15 Best Black DC Superheroes & Villains of All Time

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The world of DC is quite diverse in terms of its heroes and villains, as we often see many different people of color taking up prominent roles in this universe. Of course, some of DC’s most prominent heroes and villains are black as more and more people of color become popular among comic book readers decades after white heroes and villains dominated most comic book pages.

While there are plenty of black characters in DC, a select few tend to stand out more than others due to their roles’ importance. So, with that said, let’s look at the best black DC superheroes and villains of all time.

15. Calvin Ellis

The first on this list is Superman, as Calvin Ellis is one of the most prominent versions of the Man of Steel. He comes from Earth-23 and is the Kal-El of his universe instead of the Clark Kent we are familiar with. Of course, while he continued his life as a superhero, Calvin Ellis aimed high enough in society to become the president of the United States of America.

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That’s why he is often called President Calvin Ellis, as he is the only Superman in the DC multiverse to become president of the USA. On top of that, he has all of the standard abilities that all Kryptonians have. He became an icon that helped lead a lot of superheroes during the Final Crisis storyline in the comics. As such, he is a born leader with the same abilities that Clark Kent has but better understands what it means to lead.

14. Malcolm Duncan

Malcolm Duncan was first introduced as a jock kid that always wore a Superman shirt. In that regard, he didn’t have superpowers and was just a kid that no one wanted to mess with because he was bigger and stronger than anyone else. However, he became a better character, becoming more prominent in DC.

Malcolm became a superhero who donned the Guardian’s armor when he grew older. As such, he became the new version of the Guardian, as he used his superior size and strength to combat villains. Even though he didn’t have superpowers, he became a prominent hero, especially after he learned how to fight. That is why he is one of the most inspiring black superheroes, as he may not be as strong as the other heroes but is just as heroic in terms of his heart and will.

13. Batwing

There are many members of the Bat Family in the comics, and Batwing is one of them. He is the most tech-inclined member of the Bat Family as he wears a high-tech suit that Lucius Fox designed. Of course, it helps that Batwing is Luke Fox, who we know is the son of Lucius, the man who designs a lot of Bruce Wayne’s tech and equipment.

In that regard, Batwing’s suit allows him to engage in a unique type of combat that uses technology. He can easily fly in his suit, which means he adds a unique wrinkle to the Bat Family because he can patrol the skies and help cover his comrades from the air. On top of that, he is a capable fighter that can go toe-to-toe with some of the most skilled combatants in DC.

12. Sojourner Mullein

Nicknamed Jo, Sojourner Mullein is one of the newest superheroes in DC and a Green Lantern Corps member. That means that she is one of the two Green Lanterns on this list, as many Green Lanterns come from Earth. Of course, Jo is so iconic despite being a newer character because she is progressive and the first black and bisexual member of the Green Lantern Corp.

Of course, like the other Green Lanterns, Sojourner Mullein can use the Green Lantern Power Ring, one of the strongest weapons in the DC universe. She used to be a law enforcer, earning a ring to produce constructs of pure energy. On top of that, she has one of the most relatable and grounded storylines in DC, and that makes her as iconic as any other black character can be.

11. Mr. Terrific

Even though he is often called the black Batman, Mr. Terrific has become so iconic that he stands out as a character almost just as popular as any other black character on this list. Of course, there’s a good reason why he is the black counterpart of Bruce Wayne, as he is quite similar to him, except for the fact that he doesn’t have the same tragic childhood that Batman has.

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Born Michael Holt, Mr. Terrific wasn’t a rich kid as he needed to work his way up using his intellect to become a self-made millionaire. He invented a technology called T-Spheres, which he uses as his main weapon for his life as a superhero. As such, despite not possessing any superpowers, his fighting skills, advanced intellect, and technology allow him to stand toe-to-toe against the best villains that DC has to offer. He is so impressive that Batman was so vocal about wanting to invite him to join the Justice League.

10. Rocket

Not to be confused with Marvel’s talking Raccoon, Rocket is an iconic black character who became a prominent superhero in DC. She was mentored by none other than Icon himself, and she eventually joined the Justice League as a headstrong character with great leadership potential. Of course, her abilities allow her to stand out, as not many characters can do what she is capable of doing.

Rocket can manipulate kinetic energy, which means that she is a powerful character that can produce powerful blasts of energy or create force fields so powerful that they can stand up against some of the strongest attacks in DC. As such, she became a great ally to Icon, a powerful superhero.

9. Steel

Many of us were first exposed to Steel’s character in the 1997 Steel movie that starred the gigantic seven-foot beast named Shaquille O’Neal. However, Steel has been around for a while, as his storyline is connected to Superman. Born John Henry Irons, Steel is a genius inventor inspired by Superman’s heroic deeds. However, we know that Superman died due to his fight with Doomsday.

In that regard, Irons took it upon himself to invent a steel suit that allowed him to mimic the strength and durability of the Man of Steel himself. Dubbing himself Steel, this superhero may not have superpowers but can pack a serious punch from his iconic hammer. Steel is a great fighter and an incredibly gifted inventor who could fill in Superman’s shoes during a certain period in the comics.

8. Bumblebee

Bumblebee may share her name with a popular Transformer, but she is just as iconic of a character as the transforming Camaro. She is often lumped in together with the Teen Titans. Still, Bumblebee is an iconic black character that has become admirable for many girls out there because she has all the qualities that young girls would want from a superhero.

The things that allow Bumblebee to stand out are her combat and intellectual capabilities, as she is a strong fighter with brains that match her brawns. However, she is known for her ability to shrink to tiny sizes to be useful in many situations outside of combat. On top of that, she can blast powerful energy blasts that allow her to stand up against incredibly strong opponents.

7. Black Lightning

You can never have a list of DC’s most iconic black characters without Black Lightning because he has always been a favorite among fans. He is the first black DC character to get his live-action series, which means he is an incredibly popular superhero that inspires many different people. And that is why he will always be on a list of the principal black characters in comic book history.

Of course, Black Lightning is an incredibly powerful superhero with abilities that allow him to stand out. He is a retired Olympic athlete that spends his time teaching life lessons to people and is known for showcasing what it’s like to be black in America. However, he is also a hero that uses his powerful black lightning powers to fight criminals and villains that endanger the lives of so many people. As such, he is an inspiration with or without his costume.

6. Static Shock

Often seen as an answer to Marvel’s Miles Morales, Static Shock is an iconic DC character that is quite popular among younger fans of superheroes as many kids look up to him and want to be like him due to his cool and energetic personality. Of course, he is also a powerful character, more than just an incredibly cool and likable hero.

Born Virgil Ovid Hawkins, Static Shock has been portrayed as Black Lightning’s sidekick numerous times but has also been able to stand up on his own two feet as a hero himself. He has electromagnetic electricity powers, allowing him to use electromagnetic fields for many different purposes. On top of that, he is also capable of manipulating electricity to a certain degree, and that’s why he has been portrayed as a sidekick to Black Lightning numerous times.

5. Amanda Waller

If there’s one person on this list that can be polarizing because she doesn’t always fall under either good or evil, it’s Amanda Waller. She is an anti-hero who will stop at nothing to ensure she achieves her goal of taking out threats to the world. Of course, we all know she is willing to use whatever means necessary, including villains that superheroes have locked up. And that’s because she was the one that created Task Force X, which we all know is the Suicide Squad.

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Waller has no superpowers, but her position in the government and her personality is all she needs to get the job done. She believes the ends justify the means, so she is willing to use dispensable convicts to achieve peace. Her conviction to achieve her goals is at the top regarding some of the most iconic DC characters. And that makes this ambitious woman incredibly dangerous, even in the eyes of the villains under her control.

4. Aqualad

Known as Aquaman’s sidekick, Aqualad is one of the most capable sidekicks in the history of DC. He is a great leader who can lead just about anyone due to his innate charisma and calming presence. He may not be as powerful as his mentor, but he is certainly right up there regarding DC’s most iconic and popular black characters. Of course, it also helps that some of the recent portrayals of Aqualad are gay.

What makes Aqualad so strong is that he is gifted with the ability to control water and has knowledge of Atlantean sorcery. He also has a powerful body that may not be as strong as Aquaman’s own body, but it is still capable enough to dish out and take hits. Aqualad has all the qualities anyone wants in a superhero because he is smart, charismatic, naturally unselfish, powerful, and versatile. And that’s why there’s no doubt that he is someone that any fan would love to read about or watch.

3. Black Manta

Black Manta is one of DC’s most iconic black villains because he is one of the few characters that can stand up to superpowered heroes even though he doesn’t have any powers. Yes, Black Manta is a regular human being trained to reach the very limits of what the human body can do, and that is why he has the skills, intelligence, and leadership abilities to go toe-to-toe with someone like Aquaman.

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Of course, Black Manta is known for his helmet, which can unleash powerful blasts capable of killing superpowered humans. His suit is also incredibly durable and allows Black Manta to move about in the ocean as Atlanteans can. As such, he has always been a thorn in the side of the Atlanteans and is strong enough to give Aquaman a ton of trouble.

2. Cyborg

In terms of iconic black characters that form part of the Justice League, there is no doubt that Cyborg is right at the top. He has always been a foundational Justice League and the Teen Titans member due to his unique abilities. Once a star football player on his way to becoming one of the hottest young prospects in the country, Cyborg turned into a hybrid of a human and a machine due to an accident. As such, he possesses incredible abilities that no other character in DC possesses.

Cyborg has always been an indispensable member of all of the superhero groups he joined because he can hack into any computer and process any information he gets. He is essentially a walking supercomputer that gets the job done. It also helps that Cyborg has one of the coolest personalities in DC. He is known to be a fun-loving teenager with the Teen Titans and a pretty serious and youthful presence whenever he is with the Justice League.

1. John Stewart

The top spot on this list belongs to one of the most powerful and prominent Green Lanterns in the entire history of DC. Probably second only to Hal Jordan in terms of how popular and successful he is as a Green Lantern, John Stewart has always been one of the top black characters in the world of fiction because he comes with a better backstory than most the other Green Lanterns in DC.

Of course, like all Green Lanterns, John possesses the ability to use the Power Ring, which allows him to create energy constructs that are powerful enough to hurt superpowered beings and protect people from powerful attacks. His style may differ from how Hal uses his Power Ring, but he has proven himself just as skilled or even more skilled. And while Hal has always been a chatterbox, John is one of the most serious members of the Justice League and tends to scold some of his fellow league members when they don’t treat certain matters seriously.

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