“I am women, hear me roar”, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”; male superheroes may be the ones who grab the majority of the headlines and big movie deals, but female characters have always been there too. As time goes by, such characters are becoming more powerful, prominent and recognized as forces for inspiration and social change.
For a number of years, female superheroes were lumbered with ‘Ms Pac-Man Syndrome’, wherein the main characters were nothing more than feminized versions of their male counterparts. Now we are chock-full of original, independent and fearsome female ass-kickers. There’s an equality we can get behind.
Marvel recently took the bold step of permanently reimagining Thor, one of their biggest and most lucrative creations, as a woman. There was the expected backlash from the usual conservative and non-progressive quarters of the fandom, but by and large the news has been received as the fresh injection of creativity it really is. Stories are being told, there’s nothing wrong with a fresh approach.
So to celebrate the new female God of Thunder, BaDoink will be guiding through a rundown of our favorite fighting fems, our very own wonderful warrior women.
Perhaps more of an anti-heroine than a traditional superhero, Catwoman’s place in the pantheon of great female characters has always been assured since actresses such as Eartha Kitt made the role their own in the forever-amazing 1960s Batman TV show. The sassy, lithe and unpredictable cat burglar has since been portrayed in the movies by the likes of Michelle Pfeiffer and Anne Hathaway. Only the big stars are suitable to play this most feline of females.
The one black mark on Catwoman’s record is the eponymous 2004 film starring Halle Berry, a movie so universally recognized as awful that Berry herself turned up to collect her Razzies for Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay and Worst Actress. It was a speech dripping with humor, sarcasm and a little frustration.
Despite that cinematic setback, Catwoman still receives the plaudits and regularly features on any list. IGN have separately listed her as the 11th best comic book villain of all time and 20th best comic book hero of all time. It’s this blurring of the lines between morality and law that makes Ms Selina Kyle one of the most enduring and enigmatic comic book creations of all time.
Having gone through a number of changes, it’s Natalia Romanova who remains the most enduring and popular incarnation of this most gorgeous of assassins. Having been launched back into the public eye as a result of her appearances in Iron Man 2, Avengers Assemble and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (and no doubt helped by the casting of Scarlett Johansson), Black Widow has adapted to political and social change.
Having been introduced as a Russian spy during the height of Cold War tensions, Black Widow was drafted on to the American side just as the conflict thawed out. Now a key part of the Marvel Universe, Black Widow’s stock is set to rise even further with an upcoming appearance in the Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron.
Ask somebody to name a female superhero and the first name they will probably say is Wonder Woman. Known by as Diana Prince, Wonder Woman’s famously skimpy costume has become the go-to choice for Halloween costumes for anybody with the body to match.
But Wonder Woman is more than just some lurid and tantalizing sex fantasy. Created by psychologist William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman is a more ethereal and supernatural character that borrows heavily from the Amazon myths of Ancient Greece.
Despite the accusations of objectification, Wonder Woman has come to be seen as something of a feminist icon as a consequence of her battles in the name of love, justice, peace and equality. Now there’s a war worth fighting.
Despite a successful TV run in the mid-1970s, Wonder Woman has struggled to hit the big screen like her counterparts. An appearance in 2016’s Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice might be the kick-start this most glorious of Amazons needs. With the exceptional Israeli Gal Gadot confirmed to play her, things could work out quicker than we thought.
Another Greek-based warrior girl, Elektra is the dagger-wielding nightmare that has male criminals everywhere crossing their legs in fear.
While Elektra has long been feared and revered in the comic book universe, her big-screen appearances have left a lot to be desired. With Jennifer Garner taking up the mantle, an appearance in the much-maligned Daredevil was followed by her own spin-off which was somehow even worse.
Nonetheless, Elektra has survived such critical and commercial mauling to remains one of the leading female superheroes.
Ah yes, yet another female superhero hung out to dry by Hollywood. Given the character’s disastrous appearance in the unbelievable super-turkey Batman & Robin, in which her origins and entire lineage were changed, it’s a wonder this poor girl hasn’t been shoved into a filing cabinet somewhere and forgotten about.
Originally conceived as the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, Batgirl also became the face of a campaign against violence on women in comics, after she was left paraplegic from being shot by the Joker. As with a lot of other superheroes of both genders, a number of people have taken on the Batgirl mantle, but it’s Barbara Gordon’s version that is the most popular. DC Comics have recently re-instated Barbara as Batgirl and plan to make the character a force once more.
So it turns out that Superman, originally deemed the only survivor of the destruction of Krypton, has quite the extended family! Well, you know what they say: you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.
Most well known as our mild-mannered reporter’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, Supergirl has had to spend a lot of time in her family member’s massive shadow. But as an icon to young girls and women, her influence is incredible. With Batman vs Superman due on our screens in 2016, this might be the right time to think about giving this girl a call.
Supergirl has already been the subject of one movie, this decidedly patchy 1984 effort. Pro-tip: when attempting to attack a woman, if she puts your partner through a fence by blowing air at him then melts your knife with laser eyes… it’s not a come on! No really DOES mean no, guys.
This foul-mouthed little sweetheart quickly became a major pop-culture figure since the release of 2010’s fantastic Kick-Ass. Played by Chloe Grace Moretz, the purple haired princess combines sugary sweetness, deadly martial arts skills and language that would make a drill sergeant blush.
Despite her short stature and cute face, Hit Girl is a nihilistic, death-dealing machine. The character faced an inevitable backlash upon the release of Kick-Ass, with the usual groups complaining about a child character being so deadly and cool. Erm… newsflash… it’s fiction!
Kids shouldn’t be wrapped in cotton wool and protected from anything perceived to be bad. Hit Girl needs to stand as a hero to children who want to grow up, break out and be a strong person. We’re looking in the all the wrong places when it comes to role models for our daughters. Let’s look a little closer to home instead.
As one the strongest female superheroes of all time, Jean Grey has been at the forefront of one of the most popular comic collectives: The X-Men.
A mutant born with powers of telekinesis, Jean Grey acts at the patriarch for the group and the rest of the students at Prof Xavier’s academy. She’s also a family woman too, having married her teammate and long-term lover Cyclops.
Portrayed by Dutch beauty Famke Janssen in the films, her ‘death’ in X-Men 2 was an emotional tour de force and made us realize just how integral to the series Jean Grey is. But never fear, the phoenix did indeed rise from the ashes and will be with us for a long time yet.
Ok, ok… this is a controversial choice, and your judgement is going to be hampered by the insanely awful live-action movie (have you noticed a trend with female superheroes and bad films yet?) but hear us out, please?
A lot of talk on the Internet these days centers round ‘Social Justice Warriors’; typically feminists who push for equality, recognition and a chance to be heard. Tank Girl, with her brash attitude and outspoken manner, is the anarchic, punked-up bitch that seems to personify such attitudes. In a post-apocalyptic nightmare, only one girl stands in the way of justice being devoured by chaos. We like those odds!
Sticking with the cousin theme we explored with Supergirl, She-Hulk is Jennifer Walters, daughter of her mother’s sister to the one and only Dr Bruce Banner. She is given the Hulk’s amazing ability to turn bright green and fly off the handle after receiving a blood-transfusion from Banner. In a somewhat fortuitous twist, she only had a milder dose of the condition so when she does indeed Hulk-out, she retains both her personality and her… well, shapely curves.
Jennifer is also something of a multi-tasker. When she’s not teaming up with the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Fantastic Four, she offers legal counsel to any superhero who may need it.
Strong, gorgeous and brainy. What’s not to love? Just don’t ask if it’s her ‘time of the month’ for God’s sake…
Have we missed anybody out? Are there other women who deserve to be in this list ahead of our choices? Make sure to let us know!