Saturday, January 1, 2011

1996 Rogues Gallery #1: Cheetah by Cliff Nielsen

For decades Priscilla Rich was the Cheetah, Wonder Woman's most famous foe. She was a rich chick with multiple personality disorder and jealousy issues when it came to other women. Cool. That Cheetah was active from the '40s until the '70s, and in fact went back to adventuring in the '40s during the '70s to sync-up with the television show. However, the TV show then jumped to the (1970s) present in its second season. I guess someone decided that it wouldn't be a big deal for an immortal Wonder Woman to still swing after thirty years, but Priscilla Rich would look awful long in the tooth.

Deborah Domaine was introduced as a "modern" Cheetah, a good girl gone bad due to brainwashing by the terrorist Kobra (all shades of Patty Hearst.) Domaine had a decent run through the '80s, but she looked fresh from a Halloween party at the Playboy Mansion, and the Reagan era cried for blood.

Barbara Minerva became a new were-Cheetah Post-Crisis, and the first that was unsympathetically evil. She would have made a great Spider-Man villain, but as Wonder Woman increasingly became Superman with a Cycle, Cheetah ended up rather outclassed in the power department. The Underworld Unleashed mini-series tried to address this by making her more feral. She might have been faster, too. So, like, we went from Kraven to Puma to the Lizard, but it was still a cat chick against a freakin' Goddess of Truth (a dumb short-lived development around the same time.)

I think we're overdue for a new Cheetah that actually poses a challenge, but so far, she's only gotten a wardrobe change. Yawn.

I'm not the only blogger relishing New Year's Evil this week. Find more malicious pin-up fun at the following:


Luke said...

I will say this: at one point Cheetah was working with Zoom (Hunter Zolomon) to unlock her full potential. Both from a velocity standpoint and from a "causing misery" standpoint. I don't know if much ever came of it after that little Flash/WW crossover, but I want to say Johns touched on it when they were teamed up together in Infinite Crisis.

Cheetah with the speed of Zoom would be something, especially considering that Zoom was ostensibly faster than any of the Flashes or Reverse-Flashes due to the nature of his powers (warping of time rather than the Speed Force, so his speed can not be altered by "stealing" it). Of course, he got depowered anyway.

Diabolu Frank said...

That direction had potential, but it was immediately dropped, then forgotten in the Heinberg reboot.