As one of the most prominent comics publications of the greater half of a century, DC Comics has created countless pop culture icons that have been forever cemented in society's collective conscious. From Batman to Wonder Woman, many of DC's heroes have had such a profound impact on culture that they've taken on their own meanings outside of their own source material. However, while many of DC's heroes have become household names, out of the hundreds of characters that DC has published, there are countless lesser appreciated characters who've yet to enjoy their time in the limelight. So with no further delay, we bring you the 10 Most Underrated DC Heroes! While not all of these heroes are particularly obscure, these are the heroes who've been neglected or under-appreciated comparatively to more widely recognized heroes.
10 Etrigan the Demon
From Iron Man to The Incredible Hulk, many Jack Kirby's superhero creations have gone onto become some of the most recognizable fictional characters of all time. However, many of Kirby's creations with DC have not had nearly as much lasting success and acclaim as those he'd conceived for Marvel. One of the most prominent examples of the underutilization of a Jack Kirby Hero is Etrigan the Demon.
Originally created as a hero who could be utilized in both horror and superhero comics alike, Etrigan is a demon whose origin and frequent moral ambiguity allows for the character to be employed in a diverse spectrum of stories. However, a far cry from other characters created by Jack Kirby, Etrigan was never cemented as a prime time character, and is often lost in the shuffle of other C and B-list DC Heroes.
9 Uncle Sam
Whenever someone mentions the topic of overtly American superheroes, the first hero to come to the minds of most is Captain America. Let's face it, America is literally in his name. However there is a DC character hot on Steve Roger's tail in the race of most American Hero, and that hero is Uncle Sam. Created by Will Eisner in 1940, this incarnation of the character is a spiritual personification of patriotism itself. While often used as a supporting character, Uncle Sam is currently the protagonist of The Freedom Fighters, a comic that takes place on an alternate earth in which Uncle Sam and the namesake Freedom Fighters combat against Nazi occupation.
In the superhero genre, simplicity is not necessarily a negative, and less can often be more. Streamlined designs and abilities of a character often allow that hero to be quickly understood at a mere glance. One less complicated DC hero who's often swept under the rug is Wildcat.
A former professional boxer, Wildcat brings his fighting prowess to the streets in the form of vigilante justice. What could be easier to understand than a guy who punches criminals for a living? As an older hero, Wildcat has been responsible for training the likes of Batman and Black Canary in the art of hand to hand combat.
7 Jonah Hex
While westerns have definitely lost the appeal that they'd held in the 1950s, as a vigilante of the wild west of the 1800s, Jonah Hex brings a flavor all his own in regards to the DC Universe. With the success of superhero stories in other eras such as 2018's Captain Marvel and 2017's Wonder Woman, one would think that DC would be more inclined to tie it's hero of the wild west into the mix more frequently than done currently.
6 Plastic Man
If there's anything that the success of films like Shazam and The Guardians of the Galaxy have shown us, it's that superhero stories that are infused with comedy resonate with many people. Plastic Man is essentially if the personification of slapstick comedy took the form of a superhero.
With a form reminiscent of what you'd see from a cartoon character, Plastic Man is capable of altering his form to anything from another person, to a functioning vehicle. With the hilarious potential of all that can be done with Plastic Man and the dynamics that he brings to the table, its a shame that the majority of his appearances are relegated to the comics and various animated series.
5 Captain Atom
Alan Moore and Davin Gibbons's Watchmen is often lauded as one of the greatest graphic novels of all time due to it's mature approach to the material and characters. In recent years, one of the most noteworthy characters of Watchmen, Doctor Manhattan, has eclipsed the character whom he was originally based upon: Captain Atom. An archetypal hero lauding the ability to utilize seemingly infinite amounts of energy, one would think that Captain Atom would enjoy the same popularity found by his Watchmen counterpart.
While many characters of the Golden Age of comics have experienced a great deal of longevity, and have transcended the comics medium itself, there are countless characters from this era whom have since faded into obscurity. One such character is the original incarnation of Sandman, Wesley Dodds.
Donning was is possibly the most noir-centric design of any superhero, Sandman would fight criminals clad in a fedora and gas mask, using a sleep-inducing gun. Wesley Dodds was notably a founding member of the Justice Society of America, and as a character created in 1939, is one of the oldest characters in DC's catalog.
Though many would claim that being deceased does not qualify as a superpower, Boston Brand, Deadman would beg to differ. A former circus performer who was murdered in the midst of an act, Brand found that his spirit was still tethered to the earth, and that he had gained the ability to possess others. While an inherently grim premise for a character, that the darker elements of this character have yet to be played upon a larger scale, pitching the character as one that marries the elements of the superhero and horror genres.
2 The Justice Society of America
Though DC's premier team of heroes, The Justice League has become a household name, the Justice Society of America is a team that has fallen into obscurity in recent years. Created by Gardener Fox, The Justice Society of America is DC's first established team of superheroes.
With an original lineup consisting of the Atom, the first Flash, the first Green Lantern, Doctor Fate, Hour-Man, Hawkman, Sandman, and the Spectre, the team paved the way for every superhero team to follow, from the Justice League to the Avengers.
We need to be honest with ourselves. We all know who Aquaman is. DC has time and time again taken efforts to make the character come across as a cool and legitimate hero standing among the likes of the rest of the Justice League. He's one of the most physically capable members of the League, he's received a pirate-esque hook hand, and has even been played by Jason Momoa.
Unfortunately, it's time to face the grim reality. Until the end of time itself, Aquaman will forever be seen as "that guy who can talk to fish."