It's official: the television branch of DC's Extended Universe is an absolute juggernaut. Thanks to a slew of engaging storylines, intelligently-written heroes, and top-tier action sequences, the ever-expanding Arrowverse continues to impress both casual viewers and die-hard fanatics with every new episode. Each star-studded property will be returning for a new season this fall, but as with all competitive and successful franchises, change is inevitable.
Superman's arrival is now set in stone for the season two premiere of Supergirl, which will air on the CW along with the rest of the multiverse. The addition of powerful new figures (like Superman) and intense story arcs (like Flashpoint) will undoubtedly re-shape the Arrowerse as we know it, pitting our favorite heroes against greater enemies - or maybe against each other. While Hulu users might not get to watch the drama unfold in real-time, there's sure to be a redistribution of power among the forces of good this fall.
The rankings below reflect the current state of the Arrowverse after four seasons of Arrow, two seasons of The Flash, one season each of Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow. Villains who have moonlighted as good guys (we're looking at you, Merlyn) don't qualify for inclusion here, nor do characters whose powers we've yet to actually see on-screen, like Superman, Citizen Steel, or the new Vixen.
Prepare yourself. The comments section is gonna be a BLOODBATH.
15 Captain Cold & Heatwave
It's a sad day when two legendary characters like Captain Cold (Leonard Snart) and Heatwave (Mick Rory) wind up at the bottom of the power rankings. A sad day indeed. Their banishment is not without merit, however; Snart is "dead" and Rory has (kind of) been betraying his own team all along, since he's technically Chronos. Yeah, Heatwave = time-traveling super-villain Chronos. At least Captain Cold went out with style, sacrificing his life so that his team could survive. Mick just kind of...crumbled at the end season one, which was disappointing.
These Bro-tastic Bros are (were?) at their best when they’re fighting back-to-back, blasting away with their awesome elemental guns. Take one’s tech – or partner – away from the scrap and this duo becomes rather one-dimensional, though Heatwave has proven himself to be the better brawler of the two. Nothing personal, boys. We’re just ready for the next generation of heroes to emerge.
14 Arsenal *
Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater! It’s difficult to decide whether we should rank Roy Harper, aka Arsenal, based on his Mirakuru days or not – after all, anyone could become a street-level vigilante after an injection of the legendary Japanese serum. If 36 year-old Barry Bonds can hit 73 homeruns in a single season on regular steroids, imagine what he could have done with Mirakuru? Good point, us. Roy’s getting an asterisk.
Arsenal’s saving grace is his rough-and-tumble upbringing. Well versed in the ancient fighting style known as ‘Hormonal Teenager, Raging Brawler,’ Harper has above-average hand-to-hand combat skills and an impressive tolerance for pain. His time spent training in the Arrowcave has molded him into a formidable warrior, complete with excellent bow skills and the type of discipline required to clean up the streets of Star City. Show runners have already confirmed another loose-cannon type for season five, though we’d love to see Harper return to the Arrowverse permanently -- especially if he ditches the Arsenal persona and becomes the Red Arrow!
13 Rip Hunter
Another individual who failed to match the hype, Rip falls to number 13. The former Time Master is responsible for assembling one of history’s greatest fighting forces, the Legends of Tomorrow, though his heroic deeds are marred by questionable motivations and loads of deceit. The entire Legends team is built atop a foundation of bologna. Yes, Rip does want to save mankind from utter destruction at the hands of Vandal Savage. Yes, he does work for the greater good. Unfortunately, he selected a team of individuals that are -- to be completely honest – expendable, insinuating that they are all celebrated heroes in his version of the future.
News flash: they aren’t. Rip crafted his team around one simple fact -- none of the invited ‘heroes’ had any impact on the future timeline whatsoever. Ouch. He may be a complete conman, but the guy does still possess one of the most powerful ships in existence, the Waverider. Hunter also packs that sweet energy-bolt six-shooter and was tough enough in his prime to take down Savage single-handedly, something most people would never be able to do. All that time traveling must have caught up with him, though, if he’s gotta rely on a bunch of ‘expendable’ teammates to constantly save his tail. Tsk Tsk, Rip -- hopefully you can do better against the next batch of baddies.
12 Hawkgirl & Hawkman
This duo of seemingly-invincible bird people are inextricably linked forever and always, and as such, they’re getting a single entry. The CW has done a pretty convincing job bringing Kendra Saunders (Hawkgirl) and Carter Hall (Hawkman) to life, giving the pair a new origin story and writing off some of their stranger incarnations. They were an integral part of the first season, and while many fans point out that Saunders and Hall were the weakest links on the Legends team (Hall died like ten minutes into part 2 of the pilot), they did help to bring down Vandal Savage during the show's frantic finale. We’re glad this power couple finally grabbed a W against Savage, mostly because he had killed them both over and over and over and over and over for the last kajillion years.
Kendra and Carter elected to leave the Legends team after that decisive battle, which is probably for the best. They don't seem to be particularly durable, and despite having giant wings and superhuman abilities, they tend to keep dying. Recently, Legends co-creator Marc Guggenheim hinted that the feathered friends won’t be back as permanent fixtures for season two, so we don’t expect their ranking to change anytime soon.
11 The Atom
Look, it's Iron Man! Wait no, no it isn't. Oh! Then it's gotta be Ant-Man, right? NO?! C'MON! Kinda seems like DC just ripped these guys off when they created the Atom, huh? What was that? Atom was around first? Well, this is awkward. Regardless of who poached from who, Ray Palmer, aka the Atom, is (yet another) genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist with a penchant for creating awesomely-futuristic super-suits.
The A.T.O.M. armor is comprised of dwarf-star alloy, tough enough to withstand explosions and impervious to small-caliber bullets. While inside, Palmer possesses superhuman strength and is capable of shrinking atoms or enlarging them exponentially. The A.T.O.M. exosuit is fully decked out, capable of high-speed flight and equipped with an impressive array of offensive weaponry, though Palmer himself is actually extremely vulnerable without it. His lack of proper combat training and dependence on the suit make him a potential liability, landing him lower on the list than he would probably like.
She’s not the biggest or the baddest member of Team Arrow, but what Speedy lacks in size she makes up for in sheer willpower and loads of intestinal fortitude. How else would you describe Thea, the high-society girl turned-vigilante? Half-Merlyn, half-Queen, Thea is a true zero-to-hero story born of brutal training and inner turmoil. Plucked from her charmed life and thrown to the wolves, Thea spends months training with her biological father, Malcolm Merlyn, learning the murderous ways of the League.
With no superhuman powers to speak of, Thea has relied on her superior training to defeat villains large and small alongside Team Arrow. Since her death and subsequent resurrection via the Lazarus Pit, Speedy fights with an unmatched rage and very little self-control. She’s even saved Ollie’s tail on a few occasions – in season four episode two, she (literally) roasts the baton-wielding goon Lonnie Machin (aka Anarky) after he seemed to gain the upper hand. If Roy Harper doesn’t return to claim the red hood, we’re all for getting Thea back into the fray come season five.
Let’s be honest: we all want Vibe to get a grip on his powers. There’s no one we’d rather see as a full-blown superhero than S.T.A.R. Labs’ brilliant and lovable metahuman, Cisco Ramon. A well-trained Vibe would not only balance out all the ego-maniacs running around Central City, he’d also bring a set of very unique and useful skills into the equation. Since obtaining the futuristic (and strangely familiar) visor from Harrison Wells of Earth Two, Cisco has learned to control his ‘vibes’ much more effectively, though he has been unable to utilize other aspects of his power - like the concussive blasts – reliably.
Besides being able to basically see through the very fabric of reality, Vibe can (infrequently) manipulate inter-dimensional matter, opening portals into alternate timelines and allowing passage between them (like when he brought Zoom through the Breach). Mastering these meta-human abilities would allow Cisco to hop between instances of Earth at will, re-arranging and molding events as required. That’s some Franklin Richards stuff right there -- fingers crossed we'll see it when Flash returns!
8 Canary / White Canary
Birds of a feather flock together, but this particular bird doesn’t need help when it comes to kicking serious ass. Sara Lance, aka the Canary / White Canary, has popped in and out of a few properties across the Arrowverse, never failing to leave her mark (usually black eyes or broken bones) wherever she appears. Lance doesn’t possess super speed or super strength. She doesn’t fly, or shoot laser beams out of her eyes, or grow ten times her normal size. What the Canary does do, however, is consistently pummel her opponents without hesitation.
Leveraging her League training, Lance has proven time and time again that she is one young lady you don’t want to cross. Early in her arc, she put down master assassin Al-Owal (the man who trained Malcolm Merlyn), snapping his neck for good measure. For context, that's the guy who tossed Arrow around like a ragdoll earlier in the episode. She’s continued to evolve as a hero every season, finding ways to control her blood-lust and contributing tons of extra firepower as a member of the Legends of Tomorrow squad.
Side note: Don’t call Sara Lance the ‘B’ word.
For fans of Arrow, watching Katana (Tatsu Yamashiro) evolve into the infamous comic book warrior we all know and love was a frustrating and timely affair -- but boy, was it worth the wait. Tatsu hones her skills throughout season three, single-handedly defeating several members of the League and her husband, Maseo, with brutal efficiency (“This is Your Sword”). More impressive still, she battles Nyssa Al Ghul to a draw in the later stages of season four. Few heroes or villains throughout the entire Arrowverse can match her relentless, aggressive style of swordplay, earning her a spot towards the top on our list.
With Suicide Squad set to hit screens in August, it’s unclear whether or not she will return to the small screen in any significant way, much to our chagrin. Katana’s role in the film will likely dictate whether she is able to enter any of the upcoming Arrowverse arcs or not, but we’ll keep you updated as things become clearer.
Is this ranking part fanboy? Probably. Is it still damn accurate? Yep. The only thing that surpasses Constantine’s mastery of sarcasm is his vast array of supernatural powers (not to be confused with super powers). He’s the first (and only) true magic user to get his own show, and though Constantine never got his second season or made good on the rumored Legends of Tomorrow crossover, fans (read: us) are still demanding his triumphant return to action somewhere in the Arrowverse.
Despite limited screen time, The Hellblazer has consistently dazzled fans; in the Arrow season four crossover, titled “Haunted,” audiences got a glimpse at some of Constantine’s lesser-known (but still rather impressive) skills. Not only did he transport himself, Ollie, and Laurel into the spirit realm to rescue the soul of Sara Lance, he also held his own against a ghostified League of Assassins member, showing off some sweet swordsmanship and telekinetic abilities. His deep knowledge of the occult and ability to cast spells off-the-cuff make him a dangerous force, especially when you consider that he can technically summon demons and make them fight on his behalf. Seriously though, just bring him back from Hell.
It doesn’t really matter which two individuals make up this human flamethrower; whether it’s Professor Stein and Ronnie Raymond (original) or Stein and Jax (current), Firestorm is DC’s much-improved version of the Human Torch. Though Raymond and Stein proved to be an unstable pair, they still carried the team in several major battles across the Arrowverse. Stein’s superior mind combined with Raymond’s superior physical form made for quite the combo, allowing Firestorm to aid both Barry Allen and Oliver Queen in their crusade against the forces of evil.
The merge between Jefferson Jackson (Jax) and Stein created the Firestorm that audiences see in Legends of Tomorrow. Firestorm’s massive nuclear blasts and ability to fly at great speeds have come in handy against Chronos and Vandal Savage, although Jax’s hot-headed (ha!) tendencies make this hero unreliable at times. Firestorm is only in real danger when faced with intense winds (like the ones created by Reverse-Flash) or when his Matrix is destabilized – not an easy feat to accomplish.
Real Talk: Firestorm might rank even higher if he was just one person. What happens if Stein has to go to the bathroom or Jax is running late? No bueno, guys.
If season five show runners decide to embrace the hero's grittier comic book qualities and get on board with his Rebirth arc, audiences might finally see the darker, tougher Arrow they've been begging for. It's unclear exactly where the series will head after Darhk's timely demise, though we can't wait to see what happens when mob boss Tobias Church (Chad Coleman from The Walking Dead) and fellow vigilante-archer Artemis (Madison Mclaughlin) join the fray.
While critics have claimed that action sequences from Supergirl weren’t as well-executed as those from Arrow or Flash, it’s apparent to anyone with eyes that Kara Danvers (aka Kara Zor-El) would wipe the floor with most household names in the DC Universe. It’s hard to argue against the whole gamut of Kryptonian gifts and abilities, especially since they make Kara virtually impervious to everything except Kryptonite. It rarely felt like she was in actual danger during the show’s first season; she could, after all, move at Mach 3 speeds and shoot laser beams out of her eyes, so each fight felt a bit one-sided.
The older cousin of Superman (Kal-El), Supergirl packs the same type of punch but has had less time to hone her skills. Most of season one highlighted that simple fact; although Kara was capable of incredible feats, they often had disastrous repercussions. Even still, we expect her to grow stronger in season two (confirmed for the CW) and play a major part in the rumored mega-crossover event. Thus far, she’s (briefly) matched speeds with the Flash, defeated powerful enemies like Red Tornado (who looked an awful lot like the MCU's Vision), Auntie Astra, and Non, and managed to keep her hair #OnFleek all season. While she's learned to harness her most devastating weapon thus far (heat vision), there's plenty of room for growth during season two.
Our vote? Find a way to give Kara small, manageable doses of Red Kryptonite and let her take on every villain in the entire universe.
2 Martian Manhunter
It’s a shame just how infrequently Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz) was used during the first season of Supergirl. J’onzz, an alien from Mars, has the potential to become the most powerful being in the entire Arrowverse. In just a short period of time, he's dominated some of Supergirl’s most ferocious fights; viewers will remember how quickly he dispatched Indigo in the season finale, or how easily he handled a rampaging Kara in episode 16. For the record, when we say "dispatched Indigo," we really mean "ripped Indigo in half with his bare hands." And for J'onzz to just show up and crush the series' titular hero in 1v1 combat? That's some serious mojo.
In DC canon, Martain Manhunter has a power profile that is absolutely off the charts. He can shapeshift at a molecular level, allowing him to phase-walk though objects or greatly multiply his own mass to create nearly-impenetrable skin. J’onzz also possesses impressive telepathic and telekinetic abilities. The guy basically has it all. The real question is, will we ever see this version of Martian Manhunter on the CW? If so, we might need to make a few *adjustments* to this list in the near future.
1 The Flash
Some fans firmly believe that because Flash (Barry Allen) is the fastest superhero, he is also the strongest superhero. There’s an overwhelming amount of theoretical / quasi-scientific evidence available to support that statement, though the debate itself is one that may never be put to rest. In DC Comics, Barry Allen is the second fastest version of the Flash (bested only by Wally West). Since we’re dealing primarily with Barry in the TV show as well, logic would suggest that his ability to travel at unparalleled speeds and deliver devastating blows called ‘infinite mass punches’ might give him a slight edge in these power rankings. Batman, Superman, Mike Tyson, doesn’t matter – if someone punches you a billion times per second at the speed of light, you’re gonna feel it in the morning.
Just look at The Scarlet Speedster’s sparkling resume after two seasons: besides developing new ways to harness his abilities (like that HADOKEN lightning strike!) basically every other episode, Barry has been able to travel through time and space to alter the course of reality across multiple dimensions. He’s stabilized a rampant singularity, handed speed-demon/serial-killer Zoom the beating of his life (after a few practice rounds), and proven that the upper-limits of his powers have yet to be unveiled.
Barry has faced off against what is arguably the fiercest rogues gallery in the entire Arrowverse, and don’t forget; Flash is nearly unstoppable when he loses control and gives into his anger, as viewers saw in the season one crossover event Flash vs Arrow. Luckily for the other heroes on this list, Barry’s usually a pretty nice dude who doesn’t seem interested in challenging the good guys. Then again, his actions in the season 2 finale may have changed everything.
Disagree with our rankings? Did we forget to include your favorite Arrowverse hero? Sound off in the comments!