find herself, she ended up in Gotham City. Of course, once here, it was impossible for Kate not to become a hero and trained to become Batwoman, a new street-level hero that matched up to even Batman himself in brains and fighting skills.
7 RED HOOD
Red Hood was the second Robin, Jason Todd. He was a street punk when Batman met him, and the Caped Crusader took him in and helped turn him into a hero. However, things were not meant to be for this second Robin as Joker took him into a warehouse and beat him to death, Batman arriving too late to save him.
Todd was resurrected when Superboy-Prime altered reality, and he broke out of his coffin, only to slip into a coma. When he came to, he first sought revenge on Batman for letting him die before later becoming a street-level antihero who was more than willing to break Batman's no-kill rule when the situation arose.
6 TIM DRAKE
Tom Drake is arguably the best detective of any man who ever took on the Robin role. Drake was the third Robin, taking over after the death of Jason Todd and holding it until he moved on to work as Red Robin and Damian Wayne became the fourth Robin.
As with all Robin's, Drake remained a street-level hero even after moving on from the role. Since that time, Tim has worked in groups like the Titans and Young Justice and remained one of Gotham City's greatest street-level heroes and one of the best Robins of all time.
5 THE QUESTION
The Question is the true definition of a street-level hero. The original Question was Vic Sage, a former investigative journalist who put on the mask to protect his identity and then set out to uncover all sorts of mysteries. He was mostly a conspiracy theorist, but he was able to prove that many of his theories were indeed true.
In the storyline 52, Vic Sage died and passed on his role as The Question to a very familiar face in Batman comics — Renee Montoya. She took on this role after quitting the Gotham PD and then used the identity to continue her crusade to protect the streets of her beloved, crime-ridden town.
4 GREEN ARROW
One of the rare DC Comics street-level heroes that has nothing to do with Gotham City is none other than Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow. However, while he is not in Gotham City, he is as close to Batman as anyone in the DC Universe. Both are wealthy men who use their riches to take on the roles of superheroes.
However, Green Arrow is as noble as Batman but very different in other ways. Oliver, in the comics, is the protector of Star City and someone who is a socially-progressive hero that fights to protect more than just the people of his town as he also defended the land it is on. The Arrow from the current storylines is not quite as environmentally friendly but is still a front-line street-level hero.
3 CASSANDRA CAIN
If this were a ranking of the deadliest street-level heroes in DC Comics, the one-time Batgirl Cassandra Cain would top the list. However, as a hero, she ranks third below the two most iconic street-level heroes in DC Comics history. Cain was the daughter of two of DC's deadliest assassins and trained as one herself.
However, the hero known as Orphan became a hero in her own right and eventually joined forces with the Bat-Family to protect Gotham City from people like her parents. Batman put her into the specialized task force team known as the Outsiders.
The first Robin ended up as one of DC Comics' most beloved heroes over time as Dick Greyson ended up taking on the role of Nightwing. As Robin, he was the first comic book sidekick, a partner to Batman for decades before DC finally moved him out on his own. He went to the Teen Titans as Robin and then became Nightwing.
While Batman was the protector for Gotham City, Nightwing found his niche. However, he remained a DC street-level hero like his mentor, but in the town of Bludhaven, where Dick was a police officer at one time while also working as the vigilante protecting the streets.
If there is one superhero in comic books — Marvel or DC — that represents the street-level hero, it is Batman. From the time he debuted in the '30s, Batman was a man who kept to himself and protected the streets of Gotham City from the criminal underworld.
Batman's greatest villains were people who wanted to rule the streets, from Penguin and Riddler to Two-Face and Ra's al Ghul. His greatest enemy just wanted to cause havoc in the streets, as The Joker wanted nothing but anarchy. Everyone Batman trained became a street vigilante, and he is the man who started it all.