Unlike Samuel Sterns, Barbara Anne Minerva did not come from humble beginnings. Quite the opposite, Minerva was a wealthy heiress hailing from somewhere called Nottinghamshire, which just sounds fancy. She was also an archeologist who earned fame as someone who would go to any lengths to recover an artifact.
If this sounds familiar, Minerva has a lot in common with everyone's favorite fictional archeologist, Indiana Jones. For a while, Minerva even seemed like a standup person. While on an expedition, Minerva encountered a tribe amid an ancient ritual.
With the ceremony, the tribe hoped to restore the health of an aging priestess. This priestess was the avatar of the tribe's god, Cheetah. During the ritual, things go wrong, and the village is attacked by outsiders. Minerva actually saves the tribes priestess, Chuma.
The two are locked away in a cave, and this is where Minerva's heroics end. She forces Chuma to perform the ritual on her. This transforms Minerva into Cheetah. When the outsiders return, Cheetah kills them all, which, you have to admit, they kind of had coming. Unfortunately, Cheetah also sacrifices one of her colleagues to perform the ritual, setting up her path of villainy.
But for a few murders, Cheetah had the chance to be a hero on her nemesis Wonder Woman's level.