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Femme Fatale: 10 Leading Ladies in Comics

Marvel vs DC Heroines

2015 is shaping up to be the year of the superhero. Until recently, superhero movies have kept female characters on the sidelines, focusing on their male counterparts. With the DC Comic’s Supergirl TV series, the 2017 Wonder Woman movie, and Scarlet Witch joining the ranks of the Avengers in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron this summer,  it seems the females of our favorite superhero universes are finally getting their well-deserved time to shine. To support this effort, we’ve listed our favorite superheroines that we’re hoping to see more of in the near future.

Storm X-men
  1. Storm

One of longest running members of Marvel’s X-Men, Storm has been a beacon of the team’s strength and compassion. Armed with the mutant ability to control the weather, Storm has the ability to fly, summon hurricanes, harness lightning, and much, much more. Originally a pickpocket, Storm’s journey has taken her down the path of becoming the X-Men’s leader, to becoming the queen of a nation. A feminist icon, Storm is also one of the first black females to have such a key role in a comic book universe.

Black Widow Avengers
  1. Black Widow

Proving she can play in the big leagues, Black Widow joined Marvel’s Avengers in the early 70s. A master of espionage, Black Widow was trained as an assassin for the U.S.S.R. In addition to her extensive hand-to-hand combat and firearm training, Black Widow is outfitted with bracelets that release electrical charges dubbed “Widow’s Bite.” After defecting for the U.S. government, Black Widow joined the Avengers to protect humanity against Earth’s greatest threats.

As a member of the Avengers, Black Widow is comfortable doing whatever it takes to get the job done. She operates within the moral grey areas that other Avengers are uncomfortable admitting even exist, and it’s exactly that aspect that makes her a force to fear.

Carol Danvers - Captain Marvel
  1. Captain Marvel

Carol Danvers is tough. Originally a member of the U.S. Air Force, Carol proved that people don’t need powers to be super. After an accident in which her genetics were combined with a member of the Kree alien race, Carol developed powers of flight, super-strength, and energy manipulation. With those powers at hand, Carol became a leading member of The Avengers under the moniker Ms. Marvel. Since that time, fans have known her as Warbird, Binary, and, as of late, Captain Marvel. While she may go by different names, Carol Danvers is shaping up to be a household name once her feature length movie hits theaters in fall 2018.

Ms. Marvel
  1. Ms. Marvel

As previously mentioned, Carol Danvers has had a profound effect on the comic book community, to readers and fictional characters alike. Longtime fan of Carol’s work, teenaged Kamala Khan looked up to Carol as a hero. When Kamala developed shapeshifting powers after being exposed to a strange mist, Kamala decided to fight crime under one of Carol’s old names, Ms. Marvel. Now, as one of comic book’s only standalone Muslim superheroes, Kamala is inspiring readers of her own. After a recent anti-Muslim ad campaign hit the streets of San Francisco, comic readers painted over the ads with pictures of Kamala.

Ms. Marvel - AntiMuslim AdsWe’ve never seen anything more marvelous!
Zatanna Zatara
  1. Zatanna

Under the guise of a stage magician, Zatanna may seem like an average performer. Like the illusions she creates on stage, there is much more to Zatanna than meets the eye. In reality, Zatanna operates as one of the most powerful mages in the DC Universe. Currently acting as the leader of Justice League: Dark, Zatanna has the unique ability to control reality by means of magic. In order to perform this feat she must speak out her intentions backwards. An expert in the occult, heroes of all calibers turn to Zatanna when they’re looking to add a little magic to their lives.

  1. Batgirl

Sometimes, being a hero takes more brain than brawn. No hero proves this more than Batgirl. Daughter of Commissioner Gordon, Barbara Gordon is adept at acrobatics and hand-to-hand combat, but excels at using her brain to outsmart her enemies. After the events that took place in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, Barbara’s character was fundamentally changed both physically and mentally. Unwilling to hang up her cowl, Barbara became known as Oracle, and offered support to her comrades remotely. Whether on the front lines, or behind the battlefield, Batgirl is a shining example of never giving up regardless of the difficulties life  throws your way.

Jean Grey Phoenix
  1. Jean Grey

Throughout the years, Jean Grey has become one of Marvel Comic’s most notorious fan favorite heroes. A founding member of The X-Men, Jean possessed both telepathy and telekinesis. While her powers may have been what separated her from the average human, it was her nurturing, loving nature that proved to be her most valuable asset. In what would later be redubbed by fans as “The Phoenix Saga,” Jean realized the full extent of her power upon returning from a mission from space. Utilizing all of her strength to land her team’s damaged space shuttle; Jean redubbed herself The Phoenix, becoming one of the strongest forces on Earth. Ultimately, her godlike powers consumed her, driving her insane and being transformed into  an entity known as Dark Phoenix. In a moment of clarity after ending billions of lives, her love for her husband Cyclops, and the rest of the members of the X-Men led her to commit suicide to ensure that she would not put any more in harm. While she has been reincarnated several times, Jean’s story continues to be widely considered one of the most well-written and tragic stories of any comic book universe.

Female Thor
  1. Thor

Before you ask, no, Thor’s placement on our Leading Ladies list is not a misprint. Recently, Marvel passed on the legendary hammer, Mjölnir, to a masked female Asguardian. Debuting in her own self-titled series, female Thor’s intentions have not been made clear as of yet. While readers lay in wait for her identity to be revealed, she is championing against Frost Giant, and supervillain alike.


  1. Black Canary

    Black Canary

Martial Artist Master? Check. Supersonic Canary Cry? Check. Fishnet stockings? Check. If you haven’t guessed it yet our next leading lady is none other than Black Canary. As an active member of both the Justice League, and the Birds of Prey, Black Canary knows how to stand her ground in a fight. Known to her friends as Dinah Lance, Black Canary is also known for being the romantic partner of the Green Arrow.
Most recently, the character has been adapted in the live action television series “Arrow”, by actress Katie Cassidy. In a press release, DC Comics revealed that Black Canary will also be starring in her self-titled comic book series coming June 2015.

Wonder Woman
  1. Wonder Woman

Arguably hailed as the quintessential superheroine, Wonder Woman’s strength is challenged only by her passion for peace. Born an amazon on an island void of men, Princess Diana competed to become an emissary for her island. Garbing her iconic Lariat of Hestia (Lasso of Truth), and Aegis of Athena (bulletproof bracelets), she left her island and joined the Justice League. In the latest reimaging of the DC Universe, Wonder Woman is born the daughter of Zeus, giving her the power of flight, and super strength.

Wonder Woman is celebrated as one of the most popular LBTQ+ characters, inspiring people to be true to themselves. And as a member of the Justice League, Wonder Woman is considered to be the equal of Superman and Batman, making her a true icon in the feminist world. Nobody has articulated this point more elegantly than writer Gail Simone, simply saying: “When you need to stop an asteroid, you get Superman. When you need to solve a mystery, you call Batman. But when you need to end a war, you get Wonder Woman.”


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