There Is No Justice League
Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva
Cheetah is British archaeologist Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva. Born as the heiress of a vast fortune in the ancient family site in Nottinghamshire. Ambitious, selfish, and severely neurotic, Barbara develops a passion for archaeology that eventually led her to search out a tribe in Africa who utilizes a female guardian with the powers of a cheetah. A band of marauders kill the guardian and most of what remained of her original expedition party. Barbara, with the aid of the priest, Chuma, the caretaker of the ancient plant god Urtzkartaga, takes her place after being told that she would gain immortality. Her powers are conferred to her by ingesting a combination of human blood and the berries or leaves of Urtzkartaga. Unfortunately for Minerva, the host of the Cheetah persona is intended to be a virgin. Minerva is not, so her transformations were part curse and part blessing, as she experiences severe pain and physical disability while in her human form and blood-thirsty euphoria while in her cat form.4
This version of the Cheetah comes into Wonder Woman’s world when Barbara discovers that Diana possesses the Lasso of Truth. As an anthropologist, Barbara covets the lasso hoping to add it to her collection of historical items. She first attempts to do so through trickery, claiming that there is a matching ancient Golden Girdle of Gaea of the same kind from which the lasso was fashioned. Unfortunately, although the scheme proceeds far enough for Minerva to hold the lasso, its magical power to make people tell the truth forces her to confess her true intentions. Diana, profoundly distraught that a woman would be so treacherous, takes back the lasso and returns home in tears. With the subtle approach having failed, Minerva resorts to attacking the Amazon as the Cheetah in order to rob her of the lasso. Their initial battle ends with inconclusive results, as Diana’s friend, Julia Kapatelis, shoots the Cheetah and forces her to retreat.
Over the years, Barbara’s interest in the lasso wanes and she becomes more interested in besting Diana in battle due to her bruised ego. The rivalry between the Cheetah and Wonder Woman fluctuates, though. Wonder Woman saves the Cheetah’s life during an adventure in the Balkan country of Pan Balgravia. The country’s dictator Baron Von Nastraed, for unknown reasons, chooses to aid a demon named Drax by capturing a powerful metahuman woman. The captive woman’s body would be used to house Drax’s alternate dimension bride Barremargux. When the Baron captures the Cheetah for this purpose, Wonder Woman travels to the country to save her. At the last moment, when Barremargux is about to enter Earth-One, Barbara closes the gateway before the crossing could be completed by jumping into the gateway instead. Barbara is trapped in this demonic dimension until the Boston mob boss Julianna Sazia has scientists open the dimensional gateway to retrieve Barbara to serve her own ends. Barbara double-crosses Julianna, choosing to aid Wonder Woman when she is caught in the mob war between Paulie Longo and Julianna Sazia in Boston. Seeing her debt to Wonder Woman paid for attempting to rescue her in Pan Balgravia, the Cheetah continues her quest to defeat Wonder Woman when it is convenient to her.
For a brief period of time, Minerva loses her powers to the businessman Sebastian Ballesteros (see below), who convinces Urtzkartaga that he could be a more effective Cheetah than she was. Minerva later kills Ballesteros and regains her powers.
The relationship Minerva has with Urtzkartaga is strained at times for all of Minerva’s intense devotion and loyalty. For a brief period of time the god punishes her by leaving one of Minerva’s hands human looking and untransformed even while she is in Cheetah form. Though it appears to still be fully empowered as the rest of her body and equally as deadly.
With help from Zoom, Minerva attains a level of super speed even greater than she previously possessed. She accomplishes this by murdering Priscilla Rich, who previously went by the codename Cheetah. They later join the latest Secret Society of Super Villains, and seem to be engaged in a sexual relationship, though Zoom considers himself to still be married to his former wife.
One Year Later, the witch Circe places a spell on Minerva that allows her to change her appearance from human to Cheetah at will, even though she still remains in her Cheetah form in either guise. She controls three actual cheetahs and still possesses her super speed, which is shown demonstrated by her ability to steal the golden lasso away from Donna Troy several times in battle.