The massive, sprawling Arrowverse is now packed with heroes (and the villains that they fight), but that doesn’t always mean that these super-types get the credit that they deserve.
Since Arrow first launched, the heroes of the small screen are often assumed to be much stronger (or weaker) than they really are - whether by fans of this universe, or by other characters in it.
Comic fans in particular tend to assume that the CW version of some of these heroes are as strong or capable as the comic heroes that inspired them, when in reality, the live-action adaptations are very different. Of course, no comic book adaptation is ever going to be perfect, but it’s hard to get a character away from a reputation that they have had for decades.
Whether it is physical strength and prowess, the extent of a character’s superpowers, or the mental and emotional strength that they have to do what is right no matter what, all of these heroes from Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow haven’t got the attention that they truly deserve.
We count down the biggest characters from across the Arrowverse that are either seen as stronger than they really are, or who are woefully underestimated and need to get some more screen time in 2018.
Here are the 9 Arrowverse Characters Stronger Than You Think (And 9 Who Are Weaker).
18 Martian Manhunter (Stronger)
Fans of Supergirl would be forgiven for thinking that Martian Manhunter aka J’onn J’onnz, aka Hank Henshaw (David Harewood) isn’t that powerful a character.
In fact, all that we’ve really seen him do regularly on Supergirl is shapeshift, (because he spends the majority of his scenes as a human, not in his natural green form). Supergirl reveals quite a bit of Martian Manhunter’s history, as well, and his ability to fly, as well as a certain amount of telekinetic and telepathic abilities as well as super-strength.
However, for the most part, J’onn J’onnz takes a serious backseat to Supergirl. Instead of being the incredibly powerful hero he is in the comics, Martian Manhunter in the series acts more like a military commander than a hero, and some of his coolest abilities are rarely used.
17 Citizen Steel (Weaker)
Historian Nate Heywood (Nick Zano) gained his powers thanks to a serum developed by Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), which gave him the ability to turn his skin to steel.
It’s an ability that looks really cool, and that made him an integral part of the Legends of Tomorrow team… but it’s not actually that powerful. Nate’s power as Citizen Steel is a great defense, and has a nice little bonus feature of helping him heal faster than usual.
However, it’s not particularly useful for anything but making him a human shield. He can take punches, but he has no offensive abilities, nothing that would help him with espionage, and no fight training to make his steel skin into a useful weapon. Citizen Steel may be shiny, but that’s about it.
16 Constantine (Stronger)
John Constantine (Matt Ryan) is often overlooked in the Arrowverse, probably because he made his start elsewhere, with a show that was canceled before Constantine made the leap to the CW for several guest appearances.
He may not seem like much, just a British dude with a trenchcoat and a smoking habit who knows a little bit about magic. However, this dark hero is a master of the occult arts, with abilities that many of the other Arrowverse heroes would kill for.
He can perform exorcisms, resurrect the dead, summon and control demons, travel between dimensions, use spells to put people to sleep, make himself invisible, and a whole host of other things. He has a measure of telekinesis, the ability to create and control fire, and he’s saved the Green Arrow’s ass more than once.
15 Heatwave (Weaker)
When Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) was part of a team with Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller), the two were (almost) unstoppable. Talented criminals, the pair were able to pull off a number of heists, before coming over to the side of good and becoming Legends.
However, without Captain Cold at his side, Heatwave isn’t actually all that impressive. He has no superpowers, and is entirely reliant on his Heat Gun, which he did not design or build (although he can now repair it when he needs to). He lacks the brilliance and cunning of his old partner, and while he can hold his own in a fight, brute force does not a superhero make.
Thankfully, Mr Rory continues to develop, but he’s one of the weakest members of the Legends right now.
14 Mr Terrific (Stronger)
It can be hard for fans to get past that initial impression of Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) as a weak, nerdy dude who is totally reliant on his tech and not that great in an emergency.
However, he’s come a long way since joining Team Arrow, and Mr Terrific shouldn’t be underestimated. He’s not just insanely smart, but was an Olympic athlete (a decathlete, to be precise) in his younger years, and is in incredible physical condition.
His brilliant mind allows him to take control of situations and figure out how to deal with the plan going wrong, as well as create incredible weaponry and gadgets that make life easier for the entire team.
It’s not just his T-Spheres - he has abilities with hacking, biochemistry, software and algorithms, and anything else that might come in handy for Team Arrow.
13 Wild Dog (Weaker)
Unlike his teammate Mr Terrific, Wild Dog Rene Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez) is often overestimated when it comes to his abilities as a hero.
He was once a Navy SEAL, it’s true, but he was dishonorably discharged for disobeying orders and allowing his pride and passion to get the better of him - something that happens time and time again on Team Arrow.
He may be physically capable and good with guns, but he’s also impulsive, headstrong, tends to make terrible decisions, and fails time and time again to obey the orders of his team leader. He’s also easily manipulated, and betrayed his own team without even considering turning to them for help.
Wild Dog is the weak link of the recent Team Arrow, and doesn’t even have any actual superpowers.
12 Wally West (Stronger)
It’s right there in his superhero name, Kid Flash - Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) is always playing runner up to Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) as the one true Flash. Despite this, Wally is actually just as capable as his mentor, and has almost identical powers.
He has the same connection to the Speed Force, super speed, accelerated healing, vibrational abilities, superhuman durability, stamina and reflexes. During training, it was revealed that his powers (and his mastery over them) were growing faster than Barry’s did.
He is also an accomplished speed racer, a talented engineer, and bi-lingual, as he speaks Japanese to the Samuroid. The Flash may be an incredible hero, but Wally West as Kid Flash is just as talented, and he deserves to be the center of attention, despite constantly being sidelined.
11 Killer Frost (Weaker)
Caitlin Snow’s (Danielle Panabaker) alter ego, Killer Frost, is routinely treated as a serious threat in the Arrowverse, and her ability to slow speedsters certainly makes her a threat to them… however, her abilities may be flashy, but aren’t actually that strong.
She is limited to dropping the temperature of a space and creating projectiles or shields out of ice - which can be useful, but is comparable to a regular human with a gun, in terms of direct threat.
In addition to which, she is emotionally unstable and struggles to balance her mild-mannered Team Flash persona with her more reckless and darker Killer Frost persona, which makes her unpredictable as an ally. As she gains more control, she will become more powerful, but for now, she’s not as much of a threat as you might think.
10 Felicity Smoak (Stronger)
Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) is a divisive character among Arrowverse fans, thanks to her relationship with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), but she’s often underestimated because of the focus on her love life.
Felicity (aka Overwatch) is actually one of the strongest members of Team Arrow-- one of the world’s best hackers, a brilliant mind for tactics as well as computers and engineering, capable of overseeing and directing multi-person teams with ease, and physically capable as well.
She has previously been seen training in the Arrowcave and has been in her fair share of physical fights - as well as becoming a full-on superhero in the Doomworld timeline. This is one lady who deserves attention for being so much more than just a love interest in the Arrowverse.
9 Ra’s Al Ghul (Weaker)
Anyone with any familiarity with Batman (either in the comics or on the big screen) has heard of Ra’s Al Ghul… and as one of the Dark Knight’s nemeses, he’s recognized as incredibly powerful (and immortal). In the Arrowverse, however, Ra’s (Matt Nable) is actually nowhere near as strong as most fans expect.
Despite being the Head of the Demon and the League, his biggest strength is his immortality, which isn’t even his own - as it comes from the Lazarus Pit. He’s a capable swordsman, but was bested (and killed) by Oliver Queen, despite the fact that he has had decades of training to Oliver’s few years.
His knowledge of the occult is less than that of Constantine, and as an archer in a series filled with archers, he doesn’t stand out.
8 Alex Danvers (Stronger)
Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) may not have actual superpowers like her adoptive sister in Supergirl, but she’s certainly a incredibly strong character, and one whose abilities are often overlooked.
She’s not just a DEO agent, but was pursuing a PhD and MD at Stanford at accelerated speed, and has a PhD in bioengineering. She is a genius, at the peak of physical condition, an expert marksman, and proficient in all the tech, weaponry, and other training that it takes to rise through the ranks of the DEO.
She is a neuroscientist, a xenobiologist, a medic, and a pilot (and can even fly a spaceship). In short, she’s about as capable and strong as it is possible to be without actual superpowers.
7 Jimmy Olsen (Weaker)
Jimmy Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) decided to strap on a costume and become a superhero himself, known as the Guardian, but he’s actually not that talented at it - and should probably have stuck to his work in the media.
He’s a sharp-witted guy, and he has revealed that he is a black belt (although the exact martial art that he has achieved this in wasn’t detailed)… but that’s it. For a ‘superhero’, being a decent fighter in one discipline just isn’t enough, especially when he is hugely reliant on Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan) when out in the field.
He may be a brilliant photographer and a great friend to both Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), but he’s nowhere near as strong as he should be to get a superhero name.
6 ATOM (Stronger)
Ray Palmer, aka ATOM (Brandon Routh) is often overlooked because his ability to shrink doesn’t necessarily seem that useful in a fight, and he is admittedly pretty much helpless without his ATOM suit.
However, there is much more to this Legend than meets the eye. Ray Palmer is a tech genius, and can ‘science his way out of anything’. His suit also has an incredible number of features, including flight, bulletproof armor, strength enhancement, energy blasts, electricity projection, x-ray visor, the ability to exist in space, an on-board computer, and of course, the ability to change in size - and even to change the size of specific parts individually.
He was also capable of surviving in the cretaceous period, and has now spent years in physical combat training with the Legends.
5 Speedy (Weaker)
Oliver Queen’s younger sister took up the mantle of Speedy for a while, joining her brother in the field as a member of Team Arrow… but despite this, Thea Queen (Willa Holland) isn’t actually as powerful as fans might expect from her time in the red suit.
Having spent most of her life as a spoiled kid and party-girl, Thea’s ‘superhero’ abilities come almost entirely from spending six months training with Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman). While that training must have been intense, it’s still a little excessive to assume that she has become a flat-out superhero in only a few months.
She is also easily manipulated and lacks control, thanks to the Lazarus Pit. She’s got some real superhero potential, but is nowhere near as strong as she is made out to be.
4 Cisco (Stronger)
Poor Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdez) keeps being killed off in alternate timelines, and although he is recognized as incredibly smart, his superhero work is often overlooked on The Flash.
His meta-human powers allow Cisco to access and manipulate dimensional energy as Vibe - but most of the time on The Flash, he uses this as a way to find missing people by ‘vibing’ where they are. His ability to create dimensional breaches have become a bigger part of his role in Team Flash in recent episodes, but even this is only scratching the surface of his abilities.
On Earth-2, Cisco’s doppelganger Reverb revealed just a small amount of what Cisco can do, and we are still waiting to see him really come into his own as a hero.
3 Firestorm (Weaker)
The two-part hero that is Firestorm has now bowed out of the Legends of Tomorrow, after Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh) left following the death of his partner Martin Stein (Victor Garber).
However, while the two were time-travelling with their teammates, they were a perfect example of a superhero that is lots of flash, and not a whole lot of substance. When joined, the two become a firey, flying hero who is super strong and can shoot firey blasts from his hands, as well as occasionally transmute matter.
As a two-person matrix, though, Firestorm has a serious weakness: if one is hurt, the other may die without the ability to merge, and when not merged, these guys are just a professor and a mechanic, and not so super at all.
2 Captain Cold (Stronger)
Captain Cold has long been a fan-favorite, but that occasionally means that his snark overshadows his actual abilities. Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) is one of the most brilliant minds of the Arrowverse, even if he chose to channel his intellect into robbing banks, not collecting PhDs.
His engineering skills went to safecracking and understanding his Cold Gun until he could rebuild it or repair it with ease, and he is incredibly talented as an escape artist and spy, able to manipulate others with his impressive charm.
He’s also a good leader, inspiring true loyalty from Mick Rory, and has an impressive moral compass (even though he used to be a thief). And as if all that weren’t enough to elevate him above wise-cracking safe-cracker, he was strong enough to make the ultimate sacrifice for his team.
1 Green Arrow (Weaker)
The hero that launched the Arrowverse, Oliver Queen is often portrayed as infallible, near-immortal, and capable of just about anything. He can take down a dozen men with just his bow and arrow, he has beaten immortal men and magic-users with just a sword and a little training, he always saves the day and evades detection by the cops.
It’s easy to see why the Green Arrow is overestimated, but let’s not forget that he has no actual superpowers, and when he started his vigilante work, he had only a patchy few years of training.
He constantly makes bad decisions and alienates his teammates, and relies on those around him to do the lion’s share of the work (while simultaneously pushing them away). He’s got some real skills, no doubt, but he’s certainly not as perfect as people think.
Can you think of any other Arrowverse characters who are weaker or stronger than you think? Sound off in the comments!