It was on the cover of Detective Comics #38 that Robin, the Boy Wonder was declared in his debut appearance to be “The Sensational Character Find of 1940!” While we may not have the same pluck and gusto as editor Whitney Ellsworth, that’s a title which we at take seriously. So seriously, that we’ve made putting together our own “Sensation Character Find” lists something of an annual tradition.

This has been a banner year for character debuts. Every one of them is a winner in our eyes, but we’ve chosen ten personal favorites and ranked them here with the same level of care and self-assuredness that allowed DC in 1940 to call the year for Dick Grayson rather than, say, Doctor Fate, the Flash or Green Lantern, who also happened to debut that year. Here are the ten new characters who particularly caught our attention in 2023.

Wade West

Dynamic Debut: The Flash #798

Jeremy Adams brought a legendary run on The Flash to an end with the introduction of a brand-new member of the Flash Family—Wally West’s third child, Wade. Imbuing his mother Linda with super speed during her pregnancy and stolen (then retrieved) for his potential by Granny Goodness moments after his birth, there’s no telling what the future holds for the new baby in the West family. But with Irey and Jai now responsible for a younger sibling, and with an established history in the family of rapid, unexpected aging, the Wests better be ready for anything.


Dynamic Debut: Hawkgirl #1

Hawkgirl’s own 2023 solo series brought with it a brand new Hawkgirl villain—one who feels just as natural as the animal trickster spirit of a classic fairytale, as a time-bending phenomenon of science fiction, or as a vampire from a horror story. An entity from the enigmatic Nth World, the vulpine Vulpecula moves untethered through time, making Faustian bargains with her victims as children to claim their service in the present day. Beware of offered ponies from strangers with too many eyes.

The Boom

Dynamic Debut: The New Golden Age #1

All right, we technically got our first look at Judy Garrick in late 2022, but we wouldn’t see her in action until this year. Besides, the Boom is no stranger to retcons. Lost in the canonical shuffle between Crises, Judy was revealed to be the Golden Age Flash’s daughter who had always existed, but was lost to time, memory and reality. Now, after raising generations of speedsters, Jay Garrick is adjusting to raising a child of his own he never thought possible.


Dynamic Debut: Wonder Woman #800

Elizabeth Marston Prince was introduced at the start of Tom King’s tenure on Wonder Woman as the mantle bearer of tomorrow, wielding three lassos and leading the Justice League in a potential future. There’s not much we yet know about how she came to be, apart from her closeness to Jon Kent and Damian Wayne as mentor figures. For the circumstances of her birth and rise to prominence, we’ll have to keep watching Wonder Woman in 2024.

Marilyn Moonlight

Dynamic Debut: Superman #2

Like Trinity, Marilyn Moonlight is mainly an enigma at this point in time—a ghost rider in the sky above Metropolis, with a spectral steed and a connection to the city’s distant past. With power over the reflected sunlight of the moon, Marilyn is capable of supercharging Superman in his time of greatest need. Perhaps someday soon, this supernatural style icon will call on the Man of Steel to return the favor.

Flip Johnson

Dynamic Debut: My Adventures with Superman, “Adventures of a Normal Man”

This year’s darling animated hit My Adventures with Superman featured many radical reinventions of long-established characters in Superman’s life, but none so winsome as Flip Johnson—a new gender-flipped incarnation of “Flippa Dippa” of Jack Kirby’s Newsboy Legion. This precocious, unicorn bike-helmeted, enterprising leader of the Legion in the new animated series provides an unlikely set of eyes and ears on the street for the intrepid Daily Planet intern trio of Lois, Jimmy and Clark as strange goings-on develop around the city. By the end of the season, Flip proves instrumental in leading the world to believe that a man can fly.

Mr. Dinosaur

Dynamic Debut: Shazam! #2

More often than not, Shazam! is pure, whimsical fun. It’s the book that made the Captain’s best friend a talking tiger and his enemies an evil worm and a giant bomb-shaped robot. So how do Mark Waid and Dan Mora up the ante? By introducing a super-intelligent tyrannosaurus rex from space into Billy Batson’s life—a solicitor suing his family for unintended damages while rescuing an earth-stranded family of space dinosaurs. While the paperwork gets all sorted out, Mr. Dinosaur (his real name is unpronounceable by humans) is reluctantly here to stay as an erstwhile ally to the Shazamily. For how long, who can say? But we’re quite enjoying having a talking dinosaur on the team while we can.


Dynamic Debut: Lazarus Planet: We Once Were Gods #1

One of the most complicated theological issues in the cosmology of the DC Universe is the existence of Hell. How can justice exist in the face of eternal damnation? In the long shadow of eternity, is there any sin truly beyond the scope of redemption? How could a universe so focused on the concept of justice allow, nay, require, a place like Hell to function? These are the questions that Raphael Arce, Bloodwynd, the “Superman of Hell,” is determined to answer.

A metahuman superhero cut down in his very debut, Arce was inspired through a psychic encounter with Martian Manhunter to become a hero where none exist and where one is needed most: the planes of Hell itself. As Bloodwynd journeys ever further downward through the gates of damnation in Action Comics, the Superman of Hell is determined to prove that no soul, however tarnished, is ever beyond the reach of hope.

Uncle Rudy

Dynamic Debut: Blue Beetle

From the moment we heard George Lopez call Batman a fascist in the Blue Beetle film trailer, it was hard not to love him. Jaime Reyes’ paranoid, madcap garage scientist uncle is relatable to all of us as that relative we’re all kind of embarrassed about, but care for deeply. When your world starts to get superhero levels of crazy, you want crazy in your corner. No matter how hairy the situation, it’s the Uncle Rudies of the world who are there to get your back.

Xanthe Zhou

Dynamic Debut: Lazarus Planet: Legends Reborn #1

Competition for our top three was tight, but ultimately, we had to award our Most Sensational Character Find to the only mystic in the universe cool enough to hang with both John Constantine and Cassandra Cain.

Existing between the realms of the living and dead, Xanthe is a Spirit Envoy who facilitates communication and harmony between those realms. Known for their ability to summon objects through the use of Chinese joss paper—as well as for their big-ass broadsword—Xanthe is one of the few movers and shakers in DC’s occult underworld who can even pull one over on Constantine from time to time.

Xanthe, John and Cass formed an unlikely trio this year as the lead characters of Spirit World, making the Chinese hero one of the first non-binary characters to headline a DC title. After such a banner year, we’re sure to see the likes of Xanthe hanging around the Oblivion Bar or the House of Secrets for years to come.

Alex Jaffe is the author of our monthly "Ask the Question" column and writes about games, movies, TV, comics and superhero history for Follow him on Bluesky at @AlexJaffe and find him in the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Alex Jaffe and do not necessarily reflect those of DC or Warner Bros. Discovery, nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.