It’s not true of everyone, but for the most part, comic book fans don’t like change all that much. It’s not just an element of a stubborn mentality or a symptom of a deep underlying paranoia directed towards anything new. Comic books are constant and circular. The status usually stays quo. Change can sometimes be good, but oftentimes, it just messes with the way things have been for decades in detrimental ways. One small change can completely shift something that is beloved and cherished dearly.
Change can go wrong, of course, but new isn’t always bad. In fact, when it comes to characters, new additions and creations can often be the best part of the comic book medium. With The New 52 and DC Rebirth, DC Comics has been adding to their storied roster for a few years now, undergoing a concerted effort to bring something new to a very old multiverse.
Most of these new characters aren’t as well known as DC’s more prolific heroes, and they deserve much more attention than they are getting. So here are the 17 Newest Superheroes In DC Comics That You Need to Know About.
We’re starting with a minor cheat who’s technically not a brand new character. Omen AKA Lilith Clay has gone through so many different versions (all with the same name) though that the character that appears in DC Rebirth might as well be considered original. While the first Omen was introduced back in 1970s, she was a little used and little loved member of the original Teen Titans. Omen was brought back with the New 52 Teen Titans, but just as a deranged crony of a very underwhelming villain.
With DC Rebirth, Lilith’s previous iterations have been largely forgotten or outright ignored. Lilith is now a founding member of the Teen Titans and an integral part of the team, which includes fan-favorites like Nightwing, Donna Troy, Wally West, and more. Omen is essentially DC Rebirth’s answer to The New Teen Titans’ Raven. She’s the Titans’ psychic powerhouse and occasional moral compass, and she even has a complicated and strange romantic history with Wally.
Despite her similarities to the much more popular Raven, Lilith is very much her own character. Her psychic powers are incredibly impressive and she is much more human, and therefore more relatable, than the daughter of Trigon.
Though it originally seemed that Bluebird might be the female replacement for Nightwing in the Bat Family, Harper Row’s alter ego has grown into much more than a superhero substitute. Bluebird might have the color scheme of Nightwing, but she has the scrappiness of Jason Todd, the tech know-how of Batgirl, and the determination of Damian Wayne’s Robin. Bluebird is the distillation of several more established Bat Family characters into one original package.
Bluebird really shines, however, when she’s out of her superhero get-up. Harper Row is a young girl who lives in The Narrows of Gotham with her brother Cullen, having fled her abusive father and emancipated herself and her brother from his control. When she met Batman on a chance encounter, Harper became determined to help him and join his team. Thus started a long journey that ended with the birth of Bluebird.
Harper has a slightly antagonistic (but still respectful) relationship with the Dark Knight, which feels like nothing else in DC. This alone is a feat, because Batman has mentored so many young heroes that it’s hard for any mentor/mentee relationship to feel fresh. Yet somehow, Harper fills a role in the Bat Family that no one else was exactly hitting before she came along.
Caitlin Snow, better known by the name Killer Frost, is certainly not a new character. Yet Killer Frost, who has now dropped the Killer part of her name, is definitely new to the whole hero thing. In DC Rebirth, Frost was one of the characters that Batman recruited for his new Justice League of America, and she takes some heavy influence from the version of the character from The Flash TV show.
Frost is a woman who is coming to her senses, controlling her powers and trying to atone for her past actions.
While she’s is on the right side of the law in DC Rebirth, the character has still managed to keep her edge. Frost might no longer be a killer, but she is just as quippy and acerbic as always. The ice puns are plenty and perfect.
It remains to be seen if Frost’s reformation will stick. Given the circular nature of comic books, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if Caitlin Snow goes back to the Killer Frost moniker eventually. But currently, Rebirth is proving that Caitlin doesn’t need to be villainous to be entertaining.
Nightwing’s current lady love and another reformed criminal, Defacer has mostly left her costumed life behind her. In the world of comic books, though, once you put a suit and give yourself another name, it’s almost impossible to never look back again. Even when your moniker and costume are as a lazy as Defacer’s, AKA Shawn Tsang. Underneath a rather lame exterior (and backstory) is a rather awesome hero, however.
Defacer was once the sidekick to a small-time criminal named Pigeon. Batman and Robin caught and arrested both of them in their early days. Since being caught, Shawn has tried to turn her life around. Shawn uses her past as Defacer to help other reforming criminals and troubled youths of Blüdhaven. Though most of Defacer’s heroic work has been performed in everyday wear, she has indeed costumed up to help her boyfriend, Dick Grayson.
Defacer has primarily functioned as Nightwing’s love interest so far. Since this is Nightwing we’re talking about, and some troubles have already popped up in their romance, Shawn and Dick likely won’t last forever as a couple. Hopefully, Defacer is just getting started as a hero in the DC Universe; she doesn’t need the former Boy Wonder to be important.
12. Fast Track
Godspeed might have gotten all the headlines for being the newest character to receive Speed Force powers in the DCU, but in reality, he was just one of many characters in Joshua Williamson’s The Flash series who developed the need for speed. However, one of the only ones that truly mattered to The Flash, both the character and the series, was Fast Track.
Meena Dhawan was a STAR Labs employee before being struck by the Speed Force storm that turned her into a hero. As is par for the course for a speedster, Meena picked up on her new life very quickly. She was able to keep up with Barry Allen physically and mentally. Though the pair did date briefly, she was much more than a particularly fleet-footed love interest. Fast Track was an excellent partner for The Flash, and she even did a fair bit of mentoring to the new Kid Flash.
Fast Track is currently in a tricky situation. Though it appeared that Meena had been killed by Godspeed, she has since returned as an agent of the villainous Black Hole. Oh, and it appears that she’s been just a tiny bit brainwashed by them. Meena might be walking on the dark side now, but it’s obviously out of her control, so we don’t expect it to last.
Barbara Gordon’s roommate was a part of her revamped Batgirl series in Burnside since the very start. It wasn’t until near the very end of that run where Frankie finally got an official superhero name: Operator. She’s essentially Oracle under a different name, but since Oracle is one of the best DC superheroes ever, it’s hard to argue with her getting a replacement.
Though Operator functions largely the same as Oracle once did — being the voice in the heroes’ ears and their eye in the sky — Frankie is a tremendous character. Her “powers” might not be that different from one of Barbara Gordon’s previous superhero identities, but Frankie is a near perfect foil for Babs. Frankie is sassy, sweet, and highly intelligent, and she challenges Barbara emotionally and morally.
DC Rebirth did bring “Oracle” back, and they made him a suspicious Batgirl fanboy who works for the Birds of Prey. Frankie/Operator is the real inheritor to Oracle’s hacker throne, though. She takes everything great about Oracle, including being a woman with a physical disability, and gives it all an appealing fresh coat of paint.
Scott Snyder’s Court of Owls storyline, which launched Batman’s New 52 adventures, are extremely well regarded. The best thing to come out of them, though, might be a character that appeared a couple of years after the story wrapped up. Strix is a former Talon, an immortal assassin for the Court of Owls, and she’s gone severely underrated by comic fans and DC itself.
Strix has rarely been seen outside of one of her creator’s (Gail Simone) books, but every time she has appeared, she is a delight. Strix is a mute machine of destruction and justice. Haunted by what she was forced to do for the Court of Owls, she’s trying to do as much good as she can now. There’s a lot of reformed criminals running around Rebirth these days.
Strix has bounced around a couple of superhero teams, including the Birds of Prey and the Secret Six. Currently, she remains unemployed. It’s about time that readers start getting to know her, though, and that DC takes her out of her state of limbo.
Duke Thomas’ entry in the Bat Family was a strange one. Duke was properly introduced in the bizarre and short-lived series We Are Robin, which involved a group of Gotham City kids trying to emulate the Boy Wonder. We Are Robin was not a bad book, but it was one that had some severe identity crisis issues. It wanted to be separate from the Batman mythos, but it still relied heavily on the Dark Knight in order to maintain reader interest. In any case, Duke was the best thing, by far, to come out of the series.
Duke has since left the Robin idolization behind, and is now Batman’s latest partner/adopted son. He’s gone through a trial by fire as the Caped Crusader’s newest sidekick, and he’s emerged from it as Lark. Like Bluebird, Duke has a lot of elements of previous Batsy sidekicks, mostly Tim Drake, but he manages to stand on his own.
Duke not only injects some color to the very white, black hair, blue-eyed Bat Family, he also offers some refreshing realism. Lark has become Batman’s on-the-ground and in-the-field liaison. He’s welcomed openly by the people he’s protecting, which is an interesting dynamic for a Bat Family member.
8. Wally West II
The new Wally West had a very rough introduction into the DC Universe. Originally presented as the return of the fan favorite character, most readers were not happy to see Wally as a moody, quasi-criminal teenager who hated The Flash. Prior to DC Rebirth, Wally was presented as a deeply unlikable character and more of a burden than anything else.
Thankfully, Rebirth managed to fix Wally a great deal. The event not only ushered in Wally as the new Kid Flash, but it softened his edges quite a bit. Wally is a lot more likable and joyous in the Kid Flash suit than he ever was out of it. There are still some issues between Wally and Barry, but they are far more interesting and human than the angsty teen stuff going on before with the character.
It still doesn’t make an enormous amount of sense how DC has explained why there are two Wally Wests running around. Wally West as Kid Flash is, in fact, the cousin of Wally West, who is another adult Flash. Wally I and Wally II are just two (close) relatives with the exact same name and powers. It’s confusing, but the new Kid Flash is still a wonderful addition in the DC Universe.
7. Jackson Hyde
There was a character named Jackson Hyde who existed very briefly before the New 52 reboot. Even though they are both Aqualads, the Pre-Flashpoint Jackson Hyde shares very little in common with this new iteration. The new Aqualad takes heavy inspiration in his look from Kaldur’ahm of Young Justice fame, though there aren’t many similarities there, either. This Jackson is taking elements from other heroes, but he is still very much his own character.
The new Jackson is a gay teenager with hydrokinetic powers. His mother initially denies her son’s sexual orientation and his powers. Feeling unwanted, Jackson felt compelled to run away, only to find the new Teen Titans, who have accepted him with mostly open arms. (Damian Wayne is on the team, however, so it’s not all smiles and rainbows. Oh, and Black Manta is his father, so it’s definitely not all smiles and rainbows.)
Jackson is a heartbreaking but ultimately inspiring character for DC. It’s easy to look down on Aquaman and his supporting cast; they’re the fish people. Jackson is proof positive that there is a lot to love and admire when it comes to Atlanteans.
6. Gotham Girl
It’s commonly agreed upon that superpowers have no business in Gotham City. Yet with DC Rebrith, Batman writer Tom King introduced a pair of heroes to Gotham with roughly the same powers as Superman. Gotham Girl and her brother (imaginatively named Gotham) were the starring attractions of the early Batman: Rebirth issues. There was a catch to the siblings’ powers, however. The more they use them, the closer they get to dying. Gotham learned this the hard way, and he ended up killing himself by overextending his abilities, leaving Gotham Girl alone in the world.
This was the right move creatively, as Gotham Girl was always far more interesting and likable than her brother. She’s currently under the tutelage of Batman, trying to learn how to be a hero without accessing her powers at all.
A vigilante who has the powers of Superman but is forced to fight like Batman is a pitch-perfect DC Comics concept. It’s a wonder that a story like Gotham Girl’s hasn’t been told countless times before.
Superwoman: Rebirth began with a cruel fake-out. It was promoted as the New 52 Lois Lane getting the powers of the dead New 52 Superman and starting her own solo adventures. In the very first issue, however, Lois dies, and the powers transfer to Clark’s childhood friend Lana Lang. The Lois to Lana switch was a wholly unnecessary twist by DC, but Superwoman shouldn’t be written off for how she came into the comic world.
It might be hard to believe for anyone who watched Smallville, but the New 52 Lana Lang was always far more interesting and pleasant than the New 52 Lois. While Lois revealed Clark’s identity to the entire world, Lana was Supes’ best friend through thick and thin., so there’s something extra special and emotional about Lana getting the powers of her dearest friend.
Superwoman is not really a new name for a DC hero (or even a villain). With Lana, there’s an added layer of sadness and grace that really sends this interpretation of the character to the next level. In her solo series, Superwoman is far more than a gender-swapped Superman, to say the least.
4. Simon Baz & Jessica Cruz
The fact that these two Green Lanterns are grouped together is not a comment on their quality. Though Simon and Jessica’s partnership forms the core of their series, Green Lanterns, each character is fully developed and, well, pretty amazing. Simon and Jessica are grouped together because they really sort of stretch the definition of the word “new.” While Simon and Jessica have been around a while, they are certainly not at the same popularity level as other Green Lanterns from Earth like Hal Jordan, Jon Stewart, or Kyle Rayner.
Simon Baz, a Lebanese Muslim character, is the first time that a Green Lantern’s background and race has felt central to the character. It’s not just an aesthetic tweak; Simon’s background has real weight. Jessica Cruz, meanwhile, is a completely hilarious nerd who just happens to have superpowers. Half of the Justice League at this point could be Green Lanterns, but Simon and Jessica still manage to be fresh and exciting.
Their Green Lanterns series is the perfect jumping on point for anyone that wants to learn more about Corps, since the duo themselves are newbies. At the same time, their wide-eyed perspective is one that hardcore fans will get a kick out of.
This isn’t a typo or a reference to the return of the first Clark Kent. DC Rebirth didn’t just bring back the Superman from the Pre-Flashpoint era, it also created a completely new super man all the way over in China. Kenan Kong, as he would be called in the West, was a cruel and brash school bully. When he confronted the supervillain Blue Condor, Kong decided he needed to gain superpowers, and underwent a procedure that gave him roughly the same abilities as the Man of Steel.
The concept of Super-Man sounds like it is a complete knockoff of the Big Blue Boy Scout, but the reality is far different. Super-Man and the character of Kenan Kong are a loving tribute to the Man of Steel. While Kenan remains brash, he’s no longer a bully. After his father apparently died and he met the real Superman, Kenan started to change his selfish ways. Super-Man is now nearly as kind-hearted as the original — he’s just a bit of an idiot still.
Super-Man is a response to every comic book reader who has complained that mainline Superman is too boring and straightforward. This Super-Man is a cocky and smirking jerk, but he’s a lovable cocky and smirking jerk.
2. Emiko Queen
Oliver Queen has had many sidekicks over the years, almost as many as Batman. Emiko Queen, otherwise known as the newest Red Arrow, manages to blow all of them out of the proverbial water. A lot of sidekicks bemoan their diminutive title and station; they don’t want to play second fiddle. Emiko is no different in this regard, but she may be the first sidekick whose bite can back up her bark.
Emiko takes some inspiration from one of the best characters of The CW’s Arrow, Thea Queen. Emiko is Oliver’s half-sister, although it is Emiko’s mom who is the baddie and Robert Queen who is her father. Trained by a lethal assassin but learning the error of her ways, Emiko is her brother’s equal (and superior, in many ways). Emiko can match Oliver arrow for arrow, but she’s often able to think ahead of her headstrong brother.
It took years for Roy Harper to earn the name Red Arrow, but Emiko has secured the moniker in a much shorter window of time. This is not only a testament to her determination, but to her skill level as well. Ollie might always be the star, but no villain wants to mess with Emi.
1. Jon Kent
The name Jon Kent has been given to several characters over DC Comics’ history. The latest Jon Kent is by far the best, and he may just be the best Superboy too. Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s biological son, Jon is the best of both of his parents. Jon has the investigative skills and determination of Lois, but the heart, passion, and most importantly the powers of his dad.
Jon is not the most powerful member of the Superman Family, but he is the most endearing. At just 10 years old, he’s the perfect representation of what a kid would be like if he suddenly gained superpowers … and his dad was secretly the greatest hero of all time. Jon brings out a side in Superman and Lois that has rarely been seen, and it’s all downright adorable.
Jon gets his powers from the sun, but he’s a ray of sunshine himself. He’s innocent without seeming too terribly naive, and he’s wise for his age but not annoyingly precocious. Jon is everything that DC Comics should be trying to bring to the table, and the perfect son for its most powerful hero.
Which of these characters are your favorites? Did we miss any new additions to DC Comics lore? Sound off in the comments!
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