- This sort of thing doesn't happen to Barbara Minerva. I don't let it.
- -- Barbara Minerva src
Dr. Barbara Minerva, alias Cheetah, is a British archaeologist who had garnered a reputation of going to any lengths to secure an artifact. Born as the heiress of a vast fortune in the ancient family site in Nottinghamshire, her life would change dramatically following an expedition she led into a dense African jungle. She was searching for the legendary lost city of the Urzkartagan tribe. Deep within the jungle, her team was betrayed by their guides and ambushed by the Urzkartagans. Only she and one other, Dr. Tom Leavens, escaped by diving in a river. The two of them found the lost city while it was in the midst of a ritual. One of the other members of their team was sacrificed by the high priest, Chuma. The ritual had been intended to restore to health the ailing woman who was regarded as an avatar for their cheetah god. Before the ritual could be completed, outsiders attacked the village, slaughtering everyone but Chuma, who was saved by Minerva. The two were buried within the cave that was the temple to the god Urzkartaga by a grenade blast.
Chuma explained that the ritual would have turned the old woman into a cheetah god. The ritual, which could only be performed on the full moon and required a blood sacrifice, would have restored the woman's youth as well. She had been centuries old at the time of her death. Minerva demanded the ritual be done to her so she could have her chance at power and immortality. When Chuma explained there must be a sacrifice, Minerva murdered Dr. Leavens, who had returned just long enough to free them from the cave-in and forfeit his life. After she killed him and drank his blood, the ritual began. Even as Chuma worked tirelessly, the invaders who had destroyed the temple were returning. With the ritual complete, Minerva was transformed into Cheetah and slaughtered all the invaders. After the slaughter, she reverted to human form and took Chuma with her back to England.
Unfortunately, there was an unforeseen side effect to the transformation. The sacrifice had called for a virgin and Minerva did not qualify. Hence, rather than grant her youth and vitality, after the transformation she became weak and frail. Only on the night of the full moon, when she became Cheetah, was she strong again.
After Wonder Woman made her debut in Boston, Minerva learned of the Golden Lasso that Diana wielded. She coveted the lariat and tried to trick Diana into losing it but to no avail. Since she failed to gain it as Barbara Minerva, she tried to seize it by force as Cheetah. Still inexperienced at fighting such a powerful adversary, Diana might have lost if not for the intervention of her friend, Dr. Kapatelis. Minerva was not deterred, however. Following the Invasion! crisis, Minerva used two Khunds to steal the Lasso from Diana.
Once the Lasso was in her possession, Minerva became obsessed with the history of it. Knowing that Diana would soon figure out that she and Cheetah were one and the same, she left Chuma to poison the princess while she left for Africa. Leaving a trail of bodies in her wake, Cheetah found the city of Bana-Mighdall, home of the rogue Amazons. Wonder Woman pursued her there. When Minerva reverted to human form, she was worse off than ever. The plant from which an ingredient was gathered for the ritual transformation began to die. Chuma arrived and found his mistress at death's door. He guessed that the god was jealous of divided loyalties he perceived in Minerva and proclaimed that the only way she would be healed was to kill both Diana and the queen of Bana-Mighdall. Becoming Cheetah once more, she killed the queen and got into a fierce battle with Wonder Woman in the midst of an all out assault by the rogue Amazons. Diana defeated her, and Chuma was killed by the Amazons. Minerva survived the destruction of the city and was taken into custody.
While in prison, still wracked with pain, Minerva was approached by a messenger of Circe. He gave her a potion that transformed her permanently into the Cheetah. Whereas before she had worn a suit and was not totally in control while in Cheetah form, now she was totally transformed and remained in complete control. The spell also allowed her to take on a human appearance while still being in full possession of her Cheetah powers. Unfortunately for Minerva, the potion had made her a slave to Circe and her schemes. Hoping to betray Circe, Cheetah went to the Gotham City Grand Hotel trying to steal the goblet that Circe was going to use against the Amazons of Themyscira. All hell broke loose that night and after killing Hellene and wounding Philippus, two Amazons, Cheetah fled. She turned up to tell Inspector Indelicato the whole truth and where Diana could find her missing mother, hoping Wonder Woman would defeat Circe.
She was later seen forming a new Injustice League alongside Lex Luthor and The Joker, which would launch an assault on Green Arrow & Black Canary's wedding. She was one of the villains deported to the Hell Planet during the events of Salvation Run, and has since rejoined the Secret Society of Super-Villains under the command of Libra during the Final Crisis.
During the events of Final Crisis itself, Minerva remained free of the Anti-Life Equation, and formed a relationship with Snapper Carr after she saved his life and he aided her in evading the Justifiers and joining with Checkmate. She was last seen at the forefront of the Checkmate resistance during the struggle with Darkseid.
- Cheetah Form: Barbara is able to transform into the Cheetah, an ancient enemy of man. While she once needed the potion of her plant god Urzkartaga to maintain it, with help from the witch Circe she can now take on a human appearance while retaining Cheetah form indefinitely.
- Superhuman Strength: As an avatar of a god, Cheetah possesses great strength.
- Superhuman Durability: Cheetah's physical durability is enough to withstand blows from the likes of Wonder Woman and Superman. Cheetah's durability doesn't protect her from bullets, lasers, or other piercing attacks.
- Superhuman Speed: Cheetah possesses greater speed than Wonder Woman, enhanced even further by training with Zoom.
- Superhuman Agility: Cheetah's agility is enhanced far beyond normal human levels.
- Enhanced Senses: Cheetah's senses are a lot more powerful than a normal human.
- Claws and Fangs: Cheetah's claws and fangs are enchanted and allow her to cut almost anything. Even the flesh of super-humanly durable metahumans offers little resistance.
- Animal Control: With Circe's upgrade to her powers, Minerva can communicate with and command actual cheetahs into battle for her.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Cheetah is very adept at hand-to-hand combat, being able to go one-on-one with Wonder Woman repeatedly.
- Leadership: Minerva has proven a capable organizer and tactician, having led her own sect of The Secret Society while concocting the plan which conceived Genocide.
- Tactical Analysis: Cheetah is a cunning strategist.
- 147 Appearances of Barbara Ann Minerva (New Earth)
- 43 Images featuring Barbara Ann Minerva (New Earth)
- 5 Quotations by or about Barbara Ann Minerva (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Barbara Ann Minerva (New Earth)
|Wonder Woman Villain(s)|
This character is or was primarily an enemy of Wonder Woman and the Amazons in any of her various incarnations. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Wonder Woman Villains category."
Injustice League member
Secret Society of Super-Villains member