When it comes to superhero television, it’s hard to argue that the CW’s growing Arrowverse is one of the best superhero representations we’ve seen on television. While the Netflix/Marvel shows have been incredible, the recent slew of cancelations (#BringBackDaredevil, am I right?), have made the MCU’s television universe fall a bit to the wayside. However with only a couple of films gaining critical success for the DCEU, (Aquaman, Wonder Woman), DC’s biggest success has to be the shared multiverse amongst the Arrowverse. From The Flash and Supergirl to newcomer Black Lightning, the Legends of Tomorrow and the O.G. hero Green Arrow, the Arrowverse has gained such popularity amongst fans that next year one of comics biggest crossover events, Crisis on Infinite Earths, will be the network’s big superhero event of the year.
With characters like Batwoman, Superman, and other characters being examined for their own shows and fan favorite characters making a comeback in the universe (Matt Ryan’s Constantine is a huge improvement to the Arrowverse), it’s only natural to take a look back at the path that led us to this ever-growing universe of heroes. From the first season of Arrow to the origin story of Barry Allen and the discovery of a multiverse of heroes, there are several characters that have captured the audience’s attention.
That’s why today we are going to explore the 25 characters of the Arrowverse we ranked from weakest to strongest. While everyone is a favorite when they grace the screen, some characters possess less power than others, and thus its time to learn who is the strongest there is.
25 Captain Cold
A brilliant thief and criminal turned hero, Captain Cold (played by the incredible Wentworth Miller) was drafted by Rip Hunter to the Legends of Tomorrow, using his thieving skills and cold gun to help the legends fight Vandal Savage in the first season.
By season’s end (SPOILER ALERT), Smart surprised everyone by staying behind and detonating a bomb that destroyed the corrupt Time Masters forever.
His selfless sacrifice showcased his change in character, making his final act a heroic one.
24 Rip Hunter
The man of the future who recruited the Legends of Tomorrow, Rip Hunter was a Time Master who went rogue after Vandal Savage ended the lives of his wife and child in the future. He recruited the heroes and villains of the Legends to help him stop the immortal villain who takes over the world in the future. In later seasons, Rip took a secondary role, giving the leadership role to Sarah Lance and briefly starting the Time Bureau before finally going rogue one last time and delaying the release of the time demon Mallus, setting off a time bomb and destroying himself in the process.
23 Malcolm Merlyn
The first true villain of the Arrowverse, Malcolm Merlyn was known as the Dark Archer, the longtime friend of the Queen family who betrayed Oliver’s father Robert and had him stranded in the ocean alongside Oliver.
Oliver learned of Malcolm’s betrayal and stopped his plot to destroy the city.
However, Malcolm has returned time and again, revealing his connection to the League of Assassins, taking the role of leader after Ra’s Al Ghul’s defeat until his final episode, where he sacrificed himself to save his daughter, Oliver’s sister Thea Queen. Thus ended the first Arrowverse villain.
Known more commonly by his real name of Mick Rory, Mick has survived far longer than many expected. A thief and life-taker with a penchant for fire, he uses his fire gun to take on enemies, along with his fighting skills and rough personality. He’s undergone a lot of changes on the show. At one point he was left behind after causing too many problems on the ship, only to return after being trained by the Time Masters and carrying the mantle of Chronos. Since then he has returned to the team, regaining the skills he learned but still brandishing the rouge personality that fans have come to know and love.
21 Laurel Lance
More specifically the original Laurel of Earth-1. She began her journey as a lawyer and Oliver’s ex-girlfriend and friend, and quickly underwent an emotional journey after the return of her long lost sister Sarah, the loss and resurrection of the same sister in season 3, taking up her sister’s mantle of Black Canary and becoming a vigilante.
Unlike her Earth-2 villain counterpart Black Siren, she used a sonic device for her canary cry, rather than a metahuman power.
She sadly lost her life in the battle against Damien Darhk in season 4, leaving her Earth-2 counterpart to take her place in the seasons to follow.
20 James Olsen
Superman’s former sidekick and Daily Planet photographer, James Olsen has risen through the ranks of CatCo Media alongside his best friend Kara, aka Supergirl on the hit show of the same name. Now the head of the company and a vigilante hero known as Guardian, James has become a major character in the series, representing many of the social issues this show tackles on a weekly basis and bringing a voice to the problems we face in our world today.
19 Felicity Smoak
Also known by her codename of Overwatch, Felicity was the nerdy yet beautiful tech genius at Oliver’s company, Queen Industries, who soon became a part of the original Team Arrow alongside Diggle and Oliver.
The brains behind the operation, she uses her genius to watch over the city and guide Oliver on his dangerous missions.
Eventually, she also became Oliver’s true love interest, marrying one another last year. In the current season, she has taken a dark turn, her battle against Ricardo Diaz making her make questionable moral decisions much like Oliver did early on in the series, and a future teasing her dark descent leaves her character’s fate up in the air.
18 Iris West
Barry Allen’s best friend growing up, she and her father, Joe, took Barry in after his father was falsely imprisoned for his wife’s tragic passing. She went on to become a prominent reporter in the city, and eventually learned Barry’s identity as The Flash. She since has not only helped Team Flash take on the villains of the city and guide them much like Felicity, but she and Barry have fallen in love and married one another. She now spends her time trying to get to know her time-traveling future daughter Nora and help find a way to stop the metahuman ending villain, Cicada.
17 John Diggle
Also going by his codename of Spartan, John Diggle is the partner and best friend to Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow. Married to the head of the secret government organization ARGUS, John has fought in many different capacities to protect the city, using his skills as a former soldier and government agent to help Oliver on his crusade against the city. In the current season, he works with his wife at ARGUS and is working to uncover a plot of corruption from within the organization.
16 Zari Tomaz
A woman from the near future who’s family was taken out by the future corrupt version of ARGUS, Zari is a tech genius and holds the all-important totem that allows her to control the wind around her.
Joining the Legends last year, she has become an important part of the team.
Her knowledge of how the time stream works and her tech knowledge when combined with her control over the air allows her to navigate the problems facing the team on a weekly basis.
AKA Cisco Ramon, Vibe is Barry Allen’s best friend and a powerful multiversal hero. Able to see the vibrations of the universe, his meta powers emerged during season 2, and have shown him to be able to open portals not only to other areas on the planet but to other realities as well. His nerdy personality, humor, and ability to name any hero or villain he meets blend with his all-powerful abilities to make him one of the most beloved heroes of the Arrowverse.
14 Sarah Lance
Known by her codename of White Canary, Sarah is the leader of the Legends of Tomorrow. After her mistake of joining Oliver on board the doomed ship that sunk and marooned Oliver on Lian Yu, she was eventually recruited and trained to be one of the League of Assassins’ top agents. Originally known as the Canary, she was eventually taken out and resurrected by John Constantine, giving her an inner struggle with the forces of darkness from her time in the underworld and her life-taking training. She has since joined and become the leader of the Legends, directing the heroes to stop threats to the timestream. This season she continues to lead the team as they battle magical threats and builds her relationship up with her girlfriend and Time Bureau leader Ava Sharpe.
13 Curtis Holt
Otherwise known as Mr. Terrific, the super genius turned vigilante hero joined Team Arrow a couple of seasons ago. After he donned his vigilante lifestyle, he lost his marriage to his husband Paul and has gone through some turbulent times, including nearly perishing against the sinister Ricardo Diaz. He has since left the vigilante persona behind (sorta) and works at ARGUS alongside Diggle, using his genius to run special operations and monitor the chatter for the secret organization.
12 Wild Dog
Also known by his name Rene Ramierez, Wild Dog is a vigilante inspired by the Green Arrow, who joins the team in an effort to better protect the often mistreated and forgotten about part of town known as The Glades.
A single father after the unfortunate passing of his wife, he uses his skills learned during his time in the military to help the team fight their many foes.
An expert in firearms and an expert fighter, Rene struggles with his anger and trying to protect his daughter, who he doesn’t want to see get taken away from him again by the state.
11 Dina Drake
The latest and most powerful incarnation of the Black Canary, Dinah was a former cop who was caught in the particle accelerator explosion while being interrogated by a local mobster. Her screams during the event gave her the canary cry, and her martial arts training has made her into a formidable opponent. She now works as the head of the police department and is attempting to prove the police and vigilantes can work together on the right side of the law to protect the people of the city.
10 Slade Wilson
AKA Deathstroke, Slade is the former friend and Lian Yu survivor alongside Oliver Queen. However, after the tragic loss of his love and their fellow survivor Shado, his hatred for Oliver grew. Already an expert mercenary and gun for hire, he was given an experimental serum known as Mirakuru, which enhanced his speed and strength.
Becoming addicted, he used this to fuel his revenge against Oliver and nearly destroyed the city in the process.
He has since been imprisoned, released by Oliver to help stop Adrian Chase, and gone back into the world to try and dissuade his son from following his villainous past.
9 The Atom
Genius Ray Palmer was the former head of Palmer Tech and helped fight crime as a vigilante alongside Oliver Queen. He has since developed the technology to adapt his powersuit to shrink and regrow him to any size. He’s a genius and expert in various technologies and has since joined the Legends of Tomorrow. His upbeat personality, joyful outlook on life and nerdy persona mix well with his heroic nature and selflessness, making him a welcome addition to the team.
8 Oliver Queen
Otherwise known as the Green Arrow, (formerly the Hood, Arrow, and other monikers), Oliver Queen was the former playboy billionaire who was stranded on the dangerous island of Lian Yu, learning to fight, survive and undergoing many traumas until he eventually returned home.
He made it his mission to correct the mistakes his father made, taking out the corruption of the city and in the process becoming the city’s protector against all threats.
His serious, dark, and mission-oriented mindset have often put him at odds with other, more upbeat and moral heroes, as his style of crime fighting has changed between the moral and immoral many times. However, he is the first hero of the Arrrowverse, and one of the most cunning and tactical heroes of the universe, going so far as to stand face to face with the all-powerful Monitor in the recent crossover event Elseworlds and standing his ground.
7 Killer Frost
AKA Caitlin Snow, the Star Labs expert on the medical and biology side of the team, Caitlin began as a doctor and member of the scientific side of the team, until Flashpoint occurred and changed the timeline. Since then she has learned she has the inherited ability to freeze the world around her, unlocking a second personality known as Killer Frost. Although this personality struggled with being a villain at first, the two halves of this hero have since come to an understanding, learning to live with one another and working for the greater good.
6 Black Lightning
The newest hero to join the Arrowverse, Jefferson Pierce’s role in the universe is still forming. An aged hero who retired to protect his wife and daughters and take on a more civil role as the school principal of his local high school, Jefferson found himself returning to the role of vigilante Black Lightning after his daughters were stolen by the 100 Gang.
He soon learned the man who took his father’s life, gangster Tobias Whale, survived their last encounter years ago and is running the city’s criminal element.
As his daughters discover their own inherited powers and he investigates his own power’s origins, he fights the crime in his city in hopes of making it a better place, all the while struggling to get the revenge he believes his father is owed and protecting his own family in the process.
5 Martian Manhunter
Otherwise known by his martian name of J’onn J’onzz, the last surviving member of the green Martians has made Earth his home. After the original Hank Henshaw tried to end his life, Alex and Kara Danver’s father saved him, and he went on to take the man’s identity as his own, becoming the head of the DEO. Fighting alongside Alex at the DEO and Kara in her Supergirl persona, he has become the surrogate father the girls needed after their father’s disappearance. He now works to start his own private eye business to help aliens and humans alike in the turmoil-filled world he finds himself in.
One of Supergirl’s greatest enemies to date, Reign was the Kryptonian made villain who slumbered within Lena Luthor and Kara’s friend Samantha. Sam learned of her true heritage, and the woman found herself taken over by the monstrous villain who sought not only to destroy Supergirl, but destroy the Earth and remake it into a new Krypton in the process.
The villain nearly succeeded, even after being separated from Samantha to save the young woman.
However, Supergirl used her abilities to fly so fast she turned back time, stopping the villain and saving the world.
The villainous Eobard Thawne is one of the longest surviving and most powerful villains in the Arrowverse. The future speedster with hatred for Barry Allen, he traveled back in time to take the life of the hero’s mother, hoping this would prevent him from becoming the hero he was destined to be. Failing, he went on to impersonate scientist Harrison Wells to create the Flash and other metahumans, hoping to use his speed to return him to his future.
After being defeated, Thawne somehow survived as a paradox after his family line was wiped out by the passing of Eddie Thawne in the present day. He’s since teamed up with other villains to take on the Legends of Tomorrow, traveled to Earth-X to join the Nazi-led villains to destroy Earth-1, and continues to return to Barry’s life to torment and fight him. He currently waits in a prison cell in the future, with a mysterious connection to Barry’s daughter Nora.
2 The Flash
Barry Allen is the fastest man alive. The most powerful speedster of all, he’s continually increasing his speed and power as he faces tougher and tougher foes. From speedsters like Eobard Thawne, Zoom, and Savitar to other powerful meta foes like The Thinker and now Cicada, The Flash has proven time and again that no matter how much he loses, no matter how much more power his foes have, he will find a way to overcome the odds without losing his moral code. He can travel through time, stop time, phase through objects and even travel in and out of the speed force.
While for years Superman has been the most powerful DC Comics hero, in the Arrowverse Supergirl reigns supreme. The technically older cousin to Superman, she has taken the role of Earth’s protector as her cousin slowly starts focusing on starting his own family.
She has proven time and again not only to be as powerful as him but at times more powerful as she takes on threats like Reign and other alien invasions.
Her moral code, never give up attitude, and powerful Kryptonian abilities give her the ability to handle any and all threats. Her position as a powerful female hero and her fight against injustice anywhere she sees it make her a true inspiration, and the most powerful character in the Arrowverse.