The 10 Best DC Legacy Heroes, Ranked
DC has embraced Legacy in its universe for decades. The repackaging of old coats with new faces was basically kickstarted by DC in the Silver Age. They continued from there, adding sidekicks and creating “families” within the heroic community. This accelerated in the post-Crisis DC Universe, with many classic DC characters replaced by sidekicks or new faces taking over.
DC created the legacy hero as modern readers know him. Some of the greatest legacy heroes of all time have called the DCU home, upholding the values of heroism they learned from their ancestors and saving the day.
ten Barry Allen’s debut marked the Silver Age
Barry Allen is one of the most important characters in comic book history. His beginnings in Showcase #4 began the Silver Age and it represented a new, more scientific take on the superhero. Barry’s debut revitalized DC and he became a cornerstone of the DC Universe, even discovering the multiverse.
Over the years it has never changed with the times and the Flash coat has fallen out of favor. Beyond his debut, the most important thing he did was die at Crisis on Infinite Earths. DC went all-in on his return, changing him to look more like his fan-favorite replacement, Wally West. Barry owes all of his popularity to other heroes, and while he’s important to the DC Universe, there are better flashes.
9 Hal Jordan’s debut brought the Green Lantern Corps into play
Hal Jordan is another Silver Age titan who ultimately outlived his usefulness. Barry Allen took things in a more scientific direction, and Jordan was pure science fiction, joining the new Green Lantern Corps and bringing a wonderful new concept that would pay dividends over the decades. Later, Jordan suffered from the same problem as Allen and was replaced in the 90s.
Jordan’s return in the 2000s cemented his status as a great legacy character, with his original characterization being greatly expanded. While it can often feel like it’s outlived its usefulness in the present day, as its best stories have already been told, it remains a hugely important piece of DC history.
8 John Stewart brought Green Lanterns to the masses
John Stewart is one of many Earth-based Green Lanterns, but he’s probably the most important. Stewart served as the very popular Green Lantern Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons. For a whole generation of people, John is the Green Lantern they recognize and is just a great character.
John is a former Marine Corps sniper and architect who brings a meticulous and thoughtful approach to his builds. He is an early member of the Green Lantern Corps and has been part of the Justice League in the comics on several occasions. He has shown many times over the years what a hero he is.
seven Roy Harper overcame his own demons
Roy Harper is one of DC’s original sidekicks, debuting as Speedy back when Green Arrow was actually just Batman in a Robin Hood costume. Unlike Robin, he will disappear into the Silver Age with his mentor. He would eventually become a Teen Titan before being revealed as a heroin addict in the classic Green Arrow/Green Lantern: Heroes Who Travel Hard story.
Harper overcame his addiction and moved from Speedy to Arsenal. Since then, he’s been a Titan, an Outsider, a member of the Justice League as Red Arrow, dead, and a Black Lantern. He’s done it all in the DC Universe, beating his own demons to become an incredible hero.
6 Mr. Terrific is the Batman but better of the Justice Society
The Justice Society had plenty of great heroic ancestors, but the most unexpected was Terry Sloane’s Mr. Terrific. Sloane never had a sidekick and even in the Justice Society’s return to the Silver Age, it was never more important to the team. However, his legacy spawned one of DC’s most underrated heroes, Michael Holt, the second Mr. Terrific.
Joining the modern incarnation of the Justice Society, Holt made a name for himself as the team’s Batman, the billionaire super genius who was as good in a lab as he was in battle. He would lead this team and eventually create his own group in the Terrifics. Holt took on the mantle of Mr. Terrific and made it his own, eclipsing his heroic predecessor.
5 Donna Troy is a complicated icon
Donna Troy is a very complicated character, but that doesn’t change her quality. Its entire existence is a series of retcons from the start. The original Wonder Girl was just a young Wonder Woman, à la Clark Kent as Superboy, and Donna Troy wasn’t made into Wonder Girl until the character was brought into the Teen Titans.
Since then, the tangled sequel queen has had a convoluted but entertaining stint as a hero. She’s become an icon with a dedicated fanbase, one that has done it all in the DC Universe. Her complex origins haven’t stopped fans from loving her, as she’s essentially DC continuity in the microcosm.
4 Supergirl changed the Superman mythos forever
Supergirl’s debut in the Silver Age was a huge development. She gave Superman a family for the first time and opened the door for the Superman family in years to come. She had adventures that captured the imagination of fans for decades and made a name for herself as a hero apart from her cousin.
Supergirl is an integral part of pop culture. She’s starred in movies, had her own TV show, had her own comic several times, and is a DCU icon. She opened the door for more Kryptonians to enter Superman’s life, and her impact on the pop culture landscape cannot be understated.
3 Jon Kent enjoyed a meteoric rise to stardom
Jon Kent has only been around since 2015, but he’s become one of the most important legacy heroes in DC history. Co-starred in Superman, action comics, and superson, he was fleshed out by several creators before becoming a teenager and joining the Legion of Super-Heroes. His return to the present saw him succeed his weakened father as Superman.
Jon’s short stint as Superman produced a sold-out comic book, Superman: Son of Kal-El, and an unprecedented love of fandom. Jon has been a fan favorite from the start, and his new series proves he has a stamina that only the best legacy heroes have shown.
2 Wally West was the first sidekick to get his mentor’s mantle
Barry Allen recreated the Flash for a new audience, but Wally West made the coat popular again. Beginning his career as Kid Flash, Wally would help found the Teen Titans. After Barry Allen’s death, Wally took over as The Flash. The Flash wasn’t exactly popular at the time, but Wally brought the concept back to prominence.
Considered by many to be the best Flash, Wally was also the first sidekick to succeed his mentor, setting a precedent that would be followed by many other heroes over the years. Wally’s absence from the New 52 has been a source of uproar for fans, and every time DC bothers him, fans revolt. Few legacy characters have West’s kind of staunch fandom, which fits well with his perception as a character.
1 Nightwing was the first sidekick to go his own way
Nightwing has long been one of DC’s most underrated superheroes. The OG DC sidekick, his time as Robin made Dick Grayson a household name, and his transformation into Nightwing took legacy characters in a whole new direction, proving they could go their own way. Since then, Nightwing has become a solo star and kingpin of the DCU.
He founded the Teen Titans and Titans, took over as Batman, trained Damian Wayne as Robin, and led the Justice League. He’s forged his own path as a hero, leading popular solo books in various incarnations for nearly thirty years, and has a fan base that eclipses some of DC’s greatest heroes.
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