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Women Who Kick Ass (mostly)

I was reading Kelly Thompson’s “Comics Should Be Good” anniversary blog for Comic Book Resources this morning, where she lists her 20 favorite female comic book characters, and next thing you knew, I’d spent most of the morning debating women in comics with other nerds.

I swear, this isn’t turning into a comic book blog. But, since I now have a list of 20 favorite female comic book characters of my own, I may as well publish it somewhere.

Many of my favorite comic book characters ARE female. Comic books have more diversity than movies, television or other mass consumed media. And in our comics, they don’t stereotype. We’ve got women in leading roles. There are gay and lesbian characters everywhere. You name an ethnicity, and I can find a comic book character who is it. Hell, there are even comic book characters with disabilities. Of course, most have super-abilities, but two of comics’ biggest characters (Prof. X & Oracle) are in wheelchairs, and countless superheroes are blind or have lost limbs. But they all kick ass. Because they have character and push themselves.

But back to the ladies…

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My #1 favorite female in comics is relatively new to the scene.

SCARLET

This Icon Comics character and series by the same name is only 3 issues in, and already Scarlet is one of my all-time favorite comics and characters. Breaking the fourth wall, Scarlet is a young woman who has seen first hand how corrupt the world is, and is asking for your help to start a revolution. She’s tough, sweet and bad-ass.

#2 Black Alice

Lori Zechlin, AKA Black Alice, is currently being underused and misused in the DC Universe as a member of the Secret Six. Her story is a great one. She discovered her mother’s body, after she’d committed suicide while strung out on drugs. Shortly after, her powers materialized. Lori absorbs the powers of other super-powered folks, good and bad. But she has no control over when she does, how long they last, or how to control those powers. Taking the name Black Alice, she murders drug dealers. She’s a bad-ass little goth-girl who kills bad guys. I’d love to see her show up in Metropolis instead of a Vertigo character we’ll discuss in a couple paragraphs…

#3 Jen Walters AKA She-Hulk

Thanks to a series of sexy She-Hulk covers in the late 80s, I knew that I could be attracted to any race of women, even green goddesses. But that’s not why Jen Walters is #3. Unlike her cousin, Bruce Banner, Jen keeps her head about her even when Hulked. I particularly loved when she still practiced law, and took up superhuman cases. She’s smart AND tough. Right now, she’s kind of a bounty hunter. I’d love to see her back in courtroom offering comic relief to the Marvel U. Marvel needs to get back to celebrating how smart Shulkie is.

#4 Death

 

In Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece run on Sandman, the main character is Dream. His sister, Death, steals the show in every scene she’s in. Currently, she’s just shown up in Action Comics, interacting with Lex Luthor. I’m very skeptical of all of this nonsense. But, in the original Gaiman Sandman comics, it’s so very difficult not to fall in love with Death. She’s wise, zen-like, and goth-girl sexy.

#5 Black Widow

Russian super-spy Natalia Romanova is an on and off again Avenger who has made love and war with the biggest names across the Marvel Universe. She’s been around since the 60s, and though she’s got no superpowers, she’s a force to be reckoned with. She’s smart, tough, manipulative and sexy. She’s as dangerous as they come. Her current self-titled series was really good for the first few issues.

#6 Scandal Savage

I always like the girls with daddy issues. Scandal Savage is the daughter of an evil, immortal man. Now she’s an assassin for hire. In the pages of the Secret Six, we’ve gotten to know Scandal as tough as nails, with an interesting bit of sentimentality to her. She’s an extremely interesting character, and it’s always a treat when a writer treats her more like a character than a background to the boys in the book.

#7 Danica

The fairly new series Penny For Your Soul is about Danica, the grand-daughter of the devil, who along with her lesbian lover, Mary Magdalene, has opened a casino in Las Vegas which will pay you $10k for your soul. It’s sinfully delightful to read, and Danica is a fun character, tilting the balance between heaven and hell, simply because she can.

#8 Emma Frost

Marvel’s diamond lady, Emma Frost is also known as the White Queen. She’s a complicated character who started as the evil anti-Charles Xavier, training mutants for her own school. Now she runs the X-Men with her lover Scott Summers. There are hints throughout the title that she’s not REALLY a good guy though, possibly teaming up with Cassandra Nova to use the Phoenix force. She’s the blonde bombshell of the Marvel U, and possibly their most complex character, which in a way, makes her even more interesting.

#9 Executive Assistant Iris

In her self-titled series, Iris is raised to be an elite Executive Assistant, which also includes being a body guard and assassin, on top of administrative duties. But the moral compass she navigates by is one of honor, and her employer begins to challenge that. It’s a compelling read, especially getting to know Iris.

#10 Barbarella

Well before Jane Fonda stripped into the role on-screen, Barbarella was a sexy, far-out, trippy French comic book. Every man falls for Barbarella, and that includes this one. I hope the future is as swinging as she presents it.

#11 Mystique

She’s a shape-shifter. She can look like anybody she wants. She chooses to be hot and blue. What I like about Mystique is that she’s not always a bad guy. Like currently, she’s trying to rescue Wolverine from hell. She’s got such a back story that she’s automatically one of the best ladies of the Marvel U. She’s like most women I date. She only cares about herself, even when she seems like she cares about more than that. Which makes me wonder what’s in store for this current hell storyline.

12 Val Richards

When a child teleports behind her parents’ backs, to make a secret deal with their biggest foe, Dr. Doom, and negotiates with that mad man just fine; you know it’s a pretty special kid. For years Marvel focused on the powers of Franklin, but it seems like just recently we’ve gotten to know his sister, and she’s a bad ass little kid. I actually look forward to her storylines in FF comics more than the other characters.

#13 Harley Quinn

The Joker’s girlfriend is a long-time fan-favorite for rock chicks and bad girls, but I just started liking her in the series Gotham City Sirens. She’s obviously the comic relief for that book, but also is the heart of a unique little family of Cat Woman, Poison Ivy and herself. We’ve been watching her get over the Joker since 52 and she’s totally coming into her own. And I like her.

#14 Spider-Woman

Jessica Drew was replaced by an alien queen hell-bent on conquering the earth, and is now back home, facing a hatred she didn’t even earn. So how does this Avenger deal with it? She goes out and kicks alien ass. I’m not a fan of her costume, but I’ve always liked Spider-Woman. I’ve never seen a drawing of Jessica Drew that didn’t portray her as gorgeous. She’s one of the strongest women in comics. She could kick Peter’s ass any day.

#15 Rogue

Rogue has a lot of characteristics I like in a comic book woman. She’s a power mimic. I think that’s cool. She’s not always a good guy. I love that. She’s got funky hair. Always a hit with me. And she’s a beautiful, busty New Orleans girl. Come on. What’s not to love? She usually gets good storylines because of that. Everybody loves Rogue. So we’ve seen her hook up with Magneto and now travel the world with the mutant messiah Hope searching for new mutants. Rogue gets all the cool plots.

#16 Cat Woman

Cat Woman is the original comic diva to walk both sides of the line between vigilantism and crime. She’s Bruce Wayne’s one true love. Selina Kyle is the ultimate comic book anti-hero. Recently she really came to life in the pages of Batman, post Bruce Wayne’s death. I loved watching her hunt down Hush, after he had literally held her heart hostage. She’s also very well written currently in Gotham City Sirens, as mentioned above.

#17 Amanda Waller

I would argue that the most powerful woman in the DCU is a middle aged, superpower-less woman by the name of Amanda Waller. She heads up a secret government agency with unlimited power to police and gather intelligence on super humans. She hires some of the most sinister capes to help her and often causes trouble for the biggest heroes. But, at the end of the day, she’s saved the country and the world more times than anybody can count.

#18 Knives Chau

When I first read the Scott Pilgrim comics, I thought Scott was a douche, Ramona wasn’t worth the trouble, his friends were all assholes and that the only redeemable character was Knives. Now that there’s a movie and every other kind of Scott Pilgrim stuff you could ever want to buy, I believe this even more so. Knives is a sweet girl. The ideal teen giving of her heart for the first time, discovering music and who she is.

#19 Casey

In the comic book Morning Glories, several teens with the same birthday have all been taken captive by a mysterious boarding school, which then kills their parents. It’s a mind-fuck of a comic book, and I highly suggest it. The cast is definitely an ensemble piece, but the hero of the group seems to be Casey, and I’ve really enjoyed watching her play the academy staff and begin to unravel the mystery of the place. This really should be the next comic made into a TV show.

#20 the Black Cat

Felicia Hardy really is just Marvel’s answer to Selina Kyle. The Black Cat’s relationship to Spiderman is identical to Cat Woman’s to Batman. But Felicia Hardy is done with much more sex appeal. She’s always written as the ultimate sex-pot. And for that reason alone, she’d make my list. Heck, she can cap it off.

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